|Authors: ||I. Hanrahan, J. McFerson|
|Keywords: ||physiological disorders, crop load, maturity, storage|
Malus × domestica 'Honeycrisp' was first planted in Washington State, USA, in 1999. The growth of planted orchard area since then has been exponential and now totals over 5,000 ha.
In the first decade of commercial production, the entire crop was shipped from storage within the first three months after harvest due to high consumer demand.
Despite rapidly expanding production, market demand still greatly exceeds supply in the latter part of the crop season, making it desirable to hold fruit in long term storage.
This remains a gamble, however, since packouts can suffer dramatically due to increasing incidence of physiological disorders such as bitter pit and soggy breakdown.
Soft scald is often the chief limiting factor for long term storage.
Like other chilling injuries, it is induced by cold temperatures during storage.
Fruit skin shows tan to dark brown bands with very distinct margins.
In severe cases affected areas are sunken and internal tissue is degraded as well.
Symptoms can appear after two weeks in cold storage and are typically fully expressed after three months in storage.
Misidentification is common, because early symptoms of soft scald are similar to those of shallow bruising, but can be distinguished by cutting the fruit.
Factors contributing to soft scald development in Washington State include: crop load, harvest maturity, and storage management.
Successful programs to minimize soft scald development have been implemented, which allow for a storage seasons of six months or longer.
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