[NAFEX] FW: Aromatic Compound Deepens Red in Apples

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Wed Apr 30 08:46:45 EDT 2003

Of interest to the group.

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 07:09:08 -0400
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Aromatic Compound Deepens Red in Apples

Natural Aromatic Compound Deepens Red Coloring in Apples


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jan Suszkiw, (301) 504-1630, jsuszkiw at ars.usda.gov
April 30, 2003

Spraying apples with the aromatic compound methyl jasmonate (MJ) before
harvest may offer a new way to improve the uniformity of the fruit's red
color. That's the implication of studies by Jim Mattheis, an
Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist who is exploring new
ways to improve the quality and marketability of apples, pears and other
fruit grown in the Pacific Northwest.

In jasmine and some other plants, MJ has many functions, including
mobilizing antimicrobial proteins. A sweet, flowery aroma also makes MJ
a popular cosmetics ingredient, and it is classified by the Food and
Drug Administration as a Generally Recognized As Safe substance.

Starting in 1998, Mattheis followed up on earlier research showing
that, when apples are exposed to light, MJ activates biochemical
processes in the peel that produce anthocyanin pigments. Along with
graduate student Dave Rudell and ARS food technologist Xuetong Fan,
Mattheis devised a water-based emulsion containing 2 percent or less MJ
and a surfactant that can be sprayed directly onto unpicked fruit.

Through lab and orchard trials with Red Delicious, Gala and other
varieties, the team discovered timing is crucial; some apples treated
too early in the season lost their red color by fall harvest. And too
much MJ sometimes harmed the fruit. But at concentrations of 2 percent
or less, no adverse effect or significant change in eating quality was
apparent, according to Mattheis, at ARS' Tree Fruit Research Station in
Wenatchee, Wash.

ARS, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has applied for
patent protection on the MJ apple treatment. One particular use may be
correcting uneven coloring in Fuji apples that have spent much of their
growing season in opaque bags. A more detailed article on the work is in
the May issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available on the World
Wide Web at: 

ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.

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