Surface moisture increases microcracking and water vapor permeance of apple fruit skin

authored by
Bishnu Prasad Khanal, Y. Imoro, Yun-Hao Chen, J. Straube, Moritz Knoche

Surface moisture induces microcracking in the cuticle of fruit skins. Our objective was to study the effects of surface moisture on cuticular microcracking, the permeance to water vapour and russeting in developing ‘Pinova’ apple fruit. Surface moisture was applied by fixing to the fruit a plastic tube containing deionized water. Microcracking was quantified by fluorescence microscopy and image analysis following infiltration with acridine orange. Water vapour permeance was determined gravimetrically using skin segments (ES) mounted in diffusion cells. Cumulative water loss through the ES increased linearly with time. Throughout development, surface moisture significantly increased skin permeance. The effect was largest during early development and decreased towards maturity. Recovery time courses revealed that following moisture treatment of young fruit for 12 days, skin permeance continued to increase until about 14 days after terminating the moisture treatment. Thereafter, skin permeance decreased over the next 28 days, then approaching the control level. This behaviour indicates gradual healing of the impaired cuticular barrier. Nevertheless, permeance still remained significantly higher compared with the untreated control. Similar patterns of permeance change were observed following moisture treatments at later stages of development. The early moisture treatment beginning at 23 DAFB resulted in russeting of the exposed surfaces. There was no russet in control fruit without a tube or in control fruit with a tube mounted for 12 days without water. The data demonstrate that surface moisture increases microcracking and water vapour permeance. This may lead to the formation of a periderm and, hence, a russeted fruit surface.

Institute of Horticultural Production Systems
Section Molecular Plant Breeding
Plant Biology
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Plant Science
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)