Bramley apple growers look for new methods to control scald as DPA is withdrawn

New ways of controlling scald will have to be found by Bramley growers because the antioxidant diphenylamine, known as DPA, is being taken off the shelves at the end of the year.

Dr Richard Colgan of the Natural Resources Institute told growers at the East Malling Research and Marden Fruit Show Society top fruit storage day last month that the withdrawal of DPA "will create new challenges for Bramley growers to maintain a year-round supply of scald-free apples".

Bramley apples are particularly susceptible to scald - especially those grown in warm, dry summers and harvested early in the season.

DPA is used as post-harvest dip or drench to control superficial scald but residues have been known to linger on the fruit.

Colgan added that growers will have to find alternative storage strategies - one of which could be combining finely-tuned controlled atmosphere storage techniques with the use of favoured storage regulator Smartfresh.

Setting the controlled atmosphere environment to a 5:1 ratio - five per cent CO2 and one per cent O2 - should "control scald development for up to six months", said Colgan.

Growers wanting to store their apples for more than six months can combine the 5:1 storage with Smartfresh "to control ethylene", which "increases the severity of scald development".

Colgan also told growers that several other methods and products for controlling scald are being developed for future use although some, including a sprayable formulation of 1-MCP (the Smartfresh molecule) being trialled in Chile, are "some way off" in Europe.

Another technique, which sees oxygen concentrations reduced in the store to below one per cent, can delay the onset of scald development for nearly 11 months, but it has its drawbacks.

Colgan said: "Storage at such low concentrations increases the chance of alcohol accumulation in fruit due to fermentation."

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