Science Into Practice - The influence of storage on Bramley rotting

Many growers commonly lose 10 per cent or more of late stored Bramley apples, particularly through Nectria galligena, the fungus that causes apple canker in the orchard. The five per cent CO2, one per cent O2 storage regime improves control of bitter pit and superficial scald, but this has the adverse effect of promoting Nectria fruit rots.

With the loss of DPA, the use of storage protocols capable of controlling scald, such as SmartFreshTM and ethylene scrubbing, becomes even more vital. It is important to assess these technologies in terms of their effects on rot development.

In HDC project TF 191, the use of SmartFreshTM and ethylene scrubbing (Bi-On and catalytic scrubbers) have been assessed for their effect on quality and the development of fungal rots in controlled atmosphere-stored Bramley apples.

Ethylene scrubbing by catalytic methods and by Bi-On were found to be very effective in commercial stores, maintaining ethylene concentrations below 100ppb. In the first year of trials, there were no differences between storage protocols in incidence of natural rot in commercial stores, but the rate of rot development in Nectria-inoculated fruit was slightly reduced by ethylene scrubbing compared to SmartFreshTM.

This is not unexpected because ethylene is a signalling compound for the mobilisation of defence pathogens. In this case, ethylene action in the fruit is blocked by the use of SmartFreshTM but not by scrubbing.

Dates for your diary

8 February - Soft Fruit Panel Meeting, Norwich.

15 February - HDC/LGA Leek Agronomy Day, Southery, Norfolk.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

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