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Modelling the biological variance of the yellow aspect of Granny Smith apple colour

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BACKGROUND: The yellow aspect of colour is usually not considered for produce with a green‐to‐red or a green‐to‐yellow transition upon ripening. The magnitude of change is simply too small and, additionally, masked by a large variation. The colour of ‘Granny Smith’ apples, harvested from three orchards at two stages of maturity, was measured individually using the CIE L*a*b* system during storage in a regular atmosphere at three temperatures: 1, 4 and 10 °C. A model was developed based on a simplified mechanism, consisting of two consecutive reactions, to describe the development of the apple colour expressed as b* and L* values during storage.

RESULTS: Monitoring individual apples made it possible to include and describe the biological variance of colour in batches of apples and to extract information on chilling injury, as a process active at 1 °C. All variations could be attributed to a single source related to the amount of yellowing compounds at the moment of harvest, indicating differences in state of maturity between individual apples. The obtained explained part (R2adj), using nonlinear mixed effects regression analysis was well over 90% for all data combined over more than 3000 observations.

CONCLUSION: Orchard location had a slight effect on the mean initial colour value, indicating differences in development stage, most probably due to differences in assessing the harvest date. The magnitude of the variation in these colour values was, however, the same for all three orchards. The behaviour of the green colour aspect (a* value) has been reported separately, as this represents the major change in perceived colour. The changes in b* and L* values are rather small, while the biological variation between the individual fruit is at least of the same magnitude. The model presented here is, as far as known, the first model on b* and L* values for green‐coloured products. Analysing b* and L* data using this model provides additional information with respect to the stage of maturity at harvest in a batch or for an orchard of Granny Smith apples. All the variation in the yellow colour aspects could be attributed exclusively to the initial level of yellow compounds. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: biological variance; chilling injury; growing conditions; maturity at harvest; modelling colour; translucency

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 15, 2010

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