Colour development in the apple orchard

L.M.M. Tijskens, T. Unuk, S. Stanislav Tojnko, J. Hribar, M. Simcic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Colour is traditionally one of the important appearance features of all fruit for consumers in deciding to buy them. Colour is therefore important in the postharvest supply chain. But where does that colour of fruit come from? Clearly the period of growing and the circumstances during growth are important for developing this important feature. During several seasons (2007-2009), the skin colour of individual apples of different cultivars (‘Braeburn’, ‘Fuji’, ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’) were measured using a Minolta CR-400 chromameter during the last 40-60 days before (commercial) harvest. By including the biological variation between individual apples in the analyses and applying non linear indexed regression analysis based on process oriented models, explained parts were obtained for the a*-value, all exceeding 90%. The estimated rate constants for the colouration process were remarkably similar for all cultivars (except ‘Fuji’) and growing conditions. That would indicate that the process of colouration is really reflecting the degradation of chlorophyll and not the production of red or yellow coloured blush (anthocyanins). The expected effect of growing conditions (fertilization and crop level, hail net or not, sunny side or shady side of the tree) did change the mechanism nor the kinetic parameter values but could all be attributed to the minimal obtainable skin colour (asymptotic values of the logistic model). This type of information from the production period may constitute an important link to postharvest supply chain management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
JournalJournal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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