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Phytosanitary treatments prevent the introduction of pests such as fruit flies into pest free zones, and are often required for international trade. Irradiation is increasingly being considered as an alternative to cold and chemical phytosanitary treatments, such as methyl bromide. In this study, the effect of low dose gamma irradiation on the post-harvest quality of two varieties of pummelos (Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr.), an emerging crop of interest in the US was evaluated. Two varieties of pummelos grown in California were irradiated at the phytosanitary target dose of 150 Gy and a higher dose of 1000 Gy to exaggerate and hence confirm the effects of treatment. The fruit was stored at 12 °C for 3 weeks and at 20 °C for the 4th week to reflect three weeks of sea shipment at the ideal temperature for storage of pummelos and an additional week of retail under ambient conditions. Neither irradiation nor storage affected juice content, organic acids, sugars, peel or pulp color and consumer sensory preference, although numerous volatiles increased in concentration as a result of irradiation treatment. Irradiation caused an immediate reduction in whole fruit and pulp firmness in ‘Chandler’ but not ‘Sarawak’ pummelos at both 150 Gy and 1000 Gy. The quality of irradiated pummelos stored at refrigerated temperature for 3 weeks was similar to untreated pummelos, however, physical handling and exposure to higher temperature resulted in increased peel pitting of irradiated fruit compared to non-treated fruit. The results suggest that irradiation could serve as a potential phytosanitary treatment for Chandler and Sarawak pummelos, provided that the fruit is subjected to minimal handling and not temperature abused.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Scientia Horticulturae. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Scientia Horticulturae, volume 217, in 2017. DOI:10.1016/j.scienta.2017.01.029

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