MATURITY AND QUALITY OF APPLE FRUIT DURINIG THE HARVEST PERIOD AT APPLE INDUSTRY

<div><p>ABSTRACT A database of maturity and quality indices was built by analysis of 62,807 samples of 100 ‘Gala’ apples and 29,053 samples of 100 ‘Fuji’ apples at harvest, over 11 years (2005-2015) in an apple industry warehouse. Apple fruit were harvested in Fraiburgo (SC), São Joaquim (SC) and Vacaria (RS). Data on firmness, starch index (SI), soluble solid content (SS), titratable acidity (TA), size and grades (external appearance) of apple fruit were submitted to linear and nonlinear regression analyses. Each fruit was graded by analysis of external qualities (color and surface blemishes) following Brazilian legal standards. At apples industry, the harvest period extended from 3rd to 15th week of the year for ‘Gala’ and from 10th to 22nd week of the year for ‘Fuji’ apples, although approximately 70% of total production for ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ apples was harvested in a period of 4 and 6 weeks, respectively. Average maturity of 11 years varied from the 1st to the last week of harvest as follows: ‘Gala’ apples: 17.9 to 14.2 pounds (firmness), 4.0 to 6.1 (SI), 12.2 to 13.1% (SS) and 5.7 to 3.9 meq 100 mL-1 (TA). ‘Fuji’ apples: 17.1 to 14.3 pounds (firmness), 3.9 to 6.4 (SI), 12.9 to 14.4% (SS), 6.2 to 3.8 meq 100 mL-1 (TA). Approximately 48% of ‘Gala’ samples and 45% of ‘Fuji’ samples had firmness higher than 17 and 16 pounds, respectively, intended for long term storage, while 6% of ‘Gala’ samples and 8.5% of ‘Fuji’ samples had firmness lower than 14 pounds, intended for marketing shortly after harvest. The frequency of apple samples graded as Extra, Cat1, Cat2, Cat3 and out of category were 6%, 32%, 34% and 6% for ‘Gala’ apples and 5%, 39%, 33%, 18%, 5% for ‘Fuji’ apples.</p></div>