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Low-Dose Irradiation Can be Used as a Phytosanitary Treatment for Fresh Table Grapes



Grapes (Vitis vinifera var. Sugraone and Vitis labrusca var. Crimson Seedless) were treated with 400, 600, and 800 Gy and the effects on physicochemical factors were measured alongside sensory testing during 3 wk of storage. Significant changes in texture and color with irradiation and age were measured but little visual difference was seen between control and irradiated grapes. However, age had a greater effect on firmness than irradiation for Sugraone grapes. Irradiation did not significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affect the SSC/TA ratio, which increased during storage. The trained panel detected significant changes in the berry texture and rachis color but rated sweetness and flavor significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) for irradiated Sugraone as compared to the control. Consumers liked both the untreated and 800 Gy treated Sugraone grapes, but liked the untreated grapes more for texture (P ≤ 0.05). However, there was no difference in liking between irradiated (600 Gy or 800 Gy) and control samples of Crimson Seedless for any attribute. The results show that there are varietal differences in response to irradiation but the overall maintenance in quality of irradiated grapes during 3 wk of storage indicates that irradiation can serve as a viable phytosanitary treatment.

Practical Application

This study shows that Sugraone and Crimson Seedless table grapes have very good tolerance to irradiation at dose levels needed for insect disinfestation and should be considered for use as a phytosanitary treatment in the export of these varieties. There were some differences in the responses of the 2 varieties to treatment indicating the need to evaluate each variety. Further research should be performed with commercial conditions of gamma irradiation treatment and distribution. A comparison study with other phytosanitary treatments on the quality of these table grapes would also be valuable.