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Anna Rizzolo, Maristella Vanoli, Giulia Bianchi, Angelo Zanella, Maurizio Grassi, Alessandro Torricelli and Lorenzo Spinelli

Abstract

‘Braeburn’ apples from three harvests after 6-month storage in controlled atmosphere were measured at 670 nm by time-resolved reflectance spectroscopy (TRS), ranked on decreasing μ a670 (increasing maturity), classified as less (LeM), medium and more mature (MoM), randomised into three batches per harvest and analysed after 1, 8 and 14 days of shelf life. LeM and MoM apples were measured in the 630-900 nm range by TRS, and analysed for sensory profile (firm, crispy, juicy, mealy) and pulp mechanical characteristics (firmness, stiffness, energy-to-rupture). All data were processed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA). According to sensory intensity scores, fruits were either divided into five classes (very low – VL; low – L; medium – M; high – H; very high – VH) separately for every attribute, or clustered into four groups, each one representing a specific sensory profile. The absorption spectra showed a maximum at 670 nm (chlorophyll-a) and μ a670 was higher in the VH class for firm, crispy and juicy and in the VL and L classes for mealy. The scattering spectra had a decreasing trend with the wavelength increase, and μ s’ values were lower in the VH class for firm and crispy, and higher in the VH class for mealy and in the VL ones for juicy. PCA underlined that μ s’ values were negatively related to firmness and μ a670, and that μ a690, μ a730, μ a830, μ a850 and μ a900 were opposed to mealiness. PC scores differed among the four sensory profiles and increased from VL to VH classes for firmness, crispiness and juiciness and from VH to VL classes for mealiness.