Honeycrisp apples being harvested.

Maintaining Apple Postharvest Quality

Principal Investigator

Cindy Tong

Department and College

Department of Horticultural Science in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Project Number


Funding Type


Project Start and End Date

October 1, 2015-September 30, 2020

Project Summary

Apples are major Minnesota and national horticultural commodities. They are among the top five produce items purchased by Americans. According to USDA-Economic Research Service yearbook statistics, the 2013 values of apple production were over $3 billion and $11.8 million for the nation and Minnesota, respectively. USDA Economic Research Service data show that fresh fruit losses at the retail and consumer levels are 37% of total production, equivalent to about $37 billion. Maintaining the quality of horticultural commodities is therefore economically important. Quality maintenance can be achieved partially by improving our understanding of the physiology, biochemistry, and genetics leading to the improvement or retention of storage quality of these commodities.

The overall goal of this project is to determine the physiological and genetic factors that are important in maintaining the quality of apple fruit, especially during storage. The specific objective is to understand how some apple varieties retain crispness during cold storage. This objective will be approached through the use of Next Generation RNA sequencing of apple fruit at harvest and after storage. The output from this project will be increased knowledge of factors limiting the maintenance of apple fruit crispness. Data from this project will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and at scientific conferences. These efforts will expand knowledge to other scientists, who are the target audience for this work and will help plant breeders develop markers useful in making selections.