WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Tree Fruit Market Diseases

Sunday, March 24, 2019

WSU-TFREC/Postharvest Information Network/Tree Fruit Market Diseases/scald

Scald is a physiological disease of apples that has been recognized as a serious problem for as long as apples have been stored and marketed commercially. Scald is also known by such names as ordinary scald, storage scald, common scald, hard scald (as opposed to the soft scald disease), and superficial scald, although tissues may be killed to 1/4 inch in some varieties.

Certain varieties are very susceptible to scald, whereas others are resistant. Until recent years Golden Delicious was considered practically immune. Orchard, storage, and marketing practices have changed in recent years, however. Golden Delicious are harvested later and are more mature and have more yellow color than previously. The use of polyethylene liners to control moisture loss permits much longer storage.

Under these conditions certain fruits develop a superficial browning and death of the skin, after removal from cold storage, which appears like scald on certain other varieties. Investigators have been reporting this condition as scald. It has been reported that the scald-like condition was most pronounced on fruits stored for a long period and then held at 70 °F for several days. Some investigators have also stated that fruits most seriously affected were the most mature and yellow fruits at harvest. These conditions are just the opposite from those that induce susceptibility to ordinary scald.

From this information it seems most desirable and accurate to designate the scald-like condition on Golden Delicious apples as senescent scald and to designate the true scald type on other varieties as ordinary scald. Both disorders are discussed in detail under those subheadings.

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