Effects of Moisture Loss on Water Potential Components and Tissue Deterioration in Carrots during Short-term Storage
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Studies were carried out to understand the effects of moisture loss on water potential and root deterioration in carrot (Daucus carota L. `Eagle') roots during short-term storage. The roots were stored at various temperatures and relative humidities (RH) to provide 0.7 (low), 3 (medium), and 9 mbars (high) of water vapor pressure deficit (WVPD). Carrots at high WVPD lost the most weight, followed by those at medium and lowest WVPD. Water potential and osmotic potential of the carrot tissue at high WVPD did not change significantly up to 6 days, but decreased thereafter. There was no change in water potential and osmotic potential for carrots at medium and low WVPD. A significant quadratic relationship (P = 0.05, r = –0.764) between water potential and carrot root weight loss was observed. Relative electrolyte leakage increased over time in carrots at the high WVPD. At medium WVPD, relative electrolyte leakage did not change up to 6 days, but increased significantly thereafter. Carrots at the low WVPD did not change in relative electrolyte leakage. Relative electrolyte leakage and weight loss correlated positively (P = 0.05, r = 0.789). The results suggest that water stress during short-term storage causes tissue deterioration that may further increase rate of moisture loss and hence reduce the shelf life of carrots.