Test peaches stayed firmer longer”Peaches normally don’t stay in storage for more than two weeks.But we kept our test peaches in storage longer,” Prussia said.”After 21 days of storage, we saw a definite difference as thetreated peaches remained firmer.”Adding the salt solution wouldn’t be hard for growers. Theynormally have hydrocoolers in their packing houses to cool thepeaches with water, Prussia said.”However, we would need to make sure the salt solution does notharm the hydrocooling equipment over time,” he said.Another glitch the researchers are working out is the slightaftertaste the solution leaves behind. Using a taste panel, thescientists found that it “slightly changes” the taste of thepeaches. Surviving shipping”They have to be sure their product can survive shipping,” hesaid, “because when a shipment reaches its destination, a sampleis pulled and if the peaches are too soft, the whole load can berejected.”Working with visiting scientist Grzegorz Lysiak of theAgricultural University in Poznan, Poland, Prussia and UGAagricultural economist Wojciech Florkowski applied a methodcurrently used on apples.”We dipped half a batch of peaches in a 1-percent calciumchloride solution for half an hour. The other half we leftuntouched,” Prussia said.He says the solution is similar to what is used for addingchlorine to swimming pools. “Table salt is sodium chloride, andthis is calcium chloride,” he said.The test peaches were then put through storage and shippingconditions. Working to remove aftertaste”It was a slight change,” Prussia said. “But it was enough of achange that our taste panel detected it.” The research team isnow working to modify the salt solution.”We have to do more research to see if we can lower theconcentration of the solution so the taste isn’t affected and(growers) still get the benefits,” he said.The scientists are also looking into an alternative to dippingthe peaches in the packing houses.”We’d like to try spraying the peach trees while they’re growing,either once a week or once every two weeks,” Prussia said. “Thisway the calcium would get into the peaches as they grow.”He says this method is used now on other crops with no aftertasteeffects.A postharvest specialist, Prussia says peaches could be allowedto ripen longer on the trees if they weren’t too soft to ship.Staying longer on the trees would make peaches sweeter.Prussia hopes spraying the salt solution onto the peach treeswill be the answer to this dilemma.”It would be great if the peaches could be left on the treeslonger to develop full flavor, still ship well and arrive tastingbetter for consumers,” he said.The researchers are now sharing their findings with the GeorgiaAgricultural Commission for Peaches, which partially funded thefirst stage of the project. By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia researchers have developed a solution thatcould help prolong the shelf life of fresh peaches.Peach growers have to pick peaches earlier than ideal so theydon’t perish en route from the orchards to retail stores.”Growers pick peaches when they reach what’s called the ‘marketmature’ stage,” said Stan Prussia, an engineer in the biologicaland agricultural engineering department with the UGA College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences.