Lenticel breakdown is a problem on some newer apple cultivars such as Gala, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Fuji, but no pathogen has been associated with the problem. This disorder usually appears on apples after harvest and/or upon removal from storage.
Symptoms appear as darkened or black lenticels, surrounded by superficial small brown spots, which often appear on the fruit after packing. These spots become sunken over time and may become invaded by fungi. The spots are usually only skin deep with no corking of the flesh.
This disorder is not associated with a pathogen.
- Gala apples seem to vary in susceptibility to lenticel breakdown.
- It is currently not well understood why lenticel breakdown is a problem in some orchards, while fruit from other orchards are not affected.
- There is very little known about management of lenticel disorders. Research from Washington shows the longer fruit are in storage the more susceptible they are to developing lenticel breakdown after packing. There is also higher susceptibility in apples harvested with advanced maturity and/or mineral imbalances.
- Lenticel breakdown may be aggravated by dump tank chemicals, soaps, detergents, and/or waxes used in the packinghouse, as well as any post-harvest SmartFresh treatment.