By WO Team

Climate change put crunch in apples

Climate change put crunch in apples

Fuji apples from Nagano Prefecture in Japan, photos by Tashihiko Sugiura


To assess apple taste and texture changes as a result of climate changes over time, Japanese researchers Toshihiko Sugiura and colleagues conducted over 30 years of cultivation trials in two Japanese apple orchards in two apple varieties (cultivars), including the world famous Fuji apple.

They reported decreases in acid concentration, fruit firmness, and watercore development over the past 3-4 decades, regardless of maturity index used to select harvest date such as number of dates after full bloom, calendar date, peel colour, or starch concentration.

These recorded changes may have resulted from earlier blooming and higher temperatures during the fruit maturation period - both effects of global warming.

As climates become even warmer with even earlier blooming dates and greater temperature increases during the fruit maturation period, these already observed changes in apple taste and texture will become more pronounced, researchers suggested.

Earlier studies have shown that long term climate changes has impact on apple phenology (variation in seasonal patterns of growth and activity). For example, changes in temperature and rainfall have affected the timing of flowering, bud break, and full bloom date.

The effects of climate change can be hard to quantify because of non-climate factors influencing cultivation and harvest, and the need to collect records and data from orchards that do not change cultivars and management practices for extended periods of time. Hence the present study had been carrying out since the 1970s.


  • Tashihiko Sugiura, Hidekazu Ogawa, Nariaki Fukuda, Takaya Mariguchi (2013) Changes in the taste and textural attributes of apples in response to climate change; Scientific Reports, Nature doi:10.1038/srep02418

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