University of California

Fruit Physiological Disorders

Stonefruit: Internal Breakdown (Chilling Injury)


Stonefruit: Internal Breakdown (Chilling Injury)

H. Crisosto and E. J. Mitcham. UC Davis Postharvest Specialists.

Flesh Translucency and Bleeding in Plum
Flesh Translucency and Bleeding in Plum
Peach, nectarine, apricot, plum and fresh prune.

Importance: Chilling injury (CI) or Internal breakdown (IB) is the main limiting factor in the shipping and consumption of peaches and nectarines. This is the most frequent complaint by consumers and wholesalers and the main barrier to consumption.

Symptoms: Loss of flavor, ‘off flavor’, lack of juiciness due to leathery texture or flesh mealiness (), black pit cavity, and flesh browning (FB). In plum and pluots, in addition to the previous symptoms, flesh translucency and red pigment accumulation (bleeding) are typical.

Causes: CI is triggered when fruit are stored below 8°C. Onset of symptoms is more rapid and severity of symptoms greater when fruit are exposed to temperatures between 2 and 8°C (36 and 46°F) (the ‘killing temperature range’). CI symptoms normally appear after fruit are moved from cold storage to room temperatures and while some ripening is occurring. For this reason, this problem is usually experienced by consumers, not the grower and/or packer. Stone fruit cultivars vary greatly in susceptibility to CI and some of them do not develop symptoms. In most cases, early-season peach and nectarine cultivars are least susceptible and late-season cultivars are most susceptible. Among plum cultivars, there is no seasonal pattern of susceptibility. Recently developed cultivars in the market from different breeding programs are showing less susceptibility to CI.


  • The long-term solution is to breed cultivars using genomic tools that are not susceptible to CI. This work is in process, pursued by a multistate effort (RosBREED).

In the meantime, follow these guidelines:

  • Market susceptible cultivars according to their potential postharvest life.
  • Use the controlled-delayed-cooling (‘preconditioning’) treatment to delay onset and reduce intensity of CI symptoms. When this ‘preconditioning’ protocol is executed properly, fruit postharvest life almost doubles.
  • Storing below 0°C (32°F), but above the freezing point, and avoiding the ‘killing temperature range’ 2 to 8°C (36 to 46°F) are beneficial to delay CI symptoms and extend market life.
  • Enforce proper postharvest practices during handling, transportation and retail handling. Keep fruit near 0°C (32°F) during storage and transportation, and avoid fruit exposure to temperatures between 2 and 8°C (36 and 46°F) (‘killing temperature range’) during transportation and retail handling.
  • Educate fruit handlers (warehouse, retail handlers and consumers) on how to reduce CI incidence and intensity.
Flesh Browning in Plum - Photo by Carlos Crisosto
Flesh Browning in Plum - Photo by Carlos Crisosto
Mealy and Brown Peach - Photo by Carlos Crisosto
Mealy and Brown Peach - Photo by Carlos Crisosto
Mealy Fruit - Photo by Carlos Crisosto
Mealy Fruit - Photo by Carlos Crisosto



Crisosto, C.H., Mitchell, F.G. and Ju, Z. (1999). Susceptibility to chilling injury of peach, nectarine, and plum cultivars grown in California. HortScience 34, 1116-1118.

Crisosto, C.H., Garner, D., Andris, H.L. and Day, K.R. (2004). Controlled delayed cooling extends peach market life. HortTechnology 14, 99-104.

Crisosto, C.H., Crisosto, G.M., and Day, K.R. (2008) Market life update for peach, nectarine, and plum cultivars grown in California. Advances in Horticultural Science, 22, 201-204.

Crisosto, C.H., Lurie, S. and Retamales, J. (2009) Stone fruits. In: Yahia, E.M. (ed.), Modified and Controlled Atmospheres for the Storage, Transportation, and Packaging of Horticultural Commodities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 287-315.

Martínez-García, P.J., Peace, C.P., Parfitt, D.E., Ogundiwin, E.A., Fresnedo-Ramírez, J., Dandekar, A.M., Gradziel, T.M. and Crisosto, C.H. (2011) Influence of year and genetic factors on chilling injury susceptibility in peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch). Euphytica, 185, 267-280. DOI 10.1007/s10681-011-0572-1.

Dhanapal, A.P., Martínez-García, P.J., Gradziel, T.M. and Crisosto, C.H. (2012) First genetic linkage map of chilling injury susceptibility in peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) fruit with SSR and SNP markers. Journal of Plant Science and Molecular Breeding 1, 1-12.

Pons Puig, C., Dagar, A., Ibanez, C.M., Singh, V., Crisosto, C.H., Friedman, H., Lurie, S. and Granell, A. (2015) Pre-symptomatic transcriptome changes during cold storage of chilling sensitive and resistant peach cultivars to elucidate chilling injury mechanisms. BMC genomics, 16, 245-279.

Crisosto, C.H. and Kader, A.A. (2016) Peach. In Gross, K.C., Wang, C.Y. and Saltveit, M. (eds.) The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. USDA Agriculture Handbook 66, pp. 466-470.



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How to Cite

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Example: Crisosto, C. H. and E. J. Mitcham. 2020. Asian Pear: Flesh Spot Decay (FSD). (Accessed March 25, 2020).

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