We have heard some people wonder, “since Arctic® apples are nonbrowning, won’t that mean older and lower quality fruit can look better than it really is?” The answer is that not only will Arctic® apples rot just like other apples, they also don’t show superficial damage which makes it much easier to tell when an apple really has gone bad.
As discussed before, we have silenced the gene sequence that controls the production of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), which initiates enzymatic browning in apples. Enzymatic browning (a.k.a. primary browning) occurs when an apple’s cells are damaged, such as through cutting, bruising or biting the fruit. For example, if someone were to grip an apple a bit too hard while picking it, there might be no signs of damage at first, but the slightly damaged cells on the apple’s fresh surface will brown due to this enzymatic reaction.
By preventing enzymatic browning, Arctic® apples stop the flesh of the apple from going brown due to superficial damage, but this is quite separate from tissue breakdown from rotting. The decomposition that renders an apple unsightly and inedible primarily occurs due to fungi and bacteria, and this secondary browning or decomposition will happen with Arctic® apples, too.
In fact, since Arctic® apples don’t show superficial damage, when you do see discoloration or damage, you know it’s not just a minor surface issue and the eating quality of the apple has probably been compromised. Far from allowing older or lower quality fruit from being sold, Arctic® apples actually make it easier to tell if an apple is still in good condition!