A question that scientists say needs to be researched further is whether MCP (1-methylcyclopropene) affects the flavor and aroma of fruit after storage.

Dr. Enrique Sanchez, researcher with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in General Roca, Argentina, said Argentine fruit producers are concerned about whether MCP, sold under the brand name SmartFresh, reduces the aroma of the pears.

“Some people believe that the production of esters is modified with the use of SmartFresh,” Sanchez said. “We need to run some consumer tests to verify that.”

Dr. Jim Mattheis, postharvest physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Wenatchee, Washington, said that in tests he conducted, MCP-treated d’Anjous tasted like ripe pears. “Whether they’re equivalent to a piece of fruit that’s never seen SmartFresh, that’s another story which perhaps needs to have more research done,” he added.

Mattheis has analyzed the effects of storage on fruit flavor and he suspects the flavor of MCP-treated pears is similar to that of pears held in CA storage without MCP. Low oxygen tends to delay or inhibit the capacity of climacteric fruit to produce ripe flavors when it comes out of storage.