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The cultivation of dessert apples has to meet the consumer's increasing demand for high fruit quality and a sustainable mostly residue-free production while ensuring a competitive agricultural productivity. It is therefore of great interest to know the impact of different cultivation methods on the fruit quality and the chemical composition, respectively. Previous studies have demonstrated the feasibility of High Resolution Magic Angle Spinning (HR-MAS) NMR spectroscopy directly performed on apple tissue as analytical tool for metabonomic studies. In this study, HR-MAS NMR spectroscopy is applied to apple tissue to analyze the metabolic profiles of apples grown under 3 different cultivation methods. Golden Delicious apples were grown applying organic (Bio), integrated (IP) and low-input (LI) plant protection strategies. A total of 70 1H HR-MAS NMR spectra were analyzed by means of principle component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). Apples derived from Bio-production could be well separated from the two other cultivation methods applying both, PCA and PLS-DA. Apples obtained from integrated (IP) and low-input (LI) production discriminated when taking the third PLS-component into account. The identified chemical composition and the compounds responsible for the separation, i.e. the PLS-loadings, are discussed. The results are compared with fruit quality parameters assessed by conventional methods. The present study demonstrates the potential of HR-MAS NMR spectroscopy of fruit tissue as analytical tool for finding markers for specific fruit production conditions like the cultivation method.

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