Scientists at Washington State University have filed a patent application for a product that could be applied ­preharvest to pears to extend their storability as an alternative to a postharvest MCP (1-methylcyclopropene) application.

Dr. Amit Dhingra, a molecular biologist based in Pullman, said pears that have been treated with the new product are firm when they come out of controlled-atmosphere storage, but are able to ripen properly afterwards. Since it’s a natural compound, it should be suitable for use in organic production. The substance, which is not related to MCP, was discovered by scientists in his lab. Read more at Good Fruit Grower.