It's somewhat well-known that applying an acidic solution to sliced apples prevents them from turning brown as quickly. I believe that the primary motivation to prevent the "browning" is aesthetic: slightly brown apples don't appear as appetizing as bright white ones.
Is there any other reason to do this?
This page on the subject of apple-browning states:
When an apple is cut, it releases an enzyme called polyphenol oxydase. This copper-based compound breaks down in the presence of oxygen, acting both as an antibacterial agent and as a deterrent to animals. This is what forms the brown coating on the apple.
The Wikipedia entry for food browning refers to the browning of apples as "undesirable" but is without qualification, and the entry for polyphenol oxidase says nothing about its properties other than colour, and I couldn't find any additional explanation of the "antibacterial" properties of browned apples, and what that actually means.
My question is two-fold:
- Is apple-browning undesirable for any non-aesthetic reason, such as affecting taste, or any property other than colour?
- When people apply a solution to apples to make them "last longer", how should I read this? Does this simply mean "will brown slower", or is there something else to it?