Main content area

Cell wall metabolism of peaches and nectarines treated with UV‐B radiation: a biochemical and molecular approach

Scattino, Claudia, Negrini, Noemi, Morgutti, Silvia, Cocucci, Maurizio, Crisosto, Carlos H, Tonutti, Pietro, Castagna, Antonella, Ranieri, Annamaria
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2016 v.96 no.3 pp. 939-947
Prunus persica, aesthetics, beta-galactosidase, cell walls, cultivars, firmness, fruits, genotype, health promotion, melting, metabolism, nectarines, peaches, pectinesterase, polygalacturonase, postharvest systems, ripening, shelf life, tomatoes, transcription (genetics), ultraviolet radiation
BACKGROUND: Ultra‐violet B (UV‐B) radiation has been shown to improve, at least in selected genotypes, both the health‐promoting potential and the aesthetic properties of tomato and peach fruits during their post‐harvest period. The effects of post‐harvest UV‐B treatment on the cell‐wall metabolism of peaches and nectarines (Prunus persica L. Batsch) were assessed in this study. Three cultivars, Suncrest (melting flesh, MF) and Babygold 7 (non‐melting flesh, NMF) peaches and Big Top (slow melting, SM) nectarine, differing in the characteristics of textural changes and softening during ripening, were analysed. RESULTS: The effects of UV‐B differ in relation to the cultivar considered. In MF ‘Suncrest’ fruit, UV‐B treatment significantly reduced the loss of flesh firmness despite the slight increase in the presence and activity of endo‐polygalacturonase. The activity of exo‐polygalacturonase increased as well, while endo‐1,4‐β‐d‐glucanase/β‐d‐glucosidase, β‐galactosidase and pectin methylesterase were substantially unaffected by the treatment. The UV‐B‐induced reduction of flesh softening was paralleled by the inhibition of PpExp gene transcription and expansin protein accumulation. The UV‐B treatment did not induce differences in flesh firmness between control and UV‐B‐treated NMF ‘Babygold 7’ and SM ‘Big Top’ fruit. CONCLUSION: Based on these results, post‐harvest UV‐B treatment may be considered a promising tool to improve shelf‐life and quality of peach fruit. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry