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Changes in the biosynthesis of cuticular waxes during postharvest cold storage of zucchini fruit (Cucurbita pepo L.)

Carvajal, F., Palma, F., Jimenez-Munoz, R., Pulido, A., Garrido, D.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1194 pp. 1475-1480
Cucurbita pepo, biosynthesis, chilling injury, cold storage, cold tolerance, cultivars, epicuticular wax, fatty acids, fruits, gene expression, genes, growth and development, hydrophobicity, morphs, postharvest treatment, proteins, shelf life, zucchini
The cuticle is a continuous hydrophobic layer that constitutes an important barrier against the outer conditions. In fruit, the cuticle plays a central role modulating the growth and development, being also important for the fruit postharvest life. In zucchini fruit (Cucurbita pepo L. morphotype zucchini), postharvest cold storage extends their commercial life but also causes chilling injury (CI). Tolerance to this physiological disorder is cultivar-dependent and can also be induced in fruit after different postharvest treatments before cold storage. We present an analysis of the expression of genes implicated in synthesis of cuticular wax in zucchini fruit stored 14 days at 4°C. The aim of this work is to compare this expression in two cultivars with different cold tolerance, and in preconditioned fruit. The results showed that preconditioned fruit had a higher expression of β-ketoacyl-CoA synthase (CER6 and FDH), β-ketoacyl-CoA reductase (KCR), β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase (PAS2), and enoyl-CoA reductase (CER10) genes; that form the Fatty Acid Elongase (FAE) complex, but no differences were found in ECERIFERUM proteins 1 and 3 (CER1 and CER3), responsible of the alkane-forming pathway. Long-term cold storage diminished the expression of most of the genes analyzed, thus a short-term study would shed more light on these findings.