Plant antioxidants have gained considerable interest because of their importance for the preservation of produce and also because of their therapeutic properties. There is increasing evidence that these compounds protect plant tissues from stress and that they delay senescence. Seven strawberry cultivars were analyzed to investigate the possible relationship between their antioxidant potential and fruit shelf-life. The antioxidant defense systems studied were free radical scavenging enzymes (SOD, catalase, glutathione reductase, GSH, ascorbate peroxidase, ascorbate free radical reductase), ascorbic acid, and ellagic acid. Enzyme assays were performed using spectrophotometric kinetic measurements. Ascorbic acid and ellagic acid were determined by HPLC. The antioxidant potential of the tissues had an incidence on fruit quality and shelf-life. The impact of these antioxidative parameters will be discussed with respect to breeding criteria for reduced perishability of strawberries.
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