The ability of two tomato cultivars, Lycopersicon esculentum cv. VFNTCherry (chill sensitive) and L. esculentum × L. pimpinellifollim cv. New York 280 (chill tolerant) to acclimate to low temperature storage at 2 °C were compared following prior temperature preconditioning. The activities of catalase, peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase and electrolyte leakage were monitored during a 15-day preconditioning period. Low temperature preconditioning reduced membrane damage in both fruit. In contrast, high temperature preconditioning accelerated the rate of leakage in VFNT, while fruit of NY 280 remained relatively undamaged. Low temperature preconditioning stimulated a 4-fold increase in catalase and peroxidase activities in fruit of NY280. High-temperature preconditioning appeared only to benefit fruit of NY280. Regardless of pretreatment, no significant change in superoxide dismutase activities were observed for either cultivar. These findings suggest that the ability to acclimate to low temperature stress may correlate with increased levels of catalase and peroxidase.
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