Changes in phenolic metabolism are induced by minimally processing, which ultimately leads to the browning of lettuce tissue. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL, EC 188.8.131.52.) is greatly influenced by storage temperature. Evaluation of PAL activity at temperatures going from 0 to 25 °C showed that peaks occurred sooner at higher temperatures but at lower levels. Heat-shock treatments (50 °C, 90 s) have a protective effect against browning, help to retain greenness of tissue, and decrease the production of phenolics when applied either after or before wounding. To achieve a considerable, beneficial effect from hot water treatments applied after wounding these should not be delayed more than 36 h. The best results for heat-shock treatments before wounding occurred when applied at ≈12 h before cutting the tissue. Although cycloheximide did reduce PAL activity in a similar pattern as heat-shock treatments, it did not prevent browning itself. Cycloheximide seems to cause some sort of chemical damage that promotes the browning of lettuce tissue. When cycloheximide was applied in combination with heat-shock treatments browning did not occur.
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