Two tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.) lines were previously identified that differ in fruit detachment characteristics. Ethephon treatment (1000 μl/L) to intact tabasco fruit 29 days after anthesis (green-mature) enhanced ripening as indicated by fruit coloration in both lines. `McIlhenny Select' fruit, which normally separate readily at the red-mature stage, however, had a quicker ripening response compared to `Hard Pick' fruit. Ethephon increased cellulase activity in the fruit tissue of both tabasco lines compared to the untreated control, and there was a trend of higher cellulase activity in `McIlhenny Select' compared to `Hard Pick'. Differences in ripening and enzyme activity in response to ethylene generators indicate that the two tabasco lines are suitable material to investigate the physiological processes involved in pepper fruit ripening.
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