Internal breakdown (IB) is the limiting factor in the storage and postharvest handling of stone fruits. The symptoms of IB appear when fruits are kept for prolonged periods at temperatures below 10C and include leatheriness, mealiness, browning and bleeding of the flesh, and failure to ripen normally. We investigated the changes in phenolic compounds associated with IB of stone fruits. Twenty-eight phenolic compounds were separated by HPLC. Ten of these components were significantly affected by chilling temperatures. The concentration of six phenols changed in response to ripening after chilling temperatures, parallel to the appearance of IB symptoms. Most phenols showed a concentration gradient from the inside to the outside of the fruit, Comparison between peach cultivars showed characteristic differences in phenol metabolism during ripening. In both cultivars the most predominant phenol, chlorogenic acid, showed little change in concentration during storage. The structure of key phenolic compounds will be determined in order to elucidate the biochemical relationship between the phenols and the related enzymes. In this respect, a method was developed to detect phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity in peach fruit.
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