Lychee Pericarp Browning Caused by Heat Injury

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  • 1 Horticulture Postharvest Group, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, 19 Hercules Street, Hamilton, Queensland 4007, Australia

Mature lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit were heat-treated at 60C for 10 min to study heat-induced pericarp browning. Polyphenol oxidase (EC 1.10.3.2) activity of the pericarp increased immediately, corresponding with rapid anthocyanin degradation, Tissue browning was observed 2 min after heating, with pigmentation distributed uniformly throughout the pericarp. The distribution of brown pigments was different than the highly localized browning observed under ambient desiccation. Although both ambient and heat-induced pericarp browning are visually similar, the anatomical distribution of brown pigmentation is quite distinct. The distribution of brown pigmentation was not consistent with anthocyanin localization. Following ambient desiccation, the mesocarp became colorless even though this represented the greatest concentration of pigment. Browning caused by heating may result from nonselective degradation of a range of compounds, including anthocyanin.

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