Postharvest heat treatment of apples maintains fruit firmness and reduces decay during storage. Four days at 38C are beneficial, but 1 or 2 days are detrimental. The cellular basis of these effects may involve changes in cell wall and membrane lipid metabolism. Lipids from hypodermal tissue of `Golden Delicious' apples were analyzed after 0, 1, 2, or 4 days at 38C. Major lipids included phospholipids (PL), free sterols (FS), steryl glycosides (SG), and cerebrosides (CB). Galactolipids (GL) were minor components. PL content fell ?10% after 1 day at 38C, was unchanged after 2 days, and began to rise again after 4 days. PL class composition did not change with heating, but fatty-acid unsaturation declined throughout. FS and CB content and composition changed little, whereas SG content cropped by ≈20% over 4 days. GL fell ≈50% during 1 day at 38C, with no change at days 2 or 4. A burst of PL catabolism followed by recovery of synthesis may in part explain the different effects of 1-, 2-, or 4-day heat treatments. GL loss (in plastids) may be related to the effect of heat on fruit color (yellowing).
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