Cell Wall Changes Associated with Normal and Mealy Fruit Softening for a Novel Peach Genotype

in HortScience
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  • 1 1Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078
  • | 2 Dept. of Horticulture, Cook College, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ 08903

The `Stony Hard' gene of peach conferred a unique ability to manipulate softening and textural properties of the fruit by controlling the concentration and duration of exposure to ethylene. Fruit ripened in ethylene-free air softened very slowly. Exposure of fruit to 1 ppm ethylene continuously for 48 h, or discontinuously at 100 ppm over the same time period, significantly accelerated softening—to a normal texture. Exposure of fruit to 100 ppm ethylene continuously for 48 h induced softening to the same level, but to a mealy texture. We have prepared cell walls and conducted sequential chemical extractions from fruit exposed to the ethylene treatments above. Galacturonic acid content of chelator soluble pectin fractions decreased for mealy fruit, compared to fruit with normal texture, indicating that selective pectin degradation was associated with mealiness. Other differences in polysaccharide sugar composition and apparent molecular size associated with slow, accelerated, and abnormal softening in peach fruit will be addressed.

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