A study was conducted to determine the effect of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on textural changes in fresh-cut tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, Mill.) slices during storage at 5 °C. The relationship between fruit developmental stage and tissue watersoaking development was also determined. Fresh-cut tomato slices prepared from light-red fruit that had been exposed to 1-MCP (1 μL·L-1 for 24 h at 5 °C) retained significantly higher pericarp firmness during storage at 5 °C for 10 d than slices from nontreated fruit or slices stored at 10 or 15 °C and they also had a significantly higher ethylene production maximum. 1-MCP (1 or 10 μL·L-1 for 24 h at 5 °C) had no affect on the firmness of fresh-cut, red tomato slices at 5 °C or on slices prepared from 5 °C-stored, intact red tomatoes. Nor did 1-MCP treatment have a significant effect on electrolyte leakage of tomato slices or intact fruit stored at 5 °C. Slices from fruit of the same developmental stage but with higher initial firmness values had less watersoaking development and responded better to 1-MCP treatment during 8 d storage at 5 °C. 1-MCP (1 μL·L-1) was more effective in reducing watersoaking in light red stage tomato slices when applied at 5 °C for 24 h compared with 1-MCP applied at 10 or 15 °C. Watersoaking development was also more rapid in fresh-cut tomato slices as initial fruit ripeness advanced from breaker to red stage. Our results suggest that watersoaking development in fresh-cut tomato slices is an ethylene-mediated symptom of senescence and not a symptom of chilling injury as had previously been proposed.
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