Activity of Cell Wall-associated Enzymes in Cold-stored Tomato Fruit

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  • 1 1Cornell University, Horticulture, Ithaca, NY, 14853-5908
  • | 2 2Cornell University, Plant Biology, Ithaca, NY, 14853-5908

Tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicon L.) can develop mealiness and enhanced softening when exposed to chilling temperatures during storage, but the involvement of cell wall-associated enzymes in chilling injury development is not well understood. To study this aspect of injury development, we have exposed breaker stage tomato cv. Trust fruit to a chilling temperature of 3 °C for 0, 7, 14, and 21 days followed by storage at 20 °C for 12 days. Ethylene production was not affected by storage except after 21 days, where production was greater at 20 °C. Exposure of fruit to chilling temperatures delayed the ripening-related color change (chroma and hue) and initially increased compression values, but percentage of extractable juice was not affected consistently. Increased polygalacturonase activity during ripening was reduced by about 50% after 7 days at 3 °C, and further inhibited with increasing storage periods. In contrast, the activities of pectin methylesterase and α-galactosidase were not significantly affected by the cold treatments. β-Galactosidase activity was greater in all chilled fruit compared with fruit ripened at harvest, whereas endo-β-1,4-glucanase activity was lower after 21 days at 3 °C. These results will be compared with equivalent changes in the activities of cell wall enzymes that are associated with wooliness development in chilling-injured peach fruit.

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