Volatile Ester Suppression and Recovery following 1-Methylcyclopropene Application to Apple Fruit

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

The effect of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on biosynthesis of volatiles and fruit ripening in apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) was investigated using `Golden Delicious', `Jonagold', and `Redchief Delicious' fruit. Application of 1-MCP to `Golden Delicious' at the preclimacteric stage effectively inhibited ripening as determined by decreased expression of genes for 1-amino-1-cyclopropane carboxylic acid (ACC) oxidase (ACO), and ACC synthase, ACO protein content, climacteric ethylene production, respiration, and volatile ester biosynthesis. Exogenous ethylene applied after 1-MCP treatment did not induce ethylene production, respiration, or volatile production. Activity for alcohol acyltransferase, which catalyzes the final step in ester formation, was demonstrable for 1-MCP-treated fruit, indicating no strict limitation on ester formation is imposed by this enzyme and that ester formation in 1-MCP-treated apple fruit is at least partially limited by reduced substrate synthesis. Once volatile ester formation had been suppressed by 1-MCP, the recovery of volatile synthesis required ≈3 weeks for `Jonagold' and 4 weeks for `Delicious' when held in air at 22 °C. For the first 2 months of storage at 0 °C in air, `Jonagold' and `Delicious' required ≈3 weeks holding at 22 °C for volatile biosynthesis to initiate; after 5 months in refrigerated storage, volatile formation was evident at the time of removal from cold storage. For `Jonagold' fruit held in controlled atmosphere (CA) storage for 2, 5, and 7 months at 0 °C, at least 3 weeks holding at 22 °C were required for volatile formation to begin to recover. The maximal amount of volatile formation was reduced 50% by 1-MCP relative to nontreated control fruit. CA storage had a similar impact on maximal volatile formation. The marketing of 1-MCP-treated fruit soon after treatment might result in the delivery of fruit to the consumer with little likelihood of recovery of volatile ester formation prior to consumption.

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