Inhibition of Ethylene Biosynthesis and Perception by 1-Methylcyclopropene and Its Consequences on Chlorophyll Catabolism and Storage Quality of ‘Bosc’ Pears

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Bosc is a winter cultivar of european pear (Pyrus communis) that has a relatively short storage life partially due to a high ethylene production rate (EPR) during cold storage. ‘Bosc’ pears were harvested at commercial maturity and treated with gas 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 0, 0.15, and 0.3 µL·L−1 and stored at −1.1 °C for 8 months. Results indicated that all 1-MCP treatments inhibited EPR and respiration rate (RR), retarded the degradation of chlorophyll and titratable acidity (TA), and extended storage quality; but inhibited ripening capacity. 1-MCP at 0.15 and 0.3 µL·L−1 had the same efficacy on keeping fruit quality although its higher rate was more efficient on inhibiting EPR and RR. The expression of ethylene synthesis genes (PcACS1, PcACS2, PcACS4, PcACS5, and PcACO1) and receptor genes (PcETR1, PcETR2, and PcERS1) was upregulated in control fruit during storage and they were downregulated significantly by 1-MCP treatments. In contrast, the ethylene receptor genes of PcETR5 and PcCTR1 were downregulated in control fruit during storage and were unaffected by 1-MCP treatments. Although the transcription levels of chlorophyll degradation genes PcPPH, PcNOL, PcSGR, PcRCCR, PcNYC, and PcPAO were all upregulated in control fruit during storage and downregulated by 1-MCP; only PcCHL was downregulated in the control and 1-MCP had no consistent effect on it. The relationship of ethylene biosynthesis/perception with chlorophyll degradation and storage quality in european pears was discussed.

Contributor Notes

This work was also supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project, Improving Quality and Reducing Losses in Specialty Fruit Crops through Storage Technologies (NE-1336).

We are grateful to the Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers Association and the NW Fresh Pear Research Committees for financial support.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Current address: Department of Horticulture, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China 230036.

Corresponding author. E-mail:

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Article Figures

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    (A) Internal ethylene concentration (IEC), (B) ethylene production rate (EPR), and (C) respiration rate (RR) of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) during 8 months of storage at −1.1 °C. Values are mean ± sd (n = 3).

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    (A) Fruit peel chlorophyll content and (B) green color rating of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) during 8 months of storage at −1.1 °C. Color scale of 5–1 (5 = green, 3 = turning from green to yellow, 1 = yellow). Values are mean ± sd (n = 3).

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    Appearance of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) after 6 months of storage at −1.1 °C.

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    Fruit (A) flesh firmness (FF), (B) soluble solid content (SSC), (C) titratable acidity (TA), ripening capacity expressed as FF after (D) 7 d at 20 °C, and (E) decay of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) during 8 months of storage at −1.1 °C. Values are mean ± sd (n = 3).

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    Transcription levels of ethylene biosynthesis genes (PcACS1, PcACS2, PcACS4, PcACS5, and PcACO1) and ethylene receptor genes (PcETR1, PcETR2, PcETR5, PcCTR1, and PcERS1) of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) during 8 months of storage at −1.1 °C. Values are mean ± sd (n = 3).

  • View in gallery

    Transcription levels of chlorophyll degradation genes (PcPPH1, PcNOL, PcASGR1, PcRCCR, PcNYC, PcCHL1, and PcPAO) of ‘Bosc’ pears influenced by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatments (0.15, 0.3 µL·L−1) during 8 months of storage at −1.1 °C. Values are mean ± sd (n = 3).

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