Heat Shock Response in Field-grown, Ripening Papaya Fruit

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Plant Molecular Physiology-HITAHR, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822

Mesocarp softening during papaya (Carica papaya L.) ripening was impaired by heating at 42C for 30 min followed by 49C for 70 min, with areas of the flesh failing to soften. Disruption of the softening process varied with stage of ripeness and harvest date. The respiratory climacteric and ethylene production were higher and occurred 2 days sooner in the injured fruit than in the noninjured fruit that had been exposed to 49C for only 30 min. Skin degreening and internal carotenoid synthesis were unaffected by the heat treatments. Exposure of ripening fruit to either 42C for 4 hr or 38 to 42C for 1 hr followed by 3 hr at 22C resulted in the development of thermotolerance to exposure to the otherwise injurious heat treatment of 49C for 70 min. Four stainable polypeptide bands increased and seven declined in single-dimensional acrylamide gels following incubation of fruit at the nondamaging temperature of 38C for 2 hr. Three polypeptides showed marked increases when polysomal RNA was translated. These polypeptides had apparent molecular weights of 17, 18, and 70 kDa. Proteins with molecular weights of 46, 54, and 63 kDa had slight increases after heat treatment. The levels of these polypeptides peaked 2 hr after heat treatment and declined within 24 hr. The amount of these polypeptides in the unheated control varied with the batch of fruit. The concentration of three translated polypeptides, with apparent molecular weights of 26, 37, and 46 kDa, declined. Other polypeptides continued to be translated during and after holding papayas for 2 hr at 38C.

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