A newly developed rapid and convenient method was used for fractionation and analysis of fluorescent compounds (FCs) formed during lipid peroxidation in parsley (Petroselinum crispum Mill.) leaves. These lipofuscin-like FCs [which arise in vivo from reaction of malondialdehyde (MDA) with amino acids] were found to increase during the senescence of detached parsley leaves, following the commencement of chlorophyll degradation and proteolysis. However, accumulation of FCs in response to exogenous ethylene coincided with the onset of chlorophyll loss and proteolysis on day 2 and was accelerated markedly later. Unlike FC accumulation, levels of aldehydes and MDA in control leaves increased more drastically during senescence, but were not affected significantly by exogenous ethylene. The results suggest that the accumulation of FCs in detached parsley leaves exposed to exogenous ethylene is an early senescence-associated process.
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