Compositional changes during the postharvest senescence of broccoli branchlets held at 20C in the dark were investigated, particularly during the first 24 hours. Major losses of sugars, organic acids, and proteins from floral, middle, and base sections of branchlets were detected during the first 6 hours. Between 12 and 96 hours, free amino acid pools increased (especially the amides glutamine and asparagine) for all sections of branchlets, while ammonia accumulated only in floral sections. Results are discussed in relation to the nature of the processes that set the tissues on the pathways leading to postharvest senescence.
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