`Chandler' strawberries (Fragaria ananassa Duck.) were kept in air, 0.25% O2, 21% O2 + 50% CO2, or 0.25 O2 + 50% CO2 (balance N2) at 5C for 1 to 7 days to study the effects of controlled atmospheres (CAs) on volatiles and fermentation enzymes. Concentrations of acetaldehyde, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and ethyl butyrate were greatly increased, while concentrations of isopropyl acetate, propyl acetate, and butyl acetate were reduced by the three CA treatments compared to those of air-control fruit. The CA treatments enhanced activities of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) but slightly decreased activity of alcohol acetyltransferase (AAT). The results indicate that the enhanced PDC and ADH activities by CA treatments cause ethanol accumulation, which in turn drives the biosynthesis of ethyl esters. The increased ethanol concentration also competes with other alcohols for carboxyl groups for esterification reactions. The reduced AAT activity and limited availability of carboxyl groups due to ethanol competition decrease production of other acetate esters.
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