Early Wound- and Ethylene-induced Changes in Phenylpropanoid Metabolism in Harvested Lettuce

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Vegetable Crops, Mann Laboratory, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8631

The phenolic composition of whole heads and excised midrib sections of iceberg, butter leaf, and romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) was followed at 5 and 10 °C during the first 3 days after wounding or during continuous exposure to 10 μL·L-1 ethylene in air. After 3 days of storage at 5 and 10 °C, only 5-caffeoylquinic acid (chlorogenic acid), 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (isochlorogenic acid), caffeoyltartaric acid, and dicaffeoyltartaric acid were detected in wounded lettuce midribs. Of these four compounds, chlorogenic acid accumulated to the highest level in all three lettuce types. The content of caffeic acid derivatives increased 3- and 6-fold after 72 hours of storage at 5 and 10 °C, respectively. The synthesis of caffeoyltartaric acid was not induced by wounding in iceberg lettuce, while chlorogenic acid increased 5-fold at 5 °C and 10-fold at 10 °C. Similar relative phenolic compositions were detected in the three lettuce types studied, although at different concentrations. Changes observed in the content of individual phenolic compounds during the first 3 days of ethylene exposure seemed to follow the same pattern observed during wound induction of the synthesis of phenolic compounds. Chlorogenic acid increased 5-fold and isochlorogenic acid increased 10-fold, while the content of caffeoyltartaric derivatives were not significantly altered by ethylene treatment. Isochlorogenic acid, which was only present in low amounts in the control, was synthesized in the later steps of wound and ethylene induction. Similar kinetics for the induction of phenolic compounds were observed in the three lettuce types studied, suggesting that the mechanisms by which wounding induces phenylpropanoid synthesis are common for the different lettuce types.

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