Effect of Intensity and Duration of Heat-shock Treatments on Wound-induced Phenolic Metabolism in Iceberg 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

Wounding during minimal processing of lettuce (Lactuca sativa, L.) induces alterations in phenolic metabolism that promote browning and the loss of quality. The activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL; the first committed enzyme in phenylpropanoid metabolism) and the concentration of phenolic compounds (e.g., chlorogenic acid, dicaffeoyl tartaric acid, and isochlorogenic acid) increase in excised iceberg lettuce midrib segments after wounding. The effect of short heat-shock treatments on browning and phenolic metabolism in excised midrib segments of iceberg lettuce was studied. As the heat-shock temperature increased from 20 to 70 °C, there was a decrease in the subsequent increase in PAL activity and the accumulation of phenolic compounds in excised midrib segments. Treatments of 45 °C for 120 s, 50 °C for 60 s, or 55 °C for 30 s significantly reduced the increase in PAL activity and subsequent browning seen in control tissue after wounding. Exposure to 45 °C for 480 s, 50 °C for 60 s, or 55 °C for 45 s prevented PAL activity from rising above initial levels. Phenolic compounds remained at initial levels for 3 days in excised midribs exposed to 50 °C for 90 s or to 55 °C for 60 s. However, 55 °C damaged the tissue, as indicated by a* and L* Hunter color values. The synthesis of chlorogenic acid, dicaffeoyl tartaric acid, and isochlorogenic acid was greatly reduced by these heat-shock treatments. These treatments also decreased polyphenol oxidase activity and, to a lesser extent, peroxidase activity.

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