Regulation of Pear Color Development in Relation to Activity of Flavonoid Enzymes

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa

Changes in activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and UDPGalactose: flavonoid-3-o-glycosyltransferase (UFGT) during the development of pear (Pyrus communis L.) fruit and in response to cold fronts were assessed and related to changes in red color. Red and blushed pear cultivars attained maximum redness and highest anthocyanin concentrations in immature fruit. Red color generally faded toward harvest. UFGT activity increased over fruit development and was apparently not limiting to color development. However, the fading of red color and the decreasing level of phenolic compounds toward harvest might relate to decreasing PAL activity. Skin color and enzyme activity in the red pear `Bon Rouge' displayed little responsiveness to low temperatures. In contrast, low temperatures increased red color and activity of both PAL and UFGT in the blushed pear `Rosemarie'. Consistent with the general pigmentation pattern described above, the effect of temperature on enzyme activity was much greater early during fruit development than in the week before harvest.

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