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Essaid Ait Barka, Siamak Kalantari, and Joseph Arul

Fresh fruit and vegetables are highly perishable because of their active metabolism during the postharvest phase. Previous studies showed that hormic dose of UV cause a delay in the senescence of tomato fruit by about 7 days. The objective of this study was to elucidate whether UV acts on the cell membrane in producing the phenomenon of delayed senescence, since it is known that UV radiation can provoke photooxidation of membrane lipids. Membrane lipid peroxidation was studied in tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill cv. Trust) treated by hormic UV dose, and was followed by assaying products of lipid oxidation during the storage period. We observed the production of lipofuscin-like compounds, malondialdehyde, aldehydes, pentane, ethane, and hydrogen peroxide within few days of the treatment. An increase in the efflux of electrolytes (total, potassium, and calcium) was also observed. An immediate increase in the level of these products of oxidation supports the hypothesis that UV radiation induces membrane lipid peroxidation. However, beyond 5 to 7 days after treatment, the production of oxidation products and electrolyte leakage were lower than the control fruits. Thereafter, the level of products of lipid oxidation associated with senescence was higher in control fruits than in treated ones. Results suggest that the initial oxidation stress by the exposure to UV led to biochemical reactions inducing the production of stress compounds, such as polyamines, which are non specific antioxidants. Consequently, a delay in the senescence was observed.

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M.V. Bhaskara Reddy, Essaid Ait Barka, F. Castaigne, and Joseph Arul

The antifungal activity of chitosan, a bioplymer of β-1-4 gluscosamine, against Alternaria alternata, causal agent of black mold of tomato, was investigated. Chitosan was incorporated into potato dextrose broth (PDB) at concentrations of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400 μg·ml–1, growth and toxin production by the fungus were assessed after a 15-day incubation period. Chitosan significantly affected both growth and toxin production at higher concentrations. However, at lower concentrations, toxin production was affected more than the growth, as evidenced by minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of chitosan derived for toxin production and mycelial growth. Excess sporulation of the fungus was observed in the presence of chitosan, but the spore viability was affected. Chitosan induced aggregation of fungal cells, abnormal shape, excess branching, and hyphal contortion. It also induced leakage of proteins from the fungal cells. The virulence of the toxin in culture filtrate of the fungus from different concentrations of chitosan was assayed by administering on tomato discs. Phospholipid content, electrolyte leakage, xylanase, and pectin methylesterase activity were measured in the culture filtrate administered tomato tissue. Decreased trend in causing electrolyte leakage, phospholipid degradation, and activation of xylanase and pectin methylesterase were observed with increasing concentrations of chitosan. The results showed that chitosan inhibits fungal growth at higher concentrations than toxin production. Further toxin produced at lower concentrations of chitosan was less virulent. Thus chitosan has potential as an antifungal agent.