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Jingjing Kou, Zhihui Zhao, Wenjiang Wang, Chuangqi Wei, Junfeng Guan and Christopher Ference

‘Mopan’ persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) is a traditional astringent cultivar of persimmon and ‘Yoho’ persimmon (D. kaki) is a newly introduced Japanese nonastringent type of cultivar in northern China. Studies were conducted to investigate the physiological changes and expression of ripening-related genes in the postharvest process at different periods under the effects of endogenous ethylene in both cultivars. Persimmons were harvested and stored under room temperature for 20 days. An analysis of physiological changes showed significant differences between the two cultivars. Total soluble solids declined in ‘Mopan’ fruit, whereas those in ‘Yoho’ fruit increased during storage. Firmness, color, index of absorbance difference, total and soluble tannin contents, ethylene production, and respiration rates showed the same trend, but these values vary by cultivar. ‘Mopan’ fruit softened rapidly after harvest and attained edible quality in 20 days, with an increased rate of softening accompanied by increased expression of ripening-related genes. In contract, ‘Yoho’ fruit softening occurred slowly and did not soften even after 20 days, with minimal accumulation of the ripening-related genes. The information obtained from this study demonstrates that cell wall-hydrolyzing enzymes, the de-astringent process, and endogenous ethylene have critical roles in postharvest ripening, gene expression, and physiological property changes of ‘Mopan’ and ‘Yoho’ persimmon fruit during storage.