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  • Author or Editor: Kirk L. Parkin x
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To examine the role of endogenous antioxidants in providing chilling stress protection, field-grown cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Eureka) fruit were stored in the dark and evaluated throughout storage. Storage treatments included continuous chilling (C) (5°C), continuous tempering (T) (12°C), intermittent warming (IW) (1 day at 12°C every 4 days) for 1, 2, 3, or 4 cycles, and preconditioning (PC) (12°C for 4 or 8 days) before chilling. Fruit exposed to in-field chilling (FC) were also stored under continuous chilling at 5°C. Samples were evaluated visually for tissue damage (lack of exudate, water-soaked appearance), and ascorbic acid (Asc) and reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione levels and glutathione reductase (GtR) and ascorbate free radical reductase (AFRR) activities were determined. Each 4 days of PC extended storage life by 7 days relative to C. FC or 1–2 IW cycles also extended storage life relative to C. With all treatments, Asc depletion preceded visual tissue damage, whereas GSH, GtR, and AFRR were not depleted before such damage. GSSG levels remained low throughout storage. GtR activity was elevated by FC and IW. AFRR activity was elevated by all treatments. Asc levels were elevated initially by all treatments, with this elevation lasting longer with PC and T. These results suggest that Asc levels decline during stress in the absence of an obvious lesion in the Asc regeneration scheme.

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Breeders have found field screening for white rot (Sclerotium cepivorum Berk.) resistance in onion (Allium cepa L.) to be unreliable since consistently moderate to high disease levels that significantly differentiate cultivars do not occur over field sites and years. The objective was to determine if differences in onion white rot resistance levels were associated with differing S-alk(en)yl-l-cysteine sulfoxide (ACSO) levels. A collection of onion breeding lines and hybrids were evaluated in field trials at six sites in 1999-2001. High performance liquid chromatography was used to analyze ACSOs in onion plant organs. Four main cysteine-sulfoxides exist in Allium L. species: methyl (MCSO), 2-propenyl (2-PeCSO), 1-propenyl (1-PeCSO), and propyl (PCSO). 1-PeCSO was predominant in onion leaves, bulbs, and roots. 2-PeCSO was found in trace amounts in onion leaves and roots. There was significantly more 2-PeCSO and total ACSO (roots only) and 1-PeCSO (roots and bulbs) in accessions that were more susceptible to white rot in the field trials. This is the first report of significant differences in ACSO contents among white rot susceptible and resistant onions. A covariance analysis was used to determine if the ACSO levels that significantly distinguished among accessions could predict field onion white rot reaction. 1-PeCSO from both roots and bulbs was the best predictor of field disease incidence in field sites that had low, moderate, and high disease levels. Although the ACSO concentrations were not assessed on an individual plant basis, breeders may be able to screen onions for resistance to S. cepivorum by comparing onion root or bulb 1-PeCSO levels based on the results from this research. White rot incidence in the field should be higher in those plants whose roots and bulbs have the highest levels of 1-PeCSO.

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