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  • Author or Editor: M.S. Tian x
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Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important plant hormone that plays an important role in stress responses. Previous studies have suggested that ABA can also accelerate ripening in climacteric and nonclimacteric fruit. Capsanthin is a carotenoid that confers red coloration to mature pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit. However, the effect of ABA on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit has not been thoroughly studied. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effects of ABA treatment on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit and on the expression of key genes involved in the capsanthin biosynthetic pathway. For this purpose, we treated pepper fruit with ABA at green mature stage. Our results indicate that ABA treatment increased capsanthin content in pepper fruit, with the best result obtained with 150 mg·L−1 ABA solution. Application of exogenous ABA also increased the expression levels of the capsanthin synthesis genes phytoene synthase (Psy), lycopene β-cyclase (Lcyb), β-carotene hydroxylase (Crtz), and capsanthin/capsorubin synthase (Ccs), likely explaining the significant capsanthin content increase in pepper fruit.

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Jujube (Zizyphus jujuba Mill.) witches' broom (JWB) is the most important disease in the areas of jujube cultivation in China, where it occurs every year. Micropropagated shoots of the three most important cultivars (`Lizao', `Junzao', and `Muzao') in the National Jujube Gene Pool, collected at the Pomology Institute of Shanxi province, were tested for the presence of phytoplasmas. Phytoplasma ribosomal (16Sr) general and specific primer pairs were used in direct or nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Positive results were obtained only from symptomatic micropropagated samples of `Lizao' and from phytoplasma controls. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses of PCR products with several restriction enzymes revealed that the phytoplasmas infecting the symptomatic plants belong to the 16SrRNA group V subgroup B. The positive correlation between symptoms and the presence of phytoplasmas was verified in tissue culture. Samples from apparently healthy shoots of `Junzao', `Muzao', and `Lizao' were free of phytoplasmas.

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Aroma production by apple fruit is an important quality criterion and has been found to be a fruit-ripening-related process. 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), an effective ethylene action inhibitor, was used to study the relationship between volatile biosynthesis, ethylene action, and fruit ripening in `Golden Delicious' apple fruit. Pre-climacteric fruit were treated with 1-MCP vapors at a concentration of 500 parts per billion (v/v) at 23°C. 1-MCP prevented the climacteric rise of ethylene production, respiration, and volatile production, while untreated fruits developed typical climacteric changes in ethylene production, respiration and volatile production. Applying ethylene at 15–20 parts per million for 24 hr 11 days after 1-MCP treatment could not overcome the effect of 1-MCP, suggesting that 1-MCP inhibited ethylene action irreversibly. Interestingly, when 1-MCP-treated tissue were fed butanol and butyric acid, they converted these compounds to their corresponding esters butylacetate and butylbutanoate. Thus precursor supply is apparently limiting and appears to be ethylene-dependent.

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Ethylene production from florets of `Shogun' harvested broccoli (Brassica oleracea L.var. italica) held at 20C in darkness increased as the sepal tissues yellowed. The pattern of respiration rate and ethylene production from branchlets or entire heads was similar, although the magnitude of ethylene and carbon dioxide production appeared to be diluted by the other fleshy stem tissues. The reproductive structures, stamens and pistil, may have a role in determining the rate of sepal degreening, since removing them from florets reduced the yellowing rate. The pistil and stamens also had 7-fold higher levels of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) oxidase activity and more than double the ethylene production of other tissues within the floret. Stamen ACC oxidase activity was high on the first day after harvest, before yellowing became obvious. Changes in ACC oxidase activity of the pistil and stamens mirrored changes in ACC content in these tissues. The climacteric status of harvested broccoli was confirmed by exposure to 0.5% propylene. Propylene stimulated respiration and ethylene production and accelerated yellowing (measured as chlorophyll and hue-angle decline). Broccoli tissues did not respond to propylene immediately after harvest. In tissues aged in air before treatment, the time for response to propylene was shorter, a result suggesting a change in tissue sensitivity. Ethylene exposure induced a dose-dependent decline in hue angle, with 1 ppm ethylene giving the maximum response.

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Hot water treatments (HWTs), at a range of temperatures (43 to 55C) and durations (10 sec to 30 min), were applied to floret groups of `Shogun' broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var italica) directly after harvest. Floret groups were then stored at 20C in the dark for 3 days. A range of optimal treatments was found in which yellowing was markedly reduced, and heat damage (water soaking and decay) did not occur. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements indicated that in the optimum treatment that prevented yellowing the Fv/Fm ratio following HWT decreased immediately and was maintained at a constant level for the next 3 days. A further experiment examined the effect of HWT durations up to 20 min at 47C on fluorescence and yellowing. Longer durations of HWTs (>5 min) progressively reduced yellowing and the Fv/Fm ratio. From these three experiments a HWT of 47C for 7.5 min was selected as the best treatment. This treatment consistently reduced yellowing for up to 5 days. A decrease in the Fv/Fm ratio may be a useful indicator of broccoli florets response to hot water treatments.

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Color, ethylene production and respiration of broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica) dipped in hot water (45 °C, 10 minutes; 47 °C, 7.5 minutes; and 20 °C, 10 minutes as control) were measured. Hot-water treatment (HWT) delayed yellowing. Compared to the control, ethylene production and respiration in broccoli dipped at 45 °C decreased but recovered, and rates of both were enhanced after 24 and 48 hours, respectively, at 20 °C in darkness. There was no recovery of ethylene production or respiration in broccoli dipped at 47 °C. Following HWT of 47 °C for 7.5 minutes, respiration, starch, sucrose, and soluble protein content of florets and stems decreased dramatically during the first 10 to 24 hours after harvest. At the same time, fructose contents in florets and stems increased. Glucose increased in the florets but decreased within 24 hours in stems. Thereafter, glucose and fructose in florets and stems decreased. Sucrose content in florets and stems increased dramatically within a short period of treatment (<10 hours) and then declined. Protein in HWT florets and stems decreased during the first 24 hours and then increased until 72 hours. Ammonia content was lower in HWT broccoli during the first 24 hours and then increased above the level in the controls.

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