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Zienab F.R. Ahmed and Jiwan P. Palta

lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) on banana fruit marketability. Using the banana ripeness chart, loses in fruit marketability occur when the peel begins to develop brown spots as in stage 7. We found that the fruit treated with LPE were two ripening stages behind control at

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Mustafa Özgen, Karim M. Farag, Senay Ozgen, and Jiwan P. Palta

Highly colored cranberries are desired for both fresh and juice markets. Berries accumulate more color when allowed to stay on the vines longer. However, early fall frosts often force growers to harvest before the fruit has reached its optimal color. This is especially true for the berries under the canopy. No product is currently available for grower to accelerate the color development in cranberries. Result from recent studies suggests that a natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), can accelerate color production in fruit and, at the same time, promote shelf life. LPE is a natural lipid and is commercially derived from egg and soy lecithin. The influence of LPE on anthocyanin accumulation and storage quality of cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens') was studied. Cranberry plants were sprayed with LPE at about 4 weeks before commercial harvest at multiple locations. Experiments were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Fruit samples were taken at 2 and 4 weeks after spray application to determine the changes in the fruit color. Plots were wet harvested using a standard commercial method and stored in a commercial cold storage facility. Marketable fruit were evaluated at 1 and 2 months after cold storage to determine effect of LPE on shelf life of cranberries. In general, a preharvest application of LPE resulted in a 9% to 27% increase in fruit anthocyanin concentration compared to the control. LPE treatments also resulted in 8% to 12% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control following cold storage. Influence of LPE on fruit quality was more apparent after 1 month of storage. These results are consistent with the observed effects of LPE on tomatoes. Interestingly ethanol application also enhanced storage quality. Our results suggest that a preharvest application of LPE may have the potential to enhance color and prolong shelf life of cranberry fruit.

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Navjot Kaur and Jiwan P. Palta

We investigated the use of lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) for prolonging vase life of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.). Freshly cut snapdragon spikes were set into a LPE solution at 25 mg·L-1 for 24 h and then transferred to deionized water. The vase life was enhanced by LPE. The flowers on spikes treated with LPE showed symptoms of wilting or browning 4 or 6 days later than those on the spikes given deionized water in inbred or `Potomac White', respectively. All the spikes were of marketable quality for 5 to 7 days after harvest when treated with LPE, whereas in the control only about half of the flowers were of marketable quality at 2 days after harvest. LPE treatment also delayed fresh mass loss, lowered endogenous ethylene production, and reduced ion leakage. These results suggest that LPE has commercial potential in enhancing vase life of snapdragons.

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Mustafa Özgen, Sookhee Park, and Jiwan P. Palta

Mitigation of ethylene promoted leaf senescence by lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) was studied. Micropropagated `Russet Burbank' potato (Solanum tuberosum L.,) plantlets were grown on MS media in sterile culture tubes. After 2 weeks of growth, tubes were sealed and ethylene gas was applied to obtain 5 nL·L–1 final concentration in the culture tubes. Observations and measurements were taken two weeks after ethylene injection. Potato plantlets treated with ethylene showed severe leaf senescence symptoms such as epinasty, lack of growth, yellowing and axillary shoot formation. These observations indicate that apical dominance has been lost with ethylene treatment. The same experiment was repeated with different concentrations of LPE in the MS medium. Inclusion of 50 or 100 mg·L–1 of LPE in the medium mitigated the damage normally caused by applied ethylene. Leaves of plantlets exposed simultaneously to LPE and ethylene had significantly higher chlorophyll content and more healthy leaves compared to plantlets grown on medium lacking LPE. Results of this study suggest that LPE may have the potential to retard ethylene-promoted leaf senescence and may mitigate ethylene induced loss in apical dominance of micropropagated potato plantlets.

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Navjot K. Mangat and Jiwan P. Palta

The pericarp tissue of red mature tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Gagliano) was used to exctract polygalacturonase (PG) enzyme. The technique for assaying PG activity involves measurement of released reducing groups that were linked together in pectin. Since the crude extract of PG from pericarp will contain considerable reducing groups, we found that repeated washings of the cell wall pulp removed much of the sugars and thus minimized the background absorbance without loss of PG activity. There is an inherent perplexity concerning the selection of blank for PG assay. This is because (i) the enzyme extract contains both the substrate (pectin) and product (free reducing groups) involved in the reaction; (ii) the color development with cyanoacetamide requires heating for 10 min. Thus, even though the reaction is terminated with borate buffer (pH 9.0) the breakdown of pectin continues chemically by heat; (iii) the absorbance from both pectin and enzyme together at zero time termination was always lower than the sum of absorbances from pectin alone and enzyme alone. This suggests that when together in the same tube, the enzyme appears to protect the pectin from physical breakdown during the period of 10 min. boil needed to develop color using the cyanoacetamide. Thus, the most appropriate blank is processing separately the solutions of enzyme alone and substrate pectin alone for color development and then adding the two absorbances. Using this improved assay we found that lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) inhibited tomato PG activity. This inhibition appears to depend on the ripening stage of the fruit. Our results suggest that LPE is able to impart firmness to tomato fruit by reducing the PG activity, which in turn could protect the pectin/middle lamellae from enzymic breakdown. The effects of LPE on PG activity are distinct from those of Triton X-100 and lysophosphatidylcholine.

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Karim M. Farag and Jiwan P. Palta

We have demonstrated that postharvest treatment of McIntosh apple fruits with Lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) delays the loss of firmness. In the present study, McIntosh apples were preharvest treated by hand spray to the run off point. Fruits were sprayed on August 28, 1991 and harvested two weeks later. One half of the tree was sprayed with LPE (100 ppm) and the other half was the control. Three trees were used in this study. Periodical samples for starch test, internal CO2 and ethylene, total soluble solids and evolved CO2 and ethylene were taken to monitor the progress of ripening. At harvest, on average, LPE treated apples abscised 26% while the control trees abscised 55%. LPE treated apples colored earlier and had more uniform and intense color than the control. In a related study, we have found the LPE can delay senescence of tomato leaf and fruit tissues. The delay of the abscission of apples by LPE, found in the present study, might be due to the effect of LPE on delaying senescence of cells in abscission zone of apple fruit pedicle. These results suggest that LPE has the potential to substitute for the use of NAA on apples before harvest and at the same time LPE can improve color uniformity and density of McIntosh apples.

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Karim M. Farag and Jiwan P. Palta

A natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), was used as a tomato fruit ripening agent. The effect of this compound on hastening the ripening and on the defoliation of the `Heinz 7155' processing tomato and the Glamour fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was compared to the effect of ethephon. Vines were sprayed to runoff in the field with a hand sprayer and fruits were harvested 2 weeks or 20 days later in a single harvest operation. LPE (100 mg liter-1) accelerated ripening of both processing and fresh-market tomatoes without defoliation. LPE-treated tomatoes had a better shelf life than the control or ethephon-treated fruit, whether they were harvested at the breaker, pink, or red stage of maturity. The combination of LPE and ethephon (100 mg liter-1) enhanced tomato ripening without damaging the foliage, suggesting that LPE can mitigate the undesirable effects of ethephon on foliage and the fruit. The LPE-related lipid phosphatidyldimethylethanol-amine dipalmitoyl (PDED) also was able to enhance some aspects of keeping quality of tomato fruits, but was not able to enhance fruit ripening. Phosphatidylethanolamine was not as effective as LPE or PDED. It appears that the active molecule of this natural lipid is the lyso form. Our results provide evidence that LPE can enhance tomato fruit ripening and postharvest storage life of vine-ripe fruits and fruits picked at early ripeness stages.

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Mustafa Ozgen, Jiwan P. Palta, and Stephen B. Ryu

Ethephon [2-(chloroethyl) phoshonic acid] is used widely to maximize the yield of ripe tomato fruits. However, ethephon causes rapid and extensive defoliation, overripening, and promotes sunscald damage to the fruit. Recent studies from our laboratory have provided evidence that lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) can reduce leaf senescence. We investigated the potential use of LPE to reduce damaging effect of ethephon on tomato foliage and influence on the activity of phospholipase D (PLD). Disruption of membrane integrity has been suggested as a primary cause of senescence in plants. PLD is known to be a key enzyme, which initiates the selective degradation of membrane phospholipids in senescing tissues. Two-month-old tomato plants (`Mountain Spring') grown in greenhouse condition were sprayed with water, 200 ppm LPE, and 1000 ppm ethephon. In addition, LPE spray prior to ethephon or mixture with ethephon were also tested. Leaves were sampled after 0, 2, 5, 24, 72, and 168 h of spray application, for PLD activity measurements. Spray of LPE prior to ethephon spray or inclusion of LPE in the ethephon spray reduced foliar injury by ethephon. Activity of soluble PLD was increased dramatically in leaves sprayed with ethephon initially and than dropped by 7 days. We also found that LPE-treated leaves had lower PLD activity than the ethephon-treated leaves. Plants treated with LPE-ethephon mixture also showed significantly lower PLD activity. These results suggest that LPE treatments mitigate ethephon injury to tomato plants. Furthermore, it appears that this mitigation involves modulation of the activity of PLD.

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Navjot Kaur and Jiwan P. Palta

Freshly cut snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L) spikes or carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L cv. White Sim) stems were put in LPE (10 ppm for carnation, 25 ppm for snapdragon) solution for 24 hours and then transferred to deionized water. Parallel controls were kept continuously in deionized water. Snapdragon spikes were harvested when they had one-third of the florets opened which is a standard commercial practice. The carnations used in the experiment were harvested at three different stages of flower development starting from open brush bud stage (Stage IV) to fully opened (Stage VII, petals 45(to the stem) flower. LPE treatment delayed senescence in snapdragon by four days. Furthermore, it enhanced the opening of floral buds and opened all the florets on every spike. LPE treatment also significantly delayed loss in fresh weight of spikes associated with senescence, lowered the endogenous ethylene production and reduced ion leakage from florets. LPE had a similar effect on fresh weight and ion leakage from carnations if it was applied at an early stage of flower opening. Older carnations (Stage VII) were found unresponsive to LPE. In conclusion, LPE has the potential in enhancing the vase life of snapdragons and carnations. Carnations must be harvested at the open brush bud stage for effective LPE application. Our results suggest that LPE is prolonging vase life of cut flowers by reducing ethylene production and maintaining membrane integrity.

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Stephen B. Ryu and Jiwan P. Palta

Lipids have been thought to be important largely in membrane structure and energy reserve. It is now evident that lipids and lipid-derived metabolites play a role in many critical cellular processes. Recent studies have shown that membrane lipid-based signaling mediated by phospholipases such as phospholipase A2 (PLA2), phospholipase C (PLC), and phospholipase D (PLD) constitutes a crucial step in plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. Phospholipases and their products also play a role during plant growth and development. For example, PLA2-derived lysophospholipids acted as growth regulators that retard senescence of plant tissues. Interestingly, the PLA2 products inhibited the activity of PLD, which has been suggested to be a key enzyme responsible for membrane lipid breakdown leading to plant senescence. Endogenous levels of lysophospholipids, such as lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), could be increased in castor bean leaf discs by the treatment of auxin (50 μM), which is known to be a activator of PLA2. Pretreatment of leaf discs with a PLA2 inhibitor before auxin treatment nullified the auxin effect and rather resulted in accelerated senescence even compared to the nontreated control. Our recent results suggest a potential role of PLA2 products as biologically active molecules mediating hormonal regulation of growth and senescence. One such product LPE is being commercially exploited for retarding senescence and improving shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers.