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Oxidative discolouration in whole-head and cut lettuce: biochemical and environmental influences on a complex phenotype and potential breeding strategies to improve shelf-life

Hunter, P. J., Atkinson, L. D., Vickers, L., Lignou, S., Oruna-Concha, M., Pink, D., Hand, P., Barker, G., Wagstaff, C. and Monaghan, J. M. (2017) Oxidative discolouration in whole-head and cut lettuce: biochemical and environmental influences on a complex phenotype and potential breeding strategies to improve shelf-life. Euphytica, 213 (8). 180. ISSN 0014-2336

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10681-017-1964-7

Abstract/Summary

Lettuce discolouration is a key post-harvest trait. The major enzyme controlling oxidative discolouration has long been considered to be polyphenol oxidase (PPO) however, levels of PPO and subsequent development of discolouration symptoms have not always correlated. The predominance of a latent state of the enzyme in plant tissues combined with substrate activation and contemporaneous suicide inactivation mechanisms are considered as potential explanations for this phenomenon. Leaf tissue physical properties have been associated with subsequent discolouration and these may be influenced by variation in nutrient availability, especially excess nitrogen and head maturity at harvest. Mild calcium and irrigation stress has also been associated with a reduction in subsequent discolouration, although excess irrigation has been linked to increased discolouration potentially through leaf physical properties. These environmental factors, including high temperature and UV light intensities, often have impacts on levels of phenolic compounds linking the environmental responses to the biochemistry of the PPO pathway. Breeding strategies targeting the PALand PPOpathway biochemistry and environmental response genes are discussed as a more cost-effective method of mitigating oxidative discolouration then either modified atmosphere packaging or post-harvest treatments, although current understanding of the biochemistry means that such programs are likely to be limited in nature and it is likely that they will need to be deployed alongside other methods for the foreseeable future.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:72082
Publisher:Springer

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