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Fruit ripening is a coordinated process which is executed by ethylene in climacteric fruit, leading to: fruit softening, sugar accumulation, aroma development, chlorophyll reduction and increased sensitivity to pathogen. Based on knowledge from the model plant tomato, it is clear that ripening is controlled by multiple transcription factors acting upstream of ethylene production. In banana we discovered a transcription factor which controls ripening, in its absence ripening is delayed. Currently we are examining the involvement of homologous transcription factors in apple and peach softening. In addition, we are studying ethylene and other hormones’ involvement in fruit ripening. Several genes encoding enzymes in the ethylene biosynthesis pathway have been extracted from the Apple genome sequence and their role in fruit storage capacity was examined. We determined that only one gene, encoding 1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid ACC synthase, is correlated with high ethylene production in an apple cultivar with low storage capacity. Identifying components within the ripening control pathway(s) will be useful in the future to engineer or breed cultivars with delayed ripening and hence reduced fruit deterioration.

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Elucidating the ripening control mechanism in fruits for the development of molecular tools to improve fruit quality and security
Special issue - Facing challenges in postharvest food losses, April 28-30 (Agritech)
Elucidating the ripening control mechanism in fruits for the development of molecular tools to improve fruit quality and security

Fruit ripening is a coordinated process which is executed by ethylene in climacteric fruit, leading to: fruit softening, sugar accumulation, aroma development, chlorophyll reduction and increased sensitivity to pathogen. Based on knowledge from the model plant tomato, it is clear that ripening is controlled by multiple transcription factors acting upstream of ethylene production. In banana we discovered a transcription factor which controls ripening, in its absence ripening is delayed. Currently we are examining the involvement of homologous transcription factors in apple and peach softening. In addition, we are studying ethylene and other hormones’ involvement in fruit ripening. Several genes encoding enzymes in the ethylene biosynthesis pathway have been extracted from the Apple genome sequence and their role in fruit storage capacity was examined. We determined that only one gene, encoding 1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid ACC synthase, is correlated with high ethylene production in an apple cultivar with low storage capacity. Identifying components within the ripening control pathway(s) will be useful in the future to engineer or breed cultivars with delayed ripening and hence reduced fruit deterioration.

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