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Effects of postharvest application of salicylic acid (SA) on ethylene production, fruit softening and quality of peach fruit (Prunus persica L. Batsch, cv ‘Flordaking’) were investigated during fruit ripening at ambient conditions (25±2°C and 60-65% RH). Peach fruit treated with aqueous solutions of different concentrations of SA (0, 2, 4 or 6 mM ) were analyzed for fruit softening and fruit quality attributes. Results revealed that peach fruit treated with 4- and 6-mM SA exhibited delayed and reduced ethylene production as compared to untreated fruit during fruit ripening. Reduced activities of fruit softening enzymes including pectin esterase (PE), endo-1-4 β-Glucanase (EGase), endo- and exo-polygalacturonase (endo-PG and exo-PG) were observed in 6-mM SA-treated fruit, as compared to untreated fruit during ripening at ambient conditions. Peach fruit treated with 6-mM SA exhibited the lowest fruit weight loss, soluble solid contents (SSC); while, highest fruit firmness than untreated fruit during ripening at ambient conditions. Moreover, application of 6-mM SA significantly enhanced the antioxidant scavenging activity (ASA), total phenolic contents (TPC) and activities of antioxidative enzymes including catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzymes as compared to untreated peach fruit during ripening. Conclusively, application of 6-mM SA significantly reduced ethylene production, fruit flesh softening, activities of fruit softening enzymes and increased activities of anti-oxidative enzymes of peach fruit during ripening at ambient conditions.
Keywords: Ethylene; Fruit softening enzymes; Prunus persica L.; Shelf-life; Soluble solid contents; Total phenolic contents