A comprehensive analysis of the interplay between ethylene and other hormones during growth and development of ‘Conference’ pears
Ms. Violeta Lindo García is a PhD student at the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) in Lleida (Spain) working in the field of postharvest physiology. The main objective of her thesis is to study the biochemical and physiological basis of superficial scald in different pear cultivars as well as to elucidate some key aspects of pear ripening. Superficial scald is a physiological disorder affecting the peel of both apples and pears after cold storage and leading to important economic losses. ‘Conference’ is one of the most important pear cultivars in Spain and is a cultivar that needs a short chilling treatment to induce ethylene production after harvest and thereby ripening. In contrast, ‘Blanquilla’, a typical summer pear, is able to achieve normal ripening just after harvest. Ethylene is well known to be the main hormone involved in many physiological processes related to fruit ripening, but scarce information exists describing the role of other hormones during fruit growth and maturation and their specific role in the postharvest behavior of pears. The objective of the work presented by Ms. Lindo García was to study the interplay between the main plant hormones and the relationship with the most important biochemical and physiological events occurring during ‘Conference’ development and on-tree ripening. Abscisic acid and ethylene were the most important hormones in earlier stages of development, and sugars and malic acid tended to accumulate only when abscisic acid concentrations were low. Gibberellins were predominant at later stages of development, showing an opposite behavior to that of indole-3-acetic acid. By comparing the changes occurring in these two pear cultivars that have contrasting behaviors, the latter two hormones appeared to play a decisive role in determining why some cultivars can ripen normally once detached from the tree, whereas others need a chilling or ethylene treatment to initiate ripening. Even though ethylene is known to play a key role in postharvest, it may also be of paramount importance at earlier developmental stages of fruit development.
Ms. Violeta Lindo García won an ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at the XIII International Pear Symposium in Uruguay in December 2018.
Ms. Violeta Lindo García, Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA), Parc Científic i Tecnològic Agroalimentari, Edifici Fruitcentre, 25003 Lleida, Spain, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae