Transcriptional profile changes and quality maintenance of fresh-cut produce
Fruit and vegetables destined to the fresh cut industries undergo specific and sequential processes that lead the production of ready to eat products. After preliminary selection and washing, the products are cut in different sizes. Pre-harvest stresses can affect the quality and postharvest performance of the produce. Processing steps include several stressful operations that can activate the tissues deterioration. The mechanical cutting is the most stressful process during the industrial processing. Wounds have direct impact of the physiological and biochemical processes. At molecular level several genes are up- or downregulated as response to tissue damage. Leaves and fruits may have different responses to mechanical wounding, but in both type of products (leaves of fruit) the damages can affect the quality during the distribution chain and subsequent shelf life. In leafy vegetables the wounds can generate different responses due to the loss of cell integrity and the physiological disorders which are correlated to the loss of cell compartmentalization. Damaged cells release enzymes and substrates that can come in contact and generate quality losses. The most important product alterations are represented by browning of the wounded surfaces for quinones production. Meanwhile, some activation of catabolic and degradation processes response to wounding are involved in plant hormones. At transcriptional level, lots of studies had identified the differential expressed genes after wounding of leaf or fruit. Many of these genes can be associated with stress responses and can be used as markers for identifying cultivars that are more tolerant to fresh-cut processing stresses with beneficial effect on quality retain during shelf life. Moreover, these genes can be also exploited as quality markers to be used during the distribution chain for monitoring the quality and identifying critical steps that can compromise the overall quality of the produce.
Ferrante, A. (2021). Transcriptional profile changes and quality maintenance of fresh-cut produce. Acta Hortic. 1319, 37-42
fresh-cut, gene expression, quality markers, stress, wounding