, Volume 204, Issue 3, pp 377-382

High levels of antioxidant enzymes correlate with delayed senescence in nonnetted muskmelon fruits

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We investigated the senescence process in two nonnetted muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.)␣varieties␣Clipper and Jerac differing in their storage life. Our results indicate that senescence in Jerac (the short-storage-life variety, less than 7 d) is the result of lipid peroxidation by free radicals, membrane phospholipid breakdown, and a drop in the level of antioxidants, resulting in increased membrane leakiness. By contrast, evidence is presented that the high levels of two enzymes implicated in antioxidative defence, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, combined with changes in the three different classes of SOD during the storage stage, are involved in delaying the senescence process in Clipper and this could explain, at least, to some extent, the long storage life of Clipper (longer than 14 d).

Received: 15 April 1997 / Accepted: 17 July 1997