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Loquat Fruit Lacks a Ripening-Associated Autocatalytic Rise in Ethylene Production

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Abstract

Loquat is considered as a non-climacteric fruit; however, there is an evidence of a climacteric-like maturation. Therefore, it seems its ripening behavior has yet to be satisfactory classified. Because autocatalytic regulation of ethylene production during fruit ripening is one of the primary features defining climacteric-like fruit maturation, we examined its ability of autocatalysis during ripening by applying the ethylene-releasing compound ethephon to the on-tree-fruit or ethylene to detached fruit of ‘Algerie’ loquat and measuring its ethylene and CO2 production. We also analyzed indoleacetic acid (IAA), gibberellin, cytokinin, and abscisic acid (ABA) contents as plant hormones involved in fruit ripening. The fruit response to ethephon (500 mg l−1) applied at color change was immediate producing increasing amounts of ethylene during the 4 h following the treatment, but 24 h after treatment onward values were similar to those produced by untreated fruit. Similar results were obtained when applying ethylene to detached fruit (10 µl l−1). Accordingly, applying ethephon (200 mg l−1) did not advance harvest; neither the color nor the percentage of fruit harvested at the first picking date differed significantly from the untreated fruit. Flesh firmness, total soluble solid concentration, and acidity of juice were not significantly altered either. IAA concentration reached the maximum value when fruit stopped growing, declining sharply at fruit color change; active gibberellins and cytokinins declined continuously during the fruit growth period, and ABA content sharply increased during ripening, peaking after fruit color break. Results indicate that ‘Algerie’ loquat lacks a ripening-associated autocatalytic rise in ethylene production, and suggest that a decline in gibberellin, cytokinin, and IAA concentrations might be needed to allow its ripening process to proceed.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Isabel López-Díaz and Dr. Esther Carrera, IBMCP-UPV (Valencia, Spain) for hormone quantification, and Dr. Debra Westall (UPV) for editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Manuel Agustí.

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Reig, C., Martínez-Fuentes, A., Mesejo, C. et al. Loquat Fruit Lacks a Ripening-Associated Autocatalytic Rise in Ethylene Production. J Plant Growth Regul 35, 232–244 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-015-9528-3

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