Effects of storage conditions on the accumulation of ferulic acid derivatives in white asparagus cell walls



White asparagus cell walls have shown to contain important amounts of phenolics, including ferulic acid and its dimers and trimers. It has been suggested that these phenolic compounds are mainly responsible for cross-linking the different cell wall polymers related to asparagus hardening. During post-harvest storage, the asparagus texture and the amount of cell wall phenolics increased significantly. In the present work, the effect of post-harvest storage conditions on the accumulation of ferulic acid and its derivatives has been investigated. Three different storage conditions were used: keeping the spears in aerobic conditions at room temperature (ART) and at 4 °C (A4 °C), and in anaerobic conditions at room temperature (AnRT). A direct relationship between phenol accumulation and increases in texture was observed, and these changes are dependent on temperature and storage atmosphere. An increase in temperature led to a higher amount of cell wall phenolics and the absence of oxygen in the storage atmosphere delayed their accumulation. The evolution of ferulic dimers during the three storage conditions suggests a relevant role of 8-O-4′-diFA and 8,5′-BAdiFA in white asparagus hardening. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry