BACKGROUND: To understand the mechanisms leading to the enhanced chilling resistance of banana by hot-water dipping (HWD, 52 °C for 3 min), we investigated the effect of a 0.5–24 h delay between HWD and cold storage on chilling resistance and the change related to the metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
RESULTS: The HWD-treated fruit with a delay of less than 6 h exhibited markedly less chilling injury than the non-heated control fruit, while a delay more than 6 h resulted in significant loss in chilling resistance. Increased hydrogen peroxide content and rate of superoxide radical production were detected in the fruit at 0.5–1.5 h after HWD treatment, and the levels declined with a longer delay, which may be correlated with the enhanced gene expression levels of the gene coding for a ROS-generating related enzyme, NADPH oxidase (MaNOX). Enhanced activities and gene expression of an ascorbate peroxidase (MaAPX) were recorded in the fruit at 1.5–6 h after the treatment, and after 6 h the ascorbate peroxidase levels decayed to the levels as the control fruit. The higher APX gene expression was maintained in the treated fruit with a 3 h delay during the subsequent cold storage at 7 °C, correlating with the enhanced chilling resistance.
CONCLUSION: The HWD-treated fruit left at ambient temperature up to 6 h prior to cold storage maintained the effect of heat treatment and transiently increased ROS content, and the ascorbate peroxidase activity that occurred 0.5–6 h after the treatment may be correlated with the elevated chilling resistance induced by HWD treatment. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry