BACKGROUND: High-temperature conditioning (3 days at 37 °C and 95% relative humidity), which protects ‘Fortune’ mandarins from chilling injury (CI), manifested as pitting in the outer part of the peel (flavedo), was applied prior to cold storage (2 °C) in order to investigate the involvement of cell wall composition in the chilling tolerance of mandarins.
RESULTS: Both low-temperature storage and high-temperature conditioning barely modified the alcohol-insoluble substance (AIS) content or the degree of pectin esterification in the flavedo. Water-soluble pectins (WSP) were higher in heat-conditioned than in non-conditioned fruits at the onset of CI. In addition, the heat-conditioning treatment was able to increase chelator-soluble pectins (CSP) after short cold storage periods. Covalently bound polyuronides in alkali-soluble pectins (ASP) increased only in fruits with high incidence of CI. Cellulose and hemicellulose increased at 2 °C in both conditioned and non-conditioned fruits, indicating that these polysaccharides may be altered by low temperature but are not related to chilling-induced damage.
CONCLUSION: High-temperature conditioning may reduce chilling-induced flavedo pitting in ‘Fortune’ mandarin fruit by maintaining normal levels of WSP and increasing putative sites for calcium bridge formation within the cell wall, but not by inducing changes in other matrix cell wall components. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry