• cucumber fruit;
  • maturity;
  • chilling injury;
  • oxidative stress;
  • antioxidant system


BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to reveal the effect of fruit maturity on the chilling tolerance of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) fruit and the oxidative and antioxidative mechanisms involved. Chinese mini-cucumber (cv. Hangcui-1) fruits were harvested at four developmental stages: Immature (3–8 days after anthesis (DAA)), Mature (9–16 DAA), Breaker (17–22 DAA) and Yellow (35–40 DAA). All fruits were stored at 2 °C for 9 days and rewarmed at 20 °C for 2 days.

RESULTS: The chilling injury index declined with advancing fruit maturity. High superoxide anion radical production rate and hydrogen peroxide content were observed in Immature fruits after cold storage and rewarming. Under chilling stress, superoxide dismutase showed an early response. Fruits at earlier maturity stages exhibited higher catalase, ascorbate peroxidase and monodehydroascorbate reductase activities and glutathione content as well as its redox state, and lower peroxidase, dehydroascorbate reductase and glutathione reductase activities and ascorbate content as well as its redox state.

CONCLUSION: Fruits at the earlier developmental stage are more susceptible to chilling injury, which is related to increased oxidative stress. High peroxidase activity and ascorbate content and maintenance of the latter's redox state appear critical to the chilling tolerance of cucumber fruits at later developmental stages. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry