ABSTRACT: The effects of ascorbic acid (AA) and 4-hexylresorcinol (4-HR) on pear polyphenoloxidase (PPO) activity and stability have been investigated in vitro. AA does not interact directly with PPO but prevents browning by reducing oxidized substrates. The 4-HR exerts a dual role on PPO. If no substrates are present, it interacts preferably with the deoxy form of PPO inactivating it. If substrates and 4-HR are both present they compete for the catalytic site. The 4-HR behaves then as a canonical enzyme inhibitor, binding to the met form of PPO. Simultaneous addition of 4-HR and AA has synergistic inhibition or inactivatory effects depending on the presence or the absence of PPO substrates.