Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUCROSE ACCUMULATION AND RETENTION IN SUGARBEETS

Location: Sugarbeet and Potato Research

Title: Ethylene Production and Ethylene Effects on Respiration Rate of Postharvest Sugarbeet Roots

Authors
item Fugate, Karen
item Suttle, Jeffrey
item Campbell, Larry

Submitted to: Postharvest Biology and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 7, 2009
Publication Date: January 20, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/40805
Citation: Fugate, K.K., Suttle, J.C., Campbell, L.G. 2010. Ethylene Production and Ethylene Effects on Respiration Rate of Postharvest Sugarbeet Roots. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 56:71-76

Interpretive Summary: The plant hormone ethylene elevates respiration, is induced by wounding, and contributes to wound-induced respiration in most postharvest plant products. Ethylene production and its effects on respiration rate, however, have not been determined in sugarbeet, even though any elevation in respiration due to ethylene would increase storage losses and reduce the quality of postharvest sugarbeet roots. To determine the effect of ethylene on sugarbeet root storage respiration rate, sugarbeet root ethylene production was quantified and and its effect on root respiration rate was determined using uninjured, severely injured, and conventionally harvested roots. Ethylene production was low in uninjured and conventionally harvested and piled roots. Consequently, ethylene concentrations in commercial piles were low, ranging from <1 ppb to 54 ppb. Although ethylene increased root respiration, the increase in respiration rate was transient at ethylene concentrations similar to those found in commercial piles. Severe injury induced ethylene production an average of 3.7 fold and was associated with an increase in root respiration rate. Injuries sustained by harvest and piling operations, however, were not sufficiently severe to induce ethylene production. Extensive testing of the ethylene response inhibitor, 1-MCP, revealed no benefit to stored roots by its application. Postharvest sugarbeet roots, therefore, produce ethylene, increase ethylene production in response to wounding, and respond to exogenous ethylene with an increase in respiration rate. Ethylene production and ethylene effects on root respiration rate, however, are likely to be small under commercial storage conditions and of limited economic significance.

Technical Abstract: Ethylene elevates respiration, is induced by wounding, and contributes to wound-induced respiration in most postharvest plant products. Ethylene production and its effects on respiration rate, however, have not been determined in sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) root, even though any elevation in respiration due to ethylene would increase storage losses and reduce the quality of postharvest sugarbeet roots. To determine the effect of ethylene on sugarbeet root storage respiration rate, sugarbeet root ethylene production was quantified, and the effects of exogenous ethylene, an ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor, and ethylene response inhibitors on root respiration rate were determined using uninjured, severely injured, and conventionally harvested roots. Ethylene production was low (0.045 - 0.047 pmole kg-1 s-1) in uninjured and conventionally harvested and piled roots. Consequently, ethylene concentrations in commercial piles 0 to 67 d after piling were low, ranging from <0.001 ppm to 0.054 ppm. Exogenous ethylene at concentrations of 0.020 to 14 ppm increased root respiration. The increase in respiration rate, however, was transient at ethylene concentrations = 0.11 ppm suggesting that any ethylene effects on respiration rate in commercial piles would be short-lived. Severe injury induced ethylene production an average of 3.7 fold and increased respiration rate 3 – 4 d after injury. Wound-induced ethylene production, however, was not directly responsible for wound-induced respiration since elimination of wound-induced ethylene production by the ethylene synthesis inhibitor, aminoethoxyvinylglycine, had no effect on wound-induced respiration. The ethylene response inhibitors 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) and silver thiosulfate reduced wound-induced respiration 3 – 4 d after injury when applied after wounding to severely wounded roots. A portion of the increase in respiration due to wounding, therefore, required ethylene perception. However, when applied prior to wounding, 1-MCP elevated wound-induced respiration 3 – 4 d after severe injury, suggesting that blockage of ethylene receptors prior to injury was ineffective at eliminating ethylene perception after wounding, possibly due to the synthesis of new receptors after injury. Moreover, 1-MCP effects on root respiration rate occurred only when roots were severely injured; 1-MCP had no effect on respiration rate of uninjured or conventionally harvested roots. Postharvest sugarbeet roots, therefore, produce ethylene, increase ethylene production in response to wounding, and respond to exogenous ethylene with an increase in respiration rate, but ethylene production and ethylene effects on root respiration rate are likely to be small under commercial storage conditions and of limited economic significance.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page