Submitted to: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/26/2009
Publication Date: 11/4/2009
Citation: Matayas, A., Gapper, N., Chung, M., Giovannoni, J.J., Rose, J. 2009. Biology and genetic engineering of fruit maturation for enhanced quality and shelf-life. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 20:197-203. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Fruits are important contributors to human diets and health, providing essential nutrients, antioxidants, carbohydrates and fiber. The ripening process has evolved to make fruit palatable to organisms that consume them and disperse their seeds. In doing so, ripening activates pathways that generally influence the levels of pigments (typically carotenoids and flavonoids), sugars, acids and aroma volatiles, to make the organ more appealing, while simultaneously promoting tissue softening and degradation to permit easier seed release. Indeed the volatiles produced by ripening fruit are also derived from, and represent signals for, the presence of essential nutrients for animals which may consume them. Increased susceptibility to post-harvest microbial infection helps insure that the seed are released via fruit rot, if not consumption. A major challenge to breeders and producers of fruit species continues to be how to capture and deliver to market the desirable flavor, color and texture attributes of ripe fruit while inhibiting or delaying ripening sufficiently to counter the negative consequences of over-ripening: over-softening and decay. Recent advances in molecular biology and biotechnology as related to fruit ripening and quality are reviewed herein.