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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327239

Research Project: Developmental Genomics and Metabolomics Influencing Temperate Tree Fruit Quality

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Title: Fruit position within pear trees impacts ripening and associated metabolism after harvest [abstract]

item Rudell, David
item SERRA, SARA - Washington State University
item Sullivan, Nathanael
item Mattheis, James
item MUSACCHI, STEFANO - Washington State University

Submitted to: Metabolomics
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2016
Publication Date: 6/28/2016
Citation: Rudell Jr, D.R., Serra, S., Sullivan, N.L., Mattheis, J.P., Musacchi, S. 2016. Fruit position within pear trees impacts ripening and associated metabolism after harvest [abstract]. Metabolomics. 2054:76.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The characteristics of fruit ripening can contribute to the overall quality of the final product. Ripening of European pears (Pyrus communis) is impacted by a combination of cultural practices and postharvest storage conditions. Fruit position within a tree canopy can alter fruit development and ripening after harvest. Whether that tree position would, likewise, impact overall fruit metabolism associated with ripening and fruit flavor and quality was the subject of this research. ‘d’Anjou’ pear fruit harvested from internal and external portions of tree canopies of large, open vase trained trees were stored under a hypoxic controlled atmosphere at -0.5 ºC for up to 8 months. We employed multiple GC and LC-MS approaches, accounting for metabolites of a wide range of polarity and volatility, to track dynamic metabolic changes occurring alongside ripening under these conditions. PCA models indicated the estimated metabolomes of external and internal fruit were different at harvest and throughout storage. A PLS model was used to link a number of metabolites including those contributing to aroma and other flavor components with a particular tree position that would impact on-shelf fruit quality. Correlation networks indicated multiple potential areas of co-regulation of these and other metabolites indicating differential coordination of fruit quality-related metabolism. Pathways included phytosterol conjugation, lipid composition, aroma volatile production, sugar metabolism, and acid metabolism. Moreover, results indicate that tree position not only alters the rate at which fruit ripens, but also ripening characteristics, potentially impacting the consistency of the product throughout the commercial supply chain.