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J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Aug 15;99(10):4816-4824. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9737. Epub 2019 May 7.

Methyl salicylate delays peel yellowing of 'Zaosu' pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) during storage by regulating chlorophyll metabolism and maintaining chloroplast ultrastructure.

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Key Laboratory of Storage and Processing of Plant Agro-Products, College of Biological Science and Engineering, North Minzu University, Yinchuan, China.



In some cultivars, yellowing resulting from chlorophyll breakdown has a direct and negative effect on food supply and health. The 'Zaosu' pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd.), a commercial Asian pear cultivar in China, rapidly turns yellow when stored at room temperature after harvest. To develop techniques that delay or suppress chlorophyll degradation, the effects of methyl salicylate (MeSA) on yellowing in 'Zaosu' pear fruit during storage were evaluated.


Compared with the untreated fruit, the application of 0.05 mmol L-1 MeSA delayed the decline of the total chlorophyll, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b content, and maintained more intact chloroplasts with fewer and smaller plastoglobuli. Methyl salicylate suppressed enzyme activities, including chlorophyllase, chlorophyll-degrading peroxidase, Mg dechelatase, and pheophytinase, and the expression levels of NYC, NOL, CLH, SGR, PPH, PAO and RCCR in treated fruit.


Methyl salicylate could delay chlorophyll breakdown in the fruit. The results also suggested that the conversion from chlorophyll a to pheophorbide a could proceed via two pathways, and that alternative pathways for the breakdown of chlorophyll a exist in 'Zaosu' pears. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.


MeSA; chlorophyll breakdown gene; chlorophyll degradation enzyme; chloroplast ultrastructure; pear; yellowing


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