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Type: Thesis
Title: Ripening behaviour of capsicum (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit.
Author: Pham Thi, Ngoc Thang.
Issue Date: 2007
School/Discipline: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine : Plant and Food Science
Abstract: Fruit of Capsicum annuum L. (capsicum or pepper) are one of the major sources of red food colourant and pungency for spice production. In the spice production industry, fruit are mechanically harvested at different ripeness stages and fruit colour needs to be synchronised before being processed. However, even though capsicum ripens normally on the plant it often fails to ripen fully and turn red once harvested at the green stage. Attempts to promote ripening of harvested fruits have had limited success and the reason for this has been unclear. This project, therefore, investigated ripening behaviour on and off the plant of capsicum fruit grown in Australia and examined effects of pre- and postharvest applications on ripening of green harvested fruit. To examine ripening behaviour on and off the plant, capsicum fruit from three different cultivars (a mild paprika type cv. “Papri Queen”, a cayenne chilli cv. “Caysan”, and a sweet type bell pepper cv. “Aries”) were either allowed to ripen naturally on the plant or harvested at three different maturity stages: light green, deep green and breaker. Harvested fruit were stored individually at room temperature and several ripening characteristics including internal ethylene (C2H4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, extractable colour, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase and oxidase activity, and total soluble solid content (TSSC) were studied during storage. There was very limited involvement of C2H4 during ripening of capsicum and the change in ACC synthase and ACC oxidase (two enzymes in C2H4 biosynthesis pathway) activity was not closely related to that of C2H4. However, it appeared that colour development in cv. “Papri Queen” was closely associated with what C2H4 production did occur while a climacteric-like peak of C2H4 could be observed in all fruit from cv. “Caysan”. For all three cultivars, the level of internal CO2 concentration, extractable colour and TSSC were greater in fruit ripened on the plant followed by fruit harvested at the breaker, deep green and light green stage, respectively. Fruit harvested at the light green stage failed to change colour properly and had very low levels of internal CO2 concentration and TSSC while fruit harvested from the breaker stage onwards ripened normally and developed sufficient colour for spice processing. This may suggest a role of external carbon-supply during ripening. To study the effect of the external-carbon supply during ripening, the stem of fruit were cinctured when fruit reached the light green stage and fruit were left to ripen on the plant. Cincturing delayed colour development of fruit by approximately five days but cinctured fruit were still able to turn red and develop extractable colour higher than the acceptable level of 140 ASTA units. Cincturing did not significantly alter other ripening behaviour such as CO2 concentration or TSSC. The lack of external carbon-supply is, therefore, unlikely to play a major role in the failure of green harvested fruit to ripen. To study the effect of application of plant growth regulators (both pre- and postharvest), an effective method of solution application utilising cincturing was firstly developed. Different plant growth regulator solutions including ethephon, naphthalene acetic acid, abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, sucrose, and different combinations of these were applied to fruit at the light green stage to study preharvest effects on ripening parameters during storage. Only treatment with high concentrations of ethephon increased the extractable colour higher than the acceptable level of 140 ASTA units and induced the complete degradation of chlorophyll. To study effects of postharvest application, 10 µL of various plant growth regulators was dropped into the hole created on the stem of harvested fruit for ten consecutive days. Treatment with ethephon significantly increased extractable colour and degraded chlorophyll content of fruit. Pre- and postharvest ethephon treatment strongly up-regulated Capsanthin-capsorubin synthase (Ccs) gene expression in a manner similar to the up-regulation of Ccs observed in fruit ripened on the plant. This explains the effect of C2H4 on colour development and also indicates the possible reason for the failure of green harvested fruit to ripen. However, the Ccs gene expression and chlorophyll degradation induced by ethephon was not visible until 14 days after harvest which indicated it may not be a direct effect and other signal transduction factors may be involved. When fruit are ripened on the plant, colour development may, therefore, be induced by ripening-related factors (other than C2H4) which is possibly inhibited or inactivated when fruit are harvested at the green stage. C2H4 application to fruit at this stage may help to reactivate or recover these factors which in turn induce colour development. Thus, although capsicum fruit show typical non-climacteric behaviour, C2H4 appears to be involved in some aspects of the ripening process.
Advisor: Able, Amanda Jane
Sedgley, Margaret
Dissertation Note: Thesis(Ph.D.)-- School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, 2007
Subject: Peppers -- Ecology.
Peppers -- Physiology.
Fruit -- Ripening.
Growth (Plants) -- Regulation.
Plant regulators.
Keywords: ethylene; ripening behaviour; ACC; caroterioid; capsanthin; capsorubin; ethephone; plant growth regulator
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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