Food Science and Technology International | 2021
Exogenous melatonin treatment in the postharvest storage of pitaya fruits delays senescence and regulates reactive oxygen species metabolism
Abstract Pitaya fruits have high senescence rates throughout their postharvest storage period. Additionally, studies have confirmed that melatonin plays a regulatory role in plant senescence. However, the involvement of melatonin in the postharvest senescence of fruits remains unclear. In this study, two cultivars of pitaya fruit, ‘Zihonglong’ and ‘Jinghonglong’, were treated with melatonin and then evaluated for characteristics of senescence while in storage for 10 days. The results showed that melatonin treatment delayed fruit senescence in both pitaya cultivars, as indicated by the inhibition of weight loss, decay incidence, relative membrane permeability, and malondialdehyde (MDA) content, as well as the maintenance of the total soluble solids and ascorbic acid contents and the reduced respiration intensity. In addition, melatonin treatment reduced the O2·- production rates, H2O2 contents, and lipoxygenase activities but enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) in both pitaya cultivars. These results indicate that melatonin may contribute to delaying senescence in pitaya fruits. This study shows the potential of the use of melatonin in the postharvest storage of pitaya fruits, as well as other horticultural fruits.