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Effects of NaCl on Fermentative Metabolism of Mature Green Tomatoes cv. Ailsa Craig in Brine 

Sotirios Fragkostefanakis1, Panagiotis Kalaitzis1, Dimitrios Gerasopoulos2* and Anastasios S. Siomos3


1Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Department of Horticultural Genetics, GR-73100 Chania, Greece

2Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Technology, GR-54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, GR-54124 Thessaloniki, Greece

Article history:

Received May 27, 2009
Accepted February 19, 2010

Key words:

alcohol dehydrogenase, pyruvate decarboxylase, lactate dehydrogenase, anoxia, tomato fruit

Summary:

The effect of osmotic strength on gene expression and activity of the major enzymes of fermentative metabolism of mature green tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Ailsa Craig) has been studied by exposing fruit to brine containing 0 (water), 5 and 10 % NaCl. The fruits were surface sterilized prior to treatment to prevent the growth of microbes naturally present on the skin of the fruit. Changes in fruit expression of fermentation genes and the activity of the respective enzymes as well as physicochemical quality characteristics (soluble solid content, titratable acidity, pH and firmness) were studied in both fruit and brine for 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 7 and 14 days. Discrepancies in responses that resulted from the different salt concentrations were obtained at molecular and quality levels. The complex kinetics of solutes between the fruit and the surrounding solution due to osmotic potential has led to different responses of the tissue to fermentation. Tomato fruit showed cracking soon after storage in water; water-stored fruit had higher titratable acidity, lower soluble solid content, and higher induction of anaerobic metabolism as indicated by the expression or the activity of the fermentation enzymes compared to fruit stored in brine with 5 or 10 % NaCl. No cracking was observed in fruit stored in 5 (isotonic) or 10 % NaCl (hypertonic) brine, though in the latter, signs of dehydration were observed. The presence of salt in brine reduced the intensity of fermentative metabolism as indicated by the lower gene expression and enzyme activity. However, fruit stored in brine with 5 % NaCl survived longer than with 0 or 10 % NaCl. The presence of 5 % NaCl in brine caused mild changes of both the fermentative metabolism and the physicochemical characteristics and prevented fruit deterioration during storage.

 


*Corresponding author:      dgerasop@agro.auth.gr
                                        
 ++30 2310 991 632

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