About this Research Topic
Fleshy fruits undergo ripening processes in which the biochemistry and physiology of this organ are drastically altered. During this process, fruits are transformed into palatable products for consumers. Although the speciﬁc biochemical programs during this phenomenon vary among the different species, the changes typically observed include modiﬁcation of color, textural alteration, and modiﬁcation of sugars, organic acids, and volatile compounds that affect nutritional quality, ﬂavor, and aroma.
Once fruits are removed from the plant and until they reach consumers on the market, a period known as postharvest ripening occurs. Climacteric fruits, such as tomato, apple, and banana, which exhibit a concomitant peak of ethylene production and a sudden rise in respiration at the onset of ripening, can ripen after harvest. On the other hand, non-climacteric fruits, including strawberry, grape and citrus, do not exhibit respiration and ethylene production peaks, and have to be harvested almost fully ripe. Postharvest storage initiates fruit senescence, the effects of which on fruit quality traits lead to consumer rejection and important economic losses for the fruit industry.
Currently, depending on the fruit crop, different postharvest strategies are commercially practiced in order to adapt ripening processes to industry needs, such as to delay senescence, maintain fruit quality attributes and, thus, prolong shelf-life. For example, fruits are highly perishable at ambient temperature. Thus, refrigerated storage is the most common method used to delay ripening, fruit respiration, enzymatic activities, and the development of pathogen infections, and, therefore, extend fruit shelf-life; however, it can lead to the development of a physiological disorder, known as chilling injury. These physiological disorders tend to appear once the fruits are acquired by consumers, having a negative impact on palatability and acceptance.
In addition, other physical, chemical and biological methods are used to manage postharvest diseases and preserve fruit quality characteristics. Thus, the use of fungicides, biocontrol through antagonistic microorganisms and physical means including irradiation and hot water, among others, have been thoroughly investigated. However, the development of all these control methods has unfortunately not solved the problem of postharvest waste due to the outstanding ability of pathogenic microorganisms to adapt, and the cultivar dependent response to different postharvest technologies.
The aim of this Research Topic is to gather new information about fruit responses to biotic and abiotic stresses encountered during postharvest handling. This knowledge will aid in the improvement of fruit quality traits, with the goal of engineering fruits with higher quality for consumers. Submissions of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, and Perspective articles are welcomed. The following aspects will be covered:
- Fruit responses to cold storage
- Fruit responses to pathogen infections during the postharvest
- Fruit responses to postharvest strategies employed to prolong shelf-life and improve fruit quality properties
- Characterization of genes involved in fruit resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses
Studies falling into the categories below will not be considered for review, unless they are expanded and provide insight into the biological system or process being studied:
i) Descriptive collection of transcripts, proteins or metabolites, including comparative sets as a result of different conditions or treatments;
ii) Descriptive studies that define gene families using basic phylogenetics and the assignment of cursory functional attributions (e.g. expression profiles, hormone or metabolites levels, promoter analysis, informatic parameters).
Keywords: abiotic stress, biotic stress, fruit quality, postharvest, ripening, senescence, shelf-life
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.