Control of peach phenolic compounds content

Ravaglia, Daniela (2010) Control of peach phenolic compounds content, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Colture arboree ed agrosistemi forestali ornamentali e paesaggistici, 22 Ciclo.
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Phenolic compounds play a central role in peach fruit colour, flavour and health attributes. Phenolic profiles of several peaches and nectarines and most of the structural genes leading to the anthocyanin synthesis in peach fruit have been studied. Moreover, crosses of red and non-red peaches suggested that a major gene controls skin colour of the extreme phenotypes ‘highlighter’ and ‘full-red’. However, there is no data about either the ‘flavan-3-ols specific genes’ (ANR and LAR) or the regulation of the flavonoid metabolism in this crop. In the present study, we determined the concentration of phenolic compounds in the yellowfleshed nectarine Prunus persica cv. ‘Stark Red Gold’ during fruit growth and ripening. We examined the transcript levels of the main structural genes of the flavonoid pathway. Gene expression of the biosynthetic genes correlated well with the concentration of flavan-3-ols, which was very low at the beginning of fruit development, strongly increased at mid-development and finally decreased again during ripening. In contrast, the only gene transcript which correlated with anthocyanin concentration was PpUFGT, which was high at the beginning and end of fruit growth, remaining low during the other developmental stages. These patterns of gene expression could be explained by the involvement of different transcription factors, which up-regulate anthocyanin biosynthesis (PpMYB10 and PpbHLH3), or repress (PpMYBL2) the transcription of the structural genes. These transcription factors appeared to be involved also in the regulation of the lightinduced anthocyanin accumulation in ‘Stark Red Gold’ nectarines, suggesting that they play a critical role in the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis in peaches and nectarines in response to both developmental and environmental stimuli. Phenolic profiles and expression patterns of the main flavonoid structural and regulatory genes were also determined for the extreme phenotypes denominated ‘highlighter’ and ‘full-red’ and hypotheses about the control of phenolic compounds content in these fruit are discussed.


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