Exogenous γ-aminobutyric acid treatment improves the cold tolerance of zucchini fruit during postharvest storage

Francisco Palma*, Fátima Carvajal, Raquel Jiménez-Muñoz, Amada Pulido, Manuel Jamilena, Dolores Garrido

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This work examines the effect of a treatment with 1 mM of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on zucchini fruit during postharvest cold storage. Specifically, the effect of GABA on postharvest quality was measured, as well as its implication in the GABA shunt and other related metabolic pathways. The treatments were performed in Sinatra, a variety of zucchini highly sensitive to low-temperature storage. The application of GABA improved the quality of zucchini fruit stored at 4 °C, with a reduction of chilling-injury index, weight loss, and cell death, as well as a lower rate of electrolyte leakage. GABA content was significantly higher in the treated fruit than in the control fruit at all times analyzed. At the end of the storage period, GABA-treated fruit had higher contents of both proline and putrescine. The catabolism of this polyamine was not affected by exogenous GABA. Also, over the long term, the treatment induced the GABA shunt by increasing the activities of the enzymes GABA transaminase (GABA-T) and glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). GABA-treated fruit contained higher levels of fumarate and malate than did non-treated fruit, as well as higher ATP and NADH contents. These results imply that the GABA shunt is involved in providing metabolites to produce energy, reduce power, and help the fruit to cope with cold stress over the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-195
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • ATP
  • Chilling
  • GABA shunt
  • NADH
  • Putrescine
  • Zucchini
  • γ-aminobutyric acid

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