Sweet cherry quality in the horticultural production chain

G.S. Romano, E.D. Cittadini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Somerset’ is a dark-red, sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivar displaying
remarkable firmness levels, with concomitantly longer shelf-life potential in
comparison to other cultivars. It is generally accepted that fruit firmness depends
mainly on the composition, structure and interconnections among cell wall
polysaccharides. However, the biochemical mechanisms involved in cell wall
disassembly vary widely among species, and the understanding of the processes
underlying firmness loss in cherry fruit is particularly poor, although a critical role for β-galactosidase (β-Gal) activity has been suggested. In this study, ‘Somerset’ fruit were hand-collected at commercial maturity, and kept at 0°C for 14 or 28 days plus 3 additional days at 20°C to simulate commercial shelf life. Firmness, weight loss and juiciness were assessed in each case as indicators of fruit texture. Soluble and insoluble cell wall materials were extracted from lyophilized tissue, and a number of cell wall-modifying enzyme activities were also assessed therein. While β-xylosidase (β-Xyl), pectate lyase (PL), α-L-arabinofuranosidase (AFase) and pectin methylesterase (PME) activities were apparently connected to ripening-related firmness changes in this cherry cultivar, data obtained do not support a role for β-Gal in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalStewart Postharvest Review
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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