Red colour development and loss in pears

Steyn, Willem J. ; Wand, S. J. E. ; Holcroft, D. M. ; Jacobs, G. (2005-04)

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CICATION: Steyn, W. J., Wand, S. J. E., Holcroft, D. M. & Jacobs, G. 2005. Red colour development and loss in pears. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 671:79-85.


The endogenous and environmental regulation of red colour development in blushed and fully red pears is reviewed. Colour development in pears has an underlying developmental component. Generally, highest anthocyanin concentrations are attained in immature pears and colour tends to fade towards harvest. This is contrary to most other crop species where maximum pigmentation and colour are attained in ripe fruit and may relate to the photoprotective ability of anthocyanins. Because of this pigmentation pattern, net anthocyanin degradation at high temperatures results in pre-harvest red colour loss in susceptible pear cultivars. Susceptibility depends on the capacity to accumulate anthocyanin and on whether low temperatures are required for anthocyanin synthesis. Unlike apples, where red colour development in all cultivars seems to require or benefit from low temperatures, not all pear cultivars seem to respond to low temperatures. Light appears to have two opposing effects in pears, being required for anthocyanin synthesis, but also apparently increasing red colour loss through increased degradation of anthocyanin.

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