Evolution of fatty acids in medlar (Mespilus germanica L.) mesocarp at different stages of ripening
Keywords:Fatty acids, Fruit ripening, Medlar (Mespilus germanica L.)
The fatty acid composition of medlar (Mespilus germanica L.) varied significantly among the ripening stages sampled at 157, 172 and 187 DAFs (days after full bloom). Twenty-one different fatty acids were detected in preclimacteric fruit and 17 when the climacteric began. Principal fatty acids, determined in medlar fruit harvested from October (157 and 172 DAFs) to November (187 DAF) were mainly palmitic acid (16:0), linoleic acid (18:2n-6), and a-linolenic acid (18:3n-3). While the content of saturated fatty acids [palmitic acid (16:0) and stearic acid (18:0)] increased, the content of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids [linoleic acid (18:2n-6) and linolenic acid (18:3n-3)] decreased through ripening, in parallel with pulp darkening. The percentage of linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid in ripe, hard fruits was 60.0 and 13.5 % of dry wt at 157 DAF which decreased throughout ripening, remaining at 28.7 and 5.6 % of dry wt, respectively, in the fully softened and darkened pulp. A marked decreases in the double bond index, percentage of unsaturation and the ratio of unsaturation/saturation were also seen throughout the medlar ripening. The contribution of unsaturated fatty acid to the total fatty acid content decreased markedly as the medlar fruit became progressively softer and darkened.
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