Fruit ripening is a complex and highly coordinated developmental process involving the expression of many ripening-related genes under the control of a network of signalling pathways. The hormonal control of climacteric fruit ripening, especially ethylene perception and signalling transduction in tomato has been well characterized. Additionally, great strides have been made in understanding some of the major regulatory switches (transcription factors such as RIPENING-INHIBITOR and other transcriptional regulators such as COLOURLESS NON-RIPENING, TOMATO AGAMOUS-LIKE1 and ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTORs), that are involved in tomato fruit ripening. In contrast, the regulatory network related to non-climacteric fruit ripening remains poorly understood. However, some of the most recent breakthrough research data have provided several lines of evidences for abscisic acid- and sucrose-mediated ripening of strawberry, a non-climacteric fruit model. In this review, we discuss the most recent research findings concerning the hormonal regulation of fleshy fruit ripening and their cross-talk and the future challenges taking tomato as a climacteric fruit model and strawberry as a non-climacteric fruit model. We also highlight the possible contribution of epigenetic changes including the role of plant microRNAs, which is opening new avenues and great possibilities in the fields of fruit-ripening research and postharvest biology.
Fragaria chiloensis fruit has a short postharvest life mainly due to its rapid softening. In order to improve its postharvest life, preharvest applications of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) and chitosan were evaluated during postharvest storage at room temperature. The quality and chemical parameters, and protection against decay were evaluated at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h of storage from fruits of two subsequent picks (termed as first harvest and second harvest). In general, fruits treated with MeJA and chitosan maintained higher levels of fruit firmness, anthocyanin, and showed significant delays in decay incidence compared to control fruit. MeJA-treated fruits exhibited a greater lignin content and SSC/TA ratio, and delayed decay incidences. Instead, chitosan-treated fruits presented higher antioxidant capacity and total phenol content. In short, both the elicitors were able to increase the shelf life of fruits as evidenced by the increased levels of lignin and anthocyanin, especially of the second harvest.