The peach industry faces serious economic losses because of the short “green” life of the fruit at postharvest. In the present study, we investigated the effects of putrescine (PUT) application on the quality characteristics, pattern of ripening, storage behaviour and shelf life of peach fruit during low-temperature storage. The aqueous solution of PUT (0, 1, 2 and 3 mM) was applied to the peach trees at three distinctive stages of fruit growth and development. The fruits, harvested at the commercial stage of maturity, were stored at 1 ± 1 °C and 90 ± 2% relative humidity for 6 weeks. The data for fruit firmness, total soluble solids (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), ascorbic acid (AsA) content, rate of ethylene production, chilling injury (CI) index and colour perception were collected at harvest and then on a weekly basis throughout the storage period. The results showed that spray application of PUT significantly reduced the incidence of CI and reduced the rates of fruit softening, loss in fruit weight, SSC, TA, AsA content and fading of skin colour during storage, regardless of the doses of PUT applied, or the time of application. However, the positive effects on the quality characteristics of peach fruit, including CI, were more pronounced with the higher doses of PUT, specifically when applied at 2 mM. In conclusion, CI in peach fruit may be substantially alleviated by the spray application of 1–3 mM PUT during fruit growth without compromising the quality of the fruit for up to 6 weeks in low-temperature storage.
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