Improvement of Antioxidant Properties in Fruit from Two Blood and Blond Orange Cultivars by Postharvest Storage at Low Temperature
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Numerous studies have revealed the remarkable health-promoting activities of citrus fruits, all of them related to the accumulation of bioactive compounds, including vitamins and phytonutrients. Anthocyanins are characteristic flavonoids present in blood orange, which require low-temperature for their production. Storage at low-temperature of blood oranges has been proven to be a feasible postharvest strategy to increase anthocyanins in those countries with warm climates. To our knowledge, no studies comparing the effect of postharvest storage effect on phenylpropanoid accumulation in cultivars with and without anthocyanins production have been published. We have investigated the effect of postharvest cold storage in flavonoid accumulation in juice from Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck in two different oranges: Pera, a blond cultivar, and Moro, a blood one. Our findings indicate a different response to low-temperature of fruit from both cultivars at biochemical and molecular levels. Little changes were observed in Pera before and after storage, while a higher production of phenylpropanoids (3.3-fold higher) and flavonoids (1.4-fold higher), including a rise in anthocyanins from 1.3 ± 0.7 mg/L to 60.0 ± 9.4 mg/L was observed in Moro concurrent with an upregulation of the biosynthetic genes across the biosynthetic pathway. We show that postharvest storage enhances not only anthocyanins but also other flavonoids accumulation in blood oranges (but not in blond ones), further stimulating the interest in blood orange types in antioxidant-rich diets.