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BBSRC Crop Science Grantholders' Workshop



Innovation in Crop Science Exploitation of Genetics for Sustainability Initiative Grantholders' Workshop

29th-30th January 2008

Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, Gloucestershire

Abstract and poster both entitled 'The genetic characterisation of post harvest spoilage in lettuce' was submitted. Please contact L.D.Atkinson@warwick to request copy of poster (due to unpublished results).


Genetic Characterisation of Post Harvest Spoilage in Lettuce.

Atkinson, LD 1., Buchanan-Wollaston, V 1., Hand, P 1., Schut, J 2. and Pink, DAC 1.
1Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV35 9EF, United Kingdom.
2Rijk Zwaan, Burgemeester Crezeelann 40, Postbus 40, 2678 ZG De Lier Holland.

A major food industry concern is the post harvest discolouration of produce, as visual alteration of organoleptic characteristics generally incites an unfavourable consumer response.

The shelf life of cut lettuce salad packs is regularly restricted by enzymatic browning and pinking via the oxidation of polyphenols by polyphenol oxidase and the accumulation of anthocyanin pigments through the phenylpropanoid pathway respectively. Post harvest discolouration is currently delayed by combinations of post harvest treatments. A genetic engineering approach would allow regulation of the pathways, avoiding treatment use. However widespread public opinion opposes this type of modification. The current project aims to provide resources for breeding improved ‘shelf life’ through the exploitation of natural allelic variation and an understanding of the genetics of post harvest browning and pinking.

The parents of a WHRI lettuce mapping population have shown significant differences for the two types of discolouration. A new F7 linkage map based on selected recombinant inbred lines is being produced. Post harvest discolouration will be induced using a previously developed growing protocol and the F7s will be phenotypically assessed using an objective scoring system, in a controlled environment mimicking that of pre-packed cut salad packs. QTL analysis for these traits will be carried out to identify potentially valuable markers in lettuce breeding. Furthermore, relevant selected associated metabolites will additionally be analysed in an attempt to identify potential biochemical markers for post harvest discolouration.


WHRI Reseachers
PhD Students
WHRI Researchers at the Conference Dinner   Emma Skipper and I at the Conference Dinner


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