Journal Article

The effects of ethylene, depressed oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide on antioxidant profiles of senescing spinach leaves

D. Mark Hodges and Charles F. Forney

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 51, issue 344, pages 645-655
Published in print March 2000 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online March 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
The effects of ethylene, depressed oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide on antioxidant profiles of senescing spinach leaves

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


Show Summary Details


It has been suggested that antioxidants play a role in regulating or modulating senescence dynamics of plant tissues. Ethylene has been shown to promote early plant senescence while controlled atmospheres (CA; reduced O2 levels and elevated CO2 levels) can delay its onset and/or severity. In order to examine the possible importance of various antioxidants in the regulation of senescence, detached spinach ( Spinacia oleracea L.) leaves were stored for 35 d at 10 °C in one of three different atmospheres: (1) ambient air (0.3% CO2, 21.5% O2, 78.5% N2), (2) ambient air+10 ppm ethylene to promote senescence, or (3) CA (10% CO2, 0.8% O2 and 89.2% N2) to delay senescence. At weekly intervals, material was assessed for activities of the antioxidant enzymes ascorbate peroxidase (ASPX; EC, catalase (CAT; EC, dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR; EC, glutathione reductase (GR; EC, monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR; EC, and superoxide dismutase (SOD; EC, and concentrations of the water‐soluble antioxidant compounds ascorbate and glutathione. Indicators of the rate and severity of senescence (lipid peroxidation, chlorophyll, and soluble protein levels) were also determined. Results indicated that the rate and severity of senescence was similar between the leaves stored in ambient air or CA until day 35, at which point the ambient air‐stored leaves exhibited a sharp increase in lipid peroxidation. Tissues under both storage regimes demonstrated significant declines only in levels of ASPX, CAT, and ascorbate. Glutathione content in the CA‐stored tissue also significantly dropped, but only on day 35. In contrast, spinach leaves stored in ambient air+ethylene experienced a rapid decrease in levels of all the antioxidants assessed except SOD. Declines in levels of ASPX, CAT, and ascorbate over the 35 d storage period regardless of the composition of the storage atmosphere suggests that regulation of H2O2 levels plays an important role in both the dynamics and severity of post‐harvest senescence of spinach.

Keywords: Antioxidants; controlled atmosphere; ethylene; post‐harvest; senescence.; AsA, reduced ascorbate; AOS, active oxygen species; ASPX, ascorbate peroxidase; CA, controlled atmosphere; CAT, catalase; Chl, chlorophyll; DAsA, oxidized ascorbate; DHAR, dehydroascorbate reductase; GR, glutathione reductase; GSH, reduced glutathione; GSSG, oxidized glutathione; MDA, malondialdehyde; MDHAR, monodehydroascorbate reductase; SOD, superoxide dismutase.

Journal Article.  7176 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.