, Volume 208, Issue 2, pp 401–413 | Cite as

Candidate gene expression profiling reveals a time specific activation among different harvesting dates in ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Fuji’ apple cultivars

  • Nicola Busatto
  • Brian Farneti
  • Alice Tadiello
  • Riccardo Velasco
  • Guglielmo Costa
  • Fabrizio Costa


Fruit quality is a combination of several features impacting the general consumers’ appreciation, and it is thought as the final result of a complex physiological mechanism ongoing during the entire ontogenic life cycle. In the horticultural management apples are normally stored for a long period, ensuring the availability of fresh fruit on the market over a year-round period. In this context, the role of postharvest is to preserve the properties gained at harvest without sacrificing the general fruit quality. In this scenario, the choice of the most appropriate harvest time plays a crucial role, representing a compromise between the achievement of a sufficient quality and the mechanical resistance to harvest and postharvest practice. So far the harvesting time has been defined with too elementary and empirical tools, making thus difficult the selection of a proper harvesting window. In this work, the expression profile of thirteen genes involved in auxin, ethylene as well as cell wall metabolism have been assessed over several dates of two apple cultivars distinguished by a different ripening behavior, such as ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Fuji’. The monitoring of the apple fruit maturity by candidate gene transcription profiling propose these elements as novel biomarkers, suggesting the first 10 days, after the commercial harvest, as the most appropriate harvesting window for ‘Golden Delicious’. In ‘Fuji’, instead, the time frame resulted more extended, due to a reduced expression of marker genes and slower ripening progression.


Apple Fruit ripening Ethylene Texture Gene expression 



The authors want to thank Franco Biasioli and the Volatile Organic Compounds platform to have made available the ethylene sensor for this work. This research was founded by the Agroalimentare research AGER project (Grant No. 2010–2119).

Supplementary material

10681_2015_1621_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (96 kb)
Online resource 1 (PPTX 96 kb) Online Resource 1 Sampling scheme for the two apple cultivars used in this study. The two arrows indicate the commercial harvest dates established for the two cultivars, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Fuji’, respectively. DFH: days from the commercial harvest
10681_2015_1621_MOESM2_ESM.eps (1.1 mb)
Online resource 2 (EPS 1156 kb) Online Resource 2 Gene expression heat-map profile for all the different harvesting dates in both “Golden Delicious” and “Fuji” apple cultivars. The gene expression intensity spanned form light green (low) to red (high), as illustrated by the color gradient scale. The data are expressed as normalized expression
10681_2015_1621_MOESM3_ESM.docx (51 kb)
Online resource 3 (DOCX 51 kb) Online Resource 3 Pearson correlation value between the transcription profile of the gene set employed here and the ethylene accumulation assessed for each harvesting date in ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Fuji’, respectively (P value < 0.05). The roman number on the left side indicate the group to which each gene belong


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Busatto
    • 1
  • Brian Farneti
    • 1
  • Alice Tadiello
    • 2
  • Riccardo Velasco
    • 2
  • Guglielmo Costa
    • 1
  • Fabrizio Costa
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural SciencesBologna UniversityBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Research and Innovation CentreFondazione Edmund MachSan Michele all’AdigeItaly

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