Ripening triggers the creation and activation of enzymes that chew away at cell walls and proteins, softening fruit.
Employing proteomics, electron microscopy and biochemistry, a team of College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources scientists identified a genetic trigger unique to pineapple that inhibits the ripening process.
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa molecular bioscientists David Christopher, Leon Neuteboom and Kristie Matsumoto described the ripening trigger in the October 2009 cover feature for the journal Plant Physiology.
Understanding the ripening process in fruit has important implications to agriculture, of course, but it also sheds light on the protein degradation and cell death present in aging in mammals, they note. In fact, cell death in humans involves the same type of enzyme.