Sucrier¿ bananas (Musa acuminata, AA Group) show peel spotting when the peel is just about as yellow as green, which coincides with optimum eating quality. As consumers might relate the spotting to overripe fruit, early spotting is considered undesirable, especially for export markets. Fruit were left uncoated (controls) or coated with polyethylene parafilm wax at concentrations of 20%, 25%, and 30% (v/v) and then held at 29¿30°C for 5 days. Compared with controls, each of the concentrations delayed early peel spotting. Eating quality was not affected by the 20% coating, but was negatively affected by the higher concentrations. Further tests, using 20% coating, showed that the delay of peel spotting was not associated with a change in peel total free phenolics or with polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity, but it was accompanied by reduced in vitro phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) activity. Results suggest that the delay in peel spotting, after surface coating, is a result, at least in part, of reduced PAL activity. Low rate of oxygen diffusion through the coating might be the factor that limits the last step to blackening.
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