RIVERSIDE, Calif. When plants encounter ethylene, a gas they also produce naturally as a hormone, the result is softening and ripening in the case of fruit, and wilting and fading in the case of flowers all of which ethylene promotes.
To delay these effects, growers spray plants with products available in the market today, such as EthylBlocTM for flowers and SmartFreshSM for fruits and vegetables, that contain a compound that blocks ethylenes action on plants.
But how this compound, 1-methylcyclopropane or 1-MCP, works at the molecular level remains uncertain despite several chemical pathways chemists have proposed in the scientific literature.
Now, in a research paper published in the April issue of Chemistry & Biology, a team led by Michael Pirrung, a professor of chemistry and the holder of the University of California Presidential Chair in Chemistry at UC Riverside, offers a novel pathway for how anti-aging products like EthylBloc and SmartFresh block ethylene in plants, delaying the plants demise and allowing people to enjoy their beauty and products for longer than nature allows.
The authors propose that a chemical reaction occurs between 1-MCP and naturally-occurring copper in plant cells. This knowledge could guide researchers in their attempts to discover new ethylene-blocking chemicals for preserving the freshness of fruits, vegetables and flowers for longer than currently is possible.
Until now, researchers believed that a complex a chemical structure consisting of molecules that are weakly connected to one another formed between 1-MCP and copper.
A complex is loose and can break apart easily something we dont see happening in the case of 1-MCP in plants, Pirrung explained. A ch
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside