Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry vol:52 issue:26 pages:8031-8038
Vitamin C (L-ascorbate, L-ascorbic acid; L-AA) and glutathione (GSH) are major hydrophilic antioxidants in plants with important roles in stress resistance and nutrition. To evaluate the potential for breeding for enhanced levels of these compounds, a comprehensive screen of the fruit from some 31 apple (Malus) cultivars has been carried out to determine the biodiversity present in the mean inter- and intracultivar concentrations of both the oxidized and reduced forms of these compounds, as well as the impact of storage on their concentrations. It is noted that despite limited variation at harvest, cultivars differed substantially in their ability to maintain L-AA levels during storage, primarily due to the loss of L-AA by "low-vitamin C" cultivars. Generally, cultivars that could maintain their L-AA and GSH pools also had better storage properties. Interestingly, there was also a correlation between fruit vitamin C contents and the harvest date, such that cultivars with the highest vitamin C contents were harvested latest in the season and the lowest contents were found among the early varieties. Correlations with other physiological parameters, however, were too weak to serve as useful predictive tools.