Researchers in plant physiology and plant molecular biology from the Faculty of Science in the CMU Department of Biology, have discovered a way to reduce and delay early peel spotting in Sucrier bananas using methyl salicylate and using programmed cell death. This research provides great contributions to consumers, distributors and the agricultural sector as a whole by offering a way to maintain the quality of an agricultural product, from transportation to sale.
Sucrier bananas used to be produced for domestic consumption only, but today it has become one of the most important economic fruits, with an export value worth 210.5 million baht in 2021. The researchers in this project include Assistant Professor Dr. Kobkiat Sangnil, Assistant Professor Dr. Aussara Panya along with Sirawich Chotikakham, who is a Ph.D. student in biology. The team have discovered that peel spotting is a result of programmed cell death. Peel cell death is stimulated by a mitochondrial reactive oxygen species that plays a role in the activation of caspase and endonuclease activity, leading to nuclear fragmentation and eventually cell death.
It is found that immersing harvested Sucrier bananas in a 2 millimolar solution of methyl salicylate for 30 minutes reduces and delays the appearance of peel spotting for two days. This method has been shown to enhance an antioxidant defense system, protecting the mitochondrial structure and function, and inhibit cytochrome c release which activates caspase.
Having been published in two international journals and currently awaiting a decision at another journal, this research has proven to be immensely beneficial to academia and Thai agriculture. The optimal use of methyl salicylate treatment to control peel spotting and programmed cell death can be applied to other fruits in the future, thus boosting the country’s economy that relies heavily on agricultural export, which managed to generate 5.7 billion dollars, six times higher than in the past 10 years, despite the pandemic.
CMU is a leading university committed to social responsibility and sustainable development. We strive to support research in various dimensions, particularly agriculture, which is one of Thailand’s core industries. CMU staff takes great pride in producing knowledge that drives the Thai society and economy towards prosperity and sustainability.