Biology and genetic engineering of fruit maturation for enhanced quality and shelf-life

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2009 Apr;20(2):197-203. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2009.02.015. Epub 2009 Mar 30.


Commercial regulation of ripening is currently achieved through early harvest, by controlling the postharvest storage atmosphere and genetic selection for slow or late ripening varieties. Although these approaches are often effective, they are not universally applicable and often result in acceptable, but poor quality, products. With increased understanding of the molecular biology underlying ripening and the advent of genetic engineering technologies, researchers have pursued new strategies to address problems in fruit shelf-life and quality. These have been guided by recent insights into mechanisms by which ethylene and a complex network of transcription factors regulate ripening, and by an increased appreciation of factors that contribute to shelf-life, such as the fruit cuticle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ethylenes / metabolism
  • Fruit / growth & development*
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*


  • Ethylenes
  • ethylene