The loss of organic acids during postharvest storage is one of the major factors that reduces the fruit quality and economic value of citrus. Citrate is the most important organic acid in citrus fruits. Molecular evidence has proved that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) shunt plays a key role in citrate metabolism. Here, we investigated the effects of exogenous GABA treatment on citrate metabolism and storage quality of postharvest citrus fruit. The content of citrate was significantly increased, which was primarily attributed to the inhibition of the expression of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). Amino acids, including glutamate, alanine, serine, aspartate and proline, were also increased. Moreover, GABA treatment decreased the fruit rot rate. The activities of antioxidant enzymes and the content of energy source ATP were affected by the treatment. Our results indicate that GABA treatment is a very effective approach for postharvest quality maintenance and improvement of storage performance in citrus production.
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