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The majority of postharvest fruits are quite perishable that limits marketability, as well as potential expansion to a great extent. In the last few years, noteworthy signs of progresses on comprehending the role of melatonin in suspending senescence have been accomplished while melatonin, a postharvest alternative, in extending the shelf life and maintaining the quality of postharvest fruits has been developed.

The decaying of fruits and vegetables:

Vegetable and fruit senescence is an irrevocable procedure in nature, which involves a series of metabolic, physiological, and biochemical changes that is accompanied by a decline in nutrition, color, and flavor, and eventually shortening the shelf life. Let you know that the post-harvest decay of vegetables and fruits is primarily because of the constant consumption of their very own nutrients via respiration causing chlorophyll destruction and decomposition, cell wall softening, membrane penetration, and substrate oxidation; their nutritional value continuously changes right under the influence of air composition, humidity, and temperature. So, to improve the post-harvest preservation, several traditional physical storage techniques like ventilation storage, controlled atmosphere storage, and refrigeration have been discovered to prolong the storage period of vegetables and fruits. With the speedy development of biotechnology, several chemical reagents have even been used for prolonging the shelf life of vegetables and fruits. Apart from the aforementioned physical storage techniques, melatonin has been used widely for maintaining quality and prolonging the shelf life of postharvest vegetables and fruits.

Get familiar with melatonin and its role:


Melatonin is a ubiquitous molecule and it does not just play a vital role in humans and animals but has wide-ranging functions in plants as well like exerting antioxidant impacts, delaying senescence, regulating development and growth, and facilitating plant adaption, especially to stress conditions. Endogenous melatonin is common in vegetables and fruits and plays a vital role in the post-harvest procedure and ripening of vegetables and fruits. Exogenous application of melatonin discards additional reactive oxygen species right from postharvest vegetables and fruits just by maximizing enzymes, non-enzymatic antioxidants, as well as enzymes associated with oxidized protein repair. Additionally, exogenous application of melatonin can maximize endogenous melatonin for augmenting its impact on various physiological procedures.


Several previous reports have already demonstrated that exogenous application of melatonin advances the post-harvest preservation of vegetables and fruits. Though excessive production of melatonin in plants through transgenic approaches can be a potential way to improve the post-harvest preservation of vegetables and fruits, efforts to maximize endogenous melatonin in plants are restricted.

Important findings and conclusion:

The amount of melatonin is relatively low in postharvest fruits and is greatly affected by several factors. The major genes and precursors of the melatonin biosynthetic pathway have already been recognized in different fruits. Exogenous melatonin treatment not just delayed senescence, ripening, and quality deterioration, but enhanced chilling tolerance and disease resistance of postharvest fruits at the same time. The manifold biological functions of melatonin in postharvest fruits were attributed to the induction, as well as interaction with nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species and coordination with plant hormones and many other signaling molecules that enhanced defense systems and antioxidants, maintained energy, and reduced oxidative damage of postharvest fruits.

Last Updated on August 26, 2021

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