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Induction and Regulation of Ethylene Biosynthesis and Ripening by Pectic Oligomers in Tomato Pericarp Discs

Alan D. Campbell and John M. Labavitch
Plant Physiology
Vol. 97, No. 2 (Oct., 1991), pp. 706-713
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4273892
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Induction and Regulation of Ethylene Biosynthesis and Ripening by Pectic Oligomers in Tomato Pericarp Discs
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Abstract

The effect of pectic oligomers and 1-aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid on ethylene biosynthesis and color change was studied in ripening tomato pericarp discs excised from mature-green tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Pectic oligomers induced at least four distinct responses when added to pericarp discs: (a) a short-term, transient increase in ethylene biosynthesis; (b) a long-term, persistent increase in climacteric ethylene in discs excised from mature-green fruit; (c) an advance in ripening processes, as indicated by increased reddening of the disc surfaces; and (d) a darkening of the treated endocarp surface. Pectic oligomers appear to affect the ripening of exocarp and endocarp tissues by different mechanisms. In exocarp tissues, the acceleration of reddening by pectic oligomers might simply be a consequence of induced ethylene biosynthesis. In endocarp tissues, the acceleration of reddening appears to be a direct effect of oligomers on ripening processes. We suggest that the rate of ripening of endocarp tissues may be regulated, in part, by the release of pectic oligomers from the cell walls of adjacent exocarp tissues. Exocarp and endocarp tissues of pericarp discs appear to differ in their sensitivity to ethylene at each maturity stage, and to exhibit independent changes in sensitivity to ethylene as ripening progresses. The tissue-specific pattern of reddening in tomato pericarp may result from this differential sensitivity to endogenous ethylene concentrations.

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