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Photosynthetic activity of the calyx, green shoulder, pericarp and locular parenchyma of tomato fruit.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/1999
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Journal number334
Volume50
Number of pages12
Pages707-718
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Photosynthesis of tomato fruit was studied using green fruit from six heritage cultivars of Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. and one of Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium. Chlorophyll concentrations in the green shoulder, pericarp and locular parenchyma of the fruit were determined and the apparent photosynthetic electron transport activity (ETR) and chlorophyll fluorescence quenching characteristics of these tissues and the calyx were compared. In all cultivars, green shoulder formation, apparent as intense pigmentation of the proximal pericarp shoulder, was positively related to the degree of shading of the fruit during development. Appearing as a photosynthetic adaptive trait for increasing the photoautotrophic capacity of fruit grown under low light, the green shoulder contained 17-57% of the total pericarp chlorophyll content. The pericarp below the green shoulder had lower chlorophyll a+b. At a photon flux density (PFD) of 1200 mol m-2 s-1, different fruit tissues were found to have different levels of ETR. In 'Yellow Pear', the upper surface of the calyx had an ETR of 154 mol m-2 s-1, while the lower surface had an ETR of 88 mol m-2 s-1. On the green shoulder, ETR was 203 mol m-2 s-1, whereas in the pericarp distal to the green shoulder, ETR was 97 mol m-2 s-1. In the locular parenchyma, ETR was 66 mol m-2 s-1. This trend towards a lower ETR in distal and internal fruit tissues appeared to indicate a shift towards a more shade-type photosynthesis. Concomitant with this shift were changes in chlorophyll fluorescence quenching characteristics. Generally when tissues displayed reduced levels of ETR they also displayed a faster decrease in the photochemical quenching coefficient qp and a more rapid diversion of absorbed photon energy to non-photosynthetic activity found in the calyx, green shoulder, pericarp, and locular parenchyma suggest that all of these tissues have significant roles in CO2 scavenging and the provision of carbon assimilates. The potential role of fruit photosynthesis in influencing the fruit acid to sugar ratio and hence fruit quality is discussed.