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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2004 Dec;42(10):823-31.

Changes in cell wall composition of three Fragaria x ananassa cultivars with different softening rate during ripening.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas, Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús (IIB-INTECH), UNSAM-CONICET, Camino Circunvalación Laguna Km. 6, 7130 Chascomús, Argentina.


Fleshy fruit soften during ripening mainly as a consequence of solubilization and depolymerization of cell wall components. We have performed a comparative study of the polysaccharide content of fruit cell walls during final steps of development and ripening of three strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.) cultivars with different softening rates. The three chosen varieties showed very different firmness; Camarosa was the firmest, Toyonaka the softest, and Pajaro intermediate between them. Cell walls were extracted, quantified and fractioned by sequential extraction to obtain particular subclasses of cell wall polymers. Cell wall content diminished during the process in the three cultivars. Differences among cultivar cell wall contents were detected only in immature stages. The amount of water soluble polymers (WSP) increased in all cultivars from small green (SG) to white (W) stage, although from the W to 100% red (100%R) stage the WSP remained constant in Camarosa and Pajaro and decreased in Toyonaka. On the contrary, the hydrochloric acid-soluble pectins (HSP) decreased during ripening of all the cultivars analyzed. Camarosa had the largest amount of HSP, but there were no differences between Pajaro and Toyonaka. The amount of hemicellulosic polysaccharides and cellulose also decreased in the three cultivars. Camarosa had the highest amounts of both polysaccharides while Toyonaka had the lowest at immature stages, but there were no differences among cultivars at 100%R stage. WSP showed depolymerization only in Toyonaka cultivar, while HSP showed depolymerization in Pajaro and Toyonaka cultivars. A slight depolymerization was observed in hemicelluloses extracted from any of three cultivars.

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