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Plant Physiol. 1990 Feb;92(2):547-50.

Polyamine levels and tomato fruit development: possible interaction with ethylene.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland 20705.


Fruits of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv Liberty, ripen slowly and have a prolonged keeping quality. Ethylene production and the levels of polyamines in pericarp of cv Liberty, Pik Red, and Rutgers were measured in relation to fruit development. Depending on the stage of fruit development, Liberty produced between 16 and 38% of the ethylene produced by Pik Red and Rutgers. The polyamines putrescine, spermidine, and spermine were present in all cultivars. Cadaverine was detected only in Rutgers. Levels of putrescine and spermidine declined between the immature and mature green stages of development and prior to the onset of climacteric ethylene production. In Pik Red and Rutgers, the decline persisted, whereas in Liberty, the putrescine level increased during ripening. Ripe pericarp of Liberty contained about three and six times more free (unconjugated) polyamines than Pik Red and Rutgers, respectively. No pronounced changes in spermidine or cadaverine occurred during ripening. The increase in the free polyamine level in ripe pericarp of Liberty may account for the reduction of climacteric ethylene production, and prolonged storage life.

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