About this Research Topic
Fleshy fruits develop textural changes during ripening and postharvest storage that determine their marketable acceptance and shelf life. Fruit texture, as a complex trait, depends on several factors, such as cell shape and size, cell wall thickness and strength, extension and strength of adhesion areas between adjacent cells and cell turgor. Loss of turgor can be important in fruits with a thick and well-developed cuticle (eg. tomato, grape, apple), but the disassembly of primary cell walls and the loss of middle lamella are considered as the main factors determining fruit softening. In recent years, technical advances and new approaches have allowed new insights into cell wall changes taking place during fruit ripening and postharvest. Functional analyses of genes encoding pectinase enzymes have demonstrated that postharvest shelf life can be successfully extended by preserving cell wall structure without negatively affecting other fruit quality traits. Novel analytical approaches, such as glycomic microarrays or atomic force microscopy, have been used to explore the plant cell wall structure and its relationship with the biomechanical properties of fruit tissue. However, these studies are restricted to a few model species. A deeper knowledge of the regulation of plant cell wall remodelling during fruit softening will add crucial new information for future breeding programmes to improve the textural properties of fruits.
The aim of this Research Topic is to gather current knowledge about fruit softening and cell wall metabolism. The following aspects will be covered:
• Characterization of cell wall structure and composition during fruit ripening and postharvest of model and non-model species
• New approaches for the study of fruit cell wall architecture and biomechanics
• Molecular studies of genes involved in cell wall synthesis and remodelling
• Hormonal and transcriptional regulation of fruit softening
• Genetic manipulation of softening related genes
• Novel postharvest approaches to preserve cell wall structure
Original Research, Reviews, and Mini-reviews are welcome.
Keywords: Biomechanics, Cell Wall, Fruit Ripening, Fruit Softening, Postharvest, Shelf Life, Texture
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