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Cell Wall Calcium: Diagnosing Alterations in Fruit Quality

AGQ Labs develops state-of-the-art analysis of the Cell Wall Calcium fraction in fruit, a good tool for diagnosing alterations in pre- and post-harvest quality

imagen noticia
04/10/2017 - Agronomy

It is well known that post-harvest is a key period with a direct influence on the quality and appearance with which fruits and vegetables reach their point of sale. Even if we have done a superb job in the field, if the product does not successfully endure the period between harvest and sale, we will have failed.

Several factors have a bearing in this process. One factor with a major role is tissue calcium content. Calcium?s structural function is directly related to plant tissue stability and thus to the product?s post-harvest behavior (rotting, brown spots, loss of consistency, etc.), as well as its probability of being affected by pre-harvest damage (creasing in citrus fruit, cracking in stone fruits, bitter pit in apples, etc.).

In addition to having a structural function (for cell wall bound calcium in the form of calcium pectates), calcium is involved in other functions in plant cells. It is thus also found in other plant parts, as soluble calcium in the apoplast and symplast (in the form of nitrates, chlorides and amino acids), insoluble calcium in form of precipitates in the vacuoles (mainly in the form of phosphates, carbonates and oxalates) and residual calcium in highly insoluble forms (mainly).

Historically, it has been difficult to correlate structural damage in fruits (pre- or post-harvest) to total calcium content of the tissue. Now, a number of scientific studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between the cell wall calcium fraction in the form of calcium pectates, on the one hand, and structural behavior of the tissue on the other. This makes wall cell calcium a powerful, innovative tool for diagnosing alterations in the quality of fruits and vegetables.

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