Internal browning of pears stored under low oxygen conditions is related to restricted gas exchange inside the fruit, according to a study published March 7th in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology. Researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium suggest a computer model that can be used to improve long-term storage of fruit under controlled atmospheres.
Pears and other fleshy fruit are commercially stored under low oxygen conditions to extend their storage life for up to 9 months. If the oxygen concentration in the storage atmosphere is too low, quality disorders such as internal browning may result, causing major economic losses. This disorder is known to be related to the complex mechanisms of gas exchange, respiration and fermentation in fruit. However, further conclusions are unavailable due to the lack of reliable methods to measure gas concentrations inside the fruit.
The team, led by Bart Nicolaï, has developed a comprehensive computer model to predict the oxygen concentration inside the pear. The model incorporates equations for gas transport as well as for the respiratory metabolism. The researchers found that extremely low oxygen concentrations can occur in the core of the pear, which eventually may lead to cell death and browning.
While the model was developed for pears, the model is generic. Application to other fleshy fruit and plant organs is straightforward, but the tissue properties and the geometry will need to be measured, Nicolaï says. Further advances require investigation of the internal microstructure of the tissue to explain differences in gas exchange properties and to quantify the cellular and intercellular pathways for gas exchange and the metabolic processes.
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://www.
Ho QT, Verboven P, Verlinden BE, Lammertyn J, Vandewalle S, et al. (2008) A Continuum Model for Metabolic Gas Exchange in Pear Fruit. PLoS Comput Biol 4(3): e1000023. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000023
Dr. Bart Nicolaï
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
+32 16 322375
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Computational Biology. The release is provided by the article authors. Any opinions expressed in this release or article are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Computational Biology
PLoS Computational Biology (www.ploscompbiol.org) features works of exceptional significance that further our understanding of living systems at all scales through the application of computational methods. All works published in PLoS Computational Biology are open access. Everything is immediately available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.