Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Comparing Apples and Pears: Scientists see health-determining air paths in fruit

11.07.2008
Pears and apples contain air pathways to “breathe”. The pathways are microscopically small structures for oxygen supply and are key elements in determining the fruit’s health.

Researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) have visualized them for the first time, therefore proving their hypothesized existence. In apples, the pathways appear as irregular cavities between cells, whilst in pears they have the shape of tiny interconnected channels.

These results allow a better understanding of how the fruit degrades after harvest and provide a scientific explanation of the everyday experience that pears are more susceptible to decay during storage.

Apples and pears continue to “breathe” after picking. To keep the fruit healthy, a minimum level of oxygen must be supplied to all cells of the fruit. If this does not happen, internal browning disorders appear and fruit quality decreases. This is why fruit is stored in dedicated cool rooms with accurate control of oxygen levels.

The correct oxygen concentration is related to the complex mechanisms of gas exchange, respiration and fermentation in the fruit. Restricted gas exchange leads to too low a level of oxygen inside the cells. Three-dimensional images of the fruit microstructure help to determine and explain gas exchange rates and when fruit cells start to die and browning initiates. Such imaging is not easy as fruit contains a lot of water and the resolution and contrast of conventional medical 3-D scanners is insufficient.

The Leuven team used the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble to perform tomographic imaging of fruit samples. As the researchers report in the recent issue of Plant Physiology, the powerful equipment produces 3-D images that are accurate down to and below 1/1000 of a millimeter, with sufficient contrast to separate out void spaces from cells. The images are now used in computer models to calculate oxygen concentration in individual cells of fruit tissues.

“It is still unclear how airways in the fruit develop, and why apples have cavity structures and pears micro-channel networks”, explains Pieter Verboven, from the Catholic University of Leuven and corresponding author of the paper. However, the results do help explain why pears are so prone to decay during storage: “The micro-channels are so small that oxygen supply to the fruit core is very limited and cells are quickly ‘out of breath’ when oxygen levels fall below the safety threshold”, he asserts.

Montserrat Capellas | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrf.fr/news/general/fruit

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers

26.06.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New research reveals impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Correct connections are crucial

26.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>