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
New parsley virus discovered by Braunschweig researchers
17.05.2019 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Franco-German research initiative on low-pesticide agriculture in Europe
16.05.2019 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.
Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
17.06.2019 | Information Technology
17.06.2019 | Earth Sciences
17.06.2019 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation