A dynamic model of tomato fruit growth integrating cell division, cell growth and endoreduplication

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In this study, we developed a model of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit growth integrating cell division, cell growth and endoreduplication. The fruit was considered as a population of cells grouped in cell classes differing in their initial cell age and cell mass. The model describes fruit growth from anthesis until maturation and covers the stages of cell division, endoreduplication and cell growth. The transition from one stage to the next was determined by predefined cell ages expressed in thermal time. Cell growth is the consequence of sugar import from acommon pool of assimilates according to the source–sink concept. During most parts of fruit growth, potential cell growth rate increases with increasing cell ploidy and follows the Richards growth function. Cell division or endoreduplication occurs when cells exceed a critical threshold cell mass : ploidy ratio. The model was parameterised and calibrated for low fruit load conditions and was validated for high fruit load and various temperature conditions. Model sensitivity analysis showed that variations in final fruit size are associated with variations in parameters involved in the dynamics of cell growth and cell division. The model was able to accurately predict final cell number, cell mass and pericarp mass under various contrasting fruit load and most of the temperature conditions. The framework developed in this model opens the perspective to integrate information on molecular control of fruit cellular processes into the fruit model and to analyse gene-by-environment interaction effects on fruit growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1114
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • individual cucumber fruits
  • cycle regulation
  • dna endoreduplication
  • simulation-model
  • plant-growth
  • dry-matter
  • mesocarp cells
  • size control
  • temperature
  • carbon


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