Cell wall as a barrier for protein extraction from tomato leaves: A biochemical study

Marietheres Kleuter, Yafei Yu, Francesco Pancaldi, Mayra Nagtzaam, Atze Jan van der Goot, Luisa M. Trindade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Solanum lycopersicum (Tomato) leaves and stems are considered waste. Valorization of this waste can be achieved by for example the extraction of proteins. This prospect is promising but currently not feasible, since protein extraction yields from tomato leaves are low, amongst other due to the (physical) barrier formed by the plant cell walls. However, the molecular aspects of the relationship between cell wall properties and protein extractability from tomato leaves are currently not clear and thus objective of this study. To fill this knowledge gap the biochemical composition of plant cell walls was measured and related to protein extraction yields at different plant ages, leaf positions, and across different tomato accessions, including two Solanum lycopersicum cultivars and the wildtype species S. pimpinellifolium and S. pennellii. For all genotypes, protein extraction yields from tomato leaves were the highest in young tissues, with a decreasing trend towards older plant material. This decrease of protein extraction yield was accompanied by a significant increase of arabinose and galacturonic acid content and a decrease of galactose content in the cell walls of old-vs-young tissues. This resulted in strong negative correlations between protein extraction yield and the content of arabinose and galacturonic acid in the cell wall, and a positive correlation between the content of galactose and protein extraction yield. Overall, these results point to the importance of the pectin network on protein extractability, making pectin a potential breeding target for enhancing protein extractability from tomato leaves.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108495
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


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