Response of Cell Division and Cell Expansion to Local Fruit Heating in Tomato Fruit

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To improve our understanding of fruit growth responses to temperature, it is important to analyze temperature effects on underlying fruit cellular processes. This study aimed at analyzing the response of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit size to heating as affected by changes in cell number and cell expansion in different directions. Individual trusses were enclosed into cuvettes and heating was applied either only during the first 7 days after anthesis (DAA), from 7 DAA until fruit maturity (breaker stage), or both. Fruit size and histological characteristics in the pericarp were measured. Heating fruit shortened fruit growth period and reduced final fruit size. Reduction in final fruit size of early-heated fruit was mainly associated with reduction in final pericarp cell volume. Early heating increased the number of cell layers in the pericarp but did not affect the total number of pericarp cells. These results indicate that in the tomato pericarp, periclinal cell divisions respond differently to temperature than anticlinal or randomly oriented cell divisions. Late heating only decreased pericarp thickness significantly. Continuously heating fruit reduced anticlinal cell expansion (direction perpendicular to fruit skin) more than periclinal cell expansion (direction parallel to fruit skin). This study emphasizes the need to measure cell expansion in more than one dimension in histological studies of fruit
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-301
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • controlled environments
  • temperature
  • growth
  • load
  • endoreduplication
  • shoot
  • size
  • set


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