Simulating fruit growth and size analysis

P. Tijskens, R. Schouten, R. McCormick, T. Unuk, A.M. Cavaco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Growth of fruit and fruit size is of major importance for growers. Growth in size during cell expansion is well known (adapted van Bertalanffy model) and well applied taking care of the ever-present variation. Explained parts reach well over 98%. What is not very well understood is the increase in number of cells and the associated size increase, just after fruit set. It is (for the time being) just not feasible to measure these small fruit (<5 mm) on an individual level. As a consequence, the von Bertalanffy model does not cover the behaviour right after fruit set. Very rare reports, however, indicate a gradual increase in number of cells, which keep subsequently growing in size during the cell expansion period. A kinetic mechanism is presented that includes both these concurrent processes, however, consisting of six reactions, this model becomes exceedingly complex. Hence, an analytical solution is not available. Simulation using numerical integration with various parameter values will be presented. The general behaviour is as expected, roughly as an asymmetric sigmoidal. As a comparison, the well know Richards’ curve, frequently used to describe growth, is hard to apply as an analysing tool. Moreover, this function has no relation whatsoever with any kinetic mechanism. A new simplified kinetic mechanism that is suitable for data analysis is presented based on conversion of a substrate by an enzyme that increases according to an autocatalytic reaction. The resulting analytical solution can be used to analyse simulated size data, including biological variation. All simulated data on growth size fitted extremely well in the asymmetrical logistic model, with explained parts well over 99%. Behaviour of the growth mechanism, and analysis results of simulated data the developed asymmetrical sigmoidal function will be presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • cell expansion
  • cell production
  • fruit
  • kinetic model
  • size growth
  • symmetrical sigmoidal model
  • von Bertalannfy model


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulating fruit growth and size analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this