Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) initiates the photosynthetic carbon metabolism;therefore, its activity has been measured in many physiological studies. However, information on in vitro Rubisco activity from leaves of deciduous fruit crops is very limited and the reported activities are suspiciously low. We measured Rubisco activity in crude extracts of leaves of apple, pear, peach, cherry, and grape by using a photometric method in which RuBP carboxylation was enzymically coupled to NADH oxidation. Replacing polyvinylpyrrolidone with polyvinylpolypyrrolidone in the extraction solution significantly increased extractable Rubisco activity. Depending on species, freezing leaf discs in liquid nitrogen followed by storage at –80°C for only 24 hr reduced both initial and total Rubisco activity to 5% to 50% of that obtained from fresh leaves. Initial Rubisco activity from fresh leaf tissues of all species was well correlated with maximum Rubisco activity (Vcmax) estimated from gas exchange; an exception was pear, where initial Rubisco activity was higher than Vcmax. In most cases, initial Rubisco activity was approximately two to three times higher than net photosynthesis.
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