Two lines of tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens) were previously identified that differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Greenhouse-grown plants of these lines, `McIlhenny Select' and `HP', were investigated for differences in cell organization in the fruit-receptacle area and the separation zone at different developmental stages. Histological examination indicated that fruit of `HP', which requires greater force to separate, exhibited a larger region of sclerified cells within the fruit-receptacle area. In contrast, fruit of `McIlhenny Select', the line that detaches easier, had fewer sclerified cells in this region. Cell sclerification increased for both lines with increasing fruit maturity. The fruit-pedicel separation zone in both lines is distal to the sclerified region and is composed of parenchymatous fruit tissue. The separation zone for `HP' includes at least 10 additional distal cell layers in the fruit septal region than `McIlhenny Select'.
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