Changes in Hemicellulose-associated Pectin during Softening of Peach Fruit

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture and L. A., Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078

Softening to a normal melting flesh texture in peaches involves a combined participation between polymers located in the middle lamella and primary cell wall. Pectins located in the primary cell wall polysaccharide matrix which cosolubilize when hemicellulose is extracted with KOH have received less attention than the chelator or sodium carbonate soluble pectin likely to be associated with the middle lamella. We conducted a series of extractions for cell walls prepared from softening peach fruit (47, 30, and 15 N firmness) using 0.5 m imidazole, sodium carbonate and a graded series of KOH. Hemicellulose-associated pectin was a substantial proportion of most KOH extracts (30 to 50 mole percent) and fractionated on size exclusion chromatography as a high apparent molecular weight peak which became more prominent as fruit softened and could be separated from two lower apparent molecular weight peaks by anion exchange chromatography. The nature of a hemicellulose-pectin interaction in peach was apparently by physical entrapment, versus covalent cross-linking. Softening related changes in hemicellulose-associated pectin will be addressed.

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