Aspergillus niger B-1 (CMI CC 324626) extracellular RNase (RNase B1) was purified to homogeneity. It was found to contain two isoforms of 32- and 40-kDa glycoproteins, sharing a 29-kDa protein moiety. Optimal RNase activity was observed at 60 °C and pH 3.5. In `Almog' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group) `Almog'] and `Murcott' tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco `Murcott') the enzyme inhibited pollen germination and pollen tube growth in vitro as well as in vivo. In field experiments, spray application of the RNase caused a reduction in `Fantasia' nectarine [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Nectarine Group) `Fantasia'] fruit set and interfered with embryo development. The biological effect of the RNase may be of horticultural value, due to its potential to control fertilization.
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