Composition changes in galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols in apple shoots (Malus domestica Borkh. cv. Red Delicious) from August to April were determined. The predominant fatty acids in the membrane lipids of apple shoots were palmitic acid (C16:0), linoleic acid (C18:2), and linolenic acid (C18:3). The major galactolipid components in apple shoots were monogalactosyl diglyceride (MGDG) and digalactosyl diglyceride (DGDG). The amount of MGDG and DGDG increased from autumn to spring. Galactolipids contained highly unsaturated fatty adds, mainly linoleic (18:2) and linolenic (18:3) acid. The major individual phospholipids were phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethaeolamine (PE). β -Sitosterol and sitosteryl ester were the predominant sterols. The phloem contained higher amounts of galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols than did the xylem tissue. There was a significant increase in the content of galactolipids and phospholipids and onsaturation of their fatty acids during cold acclimation. A decrease in the ratio of free sterols to phospholipids also occurred in apple shoots toward cold winter months. Composition changes in galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols that were associated with growth cessation, defoliation and cold acclimation from fall to winter, were mostly reversed following deacclimation in spring.
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