Respiratory Metabolism of Pear Fruit and Cultured Cells Exposed to Hypoxic Atmospheres: Associated Change in Activities of Key Enzymes

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

`Bartlett' pears (Pyrus communis L.) at two physiological stages, climacteric minimum or approaching the climacteric peak as achieved via storage for 2 or 8 weeks in air at 0C, respectively, were either ripened at 20C in air immediately or after exposure to 0.25% 02 for 4 days at 20C. Fruit stored for 2 weeks had relatively stable phosphofructokinase (PFK), pyrophosphate: fru-6-P phosphotransferase (PFP), and pyruvate kinase (PK) activities but decreasing succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities during ripening in air. Similar fruit treated with 0.25% O2 had slightly increased PFK, PFP, and SDH activities and decreased PK activity. Fruit stored for 8 weeks exhibited higher levels of PFK and PFP activity upon transfer to 20C, in accordance with their more advanced physiological state. In general, the enzymic changes in these fruit upon exposure to 0.25% O2 and subsequent ripening in air were similar to those observed in the less-mature counterparts, most notable being an increase in mitochondrial SDH. Exposure of suspension-cultured pear fruit cells to hypoxia resulted in an accentuated rise in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activity and a dramatic rise in SDH activity upon transfer to air. Taken in concert, the enzymic analysis supports the hypothesis that the rise in succinate levels observed in hypoxic fruit tissues is the result of a partial reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle. Cytochrome oxidase activity did not change during hypoxia whereas soluble peroxidase decreased somewhat, perhaps a reflection of their Michaelis constants for O2.

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