Sugar Composition of Pectin and Hemicellulose Extracts of Peach Fruit during Softening over Two Harvest Seasons

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

Changes in cell wall polysaccharides associated with peach fruit softening were characterized over two harvest seasons. Enzymically inactive cell walls were prepared from mesocarp tissues of peach fruit harvested at three stages of softening. Pectin-associated and hemicellulose-associated polysaccharides were extracted from the cell walls sequentially, and glycosyl residue compositions were determined by GLC. Pectin extracts from both years were richest in galacturonosyl, arabinosyl, and rhamnosyl residues. Hemicellulose extracted with 1 m potassium hydroxide contained a high mole percentage of xylosyl, glucosyl, and fucosyl residues. Hemicellulose extracted with 4 m potassium hydroxide contained a substantial amount of pectin-associated sugar residues in addition to hemicellulose-associated sugar residues. During softening in both years, sugar compositions for cell walls, aqueous phenol-soluble polysaccharides, and imidazole extracts reflected a decrease in galacturonosyl residues and a concomitant increase in arabinosyl residues on a mole percent basis. The degree of change for galacturonosyl residues in these fractions depended on season, with greater variation exhibited from fruit at earlier stages of softening. With the notable exception of the seasonal variation exhibited for galacturonosyl residues in cell walls, the relative stability of other glycosyl compositional changes over seasons indicates conserved changes for pectins and hemicelluloses occur during peach fruit softening.

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