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  • Author or Editor: Lili Zhou x
  • HortScience x
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This study examined the relationship between the activity of fruit enzymes involved in metabolizing sucrose and sugar accumulation during fruit development, to clarify the role of these key enzymes in sugar accumulation in papaya fruit. Papaya fruit (Carica papaya L. cv. Sunset) were harvested from 14 to 140 days after anthesis (DAA). Fruit dry matter persent, total soluble solids (TSS), and sugar composition and the activity of enzymes: sucrose phosphate synthetase (SPS), sucrose synthetase (SS), and acid invertase were measured. `Sunset' papaya matured 140 days after anthesis during the Hawaii summer season and in about 180 days in cool season on the same plant. Fruit flesh dry matter persent, TSS, and total sugar did not significantly increase until 30 days before harvest. Sucrose synthetase was very high 2 weeks post-anthesis, then decreased to less than one-third in 42 to 56 DAA, then remained relatively low during the rest of fruit development. Seven to 14 days before fruit maturation, SS increased about 30% at the same time as sucrose accumulation in the fruit. Acid invertase activity was very low in the young fruit and increased more than 10-fold 42 to 14 days before maturation. SPS activity remained very low throughout the fruit development and was about 40% higher in mature-green fruit. The potential roles of invertase and sucrose synthetase in sugar accumulation will be discussed.

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Papaya (Carica papaya L.) leaves are large, up to 70 cm wide, and frequently deeply lobed, with seven to 13 major veins. The scan width of current handheld digital leaf area instruments is generally less than 15 cm. A rapid method is needed to estimate the total leaf area of a plant in the field with leaves at different stages of growth from the apex. The length of the main and side veins of papaya leaves can be used to estimate the area of a single leaf and the total leaf area of the plant. The relationship between main vein lengths and total leaf area was determined for mature leaves from the cultivars Sunset, Line-8, and Kapoho. A simple relationship exists between leaf area and the length of the two main side midribs (L3 and L4): Leaf area (cm2) = −2280 + 87.7*L3 + 55.6*L4 (P > F = 0.0001; r 2 = 0.969), explaining ≈94% of the variation between estimated leaf area and leaf area. The most recently matured leaf is the third or fourth discernable leaf from the apex, with a positive net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate and an average area of 2331 cm2 that could fix up to 1.6 g carbon per 10-hour day under full sun. The rate of photosynthesis declined with leaf age, and the overall net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate of the plant can be predicted. Following 80% leaf defoliation of the plant, the net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate of the most recently matured leaf increased 30% to 50% on days 11 and 19 after treatment when the photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) was approximately half of that on day 15 under full sun when no difference in net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate was seen. Fruit removal did not affect the net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate. Papaya adjusts its single-leaf net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate under lower light levels to meet plant growth and fruit sink demand.

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