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Pigment and plastid changes in mesocarp and exocarp of ripening muskmelon cucumis melo cultivar galia



Pigment and plastid changes in mesocarp and exocarp of ripening muskmelon cucumis melo cultivar galia



Angewandte Botanik 56(5-6): 393-406



Pigment changes in meso- and exocarp of a green-fleshed muskmelon (C. melo cv. Galia) were followed during ripening. Concurrently the ultrastructural changes of the plastids were observed and correlated with the pigment analysis. The relatively small amounts and the gradual decrease of chlorophylls and total carotenoids corresponded with the visually recognizable development of the color of the mesocarp. The increasing yellowing of the peel was not due to an increasing carotenoid content. While the chlorophylls were completely decomposed during the ripening process, a partial decrease of the total carotenoids took place. The basic carotenoid pattern of the meso- and exocarp corresponded with that of the chloroplast carotenoids and did not change during development. Besides the 4 main pigments, a number of additional minor pigments were present. During ripening the levels of the main carotenoids followed the general decreasing trend of the total carotenoids. The unripe mesocarp contained 2 types of plastids which differed in their development. The chloroplasts of the inner region showed undifferentiated granal systems which did not change during ripening. The chloroplasts of the unripe outer mesocarp layers and of the exocarp had an unusual extensive thylakoid system with highly stacked grana, which were converted to enlarged and multiplied plastoglobules at the ripe stage. These plastid changes may be interpreted as a chloroplast-gerontoplast transformation. The pigment and plastid changes correlated well.

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