, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 333-344

First online:

The development and ultrastructure of lycopene bodies in chromoplasts ofLycopersicum esculentum

  • Yehuda Ben-ShaulAffiliated withLaboratory for Electron Microscopy, Tel-Aviv University
  • , Yeheskel NaftaliAffiliated withLaboratory for Electron Microscopy, Tel-Aviv University

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Lycopene bodies are developed in tomato chromoplasts at temperatures permitting synthesis of lycopene. Their appearance seems to be in correlation with the formation of special rigid membranes. These membranes were not observed in chromoplasts of tomatoes ripened at 32‡ C, a temperature under which no lycopene is synthesized. Electron diffraction patterns of isolated lycopene bodies showed that the bulk of such a body is a lycopene crystal.

Similarities between lycopene bodies of the tomato fruits and carotene bodies of carrot roots lead to the conclusion that classification of chromoplasts into distinct categories is valid only for certain stages of the chromoplast life cycle.