Morphological and histological impacts of the laurina mutation on fructification and seed characteristics in Coffea arabica L.
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The comparison between the cultivar Bourbon and its mutant, the Bourbon pointu, of Coffea arabica led to five novel findings on fruit development and three main impacts of the mutation.
Coffea arabica ‘Laurina’ (Bourbon pointu) is a natural mutant of Coffea arabica ‘Bourbon’. Relative to the ‘Bourbon’ cultivar, it is characterized by internode dwarfism, a Christmas tree shape, and lower caffeine content. The effects of the laurina mutation on fructification over time, the fruit structure and seed characteristics were studied here. Fruits of ‘Bourbon’ and ‘Bourbon pointu’ were monitored. The trees were grown in the same plot and flowered on the same day. Harvesting was done every 2 weeks from the 6th to the 26th week after flowering. Histological observations were carried out using multiphoton and conventional microscopes. The measurements concerned the fruit, parchment and seed. Five novel findings on fructification development were obtained: (1) a sigmoid model and non-linear regression efficiently described the phenomenon; (2) a precise relationship was defined between the qualitative stages of fructification and quantitative observations, thus revealing key weeks in this process; (3) the parchment had a mesocarpic origin; (4) a meristematic zone was present close to the parchment; and (5) an endocarp with three cell layers was visible in young fruits. Three effects of the laurina mutation were highlighted: (1) fruit growth ended 1 week earlier in ‘Bourbon’, but without difference in fruit length. In contrast, fruits were wider on average in ‘Bourbon’; (2) the parchment of narrow seeds in ‘Bourbon pointu’ was thicker than in other ‘Bourbon pointu’ and ‘Bourbon’ seeds; and (3) the narrow seed frequency in ‘Bourbon pointu’ depended on environmental conditions.
KeywordsLaurina mutation Coffea arabica Fruit development Parchment Histological structure
This study was financially supported by the European Union, the Conseil Régional of Réunion and the French Institut pour la Recherche et le Développement (IRD). The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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