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Galactose loss and fruit ripening: high-molecular-weight arabinogalactans in the pectic polysaccharides of fruit cell walls

Abstract.

Cell wall material (CWM) was prepared from nine fruit species at two ripening stages (unripe and ripe) and extracted sequentially with 0.05 M trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid (CDTA), 0.05 M Na2CO3 and 4 M KOH. Each solubilised fraction and the CWM-residue remaining after 4 M KOH extraction was analysed for non-cellulosic sugar composition. A common pattern of distribution for polyuronide and pectin-associated neutral sugar was observed for all unripe fruit. Most polyuronide was extracted in the CDTA/Na2CO3 fractions while 70–93% of the neutral sugar was located on pectic polysaccharides in the 4 M KOH-soluble and CWM-residue fractions. During ripening, most of the galactose was lost from pectic polysaccharides in the CWM-residue. Partial solubilisation of these polysaccharides was achieved by treating the CWM-residue with endopolygalacturonase. The solubilised polysaccharides were separated into two fractions by ion-exchange chromatography. One of these contained polysaccharides with average molecular weights of 400 kDa or larger and consisted of between 70 and 90% arabinogalactan. The galactosyl residues were 80–90% β-1→4 linked, indicating largely unbranched side-chains. The arabinosyl residues were distributed among terminal, 3-, 5-, 2,5-, and 2,3,5-linked residues, indicating a highly ramified structure. The results are discussed with regard to the relationship between pectin solubilisation and galactose loss and their respective contribution to fruit softening.

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Received: 28 January 1997 / Accepted: 11 March 1997

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Redgwell, R., Fischer, M., Kendal, E. et al. Galactose loss and fruit ripening: high-molecular-weight arabinogalactans in the pectic polysaccharides of fruit cell walls. Planta 203, 174–181 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004250050179

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  • Key words: Arabinogalactan
  • Fruit (cell wall)
  • Galactose
  • Pectic polysaccharide
  • Pectin solubilisation