Relationships between fruit exocarp antioxidants in the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) high pigment-1 mutant during development

Physiol Plant. 2004 Apr;120(4):519-528. doi: 10.1111/j.0031-9317.2004.0279.x.


Development-dependent changes in fruit antioxidants were examined in the exocarp (epidermal and hypodermal tissues) of the monogenic recessive tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) mutant high pigment (hp-1) and its wild-type parent 'Rutgers' grown under non-stress conditions in a greenhouse. The hp-1 mutant was chosen for this study because the reportedly higher lycopene and ascorbic acid (AsA) contents of the fruit may alter its tolerance to photooxidative stress. Throughout most of fruit development, reduced AsA concentrations in the exocarp of hp-1 were 1.5 to 2.0 times higher than in 'Rutgers', but total glutathione concentrations were similar in both genotypes. Only in ripe red fruit were reduced AsA and total glutathione concentrations lower in hp-1 than in 'Rutgers'. The redox ratios (reduced : reduced + oxidized) of AsA in hp-1 and 'Rutgers' exocarps were similar and usually > 0.9, however, the redox ratio of glutathione was lower in hp-1 than in 'Rutgers' throughout development. Lycopene concentrations in ripe red fruit were about 5 times higher in hp-1 than in 'Rutgers'. Large increases in the specific enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (EC, ascorbate peroxidase (EC, and monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR; EC occurred during fruit development in both genotypes, with an inverse relationship between the activities of these enzymes and chlorophyll content. Glutathione reductase (EC and MDHAR-specific activities were higher in hp-1 than 'Rutgers' only at the later stages of fruit development. Dehydroascorbate reductase (EC activities, however, were usually higher in 'Rugters' than in hp-1. Catalase (CAT, EC activities increased with fruit development until the fruit were orange/light red, when CAT was higher in 'Rutgers' than in hp-1, but then declined in the ripe red fruit of both genotypes. These results suggest that elevated AsA in the exocarp of hp-1 fruit early in fruit development may increase the tolerance of hp-1 fruit to photooxidative injury at that time, but the increasing activities of antioxidant enzymes appear to be developmentally associated with fruit ripening.