What controls fleshy fruit acidity? A review of malate and citrate accumulation in fruit cells

J Exp Bot. 2013 Apr;64(6):1451-69. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert035. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Fleshy fruit acidity is an important component of fruit organoleptic quality and is mainly due to the presence of malic and citric acids, the main organic acids found in most ripe fruits. The accumulation of these two acids in fruit cells is the result of several interlinked processes that take place in different compartments of the cell and appear to be under the control of many factors. This review combines analyses of transcriptomic, metabolomic, and proteomic data, and fruit process-based simulation models of the accumulation of citric and malic acids, to further our understanding of the physiological mechanisms likely to control the accumulation of these two acids during fruit development. The effects of agro-environmental factors, such as the source:sink ratio, water supply, mineral nutrition, and temperature, on citric and malic acid accumulation in fruit cells have been reported in several agronomic studies. This review sheds light on the interactions between these factors and the metabolism and storage of organic acids in the cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aconitate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Citric Acid / metabolism*
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Fruit / genetics
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Malates / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate / metabolism
  • Plant Cells / enzymology
  • Plant Cells / metabolism*
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism


  • Malates
  • Citric Acid
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate
  • malic acid
  • Aconitate Hydratase