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Project

A transcriptomics based kinetic model of pectin modifications in relation to apple softening.

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Enzyme-induced pectin modifications are thought to be the main cause of softening in apples. To understand the molecular basis of softening, we characterized the cell wall pectin of apples during storage, and correlated changes in pectin molecular with the activities of four key enzymes that are thought to be implicated in pectin modifications during softening. Currently, we are looking at genetic regulations of softening, in which we are studying the expressions of the family of genes that encode pectin-degrading proteins.

Although some conceptual models on cell wall modifications during softening have been proposed, there are currently no models that quantify pectin molecular changes as caused by the activities of key pectin degrading enzymes. In this postdoctoral research, we aim at developing a kinetic model that can describe the series of events that occur during softening, starting from regulations at the gene level, to changes in the pectin molecular structure that eventually lead to texture losses. Such a model will help explain the mechanism of apple softening, while providing an important predictive tool for testing new and existing hypotheses regarding softening of different fruits. This approach, up to and including testing new research hypotheses, has already been developed in our research team, namely in a case-study relating gene expression levels, enzyme activities and metabolites involved in the ethylene biosynthesis during tomato fruit ripening. &nbs> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standaardtabel; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman",serif; mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

Date:1 Dec 2014  →  30 Nov 2015
Keywords:modelling, gene expression, cell wall, apple, softening, pectin modifications, Ripening, fruit quality
Disciplines:Other chemical sciences, Nutrition and dietetics , Agricultural animal production, Food sciences and (bio)technology