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Apr 19 2022

E&E Seminar: “When refrigeration is not cool: exploring the intersection between cold stress and tomato fruit ripening” by Diane Beckles (UC Davis)

April 19, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


4289 SELE

Join us on April 19th for an E&E seminar featuring Diane Beckles (UC Davis).

Host: Kate Warpeha

Abstract: Fruit evolved to act as vehicles for disseminating seed. Ripe fruit is attractive to humans and frugivores that serve the plant by spreading its seeds, while uneaten fruit rots, releasing seeds through fungal decay. In the modern food supply web, ripening and senescence in fruit like tomato are manipulated. Harvesting unripe fruit and retarding their maturation by using low temperatures, delays senescence, but the trade-off is fruit of poor sensory traits. Paradoxically, chilling can also shorten shelf-life by accelerating senescence and decay in tomato. Our aim is to better understand how cold regulates the tomato fruit ripening pathway, as this has implications for quality and shelf-life and therefore, for food loss and waste. We first looked at ripening-associated changes in chilled fruit, non-invasively, by MRI. We also attempted to develop an inducible gene expression system to ectopically express the CBF1 cold-tolerant gene in stored, harvested fruit to determine if ripening would improve. Finally, because DNA methylation controls development and ripening in tomato, we examined changes in fruit genome methylation in response to low-temperature storage. Collectively, this work should advance our understanding of the cold regulatory mechanisms that interferes with fruit attributes. While it has implications for supply chain flexibility, and agricultural sustainability, understanding the evolutionary purpose of fruit to the plant vs. to human consumption goals, may be necessary to put these data into context.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Nov 30, 2021

Date updated

Apr 12, 2022