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Chlorophyll disappearance and chlorophyllase activity during ripening of Capsicum annuum L fruits

Hornero-Mendez, Damaso, Minguez-Mosquera, Maria Isabel
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2002 v.82 no.13 pp. 1564-1570
Capsicum annuum, chlorophyll, chlorophyllase, chloroplasts, cultivars, fruits, metabolism, pigments, ripening
The disappearance of chlorophyll pigments and involvement of chlorophyllase during fruit ripening of seven Capsicum annuum cultivars (Delfin, Mana, Belrubi, NuMex, Agridulce, Bola and Negral) have been studied. Chlorophyll pigments decreased and eventually disappeared from the red cultivars during ripening. In contrast, the green cultivar Negral, a chlorophyll-retaining variety, showed reduced disappearance of chlorophyll pigments, and the fully ripe fruits retained chlorophylls. Chlorophyllase activity followed a consistent pattern of variation in all the red cultivars which was concomitant with the disappearance of chlorophyll. In the ripe stage the six red cultivars preserved their chlorophyllase activity, reflecting a high rate of chloroplast-to-chromoplast transformation. The green cultivar (Negral) showed maximum chlorophyllase activity in the late stages of ripening. Thus increasing activity of chlorophyllase, a constitutive chloroplast enzyme, could be associated with a new genesis of both chloroplast (regreening) and chromoplast constituents. The coexistence of chlorophyll and a high level of chlorophyllase activity in ripe fruits of the Negral cultivar suggests that chlorophyll catabolism may be affected in several ways, eg by the presence of other chlorophyll-degrading enzymes, by restricted chlorophyll and chlorophyllase contact or by delayed degeneration of chloroplast structures.