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Last update: May 2021

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Plantes et Système de cultures Horticoles

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Understand, prioritize and model

Understand, prioritize and model the interactions among processes underlying organoleptic and nutritional quality at the fruit level. This work includes research on fruit growth processes (cell division and expansion, DNA endoreduplication), synthesis of sugars, acids and carotenoids during fruit development, metabolic pathways involved in the synthesis, degradation and recycling of vitamin C, fruit maturation, texture. The experimental approach makes it possible to elaborate conceptual schemes which feed the modeling part. These studies apply to different scales, from cell to plant.

Some results of our work:

The models developed in our team are sufficiently detailed to describe the interactions among the physiological mechanisms that drive growth and organ composition in response to the environment. These models may be used for plant/organ phenotyping and for analyzing plant functioning as well as genotype by environment by cultural practices interactions (Martre et al., 2011, Baldazzi et al., 2015, Génard et al., 2015). They are also tools for integrating knowledge acquired at different scales, from cell to plant (Baldazzi 2012). A first integrated model of cell division and expansion was constructed and used to analyze in silico the response to water stress and low light intensity at the organ (cells of different ages) or plant (different trusses) scale. The model shows that water stress has specific effects at the plant (architecture, metabolism) and fruit (division, growth) scale, thus determining the endogenous resource availability for the fruit according to its stage of development. Young cells are the most sensitive to stress because of their mechanical properties that differ in mature cells, and symplasmic transport of sugars which predominates in the young stages of the fruit and plays a central role in its development, in particular as a catalyst for the growth of cells and fruit (Baldazzi et al., 2013).

At the fruit level, the regulation of fructose accumulation in peach has been analyzed in silico thanks to the development of a model of sugar metabolism based on the representation of the activity of the main enzymes involved and of the vacuolar storage activity. 6 metabolites and 12 enzymatic capacities were measured in 106 genotypes of a population characterized by contrasted fructose contents. This study revealed a great stability of the enzymatic capacities in spite of the large variation in metabolite contents (Desnoues et al. 2014). The model correctly represents the genotypic variability observed in 10 genotypes and provides important information about the mechanisms underlying the phenotypic differences. Among the various hypotheses tested, low affinity of fructokinase proved to be a good candidate to explain the occurrence of low fructose genotypes (Desnoues et al. 2016).

The Virtual Fruit model developed in the team describes the flows of water and carbon within the fruit which is considered as a single homogeneous tissue. However, the architectural properties of the fruit, such as its shape, pericarp thickness, network of conductive vessels or the properties of its cuticle, all play an important role in the regulation of growth, composition and interactions with the environment. Thus, a functional-structural fruit model has been developed to analyze the effects of architectural properties on fruit quality. The 3D-fruit model integrates the shape of the fruit, its compartmentalization in tissues and the physiological processes related to growth. The simulations showed how fruit shape and skin properties affect the distribution of sugars and water in the fruit space (Cieslak et al., 2012, 2013, 2016). Our results show that such a generic model allows to propose mechanistic explanations of the quality that are difficult to assess through experimental approach.