Cell wall calcium and hemicellulose have a role in the fruit firmness during storage of blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)

Olmedo, Patricio; Zepeda, Baltasar; Rojas, Bárbara; Silva-Sanzana, Christian; Delgado-Rioseco, Joaquín; Fernández, Kamila; Balic, Iván; Arriagada, César; Moreno, Adrián A.; Defilippi, Bruno G.; Campos-Vargas, Reinaldo


The firmness of blueberry is one of its most significant quality attributes. Modifications in the composition of the cell wall have been associated with changes in the fruit firmness. In this work, cell wall components and calcium concentration in two blueberry cultivars with contrasting firmness phenotypes were evaluated at harvest and 30 days cold storage (0 C). High performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulse amperometric detector (HPAEC-PAD) analysis was performed using the “Emerald” (firmer) and “Jewel” (softer) blueberry cultivars, showing increased glucose in the firmer cultivar after cold storage. Moreover, the LM15 antibody, which recognizes xyloglucan domains, displayed an increased signal in the Emerald cultivar after 30 d cold storage. Additionally, the antibody 2F4, recognizing a homogalacturonan calcium-binding domain, showed a greater signal in the firmer Emerald blueberries, which correlates with a higher calcium concentration in the cell wall. These findings suggest that xyloglucan metabolism and a higher concentration of cell wall calcium influenced the firmness of the blueberry fruit. These results open new perspectives regarding the role of cell wall components as xyloglucans and calcium in blueberry firmness.