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Molecular physiology of development and quality of citrus

Tadeo F., Cercos M., Colmenero-Flores J.M., Iglesias D., Naranjo M.A., Rios G., Carrera E., Ruiz-Rivero O., Lliso I., Morillon R., Ollitrault P., Talon M.. 2008. In : Ed. by Jean-Claude Kader, Michel Delseny. Incorporating Advances in Plant Pathology. Amsterdam : Elsevier, p. 147-223. (Advances in Botanical Research, 47).

DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2296(08)00004-9

Citrus is the most economically important fruit crop in the world. Citrus fruits are classified as hesperidiums, berries of very special organization characterized by a juicy pulp made of vesicles within segments. Besides the typical fruit components, citrus fruit contain many organic compounds necessary for human diet and an extraordinary number of metabolites displaying valuable properties for health. In citrus, the concept of fruit quality comprises several other aspects intimately related to human health apart from physical attributes and diet components. Citrus also possess a rare combination of intriguing biological characteristics including an unusual reproductive biology, a non-climacteric fruit ripening and several specific tree-traits. The combination of these characteristics suggests that the study of fruit growth regulation in citrus may reveal original mechanisms based on explicit molecular differences and on exclusive genes. Citrus is, therefore, an excellent model to study fruit quality because of its peculiar fruiting, singular biochemistry and economical relevance. In this chapter, the progress that has been carried out in the research on the molecular determinants related to development and fruit quality of citrus is reviewed. The review also intends to provide a physiological frame for the implementation of the information generated during the past years. Molecular background is provided on the current status of principal reproductive processes related to fruit quality mainly flowering, fruiting, ripening, and abscission. We also have focused on main characteristic secondary bioactive compounds, as major contributors of aroma and flavour and finally, on the abiotic stresses influencing development and fruit growth.

Mots-clés : citrus; qualité; fruit; physiologie végétale; biologie moléculaire; développement biologique; fructification; floraison; abscission; facteur du milieu; propriété organoleptique

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