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To assess the influence of the environment on fruit metabolism, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Moneymaker') plants were grown under contrasting conditions (optimal for commercial, water limited, or shaded production) and locations. Samples were harvested at nine stages of development, and 36 enzyme activities of central metabolism were measured as well as protein, starch, and major metabolites, such as hexoses, sucrose, organic acids, and amino acids. The most remarkable result was the high reproducibility of enzyme activities throughout development, irrespective of conditions or location. Hierarchical clustering of enzyme activities also revealed tight relationships between metabolic pathways and phases of development. Thus, cell division was characterized by high activities of fructokinase, glucokinase, pyruvate kinase, and tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes, indicating ATP production as a priority, whereas cell expansion was characterized by enzymes involved in the lower part of glycolysis, suggesting a metabolic reprogramming to anaplerosis. As expected, enzymes involved in the accumulation of sugars, citrate, and glutamate were strongly increased during ripening. However, a group of enzymes involved in ATP production, which is probably fueled by starch degradation, was also increased. Metabolites levels seemed more sensitive than enzymes to the environment, although such differences tended to decrease at ripening. The integration of enzyme and metabolite data obtained under contrasting growth conditions using principal component analysis suggests that, with the exceptions of alanine amino transferase and glutamate and malate dehydrogenase and malate, there are no links between single enzyme activities and metabolite time courses or levels.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant Physiol

Publication Date





1204 - 1221


Carboxy-Lyases, Cluster Analysis, Environment, Fructokinases, Fruit, Hexoses, Lycopersicon esculentum, Metabolome, Organ Size, Plant Proteins, Principal Component Analysis, Reproducibility of Results, Starch, Time Factors, Vacuoles, Water