Integrating physiology and architecture in models of fruit expansion

Mikolaj Cieslak1,2,3, Ibrahim Cheddadi1,2, Frédéric Boudon1, Valentina Baldazzi2, Michel Génard2, Christophe Godin1, Nadia Bertin2
1INRIA/CIRAD, Virtual Plants
2INRIA PSH, Virtual Plants
3University of Calgary


Architectural properties of a fruit, such as its shape, vascular patterns, and skin morphology, play a significant role in determining the distributions of water, carbohydrates, and nutrients inside the fruit. Understanding the impact of these properties on fruit quality is difficult because they develop over time and are highly dependent on both genetic and environmental controls. We present a 3D functional-structural fruit model that can be used to investigate effects of the principle architectural properties on fruit quality. We use a three step modeling pipeline in the OpenAlea platform: (1) creating a 3D volumetric mesh representation of the internal and external fruit structure, (2) generating a complex network of vasculature that is embedded within this mesh, and (3) integrating aspects of the fruit's function, such as water and dry matter transport, with the fruit's structure. We restrict our approach to the phase where fruit growth is mostly due to cell expansion and the fruit has already differentiated into different tissue types. We show how fruit shape affects vascular patterns and, as a consequence, the distribution of sugar/water in tomato fruit. Furthermore, we show that strong interaction between tomato fruit shape and vessel density induces, independently of size, an important and contrasted gradient of water supply from the pedicel to the blossom end of the fruit. We also demonstrate how skin morphology related to microcracking distribution affects the distribution of water and sugars inside nectarine fruit. Our results show that such a generic model permits detailed studies of various, unexplored architectural features affecting fruit quality development.


Mikolaj Cieslak, Ibrahim Cheddadi, Frédéric Boudon, Valentina Baldazzi, Michel Génard, Christophe Godin and Nadia Bertin. Integrating physiology and architecture in models of fruit expansion. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7:1739, 2016.

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