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NZ: Hortgem Tahi kiwis soften within five days of harvesting

Actinidia arguta fruits differ from A. chinensis Hort16A and Hayward fruits by size, skin, softening rate and texture. Researchers from the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in Auckland analysed structural and cell wall changes in A. arguta during softening.

Changes in the cell walls of A. arguta var. Hortgem Tahi were assessed through histological, immunolocalisation and cell wall composition analyses. Hortgem Tahi kiwis are bite-sized and have a skin that is considered edible by consumers consisting of a cuticle, living epidermis and a hypodermis of tightly-packed thin-walled cells containing condensed phenolic material. Beneath is the outer pericarp with large and small parenchyma cells followed by the inner pericarp with seed-containing locules, and a core tissue consisting of small tightly-packed parenchyma cells. A large number of mucilage-containing cells is spread throughout the fruit. 

Quick softening
Analyses on the composition of cell walls showed that galactose loss and pectin solubilisation start at an earlier firmness stage compared to Hayward, which takes about thirty days to soften.

"Hortgem Tahi kiwis present internal structural characteristics and cell wall changes similar to traditional kiwis. However, they differ in skin structure and in the presence of mucilage and pectin-filled cells during ripening, which may be responsible for the gelatinous texture of ripe fruits. Finally, the quick softening rate could be caused by an early drop in galactose content, which increases cell wall porosity favouring pectin solubilisation."

Source: Sutherland Paul W., Fullerton Christina G., Schröder Roswitha, Hallett Ian C., 'Cell wall changes in Actinidia arguta during softening', 2017, Scientia Horticulturae, Vol. 226, pag. 173-183.

Publication date: 9/11/2017


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