Role of sucrose phosphate synthase in sucrose biosynthesis in ripening bananas and its relationship to the respiratory climacteric

Natalie L. Hubbard, D. Mason Pharr, Steven C. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During ripening of bananas (Musa spp. [AAA group, Cavendish subgroup]), there is a massive conversion of starch to sucrose. Also during ripening there is a rise in respiration known as the respiratory climacteric. In this study changes in carbohydrate content, activities of starch and sucrose metabolizing enzymes, and respiration were measured to assess their potential interrelationships. Sucrose phosphate synthase activity increased dramatically during the first 4 days after initiation of ripening by ethylene treatment. Starch concentration decreased and sucrose concentration increased during this time period. Developmental changes in sucrose phosphate synthase activity were measured with limiting substrate (plus Pi) and saturating substrate concentrations. Activities were not parallel under the two assay conditions, providing tentative evidence that kinetically different forms of the enzyme may exist at different stages of ripening. Sucrose accumulation rate was most highly correlated with sucrose phosphate synthase activity assayed with limiting substrate concentrations (plus Pi). The cumulative amount of CO2 respired during ripening was positively correlated with sugar accumulation (R2 = 0.97). From this linear regression it was calculated that a constant 0.605 millimoles of CO2 was evolved per mole of sucrose formed throughout ripening. Using this quantity, the percentage of the total respiratory ATP produced which was required for the conversion of starch to sucrose was calculated assuming different models for carbon export from the amyloplast. The results suggest that sucrose biosynthesis during ripening constitutes a significant sink for respiratory ATP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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