A focus on the biosynthesis and composition of cuticle in fruits
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Cuticles are plant structures, composed mostly by lipidic layers, synthesized by nonwoody aerial plant organs and deposited on the surface of outer epidermal cell walls. Although its significance has been often disregarded, cuticle deposition modifies organ chemistry, influences mechanical properties, and plays a central role in sensing and interacting with the surrounding environment. Even though some research has been undertaken addressing cuticle biosynthesis and composition in vegetative plant tissues, comparatively less information is available regarding cuticle composition in the epidermis of fruits. However, recent work points to a role for cuticles in the modulation of fruit quality and postharvest performance, indicating that current models for the investigation of fruit development, metabolism, and quality need to integrate a comprehensive knowledge of the cuticle layer. This paper provides an overview of recent findings and observations regarding cuticle biosynthesis and composition in fruits from species of agronomic and economic relevance. Important, but often neglected differences in cuticle composition and biosynthesis patterns among diverse fruit species are described herein to generate an atlas of what is currently known about fruit cuticles and to highlight what remains to be explored. Emphasis is placed on the need to investigate each genetic background considering its own specificities, to permit correlations with the particular physiology of each species considered. Both specific composition and changes during maturation and ripening are reviewed.