NMR characterization of hydration and thermal stress in tomato fruit cuticles

Ruth E. Stark, Bin Yan, Suzanne M. Stanley-Fernandez, Zhen jia Chen, Joel R. Garbow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In its natural environment, the plant cuticle, which is composed of the biopolymer cutin and a mixture of surface and embedded cuticular waxes, experiences a wide variety of temperatures and hydration states. Consequently, a complete understanding of cuticular function requires study of its thermal and mechanical properties as a function of hydration. Herein, we report the results of a comprehensive 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation study of hydrated tomato fruit cuticle. Cross-polarization and direct-polarization experiments serve to measure the solid-like and liquid-like components, respectively, of hydrated cuticle. Localized, high-frequency motions are probed by T1(C) spin relaxation measurements, whereas T(H) and T(C) experiments reflect low-frequency, lower amplitude polymer-chain motions. In addition, variable-temperature measurements of T1(C) and T(C) for dry tomato cuticles are used to evaluate the impact of temperature stress. Results of these experiments are interpreted in terms of changes occurring in individual polymer motions of the cutin/wax components of tomato cuticle and in the interaction of these components within intact cuticle, both of which are expected to influence the functional integrity of this protective plant covering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2689-2695
Number of pages7
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • C-13 NMR
  • Cuticle
  • Fruit
  • Hydration stress
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Molecular dynamics
  • NMR
  • Plant cuticle
  • Polyester
  • Solanaceae
  • Solid-state NMR
  • Spin relaxation
  • Temperature stress
  • Tomato


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