Carbohydrate metabolism of vegetative and reproductive sinks in the late-maturing peach cultivar 'Encore'
Activities of NAD+-dependent sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), sorbitol oxidase (SOX), sucrose synthase (SS), acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) in ?Encore? peach (Prunus persica L.) fruits and developing shoot tips were assayed during the growing season to determine whether carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes could serve as indicators of sink strength. In fruit flesh, SS activity was detected during Stage I of growth, when cells were actively dividing, and SDH activity was detected during Stage III, when cells were actively enlarging. Acid invertase activity was detected during Stage I and showed a closer correlation with relative increase in fruit weight during the growing season than SS activity. During seed filling and pit hardening (Stage II), when relative fruit growth rate was slowest, activities of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes in fruit flesh were not detectable. No SOX activity was detected during Stages I and II. The highest sucrose content occurred near the end of' fruit development when the activities of Sucrose metabolizing enzymes were low. In developing shoot tips, the sorbitol:sucrose ratio was 2:1 (w/w) and SDH activity was low at the beginning and end of the season when vegetative growth was slowest. The sorbitol:sucrose ratio changed to 1:1 (w/w) along with an increase in SDH activity in shoot tips during the mid-growing season. In 'Nemaguard' peach, SDH exhibited higher activity in root tips than in other organs. Among, the sorbitol- and sucrose-metabolizing enzyme activities, only SDH activity was positively correlated with shoot growth in 'Nemaguard' plants.