The mechanical defensive performance of fruit cuticular membranes (CMs) is largely dependent on the molecular arrangement of their constituents. Here, we elucidated nano-sized interactions between cutin and triterpenoids in the cuticular matrix of Fuyu persimmon fruits (Diospyros kaki Thunb. cv. Fuyu), focusing on the mechanical properties using a combination of polymer analyses. The fruit CMs of Fuyu were primarily composed of wax (34.7%), which was predominantly triterpenoids followed by higher aliphatic compounds, and cutin (48.4%), primarily consisting of 9,10-epoxy-18-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid and 9,10,18-trihydroxyoctadecanoic acid. Based on the tensile tests of the CM, the removal of wax lead to a considerable decrease in the maximum stress and elastic modulus accompanied by an increase in the maximum strain, indicating that wax is of significant importance for maintaining the mechanical strength of the CM. Wide-angle X-ray diffraction and relaxation time measurements using solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance indicated that the triterpenoids in the cuticular matrix construct a nanocomposite at a mixing scale below 20-24 nm; however, the higher aliphatic compounds did not exhibit clear interactions with cutin. The results indicated that the triterpenoids in the cuticular matrix endow toughness to the CM by functioning as a nanofiller. © 2013 Tsubaki et al.
Tsubaki, S., Sugimura, K., Teramoto, Y., Yonemori, K., & Azuma, J. ichi. (2013). Cuticular Membrane of Fuyu Persimmon Fruit Is Strengthened by Triterpenoid Nano-Fillers. PLoS ONE, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075275