Similarities between Senescing and Ripening Tissues

While senescence and ripening are distinct developmental events, they clearly share overlapping physiological and biochemical pathways. A primary feature in both leaves and fruit is the controlled dismantling of the photosynthetic machinery, and degradation of starch and chlorophyll (McGlasson et al, 1975). A common characteristic of senescence and fruit ripening in climacteric fruits is the increase in respiration and ethylene production observed during these processes (Abeles et al., 1992). Senescence of flower petals and leaves provides the plant with a mechanism by which C, N, P, and minerals from no longer needed or productive organs can be remobilized to seeds, young leaves, or storage organs before the senescent organs are shed (Thomas and Stoddart, 1980; Borochov and Woodson, 1989).

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