Once the ovules in the ovary have been fertilized, the ovary begins to develop into the fruit. During the first stage of fruit development, cell division and enlargement result in slow growth. After 2~3 weeks of slow growth, rapid growth begins, during which time the cells continue to enlarge. Rapid growth continues for 3~5 weeks culminating in the mature green stage. At this point the tomato has accumulated the majority of its final wieght.(Ho and Hewitt 1986)
Within two days of the begining of the mature green stage the color begins to change. The green pigment becomes lighter and a faint yellow-orange color appears. (Ho and Hewitt 1986)
As the fruit begins to have more of an orange pigment on the outside, many metabolic changes are occuring on the inside. The pulp of the fruit softens as a result of enzymatic digestion of the cell walls. The placental tissue, which fills much of the locular spaces and the areas around the ovules, becomes degraded and assumes a gelatinous consistency. (Grierson and Kader 1986)
Once the tomato has reached maturity an abscission layer forms between the calyx and the fruit, ultimately resulting in the fruit falling off of the pedicel.

Introduction | Flowers&Fruit | Roots | Stems | Leaves

© Thomas L. Rost 1996
Section of Plant Biology Division of Biological Sciences