Food and Bioprocess Technology vol:7 issue:2 pages:542-555
A 3D virtual fruit tissue generator is presented that can distinctly define the microstructural components of a fruit tissue and that can be used to model important physical processes such as gas transport during controlled atmosphere storage. The model is based on the biomechanics of plant cells in tissues. The main merit of this algorithm is that it can account for typical differences in intercellular air space networks and in cell size and shape found between different fruit species and tissues. The cell is considered as a closed thin walled structure, maintained in tension by turgor pressure. The cell walls of adjacent cells are modeled as parallel, linear elastic elements which obey Hooke's law. A 3D Voronoi tessellation is used to generate the initial topology of the cells. Intercellular air spaces of schizogenous origin are generated by separating the Voronoi cells along the edges where three Voronoi cells are in contact; while intercellular air spaces of lysigenous origin are generated by deleting (killing) some of the Voronoi cells randomly. Cell expansion then results from turgor pressure acting on the yielding cell wall material. To find the sequence of positions of each vertex and thus the shape of the tissue with time, a system of differential equations for the positions and velocities of each vertex is established and solved using a Matlab ordinary differential equation solver. Statistical comparison with synchrotron tomography images of fruit tissue is excellent. The virtual tissues can be used to study tissue mechanics and exchange processes of important metabolites.