in HortScience

Maintenance of positive cell turgor is an essential factor in cell, and fruit, expansion. Since apple fruit partition carbohydrates between the starch and soluble pools to maintain turgor, variation among cultivars in this osmoregulatory aspect may play an important role in defining cultivar-specific fruit growth rates. Cultivar-specific apple fruit growth rates were determined over a 6 week period following June drop during 2 seasons. Fruit water relations parameters and carbohydrate levels were also measured. Although cultivar differences were evident, generally, fruit absolute growth rate increased, relative growth rate (RGR) declined, water potential and osmotic potential declined, and turgor potential increased as the season progressed. Soluble carbohydrate levels increased over 6 weeks, while starch levels fluctuated. Soluble carbohydrates contributed 50 to 90% of the osmotic potential. RGR was not correlated to either turgor potential or the relative allocation of carbohydrates between the soluble and starch pools. Thus, although positive turgor was maintained, factors other than turgor per se determine fruit growth rate.

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