Benzyladenine Effects on Cell Division and Cell Size during Apple Fruit Thinning

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Science, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, Ont. N1G 2W1, Canada

Benzyladenine (BA), carbaryl (CB), daminozide (DM), and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) were applied postbloom, as fruitlet thinning agents, to mature `Empire' apple trees. Although fruit set and yield were similar for BA, NAA, and CB, BA-treated fruit were larger, indicating BA increased fruit size beyond the effect attributable to thinning. BA applied at 100 mg·liter–1 increased the rate of cell layer formation in the fruit cortex, indicating that BA stimulated cortical cell division. The maximum rate of cell division occurred 10 to 14 days after full bloom (DAFB) when fruit relative growth rate and density reached a maximum and percent dry weight reached a minimum. Cell size in BA-treated fruit was similar to the control. Cell division ended by 35 DAFB in the control and BA-treated fruit when percent dry weight and dry weight began to increase rapidly and fruit density changed from a rapid to a slower rate of decreased density. These data support the hypothesis that BA-induced fruit size increases in `Empire' apple result largely from greater numbers of cells in the fruit cortex, whereas the fruit size increase due to NAA or CB is a consequence of larger cell size.

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