ReTain™, A New Harvest Management Tool for Apple Production

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  • 1 1Depts. of Plant Science, Abbott Laboratories, Chemical and Agricultural Products Division, 1401 Sheridan Road, North Chicago, IL 60064
  • 2 2Depts. of Field Development, Abbott Laboratories, Chemical and Agricultural Products Division, 1401 Sheridan Road, North Chicago, IL 60064

ReTain™ is an organic, water-soluble formulation that contains 15% (w/w) of aminoethoxy-vinylglycine (AVG). AVG, a naturally occurring plant growth regulator, competitively inhibits ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid) synthase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to ACC, the immediate precursor of ethylene in plants. ReTain has been under commercial development for the past 6 years, which includes U.S. EPA-approved Experimental Use Permit (EUP) programs in 1995 (Shafer et al., 1996, Proc 23rd Annu. PGRSA Mtg., p. 233–234) and 1996. Under the 1996 EUP, ReTain was tested on nearly 4000 acres of apples in 18 states. When used according to label directions (i.e., 50 g AVG/acre applied 4 weeks before anticipated harvest) with a nonionic surfactant, ReTain effectively reduced preharvest drop and generally resulted in fruit of higher quality than untreated (control) or naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) -treated fruit. ReTain can delay fruit maturity (as indexed by starch conversion) by ≈7 to 10 days. ReTain-treated fruit were typically firmer (by 0.5 to 1.0 lb), produced significantly less ethylene, and maintained notably greater firmness through storage. The incidence and severity of watercore in `Delicious' was significantly reduced by ReTain, as was the frequency of fruit cracking in `Fuji' and `Gala' in several trials. Based on this benefit profile, ReTain can be an effective harvest management tool for apple growers. U.S. EPA approval for the commercial registration of ReTain is anticipated prior to the 1997 use season.

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