The objectives of this study were to determine whether juice quality of `Valencia' sweet orange [C. sinensis (L.) Osb.] is affected by the type of inflorescence on which fruit are borne, and to determine the contribution of inflorescence type to within-tree variation in juice quality. During the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, fruit size and juice quality [soluble solids concentration (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA)] of fruit from `Valencia' sweet orange trees on Carrizo citrange rootstock [Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. × C. sinensis (L.) Osb.] planted in 1987 at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., were measured. A 2×2 factorial design (inflorescence type × canopy position) with leafy and leafless inflorescence types, and southwest top and northeast bottom canopy positions was used. The type of inflorescence on which fruit were borne had a minor effect on juice quality, and inflorescence type and juice quality were not directly associated. Rather, juice SSC was associated with the effect of inflorescence type on fruit size, as small fruit tended to have higher SSC than large fruit, regardless of the type of inflorescence on which fruit were borne. The relatively small difference in SSC between fruit borne on leafy and leafless inflorescences (≈3% of mean SSC) was an indirect result of fruit size. Therefore, fruit borne on leafy inflorescences, which tend to be of larger size compared with fruit borne on leafless inflorescences, tended to have marginally lower SSC. Acid content and ratio of SSC: TA were not related to inflorescence type. In addition, the type of inflorescence on which fruit were borne made only a nominal contribution to variability in juice SSC, in contrast to the major contribution of canopy position to within-tree variation in juice SSC. Factors other than inflorescence type are important components of within-tree variation in juice SSC.
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