The relationship of assimilate supply to grape (Vitis vinifera L.) berry growth and development was studied with a seeded (`Kyoho') and a seedless (`Seedless Wuhehong') cultivar. A single shoot girdling between the second and third nodes below the basal cluster at the end of Stage I of berry growth shortened Stage II (the lag phase) of `Kyoho' grape berries by 10 days, and eliminated Stage II in `Seedless Wuhehong' grape berries. Double shoot girdling between the second and third nodes below the basal cluster and above the upper cluster, respectively, at the same time at the end of Stage I, advanced Stage II by 3 days in both cultivars. Normal accumulation of dry weight in the `Kyoho' grape berry is in a double sigmoidal pattern, but it became a single sigmoidal pattern in response to a single basal girdling. The highest percent moisture in berries was at 20 days after full bloom. Rapid changes in berry pectin substances lagged behind those of soluble solids and titratable acidity, and behind the onset of berry softening at veraison in `Kyoho', but not in `Seedless Wuhehong', for which the three processes were concurrent. It is suggested that the slow growth of the berries during Stage II is a result of a decrease in the rate of water accumulation on a whole berry basis and a decrease in accumulation of dry matter in the skin and flesh (pericarp) due to assimilate competition within grapevines and within berries. The relationships between levels of endogenous hormones (IAA, GA3, zeatin, zeatin riboside, and ABA) and berry growth were also studied with `Kyoho' grapes. The results showed that the slow growth of grape berries during Stage II was associated with assimilate competition between the skin-flesh (pericarp) and seeds, and with peak shifts of concentrations of IAA, GA3, zeatin and zeatin riboside. Changes in ABA levels were closely associated with ripening and senescence during late Stage III.
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