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Niels O. Maness, Gerald H. Brusewitz, and T. Gregory McCollum

Impact testing was used to assess the variables related to bruise resistance for four peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars. The effects of cultivar, ripeness, drop height, and firmness on fruit bruise incidence, bruise volume, respiration, and ethylene evolution rates of freshly harvested peaches were determined. The impact variables peak impact force, contact time, absorbed energy, and percent absorbed energy were measured at three stages of fruit ripeness and at three fruit drop heights. Each of the impact variables changed with fruit ripeness. Cultivars differed in their characteristic response to impact. Fruit impact, under the low to moderate impact energies used, had negligible effects on fruit respiration and ethylene production for the cultivars studied. Bruise incidence and volume increased with drop height and especially with advancing stage of ripeness. Under conditions we used, peach fruit bruise severity could be determined by either bruise incidence in or bruise volume of mesocarp tissue.

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Brian A. Kahn, James E. Motes, and Niels O. Maness

Mechanical harvest of paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) produces a mixture of marketable and unmarketable fruit. Our objective was to increase the percentage of marketable red fruit in a once-over harvest by using ethephon to remove late-developing flower buds, blooms, and green fruit. Three experiments were conducted on field-grown plants in southwestern Oklahoma. We tested ethephon solutions of 0, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 μL·L-1 as a one-time foliar application on various dates in September and October. Total dry mass of harvested fruit decreased linearly as ethephon rate increased in all experiments. Marketable fruit, as a percentage of total harvested fruit mass, increased linearly with ethephon rate in two of three experiments. Ethephon decreased the percent of total harvested fruit mass due to green fruit in all experiments. We recommend a single application of ethephon at about 2000 to 3000 μL·L-1 as a controlled abscission agent to increase the percentage of harvested red fruit in paprika pepper. The precise timing of the application will vary with the situation, but the last 10 days in September seemed an appropriate interval for southwestern Oklahoma. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Michael W. Smith, Charles T. Rohla, and Niels O. Maness

The current theory of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] alternate bearing is the “growth regulator–carbohydrate theory” in which flowering is first controlled by growth regulators produced by fruit and leaves, and then by the size of the carbohydrate pool near budbreak. Lack of nitrogen (N) reserves has also been proposed to be limiting after large crops, thus reducing return bloom. Annual production was determined for 12 individual trees for 3 years. Return bloom was monitored on four previous-season shoot types: 1) vegetative shoots, 2) bearing terminal shoots without a second growth flush, 3) bearing lateral shoots without a second growth flush, and 4) bearing shoots that were primarily in the terminal position with a second growth flush. Nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and potassium (K) concentrations were determined in roots and shoots. Regression analysis was used to determine the effect of yield on subsequent nonstructural carbohydrates, N, and K in the roots and shoots, and their postyield concentrations on subsequent flowering. Alternate bearing was evident because there were reductions of 18%, 16%, and 18% in the percentage of current season shoots flowering for every 10 kg/tree production increase in the previous season's yield in 2002, 2003, and 2004 respectively. Flower production in 2002 decreased by 2.6 flowers/1-year-old branch and 1.6 flowers/1-year-old branch in 2003 for each 10 kg/tree increase in production. The third year of the study, neither previous season shoot type nor yield affected subsequent flower production. The previous year's shoot type did not affect the percentage of current season shoots flowering; however, the previous year's shoots that had a second growth flush produced more flowers the following year than the other shoot types. Results suggested that crop load was not related to nonstructural carbohydrates, N, or K in the roots and shoots during January in these well-managed trees. Stored nonstructural carbohydrates, N, and K were also not related to return bloom. These data suggest that the current “growth regulator–carbohydrate theory” may not be valid in these well-managed trees. Nonstructural carbohydrates, K, and organically bound N do not appear to be critical factors regulating flowering.

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Charles T. Rohla, Michael W. Smith, and Niels O. Maness

Alternate bearing pecan trees [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] were hand-thinned annually to 1, ≤2, or ≤3 fruit/cluster or not thinned when the ovule was about one-half expanded. Return bloom was monitored on (1) vegetative shoots, (2) bearing shoots without a second growth flush in the terminal position on 1-year-old branches, (3) bearing shoots without a second growth flush in the lateral position on 1-year-old branches, and (4) bearing shoots with a second growth flush that were primarily in the terminal position. Yield and nut quality were determined in addition to nonstructural carbohydrate, organically bound nitrogen (N), and potassium (K) concentrations in the roots and shoots during January. Fruit thinning improved return bloom but had little effect on weight/nut, kernel percent, or kernel grade. Fruit thinning had either a modest or no effect on nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K concentrations. Vegetative shoots and bearing terminal shoots produced a similar number of flowers/1-year-old branch and percentage of flowering current-season shoots. Bearing lateral shoots produced fewer flowers than vegetative shoots most years and fewer flowering current-season shoots during one year. Shoots with a second growth flush produced more flowers/1-year-old branch and a larger percentage of flowering current-season shoots than did vegetative shoots 2 of 3 years. These data indicate fruit thinning of overloaded trees improved return bloom, but the lack of interactions between thinning treatment and shoot type suggests that the number of fruit/cluster was less important than total crop load in determining nut quality and return bloom. Thus removal of entire fruit clusters appears as effective as thinning fruit within a cluster to maintain adequate nut quality and promote return bloom. Nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K were not limiting factors in bearing consistency because they were not depressed in unthinned trees. Nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K concentrations were not closely linked to alternate bearing because return bloom was enhanced by thinning, but thinning did not affect their concentrations.

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Niels O. Maness, Michael W. Smith, C. Zhang, and Gerald H. Brusewitz

Techniques to reduce the oil content of shelled pecans using supercritical CO2 have been developed, and the effect of partial oil extraction on kernel quality is being investigated. Extraction conditions induce little kernel damage and allow for up to 30% oil reduction. Extraction temperature, at 40 or 80C, influenced kernel color. Regardless of temperature, extracted nut meat was lighter in color. Testa color increased in redness for kernels extracted at 80C compared to kernels extracted at 40C. Extracted oil was amber. Fatty acid composition of oil obtained with supercritical CO2 was essentially the same as oil obtained by organic solvent extraction and by cold press. Investigations to determine the effect of oil reduction on pecan shelf life are described. This research was supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture grant 92-34150-7190, Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology grant AR4-044, and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Paul B. Hedman, John M. Dole, Niels O. Maness, and Jeffrey A. Anderson

The postharvest biosynthesis of ethylene and CO2 was measured at 0, 12, 24, and 48 h after harvest and the effects of exogenous applications of 0.0, 0.2, or 1.0 μl·liter–1 ethylene for 20 h was observed on eight speciality cut flower species. Helianthus maximilliani (Maximillian's sunflower), Penstemon digitalis (penstemon), Achillea fillipendulina [`Coronation Gold' (yarrow)], Celosia plumosa [`Forest Fire' (celosia)], Cosmos bipinnatus [`Sensation' (cosmos)], Buddleia davidii (butterfly bush), and Weigela sp. (weigela) exhibited a climacteric-like pattern of ethylene production followed by a steady rise in CO2 production. Echinacea purpurea (coneflower) ethylene biosynthesis was not significant during the 48-h period after harvest. Vase life of coneflower, yarrow, celosia, cosmos, and butterfly bush was not affected by exogenous ethylene. Exogenous ethylene applications to Maximillian's sunflower, penstemon, and weigela resulted in flower abscission and decreased vase life, indicating that they are probably ethylene-sensitive cut flower species.

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Niels O. Maness, Jamal Bizri, Michael W. Smith, C. Zhang, and Gerald H. Brusewitz

Partial oil extraction is being investigated as a means to increase oxidative stability and provide reduced fat pecan halves. Supercritical extraction with carbon dioxide provided a means to extract twenty to thirty percent of resident oil, with little to no kernel damage and leaving no harmful residues in the kernel or the extracted oil. Variances in extraction time, temperature, pressure and total carbon dioxide volume used for extraction with a continuous flow extractor will be discussed. Fatty acid composition of oils extracted using supercritical carbon dioxide was essentially the same as oils obtained by solvent extraction and by cold press. Fatty acid yield in the oils was greater for supercritical extraction compared to the other two methods. Oxidative stability for extracted and unextracted pecans, determined using an accelerated aging technique, will be compared. Supported by USDA grant 92-34150-7190 and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Charles T. Rohla*, Michael W. Smith, Niels O. Maness, and William R. Reid

Trees with about the same crop load were hand thinned to 1, <2, or <3 fruit per cluster or not thinned while the ovule was about one-half expanded. Treatments were replicated three times. Vegetative, and bearing terminal, lateral and shoots with secondary growth were tagged in October, and flowering was determined the following year. Shoots and roots were sampled during dormancy and analyzed for organically bound N, and K. Results indicated that branches with secondary growth produced substantially more shoots and flowers than other branch types. The unthinned trees produced fewer total flowers per branch, had a lower percentage of branches with flowering shoots, and smaller flower clusters than thinned trees. Organically bound N in the roots and shoots was not affected by crop load. Crop load appeared to be negatively related to K concentration in roots <1 cm in diameter, but not in roots >1 cm in diameter. The data suggest that neither N nor K were limiting in trees with large crops.

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Charles T. Rohla*, Michael W. Smith, Niels O. Maness, and William R. Reid

Whole fruit clusters were collected from three shoot types: terminal and lateral shoots without secondary growth, and shoots with secondary growth. Fruit per cluster was counted and nuts were individually weighed, shelled and graded. Return bloom of the same shoots was measured. Results indicated that cluster size of lateral bearing shoots was negatively related to next year's average kernel weight, nut weight, and kernel percentage. However, only kernel percentage was related to cluster size on terminal bearing shoots, and none of these parameters were related to cluster size on shoots with secondary growth. Cluster size and total kernel weight per shoot were positively related for the three shoot types. Return bloom of terminal shoots was negatively related to cluster size, but cluster size did not affect return bloom of the other shoot types.

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Brian A. Kahn, Yaying Wu, Niels O. Maness, John B. Solie, and Richard W. Whitney

Research was conducted to develop a cultural system that would permit a destructive mechanical okra [Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench] harvest. Okra grown at a highly dense (HD) plant population of 25 × 23 cm and destructively harvested by machine was compared with control plants spaced at 90 × 23 cm and repeatedly and non-destructively harvested by hand. The control N fertilization regime was 45 kg·ha-1 of N preplant, followed by one or two topdressings, each with 22 kg·ha-1 of N. Treatments applied to HD plots were designed to be multiples of the control N fertilization levels. Preplant fertilizer was added such that the sum of residual soil N plus the added fertilizer would total to 45, 90, or 135 kg·ha-1 of N for the standard, intermediate, and highest rates, respectively. Topdressing rates were 22, 44, or 66 kg·ha-1 of N for standard, intermediate, and highest, respectively. Topdressing was timed to follow a mechanical harvest of the HD plots. Since there was only one mechanical harvest in the two 1995 studies, topdress N treatments did not affect yields from mechanical harvest in that year. Nitrogen treatments had few effects on fruit yield per hectare of HD okra, even when stem N concentrations equaled or exceeded those of control plants. The highest N rate tended to delay fruit production. Increasing N rates did not affect the marketable fruit yield obtained by mechanical harvest of HD plants expressed as a percentage of the total cumulative marketable fruit yield from control plants. Physiological factors appear to be limiting the potential for densely planted okra in a destructive mechanical harvest system rather than horticultural factors such as N nutrition.