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José Manuel Alonso and Rafael Socias i Company

Pollen tube growth after selfing was studied in four almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) families derived from crosses between self-compatible `Tuono' and self-incompatible `Ferragnès' and `Ferralise' in both directions, in order to ascertain the phenotypic expressions of the different genotypes. A differential expression of self-compatibility was observed in the seedlings of the different families. The genetic self-compatible offspring of `Ferralise' showed a lower percentage of pistils with pollen tubes at the style base and a lower number of pollen tubes at the pistil base after self-pollination than those observed in the self-compatible offspring of `Ferragnès'. This low level of self-compatibility expression observed in some `Ferralise' seedlings may be due to the inbreeding present in `Ferralise'. As a consequence, caution must be taken in almond breeding to avoid the increase of inbreeding by the utilization of related parents and to diversify the sources of self-compatibility, at present mostly limited to `Tuono.'

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Patrick H. Brown

Concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, B, Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn in mature commercial fig (`Calimyrna'; `Sari Lop') leaves are presented throughout the growing season. These data can be used as preliminary norms for the interpretation of tree nutrient status for high-yielding commercial fig orchards. In comparison with other deciduous tree crops growing in the same regions {almond [Prunus amygdalus Batsch syn. P. dulcis (Mill) D.A. Webb], walnut (Juglans regia L.), peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]}, productive fig trees have relatively low leaf N, P, and K concentrations (2.1%, 0.1%, and 1.0% dry weight, respectively) in July, although tissue Mn and Ca concentrations often exceed those typically found in other deciduous species growing in the same soils. Seasonal variations in fig leaf nutrient concentrations are similar to those of other tree crops. Marked declines in tissue K and N concentrations toward the end of the season may indicate a need for supplemental N and K fertilization in highly productive orchards. The potential for K deficiency in fig also is indicated by the generally lower leaf K concentrations in the low-vigor orchards examined.

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Jordi Canals, Jorge Pinochet, and Antonio Felipe

The influence of temperature and age of the plant was determined on nematode reproduction on a susceptible almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch.) and on a resistant peach-almond hybrid (P. persica Stok. × P. amygdalus Batsch.) rootstock inoculated with Meloidogyne javanica (Treub) Chitwood. Experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions in heated and unheated sand beds. `Garrigues' almond inoculated with 3000 nematodes per plant showed extensive galling, high final nematode population levels, and high counts of nematodes per gram of root at 27 and 32C. The hybrid G × N No. 1 showed minimal galling and reproduction at 27C but higher levels of galling and final population and nematode counts per gram of root at 32C, suggesting a partial loss of resistance with temperature increase. One-month-old and 1-year-old plants of `Garrigues' were susceptible following inoculation with 2000 nematodes per plant, although plantlets (l-month) were significantly more affected. Plantlets of hybrid G × N No. 1 were also susceptible, but 1-year-old plants were resistant. Resistant genotypes (G × N selections) seem to require root tissue maturation before expressing full resistance.

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Patrick M. McCool and Robert C. Musselman

Almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch cv. Nonpareil), apricot (Prunus armeniaca L. cv. Royal Blenheim), and peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Halford] grafted nursery stock seedlings were exposed once per week for 4 hours to a maximum O3 concentration of 0.25 μl·liter-1 in field exposure chambers. Exposures were repeated for a total of 4 months in 1986 (year 1) and 1987 (year 2). Trunk caliper, number of shoots, and net growth (total seasonal weight increase) were measured at the end of each year. Almonds appeared to be the most sensitive to O3. Almond seedlings exhibited extensive foliar injury from O3, while apricot and peach seedlings were relatively insensitive. Total net growth of O3-exposed almond was reduced during both years relative to the controls and an impact on caliper was evident after year 2. Apricot seedlings exposed to O3 developed a thinner trunk but more shoots than the controls in both years. Peach tree seedlings exposed to O3 had fewer shoots than the controls at the conclusion of year 2 but thicker trunks after both years. No significant difference in variance or shape of distribution of net growth within the treatment populations between O3-exposed seedlings and controls was detected for any of the three fruit crops. The impact of O3 on young, nonbearing perennial fruit crops may be most evident in specific growth characteristics, such as net growth or trunk caliper.

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Joseph H. Connell

California almonds [Prunus dulcis, (Mill.) D.A. Webb, syn. Prunus amygdalus Batsch] are self-incompatible requiring cross-pollination to produce a commercial crop. Within seven known pollen groups, they also display cross-incompatibility. Coincidence of bloom between compatible cultivars is essential for cross-pollination. Since almonds are pollinated primarily by honeybees [Apis mellifera L.], arranging pollinizers in close proximity to one another promotes maximum pollen transfer. Almonds are frequently subject to inclement weather during their February bloom period. Strong honeybee colonies are better able to forage during marginal weather conditions than are weak colonies. Honeybee management can encourage pollen foraging and placement of colonies can affect flight activity and ultimately nut-set. Weather permitting vigorous honeybee flight activity is the most important factor for setting a good crop. Temperature also affects anther dehiscence, pollen germination, and pollen tube growth. The sooner an almond flower is cross-pollinated after opening, the greater the chance of fertilization and nut-set. Optimizing all of these pollination factors is therefore essential to achieve maximum production in almond orchards.

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Bridget M. Lamp, Joseph H. Connell, Roger A. Duncan, Mario Viveros, and Vito S. Polito

Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb (syn. Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Amygdalus communis L.)] flower bud development for three cultivars (Nonpareil, Carmel, and Butte) from four California locations (which span the range of almond production in California) for 2 years, and for `Nonpareil' in a single location for a third year. The objectives were to document timing of floral developmental events and to better understand the extent of variation that exists within and among cultivars, locations, and years. Results indicated that the time of floral initiation relative to hull split varied among cultivars. Median time for floral initiation in `Nonpareil' was more than 3 weeks after the onset of hull split. For `Butte' and `Carmel', median time of floral initiation preceded the onset of hull split. Extensive variation in the timing of bud development events within a cultivar was apparent. Timing of developmental events varied among locations, but no patterns emerged consistent with the north to south range which spanned 4°15' latitude and 520 km. Among years, development occurred earliest in 1997, a relatively warm year, and was delayed in 1998 and 1999, relatively cool years. Results indicate an earlier onset of floral initiation than reported in the classical literature on the subject.

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Anne M. Gillen and Fred A. Bliss

An F2 population from a single F1 plant from the cross of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] rootstock cultivars Harrow Blood (HB) × Okinawa (Oki) was used to locate the Mi locus, which conditions resistance to Meloidogyne incognita (race 1) (Kofoid and White) Chitwood. These data and comparison of common markers among published genetic linkage maps placed the Mi locus on Prunus L. linkage group 2. Two restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) [linked at 4.8 and 6.8 centimorgan (cM), repulsion phase] and one random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker (linked at 9.5 cM, coupling phase) were linked to Mi. The RAPD marker was cloned, sequenced, and converted to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPs) marker. Clones of resistance gene analogs (RGA) developed from Oki were highly polymorphic when used as RFLP probes. The RGA's mapped to four linkage groups but clustered on two of the four linkage groups, providing limited coverage of the genome. Even so, they may be useful as markers for disease resistance genes that occur in other populations. The linkage maps of the HB × Oki F2 population and a peach × almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) F2 population were colinear in certain regions, however, a significant number of markers mapped to different linkage groups among the two populations. The locus for the blood-flesh trait (red-violet mesocarp) mapped to the top of linkage group 4.

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J.M. Alonso, J.M. Ansón, M.T. Espiau, and R. Socias i Company

Almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch.) blooming date is determined by the temperatures during the dormancy period, from the onset of endodormancy to just before blooming. In this work we have developed a model, based on several years data, to estimate the mean transition date from endodormancy to ecodormancy in 44 almond cultivars covering the whole range of almond bloom, through the significance of correlation coefficients between the temperatures occurring during dormancy and the date of full bloom. The estimation of this date for each cultivar has allowed the calculation of its chill and heat requirements. It was found that most cultivars have chilling requirements between 400 and 600 chill units, whereas the span of heat requirements was wider, from 5500 to 9300 growing degree hours Celsius. Some cultivars show high chilling requirements and low heat requirements whereas others show opposite requirements. These differences confirm the wide almond adaptability to different climatic conditions and offer the possibility of being utilized in breeding programs. The good fit shown by the application of this model in the prediction of bloom time may sustain its application in chilling and heat requirement estimation in other fruit species if blooming dates and climatic data for several years are available.

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Àngel Fernández i Martí, José M. Alonso, María T. Espiau, María J. Rubio-Cabetas, and Rafel Socias i Company

Genetic diversity of the Spanish national almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) collection was characterized with 19 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers selected because of their polymorphism in almond and other Prunus L. species. A total of 93 almond genotypes, including 63 Spanish cultivars from different growing regions, as well as some international cultivars and breeding releases were analyzed. All primers produced a successful amplification, giving a total of 323 fragments in the genotypes studied, with an average of 17 alleles per SSR, ranging from 4 (EPDCU5100) to 33 (BPPCT038). Allele size ranged from 88 bp at locus PMS40 to 260 bp at locus CPPCT022. The heterozygosity observed (0.72) was much higher not only than in other Prunus species, but also than in other almond pools already studied. The dendrogram generated using the variability observed classified most of the genotypes according to their geographical origin, confirming the particular evolution of different almond ecotypes. The SSR markers have consequently shown their usefulness for cultivar identification in almond, for establishing the genetic closeness among its cultivars, and for establishing genealogical relationships.

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Ossama Kodad and Rafel Socias i Company

Nut and kernel dimensions and sphericity, shelling percentage, oil content, and fatty acid composition were studied over 2 years in 15 advanced almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) selections. The aim was to test the effect of pollination type on these fruit traits for this group of new self-compatible selections of a mostly self-incompatible species as well as the yearly effect on these variables. Variability between selections was much higher than that between years, showing a moderate level of year-stability and a significant year effect only for some variables. The different pollination treatments affected all chemical components studied, as well as nut and kernel weight, but not the other physical traits. Self-pollination decreased kernel weight and volume as well as oil content and percentage of linoleic acid but increased the percentage of oleic acid. These variations in the fatty acid composition were in the trend of increasing kernel quality. Inbreeding depression could also negatively affect several aspects of nut and kernel quality. Thus, autogamous almond genotypes without apparent symptoms of inbreeding depression may yield kernels of increased nutritional and industrial quality.