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Jean-Pierre Privé, J.A. Sullivan, and J.T.A. Proctor

Leaf removal, cane girdling, and 14C translocation patterns were used to study source-sink relationships of primocane-fruiting (PF) red raspberries. Although the leaves in the reproductive zone were most important for vegetative and reproductive development, compensatory effects between the cane leaves were evident. When 14C translocation was studied in the reproductive portion of the cane, the lateral closest to the 14C-treated leaf was the major sink for carbohydrate from that leaf, independent of leaf position or reproductive development. Thereafter, partitioning to leaves and/or flowers or fruits above the 14C-treated leaf was related to leaf phyllotaxy 75% of the time.

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David P. Miller, G. Stanley Howell, and James A. Flore

The measurement of whole-plant CO2 uptake integrates leaf-to-leaf variability, which arises from such sources as angle of incident radiation, source/sink relationships, age, and biotic or abiotic factors. Respiration of above-ground vegetative and reproductive sinks is also integrated into the final determination of whole-plant CO2 assimilation. While estimates of whole-plant CO2 uptake based on single-leaf determinations have been used, they do not accurately reflect actual whole-plant assimilation. Chambers were constructed to measure gas exchange of entire potted grapevines. The design and construction are simple, inexpensive, and easy to use, allowing for the measurement of many plants in a relatively short time. This enables the researcher to make replicated comparisons of the whole-plant CO2 assimilation of various treatments throughout the growing season. While CO2 measurement was the focus of this project, it is also possible to measure whole-plant transpiration with this system.

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Gina E. Fernandez and Marvin P. Pritts

The objective of this experiment was to determine the effects that altering the probable source-sink relationships would have on subsequent growth and yield components under field conditions. The balance between vegetative and reproductive growth was altered by imposing light stress (shading) on various growth phases, or removing primocanes, floricanes or fruit. Removal of primocanes significantly increased yield the year of removal. However, if primocane removal coincided with canopy shading, this increase in yield was not achieved. Overall, a significant negative correlation existed between 1991 and 1992 yields. Treatments with high yields in 1991 had low yields in 1992, and visa verca. This evidence-suggests that: 1) primocanes and floricanes are competing for light, not photosynthates during the flowering and fruiting period and 2) altering the balance of vegetative and reproductive growth one year had a significant effect on growth the subsequent year.

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Rajeev Arora, Michael Wisniewski, and Lisa J. Rowland

Seasonal pattern of cold tolerance and proteins were studied in the leaves of sibling deciduous and evergreen peach (Prunus persica). In contrast to deciduous peach that undergoes endodormancy in fall, evergreen peach does not (leaves are retained and shoot tips elongate under favorable conditions) (Arora et al., Plant Physiol. 99:1562-1568). Cold tolerance (LT50) was assessed using electrolyte leakage method. Proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE. Electroblots were probed with anti-dehydrin (Dr. T. Close) and anti-19 kD, peach bark storage protein (BSP) antibodies. LT50 of leaves successively increased from about -7C (18 Aug.) to -15C and -11.5C (23 Oct.) in deciduous and evergreen genotypes, respectively. The most apparent change in the protein profiles was the accumulation of a 60-kD protein during cold acclimation in the leaves of deciduous trees; however, it did not change significantly in evergreen peach. Immunoblots indicate that 60-kD protein is a dehydrin protein. PAGE and immunoblots indicated that 19-kD BSP disappeared progressively during summer through fall in the leaves of deciduous peach, but accumulated to large amounts in bark tissues. Similar inverse relationship for its accumulation in leaf vs. bark tissue was not evident in evergreen peach. Results indicate that BSP expression may be regulated by altered source/sink relationship.

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Victor N. Njiti, Qun Xia, Leonna S. Tyler, Lakeisha D. Stewart, Antione T. Tenner, Chunquan Zhang, Dovi Alipoe, Franklin Chukwuma, and Ming Gao

Excessive vine growth in sweetpotato has been associated with lower storage root yield. Prohexadione–calcium (Pro-Ca), a plant growth retardant, has been used to reduce vegetative growth and increase harvest efficiency and yield in many fruit and row crops. The influence of Pro-Ca on sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.) vegetative growth and storage root yield was evaluated in this study. In 2010 and 2011, the sweetpotato cvs. Beauregard, Porto Rico, O’ Henry, and SC1149-19 were sprayed with 0 and 810 mg a.i./L Pro-Ca in a split plot randomized complete block. Each plot received two sprays, the first at 2 weeks after transplanting and the second at 6 weeks after transplanting. When averaged across cultivars, Pro-Ca significantly (P ≤ 0.05) reduced vine length and vine yield and increased total root yield compared with the control. There was no significant Pro-Ca × cultivar interaction on any trait. Total biomass was not significantly (P ≤ 0.05) different between Pro-Ca-treated and control plants. However, the treated plants had more total root yield, whereas the control plants had more vine yield, suggesting that Pro-Ca treatment affected the distribution of assimilates. Data from this study suggested that it may be possible to use Pro-Ca to manipulate the source-sink relationship for higher storage root yield in sweetpotato.

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Conny W. Hansen, Jonathan Lynch, and Carl-Otto Ottosen

Whole-plant CO2 exchange and root-shoot interactions during transition from vegetative to reproductive growth of `Coral Charm' chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum Ramat.) were investigated over a range of P concentrations considered to be deficient (1 μM), adequate (100 μM), or high (5 mM). Transition from vegetative to reproductive growth resulted in reduced photosynthate production, root respiration, biomass accumulation, and starch accumulation in leaves. Root respiration was low in high-P plants regardless of growth stage. Reduced root respiration may indicate changes in source-sink relationships during the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, making roots less competitive sinks than developing flowers. Plant responses to P deficiency included decreased CO2 assimilation and shoot biomass accumulation but increased root respiration, root:shoot ratio, specific leaf mass (SLM), and starch accumulation in leaves. Reduced root respiration activity in high-P plants was presumably due to differences in root architecture resulting in proportionately fewer root apices in high P. Daily CO2 assimilation, shoot biomass, SLM, and root:shoot ratio were similar in plants grown with adequate-P and high-P availability, although plant P accumulation increased with P availability. Our results suggest that the excessive P fertilization often used in ornamental production systems is detrimental to root activity.

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Gina E. Fernandez and Marvin P. Pritts

A 2-year study was conducted to investigate the influence of the light environment on source-sink relationships in `Titan' red raspberry. Treatments imposed included flower and cane removal in conjunction with partial or whole canopy shading. Raspberry plants were remarkably resistant to a reduction in carbon supply. Yields and primocane production were maintained even when canopies were shaded. Furthermore, if raspberry plants were prevented from producing a full crop in one year, yields the following year tended to be higher than normal. These data, and other studies demonstrating that raspberry roots are strong carbon sinks, suggest that raspberry plants may rely on stored carbohydrate to mature the current crop of fruits when current photosynthate is inadequate. This trait is characteristic of some perennial species adapted to progressively changing environments, but may not be optimal for horticultural situations where growing conditions are relatively constant from year to year. A large root storage capacity and excessive primocane production likely contribute to the relatively low yields that are typical of this species.

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Yehoshua Saranga, Avishag Levi, Pavel Horcicka, and Shmuel Wolf

The cause for the differences in germination ability of large and small confection sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) seeds was investigated over 3 years. The source-sink relationship was manipulated to better explore the differences between seeds of various sizes and to study the role of the embryo and the pericarp (hull) in controlling germination ability. Percent germination of large seeds was significantly lower than that of small seeds when tests were performed at 15 °C. Increasing the ratio of leaf area to number of developing seeds caused an increase in mean seed mass, but resulted in a lower percentage of germination. Seed vigor, as measured by mean time to germination or to emergence of hulled seeds or by rate of root elongation, was negatively correlated with embryo mass, indicating that the low vigor of large seeds is not due to the mechanical barrier imposed by the hull. Analysis of electrolyte leakage confirmed the hypothesis that the low quality of large seeds results from a disturbance during the process of seed development.

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P.I. Garriz, G.M. Colavita, and H.L. Alvarez

Crop load and the genetic biological carrying capacity (source–sink relationships) determine the potential for fruit size development on apple; however, the environment within which the fruit grows attenuates this potential. The effects of different crop loads on the growth pattern and the progress of maturity in apples were evaluated at the Comahue National Univ., Argentina (lat. 38 56'S long 67 59'W), during the 1998–99 growing season. Our experiment was conducted on 6-year-old `Braeburn'/Malling Merton 111 apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees spaced 4.0 × 2.3 m and trained to palmette leader. Treatments were 1) light crop load (LC), 2.5 fruit/cm2 trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), 2) moderate crop load (MC), 6.5 fruit/cm2 TCSA (standard commercial crop load) and 3) high crop load (HC), minimum 8 fruit/cm2 TCSA, no fruit removed from tree. Whole trees were hand-thinned 19 days after full bloom (DAFB). Fruit diameter (FD) was taken at two weekly intervals (n = 24 per date and treatment) and maturity indexes were determined at harvest. Analysis of variance was used and mean separations were computed with Student's t test. From 38 DAFB until harvest, fruit size was significantly reduced (P < 0.01) in the HC trees, indicating that they were source-limited during growth. At 166 DAFB, FD was 7.48, 7.14, and 6.89 cm for the LC, MC and HC treatments, respectively. Adequate carbon was apparently available to support a commercial crop load since no differences were found between LC and MC trees. Crop level influenced flesh firmness; at 173 DAFB, it was significantly lower in HC trees than MC and LC trees (84.33, 92.51, and 91.57 N, respectively). These results suggest some goals of thinning for ensuring sizable `Braeburn' fruit.

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Conny W. Hansen and Jonathan Lynch

Whole-plant biomass accumulation, P dynamics, and root-shoot interactions during transition from vegetative to reproductive growth of `Coral Charm' chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum Ramat.) (Zander, 1993) were investigated over a range of P concentrations considered to be deficient (1 μm), adequate (100 μm), and high (5 mm). In nondeficient plants, transition from vegetative to reproductive growth resulted in reduced relative growth rate and root and shoot biomass accumulation. Reproductive plants showed a higher commitment of the whole plant to the production of developing flowers than to leaves and roots, whereas, in vegetative plants, the highest component production rate was in leaves. This indicates changes in the source-sink relationships during transition from vegetative growth making developing flowers stronger sinks for photoassimilates than roots. Phosphorus allocated to developing flowers was predominantly lost from leaves. Phosphorus-deficient plants showed characteristic P-deficiency symptoms and favored root growth over shoot growth regardless of growth stage. Phosphorus availability in nondeficient plants affected root growth more than shoot growth. No substantial differences in shoot biomass production, relative growth rate, and CO2 assimilation rates were observed in adequate-P and high-P plants. However, the root component production rate, root to shoot ratio, root length ratio, specific root length, specific root area, root mass to leaf area ratio, and root respiration increased in adequate-P plants compared with high-P plants, which indicates that high root activity was maintained without affecting shoot biomass in buffered P conditions. Our results suggest that the high P concentrations used in many horticultural systems may have no benefit in terms of shoot growth and may actually be detrimental to root growth.