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W.C. Lin and P.A. Jolliffe

The importance of light intensity and spectral quality on fruit color and shelf life of long English cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) was studied in four greenhouse experiments. The intensity of cucumber greenness was measured nondestructively by video imaging, and shelf life was measured by visual observation of incipient yellowing. In the summer, filters were used to cover individual fruit to reduce light intensity reaching the fruit surface. The lower the light intensity incident on a cucumber, the shorter its shelf life. The average shelf life was 8, 5, or 1 days for cucumbers receiving 100%, 66%, or 31% of natural daylight, respectively. The fruit that were covered with a filter transmitting red (R) light were greener (low grey level via video imaging) than those with a far-red (FR) filter. In the fall, fruit receiving spectral R lighting from fluorescence tubes were greener and had a longer shelf life than those receiving FR lighting from incandescent bulbs. In the winter, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting was necessary to supplement natural daylight for crop growth and production. Under HPS, R and FR lighting produced the same fruit greenness and shelf life. In the spring, R-lighted fruit had longer shelf life than FR-lighted ones, although fruit color at harvest was similar. In these four experiments, postharvest shelf life of long English cucumber was generally related to fruit greenness upon harvest. The data suggest the importance of an open canopy in improving fruit greenness and shelf life of greenhouse-grown cucumbers.

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D.C. Elfving, I. Schechter, R.A. Cline, and W.F. Pierce

Mature `Macspur McIntosh'/MM.106 apple trees (Malus domestica Borkh.) trained to the central-leader (CL) tree form were converted to the palmette-leader (PL) tree form in 1987 by removal of east- and west-oriented scaffolds in the upper canopy. Control trees were pruned to maintain the CL form. Dormant pruning in subsequent seasons maintained either tree form. No summer pruning was done. Canopy light levels along horizontal transects 1 m above the soil and vertical transects, both through the center of the canopy, were unaffected by tree form or transect direction. Yields were significantly lower for PL trees in 1987 and 1989, while yield efficiency was reduced in PL trees in all 3 years. Fruit size, trunk cross-sectional area growth, and foliar macronutrient content were unaffected by tree form. Fruit color development in both the upper and lower halves of the canopy was not influenced by tree form during the study.

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Brent H. McCown and Eric L. Zeldin

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Esmaeil Fallahi, Bahar Fallahi, Bahman Shafii, and Zabihollah Zamani

). Consumer acceptance is determined by fruit color, size, eating quality, and texture ( Crassweller and Hollender, 1989 ; Donati et al., 2003 ; Fisher and Ketchie, 1989 ; MacFie, 1995 ; Salveit, 1983 ). Nevertheless, poor color can drastically reduce the

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W.C. Lin and D.L. Ehret

Long English cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants were treated with one of three nutrient concentrations in combination with two fruit thinning treatments forming a 3 × 2 factorial greenhouse experiment. High nutrient concentration enhanced fruit color at harvest and prolonged shelf life but reduced marketable fruit per plant. Thinning of one-third of the fruit from the main stem and laterals had a similar effect. Cucumbers harvested from the upper canopy generally had longer shelf life than those from the lower canopy. Shelf life was correlated with fruit color at harvest.

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T.K. Hartz, P.R. Johnstone, D.M. Francis, and E.M. Miyao

The effect of K fertigation through subsurface irrigation lines on processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit yield and quality was evaluated in four field trials in California from 2002–04. Fields had exchangeable soil K between 0.48 to 0.85 cmol·kg–1, with high exchangeable Mg (10.6 to 13.7 cmol·kg–1) and a history of yellow shoulder (YS, a fruit color disorder) occurrence. K treatments evaluated included seasonal amount applied (0 to 800 kg·ha–1), fertigation method (continuous versus weekly), and timing (early, mid or late season); foliar K treatments were also included in the 2002 trial. In two fields total and marketable fruit yield were significantly increased by K fertigation, and fruit color improvements were observed in all trials. Among color parameters improved by K fertigation were YS incidence, blended color, and L*, chroma, and hue of the shoulder region of fruit. K fertigation did not affect fruit soluble solids concentration. Yield increased only with fertigation treatments initiated during early fruit set. The effects of fertigation method and rate were inconsistent. Foliar K application was ineffective in increasing either fruit yield or quality.

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Rebecca Nelson Brown and James R. Myers

., for providing seed of the parental lines, and greenhouse space for the development of the mapping population, and to H.S. Paris of Newe Ya'ar Research Station, Ramat Yishay, Israel, for fruitful discussion of the genetics of fruit color in Cucurbita .

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Douglas V. Shaw

The heritabilities of, and genetic correlations among, variables that describe internal and external color in fresh strawberry (Fragaria × anarrassa) fruit were estimated using factorial analyses of seedlings from 20 controlled crosses. Hunter L and a values, and a subjective score generated by comparison with color plates were obtained for seedling genotypes and their parents at two locations. Genetic effects were responsible for 33% to 61% of the phenotypic variance for color traits, after correction for location effects. Means for objective color variables differed significantly between locations, but means for subjective color scores did not. Genetic × location interaction variances were usually nonsignificant, and were < 12% of the phenotypic variance for all variables. Phenotypic and genetic correlations between objective and subjective color scores were significant and large (absolute values of r = 0.42-0.69; rg = 0.84-1.00). Multiple regression of subjective scores on L and a explained 69% and 59% of the phenotypic variation for external and internal color, respectively. Genetic correlations between measures of internal and external color were small and mostly nonsignificant, suggesting that separate sets of genes condition these traits.

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James R. Cooksey, James E. Motes, and Brian A. Kahn

Ethephon has increased yields of red fruit, but its use as a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit ripening agent has been limited by premature fruit abscission and defoliation. We tested ethephon solutions of 0,1500,3000,4500, and 6000 μl·liter-1 with or without 0.1 m Ca(OH)2 as a onetime foliar application to field-grown paprika pepper in southwestern Oklahoma. There was a linear increase in fruit abscission with increasing ethephon rates in 2 of 3 years, with or without added Ca. Marketable fruit as a percentage of total harvested fruit weight was improved by ethephon at 6000 μl·liter-1 in 2 of 3 years, primarily due to a decrease in weight of harvested green fruit. However, ethephon never significantly increased the dry weight of harvested marketable fruit over that obtained from the control. There also was no effect of ethephon on the intensity of red pigment extracted from dehydrated marketable fruit. The only consistently significant effect of Ca(OH)2 was an undesirable increase in the retention of green fruit on the plants. Ethephon had little value as a fruit-ripening agent for paprika pepper under the conditions of our studies, and Ca(OH)2 was not useful as an additive to ethephon sprays. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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James M. Wargo, Ian Merwin, and Christopher Watkins

`Jonagold' apple often has problems of inadequate red blush development at harvest, and loss of firmness and skin “greasiness” after refrigerated storage. During two growing seasons we tested factorial combinations of three preharvest treatments for managing these problems: 1) N fertilization (no applied N, 34 kg N/ha in May, or 1% (w/w) foliar urea sprays in May and June); 2) mid-summer trunk scoring (girdling); and 3) aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) applications 3 weeks prior to harvest. Fruit were harvested at four weekly intervals each year, and evaluated for size, blush, firmness, soluble solids, ethylene, and starch hydrolysis. Nitrogen delayed blush development in 1998, but not 1999, and there was no difference in fruit surface blush coverage between foliar urea and soil applied N. Nitrogen applications increased fruit size, decreased fruit firmness, and increased post-storage flesh breakdown in 1999. Trunk scoring increased blush coverage and intensity both years, and improved market-grade packouts. Blush increase after trunk scoring was not caused by advanced fruit maturity (based on ethylene and starch indices) in either year, although it did increase skin greasiness slightly. AVG treatments delayed maturity and blush development of `Jonagold' by 7 to 10 days both years, relative to untreated fruit. Flesh firmness increased and greasiness decreased in AVG treated fruit harvested on the same dates as controls. However, in AVG fruit harvested at comparable stages of maturity 7 to 10 days later, firmness and greasiness were equivalent to untreated fruit on the previous harvest date. Trunk scoring and no N fertilizer were effective for improving fruit blush coloration, and AVG for delaying harvest maturity.