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Rongcai Yuan and David H. Carbaugh

Effects of naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) alone or in combination on fruit ethylene production, preharvest fruit drop, fruit quality, and fruit maturation were examined in ‘Golden Supreme’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). In ‘Golden Supreme’ apples, the combination of two applications of AVG and one application of NAA 3 and 1 week, respectively, before the anticipated optimum harvest date synergistically inhibited fruit ethylene production and delayed fruit drop and ripening. Compared with one or two applications of AVG, the combination of one application of AVG and two applications of NAA had much lower preharvest fruit drop, although there was no significant difference in fruit ethylene production among these treatments. In ‘Golden Delicious’ apples, 1-MCP at 396 mg·L−1 had a better effect in delaying fruit drop than did AVG at 125 mg·L−1 or NAA at 20 mg·L−1 when they were applied a week before the optimum harvest date. The combination of NAA and 1-MCP or AVG was more effective in delaying fruit drop than were NAA, 1-MCP, or AVG alone. Fruit ethylene production was inhibited by 1-MCP and AVG but not by NAA. 1-MCP and AVG delayed fruit ripening, whereas NAA increased fruit ripening as determined by fruit firmness and starch.

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Andrew G. Reynolds, Margaret Cliff, Douglas A. Wardle, and Marjorie King

Eighty-five cultivars, selections and clones of winegrapes (Vitis) from European breeding and selection programs were evaluated between 1993–95 in a randomized completeblock experiment. These included selections from Alzey, Freiburg, Geilweilerhof, Geisenheim, Weinsberg, and Würzburg (Germany); Hungary; and the former USSR. Vines were grown under an organic management regime that included sodium silicate sprays for powdery mildew (Uncinula necator) control and oil + detergent for insect control but with little to no nitrogen or other nutritional inputs. The Weinsberg cultivars Heroldrebe and Helfensteiner showed promise viticulturally and sensorially as alternatives to `Pinot noir'. Cultivars from Geisenheim (`Gm 7117-10' and `Gm 7117-26') and Würzburg (`Cantaro' and `Fontanara') appeared promising as `Riesling' alternatives; many displayed similar sensory characteristics to `Riesling', along with reasonable viticultural performance. Cultivars selected at Alzey (`Faberrebe'), Freiburg (`Nobling'), and Weinsberg (`Holder') displayed sensory characteristics superior to the standard cultivar Müller-Thurgau, with very intense muscat, pear, fig, and spicy aromas and flavors. Several muscat-flavored Hungarian white wine cultivars appeared to be superior viticulturally and sensorially to the standard `Csabagyongye'; these included `Kozma Palne Muscotaly', `Zefir', and `Zengo'. Miscellaneous red wine cultivars that showed promise included Geilweilerhof cultivar Regent, and Hungarian selections Kozma 55 and Kozma 525. Vine yields decreased substantially in the 3-year evaluation period, primarily due to lack of nitrogen. Many of these cultivars appeared to be highly adaptable to viticultural regions where cold winters and low heat units during fruit maturation presently restrict cultivar choices.

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Rongcai Yuan and Jianguo Li

Effects of naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), and sprayable 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) alone or in combination on fruit ethylene production, preharvest fruit drop, fruit quality, and fruit maturation were examined in ‘Delicious’ apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). 1-MCP and AVG + NAA, when applied 15 days before anticipated harvest (DBAH) for untreated control trees, more effectively delayed preharvest fruit drop than AVG or NAA used alone. However, there was no significant difference in ethylene production between fruit treated with 1-MCP or AVG + NAA and those treated by AVG. Two applications of NAA increased fruit ethylene production and fruit softening, whereas AVG inhibited NAA-enhanced fruit ethylene production and fruit softening. There was no significant difference in fruit ethylene production, fruit firmness, and fruit drop control between one and two applications of 1-MCP. The concentrations of 1-MCP did not affect the efficacy of 1-MCP when applied 15 DBAH, but high concentration of 1-MCP more effectively delayed preharvest fruit drop than low concentration of 1-MCP when applied 7 DBAH. Both AVG and 1-MCP suppressed expression of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) synthase gene MdACS1, ACC oxidase gene MdACO1, and polygalacturonase gene MdPG1 in fruit. Expression of ACS5A and MdACO1 but not MdACS1 in fruit abscission zones was decreased by AVG and 1-MCP. 1-MCP more effectively suppressed expression of MdPG2 in fruit abscission zones than AVG alone.

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Yosef Al Shoffe, Abdul Sattar Shah, Jacqueline F. Nock, and Christopher B. Watkins

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to the physiological disorder soft scald, especially when stored at temperatures close to 0 °C. The disorder can be reduced by a conditioning treatment of 10 °C for 7 days before storage, but little is known about the underlying physiology of disorder development. The effects of storing ‘Honeycrisp’ apples in air at 0.5 °C for a total of 140 days, without and with conditioning, on internal ethylene concentration (IEC), ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations, and activities of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) were investigated in relation to soft scald incidence. Fruit were selected on the basis of background color (chlorophyll concentration) using a nondestructive delta absorbance (DA) meter to minimize variability of fruit maturation. Conditioning reduced soft scald incidence to 1% compared with 28% in unconditioned fruit. During the conditioning period, IECs were usually greatest in the conditioned fruit, with no effect on ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations. During subsequent storage, IEC was greatest in conditioned fruit, whereas ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations were generally less. However, ADH and PDC activities were unaffected consistently by conditioning or during storage.

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Eric J. Hanson and G. Stanley Howell

Mature `Concord' vines (Vitis labrusca L.) were excavated at 2- to 4-week intervals through the season to study seasonal changes in vine N concentration. Vine N content began increasing 2 weeks after budbreak, increased most rapidly from mid-May to mid-July, and declined between fruit maturation and the beginning of leaf senescence. Vine N content was lowest at budbreak (18 g) and maximum at fruit maturity (75 g). This change represented a net accumulation of 57 g N/vine or 77 kg N/ha. In a separate study, `Seyval blanc' vines were treated with double 15N-labeled ammonium nitrate at either budbreak or bloom. Labeled N was applied as a spray beneath vines to simulate a broadcast vineyard application. Vines were excavated when leaves began to senesce in October, partitioned into various components, and analyzed by mass spectrophotometry to determine fertilizer-derived N content. Vines had recovered statistically similar percentages of fertilizer N applied at budbreak (7.1%) and bloom (10.6%). The low recovery of fertilizer N likely resulted from the method of fertilizer application, the presence of a competitive grass sod between the rows, and relatively high native soil N levels.

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Floyd M. Woods*, William A. Dozier Jr., Robert C. Ebel, David G. Himelrick, Cecilia Mosjidis, Raymond H. Thomas, Bryan S. Wilkins, and James A. Pitts

The relationship between fruit maturation and accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2), lipid peroxidation, ethylene (C2 H4) production, antioxidant activity (hydrophilic, lipophilic and total) and the antioxidant enzyme ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC in fruit pericarp tissue of `Chandler' (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) strawberry were measured. `Chandler' fruit pericarp maturation and ripening were accompanied by a decline in H2 O2 content early in fruit development followed by a rapid accumulation. An increase in membrane lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS) coincided with accumulation of H2 O2, which preceded a rise in C2 H4 production. In general, antioxidant activity declined as fruit matured and ripened. APX enzyme activity increased by 2-fold and peaked at the pink stage of development and then gradually declined with ripening. H2 O2 may serve as a signal molecule to initiate the cascade of oxidative processes during maturation and ripening. APX enzyme activity during maturation and ripening was not substantial and thus, may not have a role in alleviating accumulation of H2 O2 and subsequent events related to oxidative senescence in fruit pericarp. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present fractionated antioxidant activities (HAA, LAA and TAA) from strawberry pericarp as assessed by the ABTS∼+ radical cation assay. A fundamental understanding of the mechanisms involved in the senescent related-oxidative changes during strawberry fruit ontogeny in relation to quality and nutrition is discussed.

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Chao Gao, Rui Yang, and Deyi Yuan

Camellia oleifera is an important woody edible oil plant in southern China. In this study, the developmental differences in ovules at different positions in the ovary of C. oleifera were observed. The developmental type and characteristics of aborted ovules, ratios of normal and aborted ovules, and their developmental differences after flowering were examined. Ovules near the stylar end and in the middle exhibit normal development and are able to form embryo sacs; lower ovules near the pedicel end are usually aborted. The proportion of abortion of four examined cultivars ranges from 10.2% to 33.3%. Aborted ovules can be divided into four categories: 1) nascent egg apparatus lacking distinguishable cells; 2) completely absent egg apparatus structure consisting of flocculent tissue; 3) lack of tissue, comprising only integument cells; and 4) the inner integument not constituting a micropyle channel, with incomplete egg apparatus development and generating abnormal ovules. At 120 days after pollination (DAP), significant distinguishable size differences were found between fertile and aborted ovules; aborted ovules ceased growth at 180 DAP. On fruit maturation, aborted seeds were still attached to the placenta.

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Huicong Wang and Lailiang Cheng

Apple maturity is often assessed by starch hydrolysis index, skin color, soluble solids, flesh firmness, and the rate of ethylene evolution. In red-fruited apple cultivars, the intensity and extent of coloration is an important consideration in determining the time of fruit harvest. Negative relationships have been found between tree nitrogen (N) status and fruit skin pigmentation, but how N affects flesh starch breakdown has not been examined in detail. The objective of this study was to determine how N supply affects flesh starch breakdown relative to skin color development. Seven-year-old ‘Gala’/M.26 trees were provided with four levels of N (8.8, 26.4, 52.7, and 105.4 g N per tree) in a modified Hoagland's solution. The effects of N supply on yield, fruit quality, and fruit maturation were evaluated. At harvest, fruit in the lowest N treatment was significantly smaller and had lower soluble solids but higher starch concentration, better color, and higher firmness than those grown at higher N supplies. Increasing N supply decreased both anthocyanin synthesis and chlorophyll degradation in fruit skin. Flesh starch concentration was higher at higher N supply at 38 days before harvest but was lower at higher N supply at harvest. Starch degradation was completed earlier during cold storage with increasing N supply. These results indicate that increasing N supply delays skin red color development but accelerates flesh starch degradation in ‘Gala’ apples. These differential effects of N supply should be taken into account when assessing fruit maturity for optimizing harvest time.

Open access

R. Stösser, H. P. Rasmussen, and M. J. Bukovac


Abscission layer formation during fruit maturation of sour cherry, Prunus cerasus L., occurred between the fruit and the pedicel. No abscission layer was formed between the pedicel and the spur. The abscission layer was first evident 12-15 days before fruit maturity. This layer was composed of 5-8 rows of cells in the transition zone between the fruit and pedicel and was first identified by its low affinity for haematoxylin. Cell separation occurred without rupturing of cell walls. Later cell wall collapse was apparent. Cells immediately distal and proximal to the line of separation were thin walled and prone to separate easily. No abscission layer was formed through the vascular bundles and no cell division was noted during layer formation. Abscission layer formation was observed in detached sour cherry fruit which was histologically similar to that observed in vivo. There was a close relationship between abscission layer formation and force required to separate the fruit from its pedicel. No abscission layer was observed, in the transition zone between the fruit and pedicel in the sweet cherry, Prunus avium L.

Open access

Paul E. Read and D. J. Fieldhouse


Yields of tomato cultivars ‘Heinz 1350’ and ‘Delaware 65S3-2’ (a mid-season processing variety) were increased by foliar sprays of succinic acid 2,2-dimethyl hydrazide (Alar) and 2-chloroethyl trimethylammonium chloride (Cycocel). The most effective treatments were those in which 2500 ppm Alar was applied at the first or fourth true leaf stage of growth or at both of these times. Concentration of harvest was improved and early yield was increased by subsequent application of 5000 ppm Alar as a flower “cut-off” spray after desired fruit set had been achieved. The latter treatment has desirable implications for mechanical harvesting, since it virtually eliminated green fruit “pick-out” and slowed vegetative growth, thus causing a more concentrated harvest because of more rapid fruit maturation.

The yield increases are attributed to a combination of effects including resistance to water and heat stresses, more flowers per cluster and thus more fruits per plant. Additional hormone-like effects of Alar and certain Alar analogs were observed.