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Ramon A. Arancibia and Carl E. Motsenbocker

`McIlhenny Select' (easy detachment) and `Hard Pick' are two lines of tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.) that differ in the fruit detachment characteristics. Cellulase (Cx) and polygalacturonase (PG) activity, extracted from the fruit abscission zone, correlated inversely with the force needed to separate the fruit from the pedicel. A trend of higher Cx and PG is associated with the lower detachment force in the McIlhenny Select line. Differences in the fruit cell wall protein profile between both lines occurred during ripening. Two bands of 23 kDa and 40 kDa were higher in `McIlhenny Select'. A band of approximately 30 kDa was higher in `Hard Pick', while a band of ≈70 kDa increased in both lines. Isolation and characterization of these bands as well as Cx and PG is needed to understand the factors affecting fruit detachment in tabasco pepper.

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Luis Pozo and Jacqueline K. Burns

America Corp., Aurora, IL). In the 2007–2008 cropping year, fruit detachment force (FDF, kg-force) was measured 6 d after spray treatments in both mature and developing fruit with a digital force gauge (Force Five; Wagner Instruments, Greenwich, CT). For

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Kay P. Gersch, Carl E. Motsenbocker and Gregory A. Lang

Of eight genotypes of cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) examined, two were identified that differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Greenhouse and field-grown plants of these genotypes, Cajun 1-9027 and Cap-9004, were investigated for differences in cell type and organization at the fruit and receptacle junction. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that mature Cajun 1-9027 fruit that did not separate exhibited a distinct region of sclerified cells that extended from the periphery of the fruit into the receptacle for 25 to 30 cell layers. In contrast, mature fruit of the more readily detachable Cap-9004 had 10 to 15 layers of sclerified cells at the region of detachment. Histochemical and stereological techniques indicated that Cajun 1-9027 had a greater volume of sclereids than Cap-9004. Cajun 1-9027 exhibited smaller cortical cells in the detachment region than Cap-9004. Neither genotype exhibited a well-defined abscission zone at maturity in the detachment region. The presence of more sclerified cells and increased lignification in Cajun 1-9027 compared to Cap-9004 probably contributed to the differences in ease of detachment between the two genotypes.

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Kay P. Gersch, Carl E. Motsenbocker and Grezory A. Lang

Two genotypes of cayenne pepper, Capsicum annuun, have been previously identified which differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Both greenhouse- and field-grown plants of these genotypes, Cajun1-9027 and Cap-9004, were investigated for differences in cell type or organization where the fruit and receptacle join. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that mature fruit of genotype Cajun1-9027, which does not separate, exhibits a distinct region of sclerified cells that extend from the periphery of the fruit into the receptacle for at least 15 cell layers. In contrast, mature fruit of the more readily detachable genotype, Cap-9004, had fewer sclerified cells at the point of detachment. Neither genotype exhibits a well-defined abscission zone prior to, or at, maturity. Interpretation of histochemical staining of fruit-receptacle sections following ethylene treatment at different fruit developmental stages will be discussed.

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Ramón A. Arancibia and Carl E. Motsenbocker

Red-mature Tabasco (Capsicum frutescens) fruit (`McIlhenny Select') normally separate easily at the junction of the fruit and receptacle or calyx. Differences in fruit detachment force (FDF) between two lines, one that separates readily (`McIlhenny Select') and one that does not (`Hard Pick'), have been reported previously (Motsenbocker et al., 1995). In this study, enzyme activity from the detachment area was analyzed by viscosity reduction. The reaction mixture was 0.3% pectin in 20 mm NaAc, pH 5.5, for polygalacturonase (PG) and 0.6% carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) in 20 mm NaPO4, pH 6.0, for cellulase. Preliminary data indicated that PG and cellulase enzyme activity increased during fruit ripening in both lines. Only cellulase activity, however, correlated with FDF. In addition, the activity of both enzymes was higher in the `McIlhenny Select' line than the `Hard Pick' line at the orange and red-mature stages.

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Carl E. Motsenbocker, Marshall D. Sundberg and Yuehe Huang

Two lines of tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens) were previously identified that differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Greenhouse-grown plants of these lines, `McIlhenny Select' and `HP', were investigated for differences in cell organization in the fruit-receptacle area and the separation zone at different developmental stages. Histological examination indicated that fruit of `HP', which requires greater force to separate, exhibited a larger region of sclerified cells within the fruit-receptacle area. In contrast, fruit of `McIlhenny Select', the line that detaches easier, had fewer sclerified cells in this region. Cell sclerification increased for both lines with increasing fruit maturity. The fruit-pedicel separation zone in both lines is distal to the sclerified region and is composed of parenchymatous fruit tissue. The separation zone for `HP' includes at least 10 additional distal cell layers in the fruit septal region than `McIlhenny Select'.

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J.K. Burns, U. Hartmond, R. Yuan and W.J. Kender

Methyl jasmonate (Me-Ja) is a naturally occurring ubiquitous compound in plants. Me-Ja is considered to be a putative plant hormone because of its effect on plant processes such as senescence, germination, tuber formation, signal transduction, ethylene production, and abscission at low exogenous concentrations. We applied Me-Ja to fruit or whole trees of `Hamlin' or `Valencia' orange to determine the potential of this compound as a mature fruit abscission agent. Me-Ja (0, 1, 5, 10, or 20 mM in 0.1% Kinetic adjuvant) was applied to whole trees with a handgun or boom sprayer rates of 4850 and 1790 L·ha–1, respectively. Alternatively, tree fruit were dipped in Me-Ja solutions. Fruit drop, leaf drop and ethylene production in both fruit and leaves and fruit detachment force in fruit were monitored at various times up to 2 weeks after application. Me-Ja treatment resulted in increased ethylene production in fruit and leaves 1 to 2 days after application. Fruit detachment force significantly declined 6 to 10 days after application followed by significant fruit drop. Applications of Me-Ja >10 mM resulted in an unacceptable amount of canopy defoliation. The results suggest that Me-Ja has potential as an abscission agent for citrus. Future work will focus on improving uniformity of application and response.

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Panayiotis A. Nektarios, Georgios Tsoggarakis, Aimilia-Eleni Nikolopoulou and Dimitrios Gourlias

Two field studies (winter and summer) were performed to evaluate the effect of three different fertilizer programs and a urea formaldehyde resin foam (UFRF) soil amendment on sod establishment and anchorage. Fertilizer treatments involved were 1) a quick release (QR) granular fertilizer (12-12-17); 2) a slow release (SR) fertilizer (27-5-7); and 3) a foliar (FL) fertilizer (20-20-20). The application rate was 50, 30, 0.35 g·m-2 for QR, SR, and FL, respectively. The substrate consisted of sandy loam soil, and in half of the plots UFRF flakes were incorporated in the upper 100 mm at a rate of 20% v/v. The effects of the fertilizer and soil amendment on sod establishment were evaluated through measurements of the dry weight of clippings and roots and the visual quality of the turf. Sod anchorage was measured by determination of the vertical force required to detach a piece of sod. For each treatment the initial and final pH, EC, available P, exchangeable K, Ca, Mg, and Fe were also determined. It was found that FL reduced clipping yield but retained turf visual quality similar to the other fertilizer treatments except in winter, when it resulted in the worst quality ratings. However, FL fertilizer promoted root growth and provided high vertical detachment force values and therefore enhanced sod establishment. Slow release fertilizer resulted in moderate top growth and visual quality of the turf during winter, but delayed sod establishment. Quick release fertilizer increased top growth and improved turfgrass visual quality during the winter, but root growth and vertical detachment force were reduced, indicating poorer sod establishment. UFRF did not enhance sod establishment since there was a negative effect on root growth when temperatures were below 10 °C, without however affecting vertical detachment force. Differences in soil P, K, Ca, Mg and Fe between treatments were inconsistent between the two studies, except for final K concentration, which was higher for QR fertilization than SR and FL. Foliar fertilization can enhance sod establishment compared to QR and SR, by accelerating sod anchorage and root growth. QR can be used in late autumn to improve winter green up of the sod. UFRF does not improve or accelerate sod establishment and possesses a minimal capacity to improve soil properties of sandy loam soils.

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Ulrich Hartmond, Rongcai Yuan, Jacqueline K. Burns, Angela Grant and Walter J. Kender

Methyl jasmonate (MJ) was tested as a potential abscission chemical to enhance mechanical harvest of `Hamlin' and `Valenica' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.]. In field experiments, a solution of 1, 5, 10, 20, or 100 mm MJ was applied either as a stem wrap to individual fruit or as a spray to entire trees or canopy sectors. Solutions of 10, 20, and 100 mm MJ resulted in significant and consistent reduction of fruit detachment force and caused fruit drop within 7 to 10 days. Fruit loosening was preceded by an increase in the internal ethylene concentration of fruit similar to that of other experimental abscission compounds. While concentrations of 10 mm and less caused no or negligible phytotoxicity, solutions exceeding 10 mm MJ induced unacceptable levels of leaf abscission.

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Tripti Vashisth and Anish Malladi

detachment are not well understood. Enhancing our knowledge of the process of fruit detachment can greatly aid in developing methods to increase the efficiency of mechanical harvesting, which can in turn reduce the costs associated with blueberry production