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Patricia I. Garriz*, Hugo L. Alvarez, Graciela M. Colavita, and María S. Gajdos

Flower thinning of pears has advantages over fruit thinning in that the earlier it is performed the greater the potential effect on fruit size. At the Comahue National Univ. in Argentina (lat. 38°56' 67°59'W), lime sulphur was evaluated as flower thinner on 10-year-old `AbbAbbé Fetel' (Pyrus communis L.) pear trees trained to palmette leader. Cultural practices were similar to those of commercial orchards in the High Valley. Treatments were 1) control, and 2) 7% lime sulphur, applied on 16 Sept. 2002 (30% bloom) using an orchard sprayer. Fruit diameter (FD) was recorded two weekly (n = 20 per date and treatment). At 144 days after full bloom (DAFB), or initial commercial harvest, crop load, fruit weight and the maturity indices were determined. Fruits were then graded into size categories. Growth equations were developed with SYSTAT procedure and mean separations were computed with Student's t-test. Mean FD was significantly increased by the lime sulphur sprays, starting from 115 DAFB. Logistic models best fitted the fruit growth vs. time curves. The equation was: FD = 77.87/1+e2.26-0.03DAFB (R 2 = 0.97), for the non-thinned trees. Treatment 2 increased the percentage of fruits ≥70mm by 42.16%. At 144 DAFB, thinned trees showed firmer fruits than the controls (64.4 vs. 61.7 N) and there were no statistical differences among treatments in soluble solids concentration and starch index; the values were 11.5 °Brix and 3.55, respectively, for the control fruits. Consequently, our data indicate that lime sulphur applied at 30% bloom was an effective practice to thin `Abbé Fetel' pears and to enhance fruit quality at ripening.

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Fahrettin Goktepe and Harrison Hughes*

The watermelon cv. Crimson Sweet was transformed with the copper inducible isopentenyl transferase, the rate-limiting step in cytokinin biosynthesis, gene via Agrobacterium tumafaciences (LBA4404). Transformed (ipt) and nontransformed plants were regenerated from tissue culture and clonally propagated by the rooting of leaf node cuttings. Twelve plants of each were grown in 1-gal. pots. Once the plants initiated new growth both transgenic plants and wild type plants were sprayed with one of four different concentrations (0, 5, 10, & 50 μm) of CuSO4. The experimental unit was a single plant with three replicates. The growth rate, number of leaves, flowers, lateral shoots, and chlorophyll content were measured weekly for five weeks. Treated transgenic plants had greater numbers of leaves, flowers and lateral branches as well as higher chlorophyll levels. Pollen viability was examined in all treatments with no differences among treatments. Plants of both types were self pollinated to generate seeds. Female flowers were bagged before opening and then selfed. Selfed flowers were bagged for at least two days. The fruits were grown for eight to ten weeks with support. Once they reached maturity, fruits were harvested and fruit shape, flesh color, brix, number of normal seeds, number of colored but empty seeds and number of white seeds were recorded. Significant differences were observed only in seed number between wild type and transgenic (both treated and nontreated,) watermelon fruits. The number of seeds in transgenic watermelon plants treated with CuSO4 was reduced to about 5% to 7% of wild type plants. Transgenic plants which received no CuSO4 had approximately 33% to 50% of the seed of wild type.

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Kil Sun Yoo*, Julio Loaiza, Kevin Crosby, Leonard Pike, and Steve King

About 40 watermelon samples with various flesh colors (red, pink, orange, and yellow) were tested for their carotene, sugar, and ascorbic acid contents. Carotenoids were separated and purified by using a preparative HPLC system and identified by comparing the spectra with standard compounds by using a diode array detector. Sugar and ascorbic acid contents were measured by HPLC methods. Red and pink colored watermelon contained lycopene as the major carotenoid, with a wide range of variation (5 to 51 μg·g-1). Beta-carotene was the second major carotenoid and was less than 6 μg·g-1. There were also lutein and violazanthin in less than 1.5 μg·g-1 range. Yellow and orange flesh watermelons contained a complex mixture of carotenes. Prolycopene, lycopene, or beta-carotene was the major component, depending on the variety, and the contents were less than 24, 3, and 9 μg·g-1, respectively. There were also minor carotenoids, such as violaxanthin, lutein, neurosporene, zea-carotene with a 0 to 3.5 μg·g-1 range. Neurosporene, zea-carotene, and prolycopene were not found in the red watermelons. There was great variation in total sugar content, range being from 22 to 102 mg-1, while the °Brix was from 4.0 to 15.5. Sucrose, glucose, and fructose were the main sugars in the watermelon and their composition were grouped as sucrose-dominant or fructose-dominant groups. Some varieties with very low levels of sucrose were generally low in the total sugar content. Watermelon contained fairly low levels of ascorbic acid, less than 58 μg·g-1 and some varieties had nearly no ascorbic acid. Estimation of total carotenoid in the yellow watermelons by measuring absorbency at 435, 485, or 503 nm was tested and 435 nm showed the highest correlation coefficient (r 2 =0.845).

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John Beaulieu and Jeanne Lea

Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo Var. reticulatus, Naudin) were evaluated during development and then fresh-cuts were stored after preparation from various maturities to track quality changes during storage. Flowers were anthesis tagged one morning and developing fruit were harvested weekly at 13, 20, 27–28, and 34–35 days after anthesis (DAA). Mature fruit were harvested at 37–38 DAA with five distinct maturities: 1/4-, 1/2-, 3/4-slip, full-slip and over-ripe. Hunter L* and a* color values indicated change from pale green to light orange that occurred after 28 DAA. There were significant decreases in L*, a* and b* by day 9 in storage as fresh-cuts. After 28 DAA, sucrose dramatically increased, and this was positively correlated with increases in both total sugars (r = 0.882, P = 0.084) and °Brix (r = 0.939, P = 0.041). Gradual subjective deterioration occurred during storage, which was independent of maturity. There was a negative linear trend over the length of storage in hand-held firmness for each maturity level and the slopes decreased significantly with increasing maturity; indicating the effect of storage duration decreased as maturity increased. Vitamin C had a significant increasing trend (P-value = 0.042) during development from 12 through 35 DAA, then losses were greater in fresh-cuts prepared from full-slip fruit (65%) than in less mature fruits, quarter-slip 40%, half-slip 48%, and three quarter-slip 50%. The pH of mesocarp tissue dropped to the lowest value (5.25) just prior to physiological maturity, then peaked after harvest (6.51–6.79), and generally declined by the end of freshcut storage. In sum, considering other publications on this study, and herein, fruit should be harvested at greater than or equal to 1/2-slip to attain optimum quality and storability.

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Hameed J. Aljuburi, Hasan. Al-Masry, and Saeed A. Al-Muhanna

Date palm trees are among the most plentiful fruit trees in the Arabian Gulf States. Bioregulators have been used for the improvement of quality and productivity of date plam tree fruits. Application of gibberellic acid (GA3), naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), and ethephon, separately or in a mixture, has significant effects on fruit set, fruit dry matter percentage, fruit soluble percentage, fruit ripening, and yield of date palm trees. A study was conducted to assess relative effectiveness of GA3, NAA, ethephon, and a mixture of growth regulators on some fruit characteristics, and productivity of `Barhee' date plam trees. Five uniform female `Barhee' date palm trees were pollinated on 5–15 Mar. 1994, 1995, and 1996 by placing eight fresh male strands on female spadix centers (flower cluster). Ten flower clusters were used on each tree, and every two flower clusters were subjected to one of the following treatments: control (water), 150 mg·L–1 GA3, 100 mg·L–1 NAA, 1000 mg·L–1 ethephon, and a mixture of growth regulators. The fruit set (%), dry matter (%), total soluble solids (°Brix), fruit ripening (%), and fruit weight (kg per bunch and per tree) were measured. The data showed that the application of GA3 or ethephon on flower clusters of `Barhee' date palm trees had no constant effect on fruit characteristics and productivity of trees. NAA or a mixture of growth regulators reduced fruit dry matter percentage, fruit ripening percentage, and increased fruit weight per bunch and per tree. Spraying `Barhee' date palm flower clusters with NAA or a mixture of growth regulators 20 days after pollination decreased dry matter percentage, fruit ripening, and increased fruit flesh percentage and tree yield.

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Heidi Rader and Meriam Karlsson

Two snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars, `Provider' and `Concesa', were planted successionally in a high tunnel in Fairbanks, Alaska (64°49'N and 147°52'W), from late May to late July. For the entire growing season, air/soil temperatures averaged 1.7 °C/1.1 °C higher in the tunnel than the field. The temperature differential was, however, largely dependent on amount of high tunnel ventilation. With tunnel ends not yet erected in May, the air temperature difference averaged 0.5 °C while in September the difference was 2.5 °C in the enclosed tunnel. On average, both cultivars flowered 4 days earlier in the tunnel compared to the contiguous open field. `Provider' had high overall yields with no significant difference between the tunnel and the field, although the tunnel did offer protection from an early frost. `Provider' produced an average of 3454 g·m-2 in the tunnel and 2860 g·m-2 in the field. Average yields of `Concesa' inside the tunnel were significantly greater (P < 0.01), with 1719 g·m-2 compared to 756 g·m-2 in the open field. `Provider' pods were larger in diameter and more fibrous than `Concesa' pods, which we concluded were of improved quality with higher soluble solids content (°Brix refractometer readings). High tunnels could be an important way to provide an advantageous production environment for high quality cultivars without sacrificing the reliability of cold-tolerant cultivars. To consistently produce high quality snap beans to meet local Alaska fresh market demands, cultivars suited for high tunnel production need to be identified.

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Jeffrey Adelberg, Maria Delgado, and Jeffery Tomkins

Two tetraploid and two diploid varieties of daylily were micropropagated on a shaker in MS liquid medium containing high and low sugar levels (3% and 6% sucrose), 2 BA levels (0.32 and 3.2 μm), at two densities (57 and 171 explants/L), in the presence (0.32 μm) and absence of ancymidol. Biomass and media use were partitioned for the four genotypes and 32 cultural conditions with three replications (4 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 3). Genotype greatly effected f resh weight, dry weight, media, sugar and water use, but ploidy had little effect. Vessels at high density (171 explants/L) produced 1.8× more fresh weight, 1.4× more dry weight, used 1.6× more media and sugar than low density (57 explants/L). Plants from low density were 1.7× larger, 2× greater dry weight, and used 2× more sugar and media, than from high-density culture (per explant). Doubling the initial sugar level increased dry weight and sugar use 1.3×. There was a linear relation between sugar residual and percentage of dry weight (R 2 = 0.55, P < 0.0001), where a 1% increase in °Brix raised percentage of dry weight 1.8 units over the range of 9% to 22%. Ancymidol and BA had less effect on plant size, sugar and media use than genotype or plant density. Greenhouse survival was reduced by including ancymidol (90% to 30%) and increased BA concentration (85% to 35%). Lab plant density and initial sugar concentration had no apparent effect on greenhouse growth. `Barbara Mitchell' had greatest mass, used more sugar and media than the other varieties, yet had least greenhouse growth. Nutrient use with `Barbara Mitchell' was linearly correlated (R 2>80%) to lab growth for seven of 12 ions. P and Fe supply was inadequate to support optimal growth, as indicated by low residual in media (>1% of MS formulation).

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Francesco Montesano, Cristina Ferulli, Angelo Parente, Francesco Serio, and Pietro Santamaria

Nutrient solutions (NS) containing moderate to high concentrations of salts are frequently supplied to improve the taste of tomato fruits grown in soilless systems. The aim of this study was to determine whether salinity and water stress affect the tomato fruit quality similarly. The research was conducted in Mola di Bari, Italy, during Autumn 2004, and compared the nutrient film technique (NFT) with the trough-bench technique [Subirrigation (SUB)] in terms of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Kabiria) fruit quality. In the NFT, the plants were grown with two electrical conductivity (EC) levels (2–4 and 6–8 dS·m-1) of NS. The highest EC was obtained by increasing all the ions in the NS. In the SUB system, two water tensions (-4 and -8 kPa) of substrate (perlite) were examinated. At harvest, in each cluster (six/plant), fruit dry matter (DM) and total soluble solids (TSS) were determinated. In the fourth and sixth cluster, vitamin C content and titratable acidity were determined. Total yield was not influenced by either soilless system, while the average weight of the fruit was lower in the SUB. The DM and TTS were influenced by soilless system (on average, 6.6 vs 7.3 g/100 g of fresh matter and 5.3 vs. 5.9 °Brix, with NFT and SUB, respectively). Both of the stresses resulted in the increase of DM and TSS, principally in SUB (water stress) in respect to NFT (salinity stress), while vitamin C and titratable acidity were not influenced by soilless system or water/salinity stress (25.2 mg/100 g fresh matter and 0.45 g/100 mL of citric acid juice, respectively). Results of NFT with the highest EC of NS exceeded 9 dS·m-1, without any stress symptoms in the plants, while EC in the SUB system remained unchanged (about 2.5 dS·m-1).

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Rhonda J. Smith

The effect of sunlight exposure on yield, fruit composition, amount of damaged clusters, and berry temperature was evaluated in a terraced, hillside `Cabernet Sauvignon' vineyard on the north coast of California. Each terrace contained two vine rows identified as “inside” and “outside” relative to the terrace surface. The standard canopy management practice of removing lateral shoots from below the clusters was imposed with three modifications (“umbrella”, “fogger”, and “umbrella+fogger”) and an unmodified control. Applications of a kaolin-based particle film were made to unmodified canopies and a final treatment consisted of leaving lateral shoots. Canopies with umbrella modifications were not fully vertically shoot positioned. Fogger emitters directed water into the cluster area when ambient temperature reached 33.9 °C beginning in mid-July for a total of 16 fogger-events through 8 Sept. 2004. Treatments were harvested 17 Sept. Yield was affected by row type but not treatment, and inside and outside rows produced an average of 2.1 and 3.4 kg/vine, respectively. Particle film applications significantly reduced berry surface temperatures in the afternoon of two measurement dates by 0.7 and 1.5 °C, respectively. Applications did not significantly affect fruit maturity indices when compared to fruit in the control; however, at the 7% probability level, berry samples from vines that had been treated with kaolin-clay had lower °Brix than samples from control vines. The mean range of sunburn fruit across all treatments was 0.2 to 1.4 clusters per vine. Umbrella and umbrella+fogger treatments significantly reduced the number of damaged clusters (P < 0.05).

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Alvaro Otero, Carmen Goni, and Jim Syvertsen*

Six-year-old `Spring' navel [Citrus sinensis (L.). Osb.] orange trees were either totally defruited, 50% defruited or left fully cropped to study effects of fruit load on growth net gas exchange characteristics of mature leaves on seven selected clear days from Nov. 2001 through July 2002. Near harvest time, defruited trees had more shoot flushes, greater leaf dry wt per area (LDW/A) but lower net assimilation of CO2 (Ac) and stomatal conductance (gs) at midday than leaves on trees with fruit. Defruited trees had a higher ratio of internal to ambient CO2 (Ci/Ca) concentration in leaves implying internal limitations were dominant over stomatal limitation on Ac. Removal of half the crop increased individual fruit mass but reduced fruit color development. Half the trees were also shaded for four months prior to harvest with reflective 50% shade cloth to determine effects of lower leaf temperature (Tl) and leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (D) on leaf responses. On selected clear days throughout the season, shade increased midday Ac and gs but decreased Ci/Ca compared to trees in the open implying that high mesophyll temperatures in sunlit leaves were more important than gs in limiting Ac. There were no effects of the shade treatment on canopy volume, yield or fruit size. Shaded fruit developed better external color but lower Brix than sun-exposed fruit. Thus, the presence of mature fruit maintained higher Ac than in leaves on defruited trees but high leaf temperatures and D reduced gs and Ac on warm days throughout the season.