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Russell L. Weiser

Stayman apples are predisposed to cracking. Trees whose trunks were scored and foliage sprayed with GA4+7, NAA 800, and Vapor Guard had significantly fewer apples crack than controls. The skin strength and stretch distance were the same for control and treated apples. However, slices of treated apple expanded significantly more than control apples when immersed in distilled water for 45 minutes. During this treatment the amount of water taken up was not significantly different, which may indicate the difference lies in the cell structure. Hypodermal cells of control apples appear to be more elongated and have thicker cell walls than treated apples. Cell wall sugar and amino acid components will be measured to see if this discrepancy can be attributed to cell wall structural properties. These results suggest that stayman cracking occurs when the expansion of the hypodermic cannot keep pace with expansion of the fruit. It is further hypothesized that this difference is due to a difference in cell wall composition and consequent effect on wall extensibility.

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Russell L. Weiser

Stayman apples are predisposed to cracking. Trees whose trunks were scored and foliage sprayed with GA4+7, NAA 800, and Vapor Guard had significantly fewer apples crack than controls. The skin strength and stretch distance were the same for control and treated apples. However, slices of treated apple expanded significantly more than control apples when immersed in distilled water for 45 minutes. During this treatment the amount of water taken up was not significantly different, which may indicate the difference lies in the cell structure. Hypodermal cells of control apples appear to be more elongated and have thicker cell walls than treated apples. Cell wall sugar and amino acid components will be measured to see if this discrepancy can be attributed to cell wall structural properties. These results suggest that stayman cracking occurs when the expansion of the hypodermic cannot keep pace with expansion of the fruit. It is further hypothesized that this difference is due to a difference in cell wall composition and consequent effect on wall extensibility.

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Cheryld L. Whaley Emmons and John W. Scott

Genetic control of cuticle cracking (CC) in tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was studied using half-diallel analyses and reciprocal hybrid comparisons of five parents and reciprocal F1 hybrids over 3 years in Bradenton, Fla. Maternal effects were usually not significant, but in general, CC incidence in hybrids with a resistant cultigen as the female parent was lower than if the resistant cultigen was the male parent. General combining ability (GCA) was significant at all harvests, with specific combining ability (SCA) becoming significant under high environmental stress. Narrow-sense and broad-sense heritabilities for CC incidence ranged from 0.45 to 0.69 and 0.62 to 0.89, respectively, increasing directly with environmental stress.

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Antonio J. Matas, Eward D. Cobb, Dominick J. Paolillo Jr., and Karl J. Niklas

The mechanical properties and anatomy of fruit wall peels and their enzyme-isolated cuticular membranes (CM) are reported for three cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars that are crack-resistant, crack-intermediate, and crack-prone (i.e., Inbred 10, Sweet 100, and Sausalito Cocktail, respectively). The resistant and intermediate fruit peels strain-hardened when extended progressively; those of the crack-prone cultivar did so only modestly. The CM of all cultivars strain-hardened when extended with small forces; the CM of the intermediate and crack-prone cultivars strain-softened under tensile forces that did not strain-soften the crack-resistant cultivar. The peels and CM of the resistant cultivar were stiffer, stronger, and required more energy to break than crack-prone peels. The CM of crack-resistant peels developed deeper within the subepidermis than in the crack-prone or crack-intermediate peels. The CM in the outer epidermal periclinal walls of the crack-resistant and crack-intermediate cultivars was thicker than that of crack-prone peels. These data indicate that CM thickness can be used to gauge crack susceptibility among cherry tomato fruit, which can be useful in breeding programs and would facilitate QTL mapping of the underlying genetic factors.

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Holger Weichert, Stefanie Peschel, Moritz Knoche, and Dieter Neumann

Rain cracking of sweet cherry fruit is an important limitation in crop production worldwide and is thought to be related to water uptake through the fruit surface. This uptake occurs by diffusion through the cuticle and by viscous flow along an

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Cheryld L. Whaley Emmons and John W. Scott

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars and breeding lines were evaluated in the field for incidence and severity of cuticle cracking (CC) over four spring seasons at Bradenton, Fla. Resistant and susceptible genotypes were identified and easily distinguished by incidence of CC. When studied over 2 years, the amount of rain during the entire 14 days before harvest was more highly correlated with CC incidence than the amount of rain during the entire growing season or during 1 to 7 or 8 to 14 days before harvest. Attempts to induce CC by pruning leaves or fruit from plants were not successful. The incidence of CC was significantly higher for fruit from unstaked plants (39%) compared to fruit on staked plants (10%). Fruit exposed to direct sunlight, from plants that were staked and not pruned, had significantly greater incidence of CC (49%) than fruit protected by leaf cover (20%). Of 218 fruit monitored for affect of developmental stage on occurrence of CC, 62 developed CC. Of these 2%, 61%, 27%, and 10% first exhibited CC at immature-green, mature-green, breaker, and red stages, respectively. For 58% of fruit with CC, no increase in CC severity was observed as the fruit ripened. Increases in CC severity were observed more often between mature-green and breaker than between breaker and table-ripe stages of ripening.

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R.E. Byers, D.H. Carbaugh, and C.N. Presley

Submerging `Stayman' apples in nonionic and anionic surfactant-water solutions caused increased water uptake and fruit cracking. The primary sites of water uptake were lenticels and injured areas of the fruit cuticle. Fruit cracking caused by submerging fruit in 1.25 ml X-77/liter surfactant was used to predict the natural cracking potential of `Stayman' strains and apple cultivars in the field. Submerging apples in aqueous pesticide mixtures did not Increase fruit cracking or water uptake. Fruit cracking and uptake of surfactant-water were not correlated between apple cultivars. In a surfactant-water bath, `Starkrimson Delicious' absorbed more water than `Stayman', `York', `Jonathan', and `Golden Delicious'; no `Starkrimson Delicious' fruits cracked, but 32% to 80% of the other cultivars did. In field tests, four airblast spray applications of GA4+7 in July and Aug. 1987 reduced fruit cracking from 56% to 21%, and five applications In July, Aug., and Sept. 1988 reduced fruit cracking from 93% to 75%. In 1987, daminozide reduced cracking, but, in 1988, neither daminozide, NAA, nor Vapor Gard alone reduced cracking. However, in 1988, a combination treatment of GA4+7, daminozide, NAA, and Vapor Gard reduced fruit cracking from 93% to 22%. Also, two scorings of the trunk with a carpet knife reduced fruit cracking 22%. Chemical names used: alkylaryl polyoxyethylene alcohol glycol (X-77); butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA); di-1-p-methene (Vapor Gard); gibberellic acid (GA4+7).

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L.E. Towill

Cryopreservation using vitrification has been reported for several plant species. Shoot tips and vitrification solution were placed in semen straws and immersed in liquid nitrogen (LN). Cracking of the external glass occurred, but may be avoided by annealing slightly below the glass transition temperature before immersion. A varying percentage still cracked with some vitrification solutions. Rapid warming also can cause cracking. There is concern that cracking may reduce viability. Shoot tips from Mentha species were used to examine this problem. Glass cracking during either cooling or warming did not produce visible damage to shoot tips. Viability of shoot tips from tubes that cracked during cooling was not different from those that did not crack; however, shoot formation was slightly reduced. Cracking upon warming did not reduce viability nor shoot formation. Very slow warming reduced viability, but warming in either water or air (room temperature) gave higher levels of survival.

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Moritz Knoche, Eckhard Grimm, and Henrik Jürgen Schlegel

Rain-induced cracking severely limits production of many soft-textured, drupe, and berry fruits. Sweet cherry is a prominent example of the former ( Christensen, 1996 ). Cracking is commonly assumed to result from increased fruit turgor, caused by

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John A. Cline and Tony D. Webster

For many years, researchers and growers have attempted to find methods to alleviate the rain-induced cracking of sweet cherries. Cracking is thought to be caused primarily by the osmotic uptake of rain water through the fruit skin. A 3-year study was conducted at East Malling to test the hypotheses that rain covers reduce, while irrigation increases, fruit cracking. Two types of rain shelters, with and without trickle irrigation, were compared against control treatments on 8-year-old `Merchant'/Colt trees. Covers reduced cracked fruit by up to 11% in 1991, 7% in 1992, and 25% in 1993 when natural cracking on uncovered trees was ≈20%, 25%, and 40%, respectively. Trickle irrigation was associated with a 6% increase in fruit cracking in all 3 years. Tree covers and irrigation also tended to increase fruit size and maturity. Fruits from beneath covers were lower in soluble solids concentration and were firmer in comparison with fruits from uncovered trees. This study indicates that tree covers, while affording some protection against rain-induced cracking, do not altogether prevent the problem. Furthermore, irrigation appears to aggravate cracking when used with tree covers. A mechanism for cracking under covers will be discussed in relation to rainfall, fruit transpiration, and tree water relations.