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Fumiomi Takeda and Wojciech Janisiewicz

Restrictions on pesticide usage and the occurrence of fungicide resistant strains of postharvest pathogens have necessitated research for alternative methods of disease control. Psuedomonas cepacia was tested for control of Botrytis fruit rot in strawberry. Results of field applications of P. cepacia were variable. A compound isolated from P. cepacia, identified as pyrrolnitrin, was as effective as Benlate/captan (2,000 ppm) sprays in field applications. Postharvest pyrrolnitrin (100 ppm) dip inhibited growth of pathogens for three days at room temperature. A pyrrolnitrin dip followed by storage at 1°C for five days extended the shelf-life for another five days. Preharvest pyrrolnitrin sprays to `Bristol' black raspberry delayed rot development by 4 to 5 days. Captan (2,000 ppm) treatment provided no protection. In vitro tests showed that B. cinerea isolated from the fruit had developed resistance to captan. These results suggest that the use of a naturally-produced compound might afford another opportunity to reduce postharvest rots without the use of synthetic fungicides.

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Fumiomi Takeda and Ann K. Hummell

A new trellis system called the “rotatable cross-arm” (RCA) trellis was developed to ease mechanical fruit harvesting of eastern thornless blackberries. The rotation of the cross-arm following bloom 1) positions all the fruit to one side of the trellis in a plane underneath the cross-arm and 2) permits primocanes to be trained to side without the fruit. To maintain productivity, the number of lateral shoots that arise from primocanes must be maximized. In this study, we examined the growth and development of individual primocanes within plants and the number of lateral canes that developed on them to decide which canes should be retained during the growing season. In `Chester Thornless' blackberry, primocanes trained early in the season produced more laterals per cane, had higher percentage of buds forming laterals, and were much larger in diameter than primocanes trained later in the season. Field observations suggested high sink strength and less light competition probably contributed to the increased productivity of early canes. These results indicated that the canes that become trainable early in the season must be retained for the success of the RCA trellis. Conversely, the primocanes that become trainable later in the season do not develop sufficiently and should be removed.

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Fumiomi Takeda and Donald L. Peterson

There is increased interest in growing blackberries in the United States for the fresh fruit market. For fresh market blackberry production, >350 h/acre (900 h·ha-1) of work is required to hand pick blackberries over a season that lasts 5 weeks with harvest every 2 days. Existing bramble mechanical harvesters can detach fruit from plants trained on a vertically oriented I trellis and harvest more cheaply than when harvested by hand, but the harvested fruit does not have fresh-market quality. We developed a cane training and trellis system for semierect blackberries to orient canes horizontally with the fruit positioned below the canes. Also, we developed an over-the-row mechanical harvester that uses vibrating nylon rods on a drum to shake fruit from horizontally trained canes onto a moving fruit-catching surface directly under the canopy to minimize impact damage to fruit. A new trellis design, new cane training practices, and new harvesting technologies have allowed fruit to be removed efficiently and be acceptable for fresh-market sales. This production system has been evaluated economically and appears to be profitable. It could overcome the high cost of handpicking, which has limited the expansion of fresh-market blackberries.

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Fumiomi Takeda, D. Michael Glenn and Thomas Tworkoski

Three experiments were performed to determine the effect of amending the soil surface layer and mulching with hydrophobic kaolin particle on weeds and blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) plants. In the first study a processed kaolin material (product M-96-018, Engelhard Corporation, Iselin, N.J.), was incorporated in August into the top 3 cm of freshly roto-tilled field that had been in pasture the previous 5 years. The following spring, dry weight of weed vegetation in the control treatment was 219 g·m–2 and was significantly higher (P = 0.05) than the 24 g·m–2 harvested from the treated soil. In two other studies, planting holes for blackberry transplants were either 1) pre- or postplant mulched with a 2- or 4-cm layer of 5% or 10% hydrophobic kaolin in field soil (w/w), or 2) postplant treated with a) napropamide, b) corn gluten meal, c) a product comprised of hydrous kaolin, cotton seed oil, and calcium chloride in water (KOL), d) hand weeded, or e) left untreated. Although untreated plots had 100% weed cover by the end of July, herbicide treatments, 4-cm deposition of hydrophobic kaolin particle/soil mulch, and KOL all suppressed weeds the entire establishment year. Preplant application of hydrophobic kaolin mulch and postplant application of KOL reduced blackberry growth and killed transplants, respectively. In year 2, blackberry plants produced more primocanes that were on average 10-cm taller in weed-free plots (herbicide, 4-cm kaolin soil mulch, and mechanical weeding) than in weedy plots (control and 2-cm kaolin soil mulch). In year 3, yield was significantly lower in control plots (1.5 kg/plant) than in plots that were treated with napropamide and 2- and 4-cm hydrophobic kaolin mulch, or hand weeded during the establishment year (4 kg/plant). The results showed that 4-cm hydrophobic kaolin mulch applied after planting can suppress weeds without affecting blackberry productivity. These kaolin products are excellent additions to the arsenal of tools for managing weeds in horticultural crops.

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Michele Warmund, Milon George and Fumiomi Takeda

Differential thermal analyses (DTA) and freeze viability tests were conducted to investigate the biophysics of freezing in floral buds of `Danka' black (Ribes nigrutn L.) and `Red Lake' red currants [Ribe.s sativum (Rchb.) Syrne] sampled from Nov. 1989 through Mar. 1990. Scanning electron microscopy was also used to determine the relationship between floral morphology and the freezing characteristics of the buds. Floral buds had multiple abrupt low-temperature exotherms (LTEs) and one or two broad LTEs in DTA tests. Abrupt LTEs from DTA were associated with apparent injury to the inflorescence in viability tests. The number of LTEs did not correspond to the number of racemes or flowers per bud, indicating that several flowers froze simultaneously. DTA experiments conducted in Dec. 1990 revealed that the broad exotherm detected between - 14 and - 20C in `Danka' samples resulted from freezing of supercooled water in the outer nonliving region of the periderm of cane tissue attached to the bud.

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Changying Li, Pengcheng Yu, Fumiomi Takeda and Gerard Krewer

The majority of U.S. northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and southern highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum hybrids) for the fresh market is hand harvested because of the high bruising damage to the fruit caused by current machine harvesters. To reduce bruising, it is important to understand how the harvester’s machine parts interact with the fruit. A miniature instrumented sphere, hereafter referred to as Smart Berry, was developed to mimic a blueberry (Vaccinium species and hybrids) fruit and to quantitatively measure mechanical impacts experienced by a real blueberry fruit during mechanical harvesting. The Smart Berry sensor recorded impacts using three single-axis accelerometers with a maximum sampling frequency of 3 kHz and ±500 g n sensing range. Calibration tests showed that the maximum error of the measurement was 0.53% of the output span. The diameter of the sensor (1 inch) was only half of that for the current smallest instrumented sphere on the market. Used together with a close-up video, the fully calibrated sensors were used to identify and measure mechanical impacts occurring in a commercial rotary blueberry harvester. The data suggested that the catch pan created the largest single mechanical impacts. Thus, reducing the drop height or padding the surface could be effective measures to reduce bruising damage caused by the catch pans. The Smart Berry was also used to compare harvesters with two different detaching mechanisms. The rotary detaching mechanism created significantly fewer and lower-magnitude impacts than the slapper mechanism (P ≤ 0.05). Manual drop tests demonstrated that the impact data recorded by the Smart Berry can be correlated with bruising damage experienced by blueberry fruit. Taken together, the data can be used to improve the design of the current machine harvesters for reduction of bruising damage to blueberry fruit destined for the fresh market, and potentially lead to enhanced highbush blueberry production efficiency in the long run.

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Fumiomi Takeda, R. Arora, M. Wisniewski and M. Warmund

`Danka' black currant floral buds produce multiple low temperature exotherms (LTEs). However, the absence of visual injury symbtoms in the buds after exposure to subfreezing temperatures make it difficult to assess injury in these buds. A 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) reduction assay was used to determine whether LTEs corresponded to freezing injury of individual floral primordia or to the entire floral axis. Intact buds were cooled at 3C/n, removed at 3C intervals from -12 to -33C, and thawed on ice for 24 h. Duplicate samples were subjected to differential thermal analysis. Freeze injury Could not be measured with TTC in thawed, intact buds. However, incubation of excised floral primordia in TTC resulted in an all or nothing response. The number of LTES did not correspond to the number of floral primordia killed within a floral bud, but the median LTE did correspond with the temperature at which lethal injury of the whole inflorescence occurred. Therefore, preliminary results indicate that TTC reduction assay of individual floral buds is a fast, reliable technique to assess bud injury.

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Fumiomi Takeda, Thomas Tworkoski, Chad E. Finn and Charles C. Boyd

One- or two-node hardwood cuttings were taken from 9-year-old ‘Triple Crown’ and ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry (Rubus) plants on 5 Nov. 2009, 3 Dec. 2009, and 21 Jan. 2010. The response of cuttings with and without partially excised axillary buds to an application of cytokinin was compared with control cuttings with intact axillary buds and no cytokinin. Differences in root development were evident in the two cultivars tested. The cuttings of ‘Siskiyou’ and ‘Triple Crown’ callused on cut ends, but many of the adventitious roots developed from the base of the axillary buds. Shoots emerged from the bud in ≈90% of ‘Siskiyou’ cuttings stuck in November, December, and January. Rooting occurred in more than 90% of cuttings stuck in November and December but declined in cuttings stuck in January. In ‘Siskiyou’, bud excision had no effect on shoot and root emergence, but cytokinin treatment suppressed rooting in cuttings collected in November and January. Shoot emergence and rooting were poorer in ‘Triple Crown’ cuttings than in ‘Siskiyou’. In ‘Triple Crown’ cuttings, partial excision of buds reduced shoot emergence only in January but had no effect on rooting at three sticking dates. Cytokinin treatment improved shoot emergence in November and December but reduced rooting in January. The enclosed system is a viable method for propagating ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry by non-leafy floricane cuttings.

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Brent Black, James Frisby, Kimberly Lewers, Fumiomi Takeda and Chad Finn

‘Navaho’ and ‘Apache’ blackberry plants were maintained at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 °C in growth chambers to determine optimum temperature for budbreak and flowering (fewest days to flowering). In a separate experiment, bloom dates were observed for a collection of 117 Rubus genotypes over four seasons. Using these phenological data, predictive linear and curvilinear models were tested using a range of cardinal temperatures. The growth chamber experiment indicated optimum temperatures for bloom were 25.6 °C for ‘Apache’ and 29.2 °C for ‘Navaho’. For the field observations, time to bloom was best defined by a linear model with base and optimum temperatures of 6 and 25 °C and a curvilinear model defined by base and optimum temperatures of 4 and 27 °C, respectively. Based on the linear growing degree hour (GDH) model, heat units to bloom varied among cultivars in the collection from 9,200 GDH for ‘Chickasaw’ to 18,900 GDH for ‘Merton Thornless’.