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  • Author or Editor: Gregory A. Lang x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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To study self- and cross-pollination effects on fruit development in southern highbush (mainly Vaccinium corymbosum L.) blueberries, `Sharpblue' plants were caged with honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and other `Sharpblue' or `Gulfcoast' plants at anthesis. Ratios of pollinizer: fruiting flowers ranged from 2.1 to 4.5. Cross-pollination increased fruit size by ≈14% and seed count by 27% but did not influence fruit set. Overall, seed count decreased by 58% during the 30 days of harvest, but this did not directly affect fruit size. Seed count appeared to influence earliness of ripening as much as it influenced fruit size. Cross-pollination increased the harvest percentage of early-ripening fruits by ≈140% and of premium market fruits (those ≥ 0.75 g) by 13% and decreased the percentage of small fruits by 66%. Consequently, a 43% increase in premium early market crop value (nearly $5000/ha) resulted from optimizing `Sharpblue' cross-pollination.

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Canopy fruit to leaf area ratios (fruit no./m2 leaf area, F:LA) of 7- and 8-year-old `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) on the dwarfing rootstock `Gisela 5' (P. cerasus L. × P. canescens L.) were manipulated by thinning dormant fruit buds. F:LA influenced yield, fruit quality, and vegetative growth, but there were no consistent effects on whole canopy net CO2 exchange rate (NCERcanopy). Trees thinned to 20 fruit/m2 LA had yield reduced by 68% but had increased fruit weight (+25%), firmness (+25%), soluble solids (+20%), and fruit diameter (+14%), compared to unthinned trees (84 fruit/m2). Fruit quality declined when canopy LA was ≈200 cm2/fruit, suggesting that photoassimilate capacity becomes limiting to fruit growth below this ratio. NCERcanopy and net assimilation varied seasonally, being highest during stage III of fruit development (64 days after full bloom, DAFB), and falling more than 50% by 90 DAFB. Final shoot length, LA/spur, and trunk expansion were related negatively to F:LA. F:LA did not affect subsequent floral bud induction per se, but the number of flowers initiated per bud was negatively and linearly related to F:LA. Although all trees were thinned to equal floral bud levels per spur for the year following initial treatment (2001), fruit yields were highest on the trees that previously had no fruit, reflecting the increased number of flowers initiated per floral bud. Nonfruiting trees exhibited a sigmoidal pattern of shoot growth and trunk expansion, whereas fruiting trees exhibited a double sigmoidal pattern due to a growth lag during Stage III of fruit development. Vegetative growth in the second year was not related to current or previous season F:LA. We estimate that the LA on a typical spur is only sufficient to support the full growth potential of a single fruit; more heavily-set spurs require supplemental LA from nonfruiting shoots. From these studies there appears to be a hierarchy of developmental sensitivity to high F:LA for above-ground organs in `Bing'/`Gisela 5' sweet cherry trees: trunk expansion > fruit soluble solids (Stage III) > fruit growth (Stage III) > LA/spur > shoot elongation > fruit growth (Stages I and II) > LA/shoot. Current season F:LA had a greater influence on fruit quality than prior cropping history, underscoring the importance of imposing annual strategies to balance fruit number with LA.

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Abstract

Fruit-bearing olive (Olea europaea L.) shoots were exposed to more than 100 ethylene (C2H4) treatments to determine if C2H4-induced abscission varied between leaves and fruits in response to manipulation of treatment concentration, duration, and total amount of exogenous C2H4. Nearly three-quarters of the treatments induced greater fruit abscission than leaf abscission on a percentage basis. The potential for optimization of C2H4-induced fruit abscission relative to leaf abscission was examined by calculating the fruit-to-Ieaf (F:L) abscission ratio. Of the treatments inducing at least 75% fruit abscission, the dose range of 150 to 370 μmol C2H4 gave ratios up to 13.3; however, results were highly variable and closely dependent on the interaction of concentration and duration. Response surfaces were created to depict this interaction. Desirable levels of fruit abscission occurred at durations > 30 hr and concentrations > 2 to 3 μl·liter−1. However, excessive leaf abscission occurred at durations of 24 to 48 hr, depending on concentration. Acceptable F:L ratios were found for about 30% of the surface, with the highest ratios occurring for treatments of 3 to 5 μl·liter−1 for 28 to 34 hr.

Open Access

Abstract

The possibility of using 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to detect ethephon (ET) in olive leaves has been examined. 31P-NMR spectroscopy can be used as a nondestructive technique (tissues excised but not extracted) with the unique attributes of monitoring ET hydrolysis internally and without radiochemicals. A characteristic spectral peak for the parent ET molecule was found 17-21 ppm (a measure of relative frequency, not concentration) downfield from the H3PO4 reference, and a nonreactive, minor contaminant spectral peak was found at 26-27 ppm. Absolute spectral peak location (“chemical shift”) is pH-dependent. The ET hydrolysis product, orthophosphate, produces a spectral peak at 2 to 3 ppm, which coincides with the broad spectral peak attributed to major endogenous phosphate compounds in leaves, such as inorganic phosphate. The lower limit of 31P-NMR detection of ET in solution was 10−3 m; however, spray applications of ET were not detectable in olive leaves unless concentrations of 5 × 10−2 m or more were used, which is far greater than current agricultural use levels for mechanical harvest of olive. Nevertheless, 31P-NMR spectroscopy was useful in following ET uptake and decomposition for more than 48 hr in olive leaves from xylem-fed shoots, and the resolution of the ET spectral peak into separate, adjoining peaks presents the potential to identify and quantify subcellular compartmentalization of ET according to pH-induced chemical shifts. Such knowledge would contribute to understanding long- and short-term in vivo decomposition of ET to ethylene. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

Open Access

Flower initiation and development in `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) was examined using scanning electron microscopy. There was a 1- to 2-week difference in the time of initiation of flower buds on summer pruned current season shoots (P) compared to buds borne on unpruned shoots (U) or spurs (S). By late July, this difference was obvious in morphological development. The P buds had already formed floral primordia, while the S and U buds showed little differentiation in the meristem until early August. In general, buds from unpruned shoots were similar developmentally to spur buds. By late August, primordial differentiation was similar in the buds from all the wood types; however, buds from pruned shoots were significantly larger (838 μm) than buds from spurs (535 μm) and unpruned shoots (663 μm). Early summer pruning may shift allocation of resources from terminal shoot elongation to reproductive meristem development at the base of current season shoots. The similarity in reproductive bud development between spurs and unpruned shoots, given the difference in active terminal growth, might suggest that developmental resources are inherently more limiting in reproductive buds on spurs.

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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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Premature leaf blackening in Protea severely reduces vase life and market value. The current hypothesis suggests that leaf blackening is induced by a sequence of events related to metabolic reactions associated with senescence, beginning with total depletion of leaf carbohydrates. It is thought that this carbohydrate depletion may induce hydrolysis of intercellular membranes to supply respiratory substrate, and subsequently allow vacuole-sequestered phenols to be oxidized by polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD) (Whitehead and de Swardt, 1982). To more thoroughly examine this hypothesis, leaf carbohydrate depletion and the activities of PPO and POD in cut flower Protea susannae × P. compacta stems held under light and dark conditions were examined in relationship to postharvest leaf blackening. Leaf blackening proceeded rapidly on dark-held stems, approaching 100% by day 8, and was temporally coincident with a rapid decline in starch concentration. Blackening of leaves on light-held stems did not occur until after day 7, and a higher concentration of starch was maintained earlier in the postharvest period for stems held in light than those held in dark. A large concentration of the sugar alcohol, polygalatol, was maintained in dark- and light-held stems over the postharvest period, suggesting that it is not involved in growth or maintenance metabolism. Polyphenol oxidase activity in light- and dark-held stems was not related to appearance of blackening symptoms. Activity of PPO at pH 7.2 in light-held stems resulted in a 10-fold increase over the 8-day period. Activity in dark-held stems increased initially, but declined at the onset of leaf blackening. There was no significant difference in POD activity for dark- or light-held stems during the postharvest period. Total chlorophyll and protein concentrations did not decline over the 8-day period or differ between light- and dark-held stems. Total phenolics in the dark-held stems increased to concentrations ≈30% higher than light-held stems. Consequently, the lack of association between membrane collapse, leaf senescence, or activities of oxidative enzymes (PPO or POD) with leaf blackening does not support the hypothesis currently accepted by many Protea researchers. An alternative scenario may be that the rapid rate of leaf starch hydrolysis imposes an osmotic stress resulting in cleavage of glycosylated phenolic compounds to release glucose for carbohydrate metabolism and coincidentally increase the pool of free phenolics available for nonenzymatic oxidation. The physiology of such a carbohydrate-related cellular stress and its manifestation in cellular blackening remains to be elucidated.

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