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  • Author or Editor: Jacqueline K. Burns x
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Oxygen uptake and glycosidase activities were examined in normal and granulated juice vesicles of several citrus fruit. Oxygen uptake was low in normal juice vesicles isolated from freshly harvested `Lee' tangelos [Citrus reticulate Blanco cv. Clementine × (Citrus paradisi Macf. cv. Duncan × Citrus reticulate Blanco cv. Dancy)] and stored `Dancy' tangerine (C. reticulate Blanco) and `Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) (35.7, 17.9, and 11.6 μl O2/hr per g fresh weight, respectively), but was 2- to 3-fold higher in granulated juice vesicles. As severity of granulation increased in grape. fruit, O2 uptake increased. Oxygen uptake in normal and disordered juice vesicles of all citrus fruit examined was reduced to nondetectable levels with 0.1 mM KCN and was insensitive to salicylhydroxamic acid. α - and β -galactosidase and α- and β -glucosidase activities were present in extracts of normal grapefruit juice vesicles (123, 214, 51, and 25 nmol·hr-1·g-1 fresh weight, respectively) and was 2- to 3-fold higher in extracts of granulated tissue. α- and β -mannosidase activities, nondetectable in normal juice vesicle extracts, were present in extracts from granulated tissue. The results suggest that increased metabolic activity occurs in granulated juice vesicles and the energy produced may be used to support cell wall synthesis and modification. Increases in O2 uptake and glycosidase activities correlate well with observed symptoms of section-drying in citrus.

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1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) is a gaseous ethylene-binding inhibitor used to control or delay ethylene-related postharvest effects in a range of horticultural commodities. The potential for preharvest applications of 1-MCP to prevent unwanted defoliation using ethephon to loosen mature citrus fruit is presented. Although there was no difference in mature fruit loosening by ethephon + 1-MCP treatments, 1-MCP reduced defoliation caused by ethephon. The gaseous nature of 1-MCP is an impediment to uniform application and consistent efficacy. A sprayable 1-MCP formulation would be of great value for preharvest use in many horticultural crops.

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Temporal studies were conducted from mid- to late-harvest season of `Ruby Red' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) to evaluate the effect of on- and off-tree storage, fruit size, and juice vesicle position on the development of granulation. Juice vesicle fresh and dry masses were highest at the stem and stylar positions of the fruit section and were not affected significantly by time of harvest or by storage. Juice vesicles isolated from each position were subjectively evaluated for the presence of granulation. Granulation was highest in stylar juice vesicles obtained from large fruit (≈600 g) that were harvested late in the season (March and May) and stored in air at 21 °C for 60 days. Large fruit harvested in March and May and examined immediately, and fruit harvested in January and stored for 60 days had low granulation scores. Thus, fruit remaining on the tree until May are less susceptible to the disorder than those harvested in March and held in storage until May. Levels of alcohol-insoluble solids (AIS), largely composed of pectins and other cell wall materials, were significantly higher in juice vesicles that were granulated. The results suggest that storage itself was not responsible for the marked accumulation of AIS in granulated juice vesicles. Rather, some interaction of fruit size with maturation, as well as other factors such as tree age and rootstock, likely contributed to the development of granulation.

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Plant growth regulators (PGRs) play important roles in the way plants grow and develop. Myriad processes important to horticultural crops are regulated by PGRs. Changes in the presence, balance, and distribution of PGRs communicate developmental, stress-related, or environmental cues that alter growth. Short-distance communication involves changes in biosynthesis or metabolic conversion, whereas longer-distance communication may also require export and translocation of PGRs, their precursors or metabolites. Examples are presented that demonstrate PGR communication between roots and shoots in horticultural commodities. For example, increased duration and intensity of flooding stress can result in synthesis of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), precursor of the PGR ethylene, in roots. ACC transported to the shoot through the transpiration stream is converted to ethylene and causes leaf epinasty. Roots sense the onset of water stress and can communicate the need to close leaf stomata by altering abscisic acid (ABA) levels in the shoot. Daylength and temperature regulate synthesis and transport of gibberellins, which promote stem elongation and stolon formation and inhibit tuberization in potato. Outgrowth of axillary buds following the decapitation of the apical meristem is dependent on synthesis and transport of cytokinin from root to the axillary buds as well as the balance of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) cytokinin, and additional messengers. Current research in the field of long-distance communication within plants is uncovering novel messengers and altering our view of the central roles for PGRs in such signaling.

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To successfully use abscission agents for ‘Valencia’ sweet orange mechanical harvesting throughout the harvest season, unwanted flower, fruitlet, and leaf drop must be assessed and minimized. Ethephon (400 mg·L−1), 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP; 5 mm), ethephon + 1-MCP, 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP; 200 mg·L−1), and a kinetic adjuvant control [0.15% (v/v)] were applied to ‘Valencia’ branches at various times from full bloom in Mar. 2006 to the end of full bloom in Mar. 2008. Effects of these treatments on fruit detachment force (FDF) and abscission of developing and mature fruit, flowers, and leaves were recorded. Three separate response periods to abscission agent applications were observed: the first spanned the first 100 days after bloom (DAB) and was characterized by high initial response followed by decreasing sensitivity; the second spanned between 100 and 225 DAB and was characterized by little to no response; and the third spanned from 225 DAB to harvest and was characterized by a gain in sensitivity. Young fruitlets in the first response period were highly sensitive to ethephon but were less sensitive to CMNP or ethephon + 1-MCP. Mature fruit in the third response period were highly sensitive to CMNP and less sensitive to ethephon or ethephon + 1-MCP. The application of ethephon resulted in high leaf abscission and showed no clear sensitivity pattern throughout both cropping years. CMNP or ethephon + 1-MCP application caused minimal leaf abscission. The same abscission agent treatments were applied on whole tree canopies 6 and 28 DAB in Mar. 2007. Application date had no significant effect on the measured parameters. Although ethephon application induced high initial leaf drop, leaf area indices determined 7 months after any compound application were not significantly different. However, subsequent 2008 yield in trees sprayed with ethephon in 2007 was significantly less, whereas 2008 flower number was higher. The results indicate a complex interaction of fruitlet abscission and leaf loss during the first response period contributed to yield reduction and increased flower number in ethephon-treated trees.

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`Valencia' oranges were-treated with an experimental polysaccharide-based coating, a commercial shellac-based water wax, or were left uncoated. The fruit were stored at 16 or 21C with 95% RH. Samples were periodically analyzed for internal gases, flavor volatiles, water loss, and `Brix. Coated fruit had lower internal O2 and higher CO2 and ethylene levels as well as higher levels of many flavor volatiles (including ethanol) compared to uncoated. The differences were greatest for shellac-coated fruit at the higher storage temperature. No differences were found for °Brix. The shellac-coating gave the best weight-loss control and the most restricted gas exchange. The low gas permeability characteristic of this type of shellac coating may result in altered flavor for fruit held at 21C.

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The abscission action of two sulfonylureas and one imidazolinone was evaluated in laboratory studies with harvested orange (Citrus sinensis L. cv. Valencia) fruit and greenhouse studies with orange (cv. Hamlin) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf. cv. Marsh) trees. Dipping harvested fruit in 90 mg·L–1 imazameth, 2 mg·L–1 metsulfuronmethyl, or 30 mg·L–1 prosulfuron solutions increased levels of internal ethylene. Internal ethylene concentration was higher when fruit were dipped in 2 mg·L–1 metsulfuron-methyl solutions at low pH. Fruit retained on trees and dipped in 2 mg·L–1 metsulfuron-methyl solutions produced more ethylene than control fruit. Drop of treated fruit began when ethylene production was at a maximum. High temperatures (average 33 °C) suppressed ethylene production and fruit drop of metsulfuron-methyl–treated fruit. The results indicate the importance of environmental conditions in evaluating the potential of sulfonylureas and imidazolinones as abscission agents for citrus. Chemical names used: ±-2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-5-oxo-1H-imidazol-2-yl]-5-methyl-3-pyridinecarboxylic acid (imazameth); methyl 2-[[[[(4-methoxy-6-methyl-1,3,5-triazin-2yl) amino] carbonyl] amino] sulfonyl] benzoate (metsulfuron-methyl); 1-(4-methoxy-6-methyl-triazin-2-yl)-3-[2-(3,3,3-trifluoropropyl) phenylsulfonyl] urea (prosulfuron); N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate); 2-[4,5-dihydro-4-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-5-oxo-1 H-imidazol-2-yl]-3-quinolinecarboxylic acid (imazaquin).

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A study was initiated in `Hamlin' orange to determine if a selective citrus abscission material, 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP), could improve mature fruit removal and recovery when used with mechanical harvesters. A trunk shaker and continuous-moving canopy shaker equipped with catch-frames were used at the flatwoods and ridge growing regions in Florida. Both trials were conducted during the first 2 weeks of Dec. 2003. Plots were constructed as randomized complete blocks containing four replicates for each treatment. Each replicate contained five trees at the ridge site or four trees at the flatwoods site. CMNP was applied using a commercial airblast sprayer at 0, 125, 250 and 500 mg·L-1 at a rate of 2,800 L·ha-1 4 days before scheduled harvest. The trunk shaker was operated for either 7 seconds or 2 seconds/tree, whereas the canopy shaker was operated at either 260 cpm or 140 cpm/tree. The data show that the correct time was selected for harvest. Over a 50% reduction in FDF was achieved with the 250 and 500 mg·L-1 treatments, while post-application fruit drop was less than 1.5%. The greatest benefit of abscission agent use was seen when the mechanical harvesters were operated at the least aggressive setting (2 seconds or 140 cpm), where increases in % fruit removal and recovery were over 20% higher than the controls. At the most aggressive settings, numeric increases in % fruit removal and recoveries were measured, but these changes were not statistically significant. The results demonstrated that statistically similar % fruit removal and recoveries could be achieved using less aggressive harvester settings with abscission agent use when compared with most aggressive settings using no abscission agent.

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