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- Author or Editor: Alessandro Abruzzese x
Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees are often affected by a severe June fruit drop, which is often correlated with competition phenomena involving fruit nutrition. This research was initiated to determine if June drop in `Gloster'/M.9 apple could be correlated with a diminished nutrient availability in developing seeds and fruit. During the test period [30 to 62 days after full bloom (AFB)], the fruit that abscised had a diameter similar to that reached by persisting fruit 13 days earlier. Biochemical parameters related to nutritional status of fruit were measured when an abscission peak occurred 38 days AFB. Persisting fruit (control) and abscised fruit were compared along with fruit that abscise 13 days later. The cortex tissue obtained from the two kinds of abscised fruit showed a higher level of soluble reducing sugars and sucrose and a lower content of K+, acid hydrolyzable polysaccharides, and protein compared to the control. Further, the Ca2+ content was higher in abscised fruit than in controls of the same age, whereas there was no difference when fruit of the same size were compared. Total amino acid level was similar in control and abscised fruit at the same age, but there was a lower amino acid level in abscised fruit of the same size. Histological analysis of cortex tissue indicated that abscised fruit have larger cells with less evident nuclei and thinner cell walls than controls. Compared to control fruit, abscised fruit showed the same average number of seeds and a severe inhibition of seed growth; seeds from both kinds of abscised fruit had the same or higher levels of the parameters measured. No positive correlations were observed between fruit abscission and nutrient content of seeds or fruit.