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Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

Carbohydrates fulfill several roles in plants; as building stones, as a source of energy, and also, as recently demonstrated, as modulators of gene expression. Primary, photosynthetic production of carbohydrates (as well as their release from tree reserves) is linked with the carbohydrate-consuming processes through complex feedback and feedforward regulatory loops. With horticultural productivity as the goal, maximum resources must be diverted toward reproductive processes. Persistence of viable vegetative structures must be secured, however, to enable the function of tree systems and ensure the tree's potential for future years. Thus, in the carbohydrate resource allocation of fruit trees, a delicate balance must be maintained between the vegetative and reproductive needs. Flowering, fruit set, and fruit enlargement have been identified as three distinct, critical stages within the annual course of yield formation in citrus. While each of these stages has its own, salient developmental features, all require considerable amounts of energy and their occurrence is dependent, at least to some extent, on the availability of carbohydrates. Whereas flower bud differentiation may require only a threshold level of carbohydrates, floral development and anthesis consume large amounts of carbohydrates due to the very large number of flowers per tree and their high rates of respiration. Fruit set is more closely linked to carbohydrate levels. Fruitlet abscission acts as a self-thinning, feedback mechanism to adjust the tree's fruit population to the carbohydrate supply. This mechanism does not operate properly in certain mandarin cultivars, resulting in alternate bearing. The acquisition of fruit size appears to be most directly correlated with the availability of photosynthate. Elimination of alternative sinks by extreme thinning and girdling brings about tremendous increases in fruit size. The fruit's vascular system also expands in response to the increase in photosynthate availability. A dynamic model has been constructed to provide a quantitative analysis of citrus trees' carbon balance during the annual productivity cycle.

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Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

The citron (Citrus medica L.) is one of the forefathers of the citrus tribe and was the first Citrus to reach the Mediterranean, according to Theophrastus’ testimony (). Citron’s biology is inseparable from its cultural and traditional legacy, from the Classic period until now. The rapidly evolving molecular tools and the increasing availability of germplasm enable reconstruction of the genomic pathway of citrus evolution and speciation. The recent progress in citron genomics is reviewed, paying special attention to the fingered citron. Among the unique biological traits of citrons, the persistent style (Pitam) played a special role. The biology of style persistence and its regulation by the synthetic auxin, Picloram, are described. Analysis of Jewish scripts and archaeological evidence regarding the requirement of style persistence for the use of citrons in the Feast of Tabernacles does not provide an unequivocal answer. However, citrons with a persistent style have been in high preference in recent centuries’ citron trade.

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Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

An overview of the conceptual and methodological changes in citrus developmental research during the past half century is provided. Beginning with the hormonal era, the extensive use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) is described and the presumed role of gibberellins in various stages of the reproductive processes is emphasized. Introduction of the source-sink concept opened the way for alternative, carbohydrate-mediated explanations of productivity and alternate bearing. The potential role of ethylene in citrus abscission and fruit ripening is reviewed. The recent adoption of genetic–molecular approaches paves the way for deeper understanding of citrus developmental enigmas.

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Amir Heiman and Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

The share of brand-name fruit and vegetables is much lower than that for general foods or processed industrial foods. The paper analyzes consumers' choice between generic and brand-name products and shows that consumers' preferences for horticultural brands increase with their appreciation of quality and with a low quality of the generic products, and that brand preferences are affected by socio-economic variables. The theoretical findings are supported by an orange (Citrus sinensis) consumer survey held in the UK and Israel. We found that in both countries consumers assign a relatively low value to orange brands. Consumers who are willing to pay for better quality are those who perceive brands as more important.

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Ruth Lavon, Raphael Salomon, and Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

The chlorotic appearance of mineral-deficient citrus leaves presumably reflects degradative changes in chloroplast components, most of which have nitrogen as a principal constituent. To examine this assumption the size of some major nitrogen pools, the SDS-PAGE pattern of soluble and chloroplast membranal proteins, and the activities of nitrate reductase and ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPcase) were determined in leaves of rough-lemon (Citrus volkameriana Ten. & Pasq) plants grown hydroponically for 3 to 10 months under K, Mg, and Ca deficiencies. Plants grown under minerally deficient conditions produced less biomass. Leaves developing under K, Mg, and Ca-deficient conditions had significantly reduced concentrations of the respective elements. Chlorophyll levels of the chlorotic Mg and Ca-deficient leaves were lower than those of control leaves but chlorophyll a/b ratios were not markedly different. Calcium deficiency caused significant decreases in total nitrogen, nitrates, and the free amino acid pool. Proline which is the major component of the free amino acid pool decreased by 82.5%. Calcium-deficient leaves had significantly lower nitrate reductase and RuBPcase activities. The level of RuBPcase holoenzyme and its subunits were also reduced. Protein levels of K, Mg, and Ca-deficient leaves were not significantly altered. The SDS-PAGE patterns of soluble and chloroplast membranal proteins did not reveal major qualitative changes. In conclusion, the data do not demonstrate a general close link between chlorosis of minerally deficient citrus leaves and nitrogen metabolism. Calcium deficiency seems to specifically interfere with early stages of nitrogen assimilation and free amino acid accumulation but the metabolic integrity of the leaf is apparently maintained even under severe nutritional stress conditions.

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Ruth Lavon, Eliezer E. Goldschmidt, Rafael Salomon, and Andre Frank

Carbohydrate content and related enzyme activities were determined in leaves of rough-lemon (Citrus volkameriana Ten. & Pasq) plants grown under K, Mg, and Ca deficiencies. Starch content was lower and soluble sugar significantly higher in K-deficient than in control leaves. Magnesium- and Ca-deficient leaves, on the other hand, accumulated large amounts of starch. Electron micrographs also showed a reduction in the number and size of starch grains in chloroplasts of K-deficient leaves, while those of Mg- and Ca-deficient leaves were filled with large starch grains. Total amylase activity increased 3- to 7-fold in K-deficient leaves, with maltose as the major product and small amounts of maltotriose. Electrophoretic separation of amylase isozymes on native gels containing starch or amylopectin showed higher band intensities in K-deficient leaves. Examination of the capacity of leaf extracts to use amylopectin vs. β-limit dextrin indicated that mainly 8-amylase was involved. Acid invertase activity increased 7-fold in K-deficient leaves, while alkaline invertase showed little change.

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Jian Xin Shi, Joseph Riov, Raphael Goren, Eliezer E. Goldschmidt, and Ron Porat

Molecular aspects of ethanol fermentation in citrus fruit were investigated in immature and mature ‘Star Ruby’ grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) and ‘Murcott’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco). Transcript levels of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which play a central role in ethanol fermentation, were detectable in all stages of fruit development, but accumulation of acetaldehyde (AA) and ethanol was evident only as fruit approached maturation or after several weeks of storage. Treatment of mature fruit with ethylene enhanced ethanol fermentation in grapefruit but not in mandarin. Immature fruit of both cultivars, on the other hand, responded to ethylene by prominent, although transient, enhancement of ethanol fermentation. Exposure of mature or immature fruit to anaerobic conditions (N2 atmosphere) upregulated the expression of PDC and ADH, and increased the levels of AA and ethanol. Exposure of mature fruit to anaerobic conditions also increased the enzymatic activities of PDC and ADH. The data indicate that the potential for ethanol fermentation exists in citrus fruit throughout development, even under aerobic conditions, but AA and ethanol are detected mainly toward maturation or under prolonged storage. However, prominent, long-term molecular induction of ethanol fermentation occurs only under anaerobic conditions imposed by N2 atmosphere.

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Elisabetta Nicolosi, Stefano La Malfa, Mohamed El-Otmani, Moshe Negbi, and Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

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Ron Porat, Xuqiao Feng, Moshe Huberman, David Galili, Raphael Goren, and Eliezer E. Goldschmidt

'Oroblanco' is an early-maturing pummelo-grapefruit hybrid (Citrus grandis Osbeck × C. paradisi Macf.). The fruit are usually picked and marketed while the peel color is still green; however, in some cases they can lose this green color during postharvest shipping and storage, which diminishes their commercial value. The effects of storage temperatures, gibberellic acid (GA), ethylene, and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on the degreening of 'Oroblanco' fruit were examined. Storage temperature was critical for retaining fruit color: at 2 °C the fruit remained green for a period up to 5 weeks, whereas at storage temperatures of 6, 12, and 20 °C there was a progressive increase in the rate of degreening. Applications of GA, either as preharvest sprays or as postharvest dip treatments, effectively retained the green fruit color. Ethylene exposures up to 100 μL·L-1 for 3 days had only a slight effect on fruit degreening, and 1-MCP treatments up to 200 nL·L-1 for 16 hours had no effect at all. The slight influence of ethylene and the ineffectiveness of 1-MCP on fruit color change can not be attributed to difficulties in their application, since in the same experiments ethylene markedly induced peduncle abscission, and 1-MCP effectively inhibited this ethylene effect. Accordingly, ethylene had only a relatively small effect on the induction of chlorophyllase enzyme activity in green 'Oroblanco' peel tissue.