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Ed Stover and Greg McCollum

Incidence and severity of Huanglongbing (HLB) disease were assessed in Apr. 2010 among eight citrus cultivars representing diverse scion types growing in commercial groves in Florida's Indian River region, an area with a high incidence of HLB. In each grove, 20 trees of each cultivar were rated for visual HLB symptoms and leaves were collected for quantitative polymerase chain reaction quantification of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the presumptive causal agent of HLB. There was a strong correlation between HLB rating and CLas titer (titer represented by Ct, r 2 = 0.37 and 0.40, for whole tree and leaf sample, respectively, both with P < 0.0001) across all cultivars and groves. Although incidence and severity of HLB varied considerably among the groves, scion-specific differences were apparent, even when analyses excluded potentially confounding grove effects. ‘Temple’ tangor showed the most consistently low incidence of HLB symptoms and CLas titer; in contrast, ‘Murcott’ tangor and ‘Minneola’ tangelo had the highest incidence of HLB symptoms and highest CLas titer. These results suggest useful resistance to HLB with reduced symptoms and reduced CLas titer may be found in conventional scion cultivars and further work is needed to assess this potential and its commercial value.

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Greg McCollum and Pilar Maul

We determined the effects of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) and ethylene on color change and CO2 and ethylene production in grapefruit. Treatment with 1-MCP at concentrations equal to or greater than 75 nL·L−1 inhibited ethylene-induced degreening, but increasing 1-MCP concentrations greater than 150 nL·L−1 did not cause additional inhibition of degreening. Although ethylene-induced degreening was inhibited by 1-MCP, the effect was transient. Treating grapefruit with 15 to 75 nL·L−1 1-MCP resulted in a slight suppression of CO2 production, whereas treatment with 150 or 300 nL·L−1 1-MCP resulted in rates of CO2 production significantly higher than nontreated fruit. 1-MCP treatment also caused a very pronounced increase in the rate of C2H4 production that was both dose- and time-dependent. The effects of 1-MCP on respiration and ethylene evolution were reduced if fruit was subsequently exposed to ethylene. Fruit treated with 1-MCP alone had the highest rates of CO2 production, fruit treated with ethylene after 1-MCP or ethylene alone had intermediate rates of CO2 production, and control fruit had the lowest rate of CO2 production. Rates of C2H4 evolution were ≈200 nL·kg−1·h−1 from control and C2H4-treated fruit compared with ≈10,000 nL·kg−1·h−1 from 1-MCP-treated fruit; fruit treated with ethylene after 1-MCP had ethylene production rates of ≈400 nL·kg−1·h−1. Our results lend further support for a regulatory role for ethylene in degreening of citrus and suggest that endogenous levels of ethylene regulate ethylene production.

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Greg McCollum and Kim D. Bowman

The objective of this experiment was to compare fruit-quality parameters of ‘Ray Ruby’ grapefruit grown on seven rootstocks. Four recent releases from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rootstock breeding program, ‘US-852’, ‘US-897’, ‘US-942’, and ‘US-812’ (all Citrus reticulata × Poncirus trifoliata hybrids), ‘x639’ (C. reticulata × P. trifoliata), along with industry-standard ‘Sour Orange’ and ‘Swingle’ citrumelo were evaluated in a commercial orchard trial in Indian River County, FL. Fruit-quality data were collected in 2011–12 (eight harvests), 2012–13 (five harvests), and 2014 (single harvest). In each season, rootstock effects on fruit size, total solids, and solids acid ratio were significant. ‘Sour orange’ and ‘Swingle’ produced the largest fruit, whereas ‘US-897’ (a semidwarfing rootstock) produced the smallest fruit. Peel thickness (measured only in the 2011–12 season) was greatest in ‘Sour Orange’ early in the season, but not toward the end of the season. Misshapen (“sheep-nosed”) fruit occurred more frequently on ‘Sour Orange’ than on other rootstocks, although the incidence of sheep-nosing was minor. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for fruit-quality data collected in January of each of the 3 years confirmed that ‘Sour Orange’ and ‘Swingle’ produced the largest fruit and ‘US-897’ produced the smallest fruit. Total solids were the highest in ‘US-897’ and the lowest in ‘x639’ and ‘US-852’. Taken together, our data indicate that ‘US-942’ and ‘US-897’ rootstocks produced fruit with quality characteristics that equaled or exceeded ‘Sour Orange’ and ‘Swingle’, the two most common rootstocks used in the Indian River district.

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Kim D. Bowman and Greg McCollum

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Jeffrey Anderson, Greg McCollum and Warren Roberts

Electrolyte leakage was used to quantify heat stress injury in `Early Calwonder' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) leaf disks. Lethal temperatures were estimated from the midpoint of the sigmoidal response curve. An interaction between exposure temperature and duration was observed, with lethal temperatures decreasing linearly from 53 to 46C as exposure duration increased exponentially from 5 to 240 min. Exposure to two 7.5-min periods at 51.5C, interrupted by 4 hours at 21C, resulted in the same injury as a continuous 15-min exposure to 51.5C. Plants grown at 22/20C day/night cycles and held 24 hours at 38/30C had increased their heat tolerance by 3C, 51 to 54C; these plants reacclimated to 52C 48 hours after having been transferred back to 22/20C. Leaf disks acclimated significantly in vitro in 1 hour and were fully acclimated by 4 hours at 38C.

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Greg McCollum, Kim Bowman and Tim Gottwald

Citrus bacterial canker [causal agent Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (Xac)] is a serious threat to the citrus industry. Currently, there are no effective means to control citrus canker. Our objective was to determine the resistance of selected citrus species, citrus hybrids, and citrus relatives to Xac. Our first experiment focused on determining if differences in resistance exist among 20 C. reticulata genotypes and included three other citrus species and citrus relatives (Glycosmis pentaphylla and Clausena hardimandiana). Plants were inoculated with Xac strain A either by injection infiltration or needle-prick. Our second experiment included 10 members of the genus Citrus and Poncirus trifoliata, representing a total of 31 different selections. Plants were needle-prick inoculated with both Xac strain A and Xac strain A Wellington (AW). All inoculations were done using suspensions of Xac at a concentration of 104 cfu/mL. In both experiments, there were highly significant differences among genotypes in response to inoculation with Xac. In the first experiment, regardless of inoculation method, G. pentaphylla and C. hardimandiana were found to be highly resistant to Xac, whereas C. paradisi was least resistant. In the second experiment for both Xac strain A and AW, Chinotto sour orange, Carrizo citrange, Eustis limequat, and P. trifoliata were the most resistant. Thornless key lime × Meiwa kumquat hybrids showed a range of resistance from among the most susceptible to among the most resistant. Our results expand on previous studies on resistance of citrus and citrus relatives to Xac and indicate that there may be potential for increasing resistance by breeding using selected parents.

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Hong Chen, Greg McCollum, Elizabeth Baldwin and Jinhe Bai

This study evaluated the effects of huanglongbing (HLB) symptom severity on fruit detachment force (FDF) and fruit mechanical properties in sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) as indicators of potential HLB-influenced preharvest fruit drop and postharvest damage and breakdown. FDF for fruit from HLB-asymptomatic trees (AS) was substantially greater than for fruits from HLB-symptomatic trees or branches. Fruit hardness, resilience, springiness, and cohesiveness values, measured by texture profile analysis (TPA), represent various aspects of fruit firmness and recovery capacity once compressed, and were lower in HLB-symptomatic fruits in comparison with AS fruits. On the other hand, puncture force, toughness, and deformation values, measured by a puncture test and representing peel toughness, were higher in HLB-symptomatic fruits than in the AS fruits. The results indicate that fruits from severely HLB-symptomatic sweet orange trees are more likely to have problems with preharvest fruit drop, and postharvest pressure damage and breakdown, but may have less puncture damage in harvesting, transportation, packing, and juice processing.

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Kim D. Bowman, Greg McCollum, Anne Plotto and Jinhe Bai