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Kenneth A. Shackel, H. Ahmadi, C. Greve, and J. Labavitch

The pressure microprobe was used to measure cell turgor (ψp) in tomato pericarp tissue, and also to sample vacuolar fluid for the measurement of cell osmotic potential (ψs) in a nanoleter freezing point osmometer. In fresh tissue, cell ψs agreed well with the ψs of frozen-thawed whole tissue measured with a vapor pressure osmometer. Under a wide range of ripeness conditions however, and for both intact fruit and discs of fruit tissue, fruit cell turgor was consistently lower than expected, based on the values of cell ψs. When tissue discs were hydrated in aerated distilled water, disc fresh weight increased substantially (20 - 50+%), and both cell turgor and tissue ψs increased. Cell ψs however, remained relatively constant. These and other observations suggest that the turgor increase during hydration was largely due to losses of solute from the apoplastic space, partly by direct losses from the tissue, and partly by cell solute accumulation.

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H. Ahmadi, W.V. Biasi, and E.J. Mitcham

Effects of short-term exposure to a 15% CO2 atmosphere on nectarines [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Nectarine Group) `Summer Red'] inoculated with Monilinia fructicola (Wint.) Honey (causal agent of brown rot) were investigated. Nectarines were inoculated with spores of M. fructicola and incubated at 20 °C for 24, 48 or 72 hours and then transferred to storage in either air or air enriched with 15% CO2 at 5 °C. Fruit were removed from storage after 5 and 16 days and were examined for brown rot decay immediately and after ripening in air for 3 days at 20 °C. Noninoculated nectarines were stored and treated likewise for evaluation of postharvest fruit attributes to determine their tolerance to 15% CO2. Incubation period after inoculation, storage duration, and storage atmosphere had highly significant effects on fruit decay. `Summer Red' nectarines tolerated a 15% CO2 atmosphere for 16 days at 5 °C. Development of brown rot decay in fruit inoculated 24 hours before 5 or 16 days storage in 15% CO2 at 5 °C was arrested. After 3 days ripening in air at 20 °C, the progression of brown rot disease was rapid in all inoculated nectarines, demonstrating the fungistatic effect of 15% CO2. The quantity of fungal cell wall materials (estimated by glucosamine concentration) was compared to visual estimation of decayed area and visual rating of fungal sporulation. The glucosamine assay defined the onset and progress of brown rot infection more precisely than either of the two visual tests.

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Kenneth A. Shackel, H. Ahmadi, C. Greve, J. Labavitch, Liesbeth Verstreken, Paul Chen, and Jim Thompson

The pressure microprobe has been used to measure cell turgor and, in addition, to sample vacuolar tissues. In carrot, a rapid initial loss of tissue firmness (instron technique) occurred when the tissue was heater (cooked), and this could be entirely attributed to a loss in cell turgor. Turgor was well-correlated to firmness over the range of turgor measurements (0–0.8 MPa). In cherry and other fruits, turgor is typically 1 to 2 orders of magnitude lower than that expected based on cell osmotic potential, indicating the presence of apoplastic solutes. Cherry fruit firmness and cell turgor were well-correlated during the first 2 h of hydration at 20C, but, as fruit began to crack, tissue decreased, whereas turgor continued to increase.

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Kenneth A. Shackel, H. Ahmadi, W. Biasi, R. Buchner, D. Goldhamer, S. Gurusinghe, J. Hasey, D. Kester, B. Krueger, B. Lampinen, G. McGourty, W. Micke, E. Mitcham, B. Olson, K. Pelletrau, H. Philips, D. Ramos, L. Schwankl, S. Sibbett, R. Snyder, S. Southwick, M. Stevenson, M. Thorpe, S. Weinbaum, and J. Yeager

To be useful for indicating plant water needs, any measure of plant stress should be closely related to some of the known short- and medium-term plant stress responses, such as stomatal closure and reduced rates of expansive growth. Midday stem water potential has proven to be a useful index of stress in a number of fruit tree species. Day-to-day fluctuations in stem water potential under well-irrigated conditions are well correlated with midday vapor-pressure deficit, and, hence, a nonstressed baseline can be predicted. Measuring stem water potential helped explain the results of a 3-year deficit irrigation study in mature prunes, which showed that deficit irrigation could have either positive or negative impacts on tree productivity, depending on soil conditions. Mild to moderate water stress was economically beneficial. In almond, stem water potential was closely related to overall tree growth as measured by increases in trunk cross-sectional area. In cherry, stem water potential was correlated with leaf stomatal conductance and rates of shoot growth, with shoot growth essentially stopping once stem water potential dropped to between −1.5 to −1.7 MPa. In pear, fruit size and other fruit quality attributes (soluble solids, color) were all closely associated with stem water potential. In many of these field studies, systematic tree-to-tree differences in water status were large enough to obscure irrigation treatment effects. Hence, in the absence of a plant-based measure of water stress, it may be difficult to determine whether the lack of an irrigation treatment effect indicates the lack of a physiological response to plant water status, or rather is due to treatment ineffectiveness in influencing plant water status. These data indicate that stem water potential can be used to quantify stress reliably and guide irrigation decisions on a site-specific basis.