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  • Author or Editor: Ignasi Iglesias x
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The effects of covering the orchard floor with Extenday™ or Solarmate™ reflective films on fruit color, fruit quality, canopy light distribution, orchard temperature, and profitability of ‘Mondial Gala’ apples (Malus ×domestica) were evaluated over a 3-year period (2000–02) at Lleida (northeastern Spain). Reflective film was laid down 5 weeks before commercial harvest. Photosynthetically active radiation in the lowest part of the tree (1 m aboveground level) increased by 34% and 56%, for Solarmate™ and Extenday™ films, respectively, compared with the control. Fruit color, measured with a portable tristimulus colorimeter, significantly increased on both sides of the fruit (with lower values of L* and hue) when using the film. A higher proportion of red blush over the fruit surface was observed for the fruit in the film treatments. Based on the fruit size and color required to meet European Union grade standards, the use of Extenday™ or Solarmate™ resulted in an increase of 26% and 17%, respectively, when compared with the control, for the number of fruit picked at first harvest. Season clearly affected fruit color development, whereas harvest date, fruit firmness, fruit size, soluble solid concentration, titratable acidity, and maturity were not consistently affected by the use of reflective film. Despite the advance in fruit color, the starch score did not appear to be affected by the use of film. Based on current fruit prices for the study period, both types of film increased orchard profitability compared with the control, but the long-term benefit of this technique will largely depend on fruit prices.

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A new spontaneous mutation of the pear variety Dr. Jules Guyot, named `IGE 2002', was selected from a pear growing area in Catalonia. The clone was established in vitro from a 40-year-old tree, a highly recalcitrant material unable to root by cuttings. An in vitro micropropagation protocol, with an average multiplication rate of 5, a 90% rooting, and an acclimation of 79% of the plantlets, was defined. Self-rooted plants were grown in two experimental stations, covering two distinct fruit growing areas. The main agronomic characteristics of the clone `IGE 2002' were evaluated during six seasons, 1997 to 2002. Blooming and harvest period were at a similar time than `Dr. Jules Guyot'. Soluble solids concentration and acidity are also similar to `Dr. Jules Guyot'. However, at the same harvest time, a lower fruit firmness of `IGE 2002' in comparison to `Dr. Jules Guyot' indicated an advanced ripening. In addition, a finer flesh texture of `IGE 2002' than `Dr. Jules Guyot', distinguished the former from the later variety. Important differences between both plot sites were found on cumulative fruit yield, fruit size, and fruit size distribution, of `IGE2002' grown on its own roots. However, the site did not affect the fruit quality parameters. Superior fruit yields were associated with higher vigor and yield efficiency of the self-rooted variety.

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Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been used for a range of genetic studies and are now starting to be applied for marker-assisted selection in plant breeding programs. To identify SNP markers associated with red fruit skin color, we conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) analysis in an apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) breeding population comprising 94 phenotyped individuals using a 384-plex SNP assay. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis indicated that LD extends over a long physical distance in the population (17 Mbp), indicating that a small number of generations separates the individuals. No significant association of anthocyanin content, overcolor, and colorimetric measures (a*, b*, L*, a/b*, and hue angle) with a marker was identified, although the apple fruit skin color locus has been previously located on apple linkage group 9. Our trial of a small SNP panel for GWA in apple breeding material has demonstrated the limitation of this approach for marker trait association.

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