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Jer-Chia Chang

‘Miaoli No. 1’ mulberry (Morus atropurpurea Roxb., a synonym of Morus alba L.) has recently been released by the Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (MDARES) in Miaoli, Taiwan. ‘Miaoli No. 1’ is a promising cultivar that produces a high yield of large fruit suitable for both processing and fresh markets. ‘Miaoli No. 1’ is named for the first commercial release of mulberry cultivars specifically for berry production from MDARES.

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Yu-Chi Lee and Jer-Chia Chang

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the total number and percentage of female flowers and fruit yield were influenced by the type of inflorescence, i.e., leafless or leafy inflorescences in ‘Yu Her Pau’ litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). Four 10-year-old field-grown plants in Chunghua, Taiwan, were assessed between March and June 2013. In total, 24 inflorescences comprising 12 each of leafless and leafy inflorescences were investigated. Leaves of the leafy inflorescence, defined as the fourth successive flush, attained maturity before female flower anthesis on 16 Mar. 2013. Shoot diameter and leaf number on the flowering (fruiting) shoot, total number of flowers, and total and percentage of female flowers were recorded. Fruit number, fruit set rate, cluster yield, and fruit quality were also determined at harvest between the two inflorescence types. The two inflorescence types had similar shoot diameters and total leaf number on a flowering shoot. The total number of flowers, female flowers, and the percentage female flowers in leafless inflorescences were 3741, 563, and 16.2%, respectively; these values were 1.3- to 1.7-fold higher (P ≤ 0.05) than those in leafy inflorescences, which were 2779, 326, and 12.2%, respectively. Leafless inflorescences had significantly higher fruit numbers and fruit yield per cluster at harvest (10.2 and 321.5 g, respectively), although there was no difference (P > 0.05) in fruit set rate between the two inflorescence types. No fruit quality trait, such as fruit, pericarp, aril, seed weight, aril proportion, and total soluble solid concentration of aril, was significant (P > 0.05) between the two inflorescence types. We concluded that leafless and leafy inflorescences of ‘Yu Her Pau’ had similar carbon assimilation supply potential; however, leafless inflorescence had greater performance in terms of female flower number and thus fruit yield, presumably due to the absence of assimilate competition brought by synchronous development of lateral inflorescence and immature leaves of panicle.

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Jer-Chia Chang and Tzong-Shyan Lin

The goal of this study was to document the relationship between fruit growth patterns and flushing number in litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn. cv. 73-S-20). The impact of flush number on fruit retention, fruit quality, and leaf efficiency (g fruit FW produced per unit of leaf area at harvest) was assessed in field-grown 6-year-old trees by adjusting the number of flushes per bearing shoot through girdling at two fruit developmental stages. The cumulative fruit growth was sigmoidal. The greatest fruit relative growth rate (RGR) occurred during 3 to 5 weeks after full bloom (AFB), peaking on week 3 at 0.39 g·g−1 dry weight (DW) per day. The greatest fruit absolute growth rate (AGR) occurred during weeks 8 to 11, peaking on week 11 at 0.16 g·d−1 DW. Fruit retention was sensitive to girdling applied during week 3. Most fruit dropped on branches with ≤ two flushes, whereas fruit continued to develop on branches with three flushes and on the controls. There was a gradual loss of fruit when the girdling was applied during week 8. The number of fruit retained on branches with two and three flushes was similar to the controls. At harvest, regardless of the time of branch girdling, fruit yield and quality increased with increasing number of flushes; shoots with three flushes were similar to ungirdled controls. Leaf efficiency on branches girdled during week 3 was inferior to that girdled during week 8. All treatments had similar leaf efficiency when branches were girdled during week 8. On the other hand, girdling treatment applied during week 3 resulted in variable leaf efficiency among treatment, indicating that fruit were utilizing reserves in bearing shoots. We concluded that bearing shoots of ‘73-S-20’ litchi trees require a minimum number of three flushes for adequate fruit production.

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Yen-Chieh Chien and Jer-Chia Chang

To evaluate the comprehensive response of commercial cultivation of the white-fleshed pitaya (Hylocereus undatus ‘VN White’) under net house in Taiwan, experiments were conducted during the natural reproductive period (from June to Sept. 2016) with fruits grown within net houses (either 16 or 24 mesh insect-proof netting, without fruit bagging) or in an open field (the control, without netting, with fruit bagging). The effects of netting on microclimate, phenological period, flowering (floral bud emergence) of current and noncurrent cladodes (shoots) (2- to 3-year-old), fruit quality, market acceptability, pests and diseases control, and level of sunburn were investigated. Indoor solar radiation in the 16 and 24 mesh net houses were 78.12% and 75.03%, respectively, and the sunlight intensities [photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), μmol·m−2·s−1] were 76.03% and 73.00%, respectively, that of control. The maximum daily temperature for the 16 and 24 mesh net houses was greater than that of the control. However, there were no significant differences in daily average temperature, minimum temperature, or relative humidity (RH). The first flowering cycle (12 June 2016) and last flowering cycle (11 Sept. 2016) in both net houses were the same as those in the control. The accumulative flowering of current cladodes was unaffected by net covering, but that of noncurrent-year cladodes in both net houses was lower than that in the control. Although the L* and C* values of fruit color in the 16 and 24 mesh net houses were lower than those in the control, the fruits still had commercial value. The average fruit weight of the 16 mesh net house was significantly greater than that of the control. Average total soluble solid (TSS) content, TSS content at the fruit center, and titratable acidity were unaffected. In addition, the 16 mesh net house blocked some large pests without exacerbating disease or sunburn. Our findings suggest that 16 mesh net houses may be useful for white-fleshed pitaya cultivation during its natural reproductive period in subtropical Taiwan.

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Yu-Chun Chu, Tzong-Shyan Lin and Jer-Chia Chang

In this study, we documented whether pollen parents are required for fruiting and their effects on fruit set and seed characteristics in field-grown ‘73-S-20’ litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). The effects of preventing female (F) flower pollination to induce parthenocarpy, selfing, and outcrossing with ‘Haak Yip’ and open-pollinated (OP) fruits derived from F flowers and the second wave of the male (M2) flowers of ‘Haak Yip’ blooming in synchrony were assessed. The correlation between the percentage of fruit set and shriveled seed/seed weight in self-crossed and outcrossed fruits was calculated. At harvest, the absence of pollination induced a high proportion of parthenocarpic fruit without seed, although the fruit weighed only 4.2 g. Fruit set with outcrossing was greater than that with selfing and the percentage of shriveled seed obtained in self-crossed fruits was much greater than that in outcrossed fruits but not different from that in OP fruits, suggesting that outcrossing increased but selfing decreased the cluster yield and seed weight. However, 33.3% and 23.0% of seed contained embryos in selfed and OP fruits, respectively. No positive correlation between the percentage of fruit set and shriveled seed/seed weight was found, indicating that seed abortion during development was not the key factor leading to low yield. We concluded that tiny parthenocarpic fruit could be obtained but that pollination is essential for the good yield of ‘73-S-20’. Outcrossing markedly increased fruit set and seed weight and decreased the percentage of shriveled seed. Factors other than the pollen parents may be involved in the seed development of ‘73-S-20’.