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Tzu-Bin Huang and Karen E. Koch

Transpiration, respiration, dry weight gain, and water accumulation were measured to quantify the total carbon balance, total water utilization, carbohydrate cost for fruit growth, and water use efficiency in developing fruit of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf). Rate of net carbon loss and net water loss (mg g-1FW hr-1) both decreased during fruit development. On a whole fruit basis, total carbon demand was reduced during the period of peak expansion, then increased rapidly during fruit maturation. In contrast, whole fruit rates of water loss and water utilization (loss plus accumulation) peaked at about 100 days after anthesis, then decreased toward fruit maturation. Carbohydrate cost for fruit growth was greatest (3.49 g sucrose g-1DW) at the early stage of fruit development (immediately following anthesis), whereas water use efficiency peaked (193 mg DM g-1 H2O) at the final stage of fruit development. The thickness of albedo and pectin content in fruit may contribute to the observed water conservation. Total estimated carbon cost of grapefruit development indicates approximately 120 g of sucrose would be necessary for production of a 450 g fruit (77 g DW) at 22 C.

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Chung-Ruey Yen and Karen E. Koch

Distribution of radiolabeled assimilates was examined at various intervals after 1 hour of light or dark 14CO2 fixation by leaves or developing fruit of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) so that the fate of assimilates from each source could be assessed at sequential stages of fruit growth. Exported products of both light and dark 14CO2 fixation in leaves were deposited primarily in juice tissues of fruit even during periods of substantial dry weight accumulation by peel. Fruit photosynthesis, however, gave rise to assimilates that remained almost entirely in the peel (flavedo and albedo) even 7 days later, regardless of dry matter increases by other tissues. Products of dark 14CO2 fixation by intact fruit were recovered in all tissues but predominated in the peel of young fruit vs. juice tissues at later stages of growth. Comparison of dry matter gains and 14C-labeled assimilate distribution indicated that fruit photosynthesis likely contributed substantially to development of peel but not juice sacs. Data on dark 14CO2 fixation were consistent with its suggested involvement in organic acid synthesis by juice sacs.

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Kurt D. Nolte, Gregory W. Erdos, and Karen E. Koch

Localization of sucrose synthasa (SS), an enzyme Previously shown to be highly active in transport tissues of citrus fruit, was further defined via immunohistochemical analysis of stage II calamondin fruit. Using the indirect immunogold technique, 8 μm sections were first reacted with rabbit anti-SS polyclonal serum followed by incubation with 5 nm gold conjugated goat-anti-rabbit IgG. Little immunolabel was observed in the majority of peel tissues, however an abundant immunoreaction was evident in parenchyma cells directly adjacent to the segment epidermis surrounding juice sacs. Antibody was not associated with this epidermnl layer. Similarly, in juice vesicle stalks (JVS) the internal parenchyma cells showed significant SS localization compared to minimal immunoreaction in the epidermal layers of the JVS. Although the antigen did not appear to be specifically localized within the vascular bundles, an extensive distribution of the enzyme was associated with the parenchymatous cells immediately adjacent to vascular strands.

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Jeffrey G. Williamson, Karen E. Koch, and William S. Castle

Carrizo citrange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] seedlings were budded with `Hamlin' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] and subjected to 3 bud forcing treatments: (1) topping [T] by removing the seedling above the bud union; (2) lopping [L] by cutting half way through the seedling above the bud union and breaking the rootstock over; or, (3) bending [B] the seedling top over and tying it to the base of the plant. As scion buds emerged and grew, plants were sacrificed for dry weight measurements; also, the portion of the rootstock seedling above the bud union was exposed to 14CO2 at 3 stages of scion development. Plants with seedling tops attached (B,L) gained more dry weight and fibrous roots than T seedlings. Scion elongation was greater for B plants than for T plants. Plants usually flushed twice regardless of bud forcing treatment. No treatment differences were noted for time of flushing or scion bud emergence. Labeled photosynthate from attached rootstock leaves was translocated to scions during both flushes suggesting that recently fixed C enhanced scion growth for B and L plants.

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Matthew W. Fidelibus, Karen E. Koch, and Frederick S. Davies

We investigated the effect of gibberellic acid (GA3) application before color break on peel color, fruit respiration, and soluble sugars in different tissues of ‘Hamlin’ sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] fruit to test the hypothesis that GA3 influence on peel color might be mediated by sugars. Fruit were sprayed with GA3 (45 g·ha−1 a.i.) in early October of 2 consecutive years. Peel color, whole-fruit respiration, and fructose, glucose, and sucrose levels were quantified in flavedo and albedo tissues when nontreated fruit were still green, at precolor break, color break, and when peels were fully yellow. Fruit treated with GA3 remained more green-colored than nontreated fruit, and differences between them were detectable by 12 or 21 days after treatment (Years 1 and 2, respectively). Fruit respiration rates were similar in both groups regardless of peel color. Effects of GA3 on color transition were evident only after significant differences emerged in flavedo glucose (both years) and fructose (second year) levels. Moreover, there was a linear, inverse relationship between green peel color and flavedo fructose (r 2 = 0.68, first year; 0.72, second year) and glucose levels (r 2 = 0.60, first year; 0.50, second year). In contrast, sucrose levels in the flavedo showed a less consistent relationship with peel color. The GA3 treatment maintained a descending sucrose gradient from the albedo to the flavedo that was typical of young, photosynthetically active fruit. This gradient dissipated during peel color change of nontreated fruit. These data support the hypothesis that soluble sugars could be contributing effectors of the GA3-mediated delay in chloroplast-to-chromoplast conversions by the orange flavedo.

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Desire Djidonou, Xin Zhao, Karen E. Koch, and Lincoln Zotarelli

Growth and yield typically increase when tomato plants are grafted to selected interspecific hybrid rootstocks from which distinctive root system morphologies are envisioned to aid nutrient uptake. We assessed these relationships using a range of exogenous nitrogen (N) supplies under field production conditions. This study analyzed the impact of N on growth, root distribution, N uptake, and N use of determinate ‘Florida 47’ tomato plants grafted onto vigorous, interspecific, hybrid tomato rootstocks ‘Multifort’ and ‘Beaufort’. Six N rates, 56, 112, 168, 224, 280, and 336 kg·ha−1, were applied to sandy soil in Live Oak, FL, during Spring 2010 and 2011. During both years, the leaf area index, aboveground biomass, and N accumulation (leaf blade, petiole, stem, and fruit) responded quadratically to the increase in N fertilizer rates. Averaged over the two seasons, the aboveground biomass, N accumulation, N use efficiency (NUE), and N uptake efficiency (NUpE) were ≈29%, 31%, 30%, and 33% greater in grafted plants than in nongrafted controls, respectively. More prominent increases occurred in the root length density (RLD) in the uppermost 15 cm of soil; for grafted plants, RLD values in this upper 15-cm layer were significantly greater than those of nongrafted plants during both years with an average increase of 69% over the two seasons. Across all the grafted and nongrafted plants, the RLD decreased along the soil profile, with ≈60% of the total RLD concentrated in the uppermost 0 to 15 cm of the soil layer. These results demonstrated a clear association between enhanced RLD, especially in the upper 15 cm of soil, and improvements in tomato plant growth, N uptake, and N accumulation with grafting onto vigorous rootstocks.

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Keith T. Birkhold, Karen E. Koch, and Rebecca L. Darnell

Carbon dioxide exchange, dry weight, C, and N content of `Bonita' and `Climax' blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) fruit were measured from anthesis through fruit ripening to quantify developmental changes in amounts of imported C and N required for fruit development. Net photosynthesis occurred in fruit of both rabbiteye cultivars from petal fall through color break. During this time, fruit net photosynthesis declined from 16 μmol CO2/g fresh weight (FW) per hour for `Bonita' and 22 μmol CO2/g FW per hour for `Climax' to 0.2 μmol CO2/g FW per hour for both. Dark respiration for both cultivars declined following petal fall from 16 μmol CO2/g FW per hour to 3 μmol CO2/g FW per hour before increasing at fruit ripening to 9 μmol CO2/g FW per hour. Fruit C content was constant at 0.43 mg C/mg dry weight (DW) throughout development, while N content declined from 0.05 mg N/mg DW at petal fall to 0.01 mg N/mg DW at ripeness. DW accumulation and respiration accounted for 63% and 37%, respectively, of the total C requirement for fruit development. Fruit photosynthesis was estimated to contribute 15% of the total C required for fruit development in both cultivars; however, fruit photosynthesis supplied 50% of the C required during the first 10 days after bloom and 85% during the 5 days after petal fall. This large, early contribution of C from fruit photosynthesis may aid in the establishment of fruit until the current season's vegetative growth can supplement plant carbohydrate reserves in providing C for fruit development.

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Desire Djidonou, Xin Zhao, Eric H. Simonne, Karen E. Koch, and John E. Erickson

In addition to managing soilborne diseases, grafting with vigorous rootstocks has been shown to improve yield in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) production. However, the influence of different levels of nitrogen (N) and irrigation supplies on grafted tomato plants has not been fully examined in comparison with non-grafted plants, especially under field conditions. The objective of this two-year study was to determine the effects of different irrigation regimes and N rates on yield, irrigation water use efficiency (iWUE), and N use efficiency (NUE) of grafted tomato plants grown with drip irrigation in sandy soils of north Florida. The determinate tomato cultivar Florida 47 was grafted onto two interspecific hybrid rootstocks, ‘Beaufort’ and ‘Multifort’ (S. lycopersicum × S. habrochaites S. Knapp & D.M. Spooner). Non-grafted ‘Florida 47’ was used as a control. Plants were grown in a fumigated field under 12 combinations of two drip irrigation regimes (50% and 100% of commonly used irrigation regime) and six N rates (56, 112, 168, 224, 280, and 336 kg·ha−1). The field experiments were arranged in a split-plot design with four replications. The whole plots consisted of the irrigation regime and N rate combination treatments, whereas the subplots represented the two grafting treatments and the non-grafted plants. Self-grafted ‘Florida 47’ was also included in the 100% irrigation and 224 kg N/ha fertilization treatment as a control. In 2010, the 50% irrigation regime resulted in higher total and marketable yields than the 100% irrigation regime. Tomato yield was significantly influenced by N rates, but similar yields were achieved at 168 kg·ha−1 and above. Plants grafted onto ‘Beaufort’ and ‘Multifort’ showed an average increase of 27% and 30% in total and marketable fruit yields, respectively, relative to non-grafted plants. In 2011, fruit yields were affected by a significant irrigation by N rate interaction. Grafting significantly increased tomato yields, whereas grafted plants showed greater potential for yield improvement with increasing N rates compared with non-grafted plants. Self-grafting did not affect tomato yields. More fruit per plant and higher average fruit weight as a result of grafting were observed in both years. Grafting with the two rootstocks significantly improved the irrigation water and N use efficiency in tomato production. Results from this study suggested the need for developing irrigation and N fertilization recommendations for grafted tomato production in sandy soils.

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Desire Djidonou, Amarat H. Simonne, Karen E. Koch, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and Xin Zhao

In this study, the effects of grafting with interspecific hybrid rootstocks on field-grown tomato fruit quality were evaluated over a 2-year period. Fruit quality attributes from determinate ‘Florida 47’ tomato plants grafted onto either ‘Beaufort’ or ‘Multifort’ rootstocks were compared with those from non- and self-grafted controls. Grafted plants had higher fruit yields than non- and self-grafted plants, and increased production of marketable fruit by ≈41%. The increased yield was accompanied by few major differences in nutritional quality attributes measured for these fruit. Although grafting with the interspecific rootstocks led to consistently small, but significant increases of fruit moisture (≈0.6%), flavor attributes such as total titratable acidity (TTA) and the ratio of soluble solids content (SSC) to TTA were not significantly altered. Among the antioxidants evaluated, ascorbic acid concentration was reduced by 22% in fruit from grafted plants, but significant effects were not evident for either total phenolics or antioxidant capacity as assayed by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Levels of carotenoids (lycopene, β-carotene, and lutein) were similar in fruit from grafted plants with hybrid rootstocks compared with non- and self-grafted controls. Overall, the seasonal differences outweighed the grafting effects on fruit quality attributes. This study showed that grafting with interspecific hybrid rootstocks could be an effective horticultural technique for enhancing fruit yield of tomato plants. Despite the modest reduction in ascorbic acid content associated with the use of these rootstocks, grafting did not cause major negative impacts on fruit composition or nutritional quality of fresh-market tomatoes.