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Karen Mesa, Sara Serra, Andrea Masia, Federico Gagliardi, Daniele Bucci, and Stefano Musacchi

Annual accumulation of starch is affected by carbon reserves stored in the organs during the growing season and is controlled mainly by sink strength gradients within the tree. However, unfavorable environmental conditions (e.g., hail events) or application of management practices (e.g., defoliation to enhance overcolor in bicolor apple) could influence the allocation of storage carbohydrates. This preliminary research was conducted to determine the effects of early defoliation on the dry matter, starch, and soluble carbohydrate dynamics in woody organs, roots, and mixed buds classified by age and two levels of crop-load for one growing season in ‘Abbé Fétel’ pear trees (Oct. 2012 to mid-Jan. 2013 in the northern hemisphere). Regardless of the organs evaluated (woody organs, roots, and mixed buds), an increase of soluble carbohydrate concentration was observed in these organs in the period between after harvest (October) and January (dormancy period). Among all organs, woody short-old spurs showed the highest increase (+93.5%) in soluble sugars. With respect to starch, woody organs showed a clear trend of decreasing in concentration between October and January. In this case, short-old spurs showed the smallest decline in starch concentrations, only 6.5%, whereas in other tree organs starch decreased by 34.5%. After harvest (October), leaves showed substantially higher starch and soluble sugar concentrations in trees with lower crop-loads. These results confirm that in the period between October and January, dynamic interconversions between starch and soluble carbohydrates occur at varying magnitudes among organs in pear trees.

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Catalina Pinto, Gabino Reginato, Karen Mesa, Paulina Shinya, Mariana Díaz, and Rodrigo Infante

The aims of this study were to characterize the softening rate of the flesh and some physiological parameters of three peach cultivars during the last phase of on-tree development. During two consecutive seasons, labeled fruits were nondestructively monitored on-tree, from the stone-hardening phase up to harvest. The absorbance index of the skin (I AD) follows a segmented, nonlinear regression. Beyond the intersection point of the two segments of the regression, the I AD decreased linearly at a higher rate 10 to 15 day before harvest. The most dramatic change of the I AD coincided with the “color break” of the skin. The I AD and the flesh softening were similar in ‘Andes Du-1’ and ‘Loadel’, while there was no difference in the growth rate of ‘Bowen’ and ‘Loadel’. ‘Andes Du-1’ and ‘Bowen’ showed the same growth rate in the upper and the lower sections of the canopy. The fruit at the upper section showed a mass of 30 to 50 g greater than the fruit at the lower section. In addition, no significant changes in the evolution of the soluble solids content (SSC) were observed, with the exception of ‘Loadel’ located in the upper section of the canopy. Differences in the length of the fruit development period are strongly influenced by the accumulated temperature after bloom. The difference in the fruit mass, SSC, I AD, and background color depend on the position of the fruit on the canopy. The use of mixed models, based on repeated sampling over time allows to accurately describing the evolution of peach ripening.