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Carl E. Motsenbocker and Kay P. Gersch

Field and greenhouse studies were conducted to examine fruit detachment force and plant parameters of two strains of Tabasco (Capsicum frutescens) at different stages of maturity. The detachment force of mature red `McIlhenny Select' at the fruit-receptacle detachment area was less than that of breaker and mature green fruit. `McIlhenny Select' separated cleanly at all stages of maturity. A wild type Tabasco strain `HP' did not abscise at the red mature stage; fruit detachment force was greater than that of `McIlhenny Select'. The detachment force of mature green and breaker `HP' fruit were similar to those of `McIlhenny Select' at the same stage of maturity. Fruit weight, length, and width of the two tabasco strains were not different. The utility of the `McIlhenny Select' and `HP' strains for physiological studies of pepper fruit abscission will be discussed.

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Kay P. Gersch, Carl E. Motsenbocker and Gregory A. Lang

Cayenne pepper fruit adhere tightly to the calyx/receptacle, increasing the cost of hand harvest and restricting mechanical harvest. Eight (8) cayenne pepper genotypes were selected from field observations to characterize fruit detachment forces(FDFs) and examine potential relationships between FDF and other fruit parameters. A preliminary greenhouse experiment revealed two genotypes with consistently lower FDFs and two with consistently higher FDFs over several progressive harvest. A field experiment confirmed these characteristics. No correlation between any fruit parameter and FDF was found to be consistent over the genotypes studied.

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Kay P. Gersch, Carl E. Motsenbocker and Grezory A. Lang

Two genotypes of cayenne pepper, Capsicum annuun, have been previously identified which differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Both greenhouse- and field-grown plants of these genotypes, Cajun1-9027 and Cap-9004, were investigated for differences in cell type or organization where the fruit and receptacle join. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that mature fruit of genotype Cajun1-9027, which does not separate, exhibits a distinct region of sclerified cells that extend from the periphery of the fruit into the receptacle for at least 15 cell layers. In contrast, mature fruit of the more readily detachable genotype, Cap-9004, had fewer sclerified cells at the point of detachment. Neither genotype exhibits a well-defined abscission zone prior to, or at, maturity. Interpretation of histochemical staining of fruit-receptacle sections following ethylene treatment at different fruit developmental stages will be discussed.

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Kay P. Gersch, Carl E. Motsenbocker and Gregory A. Lang

Of eight genotypes of cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) examined, two were identified that differ significantly in ease of fruit detachment force. Greenhouse and field-grown plants of these genotypes, Cajun 1-9027 and Cap-9004, were investigated for differences in cell type and organization at the fruit and receptacle junction. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that mature Cajun 1-9027 fruit that did not separate exhibited a distinct region of sclerified cells that extended from the periphery of the fruit into the receptacle for 25 to 30 cell layers. In contrast, mature fruit of the more readily detachable Cap-9004 had 10 to 15 layers of sclerified cells at the region of detachment. Histochemical and stereological techniques indicated that Cajun 1-9027 had a greater volume of sclereids than Cap-9004. Cajun 1-9027 exhibited smaller cortical cells in the detachment region than Cap-9004. Neither genotype exhibited a well-defined abscission zone at maturity in the detachment region. The presence of more sclerified cells and increased lignification in Cajun 1-9027 compared to Cap-9004 probably contributed to the differences in ease of detachment between the two genotypes.