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  • Author or Editor: Marco Beyer x
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Rain-induced cracking of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) fruit is thought to be related to water absorption through the fruit surface. Conductance for water uptake (gtot. uptake) through the fruit surface of `Sam' sweet cherry was studied gravimetrically by monitoring water penetration from a donor solution of deionized water through segments of the outer pericarp into a polyethyleneglycol (PEG) containing receiver solution. Segments consisting of cuticle plus five to eight cell layers of epidermal and hypodermal tissue were mounted in stainless steel diffusion cells. Conductance was calculated from flow rates of water across the segment and the difference in osmotic potential between donor and receiver solution. Flow rates were constant up to 12 hours and decreased thereafter. A log normal distribution of gtot. uptake was observed with a median of 0.97 × 10-7 m·s-1. Further, gtot. uptake was not affected by storage duration (up to 71 days) of fruit used as a source of segments, thickness of segments (range 0.1 to 4.8 mm), or segment area exposed in the diffusion cell. Osmolality of the receiver solution in the range from 1140 to 3400 mmol·kg-1 had no effect on gtot. uptake (1.45 ± 0.42 × 10-7 m·s-1), but gtot. uptake increased by 301% (4.37 ± 0.46 × 10-7 m·s-1) at 300 mmol·kg-1. gtot. uptake was highest in the stylar scar region of the fruit (1.44 ± 0.16 × 10-7 m·s-1) followed by cheek (1.02 ±0.21 × 10-7 m·s-1), suture (0.57 ±0.17 × 10-7 m·s-1) and pedicel cavity regions (0.22 ±0.09 × 10-7 m·s-1). Across regions, gtot. uptake was related positively to stomatal density. Extracting total cuticular wax by dipping fruit in chloroform/methanol increased gtot. uptake from 1.18 ± 0.23 × 10-7 m·s-1 to 2.58 ± 0.41 × 10-7 m·s-1, but removing epicuticular wax by cellulose acetate stripping had no effect (1.59 ± 0.28 × 10-7 m·s-1). Water flux increased with increasing temperature (range 20 to 45 °C). Conductance differed between cultivars with `Hedelfinger' sweet cherry having the highest gtot. uptake (2.81 ± 0.26 × 10-7 m·s-1), followed by `Namare' (2.68 ± 0.26 × 10-7 m·s-1), `Kordia' (0.96 ± 0.14 × 10-7 m·s-1), `Sam' (0.87 ± 0.15 × 10-7 m·s-1), and `Adriana' (0.33 ± 0.02 × 10-7 m·s-1). The diffusion cell system described herein may be useful in analyzing conductance in water uptake through the fruit surface of sweet cherry and its potential relevance for fruit cracking.

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Water uptake in different regions of the sweet cherry fruit (Prunus avium L. cv. Sam) was investigated following selective application of silicone sealant to the pedicel end, pedicel cavity, pedicel/fruit juncture, or stylar scar of detached fruit. The time course of water uptake was monitored gravimetrically during a 3-hour incubation period in deionized water (20 °C). Sealing the pedicel end and/or pedicel/fruit juncture significantly reduced rates and total amount (3 hours) of water uptake, but sealing the stylar scar had no effect. The amount of water penetrating via the pedicel/fruit juncture increased between 50 and 85 days after full bloom. During the same period the maximum force required to detach pedicels from fruit (fruit removal force) fell from 5.2 ± 0.5 to 2.1 ± 0.2 N. The amount of water penetrating via the pedicel/fruit juncture and the fruit removal force were negatively related. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging of mature fruit incubated in D2O indicated that D2O accumulated in the pedicel cavity region and the pedicel. Our data suggest that the pedicel end and pedicel/fruit juncture, but not the stylar scar, are regions of preferential water uptake in detached fruit. Chemical name used: deuterium oxide (D2O).

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