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  • Author or Editor: Marius Huysamer x
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Under typical South African growing conditions, `Fuji' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees are characterized by strong apical dominance during the first few years after planting. This, together with the current lack of suitable precocious rootstocks and the tip-bearing habit, causes willowy “blind wood” growth with few flowering positions, and delays bearing until the third leaf when a crop of less than 10 tons/hectare can be realized. Promalin (GA4+7 and benzyladenine, Abbott Laboratories) was used in combination with apical meristem defoliation and Agral or Armoblen as surfactant/penetrant to induce sylleptic shoot growth in an effort to increase tree complexity (i.e., branching) without having to resort to pruning, which is dwarfing and delays bearing. The treatments were tested on `Fuji' grafts, 1-year old trees and 2-year old trees in the 1993–1994, 1994–1995, and 1995–1996 seasons, respectively. Concentrations tested were 0, 500, 750, or 1000 ppm, as single or multiple applications in spring. In all trials, randomized, complete block designs were used. Control trees had few, if any, sylleptic shoots or spurs, whereas Promalin in combination with leaf removal or in combination with Armoblen caused significant sylleptic growth to occur. Generally, multiple applications spaced fortnightly, gave best results. Sylleptic shoots were ≈15 cm long, terminated in a reproductive bud, and did not influence the length of the “mother” shoot or the trunk circumference. Based on these results, a combination of multiple applications of 500 ppm Promalin with Armoblen as penetrant, and no leaf removal, is being tested semi-commercially this season.

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Discs from outer pericarp of mature green (MG) and light red (LR) tomatoes were incubated with 13C6-glucose as precursor to cell wall constituents, to determine biosynthetic capacity of the outer 2mm (including cuticle) and adjacent inner 2mm of tissue. Cell wall material was fractionated into pectic and hemicellulosic classes by sequential extraction, and alditol acetates and partially-methylated alditol acetates were prepared. Neutral sugars (NS), glycosidic linkage compositions and incorporation of label were determined by GC-FID and GC-MS. Rhamnose, arabinose and galactose accounted for ca. 90% of both labeled and total NS in the pectic fractions (sugar ratios within ripeness stage were the same for labeled and total NS). Xylose and glucose accounted for ca. 70% of both labeled and total NS in the hemicellulosic fraction (sugar ratios within ripeness stage were different between labeled and total NS). In the crude cell wall, galactose and glucose contents were significantly higher in the inner than in outer tissues for both MG and LR tomatoes. Loss of galactose during ripening was higher from outer tissues. These results show compositional differences between inner and outer tissues, and suggest that ripening-related wall synthesis may give rise to pectic polymers similar in NS composition to existing polysaccharides, and hemicellulosic polymers which may differ in composition.

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Commercially grown Granny Smith apples were stored at 0°C in air or 1% O2, and 2 sets of samples were taken every 4 weeks over a 28 week period. One set was immediately analysed for weight loss, firmness, color, soluble solids, pH and titratable acidity. Alcohol-insoluble substances were analysed for starch, water-soluble uronides, water-insoluble uronides, cellulose and neutral sugars. The second set of samples was kept in air at 20°C for an additional week, during which respiration and ethylene production rates were measured, prior to the above analyses. Storage in 1% O2 led to the improved maintenance of firmness, reduced respiration and ethylene production rates in ambient air, and a reduced content of water-soluble uronides, suggesting a reduced degree of hydrolysis. The correlation between firmness and water-soluble uronide content was not very strong. The predominant neutral sugars present in the wall were arabinose and galactose, and activities of putative hydrolyses that may be involved in the metabolism of polymers containing these sugars will be discussed.

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Commercially grown Granny Smith apples were stored at 0°C in air or 1% O2, and 2 sets of samples were taken every 4 weeks over a 28 week period. One set was immediately analysed for weight loss, firmness, color, soluble solids, pH and titratable acidity. Alcohol-insoluble substances were analysed for starch, water-soluble uronides, water-insoluble uronides, cellulose and neutral sugars. The second set of samples was kept in air at 20°C for an additional week, during which respiration and ethylene production rates were measured, prior to the above analyses. Storage in 1% O2 led to the improved maintenance of firmness, reduced respiration and ethylene production rates in ambient air, and a reduced content of water-soluble uronides, suggesting a reduced degree of hydrolysis. The correlation between firmness and water-soluble uronide content was not very strong. The predominant neutral sugars present in the wall were arabinose and galactose, and activities of putative hydrolyses that may be involved in the metabolism of polymers containing these sugars will be discussed.

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Because photosynthesis provides the required carbohydrates for fruit development and respiration releases the stored energy from these carbon compounds, interalia during postharvest storage, it is therefore important that fruit tissues have an adequate carbohydrate concentration at the start of the postharvest period to ensure optimal storage life. In addition to photosynthate supply from leaves, the chlorophyll-containing flavedo of citrus (Citrus sp.) fruit (outer, colored part of the rind) has the ability to fix CO2 through its own photosynthetic system. In this experiment, spanning three seasons, the three main sugars (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) were quantified in the flavedo of ‘Nules Clementine’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata) fruit during Stages II and III of fruit development. Flavedo was sampled from fruit borne on the inside (low light intensity) or outside (high light intensity) of the tree’s canopy. In one season, the photosynthetic and respiration rates of fruit borne in the two canopy positions were measured pre- and post-color break (March and April, respectively). Sucrose concentration increased constantly from initial sampling in February until harvest (May), whereas glucose and fructose concentrations increased significantly only during the last month of fruit development. The flavedo of inside fruit, developing under low-light conditions, was less well colored (higher hue angle) and had a lower sugar concentration compared with outside fruit developing under conditions of high light levels. This response could be attributed to the higher pigment concentration leading to a higher photosynthetic rate as well as greater sink strength of the outside fruit. The inside fruit had an increased susceptibility to the progressive postharvest physiological disorder, rind breakdown. The lower carbohydrate and pigment concentrations of the rind from fruit borne inside the canopy compared with those from the outside of the canopy could be indicative of a weaker rind condition at the time of harvest.

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