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Larry S. Kennedy, William B. Beavers, and Carl E. Sams

A common problem of researchers concerned with micronutrient plant nutrition is the development of a reliable and affordable experimental system. If nutrient distribution is uneven or subject to outside contamination, then the time and resources dedicated to a project will have been wasted. We have devised a dependable and cost effective nutrient distribution system which has many practical applications. This design is relatively maintenance free, easily adaptable to existing greenhouse conditions and limits the possibility of outside contamination. Using perlite as the rooting medium, our system is constructed of easily obtainable hardware and mechanical components. The total material cost of our system, which included three nutrient treatments, was approximately $800. This resulted in a conservative estimate of $12.50 per plant in our particular study. However, the cost of a larger experiment would be reduced considerably since additional replications could be added at approximately $2.00 each. The experimental set-up is described along with the initial cost analysis.

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William B. Beavers, Carl E. Sams, William S. Conway, and George A. Brown

Fruit from five apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars were pressure-infiltrated at 103 kPa for 6 min with a 0%, 0.73%, 1.46%, 2.91%, or 5.82% (w/v) Ca-equivalent solution of CaCl2, Ca EDTA chelate, or buffered CaCl2 solution (Stopit). The fruit were stored at 0 ± 1C for 18 weeks and then evaluated for Ca content, firmness, and injury. Fruit treated with Ca chelate had no increase in fruit Ca content and were injured at all treatment levels. No significant differences occurred in fruit Ca levels between CaCl2 and Stopit treatments across all cultivars tested. Apples treated with Stopit were firmer than apples treated with CaCl2, when averaged across cultivars. Fruit Ca levels, firmness, and incidence of injury were positively correlated with concentrations of CaCl2 and Stopit for all cultivars.

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William S. Conway, Carl E. Sams, George A. Brown, William B. Beavers, Rowel B. Tobias, and Larry S. Kennedy

A pilot test was conducted over a 3-year period to determine the feasibility of using postharvest pressure infiltration of calcium into apples to maintain and/or improve the quality of fruit under commercial storage conditions. Fruits obtained from three different orchards were treated each year. `Golden Delicious' fruits were treated the first year, while `Delicious' fruits were treated the 2nd and 3rd years. In all treatments and years, there was a significant increase in calcium concentration of apples from all calcium chloride (CaCl2) treatments. In general, calcium concentration of treated fruit varied significantly among the three orchards. Firmness also varied among orchards, and was related to fruit calcium concentration. `Golden Delicious' apples were more susceptible to skin injury caused by CaCl2 treatment than were `Delicious' fruits. There was also an increase in infection as a result of some of the treatments, possibly due to injury caused to lenticels by the pressure applied or as a result of calcium injury.