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Changwei Shen, Yifei Ding, Xiqiong Lei, Peng Zhao, Shuo Wang, Yangchun Xu and Caixia Dong

A field experiment was conducted over three growing seasons (2012–14) to study the effect of the foliar application of different potassium (K) fertilizers [potassium phosphate monobasic (KH2PO4), potassium nitrate (KNO3), and humic acid potassium (HAK)] on the fruit growth rate, yield, and quality of ‘Kousui’ japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifola) trees. Except the first year of study, foliar application of K fertilizers generally led to an increase in the concentration of fruit total soluble sugar, titratable acidity (TA) and sweetness, along with an elevated K accumulation in leaf and fruit at maturity. In 2013 and 2014, compared with the control, KNO3 treatment led to an average 16% higher yield, and HAK led to an average 15% higher soluble solid content (SSC). Furthermore, HAK resulted in 26% higher yield in 2014. KNO3 treatment showed 19% higher leaf K concentration, 38% leaf K accumulation, and 43% fruit K accumulation in maturity than the control in 2014. Different effects were found on the concentration of specific types of sugar and organic acid, of which fructose and malate were consistently increased by the K application. With regard to the amino acids, KNO3 and HAK treatments led to a significant increase in the concentration of aspartic acid, which was 12% and 22% higher than the control, respectively. In conclusion, foliar application of KNO3 is an efficient way to increase ‘Kousui’ japanese pear fruit yield, whereas spraying HAK is an effective way to improve the fruit quality.

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Yifei Wang, Stephanie K. Fong, Ajay P. Singh, Nicholi Vorsa and Jennifer Johnson-Cicalese

The flavonoid and organic acid profiles of one cultivated tetraploid and six wild diploid blueberry species (Vaccinium spp.) were systematically investigated using high-performance liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS-MS). Eighteen individual anthocyanins from five aglycone classes were characterized among species, with malvidin and delphinidin glycosides accounting for 31.4% and 29.1% of total anthocyanins. Twenty-three flavonol glycosides from six aglycone classes were identified, among which quercetin and myricetin glycosides accounted for more than 80% of total flavonols in most species. Both inter- and intraspecies differences in anthocyanin and flavonol composition were observed, as described by principal component analysis. Only B-type proanthocyanidins were found in blueberry species, and highly polymerized molecules with degree of polymerization greater than 10 appeared to be the most abundant fraction. Although overall proanthocyanidin levels varied from 27.7 to 146.3 mg/100 g fruit, all species exhibited similar proanthocyanidin composition. Citric, quinic, and shikimic acid were the major identified blueberry organic acids. However, their relative abundance varied across species. In certain species either citric acid (e.g., Vaccinium darrowii) or quinic acid (e.g., Vaccinium corymbosum) was lacking.