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Curt R. Rom*, Zimian Niu, and Vikramjit Bajwa

A strategy of chemical crop load control has been to use chemical desiccants to prevent fertilization and cause fruitlet drop. However, little is known of the solution characteristics that reduce pollen viability, inhibit pollen germination and growth, and cause pistil damage. This project was established to determine the solution characteristics effecting those results. Apple pollen was dispersed on germination media mixed with PEG (MW 10,000) to attain osmotic tensions from 0 to -5.0 MPa to evaluate effect on pollen germination and growth. Similarly, apple pollen was dispersed on germination adjusted to a range of pH from 2.3 to 12.0 with acids and NaOH. Excised apple pistils were place on filter paper supports saturated with solutions with osmotic tension adjusted by PEG in the range of 0 to -5.0 M Pa, and pH from 3.0 to 12.0. Solutions of osmotic tension in the range of 0 to -5.0 M Pa were applied by brush to intact pistils on apple flowers in a greenhouse and under field conditions. Pollen germination decreased with increasing osmotic tension and no pollen germinated at tensions greater than 4.0. Pistils, either excised or intact, had significant desiccation and death when treated with solution osmotic tensions greater than 4.0. Fruit set of individual spurs of the cvs Jonagold, Gala, and Arkansas Black were highly related to pistil survival 48 h after treatment with PEG. When solution osmotic potential exceeded 4.0, fruit set was reduced by more than 80%. Pollen germination was reduced by more than 50% at solution pH below or equal to 4.0 and greater than 10.0 and completely inhibited at solution pH below or equal to 3.0 and greater than 11.0. Similar results were observed for excised pistil and intact viability.

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Zimian Niu, Dapeng Zhang, Jicheng Zhan, and Curt Rom

Influence of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) microclimate in the canopy of four training systems [open-center with high trunk (OH); open-center with middle trunk (OM); open-center with low trunk (OL); and a traditional round canopy (RC)] on the growth, yield and fruit quality of apple were studied in the Beijing area. The results showed that: 1) the growth and yield potential were affected by canopy light microclimate. The average leaf chlorophyll content from OH, OM and OL systems was 12.3% to 18.1% greater than that from the RC system. Trees from OH, OM, and OL systems produced 84.2% to 89.7% of shoot forming flower clusters compared to only 47.3% to 50.9% of the RC shoots. Training system did not affect total yield of 8-year-old trees, but in 10-year-old trees the RC system had lower yields compared with open-center systems. 2) Fruit quality was also affected by canopy light microclimate. The average anthocyanin content in the skin of fruit from OH, OM, and OL systems was 35.9% to 46.1% higher than that from the RC system, but chlorophyll content from the OL system was higher than in the open-center systems. Meanwhile, the contents of TSS and esters in apple flesh from the open-center systems were significantly higher than that from the RC system. 3) When the relative value of PAR in canopy exceeded 33.8%, the growth index of trees (chlorophyll: return-bloom ratio) exceeded 66.6% and the fruit quality index (TSS × anthocyanin) exceeded 94.7%. When PAR was less than 20.6%, the growth index was under 37.2% and the fruit quality index was under 67.5%. PAR value was significantly correlated with the growth and fruit quality index in the four training systems, and the total canopy volume of higher PAR(exceeding 33.8%, relative value) from OH, OM, and OL systems was 37.1% to 45.0% greater than that from the RC system.

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Zimian Niu*, Dapeng Zhang, Hongyu Zhao, and Curt Rom

The volatile aromas from the fruits of `Naganofuji No.2' apple (Malus domestica Mill.) were determined by gas chromatography (GC) and combined GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) after different temperature conditions. The fruits from CA storage were sealed in glass and the volatiles in the headspace were determined. Eleven compounds of four chemical classes from active carbon absorbed samples were measured and three of them—tormic acid pentyl ester, butanoic acid-1-methyl ethylester and 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-2-butanone, were identified at 20 °C, but not at °C. Under 20 °C condition, the contents of three volatiles increased from 1 hour and reached to their peaks at the 4th to 7th hour. The content of ethylene reached its peak at 4 hours and changed synchronically with the other volatiles during the experiment. The content of ethylene was significantly positively correlated with the contents of volatile aromas (r = 0.96-0.98, P ≤ 0.01). Under °C condition, the content of ethylene was significant lower than that of at 20°C and there was no ethylene peak produced during experiment. When the fruits were treated with ethephon (0.1 mg·L-1) at 5°C, the content of ethylene increased greatly. The highest level of ethylene was found at 4 to 7 hours and the peaks of volatiles also appeared at 7 hours or 10 hours after the treatment. It was suggested that the production of ethylene in fruits could be thought as an indicator of some volatile aromas.