The Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium (SRSFC) was established in 1999 through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives from NC State University, Clemson University and the University of Georgia.
The mission of the SRSFC is to promote the small fruit industry in the south through education, research and outreach by regional collaboration utilizing the expertise of the member institutions. The University of Tennessee joined the SRSFC in 2002. Annual dues for membership in the consortium are $35,000. The SRSFC is governed by a steering committee comprised of university and industry personnel from the four member states. The SRSFC has sponsored 10 agent trainings since 1999 on various small fruit topics involving a total of 233 agents from the member states and adjacent states. From 2001 to 2004, the SRSFC awarded $221,300 to research and outreach projects in the member states. A web site has been established (http://www.smallfruits.org) to provide information on small fruits. The site averaged 2,059 hits per day for 2004.Challenges facing the SRSFC are renewal of the MOU in 2007; equal distribution of research and outreach funds in the member states; continuity of leadership; and recruitment of new members.
Southern Florida has experienced numerous hurricanes, of which Hurricane Andrew was the most recent. Six years after this storm, nearly one-third of the 8093 ha of tropical fruit that existed in Miami–Dade County before the storm has never been replanted. The damage, reaction, and recovery from the storm varied among fruit species. The effect of heat stress and high light intensity was minimal on avocado, `Tahiti' lime, carambola, mamey sapote, guava, sapodilla, and longan. In contrast, mango trees experienced severe heat stress. Root damage caused by toppling and subsequent re-setting of sugar apple, atemoya, mango, and grafted `Tahiti' lime trees was severe; thus, trees not re-set were less likely to recover than trees left toppled or leaning. The extent and rate of recovery from hurricane-related wind stress also varied among species. Avocado, carambola, guava, and longan refoliated within 3 to 4 weeks after Hurricane Andrew. In contrast, mango, sugar apple, and atemoya trees went through two or more cycles of refoliating and dying back until tree death occurred. Iron and nitrogen deficiencies were common for mango, sugar apple, atemoya, and guava. Other consequences of hurricanes in south Florida include increased weed and vine growth and increased susceptibility to drought stress and insect infestations. Recovery to prehurricane crop production levels has varied among crops. For example, avocado and carambola production is near and exceeds pre-1992 levels, respectively. In contrast, `Tahiti' lime and mango production are about 20% pre-1992 levels. The long-term effect of the most recent hurricane on fruit production in south Florida has been a change in the crop species and/or cultivars planted.
Three mathematical indices were developed to estimate: 1) potential for early dollar return or early ripening (IE), 2) concentrated cropping (IC), and 3) deviation or similarity of a genotype to known cultivars (ID). Early ripening genotypes with high yield early in the season will have larger IE values than late genotypes with lower yield early in the season. Genotypes with few harvests will have larger IC values than those requiring several harvests. The ID index helps to identify and group genotypes with similar characteristics. These indices condense numerous values or arrays of traits into single index values, thereby simplifying genotype comparisons.
One of the major steps in responding to imminent water shortages in the Middle East is improving water use efficiency. Drought-resistant crops would be an effective technology to curb rising demands of water. Columnar Cactus species characteristics fit with most of the requirements of a drought tolerant crop with very high water-use efficiency. Cereus cacti have physiological and morphological methods of exploiting environments that would soon desiccate other plants. Four Cereus species were introduced into UAE deserts and could be ideal for establishing crop plantations in the arid environment. The introduced fruiting cacti are Cereus hexagonus, C. pachanoi, C. peruvianus, and C. validus. Plants were propagated by cuttings in the greenhouse. Cuttings developed roots within 2*&8211;4 weeks of planting. The propagated plants were acclimatized and transplanted into the field in the desert. C. peruvianus was the most promising in the new environment in terms of its high adaptability and healthy growth in the new environment. C. pachanoi grew very fast, averaging up to a fifteen centimeter a month of new growth. C. pachanoi was recommended as a rootstock for other species. C. validus could not survive the new environment.
This study demonstrates that thermal image analysis can be used to localize stomatal opening and closing on leaves of apple, and cherry. An attached leaf was placed in an environmental chamber used for gas exchange and leaf temperature was monitored with cromel-constantan thermocouples, (0.08 mm) pressed against the underside of the leaf, or with an Inframetrics 600 thermal image analyzer that was focused on the upper side of the leaf. Radiation was monitored in the 8–12 μm range and the image was recorded on video tape. A two-degree temperature difference due to stomatal opening was detected. Stomatal opening as monitored by gas exchange was correlated significantly with leaf temperature. Under steady state conditions, stomata from cherry oscillated at 20-minute intervals. Stomata opened and closed uniformly. Factors investigated were light, carbon dioxide, ABA, and water stress. In all cases changes in temperature correlated with stomatal opening and closing. Response time to a change in environment was less than 10 minutes. The practical implications of this study are discussed.
Restrictions on pesticide usage and the occurrence of fungicide resistant strains of postharvest pathogens have necessitated research for alternative methods of disease control. Psuedomonas cepacia was tested for control of Botrytis fruit rot in strawberry. Results of field applications of P. cepacia were variable. A compound isolated from P. cepacia, identified as pyrrolnitrin, was as effective as Benlate/captan (2,000 ppm) sprays in field applications. Postharvest pyrrolnitrin (100 ppm) dip inhibited growth of pathogens for three days at room temperature. A pyrrolnitrin dip followed by storage at 1°C for five days extended the shelf-life for another five days. Preharvest pyrrolnitrin sprays to `Bristol' black raspberry delayed rot development by 4 to 5 days. Captan (2,000 ppm) treatment provided no protection. In vitro tests showed that B. cinerea isolated from the fruit had developed resistance to captan. These results suggest that the use of a naturally-produced compound might afford another opportunity to reduce postharvest rots without the use of synthetic fungicides.