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T. Caruso, P. Inglese, M. Sidari and F. Sottile

Seasonal development of leaf area, leaf area index (LAI), dry matter, and carbohydrate content were measured from harvest 1992 to harvest 1993 in above-ground components of `Flordaprince' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees grafted on GF 677 (Prunus persica × Prunus amygdalus) and MrS 2/5 (Prunus cerasifera free pollinated) rootstocks, which widely differ in vigor. Whole trees were separated into fruit, leaves, shoots, 1-year-old wood and >1-year-old wood. Sampling dates were coincident with key fruit and tree developmental stages: dormancy, fruit set, pit hardening, and fruit harvest. Rootstock modified the vegetative vigor of the tree, the seasonal partitioning of dry matter, and starch content in above-ground components. Leaf area, LAI, and total above-ground dry matter were twice as high in the most vigorous combination (`Flordaprince'/GF 677), which gave the highest yield, but had the lowest harvest index. Rootstock vigor did not affect soluble sugar concentration in any of the canopy components. Starch content was greatest during dormancy and in the oldest wood of GF 677 trees. During fruit development, starch content rapidly decreased in 1-year-old wood and perennial components; at pit hardening it was four times greater in MrS 2/5 than in GF 677 trees. The vegetative-to-fruit dry mass ratio by pit hardening was 3:1 for MrS 2/5 and 9:1 for GF 677 trees. Competition with shoot growth apparently reduced fruit growth, particularly during Stage I and Stage II, as fruit size at harvest was significantly lower (17%) in GF 677 than in MrS 2/5 trees.

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Xuan Liu, Paul W. Robinson, Monica A. Madore, Guy W. Witney and Mary Lu Arpaia

Seasonal fluctuations in nonstructural carbohydrates (starch and soluble sugars) were studied in `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) trees on `Duke 7' rootstock over a 2-year period in southern California. On a dry weight basis, total soluble sugar (TSS) concentrations ranged from 33.0 to 236.0 mg·g-1 dry weight and were high compared to starch concentration (2.0 to 109.0 mg·g-1 dry weight) in all measured organs (stems, leaves, trunks and roots). The seven carbon (C7) sugars, D-mannoheptulose and perseitol, were the dominant soluble sugars detected. The highest starch and TSS concentrations were found in stem tissues, and in stems, a distinct seasonal fluctuation in starch and TSS concentrations was observed. This coincided with vegetative growth flushes over both sampling years. Stem TSS and starch concentrations increased beginning in autumn, with cessation of shoot growth, until midwinter, possibly due to storage of photosynthate produced during the winter photosynthetic period. TSS peaked in midwinter, while starch increased throughout the winter to a maximum level in early spring. A second peak in stem TSS was observed in midsummer following flowering and spring shoot growth. At this time, stem starch concentration also decreased to the lowest level of the year. This complementary cycling between stem TSS and starch suggests that a conversion of starch to sugars occurs to support vegetative growth and flowering, while sugars produced photosynthetically may be allocated directly to support flowering and fruit production.

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Michelle R. Botelho and Justine E. Vanden Heuvel

Cranberry production involves the use of flooding for several purposes during the growing season, including pest control, winter protection, and harvest. The effect of the dissolved oxygen concentration in floodwater on carbohydrate concentration of uprights and roots during flooding was investigated using potted `Stevens' cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) vines. Pots were placed in large bins filled with water to simulate a spring pest control flood (called late water) over a 21-day period. Two treatments were applied: oxygenated and nonoxygenated (control). Uprights and roots were collected every 3 days and prepared for HPLC analysis to quantify nonstructural carbohydrate concentration. Soluble sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) and starch concentration, as well as total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNSC) concentration, decreased over the 3-week period in uprights but not roots regardless of treatment. Interestingly, the sucrose, glucose, fructose, and starch concentrations of uprights in the oxygenated treatment were lower than those of uprights in the control treatment throughout the experiment. This research indicates that vines in flooded bogs demonstrate a net carbon loss, resulting in reduced carbohydrate concentration available for growth and fruit production.

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Bernard Gagnon, Yves Desjardin and Roger Bédard

Nitrogen and carbohydrate content of roots and the onset of crown cold hardiness were compared in `Tristar' day-neutral (DN) strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) that were given various fruit removal treatments. Nontreated `Hecker' DN and `Redcoat' Junebearer were also used to determine genotypic variation. The removal of fruit after 15 or 30 Sept. promoted the accumulation of starch and increased cold tolerance of crowns as compared to fruiting plants. Nitrogen was increased only when fruit was removed after 15 Sept. DN cultivars were less hardy than Junebearing cultivars, but `Tristar' was almost as hardy as `Redcoat'. When compared to `Redcoat', DN cultivars had a less abrupt temperature-kill profile, perhaps because they were multicrowned.

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M.E. Musgrave, A. Kuang, L.K. Tuominen, L.H. Levine and R.C. Morrow

Although plants are envisioned to play a central role in life support systems for future long-duration space travel, plant growth in space has been problematic due to horticultural problems of nutrient delivery and gas resupply posed by the weightless environment. Iterative improvement in hardware designed for growth of plants on orbital platforms now provides confidence that plants can perform well in microgravity, enabling investigation of their nutritional characteristics. Plants of B. rapa (cv. Astroplants) were grown in the Biomass Production System on the International Space Station. Flowers were hand-pollinated and seeds were produced prior to harvest at 39 days after planting. The material was frozen or fixed while on orbit and subsequently analyzed in our laboratories. Gross measures of growth, leaf chlorophyll, starch and soluble carbohydrates confirmed comparable performance by the plants in spaceflight and ground control treatments. Analysis of glucosinolate production in the plant stems indicated that 3-butenylglucosinolate concentration was on average 75% greater in flight samples than in ground control samples. Similarly, the biochemical make-up of immature seeds produced during spaceflight and fixed or frozen while in orbit was significantly different from the ground controls. The immature seeds from the spaceflight treatment had higher concentrations of chlorophyll, starch, and soluble carbohydrates than the ground controls. Seed protein was significantly lower in the spaceflight material. Microscopy of immature seeds fixed in flight showed embryos to be at a range of developmental stages, while the ground control embryos had all reached the premature stage of development. Storage reserve deposition was more advanced in the ground control seeds. The spaceflight environment thus influences B. rapa metabolite production in ways that may affect flavor and nutritional quality of potential space produce.

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Marianna Hagidimitriou and Teryl R. Roper

`Searles' (low yielding) and `Stevens' (high yielding) cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) tissues were collected in 1990 and 1991 to determine the concentration of nonstructural carbohydrates in above-ground (uprights, woody stems) and below-ground tissue. Uprights had the highest total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) concentration, followed by woody stems, while below-ground tissue contained the lowest TNC concentration. Total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration in uprights increased early in the season, reached a maximum in late May, decreased as flowering approached, and remained low from late June to late August. The latter period corresponds to flowering, fruit set, floral initiation, and fruit development stages. In late August, when fruit were full size, TNC levels increased, reaching highest concentration in November as the plants were entering dormancy. Most TNC increase in the early season and the subsequent decrease were due to changes in starch. The increase of TNC late in the season was primarily due to increases in soluble carbohydrates. Total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration was greater in vegetative than fruiting uprights for the entire growing season. The lower TNC concentration in fruiting than vegetative uprights during flowering and fruit set was due to greater starch depletion in fruiting uprights. Seasonal changes in TNC in the two cultivars were similar; however, `Stevens' had generally higher TNC concentration and total dry weight as well as more fruiting uprights, fruit, and fruit weight per ground area. The low TNC concentration observed during fruit set and development suggests that the demands for carbohydrates are highest during that period and supports the hypothesis that competition for carbohydrate resources is one factor responsible for low cranberry fruit set.

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Pedro Brás de Oliveira, Maria José Silva, Ricardo B. Ferreira, Cristina M. Oliveira and António A. Monteiro

next year's growth ( Whitney, 1982 ). Jennings and Carmichael (1975) showed that raspberry genotypes with lower Winter hardiness have a high proportion of starch in the roots and very little sugars depending on the weather. In cold-hardy genotypes

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William B. Miller and Robert W. Langhans

Easter liliy (Lilium longiflorum Thunb. `Nellie White') bulbs were stored in moist peatmoss for up to 85 days at – 1.0 or 4.5C. Bulbs were periodically removed from storage and analyzed to determine levels of soluble carbohydrates and starch. Storage at – 1.0C induced large accumulations of sucrose, mannose, fructose, and oligosaccharide in both mother and daughter scales. Starch concentration declined substantially during this period. Storage at 4.5C resulted in less dramatic alterations in bulb carbohydrates, although trends toward increased soluble carbohydrates and reduced starch levels were seen. The accumulation of mannose suggests that glucomannan, a secondary storage carbohydrate, was also degraded during – 1.0C storage.

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Iain A. Stephens, Celeste Meyer, Deirdre M. Holcroft and Gerard Jacobs

Glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch concentrations were determined in leaves and inflorescences of protea cutflower cultivars soon after harvest and at the onset of leaf blackening while standing in water. At the onset of leaf blackening sugars and starch were lower in both inflorescences and leaves. Proportionately, sugars and starch decreased more in leaves than in inflorescences. Flower-bearing shoots of `Sylvia' were pulsed individually with 5% glucose solution until each shoot had taken up 10 mL solution. Water served for control treatment. Flowers were then stored for 21 days at 1 °C. After pulsing and after cold storage groups of flowering shoots were separated into inflorescence, leaf and stem components and glucose and starch content determined. Glucose content, determined upon completion of pulsing treatments, was significantly greater in all shoot components of shoots pulsed glucose compared with nonpulsed control shoots. Glucose content of leaves was significantly greater after storage for shoots pulsed than control shoots. Starch content of leaves determined upon completion of pulsing treatments was significantly greater in shoots pulsed with glucose than that of controls. There was a significant decrease in starch content for all tissue types during 21 days of storage. Pulsing flower stems of seven protea cultivars before 3 weeks cold storage significantly reduced the incidence of leaf blackening when assessed both on day 1, and again on day 7 after 3 weeks of cold storage. Supplementing holding solutions with 1% or 2% glucose reduced leaf blackening of proteas pulsed with glucose and cold stored for 3 weeks.

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J. Blasiak, A. Kuang, C.S. Farhangi and M.E. Musgrave

Seeds developing within a locular space inside hollow fruit experience chronic exposure to a unique gaseous environment. Using two pepper cultivars, `Triton' (sweet) and `PI 140367' (hot), we investigated how the development of seeds is affected by the gases surrounding them. The atmospheric composition of the seed environment was characterized during development by analysis of samples withdrawn from the fruit locule with a gas-tight syringe. As seed weight plateaued during development, the seed environment reached its lowest O2 concentration (19%) and highest CO2 concentration (3%). We experimentally manipulated the seed environment by passing different humidified gas mixtures through the fruit locule at a rate of 60 to 90 mL·min-1. A synthetic atmosphere containing 3% CO2, 21% O2, and 76% N2 was used to represent a standard seed environment. Seeds developing inside locules supplied with this mixture had enhanced average seed weight, characterized by lower variation than in the no-flow controls due to fewer low-weight seeds. The importance of O2 in the seed microenvironment was demonstrated by reduction in seed weight when the synthetic atmosphere contained only 15% O2 and by complete arrest of embryo development when O2 was omitted from the seed atmosphere. Removal of CO2 from the synthetic atmosphere had no effect on seed weight, however, the CO2-free treatment accelerated fruit ripening by 4 days in the hot pepper. In the sweet peppers, fruit wall starch and sucrose were reduced by the CO2-free treatment. The results demonstrate that accretionary seed growth is being limited in pepper by O2 availability and suggest that variation in seed quality is attributable to localized limitations in O2 supply.