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Desmond R. Layne, Zhengwang Jiang and James W. Rushing

Replicated trials were conducted in Summers 1998 and 1999 at two commercial orchards (A and B) to determine the influence of a metalized, high density polyethylene reflective film (SonocoRF) and aminoethoxyvinylglycine (ReTain), on fruit red skin coloration and maturity of `Gala' apples (Malus sylvestris var. domestica). There were four experimental treatments: 1) nontreated control; 2) reflective film (RF); 3) ReTain; and 4) RF + ReTain. RF was applied 4 weeks before anticipated start of harvest by laying a 5-ft-wide (150-cm) strip on each side of the tree row in the row middle. ReTain was applied 4 weeks before harvest at the commercial rate in one orchard and at 60% of the commercial rate in a second test. ReTain delayed fruit maturity. Fruit from RF trees had a significantly greater percent surface red color than fruit from trees not treated with RF. Fruit from RF + ReTain were significantly redder and had higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) than fruit from trees treated with ReTain alone. There were no differences in size, fruit firmness or starch content between fruit from RF and RF + Retain. RF appears to be a method to increase red skin coloration in `Gala' apples treated with ReTain without adversely impacting maturity.

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T.K. Hartz, P.R. Johnstone, D.M. Francis and E.M. Miyao

The effect of K fertigation through subsurface irrigation lines on processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit yield and quality was evaluated in four field trials in California from 2002–04. Fields had exchangeable soil K between 0.48 to 0.85 cmol·kg–1, with high exchangeable Mg (10.6 to 13.7 cmol·kg–1) and a history of yellow shoulder (YS, a fruit color disorder) occurrence. K treatments evaluated included seasonal amount applied (0 to 800 kg·ha–1), fertigation method (continuous versus weekly), and timing (early, mid or late season); foliar K treatments were also included in the 2002 trial. In two fields total and marketable fruit yield were significantly increased by K fertigation, and fruit color improvements were observed in all trials. Among color parameters improved by K fertigation were YS incidence, blended color, and L*, chroma, and hue of the shoulder region of fruit. K fertigation did not affect fruit soluble solids concentration. Yield increased only with fertigation treatments initiated during early fruit set. The effects of fertigation method and rate were inconsistent. Foliar K application was ineffective in increasing either fruit yield or quality.

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F.M. del Amor, V. Martinez and A. Cerdá

The shortage of good quality water in semiarid zones necessitates the use of saline water for irrigation. In order to simulate the usage of brackish irrigation water in greenhouse melon (Cucumis melo L. cv. Galia) culture in perlite, plants were supplied with nutrient solutions containing 0 (control), 20, 40, and 60 mm NaCl applied at four different times. Treatments were applied during early vegetative growth [14 days after transplanting (DAT)], beginning of flowering (37 DAT), beginning of fruit set (56 DAT), and beginning of fruit ripening (71 DAT). All vegetative and fruit yield parameters were significantly reduced when salinization was started 14 DAT. This inhibitory effect of salinity was progressively lessened when salinity was imposed at later dates. This suggests that the response of melons to salinity depends on the duration of exposure to saline water. Salinity treatments increased fruit reducing sugars, acidity, and total soluble solids. Fruit yield reduction at each salinization time was correlated with salinity levels, but there was some evidence of a nutrient imbalance, since leaf concentrations of N-NO3, and especially K, were low at higher salinities. These results indicate that brackish waters can be used for growing melon with minimum yield losses if concentration and duration of exposure are carefully monitored.

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Cynthia L. Barden and Larry A. Hull

`Golden Delicious', `Delicious', and `York Imperial' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) with various amounts of tufted apple bud moth (TABM) [Platynota idaeusalis (Walker)] feeding injury were evaluated for quality at harvest and following storage in air and controlled atmosphere. In addition, apples were artificially injured during two seasons to mimic TABM feeding injury. There was little or no effect of natural TABM injury on the quality of apples in many experiments. At harvest, firmness was not influenced by natural TABM injury, soluble solids concentration (SSC) was increased in three of 11 experiments, and starch levels decreased in two of 11 experiments. These results indicate a slight advancement of maturity of injured fruit. More severely injured fruit tended to have more decay after storage than fruit with less injury. Some injury, especially first brood injury, up to ≈7 to 10 mm2 surface damage, can be tolerated without compromising storage quality of processing apples. However, severe injury (>79 mm2) can increase decay. Second brood injury, whether caused by natural feeding of TABM or through artificial means, usually caused a higher incidence of decay than first brood injury. Artificial injury imposed close to harvest led to more decay in storage than did similar injury imposed earlier.

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Gene E. Lester, John L. Jifon and Gordon Rogers

Muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] fruit sugar content is directly related to potassium (K)-mediated phloem transport of sucrose into the fruit. However, during fruit growth and maturation, soil fertilization alone is often inadequate (due to poor root uptake and competitive uptake inhibition from calcium and magnesium) to satisfy the numerous K-dependent processes, such as photosynthesis, phloem transport, and fruit growth. Experiments were conducted during Spring 2003 and 2004 to determine if supplemental foliar K applications during the fruit growth and maturation period would alleviate this apparent inadequate K availability in orange-flesh muskmelon `Cruiser'. Plants were grown in a greenhouse and fertilized throughout the study with a soil-applied N-P-K fertilizer. Flowers were hand pollinated and only one fruit per plant was allowed to develop. Starting at 3 to 5 days after fruit set, and up to 3 to 5 days prior to fruit maturity (full slip), entire plants, including the fruit, were sprayed with a glycine amino acid-complexed potassium (potassium metalosate, 24% K) solution, diluted to 4.0 mL·L-1. Three sets of plants were sprayed either weekly (once per week), biweekly (once every 2 weeks) or not sprayed (control). Fruit from plants receiving supplemental foliar K matured on average 2 days earlier than those from control plants. In general, there were no differences in fruit maturity or quality aspects between the weekly and biweekly treatments except for fruit sugar and beta-carotene concentrations, which were significantly higher in the weekly compared to the biweekly or control treatments. Supplemental foliar K applications also resulted in significantly firmer fruit with higher K, soluble solids, total sugars, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and beta-carotene concentrations than fruit from control plants. These results demonstrate that carefully timed foliar K nutrition can alleviate the developmentally induced K deficiency effects on fruit quality and marketability.

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Xiuren Zhang, Guoguang Luo, Ronghui Wang, Jing Wang and David G. Himelrick

The relationship of assimilate supply to grape (Vitis vinifera L.) berry growth and development was studied with a seeded (`Kyoho') and a seedless (`Seedless Wuhehong') cultivar. A single shoot girdling between the second and third nodes below the basal cluster at the end of Stage I of berry growth shortened Stage II (the lag phase) of `Kyoho' grape berries by 10 days, and eliminated Stage II in `Seedless Wuhehong' grape berries. Double shoot girdling between the second and third nodes below the basal cluster and above the upper cluster, respectively, at the same time at the end of Stage I, advanced Stage II by 3 days in both cultivars. Normal accumulation of dry weight in the `Kyoho' grape berry is in a double sigmoidal pattern, but it became a single sigmoidal pattern in response to a single basal girdling. The highest percent moisture in berries was at 20 days after full bloom. Rapid changes in berry pectin substances lagged behind those of soluble solids and titratable acidity, and behind the onset of berry softening at veraison in `Kyoho', but not in `Seedless Wuhehong', for which the three processes were concurrent. It is suggested that the slow growth of the berries during Stage II is a result of a decrease in the rate of water accumulation on a whole berry basis and a decrease in accumulation of dry matter in the skin and flesh (pericarp) due to assimilate competition within grapevines and within berries. The relationships between levels of endogenous hormones (IAA, GA3, zeatin, zeatin riboside, and ABA) and berry growth were also studied with `Kyoho' grapes. The results showed that the slow growth of grape berries during Stage II was associated with assimilate competition between the skin-flesh (pericarp) and seeds, and with peak shifts of concentrations of IAA, GA3, zeatin and zeatin riboside. Changes in ABA levels were closely associated with ripening and senescence during late Stage III.

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M.C.N. Nunes, A.M.M.B. Morais, J.K. Brecht and S.A. Sargent

`Chandler' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) harvested three-quarter colored or fully red were stored in air or a controlled atmosphere (CA) of 5% O2 + 15% CO2 at 4 or 10 °C to evaluate the influence of fruit maturity and storage temperature on the response to CA. Quality evaluations were made after 1 and 2 weeks in air or CA, and also after 1 and 2 weeks in air or CA plus 1 day in air at 20 °C. By 2 weeks, strawberries of both maturities stored in air at 10 °C were decayed, however, strawberries stored in CA at 4 or 10 °C or air at 4 °C had no decay even after 2 weeks plus 1 day at 20 °C. Three-quarter colored fruit stored in either air or CA remained firmer, lighter (higher L* value) and purer red (higher hue and chroma values) than fully red fruit, with the most pronounced effect being on CA-stored fruit at 4 °C. CA was more effective than air storage in maintaining initial anthocyanin and soluble solids contents (SSC) of three-quarter colored fruit and fruit stored at 10 °C. Strawberries harvested three-quarter colored maintained initial hue and chroma values for 2 weeks in CA at 4 °C, becoming fully red only when transferred to air at 20 °C. Although three-quarter colored fruit darkened and softened in 10 °C storage, the CA-stored fruit remained lighter colored and as firm as the at-harvest values of fully red fruit. After 1 or 2 weeks in CA at either 4 or 10 °C plus 1 day at 20 °C, three-quarter colored fruit also had similar SSC levels but lower total anthocyanin contents than the initial levels in fully red fruit. CA maintained better strawberry quality than air storage even at an above optimum storage temperature of 10 °C, but CA was more effective at the lower temperature of 4 °C. Three-quarter colored fruit responded better to CA than fully red fruit, maintaining better appearance, firmness, and color over 2 weeks storage, while achieving similar acidity and SSC with minimal decay development.

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Terence L. Robinson, Alan N. Lakso and Stephen G. Carpenter

A field planting of `Empire' and `Redchief Delicious' apple trees (Malus domestics Borkh.) was established in 1978 to evaluate four planting systems: 1) slender spindle/M.9, 2) Y-trellis/M.26, 3) central leader/M.9/MM.111, and 4) central leader/M.7a. During the first 5 years, yields per hectare for `Empire' were positively correlated with tree density. In the second 5 years, the Y-trellis/M.26 trees produced the highest yields while yields of the other systems continued to be related to tree density. Cumulative yields were highest with the Y-trellis/M.26 trees. With `Delicious', the Y-trellis/M.26 yields were greatest during all 10 years despite lower tree density than the slender spindle/M.9. Yields of `Delicious' with the other three systems were a function of tree density during the 10 years. At maturity, canopy volume per tree was greatest on the central leader/M.7a trees and smallest on the slender spindle/M.9 trees; however, there were no significant differences in canopy volume per hectare between the systems despite large differences in yield. Trunk cross sectional area (TCA) per hectare was greatest with the Y-trellis/M.26 trees and smallest with the central leader/M.7 trees. Yield was highly correlated to TCA/ha. Yield efficiency with `Empire' was greatest for the slender spindle/M.9 system, followed by the Y-trellis/M.26, central leader/M.9/MM.111, respectively. With both cultivars, the central leader/M.7a system had the lowest yield efficiency. With `Delicious', there were no differences in yield efficiency for the other three systems. The greater yield of the Y-trellis/M.26 system was the result of greater TCA/ha and not greater efficiency. `Empire' fruit size was largest on the central leader/M.7a and the central leader/M.9/MM.111 trees and smallest on the slender spindle/M.9 and the Y-trellis/M.26 trees. With `Delicious', fruit size was larger with the Y-trellis/M.26 trees than the other systems. When fruit size was adjusted for crop density, there were no significant differences due to system with `Empire', but with `Delicious' the Y-trellis/M.26 trees had larger adjusted fruit size than the other systems. Crop density calculated using TCA correlated better to fruit size than did crop density calculated using annual increase in TCA, canopy volume, or land area. Fruit color and quality with `Redchief Delicious' were not influenced by system. With `Empire', average fruit color and soluble solids content were lower for the Y-trellis/M.26 and slender spindle/M.9 in some years when canopy density was allowed to become. excessive.

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Angela R. Davis, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Richard Hassell, Amnon Levi, Stephen R. King and Xingping Zhang

soluble solids content, persistent green color in the suture stripe, fruit fermentation, fibrous flesh, and off-taste ( Chung, 1995 ; Kamiya and Tamura, 1964 ; Koutsika-Sotiriou and Traka-Mavrona, 2002 ; Lee, 1989 ; Lee et al., 1998 ; Muramatsu, 1981

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N. Georgelis, J.W. Scott and E.A. Baldwin

Small-fruited cherry tomato accession PI 270248 (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. var. cerasiforme Dunal) with high fruit sugars was crossed to large-fruited inbred line Fla.7833-1-1-1 (7833) that had normal (low) fruit sugar. Sugars in the F2 were positively correlated with soluble solids, glucose, fructose, pH, and titratable acidity, and inversely correlated with fruit size. Earliness was not significantly correlated with sugars but was negatively correlated with fruit size. Thus, the lack of a sugar-earliness correlation indirectly indicates a trend for early tomato plants to be lower in sugars than later maturing plants. Sugars were not correlated with yield or pedicel type. Fruit from indeterminate plants had significantly more sugars than from determinate plants. Six random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers linked to high sugars were found, five dominant (OPAE 4, UBC 731, UBC 744, UBC 489, UBC 290) and one co-dominant (UBC 269). Five of the markers were also linked to small fruit size and one of these also was linked to low yield (UBC 290). The sixth marker (UBC 269) was linked to indeterminate plant habit. UBC 731, UBC 489, and possibly OPAE 4 were in one linkage group, while UBC 744 and UBC 290 were in another linkage group. Combinations of all the markers together explained 35% of the sugar variation in the F2 grown in Spring 2002.