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Rosa Vilaplana, M. Carme Valentines, Peter Toivonen and Christian Larrigaudière

In order to determine the effects that 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) may have on antioxidant metabolism during cold storage, apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh. cv. Golden Smoothee) were treated with 625 nL·L−1 1-MCP immediately after harvest and stored in air for 3 months. Differences in total antioxidant activity and ascorbate levels were determined during storage and related to the activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase [SOD (EC 1.15.1.1)], catalase [CAT (EC 1.11.1.6)], and peroxidase [POX (EC 1.11.1.7)] in pulp. The level of oxidative stress in the pulp tissue was also established by determining changes in levels of hydrogen peroxide and in the content of peroxidative markers during storage. Controls and 1-MCP-treated fruit exhibited similar changes in total antioxidant activity and ascorbate levels. However, significant differences in oxidative stress levels were found between treated and untreated fruit. 1-MCP-treated fruit exhibited lower levels of hydrogen peroxide and significantly lower levels in peroxidative markers, especially at the end of the storage period. In line with this last result, 1-MCP-treated fruit also exhibited greater enzymatic antioxidant potential and, more specifically, a higher level of POX activity. Collectively, these results showed that 1-MCP did not detrimentally affect the antioxidant potential of the fruit and provided evidence to support the hypothesis that the beneficial effects of 1-MCP on ripening are not exclusively limited to its effect on ethylene, but also include direct effects on peroxidation and POX enzyme activity.

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Candace N. DeLong, Keith S. Yoder, Leon Combs, Richard E. Veilleux and Gregory M. Peck

A greater understanding of apple (Malus ×domestica) pollen tube growth rates can improve crop load management in commercial orchards. Specifically, applications of caustic bloom-thinning chemicals need to occur when enough, but not too many, flowers have been fertilized to achieve crop load densities that balance yields with marketable fruit sizes. In this study, the pollen tube growth rates of five crabapple (Malus sp.) cultivars were measured in the styles of three maternal cultivars at 12, 18, 24, and 30 °C after 24 hours in a growth chamber. Pollen tube growth rates were greatest for ‘Selkirk’ and ‘Thunderchild’ at 12 °C, and greatest for ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Selkirk’, and ‘Thunderchild’ at 24 °C. Pollen tube growth increased with increasing temperatures until 24 °C. There were minimal pollen tube growth rate increases between 24 and 30 °C. Overall, ‘Snowdrift’ had the slowest pollen tube growth rate of the five evaluated crabapple genotypes. At 24 and 30 °C, ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘Thunderchild’ pollen tubes reached the base of the style most frequently, and ‘Snowdrift’ pollen tubes the least frequently. Pollen tube growth rate was also influenced by the maternal cultivar, with Golden Delicious having relatively faster pollen tube growth than Fuji at 24 and 30 °C. Interactions among paternal and maternal genotypes as well as temperature after pollination reveal complex biological and environmental relationships that can be used to develop more precise crop load management strategies for apple orchards.

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Jia-Long Yao, Yi-Hu Dong, Anders Kvarnheden and Bret Morris

To study the role of MADS-box genes in developing apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.), clones corresponding to seven different genes, MdMADS5 to MdMADS11, were isolated from a 2-day-old apple cDNA library. Through DNA sequence comparison, six genes were classified into the APETALA1 (AP1) group and one gene, MdMADS10, into the AGAMOUS (AG) group. Six of the genes, MdMADS5 to MdMADS10, were found to be preferentially expressed in fruit following pollination. These genes also showed differential expression patterns in core, cortex and skin of young fruit. For instance, MdMADS5, which is highly homologous to AP1, showed preferential expression in the cortex and skin tissues while MdMADS10, which is highly homologous to AGL11, showed exclusive expression in the core tissues. The gene MdMADS11 showed a similar expression level and pattern in flowers, fruit at several early developmental stages, and for different fruit tissues. The range of expression patterns suggests that the genes play different roles in apple development.

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Fang Geng, Renae Moran, Michael Day, William Halteman and Donglin Zhang

The influence of red and blue light wavelengths was tested to improve the initial in vitro multiplication of apple (Malus × domestica) rootstock cultivars Budagovsky 9 (B.9), Geneva 30 (G.30), and Geneva 41 (G.41). Single-node segments were established in semisolid Murashige and Skoog media and then transferred to proliferation media and cultured 40 days under white, red, or blue light irradiance. In a second experiment, G.30 was cultured under red, blue, or white light with and without gibberellic acid (GA3). The three rootstocks responded similarly under white light in terms of shoot number, length of the longest shoot, and the number of elongated shoots. Red light increased the number of shoots, length of the longest shoot, and the number of elongated shoots of B.9 and G.30 when compared with white or blue light. Red light increased the number of elongated B.9 and G.30 shoots to five per explant compared with one per explant under white light. In contrast, shoot growth of G.41 showed no difference under the three light quality treatments, and the number of elongated shoots per explant was less than one. When compared with an absence of GA3, a concentration of GA3 at 0.5 mg·L−1 promoted in vitro shoot growth of G.30 under red and blue light.

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp and E. Stover

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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Phillipa J. Jackson and F. Roger Harker

Electrical impedance was used to determine the extent of tissue damage that occurred as a result of bruising of apple fruit (Malus ×domestica Borkh, cvs. Granny Smith and Splendour). Impedance measurements were made before and after bruising. Plots of reactance against resistance at 36 spot frequencies between 50 Hz and 1 MHz traced a semicircular arc, which contracted in magnitude after bruising. A number of characteristics of these curves were then related to bruise weight. The change in resistance that occurred as a result of fruit impact (ΔR50Hz) was the best predictor of bruise weight, with r2 values up to 0.71. Before bruising, resistance of fruit was higher in `Splendour' than in `Granny Smith' (P < 0.001), and at 0 °C than at 20 °C (P < 0.001), but was not influenced by fruit weight. The influence of apple cultivar and temperature on electrical impedance may cause difficulties when implementing these measurements in a commercial situation. However, further development of electrical impedance spectroscopy methodologies may result in convenient research techniques for assessing bruise weight without having to wait for browning of the flesh.

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Alan R. Biggs and Stephen S. Miller

Twenty-three apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars were tested in the field and laboratory for their relative susceptibility to the black rot pathogen, Botryosphaeria obtusa. Wounded fruit were inoculated in the field at 2 to 3 weeks preharvest with mycelium from 14- to 21-day-old cultures. In the laboratory, detached fruit were inoculated similarly. Fruit were rated for relative susceptibility to the fungus by determining disease severity of attached fruit in the field based on lesion growth (mm/degree-day) and detached fruit in laboratory inoculations of wounded fruit (mean lesion diameter after 4 days). Based on the laboratory and field data from two growing seasons, cultivars were classified into three relative susceptibility groups—most susceptible: `Orin', `Pristine', and Sunrise'; moderately susceptible: `Suncrisp', `Ginger Gold', `Senshu', `Honeycrisp', `PioneerMac', `Fortune', NY75414, `Arlet', `Golden Supreme', `Shizuka', `Cameo', `Sansa', and `Yataka'; and least susceptible: `Creston', `Golden Delicious', `Enterprise', `Gala Supreme', `Braeburn', `GoldRush', and `Fuji'. Compared to previous cultivar rankings, the results of the present study indicate that no new apple cultivars from the first NE-183 planting show greater resistance to Botryosphaeria obtusa than current standard cultivars.

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Shogo Matsumoto and Kentaro Kitahara

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method for identifying the S-alleles in the Asian pear [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm) Nak.] was applied to apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) cultivars. With minor modifications in one of the primers, the fragments from S-genes (S-RNases) with introns were amplified from total DNA of apple cultivars possessing S2-, S3-, S5-, S7-(=Sd-), S9-(=Sc-), Sf- and Sg-allele genotypes. S-genes within S24-(=Sh-) and S26-alleles were also amplified. The PCR amplification step of this method appears to be useful for preliminary investigation of apple S-genotypes, especially for species or cultivars of unknown origin or history. Using the primers, which are a part of a new S-allele, the Se-allele encoding Se-RNase with an intron in the Se-allele was amplified. We cloned the cDNA of Se-RNase, and developed a PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis method for Se-allele identification. S-allele genotypes of seven apple cultivars were investigated.

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Iwan Labuschagné, Bill Louw, Karin Schmidt and Annalene Sadie

The variability of characteristics associated with prolonged dormancy in apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) progenies planted in the Western Cape region of South Africa was recorded over a three-year period. The time of initial vegetative and reproductive budbreak, the number of vegetative and reproductive budbreak, and the flowering duration were used as criteria. Data were collected on bearing trees of apple seedling families where the cultivars Anna and Golden Delicious were used as a common parent. Analysis of variance detected significant variation among seedling families for time of budbreak, number of breaking buds, and flowering duration in `Golden Delicious' families. `Braeburn' × `Golden Delicious' consistently produced seedlings with higher numbers of breaking buds and `Golden Delicious' × `Prima' showed significantly lower numbers than other `Golden Delicious' families. In `Anna' families, significant differences were found for time of budbreak. `Anna' families showed higher variability within families than `Golden Delicious' families. Comparisons of progenies of `Anna' and `Golden Delicious' showed large differences in variation for the time of budbreak and for duration of flowering. Mean budbreak of `Anna' progenies did not differ from `Golden Delicious' progenies. Associations were found between initial time of budbreak and number of breaking buds as well as time and flowering duration. Results reveal high genetic variance in prolonged dormancy symptoms among seedlings within apple families which can be directly ascribed to high levels of heterozygosity in the cultivars used, and should be further explored for the purposes of breeding and selection.

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Margaret Cliff, Katherine Sanford, Wendy Wismer and Cheryl Hampson

This research used digital images to explore some of the factors responsible for consumer preference of visual characteristics of apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). The images systematically varied in color and shape (Expt. A: 9 images) and type, shape, and background color (Expt. B: 10 images), while keeping apple size constant. Visual assessments of the apple images were collected from 144 consumers (Expt. A) and 165 consumers (Expt. B) in British Columbia (BC), Nova Scotia (NS), and New Zealand (NZ) using balanced incomplete block designs. Canadian consumers (BC and NS) preferred red apples over green or yellow. NZ consumers liked equally red and green apples, and preferred both to yellow apples. At all locations, consumers in Expt. A significantly preferred round and conical shaped apples to oblong apples. When the combined effects of type, shape, and background color were evaluated, NZ consumers rated the striped, round apples the highest, and least preferred both round and oblong, blush-type apples with yellow backgrounds. NS consumers tended to prefer blush apples regardless of type and background color, and BC consumers were more accepting of a range of apple types, shapes, and background colors.