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C.G. Embree, K.B. McRae, E.N. Estabrooks and C. Pratt

Vegetative and fruiting characteristics were measured for a spur mutant of `McIntosh' apple (Malus × domestics Borkh.). Nine-year-old `MacSpur' trees in an orchard in New Brunswick, Canada, were grouped according to three degrees of spurriness. Reduced terminal growth, fewer limbs per tree, more flowering spurs per unit length of 2- and 3-year-old wood, less yield, and lower yield efficiency were associated with the highest degree of spurriness. The variability suggests that `MacSpur' may be an unstable periclinal chimera.

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Steven J. McArtney and Li Shao Hua

A single spray of either GA3 or GA4+7 at full bloom reduced the severity of the alternate bearing cycle of `Braeburn' apples, measured as the proportion of flowering spurs over the 2 years following treatment. Increasing the concentration of GA3 applied in the light-flowering year linearly reduced the proportion of flowering spurs in the following year and linearly increased the proportion of flowering spurs 2 years after treatment. Application of GA3 or GA4+7 at full bloom inhibited flower bud formation on spurs only, whereas, in a separate experiment, GA3 or GA7 applied later than 8 weeks after bloom inhibited flower bud formation on 1-year wood only. Thus, delayed GA treatments may provide suitable technology for the selective removal of fruit from 1-year wood in apple.

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J.J. Mangas, E. Dapena, M.S. Rodriguez, J. Moreno, M.D. Gutiérrez and D. Blanco

Water-soluble pectin (WSP), chelator-soluble pectin (CSP), and hydrochloric acid-soluble pectin (HASP) were monitored in five Asturian apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) throughout ripening. The alcohol-insoluble solid content was found to decrease during ripening, while those of the WSP and CSP fractions increased in the final stages of ripening. This increase was probably at the expense of the HASP content, which had decreased by the end of the ripening period.

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Hilde Nybom

Hybridization of minisatellite DNA with an M13 probe yields DNA fingerprints that usually are highly cultivar-specific. However, 15 different sports of `Red Delicious' apples (Malus × domestics Borkh.) exhibited almost identical fingerprints. The mutations determining the morphological differences between the sports could not be detected by the minisatellite probe. These hypervariable DNA sequences appear rather stable in apples, making them ideal for differentiating between cultivars derived through genetic recombination but probably not very useful for differentiating between vegetative sports.

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M. Meheriuk

`Newtown' apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) treated weekly with urea at 10 g·liter-l or Ca(NO3)2 at 7.5 g·liter-1 for 5 consecutive weeks from late August were greener at harvest and during storage than comparable control fruit. A postharvest dip in Nutri-Save, a polymeric coating, was better for retention of skin greenness than a dip in diphenylamine and both gave greener apples than control (nondipped) fruit. Fruit treated with Ca(NO3)2 displayed lesions that were larger and more numerous than typical bitter pit in the control fruit.

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John Warner

`Sturdeespur Delicious', `MacSpur`, `Summerland McIntosh', `Idared', and `Empire' apple trees (Malus domestics Borkh.) planted in 1986 on various size-controlling rootstock were used to determine the effect of rootstock on primary scaffold branch crotch angle. There were differences in crotch angle depending on rootstock. Rootstock effects were more pronounced with the upright growing `Sturdeespur Delicious' than with `Idared' and `Empire', which have a spreading growth habit. Ottawa 8 rootstock had a tendency to produce primary branches with wider crotch angles than other semidwarf to standard rootstock.

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Joshua D. Klein and Susan Lurie

`Anna' and `Granny Smith' apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) that were kept at 46C for 12 hours or at 42C for 24 hours before storage at 0C were firmer at the end of storage and had a higher soluble solids: acid ratio and a lower incidence of superficial scald than unheated fruit. These heat regimes produced results similar to those obtained by keeping fruit at 38C for 72 or 96 hours before storage. Prestorage regimes of 46C for 24 hours or 42C for 48 hours resulted in fruit damage after storage.

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Joshua D. Klein and Susan Lurie

The benefits conferred by a prestorage heat treatment on poststorage quality of apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) were measured on `Anna', a non-storing early cultivar, and `Granny Smith', a long-storing late cultivar. The major benefit was a decrease in rate of apple softening, both during OC storage and during simulated shelf life at 20C. Soluble solids concentration was not affected by heat treatment, but titratable acidity was reduced. Ethylene production after heat treatment and storage was similar to or higher than that of control apples, but respiration was lower. The optimum temperature and time combination for prestorage treatment of both cultivars was 4 days at 38C.

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Shiow Y. Wang and Miklos Faust

Polyamine, putrescine, spermidine, and spermine contents were determined during endodormancy in the buds of low-chilling-requiring `Anna' apples (Malus domestics Borkh.). Putrescine, spermidine, and spermine contents increased greatly in buds when their chilling requirement was satisfied. Polyamine biosynthetic inhibitors α -difluoromethylarginine (DFMA) or α -difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) reduced bud break and bud growth in concert with decreased polyamine titers. DFMO or DFMA did not inhibit bud break when it was applied to buds after they received the full chilling requirement. DFMO was more inhibitory than DFMA. The polyamine requirement was much higher for bud growth and bud development than during differentiation and bud break.

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Shiow Y. Wang and Miklos Faust

Ethylene biosynthesis and polyamine content were determined in normal and watercore-affected apple (Malus domestics Borkh. cv. Delicious). Fruit with watercore produced more ethylene and contained higher amounts of putrescine (PUT), spermidine (SPD), 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), and 1-(malonylamino) cyclo-propane-1-carboxylic acid (MACC). The activities of ACC synthase and ethylene-forming enzyme (EFE) in watercore-affected fruit were also higher than in normal fruit. The EFE activity in severely affected flesh was inhibited, resulting in ACC accumulation and low ethylene production. S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) was maintained at a steady-state level even when C2 H4 and polyamides were actively synthesized in normal and affected fruit.