Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] fruit thinning was used to reduce the competition for assimilates among peach fruits and to identify periods of source- and sink-limited growth during development. Individual fruit size, based on diameter or calculated dry matter accumulation, increased in trees with lower crop loads compared to fruits of unthinned trees in three peach cultivars. Relative growth rate analysis indicated that peach fruit growth was apparently limited by the assimilate supply (source-limited) or by its genetic growth potential (sink-limited) during specific growth periods. In stage I and at the beginning of stage III of the double-sigmoid growth curve, periods of source-limited growth occurred in the later-maturing cultivars Flamecrest and Cal Red. Peach fruit growth was apparently sink-limited during stage II of the growth curve when fruit relative growth rates were similar for the thinning treatments. Fruit growth in `Spring Lady', an early maturing cultivar, appeared to be primarily source-limited during the season. Although total fruit dry matter production was reduced by thinning, individual fruit dry weight on thinned trees was higher than that on trees with a heavy crop load. This typical thinning response was apparently caused by the differences in the amount of time that fruits grew under sink-vs. source-limited conditions with different crop loads. Final crop yield depended on fruit count per tree and on the available assimilate supply, and was affected by the individual fruit growth potential.
Guohai Xia, Lailiang Cheng, Alan Lakso, and Martin Goffinet
demonstrated that when a tree is source-limited resulting from too much competition between fruit in a heavy cropping situation, fruit is typically small and thinning improves fruit size by lessening the source limitation through reducing the number of
Ted M. DeJong
Previous research using relative growth rate models indicates that under normal cropping conditions peach fruit growth and yield is alternately source and sink limited during different phases of fruit growth. An experiment was designed to test this concept on whole trees in the field. Shortly after bloom central leader trees of `Spring Lady' and `Cal Red' peaches, were thinned to various crop loads ranging from -50 to -400 fruit per tree. At specific intervals trees representing the full range of crop loads were harvested to determine mean individual fruit weight/total crop weight relationships for whole trees. Then, assuming that fruit on low cropped trees grew at their maximum potential growth rate (sink demand) and that total crop growth on unthinned trees represented the maximum dry matter available for fruit growth (source supply), the relative source and sink limitation between each harvest interval was calculated. With `Cal Red', fruit growth appeared to be primarily source limited early and late in the season but primarily sink limited during the mid-period (Stage II) of fruit growth. At normal commercial crop loads, `Spring Lady' was less source limited than `Cal Red'.
C. Alt, H. Kage, and H. Stützel
Concepts of above-ground dry matter partitioning in cauliflower [Brassica oleracea L. (Botrytis Group)] as dependent on nitrogen (N) supply and light environment are presented. Leaf and stem partitioning depends on a functional relationship between stem dry weight and leaf area, independent of N status. Dry matter partitioning into the inflorescence is sink-limited (potential capacity) at the beginning, and source limited (daily available assimilates) later. The intrinsic specific growth rate of the inflorescence is dependent on leaf N content. The model is parameterized and evaluated with data from field experiments. Applied to an independent data set, the model predictions of proportions of inflorescence, leaf, and stem on total dry matter corresponded with measurements (r = 0.84, 0.92 and 0.22, respectively) for different N fertilization rates and light treatments.
Justine E. Vanden Heuvel*
Fruiting and vegetative greenhouse-grown cranberry uprights (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) were subjected to four defoliation levels (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%) on one of three dates during the growing season. Seven days following defoliation, vines were destructively harvested and carbohydrate concentration was quantified using HPLC. Prior to new growth, defoliation did not affect the concentration of total non-structural carbohydrates (TNSC) in the uprights, or the partitioning of water-soluble (i.e., sucrose, glucose, fructose) to ethanol-insoluble (i.e., starch) carbohydrates, even though uprights with lower leaf areas had higher net CO2 assimilation rates (A). At 2 weeks post-bloom, TNSC concentration was reduced in defoliated vines, although A was not affected by defoliation. Prior to harvest, TNSC concentration was reduced in vines subjected to defoliation while A was unaffected, although the positive relationship between soluble carbohydrate concentration and leaf area per upright reached an asymptote, while the direct relationship between starch concentration and leaf area remained linear. Carbohydrate production and partitioning of an upright was unaffected by the presence of a single fruit throughout the experiment. These results suggest that carbohydrate production in cranberry uprights may be sink-limited prior to fruiting, and then becomes source-limited as the growing season progresses.
G. Fernandez and M. Pritts
Seasonal changes in growth, photosynthetic rates, temperature, and light response curves of `Titan' red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) were obtained from potted plants grown under field conditions. Primocane dry weight accumulation underwent two phases of linear growth at the beginning and the end of the season, but growth slowed during fruiting. This slower rate of dry weight accumulation also coincided with an increase in root dry weight. Primocane NAR and SLA were highest early in the season. Light response curves differed depending on cane type and time of year. Floricane photosynthetic rates (A) were high during the fruiting period, while primocane A rates remained steady throughout the season. Both primocane and floricane leaflets displayed a midday drop in A rate, with a partial recovery in late afternoon. Photosynthetic rates of both primocane and floricane leaves were very sensitive to high temperatures. Temporal convergence of sink demand from fruit, primocanes, and roots occurs when plants experience high temperatures. This may account for low realized yields in raspberry and the high level of yield component compensation typical of source-limited plants.
Brandon R. Smith*, Li-Song Chen, and Lailiang Cheng
Own-rooted one-year-old `Concord' grapevines were fertigated twice weekly for 11 weeks with 1, 10, 20, 50, OR 100 μmol iron (Fe) from ferric ethylenediamine di (o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid in a complete nutrient solution. As Fe supply increased, leaf total Fe content did not change, whereas active Fe (extracted by 2, 2'-dipyridyl) and total chlorophyll content increased curvilinearly. CO2 assimilation and stomatal conductance increased curvilinearly with increasing active Fe, whereas intercellular CO2 concentrations decreased linearly. Activities of key Calvin cycle enzymes, Rubisco, NADP-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, phosphoribulokinase, stromal fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase), and a key enzyme in sucrose synthesis, cytosolic FBPase, all increased linearly with increasing active Fe. No difference was found in the activities of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase and sucrose phosphate synthase of leaves between the lowest and the highest treatments, whereas slightly lower activities were observed in the middle Fe treatments. Content of 3-phosphoglycerate increased curvilinearly with increased active Fe, whereas glucose-6-phosphate and fructose-6-phosphate did not change. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, starch, and total non-structural carbohydrates at both dusk and pre-dawn increased with increasing active Fe. Carbon export from starch breakdown during the night, calculated as the difference between dusk and predawn levels, increased as active Fe increased. In conclusion, Fe limitation reduces the activities of Rubisco and other photosynthetic enzymes, and hence CO2 assimilation capacity. Fe-deficient grapevines have lower concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates in source leaves, and therefore, are source limited.
P.I. Garriz, G.M. Colavita, and H.L. Alvarez
Crop load and the genetic biological carrying capacity (source–sink relationships) determine the potential for fruit size development on apple; however, the environment within which the fruit grows attenuates this potential. The effects of different crop loads on the growth pattern and the progress of maturity in apples were evaluated at the Comahue National Univ., Argentina (lat. 38 56'S long 67 59'W), during the 1998–99 growing season. Our experiment was conducted on 6-year-old `Braeburn'/Malling Merton 111 apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees spaced 4.0 × 2.3 m and trained to palmette leader. Treatments were 1) light crop load (LC), 2.5 fruit/cm2 trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), 2) moderate crop load (MC), 6.5 fruit/cm2 TCSA (standard commercial crop load) and 3) high crop load (HC), minimum 8 fruit/cm2 TCSA, no fruit removed from tree. Whole trees were hand-thinned 19 days after full bloom (DAFB). Fruit diameter (FD) was taken at two weekly intervals (n = 24 per date and treatment) and maturity indexes were determined at harvest. Analysis of variance was used and mean separations were computed with Student's t test. From 38 DAFB until harvest, fruit size was significantly reduced (P < 0.01) in the HC trees, indicating that they were source-limited during growth. At 166 DAFB, FD was 7.48, 7.14, and 6.89 cm for the LC, MC and HC treatments, respectively. Adequate carbon was apparently available to support a commercial crop load since no differences were found between LC and MC trees. Crop level influenced flesh firmness; at 173 DAFB, it was significantly lower in HC trees than MC and LC trees (84.33, 92.51, and 91.57 N, respectively). These results suggest some goals of thinning for ensuring sizable `Braeburn' fruit.
P.A.W. Swain and R.L. Darnell
`Sharpblue' southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. interspecific hybrid) was grown in either a dormant or nondormant production system to determine the effect of production system on source limitations to fruit and vegetative growth. Source limited stages were evaluated in the two production systems by reducing reproductive sink load during either the fruit cell division or fruit cell enlargement stage. Source limitation during cell division was evaluated by removing 80% of the flower buds in late fall, since the majority of cell division in blueberry ovaries occurs before bloom. Source limitation during cell enlargement was evaluated by removing 80% of the fruit after fruit set the following spring. In the dormant production (DP) system, mean fruit dry weight (DW) was greatest in the flower bud removal treatment and least in the control (nonthinned) treatment, suggesting that cell number, rather than size, is more important in determining blueberry fruit weight in the DP system. Fruit in the dormant flower bud removal treatment may have approached maximum cell number and therefore fruit size; this was supported by the observation that significant depletion of root carbohydrate concentration did not occur in this treatment, as it did in the control treatment. Mean fruit DW in the nondormant production (NDP) system was greatest in the fruit removal treatment compared with the other two treatments, suggesting that cell enlargement played a larger role in determining fruit size in this production system. However, the effect of the flower bud removal treatment (and therefore the effect of cell division) on fruit DW in the NDP system was apparently masked by continued flower bud initiation in this system after flower bud removal in late fall. Continued floral initiation was apparently an alternative sink to increasing cell division in previously formed flower buds. In both systems, fruit removal increased vegetative growth compared with the control and flower bud removal treatments. Thus, both systems exhibited source limitations to fruit and vegetative growth, although the timing and extent of the limitation to fruit growth differed between the production systems.
Li-Song Chen, Brandon R. Smith, and Lailiang Cheng
Own-rooted 1-year-old `Concord' grapevines (Vitis labruscana Bailey) were fertigated twice weekly for 11 weeks with 1, 10, 20, 50, or 100 μm iron (Fe) from ferric ethylenediamine di (o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid (Fe-EDDHA) in a complete nutrient solution. As Fe supply increased, leaf total Fe content did not show a significant change, whereas active Fe (extracted by 2,2′-dipyridyl) content increased curvilinearly. Chlorophyll (Chl) content increased as Fe supply increased, with a greater response at the lower Fe rates. Chl a: b ratio remained relatively constant over the range of Fe supply, except for a slight increase at the lowest Fe treatment. Both CO2 assimilation and stomatal conductance increased curvilinearly with increasing leaf active Fe, whereas intercellular CO2 concentrations decreased linearly. Activities of key enzymes in the Calvin cycle, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), NADP-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), phosphoribulokinase (PRK), stromal fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase), and a key enzyme in sucrose synthesis, cytosolic FBPase, all increased linearly with increasing leaf active Fe. No significant difference was found in the activities of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) and sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) of leaves between the lowest and the highest Fe treatments, whereas slightly lower activities of AGPase and SPS were observed in the other three Fe treatments. Content of 3-phosphoglycerate (PGA) increased curvilinearly with increasing leaf active Fe, whereas glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), fructose-6-phosphate (F6P), and the ratio of G6P: F6P remained unchanged over the range of Fe supply. Concentrations of glucose, fructose, sucrose, starch, and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) at both dusk and predawn increased with increasing leaf active Fe. Concentrations of starch and TNC at any given leaf active Fe content were higher at dusk than at predawn, but both glucose and fructose showed the opposite trend. No difference in sucrose concentration was found at dusk or predawn. The export of carbon from starch breakdown during the night, calculated as the difference between dusk and predawn measurements, increased as leaf active Fe content increased. The ratio of starch to sucrose at both dusk and predawn also increased with increasing leaf active Fe. In conclusion, Fe limitation reduces the activities of Rubisco and other photosynthetic enzymes, and hence CO2 assimilation capacity. Fe-deficient grapevines have lower concentrations of nonstructural carbohydrates in source leaves and, therefore, are source limited.