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Richard P. Marini, Tara Auxt Baugher, Megan Muehlbauer, Sherif Sherif, Robert Crassweller, and James R. Schupp

‘Honeycrisp’ is a popular apple cultivar, but it is susceptible to several postharvest disorders, including bitter pit (Al Shoffe et al., 2016; DeEll et al., 2016 ; Watkins et al., 2004 ). Several studies showed that bitter pit development is

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Tara Auxt Baugher, Richard Marini, James R. Schupp, and Christopher B. Watkins

The high susceptibility of ‘Honeycrisp’ to bitter pit is not well understood. Crassweller and Smith (2016) found levels of Ca in foliar tissue were lower in ‘Honeycrisp’ than in ‘Cameo’. Cheng (2016) reported lower fruit levels of Ca in

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Corina Serban and Lee Kalcsits

Bitter pit is a physiological disorder that has long been associated with low fruit Ca concentrations. The symptoms appear as depressed brown lesions on the skin of the fruit, typically located directly below the peel, but are often found scattered

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James P. Mattheis, David R. Rudell, and Ines Hanrahan

susceptibility to bitter pit ( Bedford, 2001 ; Rosenberger et al., 2001 ). Bitter pit symptoms include brown, dry areas typically just below the peel, typically ranging in size from 1 to 5 mm with adjacent peel also brown. Fruit nutrient content ( Rosenberger et

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Alan R. Biggs and Gregory M. Peck

Although ‘Honeycrisp’ apples are very popular with consumers, they are prone to a number of production difficulties, which in turn make them challenging to grow and store. One of these challenges is bitter pit, a physiological disorder that has long

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D.A. Rosenberger, J.R. Schupp, S.A. Hoying, L. Cheng, and C.B. Watkins

Control of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' apples (Malus ×domestica) from trees treated during the growing season with foliar sprays of trifloxystrobin fungicide and calcium was evaluated in four replicated trials over 2 years. All trials were in commercial orchards of `Honeycrisp' trees that were 3 to 6 years old. The effectiveness of combining boron with foliar applications of calcium chloride (CaCl2) was evaluated in two trials, and effectiveness of harpin protein, used either alone or in alternating sprays with CaCl2 was assessed in one trial. Trifloxystrobin applied twice during the 30 days before harvest reduced bitter pit incidence at harvest in one of the four trials, but the reduction was transitory, no longer being evident when fruit were re-evaluated after 63 days of cold storage. Harpin protein did not affect disorder incidence. Calcium sprays failed to control bitter pit in treatments where the total elemental calcium applied was less than 2.7 lb/acre (3.03 kg·ha–1) per year for tree canopies that were sprayed to drip using 100 gal/acre (935.4 L·ha–1) of spray solution. In the two trials where some treatments involved application of at least 2.9 lb/acre (3.25 kg·ha–1) of elemental calcium per season, the incidence of fruit with bitter pit at harvest was reduced by 76% to 90%. Effectiveness of calcium sprays for bitter pit control was not enhanced by superimposing trifloxystrobin, boron, or harpin protein treatments. Flesh firmness at harvest was lower in calcium-treated than in non-treated fruit, and fruit maturity was more advanced on trees receiving boron sprays than on trees receiving no boron. In one trial, where the first calcium application was made approximately 2 weeks after petal fall and 4 days prior to a fruit thinning spray, crop load of trees that received calcium sprays, measured as number of fruit per cm2 trunk cross-sectional area, was 38% greater than on trees that received no calcium sprays. CaCl2 provided better control of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' than any of the other materials tested.

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I.B. Ferguson and C.B. Watkins

Apple fruit (Malus domestics Borkh. cv. Cox's Orange Pippin) were harvested in four orchards from trees growing under the same conditions but differing in crop load. Regardless of fruit size, apples from light-cropping trees had lower Ca and higher K concentrations and more bitter pit than did fruit from trees with heavy crop loads. The inverse relationship between Ca concentration in the fruit and the incidence of bitter pit also varied according to crop load and could affect the ability to predict incidence of bitter pit from Ca measurements. Differences in fruit maturity that would influence bitter pit incidence were not associated with crop load. The enhanced susceptibility to storage disorders, such as bitter pit, in fruit of all sizes from light-cropping trees suggests the need to handle fruit from such trees differently for postharvest storage.

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Adriana Telias*, Emily Hoover, Carl Rosen, and David Bedford

`Honeycrisp', a relatively new apple cultivar, is susceptible to bitter pit, a physiological disorder that develops mainly during storage. Although the cause of bitter pit is unknown, calcium (Ca) content of the fruit is known to be involved. A field experiment was conducted in Chanhassen, Minn. to refine recommendations for use of Ca sprays for reduction of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' apple. Specific objectives were to determine: 1) Ca concentration and content throughout the fruit growing season; and 2) the association of bitter pit incidence with Ca concentration, crop load, vegetative growth and fruit size. Six treatments tested included: control; Ca(NO3)2 sprays all season; Ca(NO3)2 sprays early in the season; Ca(NO3)2 sprays late in the season; hand-thinning combined with Ca(NO3)2 sprays all season and hand-thinning. Ca concentration in fruits was measured bi-weekly using three different sampling methods: segments, cores and plugs. A randomized block design with four trees as experimental unit and five replications was used. Results suggest lower crop loads increase bitter pit incidence. While fruit from the thinned treatments was larger in size by the end of the experiment, no bitter pit was present at harvest. After 4 months of storage, the hand thinning treatment had 7.4% bitter pit, while thinning plus Ca reduced bitter pit to 2.4%. The other treatments had less than 1% bitter pit. Fruit analyses at the end of the growing season indicate that early and full season sprays resulted in the highest Ca concentration in fruit segments and cores. The lowest values were found for the thinning treatment. No association was found between vegetative growth and bitter pit incidence.

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Errol W. Hewett and Christopher B. Watkins

The incidence of external and internal bitter pit in `Cox's Orange Pippin' apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) fruit sprayed with normal therapeutic sprays either with or without Ca salts at 2-week intervals during the growing season was determined after 6 weeks of storage over 7 consecutive years. Following harvest, fruit was either vacuum-infiltrated with CaCI2 or received no further treatment. Although there was a tendency for fruit that had been sprayed and vacuum-infiltrated with Ca to exhibit the greatest degree of bitter pit control, this treatment was not significantly superior to Ca sprays alone. Vacuum infiltration alone reduced the disorder to a lesser extent than Ca sprays and was more effective in reducing external than internal bitter bit. The results suggest that Ca applications over the growing season are superior to postharvest vacuum-infiltration with Ca in the prevention of bitter pit.

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Gerry Neilsen, Denise Neilsen, Shufu Dong, Peter Toivonen, and Frank Peryea

Calcium application trials were undertaken in a 'Braeburn' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) orchard with a history of bitter pit development at harvest. In 2000, an early season calcium chloride application strategy was compared with the unsprayed control and a late season application strategy. From 2001–03, the assessment of timing of calcium chloride sprays was extended by comparing effects of five weekly sprays applied during the growing season either early, middle, or late season. Other Ca application strategies tested included sprays of acidified calcium carbonate suspensions and soil application of calcium thiosulphate. In the first experiment, early application of calcium chloride reduced the occurrence of bitter pit at harvest and after 3 months cold air storage, despite having low harvest fruit Ca concentrations. Late sprayed fruit had a higher incidence of bitter pit. In the second experiment, the later calcium chloride was sprayed in the growing season, the higher the fruit Ca concentration at harvest. Despite this, no bitter pit was measured at harvest for 2 years for early and midseason calcium chloride spray regimes. In 2003, when Ca disorders were severe and fruit large, bitter pit was observed despite early season calcium chloride sprays. Soil calcium thiosulphate application and foliar sprays of acidified calcium carbonate suspensions failed to meaningfully augment harvest fruit Ca concentrations and affect bitter pit incidence.