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‘Gala’ apple strains are susceptible to stem-end fruit cracking at harvest ( Fallahi et al., 2013 ) and during storage ( Lee et al., 2013 , 2016 ). The incidence of stem-end fruit cracking at harvest is influenced by several factors such as

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). Poor Ni nutrition potentially affects primary metabolism in such a way that endogenous availability of certain aminoacids, organic acids, and acetyl-CoA can potentially limit lignification ( Bai et al., 2006 ). Cracking or splitting of fruits is a

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Abstract

The influence of stomata, the stylar scar, cuticular fractures, and Ca2+ on susceptibility of ‘Bing’ sweet cherry fruit (Prunus avium L.) to water injury was studied. Water injury was first detected as an increase in cell turgor. Water penetration caused separation of the cuticle from the epidermal cell wall. Swelling in the epidermal cell wall region resulted in cuticular fracturing that generally preceded fruit cracking. Uncracked fruit that had cuticular fractures softened rapidly. Stomata were sparsely distributed on the fruit surface and were often fixed in an open or partially open position. Water injury was not visible at stomata even when injury occurred adjacent to the stomatal region. Initial signs of injury were commonly visible near the stylar scar. Histochemical studies revealed that the surface of the stylar scar was devoid of a cuticle covering and was rich in insoluble carbohydrates. Greater penetration of solute containing 45Ca2+ occurred at the stylar scar. Fine fractures in the cuticle surface were observed in fruit at harvest time in 1985 and 1986. Cherry fruit with cuticular fractures had a higher water absorption rate than unfractured fruit. In immersion tests, Ca2+ reduced cherry cracking. EGTA increased fruit cracking; this increase was negated by adding Ca2+. Neither Ca2+ nor EGTA affected the water absorption rate of the fruit. EGTA decreased the cracking threshold of the fruit, while Ca2+ increased it. Soluble pectin content of the immersion solution rose with increasing incubation times. EGTA increased while Ca2+ markedly decreased soluble pectin concentration in the immersion solution. Histochemical studies indicated a breakdown of the cell wall structure in the epidermal region of water-injured fruit. Autoradiographs of fruit immersed in a solution containing 45Ca2+ showed the epidermal region to be the site of Ca2+ action in altering fruit cracking. Chemical name used: Ethyleneglycol-bis-(β-aminoethyl ether) N,N,N,N-tetraacetic acid (EGTA)

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Rain cracking is a problem for sweet cherry production in all countries where this very high-value crop is grown ( Christensen, 1996 ). Despite considerable research effort the mechanistic basis of the phenomenon is still poorly understood. The

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Fruit cracking (also known as growth cracks or fruit splitting) is a major physiological disorder that can cause significant economic losses in a wide variety of fruit including tomato ( Solanum lycopersicon ), cherry ( Prunus avium ), apple ( Malus

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The environmental and physiological causes of cracking or splitting of soft fruits and citrus as they ripen are not well understood. This paper explores factors contributing to radial cracking in tomatoes, gives suggestions for prevention of cracking, and suggests directions for future research. Fruit cracking occurs when there is a rapid net influx of water and solutes into the fruit at the same time that ripening or other factors reduce the strength and elasticity of the tomato skin. In the field, high soil moisture tensions suddenly lowered by irrigation or rains are the most frequent cause of fruit cracking. Low soil moisture tensions reduce the tensile strength of the skin and increase root pressure. In addition, during rain or overhead irrigation, water penetrates into the fruit through minute cracks or through the corky tissue around the stem scar. Increases in fruit temperature raise gas and hydrostatic pressures of the pulp on the skin, resulting in immediate cracking in ripe fruit or delayed cracking in green fruit. The delayed cracking occurs later in the ripening process when minute cracks expand to become visible. High light intensity may have a role in increasing cracking apart from its association with high temperatures. Under high light conditions, fruit soluble solids and fruit growth rates are higher. Both of these factors are sometimes associated with increased cracking. Anatomical characteristics of crack-susceptible cultivars are: 1) large fruit size, 2) low skin tensile strength and/or low skin extensibility at the turning to the pink stage of ripeness, 3) thin skin, 4) thin pericarp, 5) shallow cutin penetration, 6) few fruits per plant, and 7) fruit not shaded by foliage. Following cultural practices that result in uniform and relatively slow fruit growth offers some protection against fruit cracking. These practices include maintenance of constant soil moisture and good Ca nutrition, along with keeping irrigation on the low side. Cultural practices that reduce diurnal fruit temperature changes also may reduce cracking. In the field, these practices include maintaining vegetative cover. Greenhouse growers should maintain minimal day/night temperature differences and increase temperatures gradually from nighttime to daytime levels. For both field and greenhouse tomato growers, harvesting before the pink stage of ripeness and selection of crack-resistant cultivars probably offers the best protection against cracking. Areas for future research include developing environmental models to predict cracking and exploring the use of Ca and gibberellic acid (GA) sprays to prevent cracking.

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Cuticular cracks may be defined as the physical failure of the fruit skin ( Milad and Shackel, 1992 ). They form shallow or deeper oblong wounds on fruit ( Nguyen-The, 1991 ; Sekse, 1998 ). In addition to having a negative affect on fruit

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flavor and texture at harvest and after storage of ‘Gala’ apples continues to make this cultivar highly desirable to consumers ( Boylston et al., 1994 ; Cliff et al., 1998 ). ‘Gala’ apples are susceptible to development of stem-end cracking (splitting

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Wherever sweet cherries are grown, rain-induced fruit cracking imposes a major limitation to production ( Christensen, 1996 ). Susceptibility to rain cracking differs among cultivars ( Christensen, 1995 , 1999 , 2000 ; Measham et al., 2009 ), but

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-fruit market, ‘Stayman’ often receives a premium price (D. Rice, personal communication), making it an attractive cultivar to growers. Despite all its good qualities, ‘Stayman’ is susceptible to fruit cracking. Characterized by large cracks that develop in the

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