Evaluating the seasonal changes in calcium concentration and distribution in apple fruit after application of different calcium fertilisation strategies

Wilsdorf, Robert Ernst (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Localized calcium (Ca) deficiencies frequently develop independent from total Ca supply and total fruit Ca concentration. Bulk mineral analyses is therefore not completely suitable for determination of the susceptibility of fruit in developing Ca-linked fruit physiological disorders like bitter pit, as it supplies insufficient information regarding the spatial accumulation of Ca within the fruit. Additional Ca is applied either as soil or foliar applications, where soil applications are applied either after fruit set (pre-harvest) or in the period after harvest. The contribution of these different methods of Ca application to the total Ca concentration in "Braeburn" fruit was quantified over three consecutive growing seasons. Foliar applications have been proven to be successful in suppressing bitter pit development and improving the Ca status of the fruit. The effectiveness of different formulations of foliar Ca products in influencing these parameters was also determined. Furthermore, the distribution pattern of fruit Ca resulting from different application strategies was mapped using particle induced X-ray emission technology. In the "Braeburn" trial, mineral analyses indicated no significant differences between treatments in terms of Ca concentration at 80 days after full bloom (dafb). However, when soil applications occurred with active root growth (visually monitored), treatments differed significantly 80 dafb. Weekly foliar Ca applications from 28 dafb resulted in higher fruit Ca concentrations 80 dafb than a pre-harvest soil Ca application (January, 2010). A possible explanation for the inefficiency of pre-harvest soil Ca is the disintegration of xylem vessels from 40 dafb (before root uptake) for sensitive cultivars such as Braeburn. Bitter pit initiation has been shown to occur in the earlier part of the season. This, together with a reduced Ca supply to the fruit early in the season due to xylem disintegration (for sensitive cultivars), indicates the importance of early season foliar Ca applications. PIXE analyses were used to establish the radial Ca distribution in apples. Ca was concentrated in the skin and core, with very low values in the outer cortex. PIXE results indicated fruit Ca concentrations to be the lowest in the pre-harvest soil application treatment. This was in agreement with mineral analyses results. Ca enriched areas resulting from effective Ca delivery via the vascular bundles, had a profound effect on fruit Ca concentrations in the immediate core and cortex. At harvest, this effect was much more subtle and emphasizes the importance of untimely xylem rupturing on eventual fruit Ca concentration. At 80 dafb, treatments where foliar Ca was applied showed higher Ca concentrations in the outer cortex (where symptoms of bitter pit typically occur). Calflo™ fruit had significantly higher Ca concentrations in "Braeburn" compared to fruits from Foliar GS™ and GG™ treatments. Calflo™ and Calcimax™ had a higher active Ca percentage (12%) compared to Foliar GSTM and GGTM (10%). Adding the Lecithin™ (surfactant) to Calcimax™ is not recommended as it did not improve its uptake. In "Golden Delicious", the commercial spray program of seven, weekly foliar applications (Calcinit™) resulted in fruit with significantly higher Ca concentrations compared to other treatments.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kalsium (Ca) tekorte ontstaan gewoonlik in gelokaliseerde areas in die appelvrug en ontwikkel dikwels ten spyte van voldoende totale vrug Ca. Minerale analises van heel vrugte verskaf dus nie genoeg inligting aangaande die verspreiding van Ca in die vrug wanneer die ontwikkelling van fisiologiese defekte soos bitterpit ter sprake is nie. Addisionele Ca word gewoonlik aangewend as blaar- of grondtoedienings, waar grondtoedienings tipies voor-oes (net na set) of in die na-oes periode, toegedien word. Die bydraes van die verskillende toedieningsmetodes tot die totale Ca konsentrasie van "Braeburn" appels is geëvalueer oor drie agtereenvolgende seisoene. Blaartoedienings van Ca word algemeen gebruik om die voorkoms van bitterpit te beheer en die Ca konsentrasie van die vrug te verhoog. Die effektiwiteit van `n reeks blaartoedienings-produkte om hierdie faktore te verbeter, is ook ondersoek. Die spesifieke verspreiding van die Ca in die vrug is gekarteer na gelang van elke toediening deur middel van PIXE-analises (Particle induced X-ray emission). In die "Braeburn" proef was daar geen beduidende verskille in terme van vrug Ca konsentrasie op 80 dnvb (dae na volblom) nie. Daarteenoor, was daar wel beduidende verskille by 80 dnvb toe grond toedienings saam met aktiewe wortelgroei geskied het (visuele inspeksie). Weeklikse blaartoedienings vanaf 21 dnvb het gelei tot vrugte met betekenisvol hoër Ca konsentrasies as die behandeling waar grondtoedienings slegs voor-oes geskied het (Januarie 2010). `n Moontlike oorsaak vir die oneffektiwiteit van voor-oes grondtoedings is die vroeë disintigrasie van xileem vesels in die vrug (soms voor 40 dnvb en voor die aanvang van wortelopname) in sensitiewe kultivars soos "Braeburn". Hierdie vroeë inhibering van Ca voorsiening, tesame met die vroeë inisiasie van bitterpit, beklemtoon die belangrikheid van blaarbespuitings vroeg in die seisoen. Die PIXE-analises wat aangewend is om die radiale verspreiding van Ca in die vrug te bepaal het getoon dat Ca meestal in die skil en kern van die vrug gekonsentreer was, met baie lae konsentrasies in die buitenste korteks. Die laagste Ca konsentrasies is waargeneem in vrugte van die behandeling waar voor-oes Ca slegs as `n grondtoediening geskied het. Hierdie waarneming is in ooreenstemming met die mineraalanalise resultate. Ca verykte areas, afkomstig van die naby geleë vaatbundels (xileem vesels), het egter die grootste effek op vrug Ca konsentrasie gehad. Hierdie effek was nie so groot by oes nie en beklemtoon dus die belangrikheid van die funksionaliteit van die vaatbundels. Blaartoedienings kon die Ca konsentrasie in die buitenste korteks suksesvol verhoog - waar simptome van bitterpit tipies voorkom. Die Calflo™ behandeling het beduidende hoër Ca konsentrasies gehad as die Foliar GS™ en GG™ behandelings. Die Calflo™ en Calcimax™ behandelings het `n hoër aktiewe Ca persentasie (12%) relatief tot die Foliar GS™ en GG™ (10%) behandelings bevat. Die byvoeging van Lecithin™ by Calcimax™ word nie aanbeveel nie, omdat dit geensins Ca opname vermeerder het nie. In die "Golden Delicious" proef het die kommersiële behandeling (Sewe weeklikse spuite van Calcinit™) gelei tot vrugte met die hoogste Ca konsentrasie van al die behandelings.

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