A study of broken stones in Japanese plums (Prunus salicina Lindl.)

Kritzinger, Imke (2015-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In order to export South African plums to overseas markets strict quality standards must be maintained. Among these quality classifications are specifications about the presence of cavities and pieces of broken stone/pit within the flesh of the fruit. If more than 10% of the fruit in a carton are affected by severely broken stones or large flesh cavities, the fruit have to be marketed as Class 2. A substantial amount of plums destined for export from South Africa is affected by broken stones and thus have to be marketed as Class 2. Lower prices are attained for Class 2 fruit, therefore, the presence of broken stones has a detrimental effect on the income generated from these fruit. The main aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of broken stone development and compare the growth characteristics of Japanese plum cultivars differing in their susceptibility to broken stones. Stone breakage in ‘Laetitia’ was observed as soon as stone hardening was initiated. At the start of stone hardening the parts of the stone that are still ‘soft’ are not strong enough to resist the pulling forces of the growing mesocarp and the stone is subsequently pulled apart. Regression analysis indicated that lengthwise growth of the fruit, fresh weight of the endo- and mesocarp, minimum orchard temperature and orchard night temperature, and relative humidity (RH) early in the growing season could possibly be used to predict the incidence of broken stones at harvest. Differences in the incidence of broken stones were observed between ‘Laetitia’, ‘Sapphire’ and ‘Songold’ plums and between seasons. Furthermore, significant differences were observed in the density of the endocarp in different parts of the stone. For ‘Laetitia’ and ‘Songold’, stone breakage was observed when rapid increases in stone density coincided with rapid increases in fruit growth. The stones broke in positions where an interface exists between high and low density parts in the stone and when rapid radial growth takes place in the direction where the stone is least dense. In contrast, in ‘Sapphire’, stone breakage was observed before the stones had started to lignify, indicating that the endocarp was pulled apart by the expanding flesh because it was too soft to withstand the strong pulling forces created by the flesh. The incidence of broken stones was influenced by environmental factors, as higher temperatures during the stone development and hardening period could lead to more complete endocarp formation (more stone cells are formed under such conditions). Such fruit would thus have higher endocarp density, which, if coupled with rapid radial growth, could lead to a higher incidence of broken stones. Foliar and/or root applications of calcium nitrate and potassium silicate were applied to ‘Laetitia’ plums to determine whether the incidence of broken stones could be reduced by increasing the strength of the endocarp cell walls. However, no such effect was observed. Hence, neither calcium nor silicate treatments can be recommended for reducing broken stones in plums.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Om Suid-Afrikaanse pruime na oorsese markte uit te voer moet vrugte aan streng kwaliteitstandaarde voldoen. Daar is ondermeer spesifikasies in verband met die teenwoordigheid van holtes en stukkies gebreekte pit binne die vrug. Indien meer as 10% van die vrugte in ʼn karton deur ernstige gebreekte pit of groot vrugholtes geaffekteer word, moet die vrugte as Klas 2 bemark word. Aangesien ʼn groot hoeveelheid van die pruime wat vir uitvoer bestem is, geaffekteer word deur gebreekte pit en gevolglik as Klas 2 bemark moet word, word aansienlike finansiële verliese gelei. Laer pryse word behaal vir Klas 2 vrugte, en dus het die teenwoordigheid van gebreekte pitte ʼn negatiewe effek op die wins wat deur die uitvoer van hierdie vrugte gegenereer kan word. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie was om die ontwikkeling van gebreekte pit in Japannese pruime te ondersoek en om die groei-patrone van kultivars wat geneig is tot gebreekte pit te vergelyk met ʼn nie-sensitiewe kultivar. Gebreekte pit in ‘Laetitia’ is opgemerk sodra die pit begin verhard het. Met die aanvangs van pit- verharding is die gedeeltes van die pit wat nog nie volkome verhard het nie, nie sterk genoeg om die sterk trekkragte van die groeiende mesokarp te weerstaan nie en die pit word gevolglik uitmekaar- getrek. Regressie-analise het gewys dat lengtegroei van die vrugte, vars massa van die endo- en mesokarp, minimum boordtemperatuur en boord-nagtemperatuur, asook relatiewe humiditeit gedurende die vruggroei-periode moontlik gebruik kan word om die voorkoms van gebreekte pit by oes te voorspel. Verskille in die voorkoms van gebreekte pit is opgemerk tussen ‘Laetitia’, ‘Sapphire’ en ‘Songold’ pruime, en ook tussen seisoene. Verder is beduidende verskille opgemerk in die digtheid van die endokarp in verskillende dele van die pit. By beide ‘Laetitia’ en ‘Songold’ is gebreekte pit opgemerk wanneer vinnige toename in pit-digtheid saamgeval het met ʼn vinnige toename in vruggroei. Die pitte breek veral in die oorgang tussen dele van die pit met hoë en lae digtheid en as dit gekombineer is met vinnige radiale vruggroei in die rigting waar die pit die minste dig is. In teenstelling hiermee is gebreekte pit in ‘Sapphire’ opgemerk selfs voordat die pitte begin verhard het. Dit dui daarop dat die endokarp uitmekaargetrek is deur die vinnig groeiende mesokarp, omdat dit te sag was om die trekkragte van die groeiende vrugvlees te weerstaan. Die voorkoms van gebreekte pit word ook deur weerstoestande beïnvloed, want hoër temperature gedurende die pit-ontwikkeling en verhardingsperiode, kan lei tot die ontwikkeling van endokarpe met meer steenselle. Hierdie vrugte sal dus ʼn hoër digtheid hê, en as dit saamval met vinnige radiale groei, kan dit lei tot ʼn groter voorkoms van gebreekte pit. Blaar- en/of worteltoedienings van kalsiumnitraat en kaliumsilikaat is gemaak om te bepaal of die voorkoms van gebreekte pit in ‘Laetitia’ verminder kon word deur die versterking van die endokarp-selwande. Geen van hierdie behandelings het tot ʼn vermindering in gebreekte pit gelei nie en nie kalsiumnitraat of kaliumsilikaat kan dus aanbeveel word om gebreekte pit in pruime te verminder nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98129
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