Response of sink manipulation in ?Lapins? sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) branches to late-deficit irrigation

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Jorquera Fontena, Emilio
Tighe Neira, Ricardo
Bota, Josefina
Inostroza Blancheteau, Claudio
Pastenes, Claudio
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SCIENTIA HORTICULTURAE,Vol.304,2022
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Abstract
Photosynthetic traits, leaf soluble sugars and fruit yield and size were evaluated in order to identify the role of early sink manipulation (girdling and fruiting spur thinning applied in winter) in modulating the effect of latedeficit irrigation (recovering 60% of crop evapotranspiration during 36 days pre harvest) in 'Lapins' sweet cherry branches. Photosynthesis (PN), stomatal conductance (gs), and fruit weight were affected by both treatments, whereas intercellular CO2 concentration of leaves (Ci), mesophyll conductance (gm), Rubisco carboxylase activity (Vcmax), electron transport rate (Jmax), leaf soluble sugars and branch yield were exclusively affected by sink manipulation. The effect of sink manipulation on PN was mainly observed in the girdling treatment as it was not altered by thinning. In girdled branches, PN dropped by 34%, accompanied by a two fold increase in leaf soluble sugars, indicating that sink feedback regulation of carbon assimilation occurred. Irrespective of the irrigation, the higher PN observed in the controls were not sufficient to achieve the fruit weight and yield of the girdled branches, indicating that fruit carbon demand in control branches was source limited. The depressed PN by girdling was associated with significant reductions in gs, gm, Vcmax and Jmax. Since lowered PN by deficit irrigation was neither attributable to a gs associated decrease in Ci nor to changes in any other photosynthetic variable, further research is needed to clarify this point. Results showed that irrigation deficit was sufficient to reduce PN in girdled branches, whereas it had no effect in control and thinned branches. Thus, the depressive effect of deficit irrigation on PN appeared to be exacerbated by the sink effect.
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