Mazzeo, M., Dichio, B., Clearwater, M. J., Montanaro, G., & Xiloyannis, C. (2013). Hydraulic resistance of developing Actinidia fruit. Annals of Botany, 112(1), 197-205.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8026
Background and Aims Xylem flows into most fruits decline as the fruit develop, with important effects on mineral and carbohydrate accumulation. It has been hypothesized that an increase in xylem hydraulic resistance (RT) contributes to this process. This study examined changes in RT that occur during development of the berry of kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), identified the region within the fruit where changes were occurring, and tested whether a decrease in irradiance during fruit development caused an increase in RT, potentially contributing to decreased mineral accumulation in shaded fruit. Methods RT was measured using pressure chamber and flow meter methods, the two methods were compared, and the flow meter was also used to partition RT between the pedicel, receptacle and proximal and distal portions of the berry. Dye was used as a tracer for xylem function. Artificial shading was used to test the effect of light on RT, dye entry and mineral accumulation. Key Results RT decreased during the early phase of rapid fruit growth, but increased again as the fruit transitioned to a final period of slower growth. The most significant changes in resistance occurred in the receptacle, which initially contributed 20 % to RT, increasing to 90 % later in development. Dye also ceased moving beyond the receptacle from 70 d after anthesis. The two methods for measuring RT agreed in terms of the direction and timing of developmental changes in RT, but pressure chamber measurements were consistently higher than flow meter estimates of RT, prompting questions regarding which method is most appropriate for measuring fruit RT. Shading had no effect on berry growth but increased RT and decreased dye movement and calcium concentration. Conclusions Increased RT in the receptacle zone coincides with slowing fresh weight growth, reduced transpiration and rapid starch accumulation by the fruit. Developmental changes in RT may be connected to changes in phloem functioning and the maintenance of water potential gradients between the stem and the fruit. The effect of shade on RT extends earlier reports that shading can affect fruit vascular differentiation, xylem flows and mineral accumulation independently of effects on transpiration.