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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1130: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on the Physiology of Perennial Fruit Crops and Production Systems and Mechanisation, Precision Horticulture and Robotics

Effect of fruit load on the photosynthetic capacity and on the ecological light use efficiency of an apple orchard

Authors:   D. Zanotelli, F. Scandellari, W. Bastos de Melo, P. Cassol, M. Tagliavini
Keywords:   carbon fluxes, active radiation, light, agro-ecosystem, tree, fruit yield, eddy covariance
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.4
Abstract:
In many horticultural crops, fruit load is known to have a direct effect on photosynthesis and dry matter production. In this study we analyzed the effect of the different fruit load occurred in five successive growing seasons, on the photosynthetic capacity (Fm) and the ecological light use efficiency (Ɛecol) of an apple orchard where photosynthesis (GPP) was continuously derived from eddy covariance measurements of net carbon exchange. Both Fm and Ɛecol were statistically different between high (HFL) and low (LFL) fruit load seasons in September and when considering August, September and October as a single group (p-value<0.05). A significant direct linear regression (slope = 0.1860.034) was found between the average Fm of these three months and the amount of fruit production (t ha-1) recorded every year. Besides the limited number of years of measurements, this study provided evidence of a direct linear effect of the fruit load on the photosynthetic capacity and the ecological light use efficiency of the apple orchard at the ecosystem level, supporting the sink limitation theory.

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