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V-Mango: A functional-structural model of mango tree growth, development and fruit production

Boudon F., Persello S., Jestin A., Briand A.S., Grechi I., Fernique P., Guédon Y., Lechaudel M., Lauri P.E., Normand F.. 2020. Annals of Botany, 126 (4) : p. 745-763.

DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcaa089

Background and Aims: Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is the fifth most widely produced fruit in the world. Its cultivation, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions, raises a number of issues such as the irregular fruit production across years, phenological asynchronisms that lead to long periods of pest and disease susceptibility, and the heterogeneity of fruit quality and maturity at harvest. To address these issues, we developed an integrative functional¿structural plant model that synthesizes knowledge about the vegetative and reproductive development of the mango tree and opens up the possible simulation of cultivation practices. Methods: We designed a model of architectural development in order to precisely characterize the intricate developmental processes of the mango tree. The appearance of botanical entities was decomposed into elementary stochastic events describing occurrence, intensity and timing of development. These events were determined by structural (position and fate of botanical entities) and temporal (appearance dates) factors. Daily growth and development of growth units and inflorescences were modelled using empirical distributions and thermal time. Fruit growth was determined using an ecophysiological model that simulated carbon- and water-related processes at the fruiting branch scale. Key Results: The model simulates the dynamics of the population of growth units, inflorescences and fruits at the tree scale during a growing cycle. Modelling the effects of structural and temporal factors makes it possible to simulate satisfactorily the complex interplays between vegetative and reproductive development. The model allowed the characterization of the susceptibility of mango tree to pests and the investigatation of the influence of tree architecture on fruit growth. Conclusions: This integrative functional¿structural model simulates mango tree vegetative and reproductive development over successive growing cycles, allowing a precise characterization of tree phenology and fruit growth and production. The next step is to integrate the effects of cultivation practices, such as pruning, into the model.

Mots-clés : mangifera indica; modèle mathématique; développement biologique; croissance; fructification; fleur; phénologie; fleuraison; architecture végétale

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