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Abscission of orange fruit (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.) in the Mediterranean basin depends more on environmental conditions than on fruit ripeness

Khefifi H., Selmane R., Ben Mimoun M., Tadeo F., Morillon R., Luro F.. 2020. Agronomy (Basel), 10 (4) : 15 p..

DOI: 10.3390/agronomy10040591

Orange fruit abscission usually occurs at the final stage of fruit maturation but in some areas of citrus production, in advance of the usual harvest period, and sometimes suddenly and intensely. The reasons for this precocious citrus fruit abscission remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to try to clarify what the determinants of this phenomenon are. A multi-site experimentation was carried out on six orange cultivars, in Corsica, Spain and Tunisia where the phenomenon of early massive fruit drop varies. Climatic parameters, fruit maturity parameters and fruit detachment force (FDF) were recorded along the fruit maturation period. Respectively to the fruit drop, the FDF decreased in Tunisia and in Spain until the fruit falls, whereas in Corsica, it remained relatively constant throughout fruit maturation. Although data on fruit maturity parameters (rind color, acidity and total soluble solids) differed at the three sites, their evolution was similar during the period of maturation. FDF was not related to changes in any fruit maturity parameters, and more likely depended on changes in temperatures on days when the mean temperature was above 13 °C. Massive fruit abscission could be linked to the earlier more rapid restart of vegetative growth in Tunisia and Spain than in Corsica.

Mots-clés : citrus sinensis; abscission; physiologie végétale; physiologie du développement; maturation; mûrissage; climat; corse; france; tunisie; espagne

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