Can pre-harvest drought stress influence plant physiology and fruit metabolome in sour cherry?

Fecha de publicación: 01/09/2023
Fuente: ISHS (International Society for Horticultural Science)
Post date: Friday 1 September 2023
ISHS Secretariat

Rising temperatures, reduced irrigation water and the occurrence of extreme drought events are only some of the challenges that the agricultural sector is currently facing. Deficit irrigation strategies have the potential to maximise water use efficiency without compromising crop quality or yield. This research paper, presented at the IX International Cherry Symposium, examined the effects of different irrigation levels on the physiological performance and fruit quality of sour cherry trees. A “stressed” (STR) treatment with trees receiving no irrigation from 55 days after full bloom (DAFB) was compared to a “control” (CNT) where trees received irrigation based on plant evapotranspiration (ETc). Plant physiological performance as well as fruit and shoot growth were monitored throughout the season, while fruit quality and yield were evaluated at harvest. In addition, fruit samples were collected for LC-MS2 analyses of untargeted metabolomics. The daily trend of stem, leaf and fruit water potentials was not affected by irrigation, according to the data. However, CNT trees had significantly (p<0.05) higher rates of photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and leaf transpiration at 76 DAFB. The lack of irrigation had no effect on shoot growth, but negatively affected fruit diameter and weight at harvest, although yield did not differ significantly between treatments. STR and CNT fruit had similar levels of soluble solids content and acidity, but the sugar/acid ratio was significantly higher in the CNT treatment. The STR treatment significantly altered the landscape of the fruit metabolome. Specifically, STR fruit had a greater accumulation of lipids, carbohydrates, and other non-annotated specialised metabolites than CTN fruit. In contrast, a suppression of cinnamic and carboxylic acid, as well as terpenoid metabolites, was observed in CNT fruit. These findings suggest that pre-harvest irrigation can be successfully applied to sour cherry without impairing plant performance and may be used to modulate the fruit metabolome.
Melissa Venturi won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the IX International Cherry Symposium in China in May 2023.
Melissa Venturi, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 46, 40127 Bologna, Italy, e-mail:
The article is available in Chronica HorticulturaeTags: sour cherryCategories: Young Minds Award Winners