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Fruit Load and Root Development in Field-Grown Loquat Trees (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl)

Reig, Carmina, Mesejo, Carlos, Martínez-Fuentes, Amparo, Iglesias, Domingo J., Agustí, Manuel
Journal of plant growth regulation 2013 v.32 no.2 pp. 281-290
Eriobotrya japonica, abscisic acid, bark, carbohydrates, color, developmental stages, fruiting, fruits, hormones, indole acetic acid, leaves, loquats, nitrogen, root primordia, shoots, trees, winter, zeatin
Photosynthate translocation to the root in loquat trees decreases as fruit develops. Thus, during the most active period of fruit development, that is, from 50 % of its final size to the beginning of fruit color change, which correspond to BBCH growth scale stages 705 and 801, both translocating and reducing carbohydrate concentrations diminish greatly. Concomitantly, the results from our experiment show an increased abscisic acid (ABA) concentration and a decrease in the respiration rate detected by an accumulation of glucose-6-phosphate, which paralleled a reduced indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) concentration in roots. As a consequence, root development was strongly and significantly reduced. Because loquat fruit develops in winter and nonshoot growth takes place at this time, our results show that root development in loquat trees is controlled by the fruit, mediated by competition for carbohydrates and modulated by hormones. The experiment was conducted using field-grown loquat during two consecutive years and by comparing fruiting and defruited trees. Fruits were detached from the trees in the early fruit developmental stage (10 % of final size, 701 BBCH growth scale), and carbohydrate concentrations in leaves, shoot bark, and roots, as well as nitrogen fractions (N–NO₃ ⁻, N–NH₄ ⁺, and N–proteinaceous) and hormone (IAA, zeatin, and ABA) concentrations in roots, were analyzed throughout the period of fruit development. Root development was evaluated by counting the emerging lateral root primordia during the fruit developmental stages BBCH growth scale 701–809 (fruit color fully developed).