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Publication - Scientia Horticulturae

Together with the research department of Valagro, we have studied the changes in gene activity during the breaking of dormancy in kiwifruit, and looked at the molecular effects of the bud break enhancer Erger. This work, that was performed during three different seasons and on two continents, has now been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal “Scientia Horticulturae”.

In many fruit crops, such as grape, apple, cherry, peach, and kiwifruit, winter dormancy is an essential part of development. During dormancy, a period of exposure to low temperatures (winter chilling) is needed to release buds from dormancy and stimulate bud break and flowering. Irregular bud break and variable flowering have strong negative impact on fruit production and therefore economic returns. Bud break enhancing compounds such as Erger are widely used to increase and synchronise bud break and flowering, compensating for the lack of low temperatures, particularly in areas of marginal chilling.

In this study, we confirmed that dormancy release and bud break in kiwifruit could be positively influenced by Erger. However, its effects on bud break and flowering depended on the timing of application. We subsequently identified numerous changes in gene activity occurring during the window of application for Erger, that is, several weeks before bud break. In addition, we also identified many changes in gene activity in response to Erger treatment. The genes and biological processes affected by Erger indicated that its mode of action is similar to that of various other well-characterised artificial stimuli of bud break.

The genes identified here may form the basis of molecular tests focused on identifying the optimal moment of application of Erger. Secondly, the Erger-responsive genes identified may be used to immediately evaluate the efficacy of a given treatment, or facilitate the improvement of bud break-enhancing compound formulations with the aim of achieving higher success rates in the field.

Next Generation Sequencing to characterise the breaking of bud dormancy using a natural biostimulant in kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa). Show more...