Submitted to: Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2009
Publication Date: 2/25/2009
Citation: Witcher, C., Curry, K., Marshall, D.A. 2009. Preliminary Studies on Rain-Related Splitting of Blueberry Fruit. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences. 2009 vol. 54:1 Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A significant problem facing blueberry growers in the southeastern United States is rain-related fruit splitting. The occurrence of fruit splitting is most prevalent after a period of drought followed by intense rain. A 2003 survey of blueberry growers from the Gulf South region showed that a profit loss of as much as $3,528,000.00 could result from blueberry fruit splitting. Research has focused on a variety of chemical and physiological causes. Here we report our preliminary anatomical study of the blueberry which documents berry development from flower to ripe berry to determine morphological differences among split-resistant and split-susceptible cultivars. Blueberry fruit samples that had been fixed in Bouin’s solution, dehydrated in ethanol, embedded in paraffin, sectioned, and variously stained were examined under the light microscope. A digital picture library was created for the different cultivars at various stages of development. The images will be used to evaluate the thickness of cell walls, the number of cell to cell contacts, and the number of cell to air contacts. The number and cellular contacts of stone cells will also be observed and recorded. The details of cell walls were observed using a transmission electron microscope. Berries were fixed in buffered glutaraldehyde, dehydrated in ethanol and acetone, embedded in epoxy plastic, sectioned, and stained with lead citrate and uranyl acetate. Cell wall structure will be evaluated and compared among split-resistant and split-susceptible cultivars.