Prunus armeniaca L. is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area including Southern Italy where local cultivars are recognized for their excellent quality. Gradual warming and abrupt variations of seasonal temperatures are expected to significantly impact the Mediterranean area with potential implications on many crops including apricot. In this scenario, the identification of physiological processes involved in heat-stress responses and the selection of genotypes resilient/tolerant to high temperatures and heat waves are necessary. The aim of this study was to investigate possible differences in flowering phenology and the effect of different temperatures on pollen functionality of 13 apricot cultivars traditionally cultivated in the Campania region (Southern Italy). According to phenological data collected in the field, the studied cultivars were grouped in early, intermediate, and late flowering cultivars. Single flower anthesis was on average 4.9 days in early and intermediate flowering cultivars, whereas late flowering cultivars showed a shorter duration (4.0 days). Pollen of flowers at balloon stage showed a uniformly high viability among all cultivars. To investigate on possible effects of temperature during the effective pollination period (EPP), pollen from the different cultivars was pre-incubated at 5 °C, 15 °C, and 25 °C for 48-h and germinability was then assessed after further 24 h in-vitro germination at the same temperature treatments. The first two temperature values correspond respectively to the minimum and maximum average temperatures of the local area; whereas 25 °C simulated the heat waves recently recorded in the farm during apricot flowering periods. As regard pollen germinability, 15 °C revealed to be the most suitable temperature for apricot pollen to germinate within the EPP. Conversely, 5 °C and 25 °C significantly reduced pollen germination in most cultivars and particularly in intermediate flowering cultivars. Noticeably, a few cultivars showed no difference in pollen germination under the different temperature treatments, preserving high pollen germinability (>70%) even at high temperatures. Overall, our findings highlighted that pollen germination is extremely sensitive to temperature with significant variations among apricot genotypes. Results confirmed that reproductive traits such as pollen germinability represent an important parameter to consider for monitoring fruit production, in the processes of cultivar selection for new orchard plantations and in breeding projects. Moreover, traditional apricot cultivars as those of the Campania region confirmed to be a precious source of genetic diversity possessing a significant pollen resilience to temperature changes.

Flowering and pollen resilience to high temperature of apricot cultivars

Iovane M.
Primo
;
Izzo L. G.
;
Cirillo A.;Romano L. E.;Di Vaio C.;Aronne G.
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Prunus armeniaca L. is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area including Southern Italy where local cultivars are recognized for their excellent quality. Gradual warming and abrupt variations of seasonal temperatures are expected to significantly impact the Mediterranean area with potential implications on many crops including apricot. In this scenario, the identification of physiological processes involved in heat-stress responses and the selection of genotypes resilient/tolerant to high temperatures and heat waves are necessary. The aim of this study was to investigate possible differences in flowering phenology and the effect of different temperatures on pollen functionality of 13 apricot cultivars traditionally cultivated in the Campania region (Southern Italy). According to phenological data collected in the field, the studied cultivars were grouped in early, intermediate, and late flowering cultivars. Single flower anthesis was on average 4.9 days in early and intermediate flowering cultivars, whereas late flowering cultivars showed a shorter duration (4.0 days). Pollen of flowers at balloon stage showed a uniformly high viability among all cultivars. To investigate on possible effects of temperature during the effective pollination period (EPP), pollen from the different cultivars was pre-incubated at 5 °C, 15 °C, and 25 °C for 48-h and germinability was then assessed after further 24 h in-vitro germination at the same temperature treatments. The first two temperature values correspond respectively to the minimum and maximum average temperatures of the local area; whereas 25 °C simulated the heat waves recently recorded in the farm during apricot flowering periods. As regard pollen germinability, 15 °C revealed to be the most suitable temperature for apricot pollen to germinate within the EPP. Conversely, 5 °C and 25 °C significantly reduced pollen germination in most cultivars and particularly in intermediate flowering cultivars. Noticeably, a few cultivars showed no difference in pollen germination under the different temperature treatments, preserving high pollen germinability (>70%) even at high temperatures. Overall, our findings highlighted that pollen germination is extremely sensitive to temperature with significant variations among apricot genotypes. Results confirmed that reproductive traits such as pollen germinability represent an important parameter to consider for monitoring fruit production, in the processes of cultivar selection for new orchard plantations and in breeding projects. Moreover, traditional apricot cultivars as those of the Campania region confirmed to be a precious source of genetic diversity possessing a significant pollen resilience to temperature changes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/890464
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