Journal Article

Correlation between dynamic tomato fruit-set and source–sink ratio: a common relationship for different plant densities and seasons?

MengZhen Kang, LiLi Yang, BaoGui Zhang and Philippe de Reffye

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 107, issue 5, pages 805-815
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq244
Correlation between dynamic tomato fruit-set and source–sink ratio: a common relationship for different plant densities and seasons?

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

It is widely accepted that fruit-set in plants is related to source–sink ratio. Despite its critical importance to yield, prediction of fruit-set remains an ongoing problem in crop models. Functional–structural plant models are potentially able to simulate organ-level plasticity of plants. To predict fruit-set, the quantitative link between source–sink ratio and fruit-set probability is analysed here via a functional–structural plant model, GreenLab.

Methods

Two experiments, each with four plant densities, were carried out in a solar greenhouse during two growth seasons (started in spring and autumn). Dynamic fruit-set probability was estimated by frequent observation on inflorescences. Source and sink parameter values were obtained by fitting GreenLab outputs for the biomass of plant parts (lamina, petiole, internode, fruit), at both organ and plant level, to corresponding destructive measurements at six dates from real plants. The dynamic source–sink ratio was calculated as the ratio between biomass production and plant demand (sum of all organ sink strength) per growth cycle, both being outputs of the model.

Key Results and Conclusions

Most sink parameters were stable over multiple planting densities and seasons. From planting, source–sink ratio increased in the vegetative stage and reached a peak after fruit-set commenced, followed by a decrease of leaf appearance rate. Fruit-set probability was correlated with the source–sink ratio after the appearance of flower buds. The relationship between fruit-set probability and the most correlated source–sink ratio could be quantified by a single regression line for both experiments. The current work paves the way to predicting dynamic fruit-set using a functional structure model.

Keywords: Tomato; Solanum lycopersicum; fruit-set probability; time step; source–sink ratio; sink strength; functional–structural plant model; inverse modelling; plant plasticity

Journal Article.  6953 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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