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Gibberellin induced shot berry formation in cv. Early Sweet is a direct consequence of high fruit set

  • Or, Etti1
  • Oren, Orly1
  • Halaly-Basha, Tamar1
  • Koilkonda, Padmalatha1, 2
  • Shi, Zhaowan1
  • Zheng, Chuanlin1, 3
  • Acheampong, Atiako Kwame1, 4
  • 1 Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, 7528809, Israel , Rishon LeZion (Israel)
  • 2 ICAR-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, 500059, India , Hyderabad (India)
  • 3 China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China , Beijing (China)
  • 4 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514, USA , Chapel Hill (United States)
Published Article
Horticulture Research
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1038/s41438-020-00388-9
Springer Nature


The ‘seedless’ table grape industry relies mainly on stenospermocarpic cultivars, in which endosperm abortion results in berries with seed rudiments and low levels of bioactive gibberellin (GA). Application of GA to enhance berry sizing in these cultivars is often accompanied by adverse effects, one of which is increased proportions of very small berries (termed shot berries). Manual removal of these berries, which is essential to improve uniformity and market value, increases production cost and exposes the cluster to damage. Unraveling the physiological causes of shot berry formation is thus of both scientific and practical value. This study focuses on understanding the GA-mediated regulation of shot berry formation in Vitis vinifera cv. Early Sweet, known for a high proportion of shot berries, which severely damage cluster appearance. As GA is known to induce the parthenocarpic fruit set, we first tested the assumption that the parthenocarpic nature of a fruitlet is a primary cause for shot berry development. We then examined the consequence of the flower load on the proportion of shot berries in the cluster. Our data suggests that: (1) contrary to prior assumptions, the parthenocarpic nature of a fruitlet is not the primary cause for shot berry development, demonstrated by the fact that parthenocarpic fruitlets develop into a full-size berries; (2) the proportion of shot berries on a cluster is a function of the initial flower load on the inflorescence, with high initial flower load resulting in greater shot berry percentage in the cluster; (3) GA treatment bypasses the natural regulation of flower load, resulting in high fruitlet density and increased competition among fruitlets; (4) variation of flower load within the cluster influences berry size uniformity to a greater extent than does the variation in number of cluster per vine. The identity of the factors that determine the fate of a given flower on a high-load cluster remains an open question.

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