Floral biological characteristics that may influence cultivar susceptibility to fire blight were studied in 10 pear cultivars in two Hungarian orchards from 1999 to 2003. The receptaculo-ovarial, automorphic nectary is usually bigger in tolerant cultivars than in susceptible ones. Nectary stomata are meso- or xeromorphic. Susceptible cultivars...tend to have more xeromorphic stomata, where guard cells are located 1-3 cell rows below the epidermis. The size of nectar chambers is usually smaller in susceptible cultivars. Floral nectar, consisting mainly of glucose and fructose, is more abundant and less concentrated if the cultivar is susceptible to fire blight. The amount of chlorogenic acid was higher in the flowers of tolerant cultivars than in susceptible ones.
Floral activity was studied in two apple cultivars: an Erwinia-tolerant (Treedorn') and a sensitive one (`Sampion'). Since more types of protogyny occur in apples, the period of stigma activity is different. Papillae of the exposed stigma in flowers of 'Freedom' function longer (usually more than a week) than in the delayed homogamous `Sampion'.... Despite of this, cv. 'Freedom' is tolerant to Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow et al., suggesting no relationship between the floral biological type (including the exposure and longevity of stigma) and the infection by E. amylovora. According to SEM micrographs, nectary stomata in `Freedom' are already open in the flower bud, where nectar secretion starts and continues until the senescence of the stigma. However, the long period of nectar secretion does not create optimal conditions for bacterial growth, since nectar production is scant in the flowers of 'Freedom'. The surface of the nectary, its nectar-retaining capacity, and the amount and concentration of nectar may influence the susceptibility of apple cultivars. It is manifested well by the smooth nectary surface with nectary stomata rising slightly above the epidermis in flowers of cv. 'Freedom', contrasting the wrinkled, striate nectary surface with slightly sunken stomata in the flowers of 'Sampion'.
Approaches based on the daily rhythm of apple flowers provide a new stage in nectar research, where the synchronous functioning of sexual organs is studied. In the flower biological studies the insect attraction of flowers was also studied. The two most important factors of insect attraction are the pollen- and nectar production of the flowers.... From 1993 to 1998 we studied the food, that flower had to offer for the pollinating insects at different times of the day.
Studies were carried out on 'Idared', one of the hybrids of 'Jonathan' apple cultivar. The fruit of 'Idared' is bigger than the fruit of `Jonathan'. It is bright red, transportable, has a bigger productivity and is not subject to Jonathan-spots. Concerning its inner characteristics, it is juicy, the flesh consistency is better than that of 'Jonathan', but its acid/sugar ratio is worse (Sansavini et al. 1981).
The percentage of dark staining pollen grains was higher in spring of 1996 than in the previous year. Data in 1998 resemble those of 1995, concerning the large amount of medium staining pollen grains in the majority of clones. Some clones produced excellent quality pollen also in the third year. whereas there were significant differences in oth...er clones in various years.
The warmer February-March period in 1995 induced an early blooming, and frost affected the orchard not only in winter months, but also immediately before and during blooming. Thus, frost was the possible cause of weaker quality pollen this year. In 1996 warming began a bit late, but it was not broken by drastic falls in temperature, except for the middle of April, when a smaller frost affected the orchard. It is likely that this frost did not influence pollen quality of `Besztercei' and 'Early Besztercei' plum clones significantly. In 1998 warming was continuous and steady, the orchard was not affected by frost immediately before blooming. In March, however, there was frost almost every day, according to daily minimum temperatures.
The composition of floral nectar in sour cherry cultivars studied in 1997 at Újfehértó was in agreement with our previous data, the three most frequent sugar components being glucose, fructose and sucrose. Nectar secreted at night is generally more diluted than nectar produced during the day. None of the nectar samples produced at night reac...hed the threshold value (100 mg/ml) of bee visitation. In the majority of cultivars the difference in concentration between night and day nectar is not too high, but in two cultivars, 'Korai pipacs' and ‘Újfehértói fürtös’ the difference is quite significant. Most sucrose was found in the nectar of cvs. 'Érdi jubileum' and ‘Újfehértói fürtös’, but a high amount of sucrose was measured also in the flowers of 'Korai pipacs' and 'Meteor USA'. Nectar concentration varies from opening of the flower to petal fall to a smaller or greater degree, depending on the given cultivar. From the 9 sour cherry cultivars studied ‘Újfehértói fürtös’ and Tandy 48' had the most attractive nectar for bees. There was no correlation between nectar composition and free fertilisation. On the basis of nectar composition the majority of the sour cherry cultivars studied can be classified into the sucrose-rich category; only one cultivar, 'Érdi jubileum' had a sucrose-dominant secretory product. The composition of nectar in the studied sour cherry cultivars is preferred by bees.
Hourly nectar secretion was studied in five pear cultivars between 1997-1999. Some cultivars (e.g. ‘Csákvári téli') secreted nectar continuously during the whole day, offering both nectar and pollen for pollinating insects. Discontinuous secretion (e.g. cvs. ‘Viki', `Nyárig tartó 6/19') is less advantageous from the viewpoint of insect... attraction. In some cases, however, discontinuity or continuity of nectar secretion varied even within a cultivar (e.g. 'Solymári cukor', ’Jó szürke’) in different years.
Nectar is a multi-component aqueous solution that promotes bacterial multiplication. The concentration of nectar in plant flowers is not stable since it is under the influence of environmental conditions, especially free moisture and relative humidity. Experiments were conducted with "artificial nectar" and directed along two lines: (1) determi...nation of the optimal concentrations of carbohydrates for the growth of E. amylovora development (2) consumption of different carbohydrates besides basic sugars.
Solutions of "artificial nectar" were prepared in different compositions by changing the dominance of basic sugars (fructose — glucose —sucrose) in proportions of 2:1:1, 1:2:1, 1:1:2 and between concentrations of 10-0.6% (diluted with Basal minimum broth) in order to determine optimal conditions for the development of E. amylovora.
At a basic sugar concentration of 10% bacterial multiplication started and continued until I log degree (from 106 to 107 cfu/ml). At concentrations of 5% and 2,5 % cells developed with nearly the same kinetics (from 106 to 8x107 cfu/ml and from 106 to 9x107 cfu/ml, respectively). Multiplication was more pronounced and nearly the same at concentrations of 1.2 % and 0.6 % (from106 to 2x108 cfu/ml). At a basic sugar concentration 30% total sugars bacterial multiplication did not occur, while at 20 % it was negligible, not measurable photometrically.
At minimal concentrations of F, G, S (between 1-0.1 %) bacterial cells were still able to multiply, producing organic acids from sugars.
Our study showed that E. amylovora requires only a small amount of sugars (0.1%) for multiplication (acid production) while high concentrations inhibit multiplication. There was a negative correlation between sugar content and cell density. The optimal range of sugar concentration was at about 1%.
Effect of "less frequent carbohydrates" to E. amylovora multiplication was also determined using the API 50 CH strip. We could provide information on utilization of 39 carbohydrates by the bacterium at different categories as follows: Not utilized-, Slowly and weakly utilized-, Slowly and completely utilized-, Quickly and completely utilized carbohydrates. We suppose that carbohydrates that belong to the latter two groups could play an important role as nectar components in promoting E. amylovora multiplication in the blossoms of pome fruit trees.
The regularities of primary attractivity have been studied at the pear cultivar `Cinderi' for two years. Nectar quickly evaporates from the totally open nectary surface of pear flowers exposed to environmental effects, and the rhythmicity of nectar secretion can be determined with difficulty. Flowers do not function according to a unified endog...enous rhythm, the whole tree becomes continuously attractive for insects, since it attracts insects on more occasions during the day with some of its flowers. During the warm afternoon hours there is usually no measurable nectar production. Pollen shedding is most intensive in the afternoon hours. Pear flowers produce little and diluted nectar, which often does not come up to apicultural expectations. The age of the flower does not significantly affect the quantity and refraction of nectar. The flowers of pear cv. ‘Cinderi' are delayed homogamous.