The specific conditions of the formation of three different types of sunburn (sunburn browning, sunburn necrosis, and photooxidative sunburn) have been recently characterized on apple fruit. However, no information is still available on leaf damage. Therefore, the aims of this study were i) to extend the knowledge on fruit damage, ii) character...ize leaf damage and iii) find relationship between fruit and leaf damage. The observations were made on 586 apple accessions in a gene bank orchard located in Hungary. The incidence of the three different types of fruit symptoms were recorded and based on the visual symptoms, two different types of leaf sunburn (sunburn yellowing and sunburn necrosis) were characterized. The most frequent type of fruit sunburn observed was sunburn browning. Photooxidative sunburn was found for less number of accessions, and only some accessions were affected by sunburn necrosis. Fruit were far more susceptible than leaves; (>60%) of the examined accessions were affected by fruit damage and (<3%) by leaf damage. Although a large number of accessions were affected, the percentage of fruit damaged within accessions was not that excessive; ~6% of the fruit assessed showed the symptoms of sunburn browning. Significantly fewer fruit were damaged by sunburn necrosis (~1%) or photooxidative sunburn (~1.4%) than sunburn browning. The percentage of leaves damaged within accessions were simlarly very low (~1%). Close relationship between fruit and leaf damage was found. Accesions with relatively heavily sunburned leaves usually had severe fruit damage as well. Leaves showing sunburn symptoms were usually closely located around those fruit which were sunburned severely. Leaf damage of sunburn was found on spur leaves in a great majority of the accessions damaged, shoot leaves did not seem to be susceptible to sunburn.
Many methods and techniques have been introduced for measuring alterations in the fruit and in its surrounding environment related to sunburn incidence. The research objectives, fruit materials and the environment to be evaluated dictate the methods to follow. These procedures are either non-destructive and involve techniques that allow us to t...rack the course of sunburn development and related environmental parameters, or destructive and involve the removal of fruit from the tree for field/laboratory measurements. Techniques employed can be used for pre-symptomatic monitoring (before symptoms become visible) or characterizing the symptoms already present. The principles behind the measurements and their usefulness for sunburn assessments are discussed and critically evaluated in this review paper. Descriptions and evaluations of the methods and techniques were made in the following groups: 1. Thermal measurements; 2. Visual assessments; 3. Fruit quality measurements; 4. Measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations; and 5. Practical evaluation of sunburn damage. Thermal measurements involve methods tracking the ambient temperature and fruit surface temperature, and their relation to sunburn formation. Visual assessments cover all measuring techniques (skin color, chlorophyll fluorescence, radiation reflection, electron microscopy) that are able to detect changes on/in the fruit skin related to sunburn formation. Fruit quality measurements are used to point out differences in qualities (soluble solids, firmness, titratable acidity, and water content) between unaffected and sunburned areas of the fruit. The measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations (gas exchange, pigment analysis, enzyme activity, gene expression) give us a better insight to the mechanism of sunburn formation. Practical evaluations involve many procedures that are used by scientists to characterize the susceptibility of cultivars, evaluate protection technology, etc. For this purpose, the following methods are in use: expressing the percentage of the total fruit surface area affected by sunburn or the percentage of the total number of fruits damaged on the tree, or even a scale based on the severity of the symptoms occurred. All assessing methods and techniques described here have their pros and cons as well as their specific applicability, therefore any of these cannot be favored to use exclusively for assessing sunburn incidence. The combination of these techniques will be the best choice to meet a given research objective perfectly.