The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology
Vol. 84 No: 6
An intelligent virtual fruit model focussing on quality attributes
M. GÉNARD, C. GIBERT, C. BRUCHOU and F. LESCOURRET
A process-based model of fruit quality expressing seasonal changes in several quality attributes of fruit (e.g., size, percentages of flesh, water, and sugar contents) on a fruit-bearing shoot (FBS) is presented as a contribution to the SMARTFRUIT work package in the framework of the EU Project, ISAFRUIT. Virtual experiments carried out on ‘Zéphir’ peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch.) showed that fruit size at thinning had a dominant effect on fruit dry mass and the percentage of flesh, whereas water potential had a large effect on both water content and sweetness.
Fruit load always had a moderate or small effect on quality attributes.
An effect of assimilate supply from the rest of the tree to the FBS was also shown.
Based on a wide range of time schedules of water supply, with alternate humid and dry periods of random length, the virtual fruit model suggested, in the case of the cultivar ‘Suncrest’, that fruit quality at harvest was essentially explained by the duration and humidity of the last period of the time schedule.
Finally, during these experiments, the virtual fruit model behaved like a true system, and showed emerging properties of both theoretical and practical interest.
We draw conclusions on the opportunities that such a virtual fruit model offers for genetics, agronomy, and ecology, and discuss prospects for the extension of such “virtual fruit” and its incorporation into a “virtual plant”.
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