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Open AccessArticle

The Effects of Gibberellic Acid and Emasculation Treatments on Seed and Fruit Production in the Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) cv. “Gialla”

1
The Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine 18, 50144 Firenze, Italy
2
CNR-IBE, via Giovanni Caproni 8, 50144 Firenze, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030046
Received: 26 June 2020 / Revised: 6 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 17 August 2020
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. 1768) is cultivated in several dry and semi-dry areas of the world to produce fresh fruit, bioenergy, cosmetics, medicine, and forage. One of the main production constraints is the presence of many seeds within the fruit, which can negatively influence both the fresh-fruit market price and industrial transformation processes. In this study, different gibberellic acid (GA3) concentrations were tested for their ability to produce well-formed and seedless fruits. Different application methods (injection and spraying) and concentrations of GA3 (0, 100, 200, 250, and 500 ppm) combined with floral-bud emasculation were applied to a commercial plantation in southern Italy to evaluate their effects on the weight, length, and diameter of the fruits, total seed number, hard-coated viable seed number, and seed weight per fruit. The results indicated that the application of 500 ppm GA3 sprayed on emasculated floral buds was the most effective method for reducing seed numbers of prickly pear fruits (−46.0%). The injection method resulted in a very low number of seeds (−50.7%) but produced unmarketable fruit. Observed trends suggest the need to investigate the impact of higher GA3 concentrations and the applicability of a maximum threshold. Further studies are needed to increase our understanding of the physiological effects of the gibberellic acid pathway through productive tissue in terms of organoleptic and fruit quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: cactus pear; GA3; injection application; spraying application; lignification cactus pear; GA3; injection application; spraying application; lignification
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Marini, L.; Grassi, C.; Fino, P.; Calamai, A.; Masoni, A.; Brilli, L.; Palchetti, E. The Effects of Gibberellic Acid and Emasculation Treatments on Seed and Fruit Production in the Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) cv. “Gialla”. Horticulturae 2020, 6, 46.

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