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22 January 2024 Factors that influence measurements of sweet cherry (Prunus avium) flower bud cold hardiness obtained using differential thermal analysis
Elizabeth Houghton, Kirsten Hannam, Denise Neilsen, Louise M. Nelson
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Differential thermal analysis (DTA) is a technique commonly used to evaluate the cold hardiness of plant organs that supercool as a means for cold survival. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different pretest bud storage conditions, cooling rates, and bud excision techniques on dormant sweet cherry flower bud low temperature exotherms (LTEs) measured using DTA. Furthermore, this study compared cold hardiness estimates made using DTA and controlled freezing tests. We determined that buds stored at warmer temperatures (12.5 °C and room temperature) for 2–6 h prior to DTA or transported to the lab in a moist environment underwent biologically relevant changes in their apparent sensitivity to cold, as indicated by LTEs produced at warmer temperatures. The DTA cooling rate also significantly affected LTEs, with faster cooling resulting in the production of LTEs at warmer temperatures. Overall, LTEs were comparable among buds with varying amounts of plant material remaining attached to the bud base. It is important to note that the region directly subtending the primordia was always left intact on the buds being compared. This study demonstrated that overall, DTA and controlled freezing tests resulted in comparable measures of cold hardiness. The findings presented in this study are pertinent to researchers interested in conducting cold hardiness measurements in sweet cherry and highlight that consistency in DTA pretest conditions and bud preparation are required to achieve reliable LTE results that can be compared among studies.

Elizabeth Houghton, Kirsten Hannam, Denise Neilsen, and Louise M. Nelson "Factors that influence measurements of sweet cherry (Prunus avium) flower bud cold hardiness obtained using differential thermal analysis," Canadian Journal of Plant Science 104(3), 204-216, (22 January 2024).
Received: 14 June 2023; Accepted: 11 January 2024; Published: 22 January 2024

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cold hardiness
controlled freezing
cooling rates
low temperature exotherm
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