Restricted nitrogen and water applications in the orchard modify the carbohydrate and amino acid composition of nonpareil and carmel almond hulls
journal contributionposted on 19.10.2021, 03:00 by Anjali Pranjivan ZaveriAnjali Pranjivan Zaveri, Jacqueline EdwardsJacqueline Edwards, Simone RochfortSimone Rochfort
Hull rot disease of almond (Prunus dulcis), caused by the fungus Rhizopus stolonifer, is prevalent in well maintained orchards where trees are provided plenty of water and nitrogen to increase the growth and yield. The predominantly grown variety Nonpareil is considered very sus-ceptible to hull rot, while the pollinator variety Carmel is more resistant. Reduced nitrogen rates and restricted irrigation scheduling decreased the incidence and severity of hull rot in Californian orchards. As a part of our research, the hull composition of Australian almond fruits of Nonpareil and Carmel varieties, grown under two levels of irrigation (high and low) and two levels of nitrogen (high and low), were analysed using1H NMR-based metabolomics. Both Nonpareil and Carmel hulls contained sugars such as glucose, sucrose, fructose and xylose, and amino acids, particularly asparagine. Variety was the major factor with Nonpareil hulls significantly higher in sugars and asparagine than Carmel. Within varieties, nitrogen influenced the relative concentrations of glucose, sucrose and asparagine. In Nonpareil, high nitrogen high water (the control) had relatively high glucose and asparagine content. High nitrogen low water increased the sucrose component, low nitrogen high water increased the glucose component and low nitrogen low water increased the sucrose and asparagine components. In Carmel, however, high nitrogen low water and low nitrogen high water increased sucrose and asparagine, and low nitrogen low water increased sucrose and glucose. Hull rot symptoms are caused by fumaric acid production by R. stolonifer growing within the hull. These changes in the hull composition under different nitrogen and water scenarios have the potential to affect the growth of R. stolonifer and its metabolite production in hull rot disease.