Chmielewski FM, Götz KP, Homann T, Huschek G and Rawel HM
In order to develop reliable and physiologically sound models for the plant development in spring, the date of endodormancy release is always a crucial and mostly unknown model parameter. Until present, classical approaches - such as climate chamber experiments - are used to derive this unknown parameter. In these experiments, progressive plant development or significant changes in bud’s fresh weight or water content are measurable markers for dormancy release. This study presents an alternative approach, which is based on four well-known metabolites. For 5 seasons (2011/12-2015/16), the content of abscisic acid (ABA) and sugars such as fructose, sucrose and glucose in sweet cherry flower buds (cultivar ‘Summit’) were weekly analyzed between the beginning of October and April. These data allow comparing the annual course of these metabolites with the date of endodormancy release, derived from a classical climate chamber experiment, published in a previous study. Results showed that ABA and sucrose are two important metabolites which can help to identify the date of endodormancy release of sweet cherries. On average, ABA content reached a plateau of 5.65 μg g-1 DW-1 during endodormancy, which was maintained for 3-6 weeks. The significant reduction of the ABA content after this period to 4.41 μg g-1 DW-1 on average during ecodormancy was nearly in agreement with the date of endodormancy release of ‘Summit’ on 28 November (332 DOY). The annual cycle of sucrose, which has a cryoprotective effect during winter, is well comprehensible and showed a close relationship to the annual course of minimum air temperature after leaf fall (r=-0.90). The nearly constant level of sucrose during eco dormancy (21.0 mg g-1 DW-1, 5 yr. mean) did not only allow deriving the date of endodormancy release but can also be helpful to define the beginning of ontogenetic development.