The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Abscission Processes in Horticulture and their Manipulation to Improve Crop Growth, Development and Quality

Sponsored by the ISHS Sections Pome & Stone Fruits, Vine & Berry Fruits and Citrus

The International Symposium on Abscission Processes will be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014 as part of the International Horticultural Congress (IHC2014).

Abscission is a major horticultural issue. The timing, intensity and regulation of organ shedding impacts fruit yield, alternate bearing, thinning, feasibility of mechanical harvesting, postharvest losses of fruits and ornamentals, and many other phenomena of horticultural importance. Much progress has been made over the last few years to advance our understanding of abscission and it is therefore timely to consider how this knowledge can be applied to optimize horticultural systems.

The symposium will run for two days, and will include five sessions of presentations and panel discussions, as well as one poster session. The programme, which will include invited speakers, will cover the latest developments in abscission research from all over the world.

Session Themes

  • Novel and contemporary approaches to the study of abscission in model and crop species.
  • The genetic and physiological control of abscission.
  • The role of plant hormones and carbohydrates in leaf, flower and fruit abscission.
  • The role of biotic and abiotic stresses in leaf, flower and fruit abscission
  • Regulation of organ shedding in horticultural systems in:
    • early fruit development - chemical thinning and premature fruit drop
    • late fruit development - preventing pre-harvest drop and facilitating
    • mechanical harvesting
    • improving defoliation, preventing abscission in ornamentals and fruit
    • clusters (post-harvest)

Convenors

Dr. Shimon Meir, is based in the Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce, ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel, and has an active research program in improving postharvest quality of ornamentals, focusing on cut flowers and potted plants. His horticultural research is focused on developing means for improving the quality of ornamentals exported by air and sea transport, including developing postharvest technologies and application of plant growth regulators and inhibitors. His current research is focused on regulation of abscission, senescence and colour development. He has co-chaired an abscission workshop in the previous International Horticultural Congress (IHC2010) in Lisboa, Portugal.

Prof. Jerry Roberts is Dean of the Graduate School, Division of Plant and Crop Sciences at the University of Nottingham, UK. His research is focussed on the regulation of floral organ abscission in model plants such as Arabidopsis and crop species such as tomato and Brassica napus. He has studied the molecular and biochemical events that regulate cell wall breakdown and has used this knowledge to manipulate other horticulturally important events such as pod and anther dehiscence. He has edited a number of volumes on abscission including, in 2008, a volume in the Annual Plant Reviews Series entitled ‘Plant cell separation and adhesion.’

Prof. Dr. Jens N. Wünsche is based at the University of Hohenheim, Institute of Crop Science, Stuttgart, Germany. He teaches and researches into the crop physiology of fruit crops. He studies specific plant processes involved in fruit drop of mango and apple in response to environmental and/or crop management triggers. The focus is aimed at combining expertise in hormone, carbohydrate and molecular physiology and applying it to detailed field and laboratory studies. He is Vice-President of the German Society for Horticultural Sciences (DGG) and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Horticultural Sciences (EJHS).

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Reidunn Aalen is a professor at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway. Shedding of organs is a natural part of a plant’s life cycle. Her lab has identified the small peptide INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION (IDA) and its receptors HEASA and HEASA-LIKE2 that control abscission of floral organs in Arabidopsis. IDA and IDA-LIKE peptides as well as the receptors are well conserved in plants and hypothesized to function in cell-separation events also in other species. Genetic and biochemical approaches are used to explore the mechanism of peptide signaling in abscission processes.
http://www.mn.uio.no/ibv/english/people/aca/reidunba/

Dr. Alessandro Botton is based at the University of Padova, Italy. Alessandro carried out several studies mainly on apple, peach and grape, focusing on diverse aspects of global fruit quality, from the organoleptic parameters to nutritional value and health-related issues (i.e. allergens), also in relation to pre- and post-harvest management, and always from a molecular (i.e. transcriptomics) and regulative point of view. His research is currently focused on apple fruitlet abscission, ripening of climacteric (peach) and non-climacteric (grape berry) fruits, and on seed-fruit signalling during growth and development. He is also developing new interests dealing with intercellular short-distance signals involved in fruit development and epigenetics.

Dr. Jacqueline K Burns is Center Director and Professor at UF-IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center and Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in the USA. Research focuses on abscission control in fruit crops and adapting fruit crops to mechanical harvesting. Burns' team characterized an abscission agent that selectively loosens mature citrus fruit, and studied relationships between abscission efficacy and biotic and abiotic factors. Burns has authored or co-authored over 70 publications on harvesting practices and abscission in citrus, olives, and grapes.
http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/academics/faculty/burns/burns_jackie.shtml

Dr. Amnon Lers is a reasearcher at the Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce at the Volcani Center, Israel. His research in general is on different physiological and molecular aspects of biological processes which affect postharvest qualities of fruits and vegetables. Specific topics of research include plant leaf senescence, abscission and programmed cell death. The function and regulation of nucleases and ribonucleases in these processes is investigated using Arabidopsis and tomato as plant model systems. Recently emphasis in Amnon's laboratory, in collaboration with other research groups, is given into developing biotechnology-based strategies for translating recent basic insights of abscission biology into applications for the benefit of agriculture.

Dr. Sarah J Liljegren is based at the Department of Biology, University of Mississippi, USA. Sarah is investigating the control of abscission in Arabidopsis flowers. Her studies are focused on transcriptional networks that establish organ boundaries, cell signaling and interactions between receptor-like kinases, and regulation of membrane traffic essential for abscission. She was an early pioneer of using genetics to identify the molecular components of plant cell separation events and has written several reviews highlighting progress made in the field.
http://olemiss.edu/depts/biology/people/faculty/Liljegren/index.php

Dr. Shimon Meir is based at the Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce, The Volcani Center, Israel. He has an active research program in improving postharvest quality of ornamentals, focusing on cut flowers and potted plants. His horticultural research is focused on developing means for improving the quality of ornamentals exported by air and sea transport, including developing postharvest technologies and application of plant growth regulators and inhibitors. His current research is focused on regulation of abscission, senescence and colour development. He has co-chaired an abscission workshop in the previous International Horticultural Congress (IHC2010) in Lisboa, Portugal.

Prof. Jeremy Roberts is Dean of the Graduate School in the Plant and Crop Sciences Division of the School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, UK. The focus of Jerry’s research is on the regulation of floral organ abscission in model plants such as Arabidopsis and crop species such as tomato and Brassica napus. He has studied the molecular and biochemical events that regulate cell wall breakdown and has used this knowledge to manipulate other horticulturally important events such as pod and anther dehiscence. He has edited a number of volumes on abscission including in 2008 a volume in the Annual Plant Reviews Series entitled ‘Plant cell separation and adhesion.
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/expertiseguide/experts/r/professorjerryroberts.aspx

Dr. Terence Lee Robinson is Professor of POmology in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University, USA. Terence Robinson conducts a research program aimed at developing improved orchard management practices to improve yield, fruit quality and profitability of apple, cherry, peach and pear orchards. His areas of specialization are crop load management, high-density orchard planting systems, rootstocks, pruning and training and fertigation. He seeks to precisely manage fruit set and fruit drop in temperate tree fruits through canopy management, PGR’s and fruit growth and carbon models.
http://hort.cals.cornell.edu/cals/hort/people/faculty.cfm?netId=tlr1

Dr. Francisco R. Tadeo is based at Institut Valencià d’Investigacions Agràries (IVIA), Centre de Genómica, Spain. The research interests of his group at the Centre de Genómica - IVIA are focused on the control of organ abscission in citrus. Their work is aimed to study, in collaboration with other research groups, the regulatory role of certain genes associated with abscission zone development and abscission activation and how plant hormones modulate abscission-related gene expression.

Prof. Dr. Jens-Norbert Wünsche is Section Chair for Crop Physiology of Specialty Crops at the Institute of Crop Science, Universität Hohenheim, Germany. He researches and teaches crop physiology of fruit crops. He studies specific plant processes involved in fruit drop of mango and apple in response to environmental and/or crop management triggers. The focus is aimed at combining expertise in hormone, carbohydrate and molecular physiology and applying it to detailed field and laboratory studies. He is Vice-President of the German Society for Horticultural Sciences (DGG) and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Horticultural Sciences (EJHS).

Scientific Committee

  • Dr. Shimon Meir (Israel)
  • Prof. Jeremy Roberts (UK)
  • Prof. Jens Wünsche (Germany)
  • Dr. Jacqueline K Burns (USA)
  • Dr. Mark L. Tucker (USA)
  • Dr. Timothy J. Tranbarger (France)