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Published in Scientific Papers. Series B, Horticulture, Vol. LXVII, Issue 2
Written by Mihai CHIVU, Mădălina BUTAC, Adrian ASĂNICĂ

Scientific and practical interest in sweet cherry fruit cracking has steadily increased in the last decades, due to the higher incidence caused by climate changes. The problem is still less understood and the management strategies to prevent the incidence of the disorder in susceptible cultivars as well. Hailstorms and heavy rainfall after a long period of drought which are associated with new manifestations of climate changes might increase fruit cracking phenomenon. Other factors related to fruit characteristics or some cultural practices are also influencing fruit cracking. The responses of the trees to the application of some compounds (minerals, anti-transpirants and growth regulators) just before harvesting, vary according to the cultivar, application time, concentration and their type, which makes it difficult to generalize their effects. Moreover, their effectiveness it is not high and sometimes even counterproductive. Protecting crops with macrotunnels or covering orchards with polyethylene films, the use of seaweed-based biostimulants or the mechanical removal of rainwater have proven to be quite effective in many situations, but the need to develop new strategies to mitigate fruit cracking requires extra information on the mechanisms leading to skin cracking. Many studies have shown that some varieties manifest a high resistance to cracking, and phenotyping for selection the most resistant genotypes can be correlated with new molecular research and findings of molecular markers associated with fruit cracking, and also of the genes involved in the formation of the cuticle and cell wall. Current review explores the factors which are contributing to fruit cracking in sweet cherry, report advances recommended measures to reduce this disorder, and indicate directions for future research.

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