PloS one, 2015, Vol.10(3), pp.e0121143
Peach Prunus persica (L.) Batsch is self-compatible and largely self-fertile, but under greenhouse conditions pollinators must be introduced to achieve good fruit set and quality. Because little work has been done to assess the effectiveness of different pollinators on peach trees under greenhouse conditions, we studied 'Okubo' peach in greenhouse tunnels near Beijing between 2012 and 2014. We measured pollen deposition, pollen-tube growth rates, ovary development, and initial fruit set after the flowers were visited by either of two managed pollinators: bumblebees, Bombus patagiatus Nylander, and honeybees, Apis mellifera L. The results show that B. patagiatus is more effective than A. mellifera as a pollinator of peach in greenhouses because of differences in two processes. First, B. patagiatus deposits more pollen grains on peach stigmas than A. mellifera, both during a single visit and during a whole day of open pollination. Second, there are differences in the fertilization performance of the pollen deposited. Half of the flowers visited by B. patagiatus are fertilized 9-11 days after bee visits, while for flowers visited by A. mellifera, half are fertilized 13-15 days after bee visits. Consequently, fruit development is also accelerated by bumblebees, showing that the different pollinators have not only different pollination efficiency, but also influence the subsequent time course of fertilization and fruit set. Flowers visited by B. patagiatus show faster ovary growth and ultimately these flowers produce more fruit. Our work shows that pollinators may influence fruit production beyond the amount of pollen delivered. We show that managed indigenous bumblebees significantly outperform introduced honeybees in increasing peach initial fruit set under greenhouse conditions.
Pollination ; Bees -- Physiology ; Prunus -- Physiology
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