Induction of bitter pit in apple

G. W. Witney, M. M. Kushad, J. A. Barden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A field study was conducted to induce bitter pit in cultivar 'Sundale Spur Golden Delicious' (Malus domestica Borkh.) apple. Fruiting spurs were sprayed with 1% (w/v) CaCl2 and 1% (w/v) MgCl2 every 10 days, beginning 5 days after full bloom, and/or shaded with brown paper bags. The effect of MgCl2 spray and bag + MgCl2 treatments on the fruiting spurs was increased bitter pit incidence, decreased fruit calcium, increased fruit magnesium and potassium, and decreased number of fruit per spur. Bagging the fruit resulted in a 4-fold increase in bitter pit incidence, and a significant reduction in fruit calcium content and fruit weight over the control. In contrast, CaCl2 spray slightly reduced bitter pit, increased fruit calcium, reduced fruit magnesium and increased the number of fruit per spur. The incidence of bitter pit ranged from 8% (CaCl2 spray alone) to 88% (bag + MgCl2). Overall, the combinations of bagging and cation sprays induced a wide range of bitter pit incidence in apple fruit which can be reliably used for future study of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalScientia Horticulturae
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • Malus domestica
  • cations
  • physiological disorders
  • shading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture

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    Witney, G. W., Kushad, M. M., & Barden, J. A. (1991). Induction of bitter pit in apple. Scientia Horticulturae, 47(1-2), 173-176.