composition similar to the extracellular space.

Vacuole composition is typically quite different from cytoplasm, and often has a pH that would be lethal to a plant cell. Vacuoles can be a repository for protons or organic acids that are released by cell metabolism, and thus assist the cell to maintain its critical pH.

Plant phytoalexin response, which induces defence mechanisms against predators or infection, is also pH mediated.

Soil pH effects are generally well known. Metallic ions (cations) are more available when soil pH declines. Cation exchange capacity, contributed by clays or organic matter, increases as soil pH increases. Anions (compounds with hydroxyl groups) increase with soil pH. Uptake of ions by plant roots is not directly related to soil mineral content but is more related to the factors affecting bioavailability. For various crops, the influence of soil pH on microbial synergies is important. Rhizobium synergy in legumes has worldwide importance. Unfortunately large areas of Africa and South America have acidic soils to which Rhizobium species (spp) are intolerant. On the other hand, many mycorrhizal spp are tolerant of low soil pH and mycorrhizae infect approximately 90 per cent of plant species.

In plants, most metabolic mechanisms are affected by pH.We know the effects superficially but the underlying chemistry can be harder to track or understand. We still have a lot to learn.

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28 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2018

Industry loses two stalwarts


he sudden deaths of two active members of the Okanagan orchard community left growers reeling in

February. Oliver cherry grower Greg Norton

Greg Norton Pierre Calissi

died Feb. 24 at the age of 65 while attending the wedding of family friends in Mexico, and Pierre Calissi of Kelowna died Feb. 28 after a short illness at the age of 57.

Norton was a past-president and director of the B.C. Cherry Association, and was appointed a commissioner for the Agricultural Land Commission in 2014. He was a member of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association. He was the founding chair of the Sterile Insect Release board and president of the Loose Bay Campground Society for accommodating migrant farm workers.

He was chair of the Agriculture Area Plan Committee for rural Oliver, chair of the Environmental Farm Plan Working Group and chair of the B.C. Agriculture Council’s Agriculture Environment committee. Outside the industry, Norton was a former chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and a former vice-president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

He was passionate about growing quality cherries and was the third generation of his family to farm the land; devoted to his family; and he advocated for the preservation of his community’s heritage. He was an active opponent of creation of a national park in the South Okanagan. Before taking over the family orchard in 1988, he worked as foreman with the Oliver Irrigation District.

Calissi served as vice-president of the BCFGA during the tenure of president Joe Sardinha and grew apples in Kelowna, where he was born. He had retired from the orchard a few years ago and turned to driving a truck, most recently on the ice roads of the North West Territories. Despite his retirement from the industry, he continued to be interested in the industry and attended the annual convention just before his sudden death.

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