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Open access

Ying Fang, Ting Lei, Yanmei Wu, and Xuehua Jin

The calla lily (Zantedeschia hybrida) is a valued ornamental plant due to its unique shape and color variations. To determine the mechanisms responsible for color development in the calla lily spathe, we conducted a comparative transcriptomic analysis of the spathes of the black [Black Girl (B)], pink [Romantic (P)], and white [Ventura (W)] cultivars. The gene expression patterns in six spathe colors, including the preceding three colors as well as the amaranth [Promise (N)], red [Figo (F)], and yellow [Sun Club (Y)] cultivars were analyzed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Transcriptomic analysis identified 25,165 differentially expressed genes. The transcription abundance and expression level of genes annotated as anthocyanidin reductase (ANR1, ANR2), basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH1), and glutathione S-transferases (GST1) were significantly upregulated in B, and the expression of anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) was highest in B except for N. However, chalcone isomerase (CHI2) and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR1, DFR2) were expressed at significantly lower levels in P, W, and Y. Correlation analysis revealed that bHLH1 might act as a positive regulator of ANS expression, promoting anthocyanin synthesis. Moreover, GST1-encoded proteins may be related to the accumulation and transport of both anthocyanin and procyanidin in the calla lily spathe. It is speculated that the formation of the black spathe is related to the accumulation of anthocyanins and procyanidins. However, the low expression of CHI2, DFR1, and DFR2 may result in the inhibition of anthocyanin synthesis, which may lead to lightening of the spathe color. This preliminary study revealed the mechanism responsible for calla lily spathe color, identifying the key genes involved, thus providing effective gene resources and a theoretical basis for flower color molecular breeding.

Open access

Zhengnan Yan, Long Wang, Jiaxi Dai, Yufeng Liu, Duo Lin, and Yanjie Yang

Lighting strategies for morphological and physiological characteristics of horticultural crops often focus on the proper daily light integral (DLI); however, a suitable combination of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and photoperiod at the same DLI is conducive to optimize the light environment management in vegetable seedling production. In the present study, cucumber seedlings (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Tianjiao No. 5) were grown for 21 days under six different combinations of PPFD and photoperiod at a constant DLI of 11.5 mol⋅m−2⋅d−1, corresponding to a photoperiod of 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, and 22 h⋅d−1 provided by white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) under a controlled environment. Results showed that plant height, hypocotyl length, and specific leaf area of cucumber seedlings decreased quadratically with increasing photoperiod, and the opposite trend was observed in seedling quality index of cucumber seedlings. In general, pigment content and fresh and dry weight of cucumber seedlings increased as photoperiod increased from 7 to 16 h⋅d−1, and no significant differences were found in fresh and dry weight of shoot and root as photoperiod increased from 16 to 22 h⋅d−1. Sucrose and starch content of cucumber leaves increased by 50.6% and 32.3%, respectively, as photoperiod extended from 7 to 16 h⋅d−1. A longer photoperiod also led to higher cellulose content of cucumber seedlings, thus improving the mechanical strength of cucumber seedlings for transplanting. CsCesA1 relative expression level showed a trend similar to cellulose content. We propose that CsCesA1 is the key gene in the response to cellulose biosynthesis in cucumber seedlings grown under different combinations of PPFD and photoperiod. In summary, prolonging the photoperiod and lowering PPFD at the same DLI increased the quality of cucumber seedlings. An adaptive lighting strategy could be applied to increase seedling quality associated with the reduction of capital cost in cucumber seedling production.

Open access

Sai Xu, Huazhong Lu, Xu Wang, Christopher M. Ference, Xin Liang, and Guangjun Qiu

Visible/near-infrared (VIS/NIR) spectroscopy is a powerful tool for rapid, nondestructive fruit quality detection. This technology has been widely applied for quality detection of small thin-peel fruit, although less so for large thick-peel fruit because of the low signal-to-noise ratio of the spectral signal, resulting in a reduction of accuracy. More modeling work should be focused on solving this problem. This research explored a method of spectroscopy for the total soluble solid (TSS) content and acidity detection of ‘Shatian’ pomelo, which are two major parameters of fruit internal flavor. VIS/NIR spectral signal detection of 100 pomelo samples during storage was performed. Detection based on raw data, signal jitter, and scattered light noise removal, feature extraction, and deep learning were performed and combined with modeling detection to achieve an accurate step-by-step detection. Our results showed that 600 W is the optimal light intensity for detecting the internal flavor of pomelo. The TSS content of pomelo is optimally detected using Savitzky-Golay (SG) + multiplicative scatter correction (MSC) + genetic algorithm (GA) + principal component analysis (PCA) + convolutional neural network (CNN) + partial least squares regression (PLSR); however, acidity of pomelo is optimally detected using SG + MSC + GA + PLSR. With the optimal detection method, the coefficient of determination and root mean squared error (RMSE) of the validation set for TSS detection are 0.72 and 0.49, respectively; and for acidity detection are 0.55 and 0.10, respectively. Even though the accuracy is not high, the data are still acceptable and helpful in nondestructive quality grading of large quantities postharvest fruit. Therefore, our results demonstrated that VIS/NIR was feasible for detecting the TSS content and acidity of postharvest pomelo, and for providing a possible method for the nondestructive internal quality detection of other large thick-peel fruit.

Open access

Joseph Krystel, Huawei Liu, John Hartung, and Ed Stover

Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the bacteria responsible for citrus greening disease [huanglongbing (HLB)], has become a worldwide threat to citrus (Citrus sp.) production. HLB has proven difficult to study and treat because of the complex interactions between CLas, the citrus host, and insect vectors. We have selected for single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies from a specialized bacteriophage library for binding activity against CLas proteins InvA and TolC. Portions of each protein were chosen as antigens based on predicted binding availability and theorized necessary functions in pathogenicity. Binding affinity for individual scFv-expressing clones was confirmed by phage enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The scFv sequences were stably transformed under the control of a tandem Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S (CaMV 2x35S) promoter by Agrobacterium tumefacien–mediated transformation into ‘Carrizo’ citrange (Citrus sinensis × Poncirus trifoliate), a citrus rootstock cultivar. Replicated plants of single transformations were inoculated by infestation with CLas positive asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri), a CLas vector. Inoculation and disease progression was monitored through quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Inoculated transgenic plants showed significantly reduced CLas titer compared with wild types. A subpopulation of transgenic plants displayed no measurable surviving bacteria after 12 months. Interestingly, individual replicated plants from the same transgenic events strongly segregated into two populations by resistance phenotype: a minority that were indistinguishable from wild-type plants and a majority that were highly resistant. Our results are the first step in developing a novel protection strategy for HLB.

Open access

David Campbell, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Ali Sarkhosh, Oscar Liburd, and Danielle Treadwell

The use of paper or nylon bags (fruit bagging) to surround tree fruit during development provides protection from a variety of pest-disease complexes for peach without yield reduction and different-colored bags have the potential to improve fruit quality based on findings from other crops. An experiment was conducted in 2019 at two locations in central Florida on peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batch] ‘TropicBeauty’ and ‘UFSun’ to analyze the impact of a commercially available white paper fruit bag combined with a photoselective insert. The insert reduced the amount of light outside the spectrum range of interest for blue (400–500 nm), green (500–600 nm), or red (>600 nm) wavebands, or decreased fluence rate with a neutral density black (>725 nm) insert. Relative to ambient, temperature inside all bagging treatments during the daytime hours was increased by 5.1 °C. During the same time, relative humidity was reduced by 10.1%, but calculations revealed that the water vapor pressure was elevated only for treatments that had a plastic colored (blue, green, or red) insert. An orthogonal contrast revealed that the elevated water vapor around the fruit in a colored bag increased the concentration of chlorophyll at harvest but had no effect on other quality parameters. Compared with unbagged fruit, red-bagged fruit were 1.8 times firmer and green-bagged fruit and had a lower peel chroma. White-bagged (without photoselective insert) fruit had similar nutrient concentrations for the peel, flesh, and pit when compared with unbagged fruit. When bags remained on the fruit until harvest, anthocyanin concentration in unbagged fruit peel was double the amount in white bags and 6-fold more than the bags with color inserts. Different-colored bagging treatments did not influence insect attraction or fruit quality parameters, such as fruit size, diameter, difference of absorbance (DA) index, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), pH, peel lightness, peel hue, flesh lightness, flesh hue, or flesh chroma. Relative to full sun, the colored bag treatments allowed between 3.7% (black) and 17.4% (red) of the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Additional research is needed to determine if an increase in fluence rate at specific spectral wavelengths can affect the quality for peach grown in bags in the field.

Open access

Haoran Fu, Qingxu Ma, Zhengbo Ma, Yingzhao Hu, Fan Liu, Kaijun Chen, Wankun Pan, Sheng Tang, Xin Zhang, and Lianghuan Wu

Pear (Pyrus spp.) is the third-largest economic crop in China after apples (Malus pumila Mill.) and citrus (Citrus reticulata Blanco), and it is mainly cultivated by smallholders. Currently, the yield of Chinese pear ranks midlevel globally, with only 17.9 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1, which is lower than that of the United States (36.0 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1). However, the factors limiting pear production dominated by smallholders are unclear. We interviewed 75 smallholders about 18 yield-related indicators for pear-typical planting areas. The boundary line model was used to analyze the contribution of internal factors and dominant external factors affecting yield and to simulate strategies for increasing yield through the scenario analysis. The results showed that the average gap between the average and highest attainable yields for smallholders was 10.5 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1 in Luniao County. Among individual yield-limiting factors, chemical fertilizer nitrogen (N) input (13.3%) was the most significant, followed by the soil-available N content (12.0%) and leaf magnesium content (12.0%). Overall, the contribution of all soil factors (42.7%) was the largest compared with the other factor categories. However, the contribution of internal factors could not be ignored and accounted for 25.3% of the total. A scenario analysis showed that comprehensive strategies considering soil, management, and internal factors achieved the largest yield improvement (14%), as did reducing the fertilizer application rate (66%) compared with only using soil or leaf diagnosis methods. Therefore, integrated methods should be considered when developing pear orchard management measures and include soil, management, and internal factors.

Open access

Zachary T. Brym and Brent L. Black

‘Montmorency’ tart cherry trees (Prunus cerasus L.) are grown commercially in the United States in low-density systems. Commercial tart cherry orchard design has not changed significantly over the past 50 years, but there is some variation from farm to farm in management strategies, including tree spacing, training, and pruning, and the resulting orchard production and turnover. Canopy dimensions and dynamics are important considerations for evaluating and improving orchard management strategies but are not well documented for tart cherry systems. Current orchard design and canopy management strategies were surveyed along a gradient of orchard age across five commercial farming operations in Utah. Trunk cross-sectional area and various canopy dimensions, including spread and volume, were quantified to capture tree size and canopy architecture. The survey indicated a surprising lack of deviation in orchard design in the region over the last several decades with higher variation among blocks within a farm than across farms. As a result, the survey revealed trends in tree growth and canopy structure across the range in orchard ages despite differences in management approaches of the surveyed farms. These trends were useful in illustrating canopy development and space fill. Tree age between 11 and 15 years after planting was determined to represent a transition between establishment and mature growth, where canopies filled available row space and began experiencing senescing canopy structure. Based on the distribution of ages captured in the survey, a significant number of orchards in Utah are at an age range of 11–15 years, perhaps contributing to superior yields per land area reported for the region. The confluence of space-fill and canopy development described in this study highlights a critical period for tart cherry orchard management at the transition of canopy establishment and maturity. These baseline dynamics will provide benchmarks for evaluating strategies for refining and improving orchard management systems for tart cherry in the Intermountain West region.

Open access

Lillian Hislop, Elizabeth Stephanie, Patrick Flannery, Matheus Baseggio, Michael A. Gore, and William F. Tracy

Sugarcane mosaic virus [SCMV (Potyvirus sugarcane mosaic virus)] is an ssRNA virus that negatively affects yield in maize (Zea mays) worldwide. Resistance to SCMV is controlled primarily by a single dominant gene (Scm1). The goal of this study was to identify sweet corn (Z. mays) inbreds that demonstrate resistance to SCMV, confirm the presence of genomic regions previously identified in maize associated with resistance, and identify other resistant loci in sweet corn. Eight plants from each of 563 primarily sweet corn inbred lines were tested for SCMV resistance. Plants were inoculated 14 d after planting and observed for signs of infection 24 d after planting. A subset of 420 inbred lines were genotyped using 7504 high-quality genotyping-by-sequencing single-nucleotide polymorphism markers. Population structure of the panel was observed, and a genome-wide association study was conducted to identify loci associated with SCMV resistance. Forty-six of the inbreds were found to be resistant to SCMV 10 d after inoculation. The Scm1 locus was confirmed with the presence of two significant loci on chromosome 6 (P = 2.5 × 10−8 and 1.6 × 10−8), 5 Mb downstream of the Scm1 gene previously located at Chr6: 14194429.14198587 and the surrounding 2.7-Mb presence–absence variation. We did not identify other loci associated with resistance. This research has increased information on publicly available SCMV-resistant germplasm useful to future breeding projects and demonstrated that SCMV resistance in this sweet corn panel is driven by the Scm1 gene.

Open access

Arthur Villordon and Jeffrey C. Gregorie

The primary objective of this work was to generate species-specific information about root architectural adaptation to variation in boron (B) availability at the onset of storage root formation among three sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] cultivars (Beauregard = BX; Murasaki = MU; Okinawa = OK). Three B levels were used: 0B (B was omitted in the nutrient solution, substrate B = 0.1 mg·kg−1), 1XB (sufficient B; 0.5 mg·kg−1), and 2XB (high B; 1 mg·kg−1). The check cultivar BX showed evidence of storage root formation at 15 days in 0B and 1XB, whereas cultivars MU and OK failed to show evidence of root swelling. The 1XB and 2XB levels were associated with 736% and 2269% increase in leaf tissue B in BX, respectively, relative to plants grown in 0B. Similar magnitudes of increase were observed in MU and OK cultivars. There were no differences in adventitious root (AR) count within cultivars but OK showed 25% fewer AR numbers relative to BX across all B levels. 0B was associated with 20% and 48% reduction in main root length in BX and OK, respectively, relative to plants grown in 1XB and 2XB. 2XB was associated with a 10% increase in main root length in MU relative to plants grown in 0B and 1XB. 0B was associated with reduced lateral root length in all cultivars but the magnitude of responses varied with cultivars. These data corroborate findings in model systems and well-studied crop species that B deficiency is associated with reduced root growth. These data can be used to further understand the role of cultivar-specific responses to variation in B availability in sweetpotato.

Open access

Yingli Ma, Tingting Yuan, Tao Wang, Jiaxin Li, Zhongqiu Xu, Siqian Luo, and Yinfeng Xie

In the actual cultivation process, blind fertilizer application was widespread, resulting in a serious decline in the yield of Pseudostellaria heterophylla. We used the 3414 fertilizer experiment design to study the effects of combined Boron (B), Molybdenum (Mo), and Copper (Cu) on the growth indexes, diurnal changes of photosynthesis, and rapid fluorescence induction dynamics in P. heterophylla. Our results show that the optimal combination of B, Mo, and Cu simultaneously promoted the growth of underground and aboveground parts, and significantly improved the quality of single root tuber and yield per unit area. The best combination was treatment 9 (T9 = B, 1 g/L; Mo, 0.08 g/L; Cu, 0.05 g/L), and resulted in a 35.1% increase in yield per unit area compared with the control group (T1). Although the optimal combined application of microfertilizers did not change the bimodal trend of diurnal variation of photosynthesis, it effectively increased the daily average, peak, and valley values of the photosynthetic rate by alleviating the nonstomatal limitation and the photosynthetic midday depression. Pseudostellaria heterophylla leaves showed greater photochemical activity and less photoinhibition of photosystem II in T9. Major effects were that it helped protect the activity of the oxygen-evolving complex to reduce the oxidative damage of chloroplasts and prevent the dissociation of thylakoid. The microfertilizer application also enhanced the electron receiving ability of the QB and plastoquinone (PQ) electronic pools, thereby increasing the ability of electron transfer from QA to QB. The number of reaction centers per unit area was promoted notably by the fertilization treatment.