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Recent studies suggest that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have the potential to improve the growth and yield of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) under soil-based organic production systems. However, the application of AMF in organic soilless vegetable production in a greenhouse has not been well studied, creating an important knowledge gap. Therefore, two greenhouse experiments [Experiment 1 (E1) and Experiment 2 (E2)] were conducted to investigate the effect of AMF (Glomus spp.) on the growth, gaseous exchange, and yield of eggplant fertilized with various liquid organic fertilizers (OFs) and inorganic fertilizers (IFs) in a soilless greenhouse production system. The experiment was conducted in a split-plot design with four replications in which liquid OFs [OF1 (5N–1P–1K), OF2 (0N–5P–5K and 3N–3P–3K), OF3 (3N–1P–1K), OF4 (5N–1P–2K), OF5 (3.7N–2.7P–3.7K), and OF6 (3N–3P–5K)], and IFs [IF1 (6N–4P–4K) and IF2 (4N–0P–1K and 1N–3P–5K)] were randomized as main plot factor, and AMF [inoculated and uninoculated (control)] as a subplot factor. Results indicate that AMF inoculation had no significant effect on the growth, gaseous exchange, and yield parameters of eggplant. Among different OFs, the eggplant fertilized with OF6 resulted in a 4.3% and 3% reduction of leaf area compared with top-performing IF1 treatment in E1 and E2, respectively. Further, the OF6 treatment resulted in a 12% and 15% reduction in total yield per plant compared with IF1 in E1 and E2, respectively. The differences in plant gaseous exchange parameters were also nonsignificant for eggplants fertilized with different OF and IF treatments in both E1 and E2. These results conclude that Glomus spp. were not associated with a significant increase in the yield of eggplant in the soilless production system. However, OFs were performing similar to IFs in terms of growth and yield, which could be due to a higher nutrient availability of these OFs, which are highly useful for the production of eggplant in greenhouse soilless production systems.
Preemergence (PRE) herbicides are an important part of the overall weed management plan in no-till (NT) pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) production. A field evaluation was conducted in an NT production system using PRE herbicides labeled for pumpkins to determine the benefits of specific herbicide combinations and the economic returns on investment associated with their use. The PRE herbicide treatments evaluated were 1) s-metolachlor (1360 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 2) clomazone (350 g⋅ha–1 a.i.) and ethalfluralin premix (1120 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 3) s-metolachlor + clomazone and ethalfluralin premix, 4) s-metolachlor + halosulfuron (35 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 5) clomazone and ethalfluralin premix + halosulfuron, and 6) none. The primary weed species present were tall waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), giant foxtail (Setaria faberi), and large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis). The best weed control option for full-season broadleaf and grass weed control was s-metolachlor + clomazone and ethalfluralin. This herbicide combination also provided the greatest economic return on investment, ranging from a 20% to 40% improvement (depending on the year) compared with the next closest PRE herbicide treatment. Those with the lowest returns on investment were s-metolachlor combined with halosulfuron, and clomazone and ethalfluralin combined with halosulfuron. Besides providing the highest returns on investment, the PRE application of s-metolachlor with clomazone and ethalfluralin also produced the largest pumpkin fruit for the weed species present. Although growers often look for ways to reduce input costs in NT pumpkin production systems, the proper selection of PRE herbicides that considers the weed species present is clearly an important investment that improves pumpkin yields and revenues.
Field winterhardiness is a critical trait in rose cultivars (Rosa ×hybrida) grown in northern climates. Although the molecular basis of cold hardiness has been well documented in model organisms such as Arabidopsis thaliana, little is known about the genetics and mechanisms underlying winterhardiness in roses. This research aims to explore the genetic control of winterhardiness for application in breeding programs using quantitative trail loci (QTL) analysis in two biparental rose populations derived from cold-hardy roses of the Canadian Explorer Series Collection. Field winterhardiness was assessed as a complex trait with winter damage and regrowth recorded in multiyear and multilocation trials in Ontario and Saskatchewan, Canada. In addition, this research explored the relationship between field measurements and electrolyte leakage recorded under artificial conditions. Electrolyte leakage had limited utility for application in rose breeding programs as a substitute for field evaluation, but did enable identification of QTL associated with potential cold hardiness candidate genes. A QTL for electrolyte leakage mapped to a genomic region that harbors a CBF1-like transcription factor. A total of 14 QTLs associated with field winter damage and regrowth were discovered, and they explained between 11% and 37% of the observed phenotypic variance. Two QTL associated with winter damage and regrowth overlapped with a known QTL for black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) disease resistance, Rdr1, in an environment under high disease pressure. Due to the complexity of field winterhardiness and its direct reliance on intertwined factors, such as overall plant health, moisture status, snow cover, and period of prolonged sub-zero temperatures, field trials are the ultimate measurement of field winterhardiness. Transgressive segregation was observed for all traits, and it was most likely due to complementary gene action. Field winter damage and regrowth were highly heritable in single environments, but they were subject to genotype × environment interaction resulting from pest pressure and severe climatic conditions.
Production of high-quality tree fruit requires management of tree health and vigor during orchard establishment, especially with regard to soil-borne pathogens. Available strategies for the mitigation of soil-borne diseases include chemical fumigants, Brassicaceous seed meal (SM) soil treatments, and the use of disease-tolerant rootstock genotypes. It has been documented that superior disease suppression can be achieved using specific combinations of rootstock genotype and soil treatment that, in part, alter the soil microbiome. However, regardless of soil treatment strategy or rootstock genetics, sublethal levels of phytotoxic compounds are known to have negative effects on the reproductive output of plants. Yet the effects of SM amendments and the resultant restructuring of the soil microbiome on fruit quality are not well studied. Thus, our objective was to explore the effects of pathogen suppression strategies on at-harvest and postharvest fruit quality of ‘Gala’ apples (Malus domestica) by observing effects of both rootstock genetics [‘Malling 26’ (‘M.26’) vs. ‘Geneva 41’ (‘G.41’)] and soil treatment strategy (fumigation vs. SM). We observed that rootstock genotype generally appeared to have a stronger effect than soil treatment strategy on at-harvest fruit quality and postharvest outcomes. Further, although we did observe some fruit quality differences in each year of the study, there was no discernible pattern from year to year. We therefore conclude that, in our study, soil treatment does not have a consistent, significant influence on ‘Gala’ apple fruit quality, and importantly, efficacious ARD control using SM is without an apparent downside regarding fruit quality.
Site selection is key to successful establishment of fruit and nut trees. The upland soils on which pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees are commonly planted in the southeastern United States consist of sites that have recently been in row crop cultivation or pine or hardwood timber. Anecdotal observation suggests that orchards planted to land converted from cultivated row crop fields tends to result in better tree growth and survival than those on land recently converted from timber plantations or wooded areas. The objective of this experiment was to compare growth of first- through third-leaf pecan trees planted on sites with varying land-use history [row crop cultivation or pine (Pinus spp.) tree production up to the year before planting] and to determine the effects of supplemental addition of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and zinc (Zn) at planting on the two sites. These results suggest that the soil conditions of sites recently in pine timber production limit the growth and development of pecan trees planted to those sites. These limitations result from soil acidity and an exhaustion of soil nutrients and loss of organic matter on pine sites, making the uptake of nitrogen (N), P, K, and calcium (Ca) challenging during the establishment phase unless soils are improved before planting.
This study investigated the ploidy of ‘Mianli’ with flow cytometry and the traditional chromosome squash technique. Its pollination biology and the occurrence and formation of embryo sacs before and after flowering were observed in paraffin sections to characterize its embryo sacs. The intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker technique was used to test the uniformity of progeny of ‘Mianli’ treatments. The chromosome number of ‘Mianli’ is 2n = 2x = 34. The ploidy results were consistent with those identified by flow cytometry. ‘Mianli’ is male-sterile, and the anatropous ovule has double integuments. ‘Mianli’ can bear fruit normally and produce fertile seeds under the treatments of emasculation with bagging or no emasculation with bagging, but the seed yield is very low and significantly lower than that under artificial pollination or natural pollination. The developmental process of embryo sacs under natural pollination showed that most megasporocytes develop into mature sexual embryo sacs through meiosis and a few megasporocytes degenerate. Some sexual embryo sacs continue to develop into embryos after fertilization, and some sexual embryo sacs are aborted. In addition, new aposporous initial cells are generated irregularly at each stage from the emergence of megasporocyte to the end of sexual reproduction or abortion. The observation of the development of embryo sacs under emasculation with bagging showed that after pollination is blocked, mature sexual embryo sacs degenerate, and aposporous mononucleate embryo sacs appear around the degenerated sexual embryo sacs or in the peripheral tissues. Then, the process of proembryonic masses developing into spherical embryo was observed. A genetic uniformity analysis of progeny of ‘Mianli’ using ISSR was performed. The results showed that the progeny population under emasculation with bagging has high consistency at the molecular level, with some plants having full consistency with the female parent’s banding pattern, demonstrating consistency with the maternal genetic characteristics. The progeny under artificial pollination or natural pollination do not have the same banding pattern as the female parent. Because there is no pseudogamy, all of the progeny are true hybrids. In summary, it seems that ‘Mianli’ only has sexual reproduction in the presence of pollen, and only a few ovules are stimulated to undergo apomixis after pollination is blocked.