Breadfruit marketing is limited by its rapid ripening and deterioration after harvest; therefore, improved postharvest practices may facilitate breadfruit marketing. This study examined the effect of harvest maturity and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on the postharvest quality of ‘Ma’afala’ breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). Breadfruit was harvested at 13, 15, and 17 weeks after flowering, and half of each harvest was treated with 1 μL⋅L−1 of 1-MCP for 20 hours. During storage, the weight of the fruit, hand feeling, skin color, respiration rate, and ethylene production rate were evaluated every other day until the fruit deteriorated. Compared with untreated fruit, 1-MCP treatment delayed the climacteric respiratory peak by 6 days (65% delay), delayed complete softening by 7 days (63% delay), and increased uniformity in the number of days to the climacteric respiratory peak and complete softening. Skin discoloration was delayed during the earliest harvest period by 5 days (108% delay). Picking breadfruit at early harvest maturity may be useful for preventing discoloration, and 1-MCP may be useful for preventing softening.
Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is one of the most commonly used warm-season turfgrasses in the southern areas and transition zone of the United States. Due to the increasing demand for water resources and periodic drought, it is important to improve the drought resistance of bermudagrass for water savings and persistence under drought stress. This study was conducted to determine whether experimental bermudagrass genotypes have improved drought resistance compared with the standard cultivars Tifway and Riley’s Super Sport (Celebration®) at Stillwater, OK. The trials were designed as randomized complete blocks with four replications in Expt. I and three replications in Expt. II. In each experiment, genotypes were subjected to progressive acute drought conditions using polyethylene waterproof tarps to exclude precipitation over a period of at least 72 d. Bermudagrass entries were evaluated for turfgrass quality, leaf firing, normalized difference vegetation index, and live green cover at least once each week during the dry-down. Substantial drought response variations were found in this study, and all parameters were positively and highly correlated. A turf performance index (TPI) was assembled based on the number of times an entry ranked in the top statistical group across all testing parameters on each date. ‘DT-1’ (TifTuf®) and OSU1221 had the top TPI in both experiments. Most of bermudagrass experimental genotypes had equal or greater TPI than the standard Tifway, showing improved drought resistance through breeding effects. The identification of superior drought resistance experimental genotypes provided useful information to breeders on cultivar release.
Recently, some commercial apple growers have been adopting hedging as an alternative or supplement to hand-pruning. With increasing labor costs across the United States, alternatives to hand-pruning and current training systems are being considered. One management strategy involves transitioning tall spindle trees to a narrow tree wall and simplifying labor-intensive activities of apple production, such as pruning, harvesting, and fruit thinning. The objective is to form the orchard system into a “fruiting wall” that makes fruit more visible and accessible, thus facilitating harvesting. Four management practices (tall spindle; narrow tree wall with manual pruning; narrow tree wall with dormant and summer hedging; and narrow tree wall with dormant hedging, summer hedging, and root pruning) were used to convert 12-year-old ‘Brak Fuji’ apple trees from the tall spindle training system to a narrow tree wall. Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet light levels within the canopies were improved by summer hedging, but they were still low for all treatments. Light within the canopy was improved most when root pruning was included. Specific leaf weight was not significantly impacted by hedging or root pruning. Detailed spur sampling showed that treatments had no effect on vegetative or reproductive growth on 2- to 3-year-old wood. Although dormant plus summer hedging alone did not affect shoot length, the combination of hedging and root pruning caused a significant reduction in terminal shoot length. Red fruit color was only improved with dormant hedging plus summer hedging plus root pruning. Compared with dormant plus summer hedging, dormant plus summer hedging plus root pruning improved fruit set and yield, but it reduced fruit size. Without root pruning, hedging had little effect on light, specific leaf weight, flower initiation, fruit set, and fruit quality. Conversion to narrow tree walls by manual pruning resulted in more poorly colored fruit and less highly colored fruit compared with maintaining the trees as tall spindles with manual pruning.
Demand for butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa L.) has increased in recent years. However, seed production practices are not well-defined. We partnered with a wildflower seed producer to investigate the effects of weed barrier cloth, plot shading, mature follicle harvest timing, and dry–cold stratification on seed production and germination. Weed cloth had no impact on seed production. However, shading decreased the number of seeds produced by 1.2- to 9.6-fold. Seeds harvested in July and August showed 2.9- and 2.3-fold improvements in total germination and more uniform and rapid germination compared with September-collected seeds. Conversely, seeds exposed to dry–cold stratification displayed a 3.0-fold reduction in the germination rate compared with nonstratified seeds. Our results indicate that the production system significantly impacts seed production and quality of A. tuberosa. Seed producers can use weed barrier cloth to facilitate seed collection from shattering follicles and suppress weeds without a considerable loss of seed production. However, plants should not be grown under conditions of additional shade. Furthermore, high-quality A. tuberosa seeds can be collected earlier in the year, but they should not be subjected to dry–cold stratification.
Chinese cymbidiums are important flowering ornamental plants. Traditional propagation via seed or division cannot satisfy growers’ demand for commercialization of new cultivars, and in vitro propagation has a low micropropagation efficiency due to the browning of rhizomes. In this study, rhizomes of Cymbidium ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ were cultured on half-strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 6-benzyl aminopurine (BAP), NAA (α-napthaleneacetic acid), or BAP with NAA under either the dark or light. The degree of browning was read, and rhizome proliferation or sprouting (sprout numbers) was evaluated. Results showed that there was significant difference in browning grade of rhizomes between ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ regardless of dark and light culture. Dark culture induced rhizome proliferation but failed to induce sprouts. Light culture slightly elevated the degree of browning but induced sprouting. Among the growth regulators evaluated, BAP was more effective for sprout induction. As rhizome browning appeared to be inevitable in micropropagation of the cymbidiums, a compromise between browning and sprout production could be a realistic approach. Our study showed that rhizomes cultured on half-strength MS medium supplemented with 1.5 mg·L−1 BAP were able to produce more than 16 sprouts per vessel even though browning occurred in the rhizomes. Thus, culturing rhizomes in this medium could be a practical solution for in vitro propagation of Chinese cymbidiums.
Areca (Areca catechu L.) is one of the most important cash crops in China and is considered the fourth most widely used addictive substance. In addition, areca is widely used in traditional and herbal medicines. The major characteristics of the fruit are affected by its genetic background and growth environment. The growing environment in different regions will impact the quality of agricultural products and the processing quality. The quality of areca is not only the basis of its commercialization development and processing quality, but also is an important basis for the scientific planting of areca. Therefore, determining the quality of areca will provide evidence for scientific planting and more optimal applications. We evaluated the quality of areca by comparing the differences in physicochemical characteristics using principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis. A total of 165 arecas, in the same growth period, were collected from 11 main producing regions in Hainan Province. Our results illustrate that the physicochemical characteristics of areca in different regions were significantly different. The PCA was conducted using 10 quality indexes, and three principal components were extracted to reflect 80% of the original variables. The first principal component mainly reflected the fruit shape quality, the second principal component mainly reflected the hardness quality, and the third principal component mainly reflected the functional component quality. The relationship between each producing region and the principal component could be obtained intuitively from the principal component score plots. The arecas in Wanning and Wenchang were larger and their cellulose content was greater than in other areas, indicating that they were more suitable for processing. In contrast, the arecas in Baoting, Wuzhishan, Danzhou, Tunchang, and Dongfang had a greater arecoline content than the other areas, making them more suitable for use as medicinal materials. Hierarchical cluster analysis classified the 11 producing regions into five categories based on the measured parameters, which was consistent with the results of the PCA score plots. These results could provide information to improve the use of areca in China.
Child obesity is a major global public health issue. This study sought to identify means to improve children’s dietary behaviors through horticultural activities and effectively enhance their health and quality of life. The 129 participants were children in third grade through sixth grade in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. A quasi-experimental design was adopted as an intervention for school horticultural activities. The 68 students in the intervention group engaged in 40-minute horticultural sessions for 6 weeks. The pretest and post-test scores of both groups were measured using the Physical Questionnaire for older Children, the Connection to Nature Index, the Willingness to Taste Fruits and Vegetable Scale, and the Children’s Quality of Life Scale, as well as questionnaire items. The qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed through a parallel mixed-method approach. The findings showed that the intervention group’s physical activity levels, nature connectedness, and overall health were higher than those of the control groups. There were no significant differences in willingness to taste fruits and vegetables. This study demonstrates that engaging in natural school spaces and participating in horticultural activities improved the physical and mental health of children. Natural elements should be incorporated into the campus design, and children should be encouraged to participate in school horticultural activities.
Native plants are of great value in landscape maintenance. Despite their importance in the landscape, the salt tolerance of most native plants has received little attention. The present research was designed to assess morphological, physiological, and biochemical responses of four Utah-native plants [Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), Cercocarpus ledifolius (curl-leaf mountain mahogany), Cercocarpus montanus ‘Coy’ (alder-leaf mountain mahogany), and Shepherdia ×utahensis ‘Torrey’ (hybrid buffaloberry)] at different salinity levels. Each species was irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dS·m−1 (control) or saline solutions at ECs of 5.0 or 10.0 dS·m−1 for 8 weeks. The experiment was a randomized complete block design with 10 replications. At 8 weeks after the initiation of the experiment, A. uva-ursi and C. montanus ‘Coy’ had slight foliar salt damage with an average visual score of 3.7 (0 = dead, 5 = excellent with no sign of foliar salt damage) when irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m−1 and were dead at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. Similarly, C. ledifolius had an average visual score of 3.2 when irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. However, almost no foliar salt damage was observed on S. ×utahensis ‘Torrey’ during the experimental period. In addition, the shoot dry weight of all species was reduced with elevated salinity levels in the irrigation water. Salinity stress also reduced gas exchange rates of plants and affected their mineral content. Proline accumulated in the leaves of native plants but was species-dependent. In conclusion, S. ×utahensis ‘Torrey’ was tolerant to salinity stress followed by C. ledifolius; A. uva-ursi and C. montanus ‘Coy’ were sensitive to salinity stress.
Biological amendments, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal inoculant products, are increasingly incorporated into agricultural management plans as a way to improve plant productivity. However, the effects of mycorrhizal inoculants on plant growth are context-dependent and can vary with soil fertility and among plant cultivars. To optimize the use of mycorrhizal inoculant products on wine grapes at the nursery stage, we tested the effect of a mycorrhizal inoculant product with and without the addition of phosphorus (P) fertilizer on the growth and tissue nutrients of two popular Vitis vinifera cultivars, Merlot and Chardonnay. We rooted dormant cuttings in the following respective treatments: no AM fungal inocula or P fertilizer; AM fungal inocula; P fertilizer; and co-amendment of AM fungal inocula and P fertilizer. We grew the grapevines in pots for 5 months in a greenhouse. Growth responses to treatments differed between cultivars. ‘Merlot’ vines had a stronger growth response to the mycorrhizal inoculant product than ‘Chardonnay’, especially when no P fertilizer was added. The co-amendment of AM fungi and P fertilizer resulted in larger root biomass for ‘Merlot’, but there was no effect of any treatment on the root biomass of ‘Chardonnay’. ‘Merlot’ vines grown with the AM fungal inoculant product also had higher tissue P than uninoculated vines, but there was no effect of inoculation on tissue nutrients of ‘Chardonnay’. This study provides evidence of grapevine cultivar-specific responses to an AM fungal inoculant product in a greenhouse, which may be useful when planning nursery management strategies for the incorporation of biological amendments into grapevine production.