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Adam D. Karl, Michael G. Brown, Sihui Ma, Ann Sandbrook, Amanda C. Stewart, Lailiang Cheng, Anna Katharine Mansfield, and Gregory M. Peck

Yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) can be a limiting nutritional factor for Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast when fermenting apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) juice into hard cider. Endogenous YAN concentrations in apples are often below the recommended thresholds to completely use all of the fermentable sugar and minimize the production of off-flavors, such as hydrogen sulfide. Cider producers supplement apple juice with exogenous nitrogen to increase YAN. Urea, commonly applied to apple orchards to increase fruit size and yields, was tested for its ability to increase endogenous apple juice YAN. Starting 6 weeks before harvest in 2017 and 2018, a 1% urea solution was applied to ‘Red Spy’ apple trees one, three, or five times to create low-, medium-, and high-rate treatments, respectively. Relative to the control, the high treatment increased YAN by 229% in 2017 and by 408% in 2018. More than 90% of the YAN in all juice samples was composed of primary amino nitrogen (PAN). Among all treatments, PAN mostly comprised asparagine, and as urea applications increased, the relative concentration of asparagine also increased. Aspartic acid and then glutamic acid were the second and third most abundant amino acids in all treatments, respectively, but comprised less of the total PAN as the number of urea applications increased. Soluble solid concentration, pH, titratable acidity, and total polyphenol concentration were not different among treatments. There was a positive correlation between increased urea application rate and the maximum fermentation rate, which resulted in a shorter fermentation duration. Increasing the number of urea applications was also correlated with greater hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production in juice fermented from fruit harvested in 2017 but not for fruit harvested in 2018. No residual H2S was found in the finished cider from any treatment. Increasing the number of urea applications was estimated to be less expensive than supplementing the juice with Fermaid O™. There would have been no cost savings if Fermaid K™ was used as an exogenous nitrogen source. Foliar urea applications were estimated to be more expensive than supplementing juice with diammonium phosphate. This study demonstrated that foliar urea applications can effectively increase YAN concentration in cider apples while not negatively affecting other juice quality attributes.

Open access

Ji Jhong Chen, Haifeng Xing, Asmita Paudel, Youping Sun, Genhua Niu, and Matthew Chappell

More than half of residential water in Utah is used for landscape irrigation. Reclaimed water has been used to irrigate urban landscapes to conserve municipal water. High salt levels in reclaimed water may pose osmotic stress and ion toxicity to salt-sensitive plants. Viburnums are commonly used landscape plants, but salinity tolerance of species and cultivars is unclear. The objective of this study was to characterize gas exchanges and mineral nutrition responses of 12 viburnum taxa subjected to salinity stress in a greenhouse study. Plants were irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.3 dS·m–1 or saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m–1 or 10.0 dS·m–1. The net photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate (E) of all viburnum taxa, except for Viburnum ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’, decreased to various degrees with increasing salinity levels. The Pn, g S, and E of V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ were unaffected by saline solutions of 5.0 dS·m–1 at the 4th and 9th week after treatment initiation, with the exception of the Pn of V. ×burkwoodii, which decreased at the 9th week. Leaf sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl) concentrations of all viburnum taxa increased as salinity levels increased. Viburnum ×burkwoodii had relatively low leaf Na+ and Cl when irrigated with saline solutions of 10.0 dS·m–1. Plant growth and gas exchange parameters, including visual score, plant height, Pn, g S, E, and water use efficiency (WUE) correlated negatively with leaf Na+ and Cl concentrations. The ratio of potassium (K+) to Na+ (K+/Na+) and ratio of calcium (Ca2+) to Na+ (Ca2+/Na+) decreased when salinity levels increased. Visual score, plant height, Pn, g S, E, and WUE correlated positively with the K+/Na+ and Ca2+/Na+ ratios. These results suggest excessive Na+ and Cl accumulation inhibited plant photosynthesis and growth, and affected K+ and Ca2+ uptake negatively.

Open access

Youping Sun, Ji Jhong Chen, Haifeng Xing, Asmita Paudel, Genhua Niu, and Matthew Chappell

Viburnums are widely used in gardens and landscapes throughout the United States. Although salinity tolerance varies among plant species, research-based information is limited on the relative salt tolerance of viburnum species. The morphological and growth responses of 12 viburnum taxa to saline solution irrigation were evaluated under greenhouse conditions. Viburnum taxa included Viburnum ×burkwoodii, V. cassinoides ‘SMNVCDD’, V. dentatum ‘Christom’, V. dentatum var. deamii ‘SMVDLS’, V. dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. בNCVX1’, V. nudum ‘Bulk’, V. opulus ‘Roseum’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, V. pragense ‘Decker’, V. ×rhytidophylloides ‘Redell’, and V. trilobum. A nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.3 dS·m−1 (control) or saline solutions at ECs of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m−1 were applied eight times over a 9-week period. Growth, visual quality, and morphological characteristics were quantified at the 4th week and 8th–9th week to assess the impact of salinity stress on the viburnum taxa. Saline solution irrigation imposed detrimental salinity stress on viburnum plant growth and visual quality, and the degree of salt damage was dependent on the salinity levels of irrigation solution and the length of exposure to salinity stress as well as viburnum taxa. Viburnum ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ had little foliar salt damage during the entire experiment, except those irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 exhibited slight to moderate foliar salt damage at the eighth week. Viburnum dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, and V. trilobum irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m−1 had slight and severe foliar salt damage at the 4th and 8th week, respectively. Plants irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 exhibited severe foliar salt damage at the 4th week, and all died by the 8th week. Other viburnum taxa also showed various foliar salt damage, especially at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. The shoot dry weights of V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ irrigated with saline solution at ECs of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m−1 were similar to those in the control at both harvest dates. However, the shoot dry weight of other tested viburnum taxa decreased to some extent at the 9th week. A cluster analysis concluded that V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ were considered the most salt-tolerant viburnum taxa, whereas V. dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, and V. trilobum were sensitive to salinity levels used in this study. This research may guide the green industry to choose relatively tolerant viburnum taxa for landscape use and nursery production where low-quality water is used for irrigation.

Open access

Martina Göttingerová, Michal Kumšta, and Tomáš Nečas

The nutritive quality of food and the aesthetic aspect contribute to the appearance of consumed food. In this study, apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) flowers were used to determine vitamin C, total phenolic content, flavonoids, antioxidant capacity, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and amygdalin. Vitamin C content fluctuated between 24.97 and 47.35 mg·100 g–1 fresh weight (FW). The results show that all apricot flowers are a good source of phenolic compounds [404.08–768.45 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/100 g FW] and flavonoids [198.76–538.11 mg catechin equivalent (CE)/100 g FW], and have good antioxidant capacity [414.66–1026.18 mg Trolox equivalent (TE)/100 g FW]. A high value of anthocyanins was measured in ‘Vestar’ (28.41 mg·100 g–1 FW) and also in ‘Blenheim’ (13.40 mg·100 g–1 FW). On the contrary, a low value was found in ‘Scout’ (1.60 mg·100 g–1 FW). The highest value of carotenoids was measured in ‘Blenheim’ (6.41 mg·100 g–1 FW), and the lowest in ‘Chuang Zhi Hong’ (1.36 mg·100 g–1 FW). Amygdalin content fluctuated between 110.81 and 419.78 mg·100 g–1 FW. Newly acquired information about the composition and nutritional value of edible flowers give reasons for their consumption.

Open access

Yu-Chun Chu and Jer-Chia Chang

Following high summer temperatures in Taiwan, erratic fruit production and yellowed cladode have been observed in red-fleshed ‘Da Hong’ pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus). However, the specific environmental influences that result in the yield loss and cladode damage are unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate how high temperature affects fruit production and cladode yellowing of ‘Da Hong’ pitaya under controlled conditions. One-year-old field-grown potted plants with moderately yellow-colored cladodes were placed in the phytotron at either 40/30 °C ± 1 °C [day/night, high-temperature treatment (HT)] or 30/20 °C ± 1 °C [day/night, control (CK)] during the natural long-day reproductive period. Floral bud development duration, flower opening behavior, fruit set and development, as well as fruit characteristics and seed setting (which was expressed as the estimated number of seeds), and the weight per fruit at harvest were investigated. In addition, the percentage of dry matter and color change (regreening) of cladodes were examined. We found that floral bud development was completed 8 days earlier than the control, but the time of blooming was 2 to 3 hours later within a day; and fruit set, fruit size, seed weight, and peel color were strongly suppressed in HT-treated plants compared with the control. Furthermore, both the estimated seed number and seed weight were positively correlated with fruit weight, suggesting that reduced seed setting and weight arising from incomplete fertilization in the HT plants may have resulted in fruit drop and smaller fruit. Although the color on the sunny (sun-exposed) side of the cladode remained yellow, the percentage of dry matter in the HT cladodes was not significantly different from the control, indicating that the yellow-colored cladodes did not reduce their carbon supply potential. The results indicate that HT during bloom led to poorer fruit set and lower fruit weight, presumably due to lower seed setting/weight per fruit arising from incomplete fertilization. The HT treatment also caused less regreening of cladodes, but this did not seem to impact fruit production. Further study is required to ascertain whether disrupted stamens or pistils resulting from HT treatment lead to incomplete fertilization.

Open access

Craig J. Frey, Xin Zhao, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Dustin M. Huff, and Zachary E. Black

Although grower interest in high tunnel tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production has increased in recent years, systematic high tunnel research conducted in humid, subtropical regions has been limited. The potential of tomato grafting to mitigate biotic and abiotic stresses makes it complementary to high-value production systems in high tunnels. In this 2-year study, grafted vs. nongrafted organic tomato production in high tunnels and open fields was investigated to determine possible synergistic effects of these two technologies. In 2016, high tunnels resulted in a significant increase of total and marketable yields, by 43% and 87%, respectively, over open field production. Grafting also significantly increased total and marketable yields over nongrafted plants by 34% and 42%, respectively. Cultivar effects demonstrated greater benefits with the implementation of high tunnel and grafting technologies for ‘Tribute’ (a beefsteak-type tomato) than for ‘Garden Gem’ (a plum-type tomato), as the increase in marketable yield was 33% greater for ‘Tribute’ in high tunnels and 45% greater for ‘Tribute’ with grafting. In 2017, a delayed effective transplanting date and the lack of high tunnel summer season extension produced results that were generally cultivar specific. While grafting increased the total yield of both cultivars (by 18%), marketable yield was increased by grafting only for ‘Tribute’ in high tunnels (by 42%). Additionally, high tunnels improved marketable yield of ‘Tribute’ by 129% but had no effect on ‘Garden Gem’. This demonstrated the consistent trend of the beefsteak-type tomato benefiting more from the combination of high tunnel and grafting technologies than the plum-type tomato. High tunnels reduced fruit decay and cracking by up to 71% compared with open field production. Stink bug (Pentatomidae) damage had the greatest impact on marketable yields each season, reaching 13% and 34% of total yields in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and was unaffected by high tunnel production or grafting. This study revealed the benefits of integrating high tunnel and grafting technologies for enhancing organic production of fresh-market tomato in the humid subtropics, and demonstrated more research is warranted to establish regional planting dates and further optimize this high-value cropping system.

Open access

Kristin E. Gibson, Alexa J. Lamm, Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, Paul R. Fisher, and Celina Gómez

There are economic and knowledge-based challenges that must be addressed for indoor farms to be viable in the United States despite their potential benefits. A mixed-methods approach was used to identify the needs of specialty crop growers and stakeholders interested in or currently using indoor propagation environments to grow seedlings, cuttings, and tissue-cultured plants. An online survey evaluated specialty crop growers’ current use of indoor plant propagation environments and their needs related to indoor plant propagation. A focus group was then conducted to further understand the needs for indoor plant propagation by stakeholders. Industry participants were largely motivated to adopt indoor propagation environments to reduce crop losses (“shrinkage”), increase productivity per unit of land area, ensure faster germination or rooting, improve plant quality, and profit from anticipated economic benefits. Research and education priority areas identified by stakeholders included economic costs and benefits (including capital investment and energy costs), improved crop quality, production time, uniformity, reduced shrinkage, and strategies to improve light management indoors. Based on the results, research efforts must determine and prioritize the most important economic considerations and production advantages to fill important gaps in knowledge about indoor plant propagation.

Open access

Bernadine C. Strik, Amanda J. Davis, David R. Bryla, and Scott T. Orr

A 2-year trial was established in Oct. 2016 in western Oregon to evaluate the effects of various in-row mulch treatments on the establishment of northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. ‘Duke’). The treatments included douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] sawdust, black weed mat (woven polypropylene groundcover), green weed mat, and sawdust covered with black or green weed mat. Soil temperature was unaffected by the color of the weed mat, but it was often higher during the day in beds with weed mat mulch than in those with sawdust alone or sawdust covered with weed mat. Black or green weed mat also resulted in higher canopy temperatures, particularly when sawdust was underneath the weed mat. Plant growth was mainly unaffected by the color of the weed mat, and the maximum depth of the root system was similar among the mulch treatments. However, plants grown with sawdust mulch, with or without weed mat, had a greater canopy width and volume in year 2, a wider root system in both years, and more dry weight (DW) in the crown in year 1 and in the whips in year 2 than those with weed mat alone. Furthermore, plants with weed mat over sawdust were taller in year 1 and had greater canopy cover and more DW in new wood in year 2 than those with sawdust alone, and they had a larger canopy, more root development, and greater DW in the crown, new and old wood, fruit, and pruning wood in one or both years than those with weed mat alone. Over the course of the 2 years of the study, the net gain in total plant DW was lowest when the plants were grown with black weed mat and highest when they were grown with black weed mat over sawdust. Although it was more expensive initially, the use of weed mat over sawdust resulted in more plant growth than weed mat alone due to the insulating properties of the sawdust, and it was more effective for weed control than using sawdust alone.

Open access

Amir M. González-Delgado and Manoj K. Shukla

The objectives of this study were to evaluate the leaching, degradation, uptake, and mass balance of indaziflam, as well as its potential to produce phytotoxicity effects on young pecan trees. Pecan trees were planted in pots with homogeneous porous media (sandy loam soil), preferential flow channels open to the soil surface, and shallow tillage at the soil surface. Pots were treated with indaziflam at two application rates of 25 and 50 g a.i./ha in 2014 and 2015. Each pecan tree was irrigated with 7 L of water every 2 weeks during the growing season. An irrigation volume of 2 L was used to maximize indaziflam retention time in the soil from Dec. 2015 until the end of the trees’ dormant stage. In 2014, leachate samples were collected after each irrigation for quantifying indaziflam mobility. Soil samples were collected at depths of 0 to 12 and 12 to 24 cm after 45, 90, and 135 days of indaziflam application, and leaf samples were collected at the end of the growing season to quantify mobility and uptake. Indaziflam was detected in leachate samples, and the leaf indaziflam content increased with increasing application rate. Indaziflam and its breakdown products were detected at both sampling depths. Mass recovery and half-life values for indaziflam in the soil ranged from 38% to 68% and 63 to 99 days, respectively. No phytotoxicity effects were observed from increasing application rate and retention time of indaziflam in the soil. Most of the applied indaziflam was retained in the soil at shallow depth.

Open access

Dennis N. Katuuramu, W. Patrick Wechter, Marcellus L. Washington, Matthew Horry, Matthew A. Cutulle, Robert L. Jarret, and Amnon Levi

Root traits are an important component for productive plant performance. Roots offer immediate absorptive surfaces for water and nutrient acquisition and are thus critical to crop growth and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. In addition, roots can provide the first line of defense against soilborne pathogens. Watermelon crop performance is often challenged by inclement weather and environmental factors. A resilient root system can support the watermelon crop’s performance across a diverse range of production conditions. In this study, 335 four-day-old watermelon (Citrullus spp.) seedlings were evaluated for total root length, average root diameter, total root surface area, and total root volume. Total root length varied from 8.78 to 181 cm (20.6-fold variation), total surface area varied from 2 to 35.5 cm2, and average root diameter and total root volume had an 8- and 29.5-fold variation, respectively. Genotypes PI 195927 (Citrullus colocynthis) and PI 674448 (Citrullus amarus) had the largest total root length values. Accessions PI 674448 and PI 494817 (C. amarus) had the largest total root surface area means. Watermelon cultivars (Citrullus lanatus) had a relatively smaller root system and significantly fewer fibrous roots when compared with the roots of the other Citrullus spp. Positive genetic correlations were identified among total root length, total root surface area, and total root volume. This genetic information will be useful in future breeding efforts to select for multiple root architecture traits in watermelon. Germplasm identified in this study that exhibit superior root traits can be used as parental choices to improve watermelon for root traits.