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Mohammad Sadat-Hosseini, Kourosh Vahdati and Charles A. Leslie

Somatic embryos (SEs) can play important roles in genetic manipulation and breeding. They can be used as targets for induced mutagenesis, as material for cryopreservation and germplasm conservation, and for transformation or gene editing in support of plant improvement and proof of gene function. However, germination rates of walnut (Juglans regia) SEs are low, and the genetic stability of plantlets regenerated from them has not been explored. Here, we studied first the effects of gibberellic acid (GA3) and low temperature storage (LTS) on germination of walnut somatic embryos. Second, we assessed the genetic fidelity of plantlets regenerated from these SEs by comparing them to each other and to their cultivar of origin. Results showed that GA3 and LTS increased the walnut SE germination rate. The best rate was observed when SEs were subjected to LTS for 60 d followed by culture on a medium with either 1 or 3 mg·L−1 GA3 (56.6% and 46.6% germination respectively). Genetic stability was evaluated, using flow cytometry and 15 sets of ISSR primers. Flow cytometry indicated that all samples (i.e., regenerated and parental counterpart) showed the same peak. Amplified fragments of inter simple sequence repeats (ISSR) primers ranged in size from ≈200 to 1800 bp. All ISSR profiles of regenerants were monomorphic. Results did not show any genetic differences among plantlets regenerated from SEs or from their parental counterpart. Due to this apparent genetic stability, walnut SEs can be useful for genetic transformation and germplasm conservation.

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Robert Andrew Kerr, Lambert B. McCarty, Matthew Cutulle, William Bridges and Christopher Saski

Goosegrass (Eleusine indica L. Gaertn.) is a problematic C4 weedy grass species, occurring in the warmer regions of the world where it is difficult to selectively control without injuring the turfgrass. Furthermore, control efficacy is affected by plant maturity. End-user options for satisfactory goosegrass control has decreased; thus, the need for developing management techniques to improve the selectivity of POST goosegrass control options in turfgrass systems is ever increasing. One possible means of providing control, yet maintaining turf quality is immediately incorporating applied products via irrigation. Greenhouse and field trials were conducted in Pickens County, SC, with the objectives of 1) evaluating turfgrass injury following use of POST goosegrass control options; 2) assessing if irrigating (0.6 cm) immediately following the herbicide application reduces injury of ‘Tifway 419’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × Cynodon transvaalensis Burtt-Davy]; and 3) determining if immediate irrigation influences goosegrass control at one- to three-tiller and mature growth stage. Following the application of herbicide treatments, irrigation was applied (+) or not applied (−). Treatments included the following: control (+/− irrigation); topramezone at 12.3 g a.i./ha (+/− irrigation); metribuzin at 420 g a.i./ha (+/− irrigation); and topramezone plus metribuzin (+/− irrigation) at 12.3 and 420 g a.i./ha. Irrigation treatment had minimum effect on greenhouse-grown goosegrass biomass, all treatments provided >85% control of 1- to 3-tiller goosegrass plants. However, control for mature plants was <50% for topramezone- and 60% to 70% for metribuzin-containing treatments. In field studies, at 1 week after treatment (WAT), the irrigated metribuzin and topramezone plus metribuzin had ≈37% and ≈16%, respectively, less goosegrass control vs. nonirrigated treatments. At 2WAT, irrigated metribuzin and irrigated topramezone plus metribuzin–treated plots, had ≈50% less mature goosegrass control vs. nonirrigated treatments. Irrigated herbicide treatments, however, experienced ≈23% less turfgrass injury at this time. At 4 WAT, irrigated metribuzin- and irrigated topramezone plus metribuzin–treated plots experienced reduced mature goosegrass control by ≈65% and ≈59%, respectively. Overall, incorporating POST herbicide applications via 0.6 cm of irrigation reduced turfgrass injury by at least 20% for all herbicide treatments, while maintaining goosegrass control.

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Qin Yang, Er Liu, Yan Fu, Fuqiang Yuan, Tingting Zhang and Shu Peng

After nearly a decade of development, the scale of blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) cultivation has increased, particularly in south China; however, this region is becoming increasingly challenged by temperature changes during the flowering phenophase. Understanding the effects of temperature on pollen germination and pollen tube growth in blueberry is thus important. Using the rabbiteye blueberry (V. ashei) ‘Brightwell’, different temperature treatments were carried out during open pollination and cross-pollination with the pollen from rabbiteye blueberry ‘Gardenblue’ in field, greenhouse, and controlled temperature experiments over two consecutive years. The differences in pollen germination, pollen tube dynamics, and ovule viability following different treatments were analyzed, and the critical temperatures were calculated using quadratic and modified bilinear equations to quantify the developmental responses to temperature. The results showed that the fruit set of the artificially pollinated plants inside the greenhouse was significantly higher than that outside the greenhouse. Furthermore, pollen germination and pollen tube growth gradually accelerated under the appropriate high-temperature range, resulting in reduced pollen tube travel time to the ovule. However, the percentage of the style traversed by the pollen tube did not increase at temperatures greater than 30 °C, and a high-temperature range could accelerate ovule degeneration. Therefore, impairment of pollen tube growth in the upper half of the style following pollen germination and ovule degeneration constituted important factors leading to reduced fruit setting under short periods of high temperature during the flowering phenophase in rabbiteye blueberry. This work advances our understanding of the effect of temperature on pollen germination, pollen tube growth, ovule longevity, and fruit setting in rabbiteye blueberry, and provides a foundation for continued cultivation and breeding enhancement. The findings propose that the tolerance of rabbiteye blueberry to a certain high-temperature range in the flowering phenophase should inform breeding strategies for temperature resistance and that temperature range is also an important indicator of suitable environments for cultivation to mitigate potential temperature stress.

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Josh A. Honig, Megan F. Muehlbauer, John M. Capik, Christine Kubik, Jennifer N. Vaiciunas, Shawn A. Mehlenbacher and Thomas J. Molnar

European hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is an economically important edible nut producing species, which ranked sixth in world tree nut production in 2016. European hazelnut production in the United States is primarily limited to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and currently nonexistent in the eastern United States because of the presence of a devastating endemic disease, eastern filbert blight (EFB) caused by Anisogramma anomala (Peck) E. Muller. The primary commercial means of control of EFB to date is through the development and planting of genetically resistant european hazelnut cultivars, with an R-gene introduced from the obsolete, late-shedding pollinizer ‘Gasaway’. Although the ‘Gasaway’ resistance source provides protection against EFB in the Pacific northwestern United States (PNW), recent reports have shown that it is not effective in parts of the eastern United States. This may be in part because the identification and selection of ‘Gasaway’ and ‘Gasaway’-derived cultivars occurred in an environment (PNW) with limited genetic diversity of A. anomala. The objectives of the current research were to develop a genetic linkage map using double digestion restriction site associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) and identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) markers associated with EFB resistance from the resistant selection Rutgers H3R07P25 from southern Russia. A mapping population composed of 119 seedling trees was evaluated in a geographic location (New Jersey) where the EFB fungus is endemic, exhibits high disease pressure, and has a high level of genetic diversity. The completed genetic linkage map included a total of 2217 markers and spanned a total genetic distance of 1383.4 cM, with an average marker spacing of 0.65 cM. A single QTL region associated with EFB resistance from H3R07P25 was located on european hazelnut linkage group (LG) 2 and was responsible for 72.8% of the phenotypic variation observed in the study. Based on its LG placement, origin, and disease response in the field, this resistance source is different from the ‘Gasaway’ source located on LG6. The current results, in combination with results from previous research, indicate that the H3R07P25 source is likely exhibiting resistance to a broader range of naturally occurring A. anomala isolates. As such, H3R07P25 will be important for the development of new european hazelnut germplasm that combines EFB resistance from multiple sources in a gene pyramiding approach. Identification of EFB resistance in high disease pressure environments representing a diversity of A. anomala populations is likely a requirement for identifying plants expressing durable EFB resistance, which is a precursor to the development of a commercially viable european hazelnut industry in the eastern United States.

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Boris Andrés Bran Barrientos and Jong-Yi Fang

Spathoglottis plicata is an attractive, easy-to-grow, and floriferous terrestrial orchid that has become the most important horticulturally cultivated Spathoglottis species in Southeast Asia. The present research was conducted to study the asymbiotic seed germination and seedling development of this orchid under the influence of various photoperiod and medium treatments. Seeds from 28-day-old capsule were sown on five culture media, including half-strength Murashige and Skoog medium (1/2 MS), Orchid Seed Sowing Medium (OSSM), BM-1 Terrestrial Orchid Medium (BM-1), Vacin and Went Modified Orchid Medium (VW), and Knudson C Orchid Medium (KC), and incubated under 0/24-hour or 16/8-hour light/dark photoperiod. Seed germination occurred in all photoperiods and media tested but at different paces. Seeds subjected to total darkness germinated more rapidly in the first 3 weeks than those subjected to light. However, seed germination under light overtook or even exceeded seed germination under dark starting on the fourth week of culture. Seedlings grown on the OSSM and VW media showed the fastest development as they reached the advanced stage (Stage 6) within 11 weeks of culture. Seedlings on the BM-1 medium were the slowest to evolve, as they required more than 16 weeks’ time to complete all the developmental stages. Light-incubated advanced stage seedlings were subcultured on the same medium until leaves and roots were well developed and acclimatized in the greenhouse with 100% survival.

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Meng Li, Huanhuan Zhi and Yu Dong

This study aimed to evaluate whether preharvest or postharvest application of glycine betaine (GB) has the potential to improve fruit quality [fruit firmness (FF), size, skin color, soluble solids content (SSC), and titratable acidity (TA)] and susceptibility to storage disorders (peduncle browning, pitting, and decay) in ‘Lapins’ or ‘Regina’ sweet cherries, and to determine whether factors such as application frequency or timing impacted the efficacy of GB spraying. Adding 2 or 4 g·L−1 GB to hydro-cooling water (0 °C) as postharvest treatment did not affect fruit size, skin color, SSC, TA, peduncle browning, or pitting development; however, it did result in fruit softening and a low incidence of decay. GB applied preharvest at 2 or 4 g·L−1 once at 1 week before harvest (1WBH) was more effective for retaining FF and less peduncle browning and pitting compared with postharvest treatment. Increasing the preharvest GB application frequency from one time (1WBH or pit hardening) to three times (pit hardening, straw color, and 1WBH) enhanced FF and TA levels and resulted in lower pitting. The reduction in fruit size was observed for ‘Regina’, but not for ‘Lapins’. Changes in the contents of phosphorous (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) were unaffected by GB at harvest, whereas three GB sprays increased the total nitrogen (N) content. Compared with ‘Lapins’, ‘Regina’ allowed more calcium (Ca) uptake by GB and ultimately had firmer flesh. In conclusion, three preharvest applications of 4 g·L−1 GB showed great potential to improve quality attributes, to reduce the susceptibility to storage disorders, and to increase the Ca content of ‘Regina’ cherries.

Open access

Xuelian Jiang, Yueling Zhao, Rui Wang and Sheng Zhao

Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2017 and 2018 to investigate quantitative relationships between tomato yield parameters and deficit irrigation at different growth stages. Tomato plants received one of three irrigation treatments (full irrigation, 2/3, and 1/3 full irrigation) at flowering and fruit development (stage 2) and at fruit maturation (stage 3); no deficit irrigation treatments were applied at stage 1 during either season. We used linear regression to investigate how well the yield parameters such as whole-plant yield (Y), single-fruit weight (y), fruit diameter (D), and length (L) were correlated with seasonal evapotranspiration (ET) under different deficit irrigation treatments. Six water–yield models (Blank, Jensen, Singh, Stewart, Minhas, and Rao models) were used to predict the tomato yield parameters with deficit irrigation at different growth stages. The results showed that deficit irrigation at each growth stage significantly decreased ET, Y, y, L, and D, but not T1 (2/3 full irrigation at flowering and fruit development). T1 produced higher water use efficiency (WUE) with no significant decrease in yield parameters, indicating that an acceptable balance between high WUE and yield can be obtained with an appropriate water deficit at stage 2. Relative Y, y, D, and L increased linearly as relative seasonal ET increased. Water deficit sensitivity indexes calculated by the six different water–yield models showed that Y, y, D, and L were more sensitive to water deficit at stage 2 than at stage 3. The values of Y calculated by the Minhas and Singh models were similar to the observed values. The Minhas model provided good estimates of L and D, and the Blank model is recommended for calculating y when there is a water deficit at different growth stages. The water–yield models can be used to optimize irrigation water management and provide a sound basis for efficient tomato production.

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Bo Xiao and David Jespersen

Turfgrasses have varying tolerance to waterlogging conditions. The objective of this study was to identify important root traits and physiological responses to waterlogging stress in seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) and bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.). After being exposed to waterlogging conditions for 28 days, turf quality, leaf photosynthesis, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance (g S), and root fresh weight were significantly decreased in bermudagrass, and root lipid peroxidation was significantly increased. However, seashore paspalum was found to be more tolerant to waterlogging conditions and changes in turf quality, photosynthesis, or lipid peroxidation were not seen. The waterlogging treatments increased specific root length (SRL), surface area, and volume and decreased root respiration and diameter to a greater extent in seashore paspalum compared with bermudagrass. Under waterlogging conditions, root aerenchyma formation was found in both seashore paspalum and bermudagrass, but to a greater extent in seashore paspalum. Both grasses exhibited significant increases in root water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) but to a lesser extent in seashore paspalum than in bermudagrass. Shoot WSC remained unchanged in seashore paspalum but was significantly increased in bermudagrass. These results indicate greater root morphological changes such as root volume, SRL, and root porosity, as well as lower root respiration may be important contributors to waterlogging tolerance for seashore paspalum.

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Lucia Armin Langlé-Argüello, Gabino Alberto Martínez-Gutiérrez, Patricia Araceli Santiago-García, Cirenio Escamirosa-Tinoco, Isidro Morales and José Raymundo Enríquez-del-Valle

The Agave potatorum Zucc. is a wild species endemic to Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico. The stem or “head” of the plants of this species contains a large amount of fructans, which, in conjunction with their crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), helps the agave to survive droughts. The soluble carbohydrates are used to produce mezcal. The objective was to evaluate growth and content of fructans of A. potatorum young plants grown in soil and perlite substrate, fertigated with three nutrient solutions, and subjected to drought. Eight-month-old plants were used and, for 15 months, were fertigated with nutrient solutions: 1) Steiner, 2) Hoagland and Arnon, and 3) Urrestarazu. Irrigation was later suspended to simulate a 5-month drought and induce stress. During fertigation, the vegetative growth was greater in plants irrigated with Hoagland and Arnon and Urrestarazu solutions in perlite and in soil. After the period of water deficit stress, plants in perlite substrate fertigated with the Hoagland and Arnon solution accumulated more fructans in the heads, reaching a maximum of 75%, than plants in soil substrate (42%).

Open access

Hongmei Xia, Wenbin Zhen, Dongyang Chen and Wen Zeng

Taking out and opening the ordinary multilayer fruit paper bag for fruit bagging is labor intensive, costly, not efficient, and potentially dangerous to the operator’s health. There is a high demand to develop a mechanical device for the operation in Chinese orchards. A novel supplying device based on the manual operated fruit bag case was proposed. The open hand of the supplying device operates like a farmer’s hand that can continuously take out a multilayer fruit paper bag one by one, and open it fully from its inside. Mechanism configuration and dimension parameter of the open hand were designed based on preliminary tests. The operation functionality of the supplying device prototype at different driving trajectories and speed was investigated in the study. The laboratory experimental data indicated that driving trajectory was an extremely significant factor for efficiently taking out and opening the fruit bag without sliding off and damage. Driving speed had a beneficial effect on reducing supplying time. With the synchronous driving trajectory and allowable high moving speed, the developed supplying device could achieve more than 90% opening success rate and less than 2-second opening time. The study showed the potential of the developed mechanical supplying device for fruit bagging with ordinary multilayer fruit paper bags.