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Open access

Giovanni A. Caputo, Phillip A. Wadl, Lambert McCarty, Jeff Adelberg, Katherine M. Jennings, and Matthew Cutulle

Weed competition is a main factor limiting sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] production. Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) is a problematic weed to control due to its ability to quickly infest a field and generate high numbers of tubes and shoots. Compounding this is the lack of a registered herbicide for selective postemergence control of yellow nutsedge. Research was conducted to evaluate the bentazon dose response of two sweetpotato cultivars and one advanced clone and to evaluate the plant hormone melatonin to determine its ability to safen bentazon post emergence. Bioassays using Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with melatonin (0.232 g a.i./L and 0.023 g a.i./L) and bentazon (0.24 g a.i./L) were conducted to evaluate the effect of bentazon on sweetpotato and to determine the interactive response of the Beauregard cultivar to bentazon and exogenous applications of melatonin. Beauregard swas the most tolerant cultivar and required dosages of bentazon that were two-times higher to cause the same injury compared with other cultivars. MS media containing melatonin and bentazon showed fewer injuries and higher plant mass than plants treated with bentazon alone. These results indicate that sweetpotato injury caused by bentazon may be reduced by melatonin.

Open access

Lili Dong, Tongrui Liu, Di Gao, Jing Li, and Jie Qian

Petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) is an important ornamental plant, and its branch development has become a hot research topic. In this study, PhSDG8, an ortholog of SET domain group 8 (SDG8), was cloned from the petunia cultivar Mitchell Diploid. It had an open reading frame (ORF) of 5070 bp and encoded 1689 amino acids, with Suppressor variegation 3–9, Enhancer of zeste, Trithorax (SET), Zinc finger-cysteine and tryptophan conserved (Zf-CW), associated with SET (AWS) and Post SET domains. The predicted amino acid sequence of PhSDG8 was most closely related to Nicotiana sylvestris ASHH2 (NsASHH2). Expression analysis revealed that PhSDG8 expressed highest in the stems and lowest in the axil. Subcellular localization analysis showed that PhSDG8 was localized in the nucleus. Overexpression of PhSDG8 reduced the branch number of Arabidopsis thaliana sdg8-2. The silencing of PhSDG8 resulted in an increase in the number of branches of petunia and significant upregulation of PhUGT74E2. These results suggested that PhSDG8 may be a candidate gene for regulating the branching of petunia.

Open access

Fan Li, Xijun Mo, Lifang Wu, and Chunmei Yang

Open access

Qinglu Ying, Yun Kong, and Youbin Zheng

To determine whether supplemental blue light (B) or far-red light (FR) overnight can promote microgreen elongation to facilitate machine harvesting and improve microgreen quality and yield, two common microgreen species, mustard (Brassica juncea) and arugula (Eruca sativa), were grown in a greenhouse in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, during January 2019. Low-intensity (14 μmol·m−2·s−1) B or FR was applied to microgreens overnight from 1730 hr to 0630 hr, and no supplemental lighting (D) was used as a control. After 2 weeks of light treatments, B compared to D promoted stem elongation by 16% and 10%, respectively, and increased crop yield by 32% and 29%, respectively, in mustard and arugula. B compared to D also increased the cotyledon area in mustard and leaf mass per area in arugula and enhanced cotyledon color in both species despite having no effects on total chlorophyll, carotenoid, and phenolic contents. However, FR did not increase stem length or fresh weight compared with D, reduced plant height compared with B in both species, and reduced the cotyledon area in arugula. FR, compared with D and B, reduced the stem diameter and phytochemical contents of both species. Therefore, low-intensity B can be applied overnight for winter greenhouse microgreen production because of its beneficial effects on appearance quality and crop yield without negatively affecting nutritional quality.

Open access

Han Xu, Cuihua Bai, Wei Wang, Changmin Zhou, Luwei Zhu, and Lixian Yao

Free amino acid (FAA) profile is an important indicator of the quality of fruit and fruit product. Foliar nutrient diagnosis has been used for crop yield prediction for decades but not for fruit quality evaluation. Concentrations of 11 leaf nutrients including N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and B at stages of terminal shoot maturation and fruit development and fruit FAA profile at harvest were examined in longan in South China. The relation between leaf nutrient and fruit FAA was then investigated by multiple stepwise regression analysis. Foliar N content was greatest among the nutrients among the detected elements at both stages. Twenty-nine FAAs were determined in longan flesh, with alanine (19.9%), γ-aminobutyric acid (17.5%), glutamic acid (15.2%), and asparagine (10.7%) as the main components. Flesh individual FAA, essential amino acid (AA), umami-, and sweet and bitter taste AA strongly depended on foliar nutrients. However, the relation between flesh FAAs and foliar nutrients varied with FAA species. Leaf N was the dominant indicator for most pulp FAAs at two growth stages, while other nutrients (e.g., B, Zn, P, K, Ca, Mg) also played versatile roles on flesh FAAs. This work provides a novel tool to predict fruit FAAs via foliar nutrient diagnosis, which supports the practicality of producing specific target fruit or improving fruit quality through regulation of fertilization strategies in fruit production.

Open access

Dinesh Phuyal, Thiago Assis Rodrigues Nogueira, Arun D. Jani, Davie M. Kadyampakeni, Kelly T. Morgan, and Rhuanito Soranz Ferrarezi

Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, affects practically all fruit-bearing trees in commercial citrus orchards in Florida with no cure identified yet. High-density plantings and enhanced nutritional programs such as application of controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) with higher micronutrient levels can mitigate disease symptoms and extend the tree life span of sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of tree planting density and application of CRF blends differing in N to K ratio and micronutrient content on grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) plant health, canopy volume, fruit yield, and fruit quality in an HLB-affected orchard. A study was conducted in Florida for two growing seasons (2017–18 and 2018–19) to evaluate the response of ‘Ray Ruby’ grapefruit on Kuharske citrange (Citrus sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata) to three planting densities (300, 440, and 975 trees per ha) and two CRF blends [12 nitrogen (N)–1.31 phosphorus (P)–7.47 potassium (K) and 16N–1.31P–16.6K] with different nutrient sources and composition. According to quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction testing, all sampled trees tested positive for Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the pathogen associated with HLB. Trees planted at 975 trees per ha had 33% lower canopy volume per tree but 160% greater fruit yield per hectare and 190% higher yield of solids compared with 300 trees per ha. Fruit produced in high-density planting (975 trees per ha) was 18% more acidic with higher soluble solid compared with low-density planting (300 trees per ha). The use of a CRF blend with higher amounts of micronutrients along with lower K increased canopy volume in both seasons and resulted in 24% and 29% reduction in fruit yield per hectare and yield of solids, respectively, in 2017–18. Our results indicate that high-density plantings increase fruit yield per area, and regardless of the N to K ratio, the use of CRF blends supplemented with micronutrients may not increase fruit yield in HLB-affected grapefruit.

Open access

Dinesh Phuyal, Thiago Assis Rodrigues Nogueira, Arun D. Jani, Davie M. Kadyampakeni, Kelly T. Morgan, and Rhuanito Soranz Ferrarezi

Since the arrival of Huanglongbing (HLB) disease in Florida, several management approaches, including modification of orchard architecture design and nutritional therapy, have been explored. High-density plantings anticipate early economic returns from HLB-affected orchards. With no cure available for HLB, balanced nutrient application through soil and foliar spraying can mitigate the disease. A 2-year study was conducted to investigate the effects of three grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) planting densities [single-row (300 and 440 trees per ha), and double-row high-density (975 trees per ha)], two controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) blends, and foliar-applied micronutrients (FAM) (a blend of B, Mn, and Zn at 0, 1.5, 3, and 6 times the recommended rates) on grapefruit growth and fruit yield, physiological parameters, and foliar nutrient concentrations in an HLB-affected orchard. All the trees tested positive for HLB based on real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) test. The highest planting density resulted in the lowest trunk diameter and canopy volume. Despite lower yield per tree in 2019–20, 975 trees per ha planting induced the greatest fruit and solid yields per ha. Also, the fruit produced from 975 trees per ha planting tended to be acidic with the deposition of more soluble solids. Use of CRF with higher micronutrients increased canopy volume with the expense of reduced fruit number in 2019–20. FAM did not affect cycle threshold (Ct) value and tree growth parameters. Fruit yield, photosynthesis rate, and stomatal conductance (g S) decreased, and all leaf nutrient concentrations except B increased in 2019–20 with all FAM rates tested. In conclusion, our study showed that high-density planting optimizes yield under HLB-endemic conditions. In addition, supplemental soil and foliar micronutrient application do not enhance yield of HLB-affected trees over a 2-year timeframe, warranting further research for confirmation of results.

Open access

Renae Moran, Jennifer DeEll, and Cindy B.S. Tong

We evaluated regional variation in the Delta Absorbance Meter® index of absorbance difference (IAD) as a measure of harvest maturity and for predicting the occurrence of storage disorders in ‘McIntosh’ apples [Malus ×sylvestris (L.) var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] in 2016 and ‘Honeycrisp’ apples in 2016 and 2017. Apples were grown in Maine (ME), Minnesota (MN), and Ontario (ON), and they were harvested from one orchard in each region, and two to three times each year, followed by cold storage at 0.5 °C for 2 months in 2016 and 4 months in 2017. In 2016, ‘Honeycrisp’ IAD values were similar in ME and ON, but lower than in MN. In 2017, IAD was greater in ME than in the other two regions during the first harvest, and it similar to MN in the latter two harvests and lower in ON than in the other regions. In ‘Honeycrisp’ apples, IAD was more strongly related to starch pattern index (SPI), internal ethylene concentration, and fruit peel blush than to chlorophyll or soluble solids concentration. Soft scald incidence (SSI) of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit was greater in ME than in MN and ON in both years. In ME, SSI was related to IAD at harvest in both years, but with an inverse relationship with the first harvest and a positive relationship in the second harvest. A positive relationship also occurred in ON in 2017. SSI was not related to IAD at harvest in MN in both years and ON in 2016. Regional similarities in patterns of change in ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit IAD were not consistent from year to year, and this indicates that a single IAD standard should not be used to assess fruit maturity in different regions. In ‘McIntosh’, IAD values were variable among the three regions and were not related to other maturity indicators. IAD was not useful for measuring maturity in ‘McIntosh’ apples, but it was weakly related to core browning incidence.

Open access

Giseiry Rosa-Valentín, Linda Wessel-Beaver, and Jose Carlos V. Rodrigues

One of the most important members of the Potyviridae is Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV). It affects watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] as well as other cucurbits in most parts of the world. Although several genotypes have been reported as having resistance to ZYMV, differential responses to ZYMV strains are known to occur. Using a Puerto Rico strain of ZYMV (ZYMV-PR, GenBank accession number MN422959), we tested the response of 11 genotypes [PIs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Genetic Resources Program] previously reported as having resistance to this virus. In two greenhouse trials, the first three leaves of seedlings of each genotype were mechanically inoculated with ZYMV-PR. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was done on each seedling’s fourth leaf and symptom severity was rated on the first, third, fifth, and seventh leaves. There were significant genotype × trial interactions for most variables, but some genotypes performed consistently in both trials. All seedlings of PI 537277 tested negative for ELISA (absorbance < 0.200) across both trials. PI 537277, PI 595200, PI 595201, and PI 595203 were generally among the accessions with the lowest symptom severity scores. Overall, symptom severity correlated poorly with ELISA readings. But all plants of PI 537277, and most plants of PI 595201 and PI 595203, had low ELISA readings and low severity scores. Despite having low severity scores, PI 595200 was among the genotypes with the highest ELISA readings in trial 2. For the plant breeder, the most useful genotypes are those that exhibit reduced severity as well as low ELISA. PI 537277, PI 595201, and PI 595203 met those criteria in this study. Of these three accessions, PI 595203 would be the most useful in a breeding program because it has shown resistance to the Puerto Rico, Florida, and China strains of ZYMV.

Open access

Pinki Devi, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, and Carol A. Miles

Separately, grafting and the use of plastic mulch can increase yield, quality, and early harvest of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), especially when plants are under biotic and/or abiotic stress. A 2-year field study was conducted to evaluate the combination of four different rootstocks and two types of plastic mulch (black and clear) on date of watermelon first flowering, fruit ripening, yield, and fruit quality when plants were exposed to Verticillium dahliae. Seedless watermelon cv. Secretariat was grafted onto rootstocks Lagenaria siceraria cv. Pelop, Benincasa hispida cv. Round, and two interspecific hybrid squash rootstocks Cucurbita maxima × C. moschata cvs. Super Shintosa and Tetsukabuto, with nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ as the control. Fruit were harvested 0, 7, and 14 days after both the leaflet and tendril attached to the fruit pedicel were completely dry (fruit considered to be physiologically mature). The area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) values for verticillium wilt were not different for mulch type in either year, although the overall AUDPC value was greatly reduced in the four grafted treatments (227) compared with nongrafted (743). There was no difference in days to male or female flowering due to mulch type or year, and rootstock did not affect first flowering of male flowers. Female flowering was 14 and 11 days later in 2018 and 2019, respectively, for ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto bottle gourd ‘Round’ compared with ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto ‘Tetsukabuto’. Female flowering of ‘Secretariat’ on ‘Round’ was also 7 days later compared with nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ both years. However, days to first harvest was not different with mulch or rootstock and was 92 days after transplanting (DAT) in 2018 and 114 DAT in 2019. There was no difference in yield (fruit number and weight) due to year, harvest date, or mulch, but there was a difference due to grafting. ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto ‘Super Shintosa’ had the greatest total number and weight of fruit per plant (3.7 and 14.8 kg, respectively), and nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ had the lowest (0.7 and 3.2 kg, respectively). Fruit quality attributes hollow heart formation (rating 3.2/5 on average), hard seed count (6 on average), total soluble solids (11% on average), and lycopene content were not different among mulch type, rootstock treatment, or harvest date; however, lycopene content did differ due to year (52.44 and 32.51 µg·g−1 in 2018 and 2019, respectively). Flesh firmness was highest for watermelon grafted onto ‘Super Shintosa’ rootstock (6.7 N) and lowest for nongrafted watermelon (4.3 N). Overall, rootstocks reduced verticillium wilt severity and increased fruit yield whereas mulch had no effects, and 5 V. dahliae colony forming units (cfu)/g of soil may be the minimum level for impact on watermelon fruit yield.