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Open access

Marlee A. Trandel, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, and Jonathan Schultheis

In triploid (seedless) watermelon [Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Thunb. Matsum. and Nakai)], hollow heart (HH) is a disorder that is expressed as a crack in the center of the fruit that expands to an open cavity. Although HH incidence and severity is part of a screening process for marketable watermelon fruit during cultigen evaluations, HH incidence is highly variable with growing season, even when the best cultural practices are used. Placental tissue firmness is also measured because firmness is related to the marketability of watermelon and may be related to HH. Genetic and environmental factors can influence watermelon HH development, including plant genetics, pollen amount and viability, pollinator activity, and temperature and rainfall fluctuations. We used seedless watermelon cultigen evaluation data collected over 3 years (2012–14) to determine the relationship between germplasm HH and tissue firmness. Transplanted watermelon representing 30 to 44 cultigens per year were grown at the Central Crops Research Station, Clayton, NC, and interplanted with pollenizers ‘Ace’ and/or ‘SP-6’. Harvested fruit were cut length-wise and rated for HH incidence and severity. Flesh firmness was determined by a handheld penetrometer at five locations in the flesh (stem end, top side, ground spot, blossom end, and heart). A common cultigen subset, consisting of 13 cultigens that were grown in all three experiments, was used for analysis of HH severity and incidence, and placental firmness. The presence of HH was negatively correlated with tissue firmness in both the large multiyear cultigen set (R 2 = −0.32; P = 0.0001) and the common cultigen set (R 2 = −0.78; P = 0.0001). Cultigens with lower watermelon tissue firmness values had higher HH incidence and severity. By using multiyear cultigen studies and logistic regression, we were able to detect trends for cultigen susceptibility to this highly variable disorder. Using logistic regression, the probability of HH development was highest for ‘Bold Ruler’, ‘Liberty’, and ‘Affirmed’, and lowest for ‘Maxima’ and ‘Captivation’. The identification of cultigens with a tendency for higher or lower rates of HH will be useful for further research of the causes of HH. Measurements of placental flesh firmness may be useful indicators of susceptible cultigens.

Open access

Arthur Villordon, Jeffrey C. Gregorie, and Don LaBonte

The primary objective of this work was to generate species-specific information about root architectural responses to variations in inorganic phosphate (Pi) availability at the onset of storage root formation among six sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivars. Three Pi levels were used: 0 (low Pi); 0.17 (medium Pi); and 0.34 (high Pi) g/pot triple super phosphate (0N–46P–0K). The check cultivar ‘Bayou Belle’ (BB) consistently showed evidence of storage root formation at 15 days in adventitious roots (ARs) grown across three Pi levels and two planting dates (PDs). Storage root formation was also detected in ‘Orleans’ (OR) and ‘Beauregard’ (BX), but it was less consistent relative to BB. In general, BB had the lowest adventitious root (AR) number relative to the other cultivars, but the magnitudes of difference varied with Pi availability and PD. With the first PD, BX had a 45% higher AR number compared with BB in low Pi conditions; however, there were no differences in the second PD. Within cultivars, BX and Okinawa grown in low Pi showed combined 17% and 24% reductions in primary root length (PRL) relative to roots grown in high Pi. BB had a higher lateral root number (LRN) and lateral root density (LRD) across Pi levels, corroborating prior data regarding the association of these root architectural attributes with the onset of storage root formation. The experimental data support the hypothesis regarding the existence of genetic variation for Pi efficiency in sweetpotato and that some well-documented Pi-efficient root traits like high LRN and LRD are indirectly selected for in-breeding programs that focus on early storage root formation and stable yields across environments.

Open access

Richard P. Marini, Tara Auxt Baugher, Megan Muehlbauer, Sherif Sherif, Robert Crassweller, and James R. Schupp

‘Honeycrisp’ (Malus ×domestica) apples were harvested from a total of 17 mid-Atlantic orchards during 2018 and 2019 to verify a previously published bitter pit prediction model. As in the previous study, bitter pit incidence was associated with low calcium (Ca) levels and high ratios of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and/or magnesium (Mg) to Ca in the fruit peel and excessive terminal shoot growth. The best two-variable model for predicting bitter pit developed with the 2018–19 data set contained boron (B) and the ratio of Mg to Ca (R 2 = 0.83), which is different from previous models developed with data from three individual years (2015–17). When used to predict the bitter pit incidence of the 2018–19 data, our previous best model containing the average shoot length (SL) and the ratio of N to Ca underestimated the incidence of bitter pit. The model is probably biased because one or more important variables related to bitter pit have not yet been identified. However, the model is accurate enough to identify orchards with a low incidence of bitter pit.

Open access

Asmita Paudel, Youping Sun, Larry A. Rupp, and Richard Anderson

Open access

Kynda R. Curtis, Tatiana Drugova, Trevor Knudsen, Jennifer Reeve, and Ruby Ward

This study examines consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for organic and eco-friendly peaches, Prunus persica L., over conventional peaches in Utah. Data were collected at farmers’ markets across Utah, including actual peach purchases coupled with an in-person survey and analyzed using logit models. The results show that farmers’ market shoppers are willing to pay a premium for organic and eco-friendly peaches of $2.10 and $1.41 per pound, respectively. The importance of selected sustainability attributes positively impacted shopper preferences for eco-friendly peaches, while attitudes and lifestyle were associated with stronger shopper preferences for organic peaches. The distinct differences between shoppers who prefer organic and those who prefer eco-friendly, as well as the disparity in premiums, imply that growers should strongly consider their markets and cost of production differences when choosing organic certification over other less expensive differentiation schemes.

Open access

Larissa Larocca de Souza and Marcelo L. Moretti

Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) basal sprouts, or suckers, are removed to train trees as a single trunk, facilitating mechanization. Suckers are routinely controlled with herbicides, often by using nozzles that generate fine droplets and spray volumes as high as 934 L·ha−1, making spray drift a concern. Spray nozzle type and carrier volume can impact herbicide efficacy and drift. Field studies compared the efficacy of 2,4-D and glufosinate in controlling suckers when applied with a flat-fan nozzle, producing fine droplets, to a TeeJet air-induction nozzle, producing ultra-coarse droplets. These nozzles were evaluated at 187 and 374 L·ha−1. Nozzle and carrier volume did not affect the efficacy of 2,4-D based on control, sucker height, or dry weight. The efficacy of glufosinate was unaffected by nozzle type or spray volume in most evaluations. These results indicate that hazelnut suckers can be effectively controlled using drift-reduction nozzles with lower carrier volumes (187 L·ha−1). Drift-reduction nozzles, coupled with lower spray volume, can maintain herbicide efficacy, minimize drift risk, and reduce cost.

Open access

Huan Hu, Nan Chai, Haoxiang Zhu, Rui Li, Renwei Huang, Xia Wang, Daofeng Liu, Mingyang Li, Xingrong Song, and Shunzhao Sui

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) is one of the most popular winter-blooming species. Effective vegetative propagation is necessary for commercial usage and protection of wintersweet. In the current study, the four factors, namely hormone type (A), hormone concentration (B), soaking duration (C), and medium (D), were assessed using an L16 (44) orthogonal test design. The hormone types include ABT (A1), α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) (A2), indole butyric acid (IBA) (A3), and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) (A4); the hormone concentrations include 100 mg·L−1 (B1), 500 mg·L−1 (B2), 1000 mg·L−1 (B3), and 1500 mg·L−1 (B4); the soaking durations include 5 seconds (C1), 5 minutes (C2), 30 minutes (C3), and 3 hours (C4); and the mediums include perlite: peat in the ratios 1:0 (D1), 2:1 (D2), 1:1 (D3), and 1:2 (D4). The results showed that hormone and proper medium could significantly improve the cutting survival, rooting, and sprouting, whereas poor factor combinations, especially high hormone concentrations combined with long soaking durations may be threatened to the cuttings and rooting. In actual experiments, we successfully obtained an excellent rooting percentage (62.22%) of wintersweet from treatment No. 5 (A2B1C2D3), which is perlite and peat (1:1) as the medium and soaking the cuttings in 100 mg·L−1 NAA for 5 minutes as the hormone treatment. This combination can already meet the requirements for commercial production. A range analysis showed that the medium and hormone concentration were the most important factors affecting the cutting of wintersweet. An analysis of variance also showed that the medium and hormone concentration can significantly or extremely significantly affect most cutting indicators. Moreover, our results revealed that an orthogonal design method is an effective tool for establishing an improved technique for cutting propagation.

Open access

Lili Zhou, Maria Eloisa Q. Reyes, and Robert E. Paull

Papaya (Carica papaya L.) leaves are large, up to 70 cm wide, and frequently deeply lobed, with seven to 13 major veins. The scan width of current handheld digital leaf area instruments is generally less than 15 cm. A rapid method is needed to estimate the total leaf area of a plant in the field with leaves at different stages of growth from the apex. The length of the main and side veins of papaya leaves can be used to estimate the area of a single leaf and the total leaf area of the plant. The relationship between main vein lengths and total leaf area was determined for mature leaves from the cultivars Sunset, Line-8, and Kapoho. A simple relationship exists between leaf area and the length of the two main side midribs (L3 and L4): Leaf area (cm2) = −2280 + 87.7*L3 + 55.6*L4 (P > F = 0.0001; r 2 = 0.969), explaining ≈94% of the variation between estimated leaf area and leaf area. The most recently matured leaf is the third or fourth discernable leaf from the apex, with a positive net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate and an average area of 2331 cm2 that could fix up to 1.6 g carbon per 10-hour day under full sun. The rate of photosynthesis declined with leaf age, and the overall net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate of the plant can be predicted. Following 80% leaf defoliation of the plant, the net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate of the most recently matured leaf increased 30% to 50% on days 11 and 19 after treatment when the photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) was approximately half of that on day 15 under full sun when no difference in net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate was seen. Fruit removal did not affect the net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate. Papaya adjusts its single-leaf net photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rate under lower light levels to meet plant growth and fruit sink demand.

Open access

Gianna Ricci and F. Bailey Norwood

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the appearance, texture, color, and taste of two popular pecan (Carya illinoinensis) clones relative to native pecans in a blind sensory analysis. Subjects tasted the raw pecans acquired from the same farm and evaluated them using hedonic scores. Results suggest consumers prefer the two clones to natives, and most of this preference seems to be related to the pecan size. A crossmodal effect was detected whereby the subjects reported an improved flavor in whole native pecans compared with clones that were cut in half and were thus less visually appealing. Consequently, although a previous study showed that consumers prefer pecans in a hypothetical (nontasting) situation when they are labeled as a “native” as opposed to clones, when the pecans are actually eaten and there are no labels designating the pecan type, they prefer the clones.

Open access

Ricardo Goenaga, Angel Marrero, and Delvis Pérez

Dragon fruit (Hylocereus sp. and Selenicereus sp.), also referred to as pitahaya or pitaya, is a member of the Cactaceae family and native to the tropical forest regions of southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Its fruit is becoming increasingly popular as consumers seek healthy and more diverse food products. The crop adapts to different ecological conditions ranging from very dry regions to wet ones receiving more than 3500 mm of rainfall per year. U.S. commercial production of dragon fruit occurs mainly in Florida, southern California, and Hawaii. As growers learn more about this crop and how productive it can be, the acreage planted is likely to increase. Twelve dragon fruit cultivars grown on an Oxisol soil were evaluated for 5 years under intensive management at Isabela, PR. There were significant differences in number and weight of fruit per hectare among years. Cultivars exhibited an increase in fruit number and yield from 2010 to 2013 and then leveled off or declined. There were significant differences among cultivars for number of fruit and yield per hectare. Cultivars N97-17 and N97-15 produced significantly more fruit averaging 74,908 fruit/ha. Significantly higher fruit yield was obtained by cultivars N97-17, N97-20, N97-22, and NOI-13 averaging 17,002 kg·ha−1. Cultivar Cosmic Charlie had the lowest fruit yield, averaging only 25.1 kg·ha−1. Individual fruit weight was significantly higher in cultivars N97-20 and NOI-13 with fruit weight averaging 346.3 g. Cultivars NOI-16, N97-18, and Cosmic Charlie had significantly higher fruit soluble solids than others, averaging 17.4%. Some of the cultivars used in this study have shown horticultural potential and may serve as new planting material for growers.