Water deficit stress can reduce the postproduction shelf life and marketability of floriculture crops. To alleviate the damage by water deficiency, plants need to limit transpirational water loss by inducing stomatal closure. Osmotic stress induces stomatal closure like the response to water deficit stress. It could be used as a convenient tool to enhance water deficit stress tolerance by reducing water loss. The objective of this research was to investigate whether osmotic treatment with a high concentration of chemical solutions could trigger a response to osmotic stress so that stomatal closure can be induced, resulting in enhanced water deficit stress tolerance in viola (Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet XP Yellow’). Osmotic treatments with CaCl2, Ca(NO3)2, NaCl, NaNO3, BaCl2, Ba(NO3)2, and mannitol were applied at the osmotic potentials (ψS) of −1.3 and −2.0 MPa. Chemical treatments [except Ca(NO3)2, NaCl, and mannitol] helped to delay wilting and gave a longer shelf life, up to 5.2 days over that of the control, 2.5 days. However, leaf necrosis was observed on the violas treated with NaCl, NaNO3, BaCl2, Ba(NO3)2, and mannitol. CaCl2 was the most effective agent in delaying wilting under water deficit stress in viola without leaf necrosis. Compared with the control, violas treated with CaCl2 at 200 and 300 mm showed an increase in shelf life by 2.6 and 1.2 days, respectively. Stomatal conductance (g S) was reduced within 4 hours after treatment with CaCl2 compared with that of control violas. Leaf relative water content (RWC) of control violas was dramatically reduced 3 days after treatment and fell below 50% on day 4, while CaCl2-treated violas maintained higher leaf RWC (70% to 81%) during the water deficit period. These results indicated that osmotic treatment with the high concentration of CaCl2 caused stomatal closure, resulting in a reduction of water loss and an extension of shelf life under water deficit stress in viola.
Suejin Park, Youyoun Moon and Nicole L. Waterland
Joshua K. Craver, Krishna S. Nemali and Roberto G. Lopez
Indoor production of bedding plant seedlings using sole-source radiation may present value in increasing uniformity and consistency compared with greenhouse production. However, information on physiological acclimation related to growth and photosynthesis in seedlings exposed to high-intensity blue radiation and elevated CO2 is limited. Seedlings of petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) ‘Dreams Midnight’ were exposed to red (peak = 660 nm):blue (peak = 451 nm) radiation ratios of 50:50 (R50:B50) or 90:10 (R90:B10) and radiation intensities of 150 or 300 µmol·m−2·s–1 under two CO2 regimes of 450 or 900 µmol·mol–1. Shoot dry mass (SDM), leaf area index (LAI), internode length, and whole-plant photosynthesis and light-use efficiency (LUE) responses to increasing radiation intensity were measured. In addition, leaf photosynthetic rate (A) was measured at ambient and supra-optimal CO2 concentrations for plants grown under 450 µmol·mol–1 CO2. Our results indicated growth (based on SDM, LAI, and internode length) was lowered for seedlings produced under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. However, we observed an increase in whole-plant light-saturated photosynthesis (Ag,max) and whole-plant light saturation point (LSP) under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. In addition, we observed lower LUE below and higher LUE above a radiation intensity of 500 µmol·m−2·s–1 in seedlings grown under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. Based on our results, seedling growth was lowered under a high proportion of blue radiation mainly due to lower radiation interception (due to lower LAI and shorter internode length) and LUE of intercepted radiation at the intensities used. Higher Ag,max and LSP in R50:B50 compared with R90:B10 under higher radiation intensities was likely in part due to higher LUE. Further investigation revealed A was higher at both optimal and supra-optimal CO2 concentrations under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10, indicating a lack of stomatal effects of a higher proportion of blue radiation on carboxylation and LUE. We hypothesize that higher LUE in R50:B50 compared with R90:B10 under higher radiation intensities is due to improved photochemical quenching from increased biosynthesis of carotenoids and anthocyanins. The results from our study generated fundamental information on growth and photosynthetic responses to excess blue radiation, data that can be further used in optimizing plant production in controlled environments.
David M. Czarnecki II and Zhanao Deng
Lantana camara is an important plant for the environmental horticultural industry, yet it can be invasive, cross-pollinating with native lantana and dispersing fruit (and seeds) to natural and agricultural lands. Identification and development of sterile cultivars is much needed to meet industry and consumer needs for noninvasive plant materials. Previously we evaluated the male fertility of 32 L. camara cultivars/breeding lines at five ploidy levels. This study was to assess their female fertility and understand the relationship between female fertility and ploidy level and the production of unreduced female gametes (UFGs) in L. camara. These cultivars/breeding lines significantly varied in percent fruiting plants (6.3% to 100.0%), percent fruiting peduncles (0.3% to 98.8%), fruit per peduncle (0.003 to 7.173), seed germination (0% to 57.1%), and female fertility index (0.003 to 2.998). Certain diploids (e.g., ‘Denholm White’) were highly female-sterile. Eleven of the 13 triploids evaluated were UFG-producing and rather fertile. The two non-UFG-producing triploids had the female fertility index of 0.005, thus most sterile. Tetraploids, especially those producing UFGs, were prolific fruit producers. These results show that ploidy level and UFG production play a significant role in determining fruit (seed) production capacity and female fertility of L. camara. None of the commercial triploid cultivars evaluated reached desirable levels of male and female sterility, indicating a strong need to develop new lantana cultivars that are male- and female-sterile. Our results suggest that production and selection of triploids can be effective to sterilize L. camara, but it is imperative to select diploids and tetraploids that do not produce UFGs as the breeding parents.
Kuan Qin and Daniel I. Leskovar
Soil organic matter degradation and water limitation caused by intense farming activities are some of the major threats affecting agricultural production. Accordingly, the concepts of sustainable agricultural systems with optimized irrigation and improved soil quality can be adapted to address these issues. During this 2-year field study, two management factors—humic substances (HS) as organic inputs (HS vs. control) and deficit irrigation as the irrigation method (50% vs. 100% based on evapotranspiration)—were evaluated based on triploid watermelon (Citrullus lanatus cv. Fascination) yield and soil property changes. HS application increased watermelon early yield by 38.6% and total yield by 11.8% compared with the control; the early yield mainly increased under deficit irrigation. Compared with full irrigation, deficit irrigation increased water use efficiency (WUE) without significantly affecting total yield. In addition, HS application significantly increased the soil organic carbon (SOC) content, which was found to be positively correlated with crop WUE. These results indicate that soil organic inputs with HS and deficit irrigation are valuable strategies to establish sustainable systems for watermelon production, which will not only increase yield and WUE but also significantly improve soil quality and save irrigation water.
Sheng Li, Feng Wu, Yongping Duan, Ariel Singerman and Zhengfei Guan
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB), or greening, is the most destructive citrus disease worldwide and is threatening the sustainability of the industry in major citrus-growing regions. Various treatments have been proposed in the literature to manage the disease. We review such literature and conduct an economic analysis based on the reported treatment effects on fruit yield and quality to identify cost-effective management strategies. Our results suggest that, among the treatments we reviewed, broad-spectrum insecticides provide the only cost-effective strategy for mitigating the impact of the disease. Our findings and discussion should help growers, policymakers, and other stakeholders make informed decisions in the search for effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly treatments and policies against HLB.
Jingjing Kou, Zhihui Zhao, Wenjiang Wang, Chuangqi Wei, Junfeng Guan and Christopher Ference
‘Mopan’ persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) is a traditional astringent cultivar of persimmon and ‘Yoho’ persimmon (D. kaki) is a newly introduced Japanese nonastringent type of cultivar in northern China. Studies were conducted to investigate the physiological changes and expression of ripening-related genes in the postharvest process at different periods under the effects of endogenous ethylene in both cultivars. Persimmons were harvested and stored under room temperature for 20 days. An analysis of physiological changes showed significant differences between the two cultivars. Total soluble solids declined in ‘Mopan’ fruit, whereas those in ‘Yoho’ fruit increased during storage. Firmness, color, index of absorbance difference, total and soluble tannin contents, ethylene production, and respiration rates showed the same trend, but these values vary by cultivar. ‘Mopan’ fruit softened rapidly after harvest and attained edible quality in 20 days, with an increased rate of softening accompanied by increased expression of ripening-related genes. In contract, ‘Yoho’ fruit softening occurred slowly and did not soften even after 20 days, with minimal accumulation of the ripening-related genes. The information obtained from this study demonstrates that cell wall-hydrolyzing enzymes, the de-astringent process, and endogenous ethylene have critical roles in postharvest ripening, gene expression, and physiological property changes of ‘Mopan’ and ‘Yoho’ persimmon fruit during storage.
Chengyan Yue, Zata Vickers, Jingjing Wang, Neil O. Anderson, Lauren Wisdorf, Jenna Brady, Michele Schermann, Nicholas Phelps and Paul Venturelli
The present study systematically investigated the effects of warehouse and greenhouse aquaponic growing conditions on consumer acceptability of different basil cultivars. A total of 105 consumers rated their liking of three basil cultivars (Nufar, Genovese, and Eleonora), each grown in three conditions (aquaponically in a greenhouse, aquaponically in a warehouse, both with Cyprinus carpio, Koi fish, and grown in soilless medium). We used linear random effect models to investigate consumer preferences for attributes of basil plants grown in different environments by controlling for individual-specific random effects. Participants generally liked the soilless medium–grown and greenhouse aquaponically grown basil plants more than the warehouse aquaponically grown plants. The soilless medium–grown basil had the highest appearance liking and flavor intensity, followed by the greenhouse aquaponic grown and then by the warehouse aquaponic grown. Aquaponically grown cultivars were rated less bitter than soilless medium–grown cultivars.
Arthur Villordon, Jeffrey C. Gregorie and Don LaBonte
The growing demand for sweetpotato French fry and other processed products has increased the need for producing storage roots of desired shape profile (i.e., blocky and less tapered). Length-width ratio (LW) is the current de facto standard for characterizing sweetpotato shape. Although LW is sensitive and descriptive of some types of shape variability, this index may be inadequate to measure taper and other subtle shape variations. Prior work has shown that surface area (SA) and volume (VOL) are important shape descriptors but current direct measurement methods are tedious, inconsistent, and often destructive. A low-cost three-dimensional (3D) scanner was used to acquire digital 3D models of 210 U.S. No. 1 grade sweetpotato storage roots. The 3D models were imported into Meshmixer, a free software for cleaning and processing 3D files. Processing steps included gap filling and rendering the models water-tight to facilitate VOL measurements. The software includes a tool that enables automatic measurements of length (L), width (W), SA, and VOL. LW and SA-VOL ratio (SAVOL) were subsequently calculated. Separately, a digital caliper was used for manual measurements of L and W. The shrink-wrap method was used to measure SA, and water displacement was used to measure VOL. 3D scanner-based and manual L measurements showed high correlation, whereas VOL was lowest. Principal component analysis (PCA) of 3D scanner-based measurements showed that the first two principal components (PCs) accounted for 96.2% of the total shape variation in the data set, named Ib3D. The first PC accounted for 62.15% of the total variance, and captured variation in storage root shape through changes in VOL, SA, SAVOL, and W. The second PC accounted for 34.4% of the variance, and the main factors were LW and L. Most storage root samples that were classified as processing types were located in the fourth quadrant. The methods described in this work to nondestructively acquire 3D models of sweetpotato also can be adopted for analyzing shape in other horticultural produce like fruits, vegetables, tubers, and other storage roots that meet the specifications for 3D scanning. The data support the hypothesis that knowledge of variables that determine storage root L and W can lead to the development of methods and approaches for enhanced processing product recovery and size assortment for fresh market.
Ronald S. Revord, Sarah T. Lovell, John M. Capik, Shawn A. Mehlenbacher and Thomas J. Molnar
Eastern filbert blight (EFB), caused by the fungus Anisogramma anomala, is a primary limitation to european hazelnut (Corylus avellana) cultivation in eastern North America. American hazelnut (Corylus americana) is the endemic host of A. anomala and, despite its tiny, thick-shelled nuts, is a potentially valuable source of EFB resistance and climatic adaptation. Interspecific hybrids (Corylus americana × C. avellana) have been explored for nearly a century as a means to combine EFB resistance with wider adaptability and larger nuts. Although significant progress was made in the past, the genetic diversity of the starting material was limited and additional improvements are needed for expansion of hazelnut (Corylus sp.) production outside of Oregon, where 99% of the U.S. crop is currently produced. Our objective was to determine if C. americana can be a donor of EFB resistance. We crossed 29 diverse EFB-resistant C. americana accessions to EFB-susceptible C. avellana selections (31 total progenies) to produce 2031 F1 plants. In addition, new C. americana germplasm was procured from across the native range of the species. The new collection of 1335 plants from 122 seed lots represents 72 counties and 22 states. The interspecific hybrid progenies and a subset of the American collection (616 trees from 62 seed lots) were field planted and evaluated for EFB response following field inoculations and natural disease spread over seven growing seasons. EFB was rated on a scale of 0 (no EFB) to 5 (all stems containing cankers). Results showed that progeny means of the interspecific hybrids ranged from 0.96 to 4.72. Fourteen of the 31 progenies were composed of at least one-third EFB-free or highly tolerant offspring (i.e., ratings 0–2), transmitting a significant level of resistance/tolerance. Several corresponding C. americana accessions that imparted a greater degree of resistance to their hybrid offspring were also identified. In addition, results showed that 587 (95.3%) of the 616 C. americana plants evaluated remained completely free of EFB. These findings confirm reports that the species rarely expresses signs or symptoms of the disease and should be robustly studied and exploited in breeding.