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Open access

Satoru Motoki, Kazuki Okada, Shumpei Imai, Takumi Taguchi, and Akira Kanno

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is a dioecious perennial plant. Male plants have a higher yield than female plants; therefore, all-male cultivars are more commonly produced. In contrast, female plants have a higher spear weight than that of male plants. To increase profitability, selective cultivation of only female plants would increase the yield of asparagus with a thick spear, which has a higher unit price. However, the effects of cultivar and cropping type on the growth and yield of male and female asparagus plants have rarely been examined. This study compared the growth and yield of female and male plants of three cultivars grown under various cropping types: a rootstock planting forcing culture; a long-term harvest production system in an open field; and a semi-forcing culture. As a measurement of growth, the rootstock weight was significantly higher for female plants compared with that of male plants with the rootstock planting forcing culture. Regarding yield measurements, the spear weight and yield were not significantly different with the rootstock planting forcing culture. However, with the long-term harvest production system in the open field and semi-forcing cultures, the weight and yield of female plants were equivalent to or significantly higher than those of male plants, regardless of the cultivar, except during some harvest periods. These results indicated that the selective production of female plants may be advantageous in terms of growing heavier spears with a higher unit price in a long-term harvest production system in the open field and semi-forcing cultures in Japan. Additionally, the development of a simple and low-cost method for sex identification would be beneficial.

Open access

Shilun Gao, Yuan Gao, Ying Yang, Liming Jia, and Xuehuang Weng

Nutrient deficiency leads to a high fruit abscission rate and low yields of Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. (Soapberry), which is one of the most widely cultivated biodiesel feedstock forests in China. Exogenous sucrose can provide a solution to nutrient deficiency and fruit abscission leading to low yields; therefore, it was applied to whole trees at two stages, 20 days before blooming (DBB stage) and before fruit abscission [days before fruit abscission (DBFA) stage]. Six sucrose concentrations, 0%, 1%, 1.5%, 3%, 5%, and 7%, were sprayed three times using a completely randomized block design with five replications and six treatments. 13CO2 labeling experiments were performed after the three sprayings. The results indicated that the 3% treatment had the highest yield, reaching 15.9 kg/tree. During the DBB stage, the 3% treatment significantly increased the inflorescence fructose and glucose contents 1- to 1.2-times and resulted in the highest fruit gibberellic acid, leaf indole acetic acid (IAA), fruit IAA, and fruit zeatin contents; however, it decreased the inflorescence abscisic acid (ABA) from 16 μg/g to 4 μg/g. The 1.5% and 3% treatments significantly increased the carbohydrate content and decreased the fruit ABA content to 30% to 50% of the control level during the DBFA stage. High-concentration sugar treatment (>3%) increased the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium contents, which decreased the calcium and magnesium contents. The 13C-dispatching ability of the inflorescence was three-times greater than that of leaves under the high-concentration sugar treatment during the DBB stage. Supplying 1.5% sucrose nearly doubled the allocation capacity during the DBFA stage. The source-sink nutrient migration pathway showed that leaf and fruit sugars were directly correlated with phosphorus. Fruit fructose and glucose contents affected the leaf mineral element contents.

Open access

Jack Olson, Cheng Zou, Avinash Karn, Bruce Reisch, Lance Cadle-Davidson, Qi Sun, and Matthew Clark

Variegation in Vitis hybrids was investigated to confirm the inheritance as a single, recessive gene as previously proposed and commonly observed in breeding programs. Variegated leaves have ornamental appeal, but the phenotype is sublethal in some environments. Twenty-nine grape families were characterized for variegation including F1, S1, and S2 populations. The majority segregated 3 wild type (WT):1 variegated and were supported by chi-square tests. Four populations had segregation ratios supporting 15:1 or 1:1 models, and a unique flecking phenotype was identified in a Landot 4511 S1 population that suggested the interaction of two recessive loci. A variegated parent was selfed to produce progeny with no WT offspring and was segregated 0:1. Marker trait associations including bulk segregant analysis (BSA), genome-wide association mapping, and quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping was used on three populations. On chromosome 14, Lvar1 was identified and mapped to 24.5 to 29.5 Mb and associated closely with rhAmpSeq marker 14_27607541. Lvar2 was associated with rhAmpSeq marker 11_18433819 on chromosome 11 at 12.2 to 18.4 Mb. The identification of two loci and the segregation data in some populations suggest that grape breeding germplasm segregates for two recessive loci. The pedigree records suggest that ‘Frontenac’ inherited one of these loci, and that Landot 4511, an ancestor of many populations tested in this experiment, may carry two loci. A total of 252 candidate genes were identified at these loci, including a key target—adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent zinc metalloprotease FtsH6, involved in photosystem II and similar to the var2 mutant in Arabidopsis. This knowledge can help breeders select for ornamental grapevines or eliminate variegation from their breeding programs.

Open access

Yi-Xing Hou, Yi-Shan Hu, Chia-Min Chen, and How-Chiun Wu

This study investigated the effects of different sucrose, ventilation, and paclobutrazol (PBZ) treatments on the growth of potato plantlets cultured in modified temporary immersion culture vessels. Temporary immersion culture vessels were modified to enable the plantlets to be cultured on semi-solid growth medium and provided with forced ventilation. The plantlet responses to two sucrose concentrations (15 g⋅L−1 and 30 g⋅L−1) in combination with two forced ventilation treatments (5 min/2 h and no ventilation) and three PBZ concentrations (0, 0.2, and 0.4 mg⋅L−1) were studied. Shoot growth was severely inhibited by PBZ in the growth media, whereas leaf formation was promoted by ventilation irrespective of the PBZ concentration. In nonventilated vessels, it is noteworthy that PBZ was able to increase the number of leaves formed in plantlets grown on medium supplemented with 30 g⋅L−1 sucrose, but not on medium with 15 g⋅L−1 sucrose. In growth media without PBZ, a high percentage of potato plantlets was able to produce secondary axillary shoots when provided with 30 g⋅L−1 sucrose. However, their ability to produce secondary shoots was reduced when PBZ was included in the growth medium, particularly those with 15 g⋅L−1 sucrose. Plantlets grown in ventilated culture vessels combined with 30 g⋅L−1 sucrose in the growth medium produced more than three times more shoots than the other treatments. Under ex vitro conditions, plantlets that had been grown in ventilated vessels had fewer leaf deaths, and the inclusion of PBZ in the growth media further reduced the number of dead leaves. Findings of this study showed that PBZ had a key role in the responses of potato plantlets to ventilation and sucrose treatments, as well as their tolerance to ex vitro conditions. The modified temporary immersion system can be used for the in vitro culture of potato plantlets on semi-solid medium and provide forced ventilation to improve their growth.

Open access

Alessandra Carrubba, Roberto Marceddu, and Mauro Sarno

Humulus lupulus is a dioecious twining herb, with an outstanding vertical development capacity. Hop plants are usually grown on trellises up to 4.5 to 6.0 m high, whose management requires intense use of water, fertilizers, pesticides, and labor. In semiarid Mediterranean areas, where native resources are often scarce, the adoption of low-trellis farming systems could be a sustainable option for hop cultivation. With the aim of evaluating hop suitability to low-trellis cultivation in a Mediterranean environment, in 2018 and 2019 three traditional hop genotypes (‘Cascade’, ‘Chinook’, and ‘Nugget’) were grown, and their development rate was evaluated and put in relation with the plants’ cone, root, and biomass yield. Moreover, organic (fragmented pine bark) and synthetic [black polyethylene (PE) plastic film] mulches were applied on the same cultivars, and both epigeal and hypogeal development were evaluated. The results showed that the faster the growth in the first two phases of plant elongation (up to 50% of the height of the upper wire), the lower the yield in both cones and total epigeal biomass. A fast growth rate was instead associated with a higher hypogeal biomass production. Mulching was able to significantly affect the hypogeal biomass, specifically for cv. Cascade, where the use of synthetic mulching allowed significant root biomass increases. The analysis of the results obtained showed that hop’s suitability to a low-trellis farming system is highly variable among varieties in the semiarid Mediterranean environment.

Open access

Qin Yang, Yan Fu, Tingting Zhang, Shu Peng, and Jie Deng

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) related to phytohormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility may play an important role in the xenia effect. However, associated research in this area is still lacking in rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei). In this study, we identified miRNAs, predicted their target genes, performed functional enrichment analysis of the target genes, and screened for miRNAs related to phytohormone signaling and self-incompatibility. A total of 491 miRNAs were identified, of which 27 and 67 known miRNAs as well as 274 and 416 new miRNAs were found in the rabbiteye blueberry cultivars Brightwell and Premier, respectively. Compared with ‘Premier’, 31 miRNAs were upregulated and 62 miRNAs were downregulated in ‘Brightwell’. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) functional enrichment analysis indicated that the 4985 target genes predicted were involved in biosynthesis of amino acids, plant–pathogen interaction, and spliceosome pathways. A total of 10, one, one, five, two, five, and two candidate miRNAs related to auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroid, and salicylic acid signaling, respectively, in rabbiteye blueberry pollen were identified. Further analysis indicated that novel_miR_49 was a candidate miRNA related to self-incompatibility, and their target gene was maker-VaccDscaff21-snap-gene-21.37. In addition, the KEGG enrichment analysis of the target genes of novel_miR_49 showed that they were involved in the ribosome, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchor biosynthesis pathways. The results revealed that the microRNAs of rabbiteye blueberry pollen regulated to phytohormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility signal transduction based on related to auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroid, and salicylic acid signaling. Results suggest that more research of the effects of miRNAs on regulation of hormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility is necessary for elucidating the molecular mechanism of the xenia effect.

Open access

David P. Leon-Chang, David R. Bryla, Carolyn F. Scagel, and Bernadine C. Strik

Although northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) fields are often fertigated using soluble or liquid fertilizers, recommendations for applying most nutrients to the crop, including K, are based on the use of granular fertilizers. The objective of the present study was to compare fertigation to granular application of K in a mature planting of Duke, a popular early season blueberry cultivar that ripens from June through July in Oregon and Washington. The plants were grown on raised beds and irrigated using two lines of drip tubing per row. Treatments were initiated in 2016 and included no K fertilizer, a single application of granular potassium sulfate (K2SO4) in April, and fertigation once a week from April to August with soluble K2SO4 or liquid potassium thiosulfate (K2S2O3). Each treatment was applied for 2 years at a total rate of 70 kg·ha−1 K per year. The plants were also fertigated with 168 and 224 kg·ha−1 N in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and 30 kg·ha−1 P per year. Although extractable soil K was initially low at the site (144 mg·kg−1), the treatments had no effect on plant dry weight, yield, fruit quality, or the concentration of K in recently expanded leaves. However, during the first year of the study, K fertigation with K2SO4 or K2S2O3 reduced soil pH and increased the concentrations of K+, Ca2+, Mn2+, and SO4 2− in the soil solution under the drip emitters compared with no K or granular K2SO4, whereas granular application of K2SO4 resulted in higher concentrations of K+ between the emitters than any other treatment. Fertigation also affected the concentration of K in the fruit during the first year, although in this case, the concentration was lower with K fertigation than with no K or granular applications of K2SO4. During the second year, fertigation and granular K continued to result in higher concentrations of K+ in soil solution under and between the drip emitters, respectively, but at this point, extractable soil K was higher with each of the K fertilizers than with no K. Consequently, the concentration of K in leaves sampled from entire plants in late September that year was higher with any of the K fertilizers than with no K. Potassium fertilization also altered concentrations of other nutrients in the plants, including Mg, S, B, Cu, and Mn in the leaves; Ca, Mg, and B in the fruit; Mn and Zn in the woody canes; and P, Mg, S, and Mn in the crown. In many cases, concentrations of these nutrients were higher with one or more of the K fertilizers than with no K. Thus, regardless of the application method, K2SO4 and K2S2O3 appear to be good sources for increasing availability of K and other nutrients in the plants and soil. However, the amount of K in the plants was sufficient at the site, and therefore, none of the fertilizers provided a short-term benefit to growth or fruit production in the present study.

Open access

Yen-Hua Chen and William B. Miller

Water uptake is a critical issue for postharvest physiology of cut flowers. After harvest, cut flowers lose access to water from roots and sometimes develop emboli inside the xylem, which can disrupt water uptake and undermine flower longevity. The duration of dry storage (desiccation) before flowers are placed in a vase may affect rehydration capability. Despite the appreciated importance of desiccation time on water balance, the duration of desiccation that might cause irreversible damage in Lilium sp. L. is unknown. Therefore, we investigated effects of pre-vase dehydration on water uptake and postharvest quality of cut lilies. Stems of Lilium ‘Nashville’, ‘Santander’, and ‘Sorbonne’ were subjected to 0, 8, 24, or 48 hours of dehydration at 20 °C, then rehydrated in a solution containing 2% sucrose and a biocide. Water uptake in the first 24 hours of rehydration was significantly greater in dehydrated stems than in control (0 hour) stems. Although dehydration treatments increased water uptake in the first 24 hours after rehydration, total water uptake in dehydrated stems over the ensuing 9- to 10-day vase period was significantly less than in controls. In the vase, 48 hours of dehydration reduced the total water uptake in ‘Nashville’ by 27% and in ‘Sorbonne’ by 48%. Individual flower life and stem vase life were not affected significantly by dehydration treatment; however, ‘Sorbonne’ stems dehydrated for 24 or 48 hours had smaller flowers than controls and those that underwent the 8-hour dehydration treatment. ‘Nashville’ stems dehydrated for 24 hours showed visible leaf yellowing 3 days earlier than controls; ‘Sorbonne’ dehydrated for 48 hours showed leaf yellowing 2 days earlier. We conclude cut lilies have an ability to recover partially from significant dehydration and can restore water uptake initially, but pre-vase dehydration reduces total water uptake and affects some postharvest attributes negatively.