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Open access

Li Xiang, Lei Zhao, Mei Wang, Junxia Huang, Xuesen Chen, Chengmiao Yin, and Zhiquan Mao

Apple replant disease (ARD) causes enormous economic loss and threatens the survival of apple industry worldwide. Fusarium solani is one of the pathogens that has been proven to cause ARD. Samples were collected at different time periods to investigate the mechanism of defense responses of apple to F. solani infection by monitoring the biomass, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and antioxidant enzyme activities of the apple rootstock ‘M.9T337’. In addition, the abundance of transcription of four pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins involved in antifungal defense was monitored. The results showed that the apple root system was normal and had small brown areas. However, there is a rapid burst of ROS during the early infection stage, and the activities of antioxidant enzymes and transcription of PRs increased during this period. With the extension in infection time, the infected root tissues displayed dark brown necrosis, and the activities of antioxidant enzymes and abundance of transcription of PRs decreased gradually after reaching their peak. Eventually, the plant biomass decreased, and the plant died. In conclusion, the levels of ROS and activities of antioxidant enzymes played an active role during the early stage of resistance of ‘M.9T337’ apples to infection by F. solani. Infection by F. solani can destroy the ROS scavenging system, causing oxidative damage and inhibiting the growth of apple rootstocks.

Open access

Nan Tang, Wuhua Zhang, Liwen Chen, Yan Wang, and Daocheng Tang

Marigold (Tagetes erecta) is an important commercial plant because of its ornamental, industrial, and medicinal values. Male-sterile two-type lines are important for heterosis utilization and breeding of marigold. Mining of fertility-related genes may help to elucidate the mechanisms underlying male sterility. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is a popular and useful tool for analyzing the expression level of a specific gene. Notably, identifying a suitable reference gene is important for data normalization because it affects the accuracy of quantitative analysis. However, at present, no reference genes are available for marigold. During the current study, 10 candidate reference genes were selected and their expression levels in different samples were analyzed by qRT-PCR. The expression level of each gene was analyzed across different developmental stages of male-sterile and male-fertile flower buds by four software programs (geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder). The results showed that different reference genes are required for male-sterile and male-fertile samples, even if they belong to the same line. For male-sterile samples, the ribosomal protein S5/18S ribosomal RNA (RPS5/18S) gene pair was the best reference for qRT-PCR normalization, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) could be used as an alternative. For male-fertile samples, elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1α) and RPS5 were the most suitable reference genes, and Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (UBC) could be used as an alternative. Beta-actin (ACTB), tubulin beta (TUB), and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) should not be used as reference genes because they were the most unstable genes in flower buds of marigold. The results of the current study may facilitate the selection of reference genes for analyzing the expression patterns of genes involved in flower development related to male sterility in marigold.

Open access

Gerald Henry, Rebecca Grubbs, Chase Straw, Kevin Tucker, and Jared Hoyle

Previous research involving turfgrass response to soil moisture used methodology that may compromise root morphology or fail to control outside environmental factors. Water-table depth gradient tanks were employed in the greenhouse to identify habitat specialization of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] and manilagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr.] maintained at 2.5 and 5.1 cm. Turfgrass quality (TQ), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), canopy temperature (CT), and root biomass (RB) were used as metrics for plants grown in monoculture in sandy clay loam soil. Mowing height did not affect growth of turfgrass species in response to soil moisture. Turfgrass quality, NDVI, and RB were greatest, whereas CT was lowest at wetter levels [27- to 58-cm depth to the water-table (DWT)] of each tank where plants were growing at or above field capacity. However, bermudagrass RB was greatest at 27-cm DWT, whereas manilagrass RB at 27-cm DWT was lower than RB at 42.5- to 73.5-cm DWT in 2013 and lower than all other levels in 2014. Both species responded similarly to droughty levels (120- to 151-cm DWT) of the tanks. Turfgrass quality, NDVI, and RB were lowest, whereas CT was highest at higher droughty levels. Bermudagrass may be more competitive than manilagrass when soil moisture is high whereas both species are less competitive when soil moisture is low.

Open access

Derek J. Plotkowski and John A. Cline

Insufficient biologically available nitrogen (N) for yeast is a persistent issue facing cidermakers, whose apple juice base usually does not provide adequate nutrition for a complete fermentation. Cidermakers often supplement their juice with additional yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) in the cellar to aid fermentation. The development of biologically available N in apple juice is not well understood. In this study, juice samples from ‘Crimson Crisp®’ apples were taken at several sampling dates in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 growing seasons and analyzed for YAN using formol titration and high-performance liquid chromatography. It was observed that while the total YAN concentration in these apples drops from the period shortly after fruit set to the end of summer, YAN remains stable from several weeks before harvest until the date of harvest. The total YAN did not change after a 6-week postharvest storage period. By contrast, the individual amino acid components of YAN do change during this period. This experiment shows that foliar urea sprays in ‘Crimson Crisp®’ produce an increase in organic N in the juice, mostly in the form of asparagine. Increased organic N impacts yeast growth and sensory characteristics of cider and may be seen as desirable by cider producers.

Open access

Carolina Font i Forcada, Gemma Reig, Christian Fontich, Ignasi Batlle, Simó Alegre, Celia M. Cantín, Iban Eduardo, Joaquim Carbó, Arsène Maillard, Laurence Maillard, and Joan Bonany

Open access

Hui He, Tingting Li, Fan Zhou, Qianjun Yang, Luyun Hu, and Yanwei Yu

Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPSs) are common adverse reactions to antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of edible horticultural therapy (EHT) on EPSs in schizophrenic patients. This study assessed the changes in psychopathological symptoms and extrapyramidal symptoms in patients with schizophrenia before and after participating in a six-session EHT. Forty schizophrenic patients, recruited from Wuhan Wudong Hospital, were randomly assigned to the EHT group (average age: 45.40 ± 13.960 years) or the control group (average age: 49.30 ± 12.516 years). The EHT program held weekly sessions from May 2020 to June 2020. A psychiatrist assessed the psychopathological symptoms and extrapyramidal symptoms of schizophrenic patients in both groups with the Chinese version of the Positive and Negative Syndromes Scale (PANSS) and the Rating Scale for Extrapyramidal Side Effects (RSESE). After six courses of horticultural therapy, the terms of positive, negative, and general symptoms on the PANSS significantly improved in the EHT group. Moreover, the EPSs were also significantly improved in the EHT group. However, there was no change in the PANSS and RSESE scores in the control group. This study shows that EHT has the potential to improve not only psychopathological symptoms but also EPSs in psychiatric patients. This adds new evidence for EHT as an adjunct to treatment for schizophrenia.

Open access

Michael Alden and James E. Faust

The effects of day temperature (DT), night temperature (NT), and night length (NL) were evaluated on the flowering responses of heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) cultivars Orion Red and Prestige Red, respectively. Plants were placed under 60 DT × NT × NL treatments that consisted of three DT (20, 24, 28 °C), four NT (16, 20, 24, 28 °C), and five NL (10, 11, 12, 13, 14 hours) for the first 17 days of the experiment. After 17 days, all plants were consolidated to one greenhouse with an inductive environment (14-hour NL, 24 ± 2.0 °C DT and 21.2 ± 1.4 °C NT), and the timing of first color, visible bud, and anthesis were recorded. ‘Orion Red’ reached anthesis 8 to 10 days faster than ‘Prestige Red’ across all NLs; however, in both cultivars, days to anthesis decreased in a sigmoidal pattern as NL increased. The relative rate of progress to anthesis (1/days to anthesis) under a 12-hour NL was approximately half that of plants grown at a 13- or 14-hour NL. At a 12-hour NL, the relative rate of progress to anthesis decreased linearly as DT increased for both cultivars. At 13- to 14-hour NL, DT had relatively little effect on the relative rate of progress to anthesis. Thus, high DT delayed flowering of both heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive cultivars when flower initiation occurred under NL, typical of naturally occurring NLs in September and early October (i.e., 12-hour NL), whereas high DT did not delay flowering for either cultivar under a 14-hour NL, which is typically provided under black cloth systems. In contrast, the flowering responses to NT were quite different for the two cultivars. The heat-tolerant cultivar showed relatively little change in the relative rate of progress to anthesis as NT increased from 16 to 28 °C within each NL treatment; however, the heat-sensitive cultivar displayed a large decrease in the relative rate progress to anthesis as NT increased from 20 to 28 °C within each NL treatment. Although the delayed flowering that occurred at 28 °C and 14-hour NL was significant, the relative rate of progress to anthesis at this treatment was significantly higher than the 28 °C and 12-hour NL treatment. This suggests that artificially shortening NL to 14 hours with a black cloth system does not prevent heat delay of poinsettia, but it allows for more rapid flowering than if flower initiation took place under natural NL (≈12 hours). To summarize, high DT affected flowering when flower initiation took place at 12-hour NL for heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive poinsettia cultivars, whereas high NT uniquely delayed flowering of the heat-sensitive cultivar at NL from 12 to 14 hours.

Open access

Yingli Ma, Tingting Yuan, Tao Wang, Jiaxin Li, Zhongqiu Xu, Siqian Luo, and Yinfeng Xie

In the actual cultivation process, blind fertilizer application was widespread, resulting in a serious decline in the yield of Pseudostellaria heterophylla. We used the 3414 fertilizer experiment design to study the effects of combined Boron (B), Molybdenum (Mo), and Copper (Cu) on the growth indexes, diurnal changes of photosynthesis, and rapid fluorescence induction dynamics in P. heterophylla. Our results show that the optimal combination of B, Mo, and Cu simultaneously promoted the growth of underground and aboveground parts, and significantly improved the quality of single root tuber and yield per unit area. The best combination was treatment 9 (T9 = B, 1 g/L; Mo, 0.08 g/L; Cu, 0.05 g/L), and resulted in a 35.1% increase in yield per unit area compared with the control group (T1). Although the optimal combined application of microfertilizers did not change the bimodal trend of diurnal variation of photosynthesis, it effectively increased the daily average, peak, and valley values of the photosynthetic rate by alleviating the nonstomatal limitation and the photosynthetic midday depression. Pseudostellaria heterophylla leaves showed greater photochemical activity and less photoinhibition of photosystem II in T9. Major effects were that it helped protect the activity of the oxygen-evolving complex to reduce the oxidative damage of chloroplasts and prevent the dissociation of thylakoid. The microfertilizer application also enhanced the electron receiving ability of the QB and plastoquinone (PQ) electronic pools, thereby increasing the ability of electron transfer from QA to QB. The number of reaction centers per unit area was promoted notably by the fertilization treatment.

Open access

Tanner Donahoo, Lisha Zhang, Matthew Cutulle, and Abolfazl Hajihassani

Increasing regulations and restrictions regarding on-farm chemical use and growing consumer demands for organic food products warrant the development of efficient biological methods for plant disease control and pest management. Grafting and anaerobic soil disinfestation are two sustainable crop production techniques developed to control and regulate weeds, root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita), and soilborne pathogens. Therefore, the present study explores the economic impact of using grafting and anaerobic soil disinfestation, independently and in conjunction, to determine the best combination in terms of yield and net returns for producers. This study drew from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) field trials conducted in 2020 on a 0.5-acre plot at the Clemson Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, SC, where five grafting and three anaerobic soil disinfestation treatments were used in combinations for comparisons. Each treatment combination was subjected to sealed (plastic mulch covering a plot punctured 5 weeks after applying anaerobic soil disinfestation treatment) and unsealed (plastic mulch covering a plot punctured immediately after the application of anaerobic soil disinfestation treatment) plot conditions during the anaerobic soil disinfestation phase of plant bed preparation. Treatment combinations with cottonseed meal carbon-sourced anaerobic soil disinfestation were unviable because of lower net returns compared with treatment combinations without anaerobic soil disinfestation in nearly every case. Grafting (‘Roadster’ self-grafted) combined with molasses and chicken manure carbon-sourced anaerobic soil disinfestation under unsealed plot conditions was the most optimal treatment combination in the field trials with the greatest gains (net return per acre) to producers. The positive synergistic effects of combining these methods suggest that grafting and anaerobic soil disinfestation yield better results in conjunction than separately.