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Open access

Claudia A. Espinosa-Leal and Silverio Garcia-Lara

Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens) is one of two aloe species currently used for the extraction of active ingredients that can be useful in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. However, krantz aloe plants have been frequently collected from the wild, which is threatening wild populations. In vitro tissue culture would allow the growth of krantz aloe under controlled conditions, optimizing the production of active ingredients without risk to wild populations. The establishment of cultures from krantz aloe plant explants has proved difficult as a result of the long response times of the explants and their release of polyphenols. Krantz aloe seeds are not commonly used as a means of propagation because of their low germination percentages. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of seed imbibition (SI) with water and the addition of smoke-saturated water (SSW) to the culture medium on the in vitro germination and initial seedling development of krantz aloe. Seeds were germinated in vitro in axenic conditions. The treatments used were the addition of 10% SSW to the culture media, SI, and a combination of both (10% SSW + SI). Daily germination was recorded and gross morphology was measured after 1 month of culture establishment. The maximum germination percentage (GP) was achieved when 10% SSW was in the medium (97.2%), followed by the combined application of 10% SSW + SI (96.6%), both of which were almost 30% greater and significantly different from that of the control (69.4%). SI had an 83.3% GP. No significant differences were observed among treatments in any of the observed development parameters (leaf and root length and number). Taken together, these findings show that the use of SSW improves the in vitro germination of krantz aloe without affecting seedling development, indicating preliminarily that SSW represents a useful in vitro germination promoter for this species.

Open access

Bernadine C. Strik, Amanda J. Davis, and David R. Bryla

A 2-year trial was established in Oct. 2016 in western Oregon to evaluate the effects of various in-row mulch treatments on establishment of northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. ‘Duke’). The treatments included douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] sawdust, black weed mat (woven polypropylene groundcover), green weed mat, and sawdust covered with black or green weed mat. For the most part, plant nutrient concentration and content were unaffected by the color of the weed mat. In both years, mulching with weed mat over sawdust reduced soil NO3-N compared with weed mat alone. The only other soil nutrient affected by mulch was K, which was highest with sawdust mulch and intermediate with black weed mat alone in year 2. There were inconsistent effects of mulch on leaf nutrient concentration during the study. In 2018, leaf N concentration was lowest with black weed mat over sawdust. There were few mulch effects on nutrient concentrations in senescent leaves in both years and in harvested fruit in year 2. Mulch had greater effect on nutrient concentration in dormant plant parts after the second growing season than after the first, with the addition of sawdust under weed mat leading to significant differences for many nutrients in various plant parts compared with weed mat alone. Total uptake of N ranged from 12 kg·ha−1 (black weed mat) to 17 kg·ha−1 (black weed mat over sawdust) in year 1 and averaged 33 kg·ha−1 in year 2, with no effect of mulch. Fertilizer use efficiency for N was 8% to 12% in year 1 and 42% in year 2. Uptake of other nutrients was unaffected by mulch and, depending on the year, ranged from 1.3 to 4.3 kg·ha−1 P, 4.0 to 8.0 kg·ha−1 K, 2.1 to 4.9 kg·ha−1 Ca, and 1.0 to 1.5 kg·ha−1 Mg. Each of these other nutrients was derived from the soil or decomposing roots.

Open access

Karla Gabrielle Dutra Pinto, Sônia Maria Figueiredo Albertino, Bruna Nogueira Leite, Daniel Oscar Pereira Soares, Francisco Martins de Castro, Laís Alves da Gama, Débora Clivati, and André Luiz Atroch

The economic potential of guarana relies on the energetic and medicinal properties of its seeds, which can be used to produce soft drinks, sticks, powder, and syrup. Brazil is the only guarana producer on a commercial scale, and the guarana crop system is the main agricultural activity in Maués, Amazonas. Although several types of technology have been developed to reduce costs and increase guarana productivity, the most important optimization of seedling production by cutting still needs to improve the rooting percentage and reduce mortality rates. However, the use of rooting inducers for guarana is still unestablished. Therefore, we evaluated the rooting potential of herbaceous cuttings from three guarana cultivars under different indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) concentrations. We recorded qualitative data from the roots of the cuttings. The IBA doses did not increase the percentage of rooted cuttings; however, they increased the root system quality of the guarana cuttings. We present this rooting method for the guarana plant as the most appropriate and least costly for small producers.

Open access

Yanjiao Zheng, Zaiqiang Yang, Chao Xu, Lin Wang, Haijing Huang, and Shiqiong Yang

High temperature and high relative humidity (RH) are one of the most serious agricultural meteorological disasters that limit the production capacity of agricultural facilities. However, little information is available on the precise interaction between these factors on tomato growth. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of high temperature under different RH levels on tomato growth and endogenous hormones and to determine the optimal RH for tomato seedling growth under high temperature environment. Two high temperature (38/18 °C, 41/18 °C) and three relative humidity (50 ± 5%, 70 ± 5%, 90 ± 5%) orthogonal experiments were conducted, with 28/18 °C, 50 ± 5% (CK) as control. The results showed that the dry matter accumulation of tomato plants under high temperature environment was significantly lower than that of CK. At 38 °C, the dry matter accumulation with 70% relative humidity was not significantly different from that of CK; at 41 °C, dry matter accumulation with 70% and 90% relative air humidity was significantly greater than that of 50%. The concentrations of soluble sugar and free amino acids in all organs in high temperature-treated plants were significantly higher than that in CK. As relative humidity increased, soluble sugar concentrations of each organ decreased, and the free amino acid concentrations increased. Cytokinin (ZT) and indole acetic acid (IAA) concentrations in tomato buds were significantly lower than in CK under high temperature conditions. The lower the RH, the lower the content of ZT and IAA. The gibberellin (GA3) and abscisic acid (ABA) concentrations were higher than in CK under high temperatures. GA3 concentrations decreased and ABA concentrations were augmented with increased humidity. The differences of tomato seedling growth indices and apical bud endogenous hormone concentrations between RHs under high temperature conditions were significant. Raising RH to 70% or higher under high temperature conditions could be beneficial to the growth of tomato plants. The results contribute to a better understanding of the interactions between microclimate parameters inside a Venlo-type glass greenhouse environment, in a specific climate condition, and their effects on the growth of tomato.

Open access

Gemma Reig, Jaume Lordan, Stephen Hoying, Michael Fargione, Daniel J. Donahue, Poliana Francescatto, Dana Acimovic, Gennaro Fazio, and Terence Robinson

We conducted a large (0.8 ha) field experiment of system × rootstock, using Super Chief Delicious apple as cultivar at Yonder farm in Hudson, NY, between 2007 and 2017. In this study, we compared six Geneva® rootstocks (‘G.11’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.210’, ‘G.30’, ‘G.41’, and ‘G.935’) with one Budagovsky (‘B.118’) and three Malling rootstocks (‘M.7EMLA’, ‘M.9T337’ and ‘M.26EMLA’). Trees on each rootstock were trained to four high-density systems: Super Spindle (SS) (5382 apple trees/ha), Tall Spindle (TS) (3262 apple trees/ha), Triple Axis Spindle (TAS) (2243 apple trees/ha), and Vertical Axis (VA) (1656 apple trees/ha). Rootstock and training system interacted to influence growth, production, and fruit quality. When comparing systems, SS trees were the least vigorous but much more productive on a per hectare basis. Among the rootstocks we evaluated, ‘B.118’ had the largest trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), followed by ‘G.30’ and ‘M.7EMLA’, which were similar in size but they did not differ statistically from ‘G.935’. ‘M.9T337’ was the smallest and was significantly smaller than most of the other rootstocks but it did not differ statistically from ‘G.11’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.210’, ‘G.41’, and ‘M.26EMLA’. Although ‘B.118’ trees were the largest, they had low productivity, whereas the second largest rootstock ‘G.30’ was the most productive on a per hectare basis. ‘M.9’ was the smallest rootstock and failed to adequately fill the space in all systems except the SS, and had low cumulative yield. The highest values for cumulative yield efficiency (CYE) were with ‘G.210’ for all training systems except for VA, where ‘M.9T337’ had the highest value. The lowest values were for all training systems with ‘B.118’ and ‘M.7EMLA’. Regardless of the training system, ‘M.7EMLA’ trees had the highest number of root suckers. Some fruit quality traits were affected by training system, rootstock or system × rootstock combination.

Open access

Claudia Elkins and Marc W. van Iersel

Supplemental light can increase growth and accelerate production of greenhouse crops, but it can be expensive if not provided in a way that promotes efficient use of the light. Dimmable light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures have the potential to reduce lighting costs because the output can be precisely controlled to meet crop needs. Because light is used more efficiently to drive photosynthesis at lower photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs), we hypothesized that providing Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ seedlings with the same daily light integral (DLI), spread out over a longer photoperiod and at lower PPFDs, should improve growth. A DLI of 12 mol·m−2·d−1 was provided in a greenhouse over 12, 15, 18, or 21-hour photoperiods from a combination of sunlight and supplemental light from LEDs, using adaptive lighting control. Plants grown without supplemental light had an ≈12-hour photoperiod and received an average DLI of 5 mol·m−2·d−1, ≈58% less light than the four lighting treatments. Lengthening the photoperiod from 12 to 21 hours increased shoot dry mass (30%), root dry mass (24%), plant height (14%), leaf area (16%), and chlorophyll content index (48%), and decreased specific leaf area (26%). There was no significant effect of photoperiod on root mass fraction or compactness. Growth parameters of plants without supplemental light were 26% to 90% smaller compared with those in the 12-hour photoperiod treatment. Treatment effects on canopy size, seen as early as 2 weeks into the study, were correlated with final shoot dry mass. Longer photoperiods did not induce a shade-avoidance response, based on specific leaf area and compactness data. The 24% increase in root dry mass for the plants in the 21-hour photoperiod suggests that cropping cycles can be shortened by 1 to 2 weeks compared with the 12-hour photoperiod. This could result in more crop turns per year and increased profits. In addition, fewer lights would be needed for adequate growth, reducing the capital cost of the lighting system.

Open access

Grecia Hurtado, Patrick Lüdeke, and Moritz Knoche

Estimates of fruit surface area are often required in physiological and technological studies. The objective was to establish a procedure to accurately quantify the fruit surface area based on Archimedean buoyancy measurements. The setup comprised a fixed, linear stepper motor mounted with its spindle vertical and aligned directly above the pan of an electronic balance. A fruit was clamped to the motor spindle and a beaker of water rested on the balance pan. When the motor was activated, the fruit was progressively immersed, stepwise, in the water. Each vertical displacement step increased the buoyant upthrust on the fruit, which was opposed by a corresponding increase in the downthrust on the balance. Pairs of the step displacement length (mm) and corresponding buoyancy increment (g) values were recorded in an MS Excel (Microsoft, Redmond, WA) spreadsheet using Arduino components. Each displacement step immersed another “virtual slice” of the fruit in the water. From each pair of known displacement–buoyancy measurements, the volume (mL) of that slice could be calculated with high precision based on the known density of the liquid (g·mL−1). With the fruit orientated so that its morphological “long” axis was vertical, for most fruitcrop species, the slice can be assumed to have a circular cross-section. Hence, the slice can be analyzed geometrically as a truncated cone of known height (mm) and known volume (mL). Therefore, the surface area of its outer face is calculable. The surface area of the whole fruit was calculated as the cumulative total of the surface areas of all steps (virtual slices). The procedure was evaluated and calibrated using stainless-steel spheres in place of the fruit. However, the measured surface area was slightly greater than that calculated for a sphere. The calculated and measured areas did not differ by more than 1.7%. The surface area determinations were highly reproducible (cv = 0.95%). The magnitude of the displacement steps affected the variability of the surface area measurements. Increasing the step displacements decreased the measurement variability, but there were no significant effects on the surface area measurements of the surface tension of the liquid or of the wettability of the surface of the fruit or the stainless-steel subject. Using stainless-steel spheres (diameter, 5–60 mm) or rubber truncated cones (mean diameter, 8–45 mm) revealed an excellent agreement between the measured and calculated surface areas. Using tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries, the measured surface areas were in excellent agreement with those calculated from the fruit dimensions and appropriate geometrical assumptions. The results demonstrate that the surface areas of fruit with approximately circular cross-sections normal to their morphological axes can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility using Archimedean buoyancy.

Open access

McKenzie Thomas, Kimberly Jensen, Margarita Velandia, Christopher Clark, Burton English, Dayton Lambert, and Forbes Walker

Home gardeners’ concerns for the environment are expressed both in the ecofriendly gardening practices they use and in environmental attributes they prefer in the gardening products they purchase. This study uses data from a 2018 survey of 601 Tennessee outdoor home gardeners and a multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) model to illustrate how outdoor home gardener demographics, expenditures, information use, and attitudes influence use of ecofriendly gardening practices and preferences for environmental attributes in home gardening supplies. Practices considered include planting pollinator plants, using rainwater collectors, composting, recycling gardening supplies packaging, using organic gardening methods, and use of soil testing. Gardening supply product attributes include decreased need for fertilizer, pesticides, and water; native plant species; organically produced products; and recyclable packaging. The most widely used practice is recycling gardening supplies packaging, and the least used is soil testing. Gardeners with a greater propensity to use the six gardening practices include male, college graduates, who spend relatively more of their income on gardening supplies, and consider themselves as being knowledgeable about environmental issues. The gardening supply product attribute most widely considered as important is decreased need for pesticides, and least widely considered as important are native species and organically produced. Gardeners more likely to prefer the six gardening supply product attributes include older gardeners, who seek other gardeners for information, and who perceived themselves as being knowledgeable about the environment. This same group likes to grow their own food and feels responsibility for protecting the environment for future generations.

Open access

Julie Campbell and Vanessa Shonkwiler

Over the past decade, pecans (Carya illinoinensis) have experienced slow to stagnant growth as other nuts see continual growth. Given demand, producers and retailers are needing to finding new ways to market pecans. Using a conjoint experiment with market segmentation, the market for several value-added pecan products (e.g., cinnamon sugar, chocolate-covered, salted and roasted, pralines, and plain roasted) were assessed. Three to four segments within the market were found depending on product size. For a 1.5-oz product, there are three segments (Budget Traditional, Sugar Origin, and Sugar High) that value product attributes differently. The Budget Traditional values plain roasted pecans and has the largest negative reaction to higher prices. The Sugar Origin segment values pralines and chocolate-covered pecans while also valuing Oklahoma- and Texas-produced pecans. The Sugar High segment has a positive preference for chocolate-covered, and pralines and a disdain for cinnamon sugar, salted and roasted, and plain roasted. Examining the 8-oz package size, there are four market segments. The Budget Traditional and Sugar High are similar to the 1.5-oz package size; however, the 8-oz market also has a Price Sensitive segment that highly values low prices as well as a Cinnamon Hater segment that does not like cinnamon sugar pecans. Demographics and past purchasing are key factors for explaining how a consumer is likely to be grouped into segments. Age (i.e., generation) and whether a consumer had purchased nuts within the past year were important indicators across package size.

Open access

Kyle E. LaPlant, Gregory Vogel, Ella Reeves, Christine D. Smart, and Michael Mazourek

Phytophthora crown and root rot, caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora capsici, is a devastating disease of squash and pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo). No currently available cultivars provide complete resistance to this disease. Three newly developed squash lines and four hybrids were evaluated in greenhouse and field experiments for their resistance to phytophthora crown and root rot as well as for their horticultural performance. The three newly developed lines ranked among the most resistant entries included in 2 years of field trials. In addition, in a separate greenhouse experiment, one of the lines was shown to display the least severe disease symptoms among a group of accessions previously reported to possess partial resistance to phytophthora crown and root. Furthermore, the resistance was observed to be robust to several isolates of P. capsici. However, the phytophthora-resistant lines had reduced yield relative to standard squash cultivars. These lines are useful for continued breeding efforts toward a phytophthora crown and root rot-resistant cultivar.