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Chunxian Chen and William R. Okie

Open access

Lisa Tang, Sukhdeep Singh and Tripti Vashisth

In the past decade, FL citrus industry has been struck by Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease caused by the phloem-limited bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). Besides tree decline, HLB causes a sharp increase in mature fruit drop before harvest, leading to a substantial reduction in citrus production. The aim of the study was to provide insights in HLB-associated mature fruit drop. For HLB-affected ‘Valencia’ and ‘Hamlin’ sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), trees exhibiting severe symptoms (“severe trees”) had a significantly higher rate of mature fruit drop compared with mildly symptomatic ones (“mild trees”). Interestingly, dropped fruit were smaller than those still attached to tree branches regardless of the symptom levels of trees; overall, fruit of severe trees were smaller than mild trees. The result suggests a negative effect of HLB on fruit growth that may lead to a high incidence to drop subsequently at maturity. This possibility is further supported by the difference in immature fruit size as early as 2 months after bloom between severe and mild trees. Although HLB-triggered phloem plugging due to callose deposition in citrus leaves, which results in disrupted carbohydrate transport, has been documented in literature, the results of the histological analysis demonstrated no consistent pattern of callose deposition in the mature fruit pedicel in relation to the drop incidence. Additionally, sugar concentration in juice was not significantly different between dropped and attached fruit, providing evidence that carbohydrate shortage is not the case for dropped fruit and thus not the predominant cause of HLB-associated mature fruit drop. Notably, the midday water potential was significantly lower for severe than mild trees during the preharvest period (2 weeks before harvest of the current crop) in late March, which was also the second week after full bloom of return flowering. This suggests that altered tree water status due to HLB might limit fruit growth during the initial stage of fruit development (immediately after flowering) and/or increase the incidence of mature fruit abscission, leading to elevated preharvest fruit drop. Together, the results suggest that in the presence of HLB, strategies to increase fruit size and minimize additional stresses (especially drought) for the trees may improve mature fruit retention.

Open access

Sean M. Campbell, Brian J. Pearson and S. Christopher Marble

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) is a unique perennial and leguminous plant that produces brightly colored flowers that can be used as a pH-dependent natural food colorant in culinary and cosmetic preparations. Butterfly pea is commonly propagated from seed. Because of the increased interest in its commercial applications, effective production techniques are necessary to ensure consistent and successful commercial production. The objective of this research was to determine the influence of the substrate type and temperature on butterfly pea germination. Two substrate types (rockwool and commercial soilless substrate mix) and three temperatures (70, 80, and 90 °F) were evaluated to determine their effects on germination of butterfly pea seed. Collected and calculated germination data included germination capacity (G), mean germination time (MT), coefficient of variation of the germination time (cv t), mean germination rate (MR), uncertainty of the germination process (U), and synchrony of the germination process (Z). Differences were observed among substrate temperatures for the MT, cv t, and MR values, with germination greater at both 70 and 80 °F than at 90 °F. Similarly, significant differences among substrate types were observed for the G, MT, cv t, and MR values, with germination of seeds in rockwool outperforming seeds in soilless substrate mix. Because of the high priority for successful and uniform germination in commercial plant production operations, the results suggest that commercial germination of butterfly pea would be best in rockwool at 70 °F. Results of this study can be used for the commercial production of butterfly pea, for which propagation from seed is the primary means of plant production.

Open access

Xiongwen Chen and Hua Chen

Chinese Torreya (Torreya grandis cv. Merrillii) is an important economic tree in China, but there are limited studies on its seed production. We analyzed the patterns of historical seed production at two major sites (Zhaojiazhen and Jidongzhen) for Chinese Torreya from different perspectives. The results indicated that there were no 3-year or multiyear cycles in its seed production. A positive correlation existed between the average seed production and the average annual air temperature in 5 or 10 years at both study sites. There was no trend of the increasing coefficient of variance (cv) in seed production, but the cv generally increased before 1975, and became flat after that time. Frequency power law existed in seed production at both sites, but Taylor’s Law existed only at Zhaojiazhen. The multiscale entropy decreased with time scales, and the patterns were similar at both sites. Our research results provide a new understanding of seed production for Chinese Torreya.

Open access

Ariana Torres, Petrus Langenhoven and Bridget K. Behe

The domestic market for melons, Cucumis melo L., has not been well characterized. The 2011 cantaloupe-related foodborne illness outbreak reduced melon production by 32%, and per capita consumption of cantaloupe and honeydew melons has not recovered. Our objective was to profile and characterize consumer segments of individuals who purchased melons in the 3 months before the survey. Responses from 1718 participants were analyzed by consumption volume and subjected to cluster analysis based on importance of melon attributes. Heavy and moderate consumers preferred local melons over imported. The top four melon attributes were flavor, freshness, ripeness, and sweetness. As consumption increased, consumers placed more importance for their diets. The heaviest consumption group accounted for 22% of the market, and consumed nearly three times the melon servings per month compared with the moderate consumer, and nearly 10 times the servings of the light consumption group. Cluster analysis produced three distinct clusters. Cluster 1 was the most promelon in attitudes and consumption, as well as general health interest, craving sweet food, food pleasure, and variety seeking in foods. The largest segment was cluster 3 and was the ideal group for future targeting of marketing and advertising campaigns for increasing the melon market share with their intermediate consumption and promelon attitudes. Last, members of cluster 2 consumed the lowest amount of melons, spent the least on melons, and traveled the fewest number of miles to purchase them, relative to the other two segments.

Open access

Charlie Garcia and Roberto G. Lopez

Supplemental lighting is required for the production of high-quality vegetable transplants in greenhouses when the photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI) is low. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a promising alternative to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. However, there are a limited number of studies that have evaluated how LED supplemental lighting spectral quality beyond blue (B) and red (R) radiation influences plant growth and development. Seeds of hybrid greenhouse seedless cucumber ‘Elsie’ (Cucumis sativus), tomato ‘Climstar’ (Solanum lycopersicum), and pepper ‘Kathia’ (Capsicum annuum) were sown and placed into a dark growth chamber until radicle emergence. Seedlings were grown in a greenhouse at a 25 °C constant temperature set point and under five lighting treatments. The supplemental lighting treatments delivered a total photon flux density (TPFD) of 120 μmol·m−2·s−1 for 16 h·d−1 based on an instantaneous threshold from HPS lamps or LEDs [three treatments composed of B (400–500 nm), R (600–700 nm), white, and/or far-red (FR; 700–800 nm) LEDs], and a control that delivered 25 μmol·m−2·s−1 from HPS lamps (HPS25). The LED treatments defined by their wavebands (TPFD in μmol·m−2·s–1) of B, green (G, 500–600 nm), R, and FR radiation were B20G10R75FR15, B25R95, and B30G30R60; whereas the HPS treatments emitted B7G57R47FR9 (HPS120) and B1G13R9FR2 (HPS25). Generally, cucumber, pepper, and tomato transplants under B30G30R60 and HPS120 supplemental lighting had the greatest stem diameter. Fresh weight and leaf area of all three species was greater when G radiation replaced R or B radiation. For example, leaf area and fresh weight of cucumber, tomato, and pepper increased (by 33%, 22%, and 49%; and 35%, 14%, and 56%, respectively) for plants under B30G30R60 supplemental lighting compared with plants under B25R95 supplemental lighting. The most compact cucumber and pepper transplants were those grown under B25R95 supplemental lighting, and the most compact tomatoes were those grown under the HPS25 (control) and B25R95 supplemental lighting. Tomato transplants under treatments providing ≥30 μmol·m−2·s−1 of G radiation had an increased incidence of leaf necrosis. From this study, we conclude that plant responses to supplemental lighting quality are generally genera-specific, and therefore high-wire transplants should be separated by genera to optimize production and quality. However, additional studies are required to provide complete LED supplemental lighting recommendations.

Open access

Zhou Li, Yan Peng and Bingru Huang

Small molecules, including H2O2 and Ca, mediate stress signaling and drought tolerance in plants. The objective of this study was to determine whether improvement in drought tolerance by H2O2 and Ca were associated with the regulation of transcription factors and stress-protective genes in perennial grass species. Plants of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) were sprayed with water (control), H2O2 (9 mm), or CaCl2 (10 mm) and exposed to drought stress for 20 days in controlled-environment growth chambers. Foliar application of H2O2 or Ca led to significant improvement in drought tolerance of creeping bentgrass, as demonstrated by greater turf quality, leaf relative water content, chlorophyll content, photochemical efficiency, and cell membrane stability, as compared with the untreated control. The application of H2O2 and Ca resulted in significant up-regulation of genes in Ca signaling transduction pathways [Ca-dependent kinase 26 (CDPK26), mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (MAPK1), and 14-3-3] and transcript factors (WRKY75 and MYB13). For genes encoding antioxidant enzymes, H2O2 mainly enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), and dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) expression, while Ca primarily improved transcript levels of SOD, monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), and GR. In addition, heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), metallothionein 1 (MT1), and glutamine synthetase 2 (GS2) were also markedly up-regulated by H2O2 and Ca under drought stress. However, the transcript level of lipoxygenase 3 (LOX3) was significantly down-regulated by H2O2 and Ca under well-watered and drought conditions. These results imply that H2O2 and Ca commonly or differentially regulate genes expression in association with drought tolerance through activating Ca signaling pathway and regulating transcription factors and stress-protective genes expression, leading to the alleviation of lipid peroxidation, maintenance of correct protein folding and translocation, and enhancement of nitrogen metabolism under a prolonged period of drought stress in creeping bentgrass.

Open access

Brian Schwartz, Jing Zhang, Jonathon Fox and Jason Peake

Heavily shaded environments often limit the performance and persistence of hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), therefore a field-based shade study was performed to determine whether different mowing heights (0.5 and 1.5 inch) or two trinexapac-ethyl (TE) growth regulator management treatments (control and 2 oz/acre) allow either ‘TifSport’ or ‘TifGrand’ hybrid bermudagrass to persist under 77% shade. Turfgrass quality (TQ), green cover, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and dark-green color index (DGCI) were evaluated on the two cultivars under a shade structure in Tifton, GA, during 2010 and 2011. Neither of the cultivars maintained acceptable TQ throughout the entire year under 77% shade, although ‘TifGrand’ displayed adequate TQ at the higher mowing height (1.5 inch) and demonstrated more shade tolerance than ‘TifSport’, as indicated by TQ, green cover, and NDVI. The TE application did not enhance the turf performance of ‘TifSport’ under 77% shade when mowed at 0.5 inch, but it improved turf performance of ‘TifGrand’ at the same height. The effect of TE application was cultivar and mowing height dependent under this heavily shaded environment, which warrants future study to determine the best management practices of these cultivars as well as continued efforts to develop new, shade-tolerant bermudagrass hybrids.

Open access

Jason D. Lattier and Ryan N. Contreras

Althea (Hibiscus syriacus) is an ornamental shrub prized for its winterhardiness, flower colors, and unique flower forms, including single-flowered and double-flowered types. Although floral traits are most important for breeders of althea, little is known about their segregation patterns. The objective of this study was to determine segregation patterns in flower color, including eyespot, among hybrid seedlings of elite taxa. Over 4 years, more than 3100 flowering seedlings were produced for observation of F1, F2, and backcross families. For each plant, data were collected including presence of eyespot and petal body color (CIEL*a*b*) using a colorimeter. Recessive testcrosses and χ2 analyses were performed among three taxa (‘Buddha Belly’, ‘Diana’, and White Chiffon®), and between this recessive group and a suite of colorful taxa. Self-pollination and intercrosses within homozygous dominant and homozygous recessive groups further confirmed their genotypes. Based on these results, we propose that eyespot is controlled by a single gene called spotless, named for the recessive allele that results in a complete elimination of color in flowers. Crosses that resulted in seedlings that all produced eyespots were observed to segregate for color in the petal body. Of these, one group produced white to blush pink petals, which was recessive to full color. Recessive testcrosses and χ2 analyses were performed among nine taxa exhibiting eyespots with white to blush petal bodies, and between taxa with full-color petal bodies. These testcrosses resulted in a putative homozygous dominant group composed mostly of blue and dark pink taxa, whereas the heterozygous group was composed mostly of pink taxa. Spotless taxa were also added to these two groups, suggesting an epistatic interaction with the spotless allele. Based on these results, we propose that petal body color is controlled by a single gene called geisha, named for the recessive allele that produces white to blush-pink petal bodies and dark red eyespot. This trait exhibits incomplete dominance and is under epistatic control by spotless. Geisha-type flowers lack pigment in the petal body, or exhibit a blush pink, likely produced by low levels of cyanidin, peonidin, and pelargonidin. The interaction and segregation of these two genes was confirmed in F1, F2, and backcross families from two crosses: Lil’ Kim™ × Blue Chiffon™ and Fiji™ × White Chiffon®. This study on segregation of flower color in H. syriacus contributes substantial and useful information on inheritance of color and will facilitate targeted breeding to improve this vibrant ornamental shrub.

Open access

Derek W. Barchenger, Khin Thandar, Thain Gi Myint, Tran Ngoc Hung, Nguyen Quoc Hung, Shih-wen Lin, Yen-wei Wang and Tsung-han Lin

Chile pepper (Capsicum annuum) is an increasingly important crop worldwide, and Vietnam and Myanmar are major producing countries. The chile pepper markets in Myanmar and Vietnam are different, with production primarily for domestic consumption in Myanmar and for the export market in Vietnam. However, there is an overall lack of domestically developed cultivars in both countries. The objective of this study was to identify high-performing chile pepper entries, adapted to local conditions, for use in domestic breeding programs or direct release. Fruit length, width, weight, and yield were measured during two seasons (2016–17 and 2018–19), and the same entries were evaluated in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. However, different entries were tested in each season. During the 2016–17 season, AVPP1324 grown in Hanoi had the overall highest yield (15.3 t·ha–1), followed by AVPP1330 (15.0 t·ha–1 in Hanoi) and AVPP1111 (14.4 and 14.9 t·ha–1 in Hanoi and Nay Pyi Taw, respectively). AVPP0303 had the greatest fruit length, fruit width, and fruit weight in both Hanoi and Nay Pyi Taw during the 2016–17 season. During the 2018–19 season, AVPP1345 (24.8 t·ha–1) followed by AVPP9905 (22.5 t·ha–1) in Nay Pyi Taw, and AVPP1245 (17.4 t·ha–1) in Hanoi had the highest yield. AVPP9905 had the greatest fruit weight and width in both locations. AVPP1345 and AVPP9905 had the greatest fruit length during the 2018–19 season. There is an obvious need for domestically produced cultivars in Myanmar and Vietnam that meet local farmer and consumer preferences and that are adapted to the pests, diseases, and stress in each country. Several high-performing lines were identified that can be used as direct release or incorporated in local breeding programs for the development of inbred or F1 hybrid cultivars. This research also provides a basis for future studies on stability of yield and yield components in Southeast Asia.