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Chase Jones-Baumgardt, David Llewellyn and Youbin Zheng

Low natural daily light integrals (DLIs) are a major limiting factor for greenhouse production during darker months (e.g., October to February in Canada). Supplemental lighting (SL) is commonly used to maintain crop productivity and quality during these periods, particularly when the supply chain demands consistent production levels year-round. What remains to be determined are the optimum SL light intensities (LIs) for winter production of a myriad of different commodities. The present study investigated the growth and yield of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L., ‘Black oil’), kale (Brassica napus L., ‘Red Russian’), arugula (Eruca sativa L.), and mustard (Brassica juncea L., ‘Ruby Streaks’), grown as microgreens, in a greenhouse under SL light-emitting diode (LED) photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) levels ranging from 17.0 to 304 μmol·m−2·s−1 with a 16-hour photoperiod (i.e., supplemental DLIs from 1.0 to 17.5 mol·m−2·d−1). Crops were sown in a commercial greenhouse near Hamilton, ON, Canada (lat. 43°14′N, long. 80°07′W) on 1 Feb. 2018, and harvested after 8, 11, 12, and 12 days, resulting in average natural DLIs of 6.5, 5.9, 6.2, and 6.2 mol·m−2·d−1 for sunflower, kale, arugula, and mustard, respectively. Corresponding total light integrals (TLIs) ranged from 60 to 188 mol·m−2 for sunflower, 76 to 258 mol·m−2 for kale, 86 to 280 mol·m−2 for arugula, and 86 to 284 mol·m−2 for mustard. Fresh weight (i.e., marketable yield) increased asymptotically with increasing LI and leaf area increased linearly with increasing LI, in all genotypes. Hypocotyl length of mustard decreased and hypocotyl diameter of sunflower, arugula, and mustard increased with increasing LI. Dry weight, robust index, and relative chlorophyll content increased and specific leaf area decreased in kale, arugula, and mustard with increasing LI. Commercial microgreen greenhouse growers can use the light response models described herein to predict relevant production metrics according to the available (natural and supplemental) light levels to select the most appropriate SL LI to achieve the desired production goals as economically as possible.

Open access

Akide Özcan

The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of low storage temperatures on the quality of pollen obtained from the sweet cherry cultivars 0900 Ziraat, Regina, Starks Gold, and Sweet Heart. The pollen was stored at 4 °C, –20 °C, and –80 °C for 12 months, and its viability and germinability were determined at 3-month intervals. The results demonstrated that the initial pollen viability varied between 73.62% and 79.37%, while pollen germinability varied between 41.24% and 53.56%. The percentage of pollen viability declined remarkably from the third to 12th month by almost 3% in 4 °C storage. The pollen viability for the other two storage temperatures (–20 °C and –80 °C) was greater than 50% by the end of the 12th month. It can be concluded that the pollen quality of these cultivars can be preserved sufficiently at temperatures less than –20 °C.

Open access

Michael J. Havey

The most common bulb colors of onion (Allium cepa) are red, yellow, and white; chartreuse is a relatively rare bulb color conditioned by the homozygous recessive genotype at the G locus. In this research, plants with chartreuse bulbs were crossed with inbreds with yellow bulbs to develop segregating families for genetic mapping of the G locus. For all of 17 F2 families, segregations for yellow vs. chartreuse bulbs fit the expected 3:1 ratio (P > 0.05). DNAs were isolated from one F2 family and genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to produce a genetic map of the G locus and 380 SNPs, of which 119 SNPs have not been previously mapped. Segregations for yellow vs. chartreuse bulbs placed the G locus at the end of chromosome 7 at 6.7 cM from the nearest SNP (isotig28625_2789). This codominant SNP marker linked to the G locus should be useful for introgression of recessive chartreuse bulb color into diverse onion populations for commercial production of this uniquely colored onion.

Open access

Charles Fontanier, Justin Quetone Moss, Lakshmy Gopinath, Carla Goad, Kemin Su and Yanqi Wu

Cell and plastid membranes play a critical role in plant response to chilling stress. Fall color retention (chilling tolerance) of bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is known to vary with cultivar and management practices. A growth chamber study was conducted to characterize the lipid composition of three bermudagrasses in response to chilling stress. The grasses selected were ‘Tahoma 31’ (chilling-sensitive) and ‘Tifway’ (chilling-tolerant) interspecific hybrid bermudagrass (C. dactylon × C. transvaalensis) and ‘Celebration’ common bermudagrass (C. dactylon), which served as an internal standard. Plants were subjected to simulated fall conditions defined as an 8/2 °C (day/night) temperature regime with 10-hour photoperiod and evaluated for chilling response for 42 days before allowing plants to enter an apparent dormancy. Plant leaves were sampled for lipidomics analysis at 0, 14, and 42 days of chilling treatment (DOT) and again after 40 days of recovery from dormancy (during which temperatures were adjusted to mimic average spring conditions for Oklahoma). ‘Tifway’ demonstrated the lowest electrolyte leakage (EL) and visual discoloration at 42 DOT, while ‘Tahoma 31’ had the greatest EL and discoloration on the same date, and ‘Celebration’ was intermediate of the two. Prolonged exposure to chilling stress generally increased digalactosyldiacylglycerol and phosphatidylcholine (PC) content and decreased monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) content, with ‘Tahoma 31’ showing the greatest increase in PC and decrease in MGDG. The double bond index, an indicator of fatty acid unsaturation, was greatest in ‘Tifway’ at 42 DOT. Each cultivar increased in fatty acid unsaturation, with Tifway demonstrating the greatest increase in MGDG unsaturation. Multivariate discriminant analysis identified six individual lipid species that contributed most to the cultivar response to chilling. These findings suggest unsaturation level of plastid lipids, particularly MGDG, is important for chilling tolerance and therefore fall color retention of bermudagrass. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that chilling tolerance can be negatively associated with freezing tolerance in bermudagrass.

Open access

Ruying Wang, James W. Hempfling, Bruce B. Clarke and James A. Murphy

Sand size can affect the ability to incorporate topdressing into the turf canopy and thatch on golf course putting greens; unincorporated sand interferes with mowing and play. This 3-year field trial was initiated to determine the effects of sand size on sand incorporation, surface wetness, and anthracnose (caused by Colletotrichum cereale Manns sensu lato Crouch, Clarke, and Hillman) of annual bluegrass [Poa annua L. f. reptans (Hausskn) T. Koyama] maintained as a putting green. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications; treatments included a non-topdressed control and three topdressing sands (medium-coarse, medium, or medium-fine) applied every 2 weeks at 0.15 L·m−2 during the summer. Topdressing with medium-coarse sand was more difficult to incorporate than the medium and medium-fine sands, resulting in a greater quantity of sand collected with mower clippings. Analyzing the particle distribution of sand removed by mowing confirmed that coarser sand particles were more likely to be removed in mower clippings. Surface wetness measured as volumetric water content (VWC) at the 0- to 38-mm depth zone was greater in non-topdressed plots than topdressed plots on 35% of observations. Few differences in VWC were found among sand size treatments. Turf responses to topdressing were not immediate; however, as sand accumulated in the turf canopy, topdressed plots typically had lower anthracnose severity than non-topdressed turf after the first year. Additionally, topdressing with medium and medium-fine sands produced similar or occasionally lower disease severity than topdressing with medium-coarse sand. The lack of negative effects of medium and medium-fine sands combined with better incorporation after topdressing and less disruption to the putting surface should allow golf course superintendents to apply topdressing at frequencies and/or quantities needed during the summer to maintain high-quality turf and playing conditions.

Open access

David M. Olszyk, Tamotsu Shiroyama, Jeffrey M. Novak, Keri B. Cantrell, Gilbert Sigua, Donald W. Watts and Mark G. Johnson

Essential nutrient concentrations in crops can affect human health. While biochar has the potential as a soil amendment to improve crop yields, it may also affect the concentrations of nutrients such as Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, and Zn in edible portions of crops. To better characterize effects of biochar on important human nutrients in food crops, we evaluated the effects of biochar on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Black-Seeded Simpson) leaf and carrot [Daucus carota subsp. sativus (Hoffm.) Schübl. cv. Tendersweet] developing taproot nutrients. Plants were grown in pots in a greenhouse using sandy loam (Coxville, fine, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Paleaquults) and loamy sand (Norfolk, fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Kandiudults,) series soils, amended with biochar produced from four feedstocks: pine chips (PC), poultry litter (PL), swine solids (SS), and switchgrass (SG); and two blends of PC plus PL [PC/PL, 50%/50% (55) and 80%/20% (82) by weight]. Biochar was produced at 350, 500, and 700 °C from each feedstock. Lettuce leaf and carrot taproot total nutrient concentrations were determined by inductively coupled plasma analysis. Biochar (especially at least in part manure-based, i.e., PL, SS, 55, and 82 at nearly all temperatures) primarily decreased nutrient concentrations in lettuce leaves, with Ca, Mg, and Zn affected most. Carrot taproot nutrient concentrations also deceased, but to a lesser extent. Some biochars increased leaf or taproot nutrient concentrations, especially K. This study indicated that biochar can both decrease and increase leaf and taproot nutrient concentrations important for human health. Thus, potential effects on nutrients in plants should be carefully considered when biochar is used as a soil amendment with vegetable crops.

Open access

Xuewen Gong, Shunsheng Wang, Cundong Xu, Hao Zhang and Jiankun Ge

Studies on dual crop coefficient method in a greenhouse require accurate values of reference evapotranspiration (ETo). This study was conducted in a solar greenhouse at the experimental station of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences during 2015 and 2016. An automatic weather station was installed in the center of the same greenhouse to record weather parameters at 30-minute intervals. Five ETo models (Penman-Monteith, Penman, radiation, pan evaporation, and Priestley-Taylor) were employed, and their performance was evaluated using the dual crop coefficient method. The basal crop coefficient K cb and soil evaporation coefficient K e were adjusted according to the surrounding climate inside the greenhouse. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) was continuously measured using sap flow system combined with microlysimeter in 2015 and weighing lysimeters in 2016. Daily ETo was simulated from the five models and compared with the measurements. Results show that the adjusted K cb values were 0.15, 0.94, and 0.65 in 2015 and 0.15, 1.02, and 0.70 in 2016 at initial, midseason, and late-season, respectively. The K e varies between 0.10 and 0.45 during the whole growth period. The ETc was ≈345 mm for drip-irrigated tomato in solar greenhouse at the whole growth stage. The radiation and pan evaporation models tend to overestimate ETo values. Results of the Penman-Monteith, Penman, and Priestley-Taylor models show comparatively good performance in estimating ETo. Considering the robustness and simplicity, the Priestley-Taylor was recommended as the first choice to estimate ETo of tomato grown in a solar greenhouse. This work can help farmers to optimize the irrigation scheduling based on an ETo model for solar greenhouse vegetables in northern China.

Open access

En-chao Liu, Li-fang Niu, Yang Yi, Li-mei Wang, You-wei Ai, Yun Zhao, Hong-xun Wang and Ting Min

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been characterized in numerous plants, where they are associated with responses to biotic and abiotic stress. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is an effective treatment to prevent lotus root browning. However, the possible relationship between ERF transcription factors and lotus root browning under MAP remains unexplored. In this study, the effects of phenol, phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD) enzyme activities; and PPO, PAL, POD, and ERF gene expression on fresh-cut lotus root browning were studied with MAP. The expression pattern of ERF2/5 correlated highly with the degree of browning. It is suggested that NnERF2/5 can be used as an important candidate gene for the regulation of fresh-cut lotus root browning under MAP, and the correlation of each gene should be studied further.

Open access

Darren J. Hayes and Bryan J. Peterson

Several species of honeysuckle from Europe and Asia have proved to be invasive in North America, with substantial impacts on native ecosystems. Although shrubby honeysuckles of Eurasian origin have appeared on banned plant lists in North America and other parts of the world, cultivars of the edible blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) derived from Eurasian germplasm and marketed as honeyberry, Haskap, or sweetberry honeysuckle have recently been widely developed for agricultural use in North America, with little scrutiny of invasive potential in North America despite its documented invasion of the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. To gain insight into differences in growth strategies among congeners, we compared the growth of Eurasian L. caerulea with that of a closely related congener in North America [Lonicera villosa (Michx.) R. & S.] and two known invasive congeners from Eurasia (Lonicera tatarica L. and Lonicera xylosteum L.). In Expt. 1, L. villosa, L. caerulea, and L. tatarica were grown in #1 nursery containers after top-dressing with Osmocote Pro 17–5–11 4-month controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) at rates of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 g CRF/container. Across all fertilizer treatments, L. caerulea outperformed L. villosa by a factor of two for root and shoot dry weights, although L. tatarica produced more growth than either of the others and was more responsive to increasing CRF. However, L. caerulea more strongly resembled L. tatarica in form, producing leaves of greater individual size and producing significantly taller primary stems than L. villosa, evidence for prioritization of competitive growth. In Expt. 2, plants of the same taxa plus L. xylosteum were grown communally in #20 nursery containers, followed by a period in which each container was subjected to regular irrigation, withheld irrigation (dry treatment), or inundation (flooded treatment). Plant growth differed substantially among taxa, but moisture treatments did not affect growth significantly. As in Expt. 1, plants of L. caerulea in Expt. 2 produced greater dry biomass than plants of L. villosa and resembled the invasive Eurasian honeysuckles more strongly in size and form. We conclude Eurasian L. caerulea is distinct in growth rate and morphology from North American L. villosa. In light of these findings, the ecology and competitive ability of Eurasian L. caerulea may not be well predicted by ecological observations of its closely related North American congener.

Open access

William G. Hembree, Thomas G. Ranney, Nathan P. Lynch and Brian E. Jackson

The genus Deutzia, in the Hydrangeaceae family, includes ≈60 species that range in ploidy from diploid (2x) to tetradecaploid (14x). There have been extensive breeding efforts for Deutzia, but this has been limited to a few parental species. Although there have been numerous studies of the cytogenetics of some species of Deutzia, the ploidy level of many species remains unknown, and there are few cytogenetic data available for Deutzia hybrids and cultivars. The purpose of this study was to validate the identification and determine the genome sizes and ploidy of a diverse collection of Deutzia species and hybrids using cytology and flow cytometry. Accessions were identified using the most current taxonomic key and voucher specimens were deposited for each at the North Carolina State University herbarium. Corrected and updated species names are provided for all cultivars and accessions studied. Traditional cytology was performed for roots of representative taxa to calibrate the genome size with the ploidy level. The genome size and estimated ploidy were determined for 43 accessions using flow cytometry. Ploidy levels were reported for the first time for three species of Deutzia including D. calycosa (2n = 4x = 52), D. paniculata (2n = 4x = 52), and D. glauca (2n = 12x = 156). The base and monoploid genome size (1Cx) were somewhat variable and ranged from 1.20 to 2.05 pg. No anisoploid hybrids were documented, suggesting the presence of an interploid block. The information produced from this study are beneficial to future curation, research, development, and improvement of this genus with corrected nomenclature and clone-specific data regarding cytogenetics.