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  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Stony hard (SH) peach (Prunus persica) fruits produce no ethylene and clingstone-type SH peaches have a crispy flesh texture; however, freestone-type SH peach fruits ripen to a soft, mealy state. During this study, we compared and analyzed changes in the microstructure, cell wall polysaccharides, and candidate cell wall-related genes of freestone-type SH ‘Zhongtao 14’ (‘CP14’), ‘Zhongtao White Jade 2’ (‘CPWJ2’), clingstone-type SH ‘Zhongtao 13’ (‘CP13’), and ‘Zhongtao 9’ (‘CP9’) during fruit ripening. The parenchyma cells of mealy freestone-type SH peaches became detached, were single, dried, and irregularly arranged, and remained intact in comparison with the nonmealy clingstone-type SH peaches. Methyl-esterified homogalacturonan was strongly immunolabeled in the cell wall of clingstone SH peaches; however, nonmethylated homogalacturonan was weakly immunolabeled in freestone SH peaches. A transcriptome analysis was performed to investigate the molecular mechanism of the mealiness process. A principal component analysis indicated that ‘CP14’ S4 III (mealy) could be distinguished from the samples of ‘CP13’ (S4 I, S4 II, S4 III) and ‘CP14’ (S4 I, S4 II). The highly coexpressed gene modules linked with firmness were found using a weighted gene coexpression network analysis; 189 upregulated genes and 817 downregulated genes were identified. Six upregulated cell wall-related genes (PpPG1, PpPG2, PpAGP1, PpAGP2, PpEXT1, and PpEXP1) and one downregulated cell wall-related gene (PpXET2) were involved in the mealiness process during freestone-type SH fruit ripening. These findings will improve our understanding of the relationship between clingstone, freestone, and stony hard fruits and lay the foundation for further exploration of the mechanisms underlying the softening of peach fruits.

Open Access

Platycladus orientalis is one of the main species used in afforestation projects in the arid mountains of north and northwest China, meaning that the species has high ecological and economic value. Studying its genetic diversity and obtaining a core germplasm base and genetic fingerprint data are important for the screening, development, and utilization of the species. This can provide the core materials for the preservation and evaluation and mining of germplasm resources and can provide superior gene resources for breeding programs. In this study, the genetic diversity among 104 P. orientalis germplasm resources was examined using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, and a core germplasm containing 31 accessions was constructed that represents the most genetic diversity of P. orientalis accessions. Each of 20 pairs of primers showed polymorphism, and 117 alleles were identified. The average number of alleles at each locus was six, and the mean effective allele number was 2.607. The average Shannon’s information index was 0.983, and the average polymorphism information content was 0.445. There is thus a significant amount of genetic variation within P. orientalis germplasm, yielding a rich genetic diversity. The constructed core germplasm accounted for 30% of the original germplasm. There was no significant difference in genetic diversity between the core germplasm and the original germplasm resources, indicating that the obtained core germplasm resources could fully represent the original germplasm. Using 17 SSR primers with high polymorphism, the DNA fingerprints of 104 P. orientalis germplasm resources were constructed. The results showed that 98 had specific DNA fingerprints. The results of this study provide a valuable basis for the collection, preservation, and utilization of P. orientalis germplasm resources, and the methods adopted in this study have important reference value for the construction of core germplasm of other perennial woody plants.

Open Access

Flow cytometry has been widely used to estimate relative and absolute genome sizes (DNA contents) of plants for more than 50 years. However, the accuracy of these estimates can vary widely because of many factors, including errors in the genome size estimates of reference standards and various experimental methods. The objectives of this study were to reassess genome sizes of commonly used reference standards and quantify sources of variation and error in estimating plant genome sizes that arise from buffers, confounding plant tissues, tissue types, and plant reference standards using both 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and propidium iodide (PI) fluorochromes. Five separate studies were performed to elucidate these objectives. Revised estimates of genome sizes of commonly used plant reference standards were determined using human male leukocytes as a primary standard with an updated genome size (6.15 pg; 12.14% lower than that of earlier studies) using both DAPI and PI fluorochromes. Comparison of six different buffers (Galbraith’s, LB01, MB01, MgSO4, Otto’s, and Sysmex) resulted in variations in genome size estimates by as much as 18.1% for a given taxon, depending on the buffer–fluorochrome combination. The addition of different confounding plant tissues (representing 10 diverse taxa and associated secondary metabolites) resulted in variations in genome size estimates by as much as 10.3%, depending on the tissue–fluorochrome combination. Different plant tissue types (leaf color/exposure and roots) resulted in a variation in genome size estimates of 10.7%, independent of the fluorochrome. The selection of different internal reference standards introduced an additional variation in genome size estimates of 5.9%, depending on the standard–fluorochrome combination. The choice of fluorochrome (DAPI vs. PI) had one of the largest impacts on genome size estimates and differed by as much as 32.9% for Glycine max ‘Polanka’ when using human male leukocytes as an internal standard. A portion of this variation (∼10.0%) can be attributed to the base pair (bp) bias of DAPI and variations in Guanine-Cytosine (GC):Adenine-Thymine (AT) ratios between the sample and standard. However, as much as 22.9% of the variation in genome size estimates may result from how effectively these fluorochromes stain and report the genome. The combined variation/error from all these factors (excluding variation from bp bias for different fluorochromes, and assuming variations from confounding tissues and tissue types to both result from secondary metabolites) totaled 57.6%. Additional details of how selected factors impact accuracy, precision, and the interaction of these factors are presented. Overall, flow cytometry can be precise, repeatable, and extremely valuable for determining the relative genome size and ploidy of closely related plants when using consistent methods, regardless of fluorochrome. However, accurate determination of the absolute genome size by flow cytometry remains elusive, and estimates of genome size using flow cytometry should be considered gross approximations that may vary by ±29% or more as a function of experimental methods and plant environments. Additional recommendations of best practices are provided.

Open Access

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) belongs to the cucumber genus of the Cucurbitaceae family, and the selection of cultivars with minimal or no lateral branches can enhance the cultivation management efficiency. The growth of lateral branches is inhibited by strigolactone. To investigate the regulatory mechanism of strigolactone on the lateral branch development in cucumber, the cultivar LZ1 exhibiting multiple lateral branches was selected as the experimental material. The axillae of the plants were infiltrated with 1, 5, and 10 μmol·L−1 germination releaser 24 (GR24) at the four- to five-leaf stage. It was identified that 1 μmol·L−1 GR24 exhibited the most potent inhibitory effect on cucumber lateral branches. Additionally, exogenous strigolactone decreased the auxin content in the apical bud and axillae and increased the auxin content in the stem. This inhibited polar auxin transport in the axillary bud and promoted polar auxin transport in the apical bud. The content of strigolactone in the axilla region of cucumbers was elevated, whereas the synthesis and expression of cytokinin in the same area were reduced. A low concentration of GR24 induced the expression of cucumber branched 1 (csbrc1), whereas a high concentration of GR24 downregulated the expression of cucumber lateral suppressor (cscls) and blind (csblind), which inhibited the growth of cucumber lateral branches.

Open Access

During the past 40 years, the US fresh-cut product market has experienced a consistent increase in demand because consumers prioritize health and convenience. Increased interest in fresh-cut products and ready-to-eat vegetables has led to innovations in breeding, product selection, and packaging. However, despite the increased popularity of bell pepper and chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), research of fresh-cut jalapeño pepper is limited. This study was conducted to identify jalapeño cultivars that could be suitable as a raw fresh-cut product and explore measures beyond tissue membrane electrolyte leakage (EL) of processed products that may be useful for the identification of cultivars suitable for fresh-cut applications. A total of 22 fresh-cut parameters were examined across five cultivars of jalapeño peppers and 10 intercrosses of these cultivars, including visual quality based on an image analysis via a computer vision system, package headspace gas composition, tissue membrane EL, and texture. Based on our results, the genotypes were grouped into five clusters using a cluster analysis. Variables including tissue softening (r2 = 0.95), EL (r2 = 0.95), total energy of the mesocarp (r2 = 0.95), and package headspace carbon dioxide (CO2) partial pressure (r2 = 0.94) had strong associations with the cluster. A principal component analysis with biplots further confirmed the results. Cultivars Goliath and Emerald Fire and their hybrids in the first and second clusters showed good quality for fresh-cut applications. The fifth cluster, represented by a single cultivar, Jalapeño M, had the smallest physical size, rapid shelf-life decline, accumulated CO2 partial pressures, increased EL, and rapid tissue softening in comparison with the other genotypes. All jalapeño cultivars except Jalapeño M maintained good quality until day 14 postprocessing, and some maintained good quality until 21 days postprocessing. Hybrid crosses suggested that two of the cultivars evaluated, Goliath and Emerald Fire, were useful as parents when transferring superior fresh-cut quality traits to progeny. Traditionally, the EL level has been used as an index of freshness (or tissue deterioration). Our results showed that other quality analyses, including measurements of tissue softening via an imaging analysis, and physical analyses of tissue firmness can also be used as indices for the freshness of fresh-cut jalapeños. The results suggest that fruit size, wall thickness, and skin toughness might be useful as predictive measures in the field for the selection of jalapeño genotypes with superior fresh-cut quality.

Open Access

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) grown for flowers containing cannabinoids requires all female plants, which are susceptible to seed set from exposure to pollen. Created triploids demonstrated reduced seed production compared with diploids in field and greenhouse studies in which plants were challenged with pollen from males. In the field, seed production as a percent of floral biomass ranged from 6.7% to 18.0% for triploids and from 52.6% to 57.1% for diploids. The photoperiod-insensitive triploid genotype ‘Purple Star’ × ‘Wilhelmina’ had 98.5% fewer filled (containing a developed embryo) seeds than the photoperiod-insensitive diploid genotype ‘Tsunami’ × ‘Wilhelmina’. In the greenhouse, triploid ‘Wife’ had 99.5% fewer filled seeds than diploid ‘Wife’. Plant growth and flower production were similar with eight triploid and seven diploid genotypes evaluated over three greenhouse studies. There were a few superior triploid and diploid genotypes; however, their performance was more likely attributable to the parental cultivar combination than ploidy level. The optimal cross direction for producing triploid seed in large quantities is tetraploid × diploid because the diploid × tetraploid cross exhibits triploid block caused by endosperm paternal excess. Colchicine-induced tetraploid parent plants should be tested over a prolonged period to eliminate cryptic chimeral mixoploids or tetraploid plants should be derived from seed produced by crossing two colchicine-induced putative tetraploid plants to ensure that seeds from tetraploid × diploid crosses will be triploid. The latter approach is necessary for photoperiod-insensitive cultivars because a prolonged period of ploidy testing is not possible for these plants. These findings indicate that triploid plants have significantly reduced fertility and are a suitable alternative to diploids in situations in which pollen exposure is possible.

Open Access

Baby greens are becoming increasingly popular in the consumer market because of their desired flavor and leaf size. The short life cycles and fast response times to environmental stimuli make baby greens ideal for testing environmental conditions for space crop production. Additionally, far-red (FR) light has been used for microgreen and baby green research to enhance stem elongation, leaf expansion, and biomass; however, how it interacts with nutrient solution nitrogen (N) concentrations remains unclear. During this ground-based study, we characterized how FR light and N concentrations influenced the growth and morphology of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa var. chinensis cv. Tokyo Bekana) and kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica cv. Red Russian) baby greens under similar superelevated CO2 and low relative humidity to levels observed in spaceflight. Plants were subject to combinations of four sole-source light spectra and three N concentrations (75, 125, and 175 mg⋅L−1). At the same total photon flux density (PFD) of 200 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1, we maintained the same blue and green PFDs at 25 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 each; the remaining 150 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 comprised four red (R) and FR PFD combinations (FR: 0, 25, 50, and 75 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1). Increasing the FR PFD enhanced the typical shade-avoidance morphology of Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ and kale ‘Red Russian’, exhibiting leaf length increases of 20% to 26% and 31% to 61%, respectively. Edible biomass did not increase with increasing FR PFDs for either species, regardless of the N concentration. Increasing the N concentration increased the Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ fresh mass and dry mass by 32% to 59% and 37% to 74%, respectively, except under 25 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 of FR light, with which shoot fresh mass increased by 55% with an increasing N concentration from 75 to 125 mg⋅L−1; however, the shoot dry mass was unaffected. Increasing the N concentration did not affect kale ‘Red Russian’ growth under various FR PFDs. We conclude that partially substituting incremental FR light for R light elicits the shade-avoidance response, with little influence on the growth, of Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ and kale ‘Red Russian’ baby greens under superelevated CO2 and continuous light, and that the former, but not the latter, crop can benefit from increased N fertilization.

Open Access

The formation of onion (Allium cepa) bulbs is affected by photoperiod length and onion germplasm is commonly classified as short- (SD), intermediate-, or long-day (LD) types. The objectives of this study were to develop a segregating family from a cross between doubled haploids (DHs) of LD and SD onions and complete genetic analyses of bulb shape and volume, as well as daylength effects on bulbing. DH parents and F1 and F2 progenies were grown in a greenhouse under lengthening days. The diameters of the neck constriction and pseudostems were measured weekly and their ratio was used as the determinant of bulbing. Bulbs were harvested when the foliage collapsed and the diameters and heights of individual bulbs were measured and used to calculate a shape index (diameter divided by height) and bulb volume. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped and a genetic map of 112 SNPs constructed. Genetic analysis revealed two highly significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) affected bulbing under increasing daylengths, and both QTL showed significant additive effects with no dominance. One highly significant QTL was detected for bulb-shape index and explained 30% of phenotypic variation for bulb shape. Three additional QTL were slightly above the significance threshold, and together these four QTL explained over 50% of the phenotypic variation for bulb shape. No significant QTL were detected for bulb volume. These results reveal that bulb-shape and daylength effects on bulbing are relatively simply inherited, and this research should facilitate introgression of traits between onion populations of different daylength sensitivities and efforts to modify bulb shape.

Open Access