‘Honeycrisp’ (Malus ×domestica) apples were harvested from a total of 17 mid-Atlantic orchards during 2018 and 2019 to verify a previously published bitter pit prediction model. As in the previous study, bitter pit incidence was associated with low calcium (Ca) levels and high ratios of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and/or magnesium (Mg) to Ca in the fruit peel and excessive terminal shoot growth. The best two-variable model for predicting bitter pit developed with the 2018–19 data set contained boron (B) and the ratio of Mg to Ca (R 2 = 0.83), which is different from previous models developed with data from three individual years (2015–17). When used to predict the bitter pit incidence of the 2018–19 data, our previous best model containing the average shoot length (SL) and the ratio of N to Ca underestimated the incidence of bitter pit. The model is probably biased because one or more important variables related to bitter pit have not yet been identified. However, the model is accurate enough to identify orchards with a low incidence of bitter pit.
Richard P. Marini, Tara Auxt Baugher, Megan Muehlbauer, Sherif Sherif, Robert Crassweller, and James R. Schupp
Jing Wu, Qi He, Caihong Zhang, and Gui Wang
Eric T. Stafne
Since late Mar. 2020, many universities halted normal operations due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although extension uses many different techniques to educate consumers, it has been slow to grasp the power of social media. Faced with a dilemma of using digital methods instead of in-person field days, short courses, and workshops, Twitter was a viable alternative, especially for broad audience engagement. Tweet threads were posted on Twitter every Monday morning from 6 Apr. to 8 June 2020. Each thread consisted of 10 tweets. A hashtag #YardFruits was used to start the thread and for later reference. For the first nine threads only one fruit species was discussed per thread. The final thread consisted of single tweets of several species. Engagement percentage did not differ over time but did differ among the crop species. Tweets that did not include a photo received less engagement (2.7%) than those that did include a photo (4.7%). My Twitter account saw a 6.5% increase in followers during the series. Grape (Vitis sp.), passion fruit (Passiflora sp.), fig (Ficus carica), and pear (Pyrus communis) threads had the least engagement and were different from the Other Fruits thread. All other threads were similar. Extension educators can grow their influence by using well-targeted, focused tweets and tweet threads, especially those that use hashtags and photos.
Ricardo Goenaga, Angel Marrero, and Delvis Pérez
Dragon fruit (Hylocereus sp. and Selenicereus sp.), also referred to as pitahaya or pitaya, is a member of the Cactaceae family and native to the tropical forest regions of southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Its fruit is becoming increasingly popular as consumers seek healthy and more diverse food products. The crop adapts to different ecological conditions ranging from very dry regions to wet ones receiving more than 3500 mm of rainfall per year. U.S. commercial production of dragon fruit occurs mainly in Florida, southern California, and Hawaii. As growers learn more about this crop and how productive it can be, the acreage planted is likely to increase. Twelve dragon fruit cultivars grown on an Oxisol soil were evaluated for 5 years under intensive management at Isabela, PR. There were significant differences in number and weight of fruit per hectare among years. Cultivars exhibited an increase in fruit number and yield from 2010 to 2013 and then leveled off or declined. There were significant differences among cultivars for number of fruit and yield per hectare. Cultivars N97-17 and N97-15 produced significantly more fruit averaging 74,908 fruit/ha. Significantly higher fruit yield was obtained by cultivars N97-17, N97-20, N97-22, and NOI-13 averaging 17,002 kg·ha−1. Cultivar Cosmic Charlie had the lowest fruit yield, averaging only 25.1 kg·ha−1. Individual fruit weight was significantly higher in cultivars N97-20 and NOI-13 with fruit weight averaging 346.3 g. Cultivars NOI-16, N97-18, and Cosmic Charlie had significantly higher fruit soluble solids than others, averaging 17.4%. Some of the cultivars used in this study have shown horticultural potential and may serve as new planting material for growers.
Subhankar Mandal and Christopher S. Cramer
Fusarium basal rot (FBR) of onion, which is caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cepae (Hanzawa) Snyder & Hansen (FOC) results in a substantial loss of marketable bulbs worldwide. One of the main reasons for the lack of FBR-resistant short-day cultivars is the unreliable screening methods available for the mature bulb stage when significant economic damage occurs. The objective of this study was to develop an artificial inoculation method with better quantification of inoculum for an effective selection of FBR-resistant mature onion bulbs. Mature bulbs of seven New Mexican short-day onion cultivars, along with susceptible and tolerant controls, were selected and evaluated for FBR resistance using mycelial and conidial inoculation methods, respectively. Transversely cut basal plates of mature bulbs were inoculated artificially with mycelia or conidia (12 × 105 spores/mL in 2014 and 3 × 105 spores/mL in 2015 embedded in potato dextrose agar plug) of a virulent FOC isolate ‘CSC-515’. Mature bulb evaluation using a visual rating scale (1 = no disease; 9 = >70% basal plate infected) revealed a high degree of FBR severity and incidence irrespective of the genetic background of the cultivars, minimizing the chance of disease escape, which is a significant problem in field inoculation. An attempt to inoculate intact basal plates postharvest resulted in minimal disease development, suggesting that mechanical resistance was conferred by the dry outer layer of the basal plate. The high selection pressure conferred by the conidial inoculation method developed in this study can effectively screen FBR-resistant onion bulbs to replace an unreliable field screening. Concentrations of the conidia lower than 3 × 105 spores/mL are recommended to detect subtle genetic differences in FBR resistance among the onion cultivars and their selected population.
Larissa Larocca de Souza and Marcelo L. Moretti
Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) basal sprouts, or suckers, are removed to train trees as a single trunk, facilitating mechanization. Suckers are routinely controlled with herbicides, often by using nozzles that generate fine droplets and spray volumes as high as 934 L·ha−1, making spray drift a concern. Spray nozzle type and carrier volume can impact herbicide efficacy and drift. Field studies compared the efficacy of 2,4-D and glufosinate in controlling suckers when applied with a flat-fan nozzle, producing fine droplets, to a TeeJet air-induction nozzle, producing ultra-coarse droplets. These nozzles were evaluated at 187 and 374 L·ha−1. Nozzle and carrier volume did not affect the efficacy of 2,4-D based on control, sucker height, or dry weight. The efficacy of glufosinate was unaffected by nozzle type or spray volume in most evaluations. These results indicate that hazelnut suckers can be effectively controlled using drift-reduction nozzles with lower carrier volumes (187 L·ha−1). Drift-reduction nozzles, coupled with lower spray volume, can maintain herbicide efficacy, minimize drift risk, and reduce cost.
Asmita Paudel, Youping Sun, Larry A. Rupp, and Richard Anderson
Bin Peng, Jianlan Xu, Zhixiang Cai, Binbin Zhang, Mingliang Yu, and Ruijuan Ma
Peach (Prunus persica) fruit emit more than 100 volatile organic compounds. Among these volatiles, γ-decalactone is the key compound that contributes to peach aroma. The final step in lactones biosynthesis is catalyzed by alcohol acyltransferases (AATs). In this study, five AAT genes were isolated in the peach genome, and the ways that these genes contribute toward the peach aroma were studied. The sequence analysis of the five AATs showed PpAAT4 and PpAAT5 are truncated genes, missing important residues such as HXXXD. The expressions of PpAATs were investigated to identify the roles in creating the peach aroma. The results indicated that only PpAAT1 is highly expressed during γ-decalactone formation. A functional survey of the five PpAATs, using the oleaginous yeast expression system, suggested that only PpAAT1 significantly increased the γ-decalactone content, whereas the other four PpAATs did not significantly alter the γ-decalactone content. Enzyme assays on PpAATs heterologously expressed and purified from Escherichia coli indicated that only PpAAT1 could catalyze the formation of γ-decalactone. All results indicated that PpAAT1 is a more efficient enzyme than the other four PpAATs during the γ-decalactone biosynthesis process in peach fruit. The results from this study should help improve peach fruit aroma.
Shengrui Yao, Robert Heyduck, Steven Guldan, and Govinda Sapkota
Jujube cultivars have been imported into the United States for more than 100 years, but cultivar trials have been limited. To accurately recommend cultivars for each region, trials have to be conducted. We have set up jujube cultivar trials at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Alcalde (2015, USDA hardiness zone 6a), Los Lunas (2015, 7a), and Leyendecker (2017, 8a) Centers with over 35 cultivars at each site with two replicates and a complete random block design. We reported the early performance of fresh-eating cultivars in 2019. Here we report the performance of 19 drying and multipurpose jujube cultivars. Between 40% and 100% of jujube trees produced a few fruit to more than 100 fruit in the planting year, depending on cultivar and location. Trees were more upright at Los Lunas than at Alcalde. ‘Kongfucui’ (KFC) was the most productive cultivar at Alcalde with 13.3 kg/tree in 2019, followed by ‘Chaoyang’, ‘Jinkuiwang’ (JKW), ‘Pitless’, and ‘Lang’. The yield at Los Lunas was lower than Alcalde for the first 3 years after planting; however, ‘Jinsi 2’, ‘Jinsi 4’, ‘Jixin’, ‘Sherwood’, ‘Sihong’, and ‘Xiangzao’ produced higher yields at Los Lunas than Alcalde in 2019. All cultivars produced higher yields and contained higher soluble solids at Leyendecker than Alcalde and Los Lunas at similar ages. ‘JKW’ was the most vigorous and productive cultivar at Leyendecker. ‘JKW’, ‘Xiangzao’, and ‘Lang’ produced more than 3.0 kg/tree in their second year after planting. ‘JKW’ yielded 12.3 kg/tree in its third year after planting. Among the three locations, drying cultivars are not recommended for commercial production at Alcalde. However, home gardeners can plant multipurpose and early-drying cultivars at Alcalde. Leyendecker produced the best dry fruit with larger fruit size, rich color, and meaty fruit; dry fruit quality was acceptable in most years at Los Lunas except 2019. We preliminarily recommend some drying and multipurpose cultivars for each location. As trees mature and produce more fruit, we will fine-tune the cultivar recommendations. We also discuss the jujube cultivar zoning information in New Mexico and fruit uses.
Humberto Aguirre-Becerra, Juan Fernando García-Trejo, Cristina Vázquez-Hernández, Aurora Mariana Alvarado, Ana Angélica Feregrino-Pérez, Luis Miguel Contreras-Medina, and Ramón G. Guevara-Gonzalez
Light is an abiotic factor, and its quality, quantity, and photoperiod can be modulated to work as eustress inductors to regulate plant processes. It is known that red (R), blue (B), far-red (FR), and ultraviolet-A wavelengths can promote photomorphogenesis and secondary metabolite production in plants. Several ratios of R:B and the addition of end of-day FR, separately, have beneficial effects on plant development, whereas adding ultraviolet-A enhances the production of secondary metabolites such as phenols. However, the effects of extended photoperiods with a mixture of these four wavelengths and extra end-of-day FR have not been evaluated for plants of commercial interest. The objective of this study was to determine the effects on tomato seedlings (‘Saladette’, CORDOBA F1) of different overnight photoperiods using a fixed combination of R (625 nm), B (460 nm), FR (720 nm), and ultraviolet-A (410 nm). We expected increases in the production of specialized metabolites and the generation of beneficial changes in the seedling biomass and morphology. Four treatments involving overnight artificial light provided by a light-emitting diode (LED) module were established: TC (control), 0 h; T1, 4 hours; T2, 8 hours; and T3, 12 hours. All treatments were subjected to a 12-hour natural photoperiod and 12 hours of overnight artificial light. The experiment lasted 4 weeks, and plants were sampled every week for physical and phytochemical measurements. In general, seedlings subjected to 4-hour and 8-hour treatments presented better results than those subjected to the control and 12-hour overnight photoperiod treatments. Seedlings subjected to treatments with an 8-hour overnight photoperiod presented large accumulation of biomass in the stem rather than in the leaves because they had large stem dry weight, stem weight, and elongation and higher first, second, and third internode lengths; however, they had lower leaf area, leaf dry weight, and health index. Seedlings subjected to treatment with a 4-hour overnight photoperiod were visually bigger, with large leaf expansion, total length, stem weight, total weight, and specific leaf area; however, this treatment had a negative impact on the biomass accumulation, with lower leaf weight, stem dry weight, and health index. The 12-hour treatment had a negative impact on the leaf area, and thus the specific leaf area, of seedlings; however, the biomass accumulation was large, with higher leaf dry weight, total dry matter, and specific leaf area, but no difference in stem dry weight compared with the control. At the end of the experiment, the total phenolic content increased in all treatments compared with the control, but the flavonoid content decreased. Moreover, the antioxidant capacity was higher for T2 during the last 2 weeks of the experiment. Results are discussed according to the possibilities of using this light strategy for seedling production.