Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) production in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States has been increasing steadily. The performance of eight commercially available sweetpotato varieties and two unreleased accessions grown on raised beds and covered with black plastic mulch in Pennsylvania was evaluated. All varieties and accessions were evaluated in 2 successive years (2018 and 2019) at Rock Springs, PA. There were statistically significant differences in total marketable yield (TMY), but not in all yield components in both years. ‘Orleans’, ‘Beauregard’, ‘Averre’, and ‘Covington’ consistently produced high marketable yields and suitable U.S No.1 grade storage roots. ‘Bonita’ (tan skin/white flesh) and ‘Carolina Ruby’ [red skin/orange flesh (OF)] produced consistent yields in both years (range, 330–430 bushels/acre; 50-lb bushel). NC413 [purple skin (PS)/purple flesh (PF)] produced the lowest yield in 2018 and was discarded for future trials. In 2019, NCP13-0030 (PS/PF) produced good yields and shapes comparable to OF varieties. Overall total yields (TYs) measured in this study compared satisfactorily with average nationwide yields, with several varieties producing more than 500 bushels/acre.
Francisco E. Loayza, Michael T. Masarirambi, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Charles A. Sims
This study investigated the effect of ethylene treatment at high temperatures of 30 to 40 °C for up to 72 hours on subsequent ripening-associated processes in mature green ‘Sunny’ and ‘Agriset 761’ tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum). Compared with ethylene-treated fruit at 20 °C, ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C stimulated ripening in terms of ethylene biosynthesis and color development, but the ethylene effect was only apparent after transfer to air at 20 °C. There were no negative effects on ripe tomato quality related to ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C. However, ethylene production of tomatoes was permanently impaired by ethylene exposure at 40 °C for 48 or 72 hours even after transferring fruit to air at 20 °C; these fruit exhibited slow softening and color development. Our results suggest that tomatoes perceive ethylene at 30 to 35 °C despite impairment of ripening at those temperatures, with the accelerated ripening response becoming apparent only after transferring the tomatoes to air at lower temperature.
Hanah T. Rheay, Kevin Lombard, Catherine Brewer, and F. Omar Holguin
Neomexicanus hops (Humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus) are receiving increased attention within the craft beer and nutraceutical industries. Characterization of bittering acids and essential oils in two neomexicanus varieties revealed wide ranges of bittering acid compositions and distinct essential oil profiles compared with ‘Cascade’ common hops (H. lupulus). Total phenolic content (TPC), expressed as gallic acid equivalent (GAE), in neomexicanus hops ranged from 50 to 100 mg·g−1 GAE, consistently higher than published literature values for hop TPC (2 to 50 mg·g−1 GAE). Results indicate that, compared with ‘Cascade’, neomexicanus hops have unique phytochemical characteristics, which may lead to new applications in brewing and nutraceutical fields.
Rachel P. Naegele and Mary K. Hausbeck
Phytophthora capsici causes root and fruit rot and foliar blight of pepper. Multiple sources of resistance to Phytophthora root rot have previously been identified, but most display only partial resistance. One source, CM334, has broad spectrum root rot resistance to multiple pathogen isolates but has only low to moderate fruit rot resistance. This study evaluated previously identified pepper lines for resistance to two P. capsici isolates, OP97 and 12889, and compared root rot resistance to fruit rot resistance and genetic structure. CM334 was confirmed as a broad spectrum resistance genotype, whereas all other sources of resistance evaluated were susceptible to infection by one or both isolates evaluated. Although not completely resistant, PI 566811 displayed moderate resistance to fruit and root rot to both P. capsici isolates. Fruit rot resistance had a significant but small to moderate positive correlation (r = 0.26–0.63) with root rot resistance depending on the isolate and length of exposure. Pepper accessions with resistance to Phytophthora root and fruit rot belonging to different genetic subpopulations were identified and could serve as candidates for partial-resistance loci to incorporate into pepper breeding programs.
Chyun-Chien Liang, Tzu-Yao Wei, and Der-Ming Yeh
Neoregelia cultivars have been used in many areas for landscaping and indoors in a variety of creative ways, but scientific reports of their pollination and hybridization are presently limited. Cross-combinations of Neoregelia cultivars were created to define conditions for pollination timing and to evaluate cross-compatibility. Neoregelia cultivars have short-lived flowers. Hybrid seeds were obtained only when cross-pollination was performed before 1200 hr. Results of 19 cross-combinations including six reciprocal crosses revealed that hybrid seeds were obtained in the female parents with a 1.9- to 2.0-cm style length, but not in those with a 2.6- to 3.0-cm style length. The pollen tube penetrated the ovule as early as 1 day after pollination in the compatible cross, whereas swollen pollen tubes were observed at half and two-thirds of the style in the incompatible cross. Removal of 50% of the style length of the female parents could overcome the fertilization barrier for those incompatible crosses and hybrid seeds could be successfully obtained.
Gregory E. Frey, Tarik Durmus, Erin O. Sills, Fikret Isik, and Marcus M. Comer
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom-producing fungus. “Natural log-grown” shiitake mushrooms are favored by consumers and are often produced by small farmers and hobbyists in the United States. The tree species most often recommended as a substrate for shiitake is white oak (Quercus alba), which has many other economic uses. We tested two strains of shiitake in log substrates of three common, low-value tree species in the southeastern United States to identify potential alternatives to white oak. We found that sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) was a good substitute for white oak, both in terms of mushroom production and financial returns. Red maple (Acer rubrum) had less potential, with lower production and marginal financial returns, and ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) was not a suitable alternative substrate. Of the two shiitake strains tested, a commercially available strain performed better than a naturalized strain that was isolated from an uninoculated log. Further research is needed to identify other potential alternative substrates and production techniques in the southeastern United States and other regions.
Ved Parkash and Sukhbir Singh
Salinity stress is among the major abiotic stresses prevailing in arid and semiarid areas such as the southern high plains of the United States. In these areas, both declining quality of groundwater and cultivation practices have resulted in increased accumulation of salts in the root zone. The occurrence of excessive salts in the root zone is detrimental for plant growth and economic yield. Recently, biochar has received a great consideration as a soil amendment to mitigate the detrimental impacts of salinity stress. However, the effectiveness of biochar to mitigate the salinity stress depends on the feedstock type, pyrolysis temperature and time, soil type and properties, and plant species. Therefore, a pot experiment in a greenhouse was conducted to 1) examine the effects of salinity stress on physiology, shoot and root growth, and yield of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), and 2) evaluate the potential of hardwood biochar and softwood biochar to mitigate the damaging effects of salinity stress on eggplant. The experiment was conducted in a split-plot design with three salinity levels of irrigation water [S0 (control, 0.04 dS·m−1), S1 (2 dS·m−1), and S2 (4 dS·m−1)] as main-plot factor and three biochar treatments [B0 (control, non-biochar), Bh (hardwood biochar), and Bs (softwood biochar)] as subplot factor with four replications. Results showed that stomatal conductance (g S) and photosynthesis rate decreased significantly, while leaf temperature and electrolyte leakage increased significantly with increase in irrigation water salinity levels. Root growth (root length density and root surface area density), shoot growth (plant height, stem diameter, and leaf area), and yield of eggplant declined with increase in levels of salinity stress. Biochar application helped to enhance g S and photosynthesis rate, and to decrease leaf temperature and electrolyte leakage in leaf tissues of plants. This resulted in better root growth, shoot growth, and fruit yield of eggplant in treatments amended with biochar than non-biochar (control) treatment. There was no significant difference in the effect of two types of biochars (hardwood and softwood biochar) on physiology, root growth, shoot growth, and yield of eggplant. Therefore, it can be concluded that softwood and hardwood biochars could be used to minimize the detrimental impacts of salinity stress in eggplant.
Marlee A. Trandel, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, and Jonathan Schultheis
In triploid (seedless) watermelon [Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Thunb. Matsum. and Nakai)], hollow heart (HH) is a disorder that is expressed as a crack in the center of the fruit that expands to an open cavity. Although HH incidence and severity is part of a screening process for marketable watermelon fruit during cultigen evaluations, HH incidence is highly variable with growing season, even when the best cultural practices are used. Placental tissue firmness is also measured because firmness is related to the marketability of watermelon and may be related to HH. Genetic and environmental factors can influence watermelon HH development, including plant genetics, pollen amount and viability, pollinator activity, and temperature and rainfall fluctuations. We used seedless watermelon cultigen evaluation data collected over 3 years (2012–14) to determine the relationship between germplasm HH and tissue firmness. Transplanted watermelon representing 30 to 44 cultigens per year were grown at the Central Crops Research Station, Clayton, NC, and interplanted with pollenizers ‘Ace’ and/or ‘SP-6’. Harvested fruit were cut length-wise and rated for HH incidence and severity. Flesh firmness was determined by a handheld penetrometer at five locations in the flesh (stem end, top side, ground spot, blossom end, and heart). A common cultigen subset, consisting of 13 cultigens that were grown in all three experiments, was used for analysis of HH severity and incidence, and placental firmness. The presence of HH was negatively correlated with tissue firmness in both the large multiyear cultigen set (R 2 = −0.32; P = 0.0001) and the common cultigen set (R 2 = −0.78; P = 0.0001). Cultigens with lower watermelon tissue firmness values had higher HH incidence and severity. By using multiyear cultigen studies and logistic regression, we were able to detect trends for cultigen susceptibility to this highly variable disorder. Using logistic regression, the probability of HH development was highest for ‘Bold Ruler’, ‘Liberty’, and ‘Affirmed’, and lowest for ‘Maxima’ and ‘Captivation’. The identification of cultigens with a tendency for higher or lower rates of HH will be useful for further research of the causes of HH. Measurements of placental flesh firmness may be useful indicators of susceptible cultigens.
Jenny B. Ryals, Patricia R. Knight, and Eric T. Stafne
Production of passion fruit (Passiflora sp.) via cuttings is a way to eliminate genetic variation in the crop and also results in a faster establishment time. This could aid producers in increasing production efficiency while maintaining genetic lines. The objective of this research was to evaluate ease of rooting and determine the optimal auxin source for seven species of passion fruit. Semihardwood two-node cuttings were taken from the middle of the parent vine, and auxin treatments were applied to the basal end of the cutting. The cuttings were then stuck to a depth of 1 inch on 20 Aug. 2019. Treatments included three auxin sources and seven passion fruit species. Treatments were set up as a randomized complete block design blocking on species, with 10 single-plant replications per treatment. Data were collected 30 d after sticking cuttings and included percent rooted, total root number, average root length (of the three longest roots, measured in centimeters), root quality (0–5 scale, with 0 = dead and 5 = healthy, vigorous root system), root dry weight (measured in grams), and percent callus. Results showed that passion fruit cuttings receiving a hormone treatment had significantly positive effects on rooting responses, such as increased number, length, quality, and dry weight of roots. Blue passionflower (P. caerulea) was the only species in which hormone treatment did not increase rooting compared with the control. The use of hormone to aid in cutting propagation of passion fruit is recommended, depending on the species being propagated.
Gianna Ricci and F. Bailey Norwood
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the appearance, texture, color, and taste of two popular pecan (Carya illinoinensis) clones relative to native pecans in a blind sensory analysis. Subjects tasted the raw pecans acquired from the same farm and evaluated them using hedonic scores. Results suggest consumers prefer the two clones to natives, and most of this preference seems to be related to the pecan size. A crossmodal effect was detected whereby the subjects reported an improved flavor in whole native pecans compared with clones that were cut in half and were thus less visually appealing. Consequently, although a previous study showed that consumers prefer pecans in a hypothetical (nontasting) situation when they are labeled as a “native” as opposed to clones, when the pecans are actually eaten and there are no labels designating the pecan type, they prefer the clones.