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Open access

Ivette Guzman, Danise Coon, Krystal Vargas, and Paul W. Bosland

Open access

Coleman L. Etheredge and Tina M. Waliczek

In the United States there has been a push to convert industries to a more environmentally sustainable business attitude in recent years. Environmentally sustainable practices are not only good for the environment, but there is increasing evidence these practices lead to an increase in customer loyalty. The trend of self-regulation, willingly imposing more stringent environmental policies than required by the government, is progressing toward a time where environmentally friendly practices will be a competitive necessity for businesses to survive. The main purpose of this research was to investigate the perceptions of environmental health of retail flower shop owners and their willingness to recycle fresh cut floral waste produced at retail flower shops for use as compost and to determine if there is a statistical correlation between environmental awareness and willingness to compost fresh cut flower waste. A mailing list of retail florists from across the United States was compiled. A total of 1974 florists from all 50 states were sent a standardized e-mail explaining the purpose of the study. Embedded in the e-mail was a hyperlink that redirected willing respondents to the survey. Each person on the mailing list was emailed one time. Of the 300 retail florists who took part in the survey, a majority, 190 (63.33%), were ranked as having “high concern” for environmental health. A majority of florists 247 (82.33%) “agreed” or “strongly agreed” to collaborate with Master Gardener programs and other organizations if it meant they could recycle their floral waste through composting. Through the creation of industry- and state-sponsored certifications, florists could brand and promote their business as more environmentally conscious by composting their floral waste. This could possibly, in turn, stimulate sales and increase profit margins while having the added benefit of reducing the amount of waste entering landfills.

Open access

Ying Wang, Tingting Xue, Xing Han, Lingxiao Guan, Liang Zhang, Hua Wang, and Hua Li

Kaolin particle film (KPF) is an aqueous formulation of chemically inert mineral particles that can be sprayed on the surface of crops to form a protective film, resulting in increased fruit yield and quality. In this work, the effects of kaolin-based, foliar reflectant particle film on grape composition and volatile compounds in ‘Meili’ (Vitis vinifera L.) grapes were investigated under different growth stages over two growing seasons. The 100-berry weight and titratable acid content were decreased, and the sugar and soluble solid contents were increased in grapes of plants treated with kaolin over 2 years. Compared with grapes from plants not sprayed with kaolin, the levels of total phenol, flavonoid, flavanol, tannin, and anthocyanins of grapes from plants treated with kaolin for 2 years were mostly increased. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis also revealed an increased content of monomeric anthocyanin and changed anthocyanin composition. However, there was little effect on the volatile compounds in the grapes. These results demonstrate that KPF can facilitate the accumulation of sugar and phenolics, thereby improving grape quality even in a humid climate.

Open access

Coral Ortiz, Antonio Torregrosa, Enrique Ortí, and Sebastià Balasch

Thinning is the process of removing some flowers or fruit to increase fruit size at harvest. In the Valencia region of Spain, the thinning operation for citrus fruit (Citreae) is performed for some mandarin varieties. This is always performed manually; however, this method is very expensive. The goal of this research study was to assess the mechanical thinning of mandarin (Citrus reticulata) using a hand-held branch shaker. Different thinning treatments were conducted over a 3-year period. The gasoline-powered branch shaker was capable of detaching fruit four- to five-times faster than manual thinning. Final fruit size was significantly higher using manual and mechanical thinning compared with a no thinning treatment. Similar final fruit size was obtained with manual and mechanical thinning. However, no significant differences were found in final fruit yield by weight among no thinning, mechanical thinning, and manual thinning treatments. The use of a branch shaker could be recommended for thinning operations to increase efficiency, reduce labor costs, and obtain larger and higher-quality fruit.

Open access

Yuqing Wang, Richard J. Heerema, James L. Walworth, Barry Dungan, Dawn VanLeeuwen, and F. Omar Holguin

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) has high kernel antioxidant activity and unsaturated fatty acid content, which contribute to its nutraceutical properties. In the western United States, where soils are typically alkaline, pecan trees require frequent zinc (Zn) fertilizer applications to maintain normal canopy growth and nut production. Our objective was to investigate the effects of tree Zn fertilization on nutraceutical properties of ‘Wichita’ and ‘Western’ pecan kernels. Trees were fertilized with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelated Zn, which was applied to the soil at one of three seasonal rates for a total of three treatments: 0 (control), 2.2, or 4.4 kg·ha−1 Zn. Nut samples were collected and homogenized for analyses of kernel oil yield, hydrophilic antioxidant capacity, fatty acid profile, and γ-tocopherol content. Although soil Zn treatments did not significantly affect antioxidant capacity of defatted pecan kernels, Zn application had significant positive effects on both total kernel oil yield and γ-tocopherol content compared with the control. In conclusion, soil application of Zn fertilizer may increase the human health-promoting aspects of pecan kernels, a valuable attribute among health-conscious consumers.

Open access

Hunter A. Hammock, Dean A. Kopsell, and Carl E. Sams

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) can produce a wide range of narrowband wavelengths with varying intensities. Previous studies have demonstrated that supplemental blue (B) and red (R) wavelengths from LEDs impact plant development, physiology, and morphology. High-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting systems are commonly used in greenhouse production, but LEDs have gained popularity in recent years because of their improved energy efficiency and spectral control. Research is needed to determine the efficacy of supplementary B and R LED narrowband wavelengths compared with traditional lighting systems like HPS in terms of yield, quality, and energy consumption for a variety of greenhouse-grown high-value specialty crops. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of LED and HPS lighting on greenhouse hydroponic basil (Ocimum basilicum var. ‘Genovese’) biomass production and edible tissue nutrient concentrations across different growing seasons. Basil was chosen because of its high demand and value among restaurants and professional chefs. A total of eight treatments were used: one nonsupplemented natural light (NL) control; one HPS treatment; and six LED treatments (peaked at 447 nm/627 nm, ±20 nm) with progressive B/R ratios (10B/90R; 20B/80R; 30B/70R; 40B/60R; 50B/50R; and 60B/40R). Each supplemented light (SL) treatment provided 8.64 mol·m−2·d−1 (100 µmol·m−2·s−1, 24 h·d−1). The daily light integral (DLI) of the NL control averaged 9.5 mol·m−2·d−1 across all growing seasons (ranging from 4 to 18 mol·m−2·d−1). Relative humidity averaged 50%, with day/night temperatures averaging 27.4 °C/21.8 °C, respectively. LED treatments had the greatest total fresh biomass (FM) and dry biomass (DM) accumulation; biomass for LED treatments were 1.3 times greater on average than HPS, and 2 times greater than the NL control. Biomass partitioning revealed that the LED treatments had more FM and DM for the individual main stem, shoots, and leaves of each plant at varying levels. LED treatments resulted in greater height and main stem diameter. Some essential nutrient concentrations were impacted by SL treatments and growing season. An energy analysis revealed that on average, narrowband B/R LED treatments were 3 times more energy efficient at increasing biomass over HPS. LED treatments reduced SL energy cost per gram FM increase by 95% to 98% when compared with HPS. In addition, the rate of electricity consumption to biomass increase varied across LED treatments, which demonstrates that basil uses different B/R narrowband ratios at varying efficiencies. This experiment shows that spectral quality of both supplemental sources and natural sunlight impacts primary metabolic resource partitioning of basil. The application of LED lighting systems to supplement natural DLI and spectra during unfavorable growing seasons has the potential to increase overall biomass accumulation and nutrient concentrations in a variety of high-value specialty crops.

Open access

Job Teixeira de Oliveira, Rubens Alves de Oliveira, Domingos Sarvio Magalhães Valente, Isabela da Silva Ribeiro, and Paulo Eduardo Teodoro

The study aimed to analyze the distribution and spatial autocorrelation of irrigation concerning the other productive components of the garlic crop. The productive components were distributed in thematic maps, and the spatial autocorrelation was estimated by the Moran index, which quantifies the autocorrelation degree. Results show that irrigation contributes to higher yield, with bulbs of larger diameter and heavier cloves. Plants under drought stress conditions tend to develop wider and longer leaves with a higher shoot dry matter. The bivariate analysis revealed that irrigation in garlic is closely related to all explanatory variables.

Open access

Sylvia Cherono, Charmaine Ntini, Misganaw Wassie, Mohammad Dulal Mollah, Mohammad A. Belal, Collins Ogutu, and Yuepeng Han

The protective role of melatonin in plants under abiotic stress has been reported, but little information is available on its mitigation effect on coffee (Coffea arabica) plants. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of exogenous application of 100 µM melatonin in coffee leaves under 3 months of drought stress treatment. Melatonin was found to alleviate the drought-induced damage in coffee through reducing the rate of chlorophyll degradation, electrolyte leakage, malonaldehyde content, and activating various antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase, guaiacol peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. Melatonin application suppressed the expression of chlorophyll degradation gene PAO encoding pheophorbide a oxygenase, and upregulated the expression of photosynthetic gene RBCS2 encoding ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate oxygenase (Rubisco) protein, and a drought-related gene AREB encoding abscisic acid-responsive element binding protein. The photosynthetic efficiency of photosystem II under dark adaptation was also improved upon melatonin application in drought-stressed plants. Our results showed that both foliar spray and direct soil application of melatonin could improve drought tolerance by regulating photosynthetic efficiency and oxidative damage in C. arabica seedlings. This study provides insights in application of melatonin as a protective agent against drought stress in improvement of crop yields.