Flower species is one of the key determinants of the aesthetic and economic value of floral products. This research study sought to evaluate whether consumer perceptions of the aesthetic appeal and monetary valuations of floral arrangements change by substituting high-cost species with low-cost species of similar appearance. In addition, the researchers explored consumer preferences for flower symmetry, which provides information to assist floral designers in choosing and using species to increase profit margins and improve the economic efficiency of the floral industry. Two experiments were administered through an online survey. For the first experiment, no difference was shown in both willingness to pay and attractiveness ratings for flowers in the high-dollar value vs. low-dollar value comparison groups. For the second experiment, roses (Rosa hybrida) were rated the highest on attractiveness, followed by dahlia (Dahlia hybrida), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus), and anthurium (Anthurium sp.). Radial flowers were considered most appealing, followed by asymmetrical flowers, and last, bilaterally symmetrical flowers. The results of this study lend insight into how the general floral consumer does not differentiate between flower species that are similar in design features such as color, size, or symmetry. This information can be used by floral business operators to sell their bouquets at a higher margin by strategically using lower-cost flower inputs.
Xuan (Jade) Wu, Melinda J. Knuth, Charles R. Hall, and Marco A. Palma
Grady H. Zuiderveen, Eric P. Burkhart, and Joshua D. Lambert
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a medicinal forest herb native to Appalachia. Its roots and rhizomes are used as an antimicrobial and for the treatment of intestinal ailments. Three alkaloids–berberine, hydrastine, and canadine–are recognized as the major bioactive constituents in goldenseal. One important postharvest processing step for goldenseal is drying; however, it is not known how drying temperature influences the concentrations of these alkaloids. In this study, pre-emergent (dormant) goldenseal samples were freeze-dried or air-dried at six different temperatures (26.7 to 54.4 °C) to determine the relationship between drying temperature and alkaloid content in the rhizome and roots. High performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that berberine and hydrastine levels were unaffected by drying temperature, while canadine levels decreased as temperature increased (0.55% w/w on average when samples were freeze-dried, down to 0.27% w/w on average when dried at 54.4 °C). While canadine is the least abundant alkaloid of the three, it is known to have key antibacterial properties. Developing a more standardized drying protocol for goldenseal could lead to a more predictable phytochemical profile.
Jeff B. Million and Thomas H. Yeager
Irrigation that decreases the leaching fraction (LF; leachate/water applied) has been shown to reduce fertilizer N and P leaching during the production of sprinkler-irrigated, container-grown plants; however, little research involving outdoor production of microirrigated plants in large containers has been conducted. Two microirrigation schedules based on routine leaching fraction testing were compared to determine their effects on water use and leaching losses of N and P during the production of Dwarf Burford holly in 36-cm-diameter (trade #7) containers. Applied irrigation water and leachate were collected continuously and sampled weekly during the 12-month experiment. An irrigation schedule adjusted once every 1 to 3 weeks to a target LF of 20% resulted in the application of 36% less water (383 vs. 597 L/plant) and 43% less leachate (255 vs. 445 L/plant) than a schedule adjusted to a target LF of 40%; plant growth was unaffected (P > 0.05). Irrigation schedules had no effect (P > 0.05) on cumulative N and P leaching losses, which were attributed in large part to rain. Average leaching losses of N and P were 15.2 and 2.2 g per container (210 and 30 kg·ha−1·year−1), respectively. Both N and P leaching losses represented 35% of the 43.5 g N and 6.3 g P applied per container in two controlled-release fertilizer applications. The results support the best management practice of scheduling irrigation based on routine LF testing to reduce irrigation water use but not reduce N and P leaching.
This study evaluated the yield of eight miniature lettuce (Lactuca sativa) cultivars (i.e., mini-lettuce) grown under organically managed high tunnels compared with a field system during two spring seasons in Georgia. Mini-lettuce required an average of 36 to 40 days to harvest in both systems with a 86% to 97% marketability rate. The high tunnels provided a heat gain on the coldest days, decreased leaf wetness, and resulted in a lower daily light integral compared with the field. In 2015, mini-lettuce yields were similar between the high tunnel and field, but in 2016, yields were greater under the high tunnels. In 2016 only, there was a significant system by cultivar interaction for yield, suggesting that the high tunnels provided a yield increase for ‘Baby Green Oakleaf’ and ‘Spretnak’ mini-lettuce. Differences in the daily light integral between the high tunnels and field appeared to affect the accumulation of anthocyanins in red-pigmented mini-lettuce. Anthocyanin concentrations were 26% to 194% greater in mini-lettuce grown in the field compared with under high tunnels. The cultivar Rhazes had the greatest anthocyanin concentrations of all red-pigmented mini-lettuce evaluated but also lower yields.
Triston Hooks, Genhua Niu, Joe Masabni, Youping Sun, and Girisha Ganjegunte
Pomegranate is a drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant crop. Its fruits contain high levels of phytochemicals that have many health benefits. Pomegranate has the potential to be an alternative crop in areas where water availability is limited, such as west Texas. However, more than 500 pomegranate varieties are estimated to exist worldwide, and little is known about which varieties are suitable for growing in the west Texas region. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the field performance of 22 pomegranate varieties, specifically based on phenology, resistance to sunburn, fruit split, fruit rot (resistance was calculated by subtracting the percent incidence by 100), yield, fruit phytochemicals, and Brix over the course of 3 years from 2016 to 2018. Cold damage, caused by below-freezing temperatures encountered from Nov. 2018 to Feb. 2019, was also evaluated in Apr. 2019. Our results showed significant varietal differences in nearly all response variables measured, indicating that varietal selection is important for pomegranate production for specific regions, such as west Texas. Leaf budding ranged from 47 to 62 days in 2016, 41 to 54 days in 2017, and 49 to 60 days in 2018. Anthesis ranged from 87 to 119 days in 2016, 80 to 94 days in 2017, and 92 to 114 days in 2018. Fruit resistance to split was broad and ranged from 7.3% to 79.1% in 2017 and from 14.2% to 99.7% in 2018. Fruit sunburn resistance ranged from 14.0% to 64.6% in 2017 and from 28.3% to 90.0% in 2018. Fruit heart rot incidence was nominal for all varieties. Total phenolic compound contents of the pomegranate fruit juice ranged from 0.81 to 1.52 mg GAE/mL, and the total antioxidant capacity ranged from 3.44 to 6.81 mg TE/mL. The yield per tree ranged from 1.00 to 7.96 kg in 2017 and from 0.81 to 10.26 kg in 2018. Brix ranged from 12.5% to 17.4% in 2017 and from 13.9% to 18.4% in 2018. Early winter below-freezing temperatures caused different degrees of cold damage; however, 5 of 22 varieties that originated from Russia did not show any cold damage. Results of a hierarchical cluster analysis based on the means of the key response variables of yield and Brix indicated that four varieties (Al-Sirin-Nar, Russian 8, Ben Ivey, and Salavatski) were notable for having both high yield and high Brix.
Nicola Dallabetta, Andrea Guerra, Jonathan Pasqualini, and Gennaro Fazio
In 2014, an intensive multileader apple rootstock orchard trial was established in Trento province, Northern Italy, using dwarf (‘M.9-T337’) and semidwarf rootstocks (‘G.935’, ‘G.969’, and ‘M.116’) and ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’, and ‘Fuji’ as the scion cultivars. Trees were trained to Biaxis (‘M.9-T337’) and Triaxis systems (‘G.935’, ‘G.969’, and ‘M.116’) with a tree density of 3175 trees and 2116 trees per hectare, respectively, and with a uniform axis (leader) density of 6348/ha. Comparisons across all training systems by cultivar system showed that after 6 years (2019), trees of ‘Fuji’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ on ‘M.116’ were the largest trees followed by ‘G.969’, ‘G.935’, and ‘M.9-T337’. With ‘Gala’, trees on ‘G.969’ were of similar size as trees on ‘M.116’ and ‘G.935’. Trees of ‘Fuji’ on ‘G.935’ produced the highest yield followed by ‘G.969’, ‘M.116’, and ‘M.9-T337’. For ‘Gala’, trees on ‘M.116’ produced similarly as the ‘M.9-T337’, whereas with ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘G.969’ and ‘G.935’ had higher yields than ‘M.9-T337’. When comparing production per ground surface area (hectare) ‘G935’ had higher yield than ‘M.9-T337’ for all the cultivars in this trial. In addition, yield efficiency of ‘Fuji’ trees on ‘G.935’ was similar or even higher than trees on ‘M.9-T337’. Rootstock did not affect fruit size with ‘Fuji’. For Gala, fruit from ‘G.969’ were significantly larger than those on ‘M.116’. ‘Golden Delicious’ on ‘G.969’ produced smaller fruit compared with those on ‘G.935’. Fruit from trees on ‘M.9-T337’ had the lowest percentage of red color with ‘Fuji’ and the highest with ‘Gala’. When yield and quality data were combined to produce marketable yield, rootstock had a dramatic effect on the cumulative gross crop value per hectare based on local farm gate values for each scion cultivar.
Olivia M. Smith, Beverly Gerdeman, Matthew Arrington, Hollis Spitler, and Lisa Wasko DeVetter
Herbaceous flowering or woody plant borders adjacent to highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) fields have the potential to benefit both native pollinators and species of predatory and parasitic arthropods and birds that feed on key highbush blueberry pests, such as spotted wing drosophila [SWD (Drosophila suzukii)]. However, they may also draw pollinators away from the crop, serve as overwintering and/or refugia sites for SWD, and increase the abundance of wild birds that feed on fruit and harbor foodborne pathogens. The objective of this 1-year, observational study was to explore the potential impacts of border vegetation adjacent to commercial highbush blueberry fields on pollination, crop productivity, and arthropod and bird communities within the Pacific Northwest region in the United States. The study included three highbush blueberry cultivars (Duke, Draper, and Liberty), and three field border vegetation treatments: 1) woody perennial vegetation; 2) herbaceous vegetation; and 3) medium-height grasses (control). There was one border treatment per cultivar for a total of nine sites. No cultivar effects nor interactions for any of the variables were detected, so results were combined across cultivars. No differences in pollinator abundance, pollinator visitation rates, estimated yield, berry weight, and seed number were observed across the treatments. Herbaceous borders had more natural enemies than the woody perennial borders, but both were similar to the control. This trend is attributed to higher abundances of parasitic wasps (suborder Apocrita) in the herbaceous and control borders compared with the woody perennial borders. Increased abundances of aphids (family Aphididae), a host for parasitic wasps, likely influenced these results. Differences in predatory arthropods were not observed. Insect abundances were overall low in all field sites measured in this study, likely influenced by SWD insecticide applications. There were no differences in total wild bird density by treatment except for barn swallows (Hirundo rustica), which were greatest in the control treatment. Overall, the border treatments evaluated in this study had small-to-negligible impacts on the measured variables, and there was no clear crop production benefit. Additionally, none of the investigated border treatments negatively impacted highbush blueberry production. Taken together, border vegetation treatments can provide benefits such as reducing pesticide drift, deterring trespassers, and serving as a windbreak; but any potential benefits from a pollination or biocontrol aspect are likely diminished due to current SWD management practices.
Jonathan D. Mahoney and Mark H. Brand
Intergeneric hybridization between Aronia and Pyrus may provide a pathway for developing novel fruit types with larger, sweeter fruits, while maintaining the high levels of biologically health-promoting compounds present in Aronia fruits. Here we describe a deleterious genetic incompatibility, known as hybrid necrosis or hybrid lethality, that occurs in intergeneric F1 hybrids of Aronia melanocarpa x Pyrus communis and ×Sorbaronia dippelii x Pyrus communis. Pollination experiments revealed that maternal A. melanocarpa and ×S. dippelii pistils are compatible with pollen from P. communis. Controlled pollinations using different mating combinations resulted in varying levels of fruit and seed set. Because every combination produced at least some viable seeds, prezygotic incompatibility does not appear to be present. We attempted to recover putative intergeneric progeny via either in vitro germination or in vitro shoot organogenesis from cotyledons. Progeny of putative hybrids from A. melanocarpa x P. communis only survived for a maximum of 14 days before succumbing to hybrid lethality. Regeneration of ×S. dippelii x P. communis was successful for two seedlings that have been maintained for an extended time in tissue culture. These two seedlings have leaf morphologies intermediate between the two parental genotypes. We also confirmed their hybrid status by using AFLPs and flow cytometry. Putative intergeneric hybrids were grown out ex vitro before showing symptoms of hybrid necrosis and dying after 3 months. Eventually micrografts failed, ultimately showing the same symptoms of hybrid necrosis. These results show that intergeneric hybridization is possible between Aronia and related genera in the Rosaceae, but there are postzygotic barriers to hybridity that can prevent the normal growth and development of the progeny.
Nana Millicent Duduzile Buthelezi, Tieho Paulus Mafeo, and Nhlanhla Mathaba
Preharvest factors such as poor orchard management and field sanitation can lead to pathological infection of the tree fruit being grown as well as insect pest infestation, resulting in poor postharvest fruit quality. Wind and hail damage may cause significant tree fruit abrasions and blemishes. Consequently, these preharvest factors may reduce yield and cause market and economic losses. One of the most successful methods used to manage tree fruit pathogens and insect infestation is the application of agrochemicals, predominantly fungicides and insecticides. However, this method has recently been criticized due to the adverse effects on field workers’ safety, consumers’ health, and the environment. The development and use of preharvest bagging are among the most environmentally friendly technologies intended for safe enhancement of tree fruit quality. The technique protects tree fruit against pathogens, insect pests, physiological disorders, agrochemical residues, fruit abrasions, sunburn, and bird damage, and it further modifies the microenvironment for fruit development with its various beneficial effects on its external and internal quality. Furthermore, because of the global restrictions of agrochemicals and social awareness, this technique provides extensive relief to growers and consumers. However, bagging is labor-intensive and expensive; therefore, its benefits or advantages and disadvantages must be thoroughly investigated if it is to be promoted commercially. This review examines the improvement of tree fruit quality by the application of preharvest bagging during early stages of fruit growth and development. The latest advances in the development and use of tree fruit bagging and its economic impact and cost–benefit ratio are discussed, as are recommendations for the formulation of bagging materials that could be valuable in the future.
Robert E. Paull and Gail Uruu
Moringa (Moringa oleifera), also known as the pot herb drumstick or horseradish leaves, requires irradiation treatment for insect disinfestation before shipping to the west coast of the United States from Hawai’i. This irradiation treatment as well as packing and air shipment leads to leaflet abscission. To minimize this abscission, the shipper had been including frozen gel packs in the shipping carton. However, these packs are heavy and lead to chilling injury on the leaflets and the development of mold on the leaves adjacent to the gel pack. Holding and shipping the product at 12 °C negated the need for the frozen gel packs. Inclusion of a sachet of 1-methylcyclopropene in the carton significantly reduced leaflet abscission. Further reduction was obtained by the inclusion of an ethylene absorption sachet, thus helping to maintain the overall product quality and marketability.