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Open access

Nathan J. Eylands, Michael R. Evans, and Angela M. Shaw

Various saponins have demonstrated allelochemical effects such as bactericidal impacts as well as antimycotic activity against some plant pathogenic fungi, thereby acting to benefit plant growth and development. A commercial saponin solution was evaluated for bactericidal effects against Escherichia coli and growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) in a hydroponic system. E. coli (P4, P13, and P68) inoculum at final concentration of 108 colony-forming units (cfu)/mL was added to 130 L of a fertilized solution recirculating in a nutrient film technique (NFT) system used to grow ‘Rex’ lettuce. After 5 weeks in the NFT system, E. coli populations were lowest in the inoculated treatment that did not contain any saponin addition (0.89 log cfu/mL) when compared with all other inoculated treatments (P < 0.001). The treatment containing 100 µg·mL−1 saponin extract had an E. coli population of 4.61 log cfu/mL after 5 weeks that was higher than treatments containing 25 µg·mL−1 or less (P < 0.0001). Thus, higher E. coli populations were observed at higher saponin concentrations. Plant growth was also inhibited by increasing saponin concentrations. Fresh and dry shoot weight were both higher in the inoculated and uninoculated treatments without the saponin addition after 5 weeks in the NFT system (P < 0.0001). Lettuce head diameter was smaller when exposed to saponin treatments with concentrations of 50 and 100 µg·mL−1 (P < 0.0001). Lettuce leaves were also tested for the potential of E. coli to travel systemically to the edible portions of the plant. No E. coli was found to travel in this manner. It was concluded that steroidal saponins extracted from mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) are not an acceptable compound for use in mitigation of E. coli in hydroponic fertilizer solution due to its ineffectiveness as a bactericide and its negative impact on lettuce growth.

Open access

Laban K. Rutto, Zelalem Mersha, and Mizuho Nita

The French American hybrid grape cultivars Corot noir and Arandell (Vitis sp.), and Vidal blanc and Petit Manseng (Vitis vinifera), along with different spray programs, were evaluated for potential organic production in Virginia from 2013 to 2014. Results obtained in the study demonstrate that organic wine grape production in Virginia can be achieved by using select grape cultivars and spray programs. With the exception of Vidal blanc, disease severity and disease incidence were below the threshold for maintaining healthy vines in all organically managed grape cultivars. ‘Vidal blanc’ was not sufficiently resistant to downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola), precluding it from potential organic management in Virginia. The study also demonstrated significant disease resistance in Virginia of the cultivar Arandell, released by Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) in 2013. The results suggest that the organically registered fungicide Bacillus subtilis is effective in reducing the severity and incidence of black rot (Guignardia bidwellii) and phomopsis cane and leaf spot (Phomopsis viticola). The chemistry of organically managed berries harvested in 2014 met minimum requirements for wine production with soluble solids, titratable acidity, and pH ranging from 18.7% to 20.2%, 7.6 to 8.0 g·L−1, and 3.3 to 3.4, respectively, in ‘Arandell’ and ‘Corot noir’; and 21.0% to 24.4%, 7.8 to 9.6 g·L−1, and 2.7 to 2.9, respectively, in ‘Petit Manseng’ and ‘Vidal blanc’ juice.

Open access

Derald Harp, Kevin Chretien, Mariah Brown, Curtis Jones, and Jose Lopez-Serrano

The Ebony series of crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) cultivars includes several (Ebony Embers, Ebony Fire, Ebony Flame, Ebony Glow, and Ebony and Ivory), marketed today under the Black Diamond® brand. These are relatively new crepe myrtle cultivars unique for their dark foliage, but with little information concerning their performance in north-central Texas, especially in low-input landscapes. The study was conducted from 2014 to 2017 at three locations in north-central Texas with three soil types, an acidic fine sandy loam, a neutral pH silt loam, and an alkaline heavy clay. Although soils and environmental conditions caused variations between sites, overall performance among cultivars was consistent across all study sites, with Centennial Spirit having better landscape performance than any of the Ebony cultivars tested. ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and ‘Ebony Blush’ had the overall lowest landscape performance. Ebony cultivars grew more slowly, had fewer blooms, and were more susceptible to powdery mildew than Centennial Spirit. While the trees may perform better in more intensively managed landscapes, the Ebony cultivars did not perform as well as Centennial Spirit in low-input landscapes in north-central Texas.

Open access

Paweł Petelewicz, Paweł M. Orliński, and James H. Baird

Decreased stand uniformity together with reduced aesthetics and playability caused by annual bluegrass (Poa annua) intrusion in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting greens is one of the major problems that golf course superintendents face with managing newer playing surfaces. Few herbicides are registered for selective control of annual bluegrass in creeping bentgrass greens, and the risk of herbicide resistance remains an issue, thus use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) is still the primary method of annual bluegrass suppression. This study was conducted to evaluate eight PGR treatments, employed as a series of 15 consecutive, biweekly applications to suppress annual bluegrass encroachment in ‘Pure Distinction’ creeping bentgrass maintained as a golf course putting green in Los Angeles, CA. Best annual bluegrass suppression was observed with products containing flurprimidol (FP) at 0.256 lb/acre, paclobutrazol (PB) at 0.119 lb/acre, or three-way mixture of FP, trinexapac-ethyl (TE), and PB (FP+PB+TE) at 0.055, 0.014, and 0.055 lb/acre, respectively. Although all treatments caused some significant creeping bentgrass injury, which increased over time, PB at 0.119 lb/acre and FP+PB+TE at 0.055, 0.014, and 0.055 lb/acre, respectively, appeared to be safest among effective treatments. Additionally, those treatments caused significantly darker green turf, which may be desirable on putting greens. This research confirms the potential of PGR use to limit annual bluegrass infestation on creeping bentgrass greens in a Mediterranean climate and reveals the most effective treatments that could be used in a putting green maintenance program.

Open access

Qiang Zhang, Minji Li, Beibei Zhou, Junke Zhang, and Qinping Wei

This study aimed to understand the effects of meteorological factors on the ‘Fuji’ apple quality in the Circum-Bohai and Loess Plateau apple production regions of China and to guide apple production based on local climate. Fruit samples of the ‘Fuji’ apple and meteorological data were investigated from 132 commercial ‘Fuji’ apple orchards covering 44 counties in the two aforementioned production regions (22 counties per region). The partial least-squares regression (PLSR) method was first used to screen major meteorological factors that greatly affected fruit quality; these were subsequently used to establish the regression equation of fruit quality attributes and major meteorological factors. Linear programming was used to estimate optimum meteorological factors for good apple quality. The results showed that in the Circum-Bohai production region, many meteorological factors (total annual precipitation, total precipitation from April to October, lowest temperature from April to October, sunshine percentage from April to October) were significantly higher than those in the Loess Plateau production region; however, the temperature difference between day and night from April to October was significantly smaller than that in the Loess Plateau production region. The soluble solids content and skin color area of apples from the Loess Plateau production region were significantly greater than those from the Circum-Bohai production region. The same fruit quality factor of ‘Fuji’ apple was affected by different meteorological factors in the two production regions. The monthly mean temperature and monthly highest temperature from April to October of the Circum-Bohai production region had relatively larger positive effect weights on fruit quality, whereas the total annual precipitation, monthly mean relative humidity from April to October, and total precipitation from April to October of the Loess Plateau production region had relatively larger positive effect weights on fruit quality. The major influencing meteorological factors of the fruit soluble solids content were total precipitation from April to October (X 7), mean annual temperature (X 1), and the monthly highest temperature from April to October (X 5) in the Circum-Bohai production region; however, it included the monthly mean temperature difference between day and night from April to October (X 6), total annual precipitation (X 2), and total precipitation from April to October (X 7) in the Loess Plateau production region. In the Circum-Bohai production region, the optimum meteorological factors for ‘Fuji’ fruit quality of vigorous apple orchards were the mean annual temperature (13.4 °C), total annual precipitation (981 mm), monthly mean temperature (16.8 to 22.4 °C), lowest temperature (11.9 °C), highest temperature (19.5 to 26.8 °C), temperature difference between day and night (12.3 °C), total precipitation (336–793 mm), relative humidity (55.7% to 70.7%), and sunshine percentage (42.3% to 46.1%) during the growing period (April–October). In the Loess Plateau production region, the optimum meteorological factors for ‘Fuji’ fruit quality of vigorous apple orchards were the mean annual temperature (5.5 to 11.6 °C), total annual precipitation (714 mm), monthly mean temperature (13.3 to 19.9 °C), lowest temperature (7.9 to 9.3 °C), highest temperature (19.6 to 27.3 °C), temperature difference between day and night (7.1 to 12.4 °C), total precipitation (338–511 mm), relative humidity (56.1% to 82.4%), and sunshine percentage (37.3% to 55.9%) during the growing period (April–October). The restrictive factors for high-quality ‘Fuji’ apples of the Circum-Bohai production region were the smaller monthly mean temperature difference between day and night, higher monthly mean lowest temperature, and larger monthly mean relative humidity during the growing period; however, those of the Loess Plateau production region were drought or less precipitation from November to March, lower monthly mean temperature, and higher monthly mean highest temperature during the growing period.

Open access

David Campbell, Ali Sarkhosh, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Oscar Liburd, Juan Carlos Melgar, and Danielle Treadwell

Fruit bagging is an acceptable cultural practice for organic production that provides a physical barrier to protect fruit. It can reduce pest and pathogen injury for a variety of fruit crops, but quality attributes have been inconsistent for peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] and other bagged fruit. A 2-year experiment on a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic-certified peach orchard in central Florida was conducted to analyze the effects of a commercially available paper bag designed for fruit protection and cardinal quadrant (north, south, east, and west sides) of the tree canopy on low-chill peach ‘TropicBeauty’ fruit quality. Protective bags appeared to delay fruit maturity. Flesh firmness and chlorophyll concentration of bagged fruit were 31% and 27% greater than unbagged fruit, respectively. Bagged fruit were protected as demonstrated with a reduction in mechanical injury by 95%, fruit fly injury by 450%, and scab-like lesions by 810%. Bagging reduced fruit brown rot (Monilinia fructicola) at harvest and 7 days after harvest; unbagged fruit were 2 and 3.5 times more likely to have rot at harvest and 7 days after harvest, respectively. Fruit bags did not affect yield, fruit size, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, pH, peel lightness, peel hue angle, or flesh color. Overall, canopy cardinal quadrant location had minimal effect on fruit quality or fruit injury. These results demonstrate that bagging peach fruit protects against various pests and diseases but has minimal effects on fruit quality. Broad adoption of this technology is highly dependent on available labor, market demands, and profitability but may be suitable for producers using direct-to-consumer market channels.

Open access

Ting Liao, Guobin Liu, Liqin Guo, Ye Wang, Yanwu Yao, and Jun Cao

As a native tree species with a strong adaptability, Platycladus orientalis is a species of choice for afforestation and landscaping in northern China. However, it develops mostly male cones and few female cones. In addition, its reproductive characteristics are not yet clear, which limits further breeding work. To systematically clarify the reproductive biology characteristic and fertilization mechanism of P. orientalis, the present study comprehensively investigated the process of micro and macro-sporogenesis in male and female cones from bud initiation to fertilization, and seed development. The specific time in each developmental stage, including bud initiation, microsporogenesis, megasporogenesis, and cone and seed development, was determined, and the abortive phenomenon during development was discovered in both male and female cones. In addition, this research showed that the microspore mother cells were dormant in winter at meiosis stage, and the male gametophyte started to develop when dormancy ended. The tapetum developed normally and belonged to the secretory type. The optimal treatment time for male and female cones transformation by artificial induction was from late June to mid-July. This finding provided a theoretical basis for hybridization, breeding, improvement of seed yield and quality, and artificial induction of male and female cone transformation in P. orientalis.

Open access

Kathryn Homa, William P. Barney, William P. Davis, Daniel Guerrero, Mary J. Berger, Jose L. Lopez, Christian A. Wyenandt, and James E. Simon

Fusarium wilt of basil (FOB), caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. basilici, is an economically damaging disease of field- and greenhouse-grown sweet basil. Growers have observed a resurgence of FOB and susceptibility in FOB-resistant cultivars. Because currently available chemical, biological, and cultural control methods are costly, unsustainable, ineffective, or challenging to implement, new strategies of FOB control are needed. Cold plasma is becoming an increasingly important experimental technology in the food and agricultural industry for pathogen decontamination. To understand the effect of cold plasma treatment on FOB incidence and severity, experiments were conducted by treating FOB mycelium, inoculated sweet basil seedlings, and seeds with various experimental cold plasma treatment devices, all using helium as a feed gas. Initial results indicated that while the cold plasma jet treatment did not result in a significant reduction in mean mycelial growth rate or virulence of the pathogen, direct cold plasma jet treatments on seedlings, as well as a cold plasma dielectric barrier discharge treatment on seeds, did exhibit varying efficacies against FOB. Control of FOB appeared to be strongly dependent on the exposure time to cold plasma. These findings can aid in the standardization of a cold plasma treatment for the commercial basil seed and transplant industry.

Open access

Virginia M. Moore and William F. Tracy

Corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) is a destructive pest with limited management options in sweet corn (Zea mays) production. Increased husk extension and the presence of the C-glycosyl flavone maysin are two proposed mechanisms for improving corn earworm resistance in corn cultivars. A factorial mating design was conducted to test hybrid combinations of sweet corn inbreds with long husks and/or maysin to identify candidates for future cultivar development. The mating design had seven male parents, including three commercial sweet corn inbreds (Wh9261, We11401, and Wt1001) and four inbreds selected for maysin content (Maysin1, 2, 3, and 4), and five female parents, including two commercial sweet corn inbreds (Ia453su and Ia5125su) and three inbreds with long, thick, tight husks (A684su, A685su, and A686su). Hybrids were evaluated for ear length, husk length, maysin content, and corn earworm resistance at six environments in 2016 and 2017. Relationships between husk extension, maysin, and corn earworm resistance were inconsistent, but five inbreds produced hybrids with significantly lower corn earworm infestation and/or damage, demonstrating potential to confer resistance to the corn earworm.

Open access

Weiting Huang and Zhongming Fang

The proliferation and differentiation of rhizomes are crucial for the propagation of Cymbidium species. We systematically assessed the effects of different concentrations of 20 amino acids on the proliferation and differentiation of C. goeringii rhizomes. Rhizome proliferation rates were significantly higher in media with 2.0 mmol·L−1 cysteine, 0.5 mmol·L−1 arginine, 0.2 mmol·L−1 asparagine, 1.0 mmol·L−1 proline, and 0.5 mmol·L−1 lysine compared with those in the control. Additionally, 1.0 mmol·L−1 tyrosine, 0.5 mmol·L−1 asparagine, and 0.2 mmol·L−1 aspartate were beneficial for rhizome differentiation. Furthermore, two combinations of amino acids, 0.5 mmol·L−1 arginine + 1.0 mmol·L−1 proline and 0.5 mmol·L−1 arginine + 2.0 mmol·L−1 cysteine, resulted in proliferation rates of 3.05 and 3.01, respectively, after 60 days. The highest differentiation rate (5.39 after 60 days) was observed in media with 0.5 mmol·L−1 asparagine + 0.2 mmol·L−1 aspartate. This study demonstrated that certain combinations of amino acids can effectively promote the proliferation and differentiation of rhizomes during the rapid propagation of C. goeringii.