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Open access

Jin Wang, Yue Liu, Xueliang Chen, and Qiusheng Kong

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is an economically important cucurbit (Cucurbitaceae) crop cultivated globally for its nutritional benefits. Fruit development in watermelon is characterized by fast fruit expansion attributed to unique biological processes. Myeloblastosis (MYB) family genes play important roles in plant growth and development, especially R2R3-MYB-type genes. However, the evolution of R2R3-MYB family genes in the watermelon genome and whether they participate in the regulation of watermelon fruit development remain unknown. To address these questions, duplication modes of R2R3-MYB family genes were identified and their expression profiles were investigated during watermelon fruit development. A total of 48 duplicated gene pairs were identified among the 89 R2R3-MYBs in watermelon. Segmental and transposed duplication events play major roles in the R2R3-MYB family gene expansion process. The ratio of nonsynonymous mutation and synonymous mutation analysis indicated that all the duplicated R2R3-MYBs experienced negative selection. Gene structures and cis-element compositions in promoter sequences exhibited abundant divergences between the R2R3-MYB duplicated genes. Transcriptome analyses of seed, rind, and flesh during fruit development showed that only two duplicated gene pairs had significantly similar expression patterns, whereas divergent expression profiles were found between the remaining duplicated gene pairs. Tissue-specific and development stage-specific divergent expression patterns demonstrated that neo-functionalization occurred between watermelon R2R3-MYB duplicated genes. The current study provides valuable information for further functional analyses of R2R3-MYBs in watermelon.

Open access

Kun Jia, Michelle DaCosta, and J. Scott Ebdon

Reseeding of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) under unfavorable temperature (≈10 °C) is a common practice on golf putting greens and fairways. Seed priming to enhance germination and early emergence increases seeding success. Seed priming comparing abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellic acid (GA), glycinebetaine (GB), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and polyethylene glycol (PEG) has not been investigated in turfgrass. Our objective was to compare these chemical primers at three concentrations with water- and unprimed-seed at two competing germinating temperatures (10 vs. 25 °C). Two seed lots of ‘T-1’ creeping bentgrass were compared. Curve fitting of daily germination was used to compute days to 50% germination (D50) and maximum germination percentage (Gmax). Cold (10 °C) significantly inhibited emergence (higher D50) more than Gmax. The effects of primers and their rates varied with the seed lot and temperature. Enhancement of seed germination measured as early emergence (lower D50) and/or higher Gmax were only detected at 10 °C. Osmotic primers (GB and PEG) were most effective in promoting germination relative to unprimed seed followed by hormone primers (ABA and GA) with redox primers (H2O2) least effective. Glycinebetaine primed seed was the only primer effective at all concentrations, with the 100 mм concentration the only concentration to enhance germination by increasing both Gmax and early emergence (lower D50) compared with unprimed seed.

Open access

Lushan Ghimire, Davie Kadyampakeni, and Tripti Vashisth

Huanglongbing [HLB (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus)] is one of the most devastating diseases in citrus (Citrus sp.). Field observations in Florida have shown that citrus groves with high soil and irrigation water pH decline rapidly under HLB-prevalent conditions. It is worth noting that irrigation water pH has always been high in Florida; however, neither tree decline nor low productivity under such conditions has been an issue for citrus before HLB. Therefore, there is a need to determine if HLB increases citrus tree sensitivity to high-pH irrigation water. The objective of this research was to evaluate the molecular and physiological responses of healthy and HLB-affected citrus trees irrigated with water at pH levels of 5.8, 7.0, and 8.0. The results demonstrated that soil pH is positively correlated with irrigation water pH. Overall, regardless of disease occurrence, tree performance decreased as pH increased. HLB-affected trees at pH 8.0 had the greatest mortality (40%) and leaf drop (87%) and the lowest height growth (<1%) and leaf biomass (0.1 g). In contrast, HLB-affected trees at pH 5.8 had the lowest mortality (0%) and leaf drop (16%) and the greatest height growth (6.6%) and leaf biomass (5.5 g). Growth and survival data indicate that high pH had a less negative impact on healthy trees than HLB-affected trees, and that HLB symptoms were exacerbated at pH 8.0 compared with pH 5.8. A transcriptomic analysis of root tissue conducted at the end of the experiment further suggested that HLB-affected trees at pH 5.8 were actively detoxing stress-induced radicals and had increased growth and developmental processes with the downregulation of jasmonic acid biosynthesis compared with healthy trees. This implies that at pH 5.8, HLB-affected trees were under less stress than healthy trees. Compared with healthy trees, HLB-affected trees at pH 8.0 resulted in upregulated immune system processes, defense responses, and cell death; no processes were significantly downregulated in HLB-affected trees compared with healthy trees at pH 8.0. Physiological and molecular observations suggest an interaction between HLB and irrigation water pH whereby HLB symptoms are exacerbated in response to high irrigation water pH.

Open access

Toshio Shibuya, Ryosuke Endo, Yoshiaki Kitaya, and Mizuki Tsuchida

The light competition in dense plant stands may be disadvantageous in transplant production because competition stimulates stem elongation and can reduce photosynthate allocation to leaves; this, in turn, may reduce the early growth rate after transplanting. In this study, we focused on how the proportion of far-red (FR) light affected light competition among cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings and investigated the effects of the plant density × FR interaction on photosynthate allocation and subsequent early growth after transplanting. Seedlings at the cotyledon stage were planted into plug trays at densities ranging from 109 to 1736 plants/m2; then they were grown for 4 days under light-emitting diode (LED) light containing FR light (FR+) at approximately the same red-to-FR ratio as in sunlight (1.2) or under light containing no FR (FR−). The higher density significantly stimulated stem elongation under both FR+ and FR−, but the effect was small under FR−; this indicates that light competition in the dense stands was inhibited by reducing FR light. The higher plant density significantly increased photosynthate allocation to the stem and decreased allocation to the leaves under both FR+ and FR−; however, again, the effect was smaller under FR−. After transplanting the seedlings to pots, early growth decreased in the seedlings that allocated less photosynthate to their leaves. Our results indicate that light with reduced FR can mitigate the disadvantageous photosynthate allocation of transplants and the reduction of early growth after transplanting that are likely to occur as a result of light competition at high plant density.

Open access

Ariana Torres

Young consumers value healthy foods and are willing to pay for them. As young consumers transition into higher paying jobs, their influence in the food system will compound. This study used a convenient sample of university students to understand how young consumers value attributes for fresh produce. With the proliferation of food labels, this study takes a step back to identify four consumer segments with regard to their values on explicit (i.e., organic and local) and implicit (i.e., small-family farms and sustainable) attributes: committed, farm-to-fork, unattached, and skeptic. The study also investigated the impact of personal motives on cluster membership. Although committed consumers placed high value on all attributes, farm-to-fork consumers valued local, sustainable, and small-family farm systems, but did not have positive valuation toward organic. Our findings suggest increasing access to local foods and farmers market patronage is likely to increase consumers’ valuing foods with local, organic, sustainable, and small-family farms attributes.

Open access

Tiantian Zhao, Wenxu Ma, Qinghua Ma, Zhen Yang, Lisong Liang, Guixi Wang, and Lujun Wang

Corylus heterophylla and Corylus kweichowensis are economically and ecologically important nut-producing woody shrubs that are distributed across northern and southern regions of China. However, few studies have examined the genetic diversity and genetic relationships between C. heterophylla and C. kweichowensis, and their taxonomic relationships have been questioned. In this study, 796 individuals collected from 34 natural populations (21 C. heterophylla and 13 C. kweichowensis populations) were investigated to assess the genetic diversity and population structure using 11 microsatellite loci. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that genetic differentiation of C. heterophylla and C. kweichowensis within populations accounted for 93.57% and 88.91% of total variation, respectively. The C. heterophylla and C. kweichowensis populations as a whole group were analyzed by multiple programs, which showed that the 34 populations were divided into two genetic clusters. One cluster included 21 C. heterophylla populations, and the second cluster contained 13 C. kweichowensis populations. We conclude from these results that C. heterophylla and C. kweichowensis are distinct species. The Mantel test showed that the genetic distance was significantly correlated with the geographic distance (r = 0.580, P < 0.001). The populations of C. heterophylla [e.g., populations WC (Weichang), MS (Mishan), and WA (Wu’an)] and C. kweichowensis [e.g., populations YX (Yuexi), ZP (Zhenping), LA (Lin’an), and TB (Taibai)] with high allelic richness are considered suitable for in situ conservation. Our study provides valuable information for breeding and conservation of genetic resources of C. heterophylla, C. kweichowensis, and related species.

Open access

Qinglu Ying, Yun Kong, and Youbin Zheng

To investigate plant growth and quality responses to different light spectral combinations, cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata f. rubra), kale (Brassica napus L. ‘Red Russian’), arugula (Eruca sativa L.), and mustard (Brassica juncea L. ‘Ruby steak’) microgreens were grown in a controlled environment using sole-source light with six different spectra: 1) FL: cool white fluorescent light; 2) BR: 15% blue and 85% red light-emitting diode (LED); 3) BRFRL: 15% blue, 85% red, and 15.5 µmol·m−2·s−1 far-red (FR) LED; 4) BRFRH: 15% blue, 85% red, and 155 µmol·m−2·s−1 FR LED; 5) BGLR: 9% blue, 6% green, and 85% red LED; and 6) BGHR: 5% blue, 10% green, and 85% red LED. For all the light treatments, the total photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was set at ≈330 µmol·m−2·s−1 under a 17-hour photoperiod, and the air temperature was ≈21 °C with 73% relative humidity (RH). At harvest, BR vs. FL increased plant height for all the tested species except arugula, and enlarged cotyledon area for kale and arugula. Adding high-intensity FR light to blue and red light (i.e., BRFRH) further increased plant height for all species, and cotyledon area for mustard, but it did not affect the fresh or dry biomass for any species. Also, BRFRH vs. BR increased cotyledon greenness for green-leafed species (i.e., arugula, cabbage, and kale), and reduced cotyledon redness for red-leafed mustard. However, BGLR, BGHR, and BRFRL, compared with BR, did not affect plant height, cotyledon area, or fresh or dry biomass. These results suggest that the combination of 15% blue and 85% red LED light can potentially replace FL as the sole light source for indoor production of the tested microgreen species. Combining high-intensity FR light, rather than low-level (≤10%) green light, with blue and red light could be taken into consideration for the optimization of LED light spectral quality in microgreen production under environmental conditions similar to this experiment.

Open access

Thalukanyo Nevhulaudzi, Khayalethu Ntushelo, and Sheku Alfred Kanu

Short-term variations in temperature associated with climate change have been noted to affect the physiological processes and metabolite profile of plants, including the nutritional status, ultimately affecting their growth and development. An evaluation of the effects of elevated temperatures on the growth and nutritional quality of cowpea was performed during this experiment. The main objective was to evaluate the effects of short-term elevated temperatures on the nutritional quality of cowpea at different growth stages. Surface-sterilized seeds of cowpea (cv. Soronko) were germinated in pots in the glasshouse. At different growth stages (preflowering, flowering, and postflowering), plants were incubated in growth chambers set at three different temperature regimes (25, 30, and 35 °C) for a period of 7 days. Compared with control (25 °C), exposure to both elevated temperatures (30 and 35 °C) reduced the whole plant fresh weight and dry weight by 30% and 52% and 42% and 29%, respectively, at the preflowering stage, and by 31 and 60% and 47 and 63%, respectively, at the flowering/anthesis stage. However, no significant difference in whole plant biomass was noted between elevated temperatures (35%) and the control temperature at the postflowering stage. Short-term exposure to an elevated temperature (35 °C) increased the shoot crude protein content (5.59 N%) of cowpea compared with control (3.77 N%) and preflowering stage. In contrast, at the flowering stage, an elevated temperature (35 °C) reduced the crude protein content (1.77%) of the shoot compared with control (5.59%). At an elevated temperature (35 °C), the preflowering and flowering stages of cowpea were most affected compared with control. These results suggest that the preflowering and flowering stages of cowpea compared with the postflowering stage are more susceptible to elevated temperatures (30 to 35 °C).

Open access

Benjamin E. Deloso, Anders J. Lindström, Frank A. Camacho, and Thomas E. Marler

The influences of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) concentrations of 0–30 mg·g−1 on the success and speed of adventitious root development of Zamia furfuracea L.f. and Zamia integrifolia L.f. stem cuttings were determined. Root formation success for both species was greater than 95%. The IBA concentrations did not influence the speed of root development for Z. furfuracea, but the Z. integrifolia cuttings that received IBA concentration of 3 mg·g−1 generated adventitious roots more slowly than the cuttings in the control group. The ending dry weights of the stems, leaves, and roots were not influenced by IBA concentration for either species. Our results indicated that adventitious root formation on stem cuttings of these two Zamia species is successful without horticultural application of IBA. Additional IBA studies are needed on the other 300+ cycad species, especially those that are in a threatened category.

Open access

Giovanni A. Caputo, Phillip A. Wadl, Lambert McCarty, Jeff Adelberg, Katherine M. Jennings, and Matthew Cutulle

Weed competition is a main factor limiting sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] production. Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) is a problematic weed to control due to its ability to quickly infest a field and generate high numbers of tubes and shoots. Compounding this is the lack of a registered herbicide for selective postemergence control of yellow nutsedge. Research was conducted to evaluate the bentazon dose response of two sweetpotato cultivars and one advanced clone and to evaluate the plant hormone melatonin to determine its ability to safen bentazon post emergence. Bioassays using Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with melatonin (0.232 g a.i./L and 0.023 g a.i./L) and bentazon (0.24 g a.i./L) were conducted to evaluate the effect of bentazon on sweetpotato and to determine the interactive response of the Beauregard cultivar to bentazon and exogenous applications of melatonin. Beauregard swas the most tolerant cultivar and required dosages of bentazon that were two-times higher to cause the same injury compared with other cultivars. MS media containing melatonin and bentazon showed fewer injuries and higher plant mass than plants treated with bentazon alone. These results indicate that sweetpotato injury caused by bentazon may be reduced by melatonin.