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Vance M. Whitaker, Natalia A. Peres, Luis F. Osorio, Zhen Fan, M. Cecilia do Nascimento Nunes, Anne Plotto and Charles A. Sims

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Solveig J. Hanson and Irwin L. Goldman

Earthy aroma and sweet flavor, conferred by the volatile terpenoid geosmin (trans-1,10-dimethyl-trans-9-decalol) and sucrose, respectively, are two essential flavor components of table beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris). To elucidate the influence of genotype, growing environment, and fertilizer treatment on geosmin concentration and sucrose [as total dissolved solids (TDS)] in table beet, a field-based genotype × environment study was conducted using a split-split plot design. Four site × year combinations served as whole plots; MgSO4·H2O and CaSO4 comprised split plot fertilizer treatments; open-pollinated cultivars Bull’s Blood and Touchstone Gold, F1 hybrid Merlin, and inbred line W357B constituted split-split plot genotype treatments. Geosmin concentration was measured via gas chromatography–mass spectrometry using headspace solid-phase microextraction, and TDS was measured via refractometry. Variation in geosmin concentration was attributable to a strong genotype effect and significant genotype × year and year × site interactions. Genotypes were observed to have characteristic geosmin concentration and variance, despite being grown in soils with widely divergent physical and chemical properties. While a significant genotype main effect was also present for TDS, it occurred in the context of significant four-way and three-way genotype × environment interactions, plus significant effects of year and year × site interaction. Neither geosmin concentration nor TDS was significantly influenced by fertilizer treatment or fertilizer × environment interactions, averaged across genotypes. Genetics determined a larger proportion of variance for geosmin concentration than TDS in the four table beet genotypes assessed, as reflected in repeatability measurements of 0.90 and 0.43, respectively. This experiment provides support for the primacy of genotype in determining table beet geosmin concentration and a comparatively moderate role of genotype in determining table beet TDS. Thus, genetic manipulation of table beet geosmin could yield cultivars with signature flavor characteristics to serve both niche and mainstream consumer groups, expanding market opportunities for breeders and growers.

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Limeng Xie, Patricia Klein, Kevin Crosby and John Jifon

Roots impact plants’ capacity to absorb water and nutrients and thus play a vital role in tolerance to drought, salinity, and nutrient stress. In tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) breeding programs, wild tomato species have been commonly used to increase disease resistance and fruit quality and yield. However, tomato has seldom been bred for water/nutrient use efficiency or resilience to abiotic stress. Meanwhile, little knowledge of the genetic control of root traits in tomato is available. In this study, a mapping population consisting of 181 F2 progenies derived from a cross between an advanced breeding line RvT1 (S. lycopersicum) and a wild species Lche4 (Solanum cheesmaniae) was evaluated for root and shoot traits in the greenhouse. Root phenotypes were studied for the early seedling stage. Heritability estimates show that root traits are moderately or highly heritable. Root mass was highly correlated with root size (length, surface area, and volume). Shoot mass and chlorophyll content (SPAD) were moderately correlated with root mass and size. Genotyping-by-sequencing was applied to discover single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Seven hundred and forty-two SNPs were successfully mapped, and a medium-dense linkage map was created that covered 1319.47 centimorgans (cM) with an average distance of 1.78 cM between adjacent markers. Using composite interval mapping, multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and nonparametric mapping, 29 QTLs were identified for 12 root and shoot traits on eight chromosomes. Those QTLs of major and minor effect were involved in the differences among the F2 population. Two QTL hotspot regions associated with root mass, size, shoot mass and SPAD were identified on chromosomes 1 and 4, which was consistent with the correlation among traits. Five QTLs for shoot length and eight QTLs for SPAD were accounting for 40.01% and 55.53% of the phenotypic variation. Two QTLs were associated with 18.26% of the total variation for specific root length. The wild parent Lche4 has been characterized as a potential genetic donor of higher specific root length and might be a good parent to modify the root system of cultivated tomato.

Open access

Tao Yuan, Qiuying Wei and Gary Bauchan

Seeds of Pulsatilla turczaninovii were categorized to full and empty seeds based on observations under a light microscope and on X-ray images. A germination test for full or empty seeds was evaluated as affected by the duration of gibberellin GA3 and the moist 5 °C cold stratification (CS) treatment. The morphological and elemental components of P. turczaninovii and P. cernua var. koreana seeds were analyzed using low-temperature scanning electron microscopy (LT-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray diffraction analysis. The results showed that 64% of full and semifull P. turczaninovii seeds 10 weeks after harvesting germinated in 17 to 19 days; however, the germination rate, including empty and semiempty seeds, was lower (52.6%). Full seeds with damaged or dried vegetative organs (embryo or endosperm) and semifull seeds with severely damaged vegetative organs were observed, and this result could be related to low germination rates. Germination patterns of seeds stored dry at 5 °C for 44 weeks that showed a sigmoid pattern were increased by immersing seeds in a GA3 solution for 8 hours and treating seeds with 16 or 32 days of CS. More seeds germinated between 12 and 17 days (as compared with 17 to 29 days), especially when they were treated with GA3 and received 32 days of CS. Comparison of germination rates of visually full seeds upon harvest (52.6%) with those that had been stored dry for 44 weeks (26.3% to 29.7%) suggested that the viability of seeds may have decreased. Dormancy could be a factor that decreased germination and can be removed by low temperature and GA3 treatment. LT-SEM revealed a valley-like, sunken streak in empty seeds of P. cernua var. koreana. The nickel content in the trichome and seedcoat of full and empty seeds of both taxa ranged from 2.98 to 4.62 (weight %), as determined on X-ray images. Our study suggested that the low germination rate was due to either the presence of dormancy, damage to either embryo or endosperm, a loss in viability, or the presence of nickel in the seeds.

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Hazel Y. Wetzstein, Jules Janick and Jorge F.S. Ferreira

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Kellie J. Walters and Christopher J. Currey

Basil (Ocimum sp.) is the most popular fresh culinary herb, but the effects of air temperature on growth and development of basil have not been well characterized. Our objective was to quantify the effects of air temperature on growth and development of three basil species. Seedlings of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Nufar’), holy basil (O. tenuiflorum), and lemon basil (O. ×citriodorum ‘Lime’ and O. basilicum ‘Sweet Dani’) were placed in five different growth chambers with target air temperatures of 11, 17, 23, 29, or 35 °C. After 3 weeks, chlorophyll fluorescence (F v/F m), plant height, node and branch number, fresh and dry weight, and flowering data were recorded. For all species, F v/F m increased as temperature increased to 17 or 23 °C, then plateaued, whereas height increased with temperature to 23 or 29 °C. Also, the percentage of plants with flowers or flower buds increased with temperature to 17 or 23 °C for all species, with the exception of sweet basil, of which all plants were vegetative and node appearance rate was calculated. Sweet basil node appearance increased from 0.03 to 0.30 node/day as the temperature increased from 11 to 29 °C. Fresh weight gain increased with increasing temperature to 29 °C, but then decreased at 35 °C. Data from plants grown within the linear air temperature range were used to develop models for calculating the base temperature (Tb) and predicting growth in response to air temperature. These models can be applied by commercial producers to schedule crops and predict yields.

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Jing Zhou, PingPing Li, JiZhang Wang and Weiguo Fu

Light and temperature are two crucial factors affecting plant growth. Light intensities vary considerably with season and weather conditions. Reasonable light regulation at different temperatures is a key issue in environmental regulation. In this study, we determined the effects of light intensity and temperature on crop growth and development. Furthermore, we determined an optimal light value and a suitable light range at different temperatures for producing the lettuce Lactuca sativa L. Artificial climate chamber experiments were conducted at five light intensities (100, 200, 350, 500, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1), as well as at low (15 °C/10 °C), medium (23 °C/18 °C), and high (30 °C/25 °C) temperatures. In these experiments, we investigated the photosynthetic rate; chlorophyll fluorescence parameters; total N, P, and K uptake; and growth of lettuce plants. The results indicated that at a low temperature, the values of effective quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry (ΦPSII), net photosynthetic rate (P n), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate (T r) —as well as those of N, K, and P uptake—were the highest at 350 μmol·m−2·s−1, followed by 500 μmol·m−2·s−1, which resulted in higher values for leaf number (LN), leaf area (LA), dry weight (DW), and fresh weight (FW). At the medium temperature, the values of ΦPSII, P n, g S, and T r, as well as those of N, K, and P uptake were higher at 350, 500, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 than at other light intensities, resulting in high values for LN, LA, DW, and FW of lettuce plants. The LN, LA, and FW of lettuce plants were the highest at 500 μmol·m−2·s−1, whereas DW was the highest at 600 μmol·m−2·s−1. At a high temperature, lettuce plants exhibited the highest values of F v/F m, ΦPSII, P n, g S , and T r, as well as those of N, K, and P uptake for the 500 μmol·m−2·s−1 treatment; whereas LN, LA, FW, and DW were the highest at 600 μmol·m−2·s−1. In addition, the values of F v/F m indicated that lettuce plants were under stress under the following combinations: 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the low temperature, 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the medium temperature, and 100–350 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the high temperature. Based on these results, an optimal regulation strategy for light intensity at different temperature environments was proposed for lettuce cultivars similar to L. sativa L. in some regions, such as the subtropical regions of China. Specifically, for low temperatures, light intensities of 350 to 500 μmol·m−2·s−1are recommended for production, and an intensity of 350 μmol·m−2·s−1 provides optimal supplementary light during early spring and winter in greenhouses. For medium temperatures, light intensities of 350 to 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 are recommended, and 500 μmol·m−2·s−1 is the optimal value during the middle of spring and autumn. For high temperatures, light intensities of 500 to 600 μmol·m−2·s−1are recommended, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 is the optimal value of light intensity during late spring and early autumn.

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Au Trung Vo, Imane Haddidi, Hussein Daood, Zoltan Mayer and Katalin Posta

The aim of this study was to determine the influence of mycorrhizal inoculation and sand-peat composition as growth substrate on the biomass, and individual polyphenol concentration of Eclipta prostrata. Mycorrhizal inoculation alters some secondary metabolites of E. prostrata, showing significant differences in polyphenol contents between the treatments. Moreover, varying peat and sand rates, representing different nutrient supplies, had significant impacts on both mycorrhizal colonization and growth responses. Our results highlight that 60/40% (v/v) sand and peat ration is the best for a large-scale cultivation of E. prostrata, moreover supporting the highest total phenolic content. Through high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis, nine individual phenolic components were analyzed, including wedelolactone and demethyl-wedelolactone at the highest concentration. Some of the identified compounds, such as 5-o-caffeoylquinic acid, quercetin-3-arabinoside, 4-o-caffeoylquinic acid, and protocatechuic acid have not been reported previously in E. prostrata cultivars. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, multiple groups are represented, suggesting the role of mycorrhizal inoculation, growth substrate, and their interaction on secondary metabolites of E. prostrata. Better understanding of the phenolic composition of E. prostrata and factors influencing it help to identify new industrial applications of this medicinal plant (together with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi), and moreover, help to develop new strategies for the prevention and treatment of different diseases.

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İbrahim Kahramanoğlu and Serhat Usanmaz

The present study was conducted with the aim of increasing storage duration of cucumber fruits by using eco-friendly edible biomaterials and nanotechnology. Hence, the effects of postharvest-applied lemongrass oil (LO) and propolis extract (PEx), alone or in combination with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), on the weight loss, fruit firmness, sensory index, chilling injury (CI), decay incidence (DI), and soluble solid concentration (SSC) of cucumber fruits were tested. Two different doses (0.2% and 0.5%) of both LO and PEx were tested in present study. Application of LO and PEx was performed by dipping the fruits into the solutions at 21 ± 1 °C for 3 minutes; after drying for 30 minutes, fruits were transferred to a cold room and kept at 4.5 ± 0.5 °C and 95% relative humidity (RH). Studies were continued for 24 days, and quality parameters were measured at 4-day intervals. Two-day shelf-life simulation was also applied to fruits after each interval, and the same quality parameters were observed. Results suggest that the combination of MAP bags with LO or PEx treatment provides better conditions for postharvest storage of cucumbers and that storage duration might be extended to 20 days. Fruits treated with LO or PEx and stored in MAP bags maintained weight and SSC, were firmer, showed lower DI, and expressed lower CI (P < 0.05) throughout storage.

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Yuee Tian, Zhiping Che, Di Sun, Jiaxuan He, Shengming Liu and Xiaomin Lin

Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea has become an important limiting factor for tree peony production. Currently, chemical control is still the main means of managing the disease in China. The objective of this study was to test fungicides with different mechanisms of action in controlling B. cinerea on tree peony. The inhibitory efficacy of five fungicides on four asexual stages was measured in the petri dish containing culture medium amended with a tested fungicide at various concentrations. The results showed that carbendazim had the strongest inhibition effect against all four stages of B. cinerea, with the EC50 values of 0.1037, 0.0563, 0.5578, and 0.0797 mg·L–1, respectively. The inhibitory effect of diethofencarb was only slightly less than that of carbendazim on conidia production, germination, and germ tube elongation. The inhibitory effect of procymidone was second only to that of carbendazim on colony expansion. The results indicated that carbendazim and diethofencarb could be used as protective fungicides to spray in the early stage of disease occurrence to inhibit conidia germination and germ tube elongation, so as to reduce the infection rate of B. cinerea and prevent disease occurrence. Carbendazim, procymidone, and diethofencarb mainly inhibit the reinfection of B. cinerea by inhibiting the growth of mycelium and the production of conidia, so they could be used as control fungicides during the occurrence phase of the disease.