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Open access

Hongmei Xia, Wenbin Zhen, Dongyang Chen and Wen Zeng

Taking out and opening the ordinary multilayer fruit paper bag for fruit bagging is labor intensive, costly, not efficient, and potentially dangerous to the operator’s health. There is a high demand to develop a mechanical device for the operation in Chinese orchards. A novel supplying device based on the manual operated fruit bag case was proposed. The open hand of the supplying device operates like a farmer’s hand that can continuously take out a multilayer fruit paper bag one by one, and open it fully from its inside. Mechanism configuration and dimension parameter of the open hand were designed based on preliminary tests. The operation functionality of the supplying device prototype at different driving trajectories and speed was investigated in the study. The laboratory experimental data indicated that driving trajectory was an extremely significant factor for efficiently taking out and opening the fruit bag without sliding off and damage. Driving speed had a beneficial effect on reducing supplying time. With the synchronous driving trajectory and allowable high moving speed, the developed supplying device could achieve more than 90% opening success rate and less than 2-second opening time. The study showed the potential of the developed mechanical supplying device for fruit bagging with ordinary multilayer fruit paper bags.

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Vanessa E.T.M. Ashworth, Haofeng Chen, Carlos L. Calderón-Vázquez, Mary Lu Arpaia, David N. Kuhn, Mary L. Durbin, Livia Tommasini, Elizabeth Deyett, Zhenyu Jia, Michael T. Clegg and Philippe E. Rolshausen

The glossy, green-fleshed fruit of the avocado (Persea americana) has been the object of human selection for thousands of years. Recent interest in healthy nutrition has singled out the avocado as an excellent source of several phytonutrients. Yet as a sizeable, slow-maturing tree crop, it has been largely neglected by genetic studies, owing to a long breeding cycle and costly field trials. We use a small, replicated experimental population of 50 progeny, grown at two locations in two successive years, to explore the feasibility of developing a dense genetic linkage map and to implement quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis for seven phenotypic traits. Additionally, we test the utility of candidate-gene single-nucleotide polymorphisms developed to genes from biosynthetic pathways of phytonutrients beneficial to human health. The resulting linkage map consisted of 1346 markers (1044.7 cM) distributed across 12 linkage groups. Numerous markers on Linkage Group 10 were associated with a QTL for flowering type. One marker on Linkage Group 1 tracked a QTL for β-sitosterol content of the fruit. A region on Linkage Group 3 tracked vitamin E (α-tocopherol) content of the fruit, and several markers were stable across both locations and study years. We argue that the pursuit of linkage mapping and QTL analysis is worthwhile, even when population size is small.

Open access

Mark Herrington, Jodi Neal, Louella Woolcock, Michelle Paynter, Apollo Gomez and Joanne De Faveri

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Shichao Wang, Xinlu Bai, Jianbin Zhou and Zhujun Chen

Overapplication of nutrients and water is common in intensive greenhouse systems. A 2-year experiment (2011–13) was conducted to study the effect of different nutrient and water treatments on the growth and yield of tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) and on soil nutrient accumulations in solar greenhouses in South Loess Plateau, China. The treatments included 1) current fertilizer and water practices (FW), 2) formula fertilizer and water 1 (FW1), 3) formula fertilizer and water 2 (FW2), and 4) farmer’s practice (FP). Compared with FW, FW1 and FW2 had yields not significantly different from grower control treatments; however, they saved 35% to 46% of the nitrogen (N) fertilizer, 40% to 54% of the phosphorus (P2O5) fertilizer, 19% to 35% of the potassium (K2O) fertilizer, and 15% to 21% of irrigation water. The economic profits of FW1 and FW2 were greater than those of the FW and FP treatments. The two formula treatments also reduced soil electrical conductivity (EC) and the accumulation of nitrate, available P, and available K in soil. However, the soil nutrients are still above optimal levels. Obvious N surplus in the greenhouse was observed in different treatments, mainly because of high N input from manures. This study revealed there is great potential to reduce nutrient and water use while maintaining the same yield in a greenhouse system.

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Corina Serban, Lee Kalcsits, Jennifer DeEll and James P. Mattheis

‘Honeycrisp’ apples are susceptible to bitter pit, a physiological disorder that impacts peel and adjacent cortex tissue. ‘Honeycrisp’ is also susceptible to chilling injury (CI) that can be prevented by holding fruit at 10 to 20 °C after harvest for up to 7 days. This temperature conditioning period reduces CI risk but can enhance bitter pit development. Previous research demonstrated a controlled atmosphere (CA) established during conditioning can reduce ‘Honeycrisp’ bitter pit development without inducing other physiological disorders. The objective of this research was to evaluate the duration of CA needed to reduce bitter pit development. Experiments were conducted in 2014, 2016, and 2017 with fruit obtained from commercial orchards in Washington State and, in 2017 only, Ontario, Canada. Half the fruit were treated with 42 µmol·L−1 1-methycyclopropene (1-MCP) for 24 hours at 10 °C immediately following harvest. The untreated fruit were held at the same temperature (10 °C) in a different cold room. Following 1-MCP treatment, all fruit were conditioned at 10 °C for an additional 6 days, then fruit was cooled to 2.8 °C. During conditioning, fruit were held in air or CA (2.5 kPa O2, 0.5 kPa CO2) established 1 day after harvest, for 1 to 8 weeks, then in air. All fruit were removed from cold storage after 4 months and then held 7 days at 20 °C. Fruit from most orchards/years stored in CA developed less bitter pit compared with fruit stored continuously in air. CA during conditioning also reduced poststorage peel greasiness but CA for 2 weeks or longer enhanced cortex cavity development in some orchard lots. Treatment with 1-MCP did not reduce bitter pit but enhanced development of peel leather blotch and core browning for some orchards/years. 1-MCP–treated fruit slowed the loss of soluble solids content, titratable acidity, and reduced internal ethylene concentration. Results suggest the potential for postharvest management of bitter pit development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples by CA established during conditioning with minimal development of other postharvest disorders.

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Brandon M. Miller and William R. Graves

A reputation for coarse root systems with dominant taproots, and for slow shoot development among seedlings, limits use of hickory species (Carya Nutt.) that could increase diversity in managed landscapes. We examined effects of root pruning and application of auxin on root and shoot development of seedlings of several species of hickory. Our hypothesis was that pruning the radicle shortly after seed germination and subsequent treatment with auxin would increase root branching without curtailing development of the shoot. Germinated seeds of Carya aquatica (F. Michx.) Nutt., Carya cordiformis (Wangenh.) K. Koch, Carya laciniosa (F. Michx.) Loudon, Carya ovata (Mill.) K. Koch, and Carya tomentosa (Lam.) Nutt. were treated by removing two-thirds of the length of the radicle with and without immediate application of 3000 mg·L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) via Hormex rooting powder #3 to the remaining one-third of radicle. Neither treatment altered stem height, stem caliper, or root dry weight. After 75 days, root-pruned seedlings of Carya ovata without auxin had 42% fewer fibrous first-order lateral roots than did unpruned controls. Root pruning plus auxin led to a 79% increase in the number of fibrous first-order lateral roots of C. laciniosa and an ≈50% increase in the shoot dry weight of C. aquatica. Both root pruning and root pruning plus auxin evoked formation of taproot branches for all species. Because species differed in responses of root and shoot systems to root pruning with and without auxin, the practice should be implemented cautiously based on the species.

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Manuel Chavarria, Benjamin Wherley, James Thomas, Ambika Chandra and Paul Raymer

As population growth places greater pressures on potable water supplies, nonpotable recycled irrigation water is becoming widely used on turfgrass areas including golf courses, sports fields, parks, and lawns. Nonpotable recycled waters often have elevated salinity levels, and therefore turfgrasses must, increasingly, have good salinity tolerance to persist in these environments. This greenhouse study evaluated 10 commonly used cultivars representing warm-season turfgrass species of bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.), zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.), st. augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze], and seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz) for their comparative salinity tolerance at electrical conductivity (EC) levels of 2.5 (control), 15, 30, and 45 dS·m–1. Salinity treatments were imposed on the grasses for 10 weeks via subirrigation, followed by a 4-week freshwater recovery period. Attributes, including turf quality, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), canopy firing, and shoot biomass reductions were evaluated before and after salinity stress, as well as after the 4-week freshwater recovery period. Results showed considerable differences in salinity tolerance among the cultivars and species used, with the greatest tolerance to elevated salinity noted within seashore paspalum cultivars and Celebration® bermudagrass. In comparison with growth in 2.5-dS·m–1 control conditions, increased shoot growth and turf quality were noted for many bermudagrass and seashore paspalum cultivars at 15 dS·m–1. However, st. augustinegrass and some zoysiagrass cultivars responded to elevated salinity with decreased growth and turf quality. No cultivars that had been exposed to 30- or 45-dS·m–1 salinity recovered to acceptable levels, although bermudagrass and seashore paspalum recovered to acceptable levels after exposure to 15-dS·m–1 salinity. More severe salinity stress was noted during year 2, which coincided with greater greenhouse temperatures relative to year 1.

Open access

Zhanao Deng and Natalia A. Peres

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Sudeep S. Sidhu, Qingguo Huang, Robert N. Carrow and Paul L. Raymer

Organic layer formation in the form of thatch is a major problem in managed turfgrass systems. Biweekly application of laccase enzyme has been well-documented to facilitate the degradation of thatch and reduce the accumulation rate of organic matter in ‘Crenshaw’ creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.). A field experiment involving creeping bentgrass was conducted to evaluate the residual effects on thatch accumulation after ceasing laccase applications. A significant reduction in thatch layer thickness was observed at 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment initiation when laccase was applied at different rates and frequencies. Residual effects of laccase application were observed for thatch layer thickness, but no additional accumulation of thatch was observed 6 months after treatment cessation. At 18 months after treatment initiation, a significant increase in the thatch layer was observed where treatments had been ceased for 12 months, but no thatch accumulation was observed for laccase treatment for a second 6-month period during the second year. This information is critical to turf practitioners when developing laccase application protocols. Limiting laccase applications for a period of 6 months during 1 year was shown to be effective for thatch control.

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Georgia Vlachou, Maria Papafotiou and Konstantinos F. Bertsouklis

Seed ecophysiology and micropropagation of Clinopodium nepeta, an aromatic Mediterranean plant with pharmaceutical and horticultural uses was investigated. The optimum germination temperature of seeds stored at room temperature for 0, 6, or 12 months was 15 to 20 °C (100% germination completed in 10 to14 days) and cardinal temperatures were defined at 10 and 30 °C (80% to 82% and 62% to 76% germination, respectively). Six or 12 months of storage did not seem to affect germination, although 12-month-old seeds germinated at higher percentage and completed germination earlier at 15 °C than at 20 °C. Concerning micropropagation, shoot multiplication at subcultures of both adult plant- and seedling-origin nodal explants was tested on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with various cytokinin types, i.e., zeatin (ZEA), 6-benzyladenine (BA), kinetin (KIN), and 6-γ-γ-(dimethylallylamino)-purine (2IP), at various concentrations from 0.0 to 8.0 mg·L−1. Both explant types presented a rather similar response during in vitro culture. Increasing concentration of all cytokinin types resulted in an increase in shoot number per responding explant (1.1–5.3) and in most cases a decrease in shoot length (0.6–3.4 cm). Increasing cytokinin concentration induced hyperhydricity to a number of shoots (0.1–6.5) per explant, mostly when ZEA and BA were used. Supplementing the MS medium with 8.0 mg·L−1 BA combined with 0.1 mg·L−1 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) led to almost elimination of hyperhydricity and very satisfactory shoot production (80%/88% explant response and 6.5/7.5 shoot number per responding explant for seedling- / adult-origin explants, respectively). Alternatively, increasing the agar concentration to 12.0 g·L−1 and supplementing the medium with 8.0 mg·L−1 BA only, resulted in the same effect on eliminating hyperhydricity, such as the addition of NAA, and in the best shoot multiplication response achieved in this study (100% explant response, 9.4/9.9 shoots per explant for seedling-/adult-origin explants, respectively). Microshoots rooted abundantly (92% to 100%) on half-strength MS medium, either Hf or supplemented with 0.5 mg·L−1 to 4.0 mg·L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). The addition of IBA to the rooting medium, regardless of its concentration, affected only the root length by increasing it 2- to 3-fold. Microshoot clusters produced on multiplication media rooted at 96% when cultured on Hf half-strength MS medium. Rooted microshoots and shoot clusters survived at 80% to 100%, respectively, after ex vitro acclimatization in peat:perlite 1:1 (v/v).