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Open access

Nebahat Sari, Emily Silverman, Danny Reiland, and Todd C. Wehner

Cucurbit plants usually are sensitive to chilling and easily damaged. Although bottle gourds, which are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, are considered as fresh vegetables in some Asian countries, their main use in recent years is to be used as rootstocks in grafted watermelon cultivation. We tested 163 bottle gourd accessions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) genebank for cold tolerance in the early seedling stage. The experiment was conducted using controlled environment chambers with 3 chilling durations (36, 48, and 60 hours) at 4 °C. Chilling damage was rated 0 to 9 (0 = no damage, 1 to 2 = trace of damage, 3 to 4 = slight damage, 5 to 6 = moderate damage, 7 to 8 = advanced damage, 9 = plant totally dead). We rated damage separately for the cotyledons, true leaf, and growing point. Cold damage was higher at a chilling duration of 60 hours, and decreased at 48 and 36 hours. Most tolerant cultigens were PI 491272, PI 491280, PI 491281, PI 491286, and PI 491326. Most susceptible were PI 381845, PI 381846, PI 534556, PI 636137, and PI 668365.

Open access

Devin L. Radosevich, Raymond A. Cloyd, and Nathan J. Herrick

The western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is a major insect pest of greenhouse-grown horticultural crops. Western flower thrips causes direct and indirect damage by feeding on plant leaves, flowers, and fruits, and by transmitting viruses that can result in greenhouse producers experiencing substantial economic losses. Consequently, insecticides are used to suppress western flower thrips populations. However, issues associated with applying insecticides may affect the suppression of western flower thrips populations. Therefore, experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions to determine the effects of the spray volume applied and application frequency on insecticide efficacy against western flower thrips adults located in transvaal daisy, Gerbera jamesonii, cut flowers. Four spray volumes (5.0, 10.0, 12.5, and 25.0 mL), two application frequencies (one or two spray applications), and three insecticides [spinosad (Conserve), chlorfenapyr (Pylon), and flonicamid (Aria)], each with a different mode of action, were tested. The insecticide treatments had the greatest effects on the mean percent mortality of western flower thrips adults regardless of spray volume or application frequency. However, in Expt. 3, the 5.0- and 10.0-mL spray volumes resulted in a higher mean percent mortality of western flower thrips adults than the 2.5-mL spray volume. Spinosad and chlorfenapyr resulted in a mean percent mortality of more than 72% for western flower thrips adults, whereas flonicamid resulted in mean percent mortality between 40% and 91%. Our study demonstrates that certain insecticides are more effective against western flower thrips adults located in transvaal daisy flowers than others, which will help greenhouse producers effectively manage western flower thrips populations.

Open access

William D. Afton, Kathryn K. Fontenot, Jeff S. Kuehny, and Carl E. Motsenbocker

Forty-five cultivars of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were field-grown using best management practices at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter) Botanic Gardens in Baton Rouge during the Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 seasons. Recommended cultivars were selected for commercial production in Louisiana based on fresh weight and lettuce size (width and height). Nitrate (NO3 ) concentration was analyzed for each cultivar, as lettuces are known to accumulate and concentrate NO3 , and were then compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) oral reference dose (RfD—the EPA’s maximum acceptable oral dose of a toxic substance) of 1.6 mg NO3-nitrogen (N) per kilogram body weight per day. Recommended butterhead cultivars were Caliente and Harmony (21.6 and 13.9 ppm NO3 , respectively); recommended green-leaf cultivars were Salad Bowl and Tango (10.6 and 4.6 ppm NO3 , respectively); recommended red-leaf cultivars were Red Salad Bowl, Red Sails, and New Red Fire (15.2, 15.4, and 24.0 ppm NO3 , respectively). The only recommended romaine cultivar was Green Towers (11.2 ppm NO3 ), and recommended crisphead cultivars included Raider and Ithaca (17.6 and 14.9 ppm NO3 , respectively). Of the highest yielding cultivars, New Red Fire accumulated the greatest NO3 concentration: 24.0 ppm in both years 1 and 2. The NO3 concentration is less than the levels of concern for both men and women 20 to 74 years old, 3.9% of the RfD for men and 4.59% of the RfD for women.

Open access

Faisal Shahzad, Changpin Chun, Arnold Schumann, and Tripti Vashisth

Since the advent of Huanglongbing [HLB (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus)] in Florida, several preliminary reports have emerged about the positive effects of mineral nutrition on the performance of HLB-affected citrus (Citrus sp.) trees. HLB-affected trees are known to undergo significant feeder root loss. Therefore, studies have focused on foliar nutrient application instead of soil-applied nutrients speculating that the HLB-affected trees root systems may not be competent in nutrient uptake. Some studies also suggest that HLB-affected trees benefit from micronutrients at higher than the recommended rates; however, the results are often inconclusive and inconsistent. To address this, the goal of the present study was to evaluate the nutrient uptake efficiency and the quantitative and qualitative differences in nutrient uptake of HLB-affected trees. HLB-affected and healthy sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) trees were grown in a 100% hydroponic system with Hoagland solution for 8 weeks. The trees were deprived of any fertilization for 6 months before the transfer of trees to the hydroponic solution. Altogether, the four treatments studied in the hydroponic system were healthy trees fertilized (HLY-F) and not fertilized (HLY-NF), and HLB-affected trees fertilized (HLB-F) and not fertilized (HLB-NF). HLY-F and HLY-NF trees were found to have similar levels of leaf nutrients except for N, which was found to be low in nonfertilized trees (HLY and HLB). Both HLB-F and HLB-NF trees had lower levels of Ca, Mg, and S compared with HLY trees. In addition, HLB-NF trees had significantly lower levels of micronutrients Mn, Zn, and Fe, compared with HLY-NF trees. The hydroponic solution analysis showed that HLB-F and HLY-F trees had similar uptake of all the nutrients. Considering that HLB-affected trees have a lower root-to-shoot ratio than healthy trees, nutrient uptake efficiency per kilogram of root tissue was significantly higher in HLB trees compared with HLY trees. Under nutrient-deficient conditions (day 0) only nine genes were differentially expressed in HLB roots compared with HLY roots. On the other hand, when fertilizer was supplied for ≈1 week, ≈2300 genes were differentially expressed in HLB-F roots compared with HLY-F roots. A large number of differentially expressed genes in HLB-F were related to ion transport, root growth and development, anatomic changes, cell death, and apoptosis compared with HLY-F trees. Overall, anatomic and transcriptomic analyses revealed that HLB-affected roots undergo remarkable changes on transitioning from no nutrients to a nutrient solution, possibly facilitating a high uptake of nutrients. Our results suggest the roots of HLB-affected trees are highly efficient in nutrient uptake; however, a small root mass is a major limitation in nutrient uptake. Certain micronutrients and secondary macronutrients are also metabolized (possibly involved in tree defense or oxidative stress response) at a higher rate in HLB-affected trees than healthy trees. Therefore, a constant supply of fertilizer at a slightly higher rate than what is recommended for micronutrients and secondary macronutrients would be beneficial for managing HLB-affected trees.

Open access

Kai Jia, Cunyao Yan, Huizhuan Yan, and Jie Gao

Turnip (Brassica rapa L. subsp. rapa) is a type of root vegetable belonging to the Brassica subspecies of Cruciferae. Salt stress is one of the main abiotic stresses that causes water deficit, ion toxicity, and metabolic imbalance in plants, seriously limiting plant growth and crop yield. Two commercial turnip cultivars, Wenzhoupancai and Qiamagu, were used to evaluate the seed germination and physiological responses of turnip seedlings to salt stress. NaCl was used to simulate salt stress. Parameters of seed germination, seedling growth, osmoregulation substances content, chlorophyll content, antioxidant enzyme activity, and other physiological parameters of turnip seedlings were measured after 7 days of salt stress. The results showed that salt stress reduced the seed germination rate, and that the seeds of ‘Wenzhoupancai’ were more sensitive to salt stress. Salt stress inhibited the growth of turnip seedlings. With the increased NaCl concentration, the seedling dry weight, seedling fresh weight, and seedling length of turnip decreased gradually. Under the salt stress treatment, the osmotic regulatory substances and antioxidant enzyme activity in the seedlings of turnip increased significantly. The chlorophyll content increased at a lower NaCl level, but it decreased when the level of NaCl was higher. Growth parameters of turnip seedlings had significant negative correlations with the reactive oxygen content, osmoregulation substances, and antioxidant enzyme activities, but they had positive correlations with chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll content. These results indicated that salt stress-induced oxidative stress in turnip is mainly counteracted by enzymatic defense systems.

Open access

Lauren E. Kurtz, Mark H. Brand, and Jessica D. Lubell-Brand

To maximize yield, cannabidiol (CBD) hemp producers prefer female plants, and this is accomplished by using expensive feminized seed, vegetatively propagated female clones, or by removing male plants from dioecious seed lots. Hemp pollen drifts long distances on wind, and pollination of females reduces CBD content. Induction of triploidy is a common strategy used by plant breeders to produce sterile cultivars of agricultural crops. Triploid (3n) hemp, with three sets of chromosomes, was developed by crossing naturally diploid (2n) hemp with tetraploid (4n) hemp. Tetraploid plants used to create triploids were produced using pregerminated seeds and the mitotic spindle inhibitor colchicine. Seedlings from seeds of ‘Abacas’ × [(‘Otto2’ × ‘BaOx’) × (‘BaOx’ × ‘Colorado Cherry’)] treated with 0.05% colchicine or 0.02% colchicine for 12 hours and longer were significantly shorter than controls and ≤1 cm tall at 10 days after sowing. Surviving seedlings exhibited thickened cotyledons and hypocotyls, which indicated a potential change in ploidy. Tetraploid induction ranged from 26% to 64% for pregerminated seeds of five different hemp cultivars (Abacus × Wife, Cherry Wine, Mountain Mango, Wife, and Youngsim10) treated with 0.05% colchicine for 12 hours. Tetraploids had nearly twice the DNA content as diploids according to flow cytometric analysis. Tetraploid ‘Wife’ had larger stomates and reduced stomatal density compared with diploid ‘Wife’. Four triploid ‘Wife’ genotypes produced from crossing tetraploid ‘Wife’ with diploid ‘Wife’ were acclimated to greenhouse conditions after embryo rescue. DNA content and stomate size of triploid ‘Wife’ was intermediate between the parents. This is the first report of triploid plants of hemp. Future research will evaluate the sterility of triploid hemp.

Open access

Fernanda Trientini and Paul R. Fisher

Small-scale hydroponics is a growing urban horticulture trend, but nutrient solution management remains a challenge for small growers. The objective was to investigate the potential to use controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) to simplify nutrient management in small-scale hydroponic systems. Three experiments were conducted with the goal of a single fertilizer application during the crop cycle of basil (Ocimum basilicum). Nutrient release curves were quantified by adding prills to water and measuring nutrient content weekly in the solution for CRF products without plants. In all seven products tested (Osmocote Bloom 2–3M, Osmocote Plus 3–4M, E-Max Calcium Nitrate 2–3M, Agrocote MAP 3–4M, E-Max Keiserite 3–4M, E-Max K-Mag 2–3M, and Agrocote SOP 3–4M) an initial rapid release was followed by a plateau, but release rates differed between products varying from 100% (MgSO4) to 60% release [(NH4).(H2PO4)] over an 11-week evaluation period. Total nutrient content in two commercial N–P–K CRF products (3–4 months 15N–3P–10K and 2–3 months 12N–3.1P–14.9K) provided lower Ca and Mg compared with a typical hydroponic solution based on water-soluble fertilizer (WSF). A subsequent experiment evaluated plant growth response using the same two commercial CRF products (single application) or a WSF (replaced weekly) in growth chamber environment. Plants grown for 4 weeks under CRF treatments yielded less than half the shoot fresh weight of plants grown with WSF and exhibited symptoms of Ca deficiency and micronutrient toxicity (confirmed with tissue analysis). Electrical conductivity (EC) of CRF solutions increased over time indicating excess dose compared with plant uptake, reaching a maximum of 5.4 dS·m−1. Nutrient release curves from the first experiment were then used to estimate product release and create a single-application nutritional program based on a customized “Blend” developed from CRF macronutrients plus WSF micronutrients. Plants were grown hydroponically with two dosages of Blend (1X and 2X) and compared with a commercial WSF with weekly replacement of solution. Blend 2X and WSF treatments had similar shoot fresh weight (241 and 244 g/four plants, respectively) with healthy plant appearance and tissue nutrient levels generally within published survey ranges for basil. Commercial CRF products designed for soil or container production were unsuitable for hydroponics, but acceptable plant performance with the customized CRF Blend demonstrated proof-of-concept for a single CRF application.

Open access

Guang-Lian Liao, Xiao-Biao Xu, Qing Liu, Min Zhong, Chun-Hui Huang, Dong-Feng Jia, and Xue-Yan Qu

Jinyan (Actinidia eriantha × A. chinensis) is one of the gold-fleshed kiwifruit cultivars currently being promoted in south China. However, its fruit dry matter is usually less than 16%, which seriously affects fruit quality including taste and flavor. This causes a financial loss to growers: not only are the prices paid for the fruit low because of their bad reputation for quality, but some orchards have been removed. Improvement of fruit quality is essential. In this study, a method is described for squeezing and twisting flowering shoots before flowering and removing the distal vegetative parts of flowering shoots after fruit set. The effects on fruit quality were determined. The dry matter of fruit was increased by 6.6%. Fruit size also increased as did the chlorophyll a content and the chlorophyll:carotenoid ratio. The significantly increased fruit dry matter, resulting in significant increases in fruit soluble solids concentrations (P < 0.01), thereby possibly improving fruit taste. Fruit weight, fruit length, and carotenoid and ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly enhanced in comparison with controls (P < 0.01), increasing by 20%, 7%, 12%, and 19%, respectively. However, there was no significant difference in soluble sugar concentrations, titratable acid concentrations, and the reduced chlorophyll b concentrations. This research provides a practical method to increase fruit dry matter, and hence a way to allow fruit quality to reach commercial requirements for cultivars such as Jinyan, which under previous management systems had significant shortcomings in fruit flavor and taste.

Open access

Wesley Gartner, Paul C. Bethke, Theodore J. Kisha, and James Nienhuis

Sugars, including glucose, fructose, and sucrose, contribute significantly to the flavor and consumer acceptance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Sugar accumulation and changes in sugar profiles during snap bean development contribute to overall assessments of quality for breeding lines and cultivars. Developing fruit from a diverse group of four snap bean cultivars containing Andean germplasm and one Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar were sampled at 5-day intervals from 10 to 30 days after flowering over 2 years. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose in pod and seed tissue was quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography. Percent seed mass relative to pod mass increased with days after flowering, but the rate of increase was heterogeneous among cultivars. Significant differences in sugar accumulation patterns of mono- and disaccharides were observed with time of development and between pods and seeds. Glucose and fructose decreased rapidly in pods and seeds with time after flowering. In contrast, sucrose concentration increased in pod tissue but remained constant in seeds of the snap bean cultivars with time after flowering. The patterns of changes in pod and seed sugar concentrations with time after flowering were similar among all snap bean cultivars. In contrast to the snap beans, seed sucrose increased with time after flowering in the Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar Puebla 152. No year by day after flowering interactions were observed for sugar accumulation patterns or sugar concentrations. Younger snap beans had the highest sweetness index based on observed sugar concentrations, percent seed mass, and perception of relative sweetness by the human palate. Although mean sweetness varied between cultivars, the rate of decrease in sweetness with time was the same for all five cultivars. These findings indicate that variation for sweetness exists in snap beans and can be exploited by breeding to develop cultivars with a potentially more desirable, sweet flavor.

Open access

Karla Gabrielle Dutra Pinto, Sônia Maria Figueiredo Albertino, Bruna Nogueira Leite, Daniel Oscar Pereira Soares, Francisco Martins de Castro, Laís Alves da Gama, Débora Clivati, and André Luiz Atroch

The economic potential of guarana relies on the energetic and medicinal properties of its seeds, which can be used to produce soft drinks, sticks, powder, and syrup. Brazil is the only guarana producer on a commercial scale, and the guarana crop system is the main agricultural activity in Maués, Amazonas. Although several types of technology have been developed to reduce costs and increase guarana productivity, the most important optimization of seedling production by cutting still needs to improve the rooting percentage and reduce mortality rates. However, the use of rooting inducers for guarana is still unestablished. Therefore, we evaluated the rooting potential of herbaceous cuttings from three guarana cultivars under different indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) concentrations. We recorded qualitative data from the roots of the cuttings. The IBA doses did not increase the percentage of rooted cuttings; however, they increased the root system quality of the guarana cuttings. We present this rooting method for the guarana plant as the most appropriate and least costly for small producers.