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Open access

Amalie B. Kurzer, Rose Bechtel and Jean-Xavier Guinard

To identify factors that may reduce mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and orange (Citrus sinensis) consumer acceptance and to acquire information on current consumer thoughts and perceptions, a series of eight focus groups were held in a college town in northern California: four with children and four with adults. Adults mentioned cost proportionately more (P ≤ 0.05) often than children, as well as farm to fork, purchasing preferences, and seasonality. Children mentioned eating preferences, social use, and healthiness more often (P ≤ 0.05). Flavor and taste were important to both age groups, as well as ease of peeling. Both ages viewed oranges as slightly too large and messier than mandarins. Adults felt frustration that oranges and mandarins lack flavor and that quality is not consistent. Many indicated they would be willing to pay more for consistent quality. Children reported relying on availability, appearance, and the basic tastes to guide their choices and did not express a clear preference between mandarins and oranges. Development of a fruit intermediate in size between an orange and a mandarin, either a small orange or a large mandarin, would potentially satisfy an untapped area of the market. Other potential areas of consumer interest are in fruits with edible peels, like kumquats (Citrus japonica) and in more unique, identifiable varieties such as Cara Cara oranges.

Open access

Elena E. Lon Kan, Steven A. Sargent, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Adrian D. Berry and Nicole L. Shaw

Datil hot pepper (Capsicum chinense) has potential for increased production due to its unique, spicy flavor and aroma. However, few reports have been published related to postharvest handling characteristics. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of harvest maturity on fruit quality under simulated commercial storage conditions. ‘Wanda’ datil pepper plants were grown hydroponically under protected culture. Fruit were harvested at yellow and orange maturity stages, placed in vented clamshell containers, and stored at 2, 7, or 10 °C for 21 days. Peppers harvested at yellow stage maintained greater quality than orange peppers during storage at all temperatures. Marketable fruit after 21 days for peppers harvested at the yellow stage was 94% (2 °C), 88% (7 °C), and 91% (10 °C); that for orange-stage peppers was 68%, 74%, and 82% for the same respective temperatures. No chilling injury (CI) symptoms were observed in these tests. Initial pepper moisture content was 90%, decreasing only slightly during 21 days of storage; weight loss ranged from 2% to 8%. Soluble solids content (SSC) was greater for peppers harvested at the orange stage (9.5%) than for those at yellow stage (7.8%). Neither harvest maturity nor storage temperature affected total titratable acidity (TTA; 0.13%) or pH (5.3). Respiration rate varied with temperature but not by harvest maturity and ranged from 12 to 25 mg·kg−1 per hour after 8 days of storage. Peppers harvested orange contained double the amount of total carotenoids as yellow fruit. Carotenoid content for yellow and orange peppers was 58 and 122 µg·g−1, respectively. Capsaicinoid content ranged from 1810 to 4440 µg·g−1 and was slightly greater for orange-harvested peppers. Datil peppers harvested at the yellow stage and stored in vented clamshell containers had better quality than peppers harvested at the orange stage after 21 days at 2 °C.

Open access

Karen L. Panter, Timmothy M. Gergeni, Casey P. Seals and Andrea R. Garfinkel

High tunnels are gaining popularity for their use in horticultural crop production. However, little is known about the effect of high tunnel orientation on plant growth and development. In this set of studies, we show tunnel orientation does not necessarily affect the production of cut sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and culinary herbs oregano (Origanum vulgare), marjoram (Origanum majorana), and garlic chive (Allium tuberosum). Two high tunnels, one with the long axis oriented north-south (NS) and the other east-west (EW), were used to test the effects of high tunnel orientation on several crops over a 5-year period: cut sunflower (2012 and 2016); marjoram, oregano, and garlic chive (2013 and 2014); and garlic chive (2015). The tunnels are 12 × 16 ft, smaller than those used in commercial production. The size would be appropriate for hobby and seasonal production of horticultural crops for local markets. Cut sunflower stems were similar lengths both years in both high tunnels. Sunflower times to harvest were different between cultivars but not between high tunnels. Oregano fresh weight yields were highest in the NS tunnel in 2013 but similar between tunnels in 2014. Marjoram fresh weights were highest in 2013 in the EW tunnel but highest in 2014 in the NS tunnel. Garlic chive fresh weights were similar between tunnels all 3 years. We show that differences are more a function of innate cultivar characteristics than which way small high tunnels are oriented.

Restricted access

Renata Koyama, Ronan Carlos Colombo, Wellington Fernando Silva Borges, João Pedro Silvestre, Ibrar Hussain, Muhammad Shahab, Saeed Ahmed, Sandra Helena Prudencio, Reginaldo Teodoro de Souza and Sergio Ruffo Roberto

The application of S-ABA enantiomer to clusters of poor pigmentation cultivars can improve grape color. The aim of this study was to assess whether S-ABA applied to clusters of the new hybrid ‘BRS Melodia’ seedless grape can improve its color characteristics and to evaluate the consumer acceptance. The following treatments were evaluated: Control; S-ABA at 200 mg·L−1 7 days after veraison (DAV); S-ABA at 400 mg·L−1 7 DAV; S-ABA at 200 mg·L−1 7 DAV + 200 mg·L−1 21 DAV; and S-ABA at 400 mg·L−1 7 DAV + 400 mg·L−1 21 DAV. To apply the treatments, clusters were sprayed using a backpack sprayer until runoff. The exogenous application of S-ABA significantly improves the color of berries of ‘BRS Melodia’ seedless grape, particularly at a concentration of 400 mg·L−1 in two applications, at 7 DAV and 21 DAV, resulting in clusters with greater consumer acceptance through visual-sensory analysis. Regardless of concentration or application timing, there was no change in the physicochemical characteristics of the berries or clusters, nor in the number of shoots per cane or clusters per shoot in the season after its application.

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Juan Carlos Álvarez-Hernández, Javier Zaragoza Castellanos-Ramos and Cesar Leobardo Aguirre-Mancilla

Grafting Carica papaya plants can have several benefits for productive, phytosanitary, and sexing purposes. However, the literature on the subject of papaya grafting is limited. The tongue approach and cleft grafting techniques seem to be the most adequate for C. papaya, but the quality of grafts depends on several factors. With the objective of developing and adapting a grafting method for papaya, experimental assays were carried out in the Valley of Apatzingan, Michoacan, Mexico. The physical condition of the seedlings was assessed, and the most advantageous time for grafting was determined based on the size and thickness of the stems. Three assays were then carried out. The first assay was a test of the tongue approach and cleft grafting techniques using two clamping devices. The second assay involved the same techniques with modifications and the addition of another treatment. In the third assay, the modified tongue approach grafting method was tested on three containers with papaya plants. Seedling vigor, graft survival, and graft quality were the recorded variables. The results indicated that unwanted tissue should be cut 6 days after grafting. The tongue approach grafting method using tape as the fastening device (T-T) yielded a graft survival of 80%. The modified tongue approach grafting method, in which the tongues were formed just below the stem-site cut and tape was used as the fastening device (M-T-Bc-T), yielded a graft survival of 90%. In the third assay, the previously described modified method, but with seedlings grown in plastic bags (M-T-Bc-T-B), yielded a graft survival of 92.5%. It can be concluded that the modified tongue approach grafting method with seedlings grown in plastic bags (M-T-Bc-T-B), is a reliable grafting method for papaya that does not require special handling conditions.

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Josue Ortega-Ortega, Francisco Arturo Ramírez-Ortega, Roberto Ruiz-Medrano and Beatriz Xoconostle-Cázares

Coffee is an important crop worldwide, grown on about 10 million hectares in tropical regions including Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The genus Coffea includes more than 100 species; most are diploid, except for C. arabica, which is allotetraploid and autogamous. The genetic diversity of commercial coffee is low, likely due to it being self-pollinating, in addition, the widespread propagation of few selected cultivars, such as Caturra, Bourbon, and Typica. One approach is the analysis of genome size in these cultivars as a proxy to study its genetic variability. In the present work, genome size of 16 cultivars was assessed through high-resolution flow cytometry (FCM). Nuclear DNA was analyzed using a modified procedure that uses propidium iodide (PI) and 4′,6′-diamino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride hydrate (DAPI) staining. The C. arabica cultivars investigated possessed a nuclear DNA content ranging from 2.56 ± 0.016 pg for Typica, to 3.16 ± 0.033 pg for ICATU, which had the largest genome size. All cultivars measured using both fluorochromes had greater estimates with DAPI than PI. The proportion of the genome composed of guanosine and cytosine (GC%) among the cultivars evaluated in this study ranged from 37.03% to 39.22%. There are few studies of genome size by FCM of distinct important C. arabica cultivars, e.g., hybrids and artificial crosses. Thus, this work could be valuable for coffee breeding programs. The data presented here are intended to expand the genomic understanding of C. arabica and could link nuclear DNA content with evolutionary relationships such as diversification, hybridization and polyploidy.

Restricted access

Azadeh Behrooz, Kourosh Vahdati, Farhad Rejali, Mahmoud Lotfi, Saadat Sarikhani and Charles Leslie

Drought stress is one of the main constraints limiting worldwide crop production. Arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) and plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) such as Azotobacter chroococcum and Azospirillium lipofrum have been shown to alleviate drought stress effects. Therefore, the interaction effect of AM fungi [Glomus mosseae, G. etunicatum, and a mix of these (G. mix), and PGPB bacteria (Azotobacter chroococcum + Azospirillium lipofrum)] was investigated in 1-year-old walnut seedlings (cv. Chandler) under normal and drought stress conditions. Drought stress reduced growth (plant height, root length, number of leaves, and fresh weight) and leaf nutrient content (N, P, and Zn) significantly of walnut plants. In contrast, proline, total soluble sugar, starch peroxidase enzyme activity, and total phenolic content of walnut leaves increased under this stress. Application of fungi or bacteria, and especially their simultaneous use, alleviated the negative effects of drought stress on walnut seedlings. AM fungi and PGPB increased significantly the content of some metabolites, including total phenolic content, proline level, peroxidase activity, total soluble sugar, and starch content as well as peroxidase enzyme activity. This led to an increase in walnut plant growth under the drought stress condition. Among AM fungi, G. etunicatum was more effective in reducing drought stress symptoms than either G. mosseae or the G. mix of fungi. In conclusion, use of G. etunicatum, along with PGPB, can reduce negative effects of drought stress on walnut seedlings.

Open access

Abigail R. Debner, Harlene Hatterman-Valenti and Fumiomi Takeda

Outdoor production of floricane-fruiting (FF) blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus) is problematic in the Northern Great Plains region of the United States because cane injury and plant death will occur from exposure to temperatures −15 °C and colder. An annual FF blackberry production system using hardwood floricane cuttings would overcome some of the existing limitations of traditional production methods. Several experiments were performed to induce adventitious root formation from one-node hardwood floricane blackberry cuttings taken in winter for the purpose of subsequent growth of a floral shoot. One-node hardwood cuttings of multiple blackberry cultivars (Apache, Arapaho, Kiowa, Osage, Ouachita, Siskiyou, and Triple Crown) were evaluated for rooting potential with and without auxin treatments. Root formation was virtually nonexistent for ‘Apache’, ‘Kiowa’, and ‘Triple Crown’ regardless of the auxin treatment. In general, lower auxin concentrations and the powder formulation produced more roots and had higher root ratings. However, rooting success of cuttings and plant development was low regardless of the rooting method used. Adventitious root production of one-node dormant hardwood FF blackberry cuttings for use in an annual production system had low success regardless of the cultivar, auxin application, rate, and formulation. The variable propagation success rates using single-node hardwood cuttings from ‘Apache’, ‘Arapaho’, ‘Kiowa’, ‘Osage’, ‘Ouachita’, ‘Siskiyou’, and ‘Triple Crown’ plants grown in containers in North Dakota suggested insufficient rooting success for the recommendation of this practice. Additionally, the results suggested these cultivars are not suitable using this method for an annual production system or as a means for large-scale propagation. Although this approach to developing plants from cuttings is of great interest, without a more effective FF blackberry cutting rooting method that can progress through fruit production, an annual blackberry production system in the Northern Great Plains region of the United States is unlikely.

Open access

Mitchell Eicher-Sodo, Robert Gordon and Youbin Zheng

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an oxidizing agent used to disinfect recirculated irrigation water during the production of organic crops under controlled environmental systems (e.g., greenhouses). To characterize the phytotoxic effects and define a concentration threshold for H2O2, three microgreen species [arugula (Brassica eruca ssp. sativa), radish (Raphanus sativus), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus ‘Black Oil’)], and three lettuce (Lactuca sativa) cultivars, Othilie, Xandra, and Rouxai, were foliar sprayed once daily with water containing 0, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, or 200 mg·L−1 of H2O2 from seed to harvest under greenhouse conditions. Leaf damage was assessed at harvest using two distinct methods: 1) the percentage of damaged leaves per tray and 2) a damage index (DI). Applied H2O2 concentrations, starting from 25 mg·L−1, increased the percentage of damaged leaves in every species except ‘Black Oil’ sunflower, which remained unaffected by any applied concentration. Symptoms of leaf damage manifested in similar patterns on the surface of microgreen cotyledons and lettuce leaves, while mean DI values and extent of damage were unique to each crop. Fresh weight, dry weight, and leaf area of all crops were not significantly affected by daily H2O2 spray. Identifying how foliar H2O2 damage manifests throughout the crop, as well at individual cotyledon or leaf surfaces, is necessary to establish an upper concentration threshold for H2O2 use. On the basis of the aforementioned metrics, maximum recommended concentrations were 150 mg·L−1 (radish), 100 mg·L−1 (arugula) for microgreens and 125 mg·L−1 (‘Othilie’), 75 mg·L−1 (‘Rouxai’), and 125 mg·L−1 (‘Xandra’) lettuce.

Open access

Jaysankar De, Aswathy Sreedharan, You Li, Alan Gutierrez, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent and Keith R. Schneider

Cooling procedures used by blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) growers often may include delays up to 24 hours that can damage the fruit through rough handling and adverse temperatures, thereby potentially compromising quality and, subsequently, safety. The objectives of this experiment were to compare forced-air cooling (FAC) compared to hydrocooling without sanitizer (HW) and hydrocooling with sanitizer (HS) regarding the quality and shelf life of southern highbush blueberry [SHB (Vaccinium corymbosum)] and to determine the efficacy of these treatments for reducing Salmonella in SHB. Freshly harvested SHB that were inoculated with a five-serovar cocktail of rifampin-resistant Salmonella were rapidly chilled by FAC or hydrocooling (HW and HS) using a laboratory model system. FAC did not show any significant reduction (P > 0.05) in Salmonella or in the effects on the microbiological quality of blueberries. HW and HS reduced Salmonella by ≈2 and >4 log cfu/g SHB, respectively, on day 0. These postharvest treatments were also evaluated for their ability to help maintain fruit quality throughout a storage period of 21 days at 1 °C. Hydrocooling (both HS and HW) provided more rapid cooling than FAC. Hydrocooled blueberries showed significant weight gain (P < 0.05), whereas FAC resulted in a slight, but insignificant (P > 0.05), reduction in final weight. The results of hydrocooling, both HS and HW, shown in this study could help to extend the shelf life while maintaining or increasing the microbiological quality of fresh market blueberries. Information obtained by this study can be used for developing the best temperature management practices to maintain the postharvest safety and quality of blueberries.