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Open access

Dan Jin, Philippe Henry, Jacqueline Shan, and Jie Chen

Modern Cannabis cultivars are morphologically distinguished by their leaflet shapes (wide for “Indica” and narrow for “Sativa”) by users and breeders. However, there are no scientific bases or references for determining the shape of these leaflets. In addition, these two categories contained mostly THC dominant (high THC) cultivars while excluded CBD dominant (high CBD) and intermediate (intermediate level of both THC and CBD) cultivars. This study investigated the phenotypic variation in 21 Cannabis cultivars covering three chemical phenotypes, referred to as chemotypes, grown in a commercial greenhouse. Thirty morphological traits were measured in the vegetative, flowering, and harvest stages on live plants and harvested inflorescences. The collected data were subjected to correlation analysis, hierarchical clustering, principal component analysis, and canonical correlation analysis with preassigned chemotypes. Canonical correlation analysis assigned individual plants to their chemotypes with 92.9% accuracy. Significant morphological differences were identified. Traits usable as phenotype markers for CBD dominant cultivars included light-green and narrow leaflets, a greater number of primary and secondary serrations, loose inflorescences, dense and resinous trichomes, and Botrytis cinerea resistance. Traits for intermediate cultivars included deep-green and medium-wide leaflets, more primary and secondary serrations, medium compact inflorescences, trichomes that are less dense and less resinous, and Botrytis cinerea resistance. Traits for THC dominant cultivars included deep-green and wide leaflets, large and compact inflorescences, dense and resinous trichomes, and Botrytis cinerea susceptibility. The results of this study provide a comprehensive profile of morphological traits of modern Cannabis cultivars and provides the first such profile for CBD dominant and intermediate cultivars. Additionally, this study included the traits of inflorescences, which have not been compared between three chemotypes in the literature. Phenotype markers identified in this study can facilitate preliminary cultivar identification and selection on live plants before or as a supplement to chemical and genetic analysis.

Open access

Rocheteau Dareus, Antonio Carlos Mota Porto, Mesfin Bogale, Peter DiGennaro, Carlene A. Chase, and Esteban Fernando Rios

Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] is a multipurpose crop that provides nutrients for human and livestock diets, as well as regulates and supports ecosystem services. In developing countries, cowpea is exploited as a dual-purpose crop for its grain and fodder; it is cultivated primarily for grain and as a cover crop in industrialized countries. However, root-knot nematodes (RKNs) (Meloidogyne spp.) represent a threat to cowpea production worldwide. Thus, we screened the University of California, Riverside (UC-Riverside), cowpea mini-core collection for resistance to Meloidogyne incognita Kofoid and White (Chitwood) and M. enterolobii Yang and Eisenback to verify the potential of this collection to be used for improving RKN resistance in cowpeas. Both screenings showed significant genotypic variation and medium/high broad-sense heritability (H 2) estimates for most traits, and several traits were also strongly correlated. For the M. incognita screening, 86.1% of accessions showed some level of resistance based on gall score (≤3), and 77.7% based on reproduction index (RI) (25 ≤ RI ≤ 50), whereas only 10.4% and 29.8% of accessions were resistant to M. enterolobii based on gall score (≤3) and RI (25 ≤ RI ≤ 50), respectively. These results demonstrate the greater virulence of M. enterolobii than M. incognita in cowpea, and that geographic origin of germplasm was not linked to sources of resistance. Among cultivars, only US-1136 showed resistance against both nematode species, whereas 12 wild/landrace germplasms exhibited resistance to M. incognita and M. enterolobii, and can be exploited for breeding resistant cowpeas.

Open access

Eric T. Stafne and Barbara J. Smith

Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum) bushes are relatively easy to grow and commonplace across Mississippi; however, if not properly maintained, the bushes will decline over time. Eighteen, aged, low-productivity ‘Woodard’ rabbiteye blueberry bushes were pruned at two different heights (ground level and a 50-cm above ground level) after harvest in July 2017, and phosphorous acid was applied as a drench and foliar spray in the first year, but this was discontinued as the applications had no effect on the bushes. For two seasons, fruit yields were collected and weighed, bushes were measured for growth parameters, and canes were weighed. Bushes pruned at the 50-cm above ground level had much higher yields in both 2019 (3.47 vs. 0.63 kg) and 2020 (3.91 vs. 1.23 kg), thus providing a substantial yield benefit. The 50-cm above ground level pruning treatment bushes produced more canes by the end of the study, therefore accounting for more fruiting area, as seen in the harvest index. In short, pruning old, nonproductive bushes at a 50-cm above ground level can provide growers with greater potential for early economic returns than pruning at ground level, for ‘Woodard’ rabbiteye blueberry.

Open access

Yue Wen, Shu-chai Su, Ting-ting Jia, and Xiang-nan Wang

The periods of flower bud differentiation and fruit growth for Camellia oleifera overlap greatly affect the allocation of photoassimilates to flower buds and fruit, resulting in obvious alternate bearing. To export the cause and mitigate alternate bearing of Camellia oleifera, the allocation of photoassimilates to buds and fruit supplied by leaves at different node positions was studied by the addition of labeled 13CO2 during the slow fruit growth stage. The fate of 13C photoassimilated carbon was followed during four periods: slow fruit growth (4 hours and 10 days after 13C labeling); rapid growth (63 days after 13C labeling); oil conversion (129 days after 13C labeling); and maturation (159 days after 13C labeling). Photosynthetic parameters and leaf areas of the leaves shared a common pattern (fifth > third > first), and the order of photosynthetic parameters of different fruit growth stages was as follows: oil conversion > maturation > rapid growth > slow growth. The most intense competition between flower bud differentiation and fruit growth occurred during the oil conversion stage. Dry matter accumulation in different sinks occurred as follow: fruit > flower bud > leaf bud. Photoassimilates from the labeled first leaf were mainly translocated to the first flower bud, and the upper buds were always differentiated into flower buds. The photoassimilates from the labeled third leaf were distributed disproportionately to the third flower bud and fruit. They distributed more to the third flower bud, and the middle buds formed either flower or leaf buds. However, the photoassimilates from the labeled fifth leaf were primarily allocated to the fruit that bore on the first node of last year’s bearing shoot, and basal buds did not form flower buds. Based on our results, the basal leaves should be retained for a high yield in the current year, and the top leaves should be retained for a high yield in the following year. Our results have important implications for understanding the management of flower and fruit in C. oleifera. The thinning of fruit during the on-crop year can promote flower bud formation and increase the yield of C. oleifera crops in the following year. During the off-year, more fruit should be retained to maintain the fruit yield. The thinning of middle-upper buds could promote more photoassimilates allocate to the fruit.

Open access

Fan-Hsuan Yang, David R. Bryla, and R. Troy Peters

Heat-related fruit damage is a prevalent issue in northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) in various growing regions, including the northwestern United States. To help address the issue, we developed a simple climatological model to predict blueberry fruit temperatures based on local weather data and to simulate the effects of using over-canopy sprinklers for cooling the fruit. Predictions of fruit temperature on sunny days correlated strongly with the actual values (R 2 = 0.91) and had a root mean-square error of ≈2 °C. Among the parameters tested, ambient air temperature and light intensity had the greatest impact on fruit temperature, whereas wind speed and fruit size had less impact, and relative humidity had no impact. Cooling efficiency was estimated successfully under different sprinkler cooling intervals by incorporating a water application factor that was calculated based on the amount of water applied and the time required for water to evaporate from the fruit surface between the intervals. The results indicate that water temperature and nozzle flow rate affected the extent to which cooling with sprinklers reduced fruit temperature. However, prolonging the runtime of the sprinklers did not guarantee lower temperatures during cooling, because cooling efficiency declined as the temperature of the fruit approached the temperature of the irrigation water. Users could incorporate the model into weather forecast programs to predict the incidence of heat damage and could use it to make cooling decisions in commercial blueberry fields.

Open access

Annika E. Kohler and Roberto G. Lopez

Domestic production of culinary herbs continues to increase in the United States. Culinary herbs are primarily propagated by seed; however, some herbs have poor germination rates and slow growth. Thus, there are advantages of propagating herbs by vegetative stem-tip cuttings as they lead to true-to-type plants and a shortened production time. Previous research of ornamental young plants and finished culinary herbs have shown a reduction in rooting time and increases in plant quality with increases in the photosynthetic daily light integral (DLI). To our knowledge, little to no research has addressed how the DLI influences culinary herb liner quality. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to quantify morphological traits of five economically important culinary herbs when grown under DLIs ranging from 2.8 to 16.4 mol·m−2·d−1. Stem-tip cuttings of Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum), rosemary ‘Arp’ (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage ‘Extrakta’ (Salvia officinalis), spearmint ‘Spanish’ (Mentha spicata), and thyme ‘German Winter’ (Thymus vulgaris) were excised from stock plants and rooted under no shade or aluminum shading of 36%, 56%, or 76% to create a range of DLI treatments. After 9 days (spearmint) or 16 days (all other genera) of DLI treatments, the root, shoot, and total dry mass of all culinary herb liners generally increased by 105% to 449%, 52% to 142%, and 82% to 170%, respectively, as the DLI increased from 2.8 to 16.4 mol·m−2·d−1 or genus-specific DLI optimums. Stem length of oregano, spearmint, and thyme decreased by 37%, 28%, and 27%, respectively, as the DLI increased from 2.8 to 16.4 mol·m−2·d−1. However, stem length of rosemary and sage were unaffected by the DLI. The quality index of all genera was greatest at DLIs from 10.4 to 16.4 mol·m−2·d−1. Furthermore, all culinary herbs grown under a DLI of ≤6 mol·m−2·d−1 had low root and shoot dry mass accumulation; and oregano, spearmint, and thyme were generally taller. Therefore, DLIs between 10 to 12 mol·m−2·d−1 should be maintained during culinary herb propagation, because a DLI ≥16 mol·m−2·d−1 may be deleterious and energy inefficient if supplemental lighting use is increased.

Open access

Xuan Liu and Donald L. Suarez

Soil salinization is a widespread problem severely impacting crop production. Understanding how salt stress affects growth-controlling photosynthetic performance is essential for improving crop salt tolerance and alleviating the salt impact. Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) is an important crop, but little information is available on its growth and leaf gas exchange in relation to a wide range of salinity. In this study, the responses of leaf gas exchange and whole plant growth of lima bean (cv. Fordhook 242) to six salinities with electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.9 (control), 5.7, 7.8, 10.0, 13.0, and 15.5 dS·m−1 in irrigation waters were assessed. Significant linear reduction by increasing salinity was observed on plant biomass, bean yield, and leaf net carbon assimilation rate (A). As EC increased from the control to 15.5 dS·m−1, plant biomass and A decreased by 87% and 69%, respectively, at the vegetative growth stage, and by 96% and 83%, respectively, at the pod growth stage, and bean yield decreased by 98%. Judged by the linear relations, the reduction in A accounted for a large portion of the growth reduction and bean yield loss. Salinity also had a significantly negative and linear effect on leaf stomatal conductance (g S). Leaf intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) and leaf C13 isotope discrimination (Δ13) declined in parallel significantly with increasing salinity. The A-Ci curve analysis revealed that stomatal limitation [L g (percent)] to A increased significantly and linearly, from 18% to 78% and from 22% to 87% at the vegetative and pod-filling stages, respectively, as EC increased from the control to the highest level. Thus, relatively nonstomatal or biochemical limitation [L m (percent), L m = 100 − L g] to A responded negatively to increasing salinity. This result is coincident with the observed Δ13 salt-response trend. Furthermore, leaf carboxylation efficiency and CO2-saturated photosynthetic capacity [maximum A (Amax)] were unaffected by increasing salinity. Our results strongly indicate that the reduction in lima bean A by salt stress was mainly due to stomatal limitation and biochemical properties for photosynthesis might not be impaired. Because stomatal limitation reduces A exactly from lowering CO2 availability to leaves, increasing CO2 supply with an elevated CO2 concentration may raise A of the salt-stressed lima bean leaves and alleviate the salt impact. This is supported by our finding that the external CO2 concentration for 50% of Amax increased significantly and linearly with increasing salinity at the both growth stages. Leaf water use efficiency showed an increasing trend and no evident decline in leaf chlorophyll soil plant analysis development (SPAD) readings was observed as salinity increased.

Open access

Prabin Tamang, Kaori Ando, William M. Wintermantel, and James D. McCreight

Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) is a devastating viral disease of melon that can cause significant yield and quality losses. This disease has recently emerged as a major concern in the southwest United States and major melon-growing regions across the world. Coinfection of melon by Cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV) was recognized in Imperial Valley and neighboring production areas of California and Arizona in 2018, but its importance remains largely unknown. Identifying and deploying CYSDV resistance from elite germplasm is an economical and effective way to manage the disease. A F2:3 population was developed from a cross of susceptible ‘Top Mark’ with CYSDV-resistant PI 313970, which was shown to possess a single recessive gene for resistance to CYSDV. The F2:3 population was phenotyped in the field in response to natural, mixed infections by the two viruses, CYSDV and CCYV in the Fall melon seasons of 2018 and 2019. Phenotypic data (foliar yellowing) from both years were not useful for mapping CYSDV resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL), as PI 313970 and CYSDV-resistant F2:3 plants exhibited yellowing symptoms from CCYV coinfection. QTL analysis of the relative titer of CYSDV calculated from reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) data identified one locus on chromosome 3 at the physical location of S5-28,571,859 bp that explained 20% of virus titer variation in 2018 but was undetected in 2019. A locus on chromosome 5 between S5-20,880,639 to S5-22,217,535 bp explained 16% and 35% of the variation in CYSDV titer in 2018 and 2019, respectively. One or both of the markers were present in six of 10 putative melon CYSDV resistance sources. Markers flanking the 2019 QTL were developed and can be used in marker-assisted breeding of CYSDV-resistant melons.

Open access

Paul M. Lyrene

Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry) is a highly variable diploid species in section Polycodium. Deerberry is native on excessively drained sandy soils from southeastern Ontario, south through the Florida peninsula to Lake Okeechobee, west to eastern Texas and southeastern Kansas. The V. stamineum used in this study were tall plants (2–4 m) native in north Florida, with a plant architecture similar to rabbiteye blueberry (V. virgatum). Starting in 2013 with crosses between tetraploid highbush cultivars (section Cyanococcus) and colchicine-doubled V. stamineum, hundreds of F1 and thousands of later-generation seedlings were grown and evaluated in high-density field nurseries at Citra in North Florida. The populations studied included F1, F2, backcrosses to each parent species, and BC1 × BC1 seedlings. The goal of the study was to assess the feasibility of introgressing into highbush blueberry cultivars desirable traits from V. stamineum (drought tolerance, red-flesh berries, new flavor components, open flowers with short corolla cups and exserted anthers and stigmas) without introducing horticulturally problematic characteristics (bitter skin, berries that shatter when ripe, difficult vegetative propagation). Vigor averaged very low in F1 seedlings, higher in F2 seedlings and in seedlings from backcrosses to V. stamineum, and highest in seedlings from backcrosses to highbush. Most crosses yielded numerous plump seeds, but crosses to produce F1 hybrids yielded fewer than 10% as many seeds as highbush × highbush crosses. Most vegetative, flower, and fruit traits that differentiate highbush from V. stamineum were intermediate in F1 seedlings. Backcross seedlings more closely resembled the recurrent parent. Variability in morphological characters was high in every generation, giving much opportunity for selection. Some seedlings from backcrosses to highbush (≈5%) appeared to have the vigor, berry quality, and yield potential required in commercial cultivars. Producing highbush cultivars that strongly express a particular V. stamineum trait might best be accomplished by growing large, segregating F2 populations from which parents for backcrosses can be selected.

Open access

Orlando F. Rodriguez Izaba, Wenjing Guan, and Ariana P. Torres

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most important vegetables produced and consumed in the United States. In the midwestern United States, a major obstacle to spring cucumber production is low soil temperatures during plant establishment. High tunnel is a popular tool for season extension of vegetable production. Low soil temperature is a challenge for cucumber production even inside high tunnels. Grafting is a cultural practice known to help control soilborne diseases and improve plants’ tolerance to abiotic stresses. Recent studies found that using grafted cucumber plants with cold-tolerant rootstocks greatly benefited early-season seedless cucumber production in high tunnels. The objective of this study was to analyze the economic feasibility of growing grafted cucumber in high tunnels. A comparison of partial costs and returns between growing grafted and nongrafted cucumbers in a high tunnel in Vincennes, IN, was conducted. Data were used to develop a partial budget analysis and sensitivity tests. Data included production costs, marketable yield, and price of cucumber through different market channels. This study provided a baseline reference for growers interested in grafting seedless cucumber and for high tunnel production. Although costs of grafted transplants were higher, their yield and potential revenue helped to offset the higher costs. Results indicated that grafting can help farmers increase net returns through the increasing yield of grafted plants. Results from the sensitivity analysis illustrated how the increased yield of grafted cucumbers offsets the extra cost incurred in the technique while providing a higher revenue. While actual production costs for individual farmers may vary, our findings suggested that grafting can be an economically feasible tool for high tunnel seedless cucumber production.