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Adam Bolton and Philipp Simon

Global carrot production is limited by the crop’s high susceptibility to salinity stress. Not much public research has been conducted to screen for genetic salinity stress tolerance in carrot, and few resources exist to aid plant breeders in improving salinity tolerance in carrot. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the response of diverse carrot germplasm to salinity stress, identify salt-tolerant carrot germplasm that may be used by breeders, and define appropriate screening criteria for assessing salt tolerance in germinating carrot seed. Carrot plant introductions (PIs) (n = 273) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Plant Germplasm System representing 41 different countries, inbred lines from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (n = 16), and widely grown commercial hybrids (n = 5) were screened for salinity tolerance under salinity stress and nonstress conditions (150 and 0 mm NaCl, respectively) by measuring the absolute decrease (AD) in the percent of germination, inhibition index (II), relative salt tolerance (RST), and salt tolerance index (STI) of germinating seeds. All salt tolerance measurements differed significantly between accessions; AD ranged from −4.2% to 93.0%; II ranged from −8.0% to 100.0%; RST ranged from 0.0 to 1.08; and STI ranged from 0.0 to 1.38. Broad sense heritability calculations for these measurements were 0.87 or more, indicating a strong genetic contribution to the variation observed. Six accessions identified as salt-tolerant or salt-susceptible were evaluated in a subsequent experiment conducted at salt concentrations of 0, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 mm NaCl. Variations between mean AD, II, RST, and STI of tolerant and susceptible lines were greatest at 150 mm NaCl, validating the use of 150 mm NaCl concentrations during salt tolerance screening of carrot seed. Wild carrot accessions displayed little tolerance, and PI 256066, PI 652253, PI 652402, and PI 652405 from Turkey were most salt-tolerant.

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Scovia Adikini, Settumba B. Mukasa, Robert O.M. Mwanga and Richard W. Gibson

Sweetpotato is usually propagated in Uganda by vine cuttings from mature crops, but sometimes sprouts from storage roots are used, especially in drought-prone areas. No information is available on whether the storage of roots of Ugandan cultivars are infected with the viruses and whether the sprouts on them express symptoms so that farmers can eliminate diseased ones. Information on root sprout reversion from virus infection is also lacking. The storage roots of five sweetpotato cultivars was sourced either by random selection of roots from already harvested roots or obtained from symptomless plants selected before harvest at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK), and the National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI). Roots were also generated in a screenhouse after being inoculated with Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and/or Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV). More than 70% of sprouts from roots of all the cultivars selected after harvest at MUARIK and NaSARRI were infected with the viruses. For roots obtained from symptomless plants, 64% and 21% of the sprouted roots from MUARIK and NaSARRI were infected with the viruses, respectively. Most of the root samples from MUARIK had visible virus symptoms on sprouts and tested positive for both SPFMV and SPCSV, whereas those from NaSARRI did not show symptoms and were infected primarily with SPFMV. Plants graft-inoculated with either SPCSV or SPFMV alone produced both infected and noninfected roots, whereas all the root sprouts from dually infected plants showed virus symptoms. Reversion from virus infection was observed on root sprouts infected singly with SPFMV, whereas those infected with SPCSV showed recovery only, and none of the root sprouts infected by both viruses showed recovery. This study proves that roots are good reservoirs for viruses, and reversion occurs only when singly infected with SPFMV. Therefore, there is a need to establish seed channels in which seedstock is cleaned continuously and made available to farmers.

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Corina Serban and Lee Kalcsits

Malus ×domestica Borkh. cv. Honeycrisp has been widely planted in North America during the past two decades. However, it is susceptible to many disorders that result in high postharvest losses. Excessive vegetative vigor in apple trees can reduce fruit calcium (Ca) concentrations and increase bitter pit incidence in apple fruit. Plant growth regulators are used routinely in tree fruit orchards to control vegetative growth to increase light penetration into the canopy. The objective of this study was to determine whether shoot growth inhibition using the application of prohexadione-calcium (P-Ca; Apogee®) or stimulation via application of gibberellic acid (GA3; ProGibb®) affected bitter pit incidence in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple. In 2016 and 2017, the experiment was conducted in a commercial ‘Honeycrisp’ orchard with five treatments [untreated control, 62.5 mg·L–1 P-Ca (low P-Ca); 125 mg·L–1 P-Ca (high P-Ca); 16 mg·L–1 GA3 (low GA3); and 32 mg·L–1 GA3 (high GA3)]. Treatments were applied twice during the growing season. Shoot length and the number of internodes for new growth were measured 4 weeks apart after treatment. Overall yield and fruit quality were assessed at harvest, and bitter pit incidence was assessed after 4 months of storage. Low and high P-Ca rates limited shoot growth extension; high GA3 increased shoot extension compared with the untreated control. However, the number of internodes did not change substantially for each shoot. The number of internodes is one of the primary factors affecting leaf area and, consequently, the transpiration balance between fruit and leaves. In both years, treatments with either GA3 or P-Ca did not affect fruit elemental concentration or bitter pit incidence. These results indicate that growth-inhibiting plant growth regulators that reduce shoot extension may not be useful for managing bitter pit incidence in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple.

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Frederic B. Ouedraogo, B. Wade Brorsen, Jon T. Biermacher and Charles T. Rohla

When trees with taproots are grown in containers, the taproot typically spirals around the bottom of the container. Currently, there is no consensus on what is the best thing to do about it. Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) grafted container-grown trees were transplanted under three treatment conditions. The treatments were container trees 1) planted straight from the container with no root pruning and no disturbance, 2) planted with taproots pruned so they no longer curled around the bottom of the container and with minimal disturbance of the root ball, and 3) planted with taproot pruned and all potting medium removed. Trunk size and shoot growth were recorded for each tree in each year during the first 4 posttransplant years (2010–14). There was no statistically significant effect of the treatments on trunk size. Shoot growth was slowed during the first year for trees with taproot pruned and potting medium removed, but there was no significant effect over the entire 4-year period.

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Xiucai Fan, Renzong Zhao, Qianqian Wang, Chonghuai Liu and Jinggui Fang

In this study, we measured the anthocyanin composition and content in the ‘Kyoho’ grape cultivar and its derivatives via ultra-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry and characterized the MybA-related genes at the color locus via capillary electrophoresis and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. A total of 30 anthocyanins (15 monoglucoside and 15 diglucoside) were detected. Peonidin-3-O-(t-6''-O-coumaroyl)-glucoside-5-O-glucoside was the most abundant component, and the content of malvidin-3-O-(c-6''-O-coumaroyl)-glucoside-5-O-glucoside was low in all cultivars. All 49 cultivars contained VvmybA1, VvmybA2, and VvmybA3, whereas only the black-skinned cultivars contained VlmybA2. The anthocyanin content in the cultivars that contained VlmybA2 was significantly higher than other cultivars. These results could provide information for future color breeding programs in grapes.

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Liliana S. Muñoz-Ramírez, Laura P. Peña-Yam, Susana A. Avilés-Viñas, Adriana Canto-Flick, Adolfo A. Guzmán-Antonio and Nancy Santana-Buzzy

The Yucatan Peninsula is recognized as the center of genetic diversity of Habanero peppers (Capsicum chinense Jacq.), which can be distinguished from those cultivated in other regions of the world by their aroma, taste, and—most of all—by their pungency. We evaluated three commercial varieties of chili peppers reported as being the hottest in the world: ‘Bhut Jolokia’, ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’, and ‘Carolina Reaper’. The aim of our study was to determine the behavior of the pungency when cultivated under the edaphoclimatic conditions of Yucatan. Our results show that the three varieties registered greater contents in comparison with those reported in other regions of the world. ‘Carolina Reaper’—considered to be the hottest variety in the world, with a pungency of 2,200,000 Scoville heat units (SHU)—when cultivated in Yucatan, had a pungency of 3,006,330 SHU, which was greater than all the other varieties analyzed.

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David Ruiz, Manuel Rubio, Pedro Martínez-Gómez, Jesús López-Alcolea, Federico Dicenta, Encarna Ortega, María Dolores Nortes, Antonio Molina, Antonio Molina Jr. and Jose Egea

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Noriko Ohtake, Masaharu Ishikura, Hiroshi Suzuki, Wataru Yamori and Eiji Goto

Plant factories with artificial lighting have been developed to improve food production, functional ingredients, and profitability. Intensive research has been performed to elucidate the effects of light intensity and wavelength on plant growth and nutritional quality with the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In particular, the effects of monochromatic red, blue, or simultaneous red + blue light have been studied because these wavelengths are predominantly used for photosynthesis. We examined the effects of alternating red and blue light provided by LEDs over a period of 24 hours on the growth and nutritional properties of leafy lettuce. The results clearly show that alternating red and blue light accelerated plant growth significantly compared with white fluorescent lamps or red and blue LEDs at the same daily light integral. Plants grown under alternating red/blue light had a greater net assimilation rate and total and projected leaf area (an indicator of the fraction of leaf area that absorbs more light) than other plants. Additionally, alternating red and blue light maintained high concentrations of sugars, ascorbic acid, and anthocyanins in leaves. Taken together, the results indicate that continuous irradiation with alternating red and blue light could enhance growth while maintaining the nutritional quality in lettuce.

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Richard C. Beeson Jr. and Jianjun Chen

Bromeliads are important ornamental foliage plants, but until now, their daily water use during production was unknown. Using a canopy closure model developed for container-grown woody ornamental plants, in this study we investigated actual evapotranspiration (ETA) of Guzmania ‘Irene’ and Vriesea ‘Carly’ from tissue-cultured liners grown in 15-cm containers to marketable sizes in a shaded greenhouse. The mean daily ETA of Guzmania ‘Irene’ ranged from 4.02 to 66.35 mL per plant, and the mean cumulative ETA was 16.66 L over a 95-week production period. The mean daily ETA of Vriesea ‘Carly’ varied from 3.98 to 59.89 mL per plant, and the mean cumulative ETA was 15.52 L over the same production period as the Guzmania cultivar. The best-fit models for predicting daily ETA of the two bromeliads were developed, which had correlation coefficients (r 2) of 0.79 for Guzmania ‘Irene’ and 0.68 for Vriesea ‘Carly’. The success in the model of ETA for both bromeliads suggested that the canopy closure model was equally applicable to container-grown ornamental foliage plants produced in greenhouse conditions. The daily ETA and cumulative ETA values represent research-based information on water requirements, and, when applied, could improve irrigation practices in bromeliad production. This study also showed that roots per se of the two epiphytic bromeliads were able to absorb water and nutrients from a peat-based container substrate and support their complete life cycles.