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Volume 44 (2009): Issue 5 (Aug 2009) x
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Tijana Blanusa, Eleni Vysini and Ross W.F. Cameron

The primary objective of this research was to determine how the presence of more than one plant and more than one species in a container influence plant quality, particularly when the volume of water given to the container is reduced. Petunia ×hybrida ‘Hurrah White’ and Impatiens ‘Cajun Violet’ were chosen as typical bedding plant species. Plants were grown in 2 l containers either under “100% ETp” (i.e., replacing all the water lost by evapotranspiration in the previous 24 h) or under a moisture-restrictive regime of “25% ETp,” in which plants received 25% of the “100% ETp” value. An ancillary experiment investigated whether low watering resulted in floral buds being aborted. Results demonstrated that watering requirements of Petunia under “100% ETp” (i.e., replacing all the water lost by evapotranspiration in the previous 24 h) were on average 30% greater than those of Impatiens. However, when two Petunia plants were growing in the same container, the volume of water required to maintain soil moisture content at container capacity was on average only 10% greater than for a single plant. Under a “25% ETp” regime in which plants received 25% of the “100% ETp” value, flower number, plant height, and flower size were reduced by 50%, 33%, and 13%, respectively, in Petunia compared with “100% ETp.” For example, flower numbers decreased from an average of 71 to 33 flowers per plant in “100% ETp” and “25% ETp,” respectively. Petunia plants in the “25% ETp” regime, however, were more efficient at producing both biomass and flowers in relation to the volume of water applied. Petunia plants that experienced both competition from other plants in the container and lower irrigation rates had enhanced efficiency of flower production (i.e., more flowers per unit biomass). For Impatiens, however, the growing of single plants at “25% ETp” was plausible, but the addition of a Petunia plant at “25% ETp” was detrimental to plant quality (Impatiens flower numbers reduced by 75%).

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David M. Hunter, Frank Kappel, Harvey A. Quamme, W. Gordon Bonn and Kenneth C. Slingerland

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Linsey A. Newton and Erik S. Runkle

Phalaenopsis orchids require a day temperature of 26 °C or less to initiate inflorescences, whereas the night temperature has little or no effect on inflorescence initiation. We determined the duration of high temperature required each day to prevent inflorescence initiation of four Phalaenopsis and Doritaenopsis clones. In Years 1 and 2, mature potted plants were grown in separate greenhouse sections with five daily durations at 29 °C: 0, 4, 8, 12, or 24 h. The high temperature was centered in the 16-h photoperiod (0600 hr to 2200 hr) and the remainder of the day was at 20 °C. Exposure to 29 °C for 8 h or longer inhibited inflorescence initiation of Phalaenopsis Miva Smartissimo × Canberra ‘Mosella’ and Phalaenopsis Brother Pink Mask × Brother Success ‘Explosion’, but Phalaenopsis Baldan's Kaleidoscope ‘Golden Treasure’ and Doritaenopsis ‘Newberry Parfait’ required exposure to 29 °C for 12 h or longer to inhibit inflorescence initiation. Flowering was completely suppressed only when high-temperature exposure time was continual for Doritaenopsis ‘Newberry Parfait’ and Phalaenopsis Baldan's Kaleidoscope ‘Golden Treasure’ and 12 h for Phalaenopsis ‘Mosella’. Plant leaf span generally increased as duration of exposure to 29 °C increased, but high-temperature exposure had few or no significant effects on flowering characteristics of flowering plants. These studies indicate that as few as 8 h of high temperature can prevent flowering of some Phalaenopsis hybrids, whereas others require greater than 12 h of high-temperature exposure.

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Mark W. Farnham and Dean A. Kopsell

Carotenoids are secondary plant metabolites in vegetables known to be essential in the human diet and reported to confer various positive health-promoting effects when consumed. Brassica oleracea L. vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are recognized as excellent sources of dietary carotenoids. Broccoli has emerged as the most important B. oleracea crop in the United States and it likely supplies more carotenoids to the U.S. diet than the other crops of this species. However, very little is known about the general carotenoid profile of this important vegetable or the levels of specific carotenoids and how they might vary among genotypes. Thus, the objectives of this study were to assess carotenoid profiles of different inbred broccoli heads; to assess chlorophyll concentrations measured simultaneously during carotenoid assays; to determine the relative effects of genotype versus environment in influencing head carotenoid levels; and to examine phenotypic correlations between carotenoid levels and other traits. Results show lutein to be the most abundant carotenoid in broccoli heads ranging from 65.3 to 139.6 μg·g−1 dry mass (DM) among nine inbreds tested in three environments. Genotype had a highly significant effect on lutein levels in broccoli heads and the ratio of σ2 g2 p for this carotenoid was 0.84. Violaxanthin also exhibited a significant genotype effect, but it was found at lower levels (17.9 to 35.4 μg·g−1 DM) than lutein. β-carotene and neoxanthin were detected at levels similar to violaxanthin, but genotypic differences were not detected when all environments were compared. This was also true for antheraxanthin, which was detectable in all genotypes at lower levels (mean of 13.3 μg·g−1 DM) than the other carotenoids. Significant genotypic differences were observed for both chlorophyll a and b among the studied inbreds; however, no environment or genotype-by-environment effects were observed with these compounds. Results indicated that most carotenoids measured were positively and significantly correlated with one another, indicating that higher levels of one carotenoid were typically associated with higher levels of others. This study emphasizes the relative importance of lutein in broccoli heads and the key role that genotype plays with this compound, ultimately indicating that breeding cultivars with increased levels of this particular carotenoid may be feasible.

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Donald Livingstone III, Barbie Freeman, Cecile L. Tondo, Kathleen A. Cariaga, Nora H. Oleas, Alan W. Meerow, Raymond J. Schnell and David N. Kuhn

The ability to rapidly genotype a large number of individuals is the key to any successful marker-assisted plant breeding program. One of the primary bottlenecks in high-throughput screening is the preparation of DNA samples, particularly the quantification and normalization of samples for downstream processing. A rapid and simple Sybr Green I-based quantification procedure that can be performed in a 96-well format is outlined. In this procedure, a dual standard curve method is used to allow better resolution of dilute samples and to reduce fluorescence value variation between samplings. A method to quickly normalize samples, and the importance of normalization, is also explored. We demonstrate that successful fragment amplification of a Theobroma grandiflorum (Willd ex Spreng) Schum. population is increased from 70% to 98% when each DNA extract is quantified and normalized as opposed to quantifying only a subset and normalizing all the samples based on the average of that subset. Improved microsatellite amplification was also observed among individuals in the monocot genus Phaedranassa Herb. ssp. Additionally, when our normalization method is applied to a Persea americana Mill. population, 97% of the samples normalized to 4 ng·μL−1 amplify at least three of six microsatellite regions, whereas only 30% of the samples below 4 ng·μL−1 (i.e., samples that could not be normalized) amplify at least three regions. We describe an undemanding method to quantify and normalize a large number of samples, which can be done manually or can be automated.

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Sahar Eid, Keri L. Druffel, Dayle E. Saar and Hanu R. Pappu

Dahlia mosaic is a serious disease affecting dahlias. In addition to the Dahlia mosaic virus (DMV) reported previously, we characterized two putative new caulimoviruses, tentatively designated as DMV-D10 and Dahlia common mosaic virus (DCMV), from dahlia. To better understand their relative incidence in dahlia, a total of 213 samples were collected during 2007 and 2008 from several varieties of cultivated dahlia (D. variabilis) in the United States. Samples were tested for the three caulimoviruses using virus-specific primers in a polymerase chain reaction. Amplicons were cloned and sequenced to confirm the infection of dahlia with these viruses. Results showed that DMV-D10 was the most prevalent (94%) followed by DCMV (48.5%) and DMV (23%). Mixed infections were common and viruses were detected irrespective of symptom expression at the time of sampling. Two percent of the samples were not infected by any of the three tested caulimoviruses. Results suggest that caulimovirus infections are widespread in dahlia and highlight the need for testing and production of virus-free material to reduce their spread.

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Desmond G. Mortley, Stephanie Burrell, Conrad K. Bonsi, Walter A. Hill and Carlton E. Morris

Growth chamber experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of irradiance and daily light period on storage root yield and leaf elemental concentration of two sweetpotato cultivars grown hydroponically by use of the nutrient film technique (NFT). Stem cuttings (15 cm) of cv. Whatley/Loretan and Georgia Jet were grown in NFT channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) in reach-in growth chambers under light period/irradiance combinations of 18 h: 300 μmol·m−2·s−1 or 9 h: 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux. Temperature was 28/22 °C light/dark with a relative humidity of 70% ± 5%. Storage root and foliage yields were greater in both cultivars exposed to a longer daily light period and lower irradiance. The main effect of cultivar indicated that storage root yield was significantly greater among plants of ‘Whatley/Loretan’ compared with that of ‘Georgia Jet’, whereas foliage yield was similar between cultivars. Leaves of plants grown under longer daily light period and lower irradiance had significantly lower concentrations of all elements, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, boron, and zinc, except for calcium, manganese, and boron. There were no significant differences in leaf elemental concentration between cultivars. Thus, a longer daily light and lower irradiance enhanced biomass production of sweetpotato but reduced leaf elemental concentration probably because of a “dilution” effect.

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Menahem Edelstein and Haim Nerson

Germination percentage and germination rate were examined in two melon accessions differing in their ability to germinate under low temperature and in their reciprocal F1, F2, and BC1 progeny. The seedcoat structure, pressure force required for seedcoat splitting, and the response to hilum sealing of the reciprocal F1s were examined as well. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the effects of embryonic genotype and seedcoat characteristics on the ability of melon seeds to germinate under low temperature. The results of the study point out that both components are strongly involved in low-temperature germination. The cold tolerant parent, ‘Persia 202’ (P202), germinated greater than 90% at 15 °C, whereas the cold-sensitive parent, ‘Noy Yizre'el’ (NY), did not germinate at all. The P202 × NY F1 and the reciprocal F2 germinated 80% to 90%, whereas the NY × P202 F1 germination percentage was only 71%. Backcrosses of the reciprocal F1 to the parents revealed that if the cross was to the tolerant one, the seeds germinated greater than 90%, but if the F1s were backcrossed to the sensitive parent, the seeds had only 56% to 60% germination. Data collected suggest that several dominant genes are carried by P202 for low-temperature germination. On the other hand, the difference in germination percentages between the reciprocal F1 demonstrates that the different seedcoats also play a role.

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Gregory M. Peck, Ian A. Merwin, Christopher B. Watkins, Kathryn W. Chapman and Olga I. Padilla-Zakour

Maturity and quality of fruit harvested from an orchard of disease-resistant ‘Liberty’ apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) trees was investigated during and after the transition from conventional to integrated (IFP) and organic fruit production (OFP) systems. Over 4 years, internal ethylene concentration, starch pattern index, flesh firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and percent of surface blush of fruit at harvest were not consistently different between fruit from IFP and OFP systems. Total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of the fruit were also similar between treatments. IFP-grown fruit contained more potassium during the first 2 years and more calcium in all years than OFP-grown fruit. After fruit were stored in air at 0.5 °C for 9 weeks in 2007, OFP-grown apples were firmer and had higher SSC, TA, and SSC:TA ratios. In double-blind triangle taste tests, consumer panelists were able to discriminate between the fruit from each treatment, but in double-blind hedonic and intensity tests, panelists did not consistently rate one treatment more highly than the other. Overall, consumer panelists favorably rated internal quality of fruit grown under both IFP and OFP systems. In 2006, when weather and disease caused a high percentage of OFP-grown fruit to have cosmetic defects, the panelists rated the appearance of OFP-grown apples as less acceptable than the cleaner-looking IFP-grown apples. Our study of ‘Liberty’ apple fruit maturity and quality during a 4-year transition period from conventional to IFP and OFP systems showed that differences were small if present, whereas internal fruit quality was rarely different between systems.