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Open access

Sat Pal Sharma, Daniel I. Leskovar, Kevin M. Crosby and A.M.H. Ibrahim

The stability of yield and quality traits in nine orange-fleshed melon (Cucumis melo L.) genotypes was studied over nine environments in south-central Texas (College Station, Uvalde, and Weslaco) over 3 years (2010, 2011, and 2012). Besides yield traits, fruit -quality components such as soluble solids content (SSC), β-carotene, and fruit firmness were also measured. Data were subjected to the combined analysis of variance and trait stability by GGE Biplot. The significant genotype-by-location interactions for yield traits demonstrated the potential to develop location-specific cultivars. However, the temporal fluctuations in productivity emphasized the need to select for stability over several years in potential cultivars for the target environments. Cultivar Mission was confirmed as the most stable and average performing genotype for marketable yield and quality traits at all locations. Uvalde was identified as the ideal location for selecting generally adapted genotypes for south-central Texas. Biplot analysis indicated that Orange Dew was the highest mean performing genotype for SSC. The hybrid Oro Duro, followed by TAMU 146, ranked highest for mean and stability of β-carotene content, but it ranked lowest for fruit firmness. TAMU Orange Casaba exhibited specific adaptation, producing the highest mean fruit yield at Weslaco, while Journey had the highest fruit yield at College Station and Uvalde. Understanding of genotype-by-environment interactions for multiple traits in melon is critical for developing cultivars with high mean performance and stability in target growing environments.

Open access

Elisa Solis-Toapanta, Paul Fisher and Celina Gómez

To identify practices that may simplify the use of small-scale hydroponic systems for indoor gardening, we compared two nutrient solution management treatments for basil (Ocimum basilicum) production. Experiments were conducted for 8 weeks to evaluate the effect of biweekly replacement of the nutrient solution (W) vs. biweekly fertilizer addition without nutrient solution replacement (W/O) on growth and nutrient uptake of basil ‘Genovese Compact’ grown in either a greenhouse or an indoor environment. Greenhouse day/night temperature was 29/24 ± 4 °C, relative humidity (RH) was 65 ± 4%, and daily light integral (DLI) was 26.1 mol·m‒2·d‒1. The indoor environment had a constant ambient temperature of 21 °C, RH of 65%, and DLI of 9 mol·m‒2·d‒1 provided by broadband white lamps. Four plants were grown in 7.6-L replicate hydroponic systems, with 178 mg·L‒1 N from a complete nutrient solution in two experimental runs. Shoot fresh and dry mass, leaf number, and leaf area showed an increasing quadratic trend over time when plants were grown in the greenhouse. In contrast, growth over time was linear for plants grown indoors. Within each environment, solution management treatment did not affect growth, indicating that the simpler W/O strategy was adequate under these conditions. Plants grown in the greenhouse required more frequent refill water applications compared with indoors, which resulted in three to four times more refill water applied. Because indoor-grown plants had a decreased growth rate, nutrient uptake rate, and volume of water applied compared with plants grown in the greenhouse, electrical conductivity (EC) for the W/O treatment increased over time. Final nutrient solution concentration was highest for indoor-grown plants under the W/O treatment, and final tissue nutrient concentration was higher for plants grown indoors compared with the greenhouse. Final nutrient uptake (dry mass × nutrient concentration) was higher for plants grown in the greenhouse rather than indoors. Considering that EC increased in the solution of indoor-grown plants under W/O, an appropriate strategy using this treatment would require reducing fertilizer input indoors. To refine simple and robust fertilizer management strategies for indoor gardeners, further research is needed to test variables such as different plant species, cultivars, and water qualities.

Open access

Hsiang-I Lee and Michael J. Havey

Hybrid onion (Allium cepa) seed is produced using cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS). For the most commonly used source of onion CMS, male fertile plants possess male sterile (S) cytoplasm and dominant allele(s) at one nuclear male fertility locus (Ms). Because male fertility restoration is not necessary for bulb production, it is desirable to purge dominant alleles at Ms from populations and breeding lines to facilitate the development of male sterile inbreds for hybrid production. In this research, we used molecular markers to establish the cytoplasms and genotypes at Ms in progenies from testcrosses of male sterile lines with plants from three populations [B2354, Ailsa Craig (AC), and Sapporo-Ki (Ski)] possessing the dominant Ms allele. We scored male fertility of testcross progenies by visual examination of flowers and acetocarmine staining of pollen. Different sources of the dominant Ms allele showed significantly different amounts of male fertility restoration and proportions of stainable pollen, complicating visual selection against the dominant Ms allele. For AC and Ski, molecular markers correctly predicted male sterility vs. male fertility of progenies in the greenhouse and field. However, for B2354, male fertility restoration was less clear and especially difficult to score under field conditions, consistent with reduced penetrance of male fertility restoration for this source of the dominant Ms allele. These results will be of interest to onion breeders selecting S-cytoplasmic male sterile lines for hybrid onion development.

Open access

Tej P. Acharya, Mark S. Reiter, Greg Welbaum and Ramón A. Arancibia

Low tunnels (LTs) enhance vegetative growth and production in comparison with open field, but it is not known whether nitrogen (N) requirements and use efficiency increase or decrease for optimal crop performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine differences in N requirement, uptake, and use efficiency in basil grown under LTs compared with open field. The experimental design each year was a split plot with four replications. The main effect (plots) was N fertilizer application rate (0, 37, 74, 111, 148, and 185 kg·ha−1) and the secondary effect (subplots) was production system (LTs covered with spun-bonded rowcover vs. open field). Plant height and stem diameter were greater under LT than open field; however, they were unaffected by N fertilizer rate. Total fresh and dry weight increased with LT by 61% and 58% and by 50% and 48% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Optimum N rates for fresh weight (98% of peak yield) were 124 and 104 kg·ha−1 N under LT and open field, respectively. Leaf N concentration decreased under LT, but total plant N uptake increased because of increased dry weight. Without fertilization, soil available N use efficiency (SNUE) for dry weight increased by 45% and 66% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Mixed results were obtained for N fertilizer use efficiency (NFUE) in response to N rate. In conclusion, LT increased summer production of sweet basil, total plant N uptake, and SNUE.

Open access

Youn Young Hur, Su Jin Kim, Jeong Ho Roh, Kyo Sun Park, Hae Keun Yun, Jong Chul Nam, Sung Min Jung, Sang Uk Koh, Dong Jun Im, Dong Hoon Lee, Seo June Park and Kyong Ho Chung

Open access

Rui Wang, Yuqing Gui, Tiejun Zhao, Masahisa Ishii, Masatake Eguchi, Hui Xu, Tianlai Li and Yasunaga Iwasaki

Floral initiation is an important transition point from vegetative growth to reproductive growth in tomatoes and is known to be affected by light intensity, temperature, and nutrients. However, the regulation between flower formation and environmental factors, including nutrient conditions, due to source–sink dynamics (supply and demand of photoassimilates) is seldom documented. To evaluate the effects of light intensity and nutrition conditions on prefloral formation and development, dynamic floral characteristics during development were fitted with sigmoidal logistic curves under four light treatments with shading nets in two nutrient conditions. Source activity and sink strength were altered, which caused differences in the floral positions, length of floral shoots, floral initiation dates, and leaf numbers under the different treatments. Accumulated light acts upstream of nutrition supply during the formation of buds and leads to the accumulation of carbohydrates in source organs. Leaf area reached ≈500 cm2, and dry matter weights reached ≈3 g in each treatment until the flowering day, revealing that some level of photoassimilates are necessary for floral initiation. Both days to flowering and bud number were highly correlated with daily light integral (DLI) from 6 to 12 days before anthesis, which means this period is important for anthesis in tomato. Our results highlight regulation of the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth by tomato seedlings due to environmental factors and nutrients. A better understanding of communication between source organs and sink organs during floral initiation response to different environments is expected to provide management strategies for greenhouse tomato production.

Open access

Lan-Yen Chang and Jeffrey K. Brecht

Bruising of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) fruit is a common mechanical injury that reduces product value. Wound-induced ethylene may accelerate deterioration or decay, affecting strawberry quality and shelf life. However, bruising susceptibility varies among strawberry cultivars. In this study, cultivars Monterey, Sweet Sensation, Radiance, and two proprietary cultivars (Cultivar A and Cultivar B) from a private breeding program were investigated to evaluate their bruising susceptibility and wound response. Bruising consisted of dropping a 28-g steel ball from 27 cm onto individual fruit; unbruised fruit were the primary control, while fruit exposed to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene were used as a check for ethylene response. All fruit were stored at 20 °C, 90% relative humidity (RH), with respiration and ethylene production measured at 2-hour intervals for 24 hours. Appearance observations were recorded daily until decay onset. Peak respiration rates of 30–40 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 mostly occurred within 4 hours (‘Cultivar B’) to 6 hours (‘Cultivar A’ and ‘Sweet Sensation’) after bruising, except ‘Monterey’, which peaked at 60 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 in 2 hours, and ‘Radiance’, which reached 70 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 in 6 hours. Maximum ethylene production rates after bruising were 0.05 to 0.06 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Monterey’, ‘Cultivar A’, and ‘Cultivar B’, 0.10 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Sweet Sensation’, and 0.20 to 0.37 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Radiance’. ‘Cultivar B’, with the lowest ethylene production, exhibited the lowest overall bruising severity, whereas ‘Radiance’, with the highest ethylene production, exhibited the most severe bruising-induced water soaking, and the other cultivars were intermediate, although ‘Monterey’ bruises were more discolored than those of the other cultivars. ‘Monterey’, ‘Radiance’, and ‘Sweet Sensation’ showed more yellowing and browning of the calyx in response to both bruising and ethylene exposure than ‘Cultivar A’ and ‘Cultivar B’. Except for ‘Cultivar B’, bruising and ethylene exposure increased decay severity.

Open access

Felipe Barrera Sánchez, Larissa Pereira Ribeiro, Mayara Fávero Cotrim, Carlos Antonio da Silva Junior, Leonardo Lopes Bhering and Paulo Eduardo Teodoro

This study aimed to estimate the predicted genetic gains with the simultaneous selection of yield traits and soluble solids content in cherry tomato hybrids. Twenty cherry tomato hybrids were evaluated in hydroponic cultivation in randomized block design with three replicates. The following traits were evaluated: number of clusters per plant, number of flowers per cluster, number of fruits per cluster, number of fruits per plant, fruit weight, fruit yield per plant, and total soluble solids content. The parameters of heritability, experimental cv, and genotypic cv were estimated. Subsequently, selection gains by direct selection and Mulamba and Mock index were estimated. Direct selection of cherry tomato hybrids for fruit yield and soluble solids content is inefficient because selection based on one of these traits will provide undesirable gains in the other. However, simultaneous selection for yield and taste quality is possible based on the Mulamba and Mock index because the methodology provided high selection gains for both yield and soluble solids content.

Open access

Shirin Shahkoomahally, Jose X. Chaparro, Thomas G. Beckman and Ali Sarkhosh

The rootstock is an essential element for orchard management, influencing scion growth, nutrient concentration, and fruit quality. Seasonal variations in leaf nutrients of ‘UFSun’ grafted on five different rootstocks (‘Flordaguard’, ‘Barton’, ‘MP-29’, ‘P-22’, and ‘Okinawa’) were investigated during the 2017–18 growing season in Citra, FL. There was no significant variation in the macronutrient concentrations (N, P, K, Mg, Ca, and S) among different rootstocks; however, ‘UFSun’ on ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Flordaguard’ showed greater concentrations of Ca, K, and Mg concentration than other rootstocks. In contrast, ‘Flordaguard’ showed less potential to accumulate P as compared with other rootstocks. The Ca concentration was lowest in ‘MP-29’ and ‘Barton’ in April and June. The concentration of macronutrients (N, P, K, Mg, Ca, and S) in leaves was greater in April and October than in December and June. With respect to rootstocks, macronutrients in December and June were the highest in ‘Okinawa’ and the lowest in ‘Barton’. In April, the lowest concentration of macronutrient was recorded in ‘Barton’, whereas the highest concentrations were found in ‘P-22’, ‘Okinawa’, and ‘Flordaguard’. The highest leaf micronutrient concentrations were found in ‘MP-29’ and ‘Barton’, and the lowest in ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Flordaguard’ in June and October. For all rootstocks, concentrations of micronutrients increased between leaf growth in April and senescence in October. The micronutrient concentrations of leaves decreased during December. The widest dynamic changes during the vegetative cycle were found on ‘P-22’. Seasonal trends were more consistent for micronutrients than for macronutrients.

Open access

W. Garrett Owen, Brian E. Jackson, William C. Fonteno and Brian E. Whipker

Processed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) wood has been investigated as a component in greenhouse and nursery substrates for many years. Specifically, pine wood chips (PWCs) have been uniquely engineered/processed into a nonfibrous blockular particle size suitable for use as a substrate aggregate. The objective of this research was to compare the dolomitic limestone requirements of plants grown in peat-based substrates amended with perlite or PWC. In a growth trial with ‘Mildred Yellow’ chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium), peat-based substrates were amended to contain 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50% (by volume) perlite or PWC for a total of 11 substrates. Substrates were amended with dolomitic limestone at rates of 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 lb/yard3, for a total of 55 substrate treatments. Results indicate that pH of substrates amended with ≥30% perlite or PWC need to be adjusted to similar rates of 9 to 12 lb/yard3 dolomitic limestone to produce similar-quality chrysanthemum plants. In a repeated study, ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ african marigold (Tagetes erecta) plants were grown in the same substrates previously formulated (with the exclusion of the 50% ratio) and amended with dolomitic limestone at rates of 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 lb/yard3, for a total of 54 substrate treatments. Results indicate a similar dolomitic limestone rate of 15 lb/yard3 is required to adjust substrate pH of 100% peatmoss and peat-based substrates amended with 10% to 40% perlite or PWC aggregates to the recommended pH range for african marigold and to produce visually similar plants. The specific particle shape and surface characteristics of the engineered PWC may not be similar to other wood products (fiber) currently commercialized in the greenhouse industry, therefore the lime requirements and resulting substrate pH may not be similar for those materials.