Elizabeth Mitcham, Claire Adkison, Nico Lingga, and Veronique Bikoba
Four cultivars of English walnut (Juglans regia) were evaluated by a trained taste panel after 6 and 12 months of storage. English walnuts were stored at 5, 15, or 25 °C, and at 40%, 60%, or 80% relative humidity within each temperature. Principal component analysis was used to compare taste, texture, and aroma attributes evaluated by the taste panel to objective indicators of English walnut quality including water activity, moisture content, free fatty acids, peroxide value, hexanal content, and kernel color. Temperature was found to significantly impact English walnut oxidation and perceived rancidity, whereas storage at high relative humidity affected English walnut texture and accelerated quality loss. Water activity was more strongly correlated to textural changes than moisture content. The effect of relative humidity was more pronounced at lower temperatures, leading to increased hydrolytic rancidity and free fatty acids. Peroxide value had higher and more significant correlation to sensory attributes related to rancidity than hexanal. Free fatty acids were not correlated to the rancid sensory attribute, but were significantly correlated to bitter. English walnuts stored at 5 °C with 40% or 60% relative humidity were associated with the sweet sensory attribute and L* value (light color). Kernel darkening was associated with bitter and rancid, but a causal relationship is unknown. Sensory quality of English walnuts is complex and requires further study to establish thresholds for chemical indices of English walnut quality loss based on organoleptic perception.
Abby Pace, Bruce L. Dunn, and Charles Fontanier
An experiment was conducted to quantify luminescence of white cut flower carnations after exposure to blue glow-in-the-dark powder. Powder was applied to the flowers as either dip (3, 6, or 9 g) or spray (3, 6, or 9 g) solutions in 240 mL of water for 4 seconds plus a control. Stem fresh weight, relative stem fresh weight, flower diameter, and overall solution absorption were greatest on day 4. Only the 6-g dip or spray had greater average flower quality ratings than the control, indicating reduced vase life, but there was no difference among powder treatments. Phosphorescence is possible with fluorescent light, but ultraviolet light increased the flower mean brightness an average of 75% across all treatments. No treatment differences were observed for the flower mean brightness with ultraviolet light, except on day 9; however, greater powder rates without ultraviolet light in general resulted in greater brightness.
Grant L. Thompson, Cynthia L. Haynes, and Samantha A. Lyle
High-resolution scans of plant cuttings were made for a plant identification course to create additional study resources. Stems, flowers, leaves, and other parts with identifiable features were cut and placed on a high-quality flatbed scanner. A framework suspended a black background cloth above the cuttings to create a dark scanning environment, and it was placed far enough away from the scanner glass so as not to appear in the scanned image. Botanical scans can be shared, manipulated, composed, and otherwise provided to students for study materials. Scans are complementary to other common study aids such as pressed herbarium samples or photography.
Shane R. Evans, Kelly Kopp, Paul G. Johnson, Bryan G. Hopkins, Xin Dai, and Candace Schaible
Recent advances in irrigation technologies have led many states to incentivize homeowners to purchase United States Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense-labeled, smart irrigation controllers. However, previous research of smart controllers has shown that their use may still result in excess water application when compared with controllers manually programmed to replace actual water loss. This study compared kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) irrigation applications using three smart irrigation controllers, a conventional irrigation controller programmed according to Cooperative Extension recommendations, and the average irrigation rate of area homeowners in Utah during 2018 and 2019. Of all the controllers tested, the manually programmed controller applied water at amounts closest to the actual evapotranspiration rates; however, smart controllers applied from 30% to 63% less water than area homeowners, depending on the controller and year of the study. Kentucky bluegrass health and quality indicators—percent green cover and normalized difference vegetation indices—varied between years of the study and were lower than acceptable levels on several occasions in 2019 for three of the four controllers tested. Compared with the results of similar studies, these findings suggest that the effects of smart irrigation controllers on turfgrass health and quality may vary by location and over time.
Mason Marshall, Terri Starman, H. Brent Pemberton, and Calvin Trostle
Sunflower ‘Sunfinity’ (Helianthus hybrida) can be produced as a potted plant if apical dominance is removed with a manual pinch to control plant height and promote branching and flower number. Chemical pinching agents such as dikegulac sodium could prove to be valuable tools to reduce the labor and costs associated with manual pinching. Our objective was to determine the time of seedling growth and concentration of dikegulac sodium foliar spray application that would result in morphology similar to manually pinched plants. Dikegulac sodium was applied to sunflower ‘Sunfinity’ seedlings at one of four concentrations increasing from 200 to 500 mg⋅L−1 at the time of growth when the first, second, or third node (N1, N2, or N3) was the apical node and axillary stems at those nodes were undeveloped. Applications of 400 mg⋅L−1 at N3 and 500 mg·L−1 at N2 removed apical dominance because of total senescence of the apical meristem and produced a well-branched plant similar to that subjected to manual pinching. Apical dominance was temporarily inhibited without senescence of the apical meristem when 400 mg⋅L−1 was applied at N2 and when 500 mg⋅L−1 was applied at N3, which, nevertheless, resulted in branching that formed a well-rounded canopy.
Madhav Parajuli and Fulya Baysal-Gurel
Phytophthora nicotianae and Rhizoctonia solani are the well-described soilborne pathogens of concern causing Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia root rot, respectively, of red maple plants (Acer rubrum L.), resulting in substantial economic losses to nursery growers. The management of root and crown rot disease of red maple is a big challenge. The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of several fungicide and biofungicide products to control Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia root rot on red maple plants in greenhouse conditions. Treatments, including fungicides and biofungicides, and nontreated and inoculated and nontreated and noninoculated as controls were arranged in a completely randomized design with six replications. Red maples planted in number 1 nursery containers were artificially inoculated with P. nicotianae or R. solani. Plant height, plant width, total fresh weight, and root fresh weight were measured and roots were assessed for root rot disease severity based on a scale of 0% to 100% root damaged. The pathogen recovery percentage of plant roots was determined by culturing ten randomly selected root pieces (≈1 cm long) cut from the root tips on Phytophthora selective medium (PARPH-V8) or Rhizoctonia semi-selective medium. All tested fungicides and biofungicides reduced Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia root rot on red maple plants compared with the nontreated and inoculated control. Likewise, pathogen recovery was lower for fungicide-treated and biofungicide-treated plants. Fungicides, such as mefenoxam, oxathiapiprolin, pyraclostrobin plus boscalid, and pyraclostrobin provided the most effective control of Phytophthora root rot. Pyraclostrobin plus boscalid and pyraclostrobin followed by biofungicides Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain F727 and Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain T-22 plus T. virens strain G-41 were most effective for suppressing Rhizoctonia root rot. There were no differences in plant height, plant width, plant fresh weight, and root fresh weight among the treatments. These findings will help nursery producers make decisions while formulating soilborne disease management strategies for red maple production.
Alwin Hopf, Kenneth J. Boote, Anne Plotto, Senthold Asseng, Xin Zhao, Vakhtang Shelia, and Gerrit Hoogenboom
Fruit quality is of increasing importance for consumers but is a complex trait for growers, as it is affected by environment, genotype, and crop management interactions. Decision support tools, such as computer models that simulate crop growth and development can help optimize production but require further improvement to simulate quality aspects. The goal of this study was to apply the newly developed CROPGRO-Strawberry model in the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) model framework and develop a module for the dynamic prediction of quality traits for strawberry. Experimental data from Florida with quality measurements from multiple harvests were correlated with indices based on preharvest weather conditions (temperature, radiation, rainfall) and simulated model parameters (evapotranspiration) during fruit development. Two quality relationships based on linear equations were identified and integrated into the model to simulate strawberry fruit soluble solids content (r 2 = 0.89, d = 0.97) and titratable acidity (r 2 = 0.55, d = 0.85) based on preharvest temperature. A strategic analysis with historical weather data for a subtropical growing region over a 10-year period showed the importance of seasonal climate variability for simulated strawberry yield and fruit quality across different harvest months. The improved CROPGRO-Strawberry model is the first process-based crop model to predict selected quality traits across multiple harvests throughout the season and can be extended to other crop models for which quality traits are important.
Yefan Nian, Ruojin Zhao, Shufang Tian, Xin Zhao, and Zhifeng Gao
With the phase-out of methyl bromide because of its impact on ozone depletion and the shift to a more protected culture system in organic vegetable production, grafting practice has gained greater attention in the United States because it may be considered a viable disease control method in organic vegetable production. However, there is a lack of information on the economic feasibility of using grafting in organic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production in a protected culture system such as a high-tunnel system. Using 2-year on-station trial data collected in Citra, FL, we examined the effect of using grafting on the economic returns of organic tomato production in high tunnels. Our analysis suggests that grafting tends to increase the marketable yield of organic tomato production in high tunnels. However, the enhanced yield does not necessarily increase the net return, depending on market conditions and the relative performance of grafted transplants. In addition, our results indicate that the net return of grafted production is highly sensitive to the tomato selling price. Obtaining a price premium is essential for increasing the profitability of grafted organic tomato production in high tunnels.
Marlon Retana-Cordero, Sofia J. Flores, Paul R. Fisher, Rosanna Freyre, and Celina Gómez
Domestic production of ginger (Zingiber officinale) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizomes is increasing. The objective of this study was to compare growth and rhizome yield of these crops using different container volumes and planting densities. Two greenhouse experiments that lasted 28 weeks each were conducted. In Expt. I, one sprouted rhizome of a single ginger variety (Bubba Blue) and four turmeric varieties (Hawaiian Red, BKK, White Mango, and Black) were transplanted into either small (1.5 gal) or large (13.3 gal) round containers. In Expt. II, either one or three sprouted rhizomes of two ginger varieties (Bubba Blue and Madonna) and two turmeric varieties (Indira Yellow and Hawaiian Red) were transplanted into either large (13.3 gal) or medium (3.9 gal) round containers. In Expt. I, there were an increase in plant growth and yield with increasing container volume, as both crops produced more than double the shoot, root, and rhizome fresh weight (FW) when grown in large compared with small containers. In Expt. II, rhizome yield of ginger was 44% higher in medium than large containers, and container volume did not affect yield in turmeric. Total dry weight (DW) was higher in plants grown in the larger container volume in both species in Expt. I, and turmeric only in Expt. II. However, ginger in Expt. II had an 18% higher plant DW in the medium compared with the large container. The higher density in Expt. II increased yield and biomass production per container compared with the lower density, regardless of variety and container volume. Overall, net revenue per container was higher in Expt. II than Expt. I because of the higher rhizome yield. In Expt. I, the higher yield of ginger compared with turmeric increased sales revenue of this species, despite a lower sales price per kilogram. In contrast, the higher yield of turmeric in Expt. II resulted in higher sales revenue and net revenue per container compared with ginger. Based on our results, medium containers could be used to minimize material and space costs for ginger and turmeric production under the conditions evaluated in our study.