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Open access

Metin Turan, Ertan Yildirim, Melek Ekinci, and Sanem Argin

Plant biostimulants are microorganisms (PGPR) and/or products obtained from different organic substances that positively affect plant growth and efficiency and reduce the negative effects of abiotic challenges. Effects of biostimulants on the plant growth, yield, mineral content, antioxidant enzyme activity, H2O2, malondialdehyde (MDA), sucrose, and proline contents of cherry tomato (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme L.) grown in soils with two different characteristics were investigated during a pot study under greenhouse conditions. Soil I was a fertile routinely vegetable-cultivated soil. Soil II had high salinity, high CaCO3 content, and low organic matter content. Commercial biostimulant products Powhumus® (PH), Huminbio Microsense Seed® (SC), Huminbio Microsense Bio® (RE), and Fulvagra® (FU) were used as seed coatings and/or drench solutions. All biostimulant treatments improved the plant growth and yield compared with the control in both soils. All biostimulant applications were more effective in soil II than in soil I. RE was the most effective application for mineral content in soil I, whereas FU was the most effective in soil II. Antioxidant activity, H2O2, MDA, and proline contents were decreased in both soils when biostimulants were used compared with the control. Peroxide (POD) activity was greater with SC1 in soil II. The RE treatment increased the sucrose content in soil II. In conclusion, single and combined use of high-purity fulvic acid and PGPR had positive effects on the growth of cherry tomato in fertile soil and under stressed conditions.

Open access

Ran Chen, Weitao Jiang, Haiyan Wang, Fengbing Pan, Hai Fan, Xuesen Chen, Xiang Shen, Chengmiao Yin, and Zhiquan Mao

Apple replant disease (ARD) has been reported in all major fruit-growing regions of the world and is often caused by biotic factors (pathogen fungi) and abiotic factors (phenolic compounds). Soil chemical fumigation can kill soil pathogenic fungi; however, the traditionally used fumigant methyl bromide has been banned because of its ozone-depleting effects. There is thus a need to identify greener fumigant candidates. We characterized the effects of different fumigants on the replanted soil environment and the growth characteristics of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings. All five experimental treatments [treatment 1 (T1), metham-sodium; treatment 2 (T2), dazomet; treatment 3 (T3), calcium cyanamide; treatment 4 (T4), 1,3-dichloropropene; and treatment 5 (T5), methyl bromide] promoted significantly the biomass, root growth, and root respiration rate of M. hupehensis seedlings and the ammonium nitrogen (NH4 +-N) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3 -N) contents of replanted soil. Metham sodium (T1) and dazomet (T2) had stronger effects compared with 1,3-dichloropropene (T4) and calcium cyanamide (T3). At 172 days after T1, the height, root length, and root respiration rate of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings, and the NH4 +-N and NO3 -N contents of replanted soil increased by 91.64%, 97.67%, 69.78%, 81.98%, and 27.44%, respectively, compared with the control. Thus, dazomet and metham sodium were determined to be the optimal fumigants for use in practical applications.

Open access

Dong Sub Kim, Steven Kim, and Steven A. Fennimore

Soil disinfestation with steam has potential to partially replace fumigants such as methyl bromide, chloropicrin, and 1,3-dichloropropene because it is effective, safer to apply, and has less negative impact on the environment. Here, we compared the efficacy of steam and steam + mustard seed meal (MSM) to chloropicrin on soil disinfection, plant growth, and fruit yield in a strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) fruiting field. The MSM was applied at 3368 kg·ha−1 before the steam application. Steam was injected into a 3-m-wide reverse tiller that was set to till 30 to 40 cm deep. Soil temperatures at depths of 10, 20, 25, and 35 cm were monitored. Steam and steam + MSM treatments reduced the viability of purslane seeds and nutsedge tubers, microsclerotia density of Verticillium dahliae, propagule density of Pythium ultimum, cumulative weed densities, and biomass compared with the nontreated control. Moreover, the steam application was as efficacious as chloropicrin on these pests. The growth and fruit yield of strawberries grown on soils previously treated with the steam and steam + MSM treatments were similar to those in the chloropicrin treatment and were higher than those in the nontreated control. Our study indicated that steam, steam + MSM, and chloropicrin are equally effective at suppressing weeds and soilborne pathogens. These results suggest that the steam and steam + MSM treatment can be a practical alternative for soil disinfestation in conventional and organic strawberry fields.

Open access

Hong-jia Xu, Masafumi Johkan, Toru Maruo, Natsuko Kagawa, and Satoru Tsukagoshi

With the increase in dialysis patients worldwide, the demand for low-K vegetables is growing. Thus, a type of lettuce with a low-K content has been marketed in Japan. To learn more about low-K vegetables, information is needed on the physiological differences between these vegetables and those with typical levels of potassium (K). In this study, lettuces (Lactuca sativa L.) were cultivated using two low-K management methods in an environment-controlled system. One method was based on electrical conductivity (EC) management, and the K was replaced by sodium (Na) at the end of cultivation. The other method was based on quantitative nutrient management, and the nutrients required for low-K lettuce were quantitatively supplied, but no extra Na was added. Meanwhile, lettuce with normal K concentration was cultivated with EC management as the control. Plant growth indices, leaf photosynthesis traits, chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics, concentrations of secondary metabolites (SMs), and antioxidant activity were examined to investigate the physiological effects of low-K and high-Na concentrations during low-K lettuce cultivation. Both low-K treatments significantly restrained the growth of lettuce and increased the concentration of soluble sugar. However, photosynthesis and fluorescence characteristics remained unchanged. This indicates that the biomass reduction of low-K lettuce was due to the wasteful accumulation of carbohydrates rather than the decline in photosynthesis. Concentrations of SMs were increased in the low-K lettuce. In addition, higher concentrations of Na influenced the concentration of SMs, indicating that SMs were more sensitive to environmental stress.

Open access

Junhai Niu, Qingyun Leng, Guiyu Li, Shaohua Huang, Shisong Xu, and Xinge Lin

Open access

Yuxin Chen, Zishuo Zhang, Kexin Wang, Lijin Ou, and Yan Ao

Open access

Kai-Xiang Li, Kai Liu, Yingying Chen, Xiaolu Huang, Wenhui Liang, Baocai Li, Yingbai Shen, and Haiying Liang

Lithocarpus polystachyus is a unique medicinal tree species that is valued for its abundant flavonoids in leaves. Currently, genes and metabolites involved in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway remain largely unknown. To elucidate the flavonoid biosynthesis pathways, transcriptome and metabolome analyses of young, mature, and old leaves were conducted. A total of 86,927 unigenes were obtained, and 51.4% of them were annotated in eight public databases. The majority of the 44 candidate genes in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway were downregulated as leaves aged. Metabolome profiling revealed a set of 427 metabolites in leaves. Consistent with the transcriptome results, 15 of the 19 metabolites in the flavonoid pathway decreased during the development of leaves. The data indicate that young leaf is the optimal stage for tea harvest. This is the first report of integrated transcriptome and metabolome profiling of L. polystachyus. This study demonstrates the correlation of gene expression and metabolites related to flavonoid biosynthesis and reveals the key genes responsible for flavonoid accumulation in young leaf. The information can be applied to future studies performed to elucidate and manipulate flavonoid biosynthesis in L. polystachyus.

Open access

Seon-Ok Kim, Ji-Eun Jeong, Yun-Ah Oh, Ha-Ram Kim, and Sin-Ae Park

This study aimed to compare the brain activity and emotional states of elementary school students during horticultural and nonhorticultural activities. A total of 30 participants with a mean age of 11.4 ± 1.3 years were included. This experiment was conducted at Konkuk University campus in Korea. Participants performed horticultural activities such as harvesting, planting, sowing seeds, and mixing soil. Nonhorticultural activities included playing with a ball, solving math problems, watching animation videos, folding paper, and reading a book. The study had a crossover experimental design. Brain activity of the prefrontal lobes was measured by electroencephalography during each activity for 3 minutes. On completion of each activity, participants answered a subjective emotion questionnaire using the semantic differential method (SDM). Results showed that relative theta (RT) power spectrum was significantly lower in both prefrontal lobes of participants when engaged in harvesting and reading a book. The relative mid beta (RMB) power spectrum was significantly higher in both prefrontal lobes when participants engaged in harvesting and playing with a ball. The ratio of the RMB power spectrum to the RT power spectrum reflects concentration. This ratio increased during harvesting activity, indicating that children’s concentration also increased. The sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) from mid beta to theta (RSMT), another indicator of concentration, was significantly higher in the right prefrontal lobe during harvesting than during other activities. Furthermore, SDM results showed that the participants felt more natural and relaxed when performing horticultural activities than nonhorticultural activities. Horticultural activities may improve brain activity and psychological relaxation in children. Harvesting activity was most effective for improving children’s concentration compared with nonhorticultural activities.

Open access

Zunfu Lv, Simeng Zhang, and Guoquan Lu

Sweetpotato sprouts are buds or young shoots formed under dark or low-light conditions that can be eaten directly by people. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of light intensity and photoperiod on the quality and yield of sweetpotato sprouts and to identify the most suitable production conditions to provide a theoretical basis and technical parameters for the production of these vegetables. Four treatments involving different light intensities and photoperiods were set up: WL-1, WL-2, SL-1, and SL-2. The leaf color, nutritional quality, antioxidant capacity, texture characteristics, and yield of the sweetpotato sprouts were analyzed using Duncan’s new complex range method. The results demonstrated the following: 1) an increase in photoperiod improved leaf brightness and enhanced the appearance of the product, whereas light intensity had little effect on these parameters; and 2) low light intensity increased the yield of sweetpotato sprouts, whereas high light intensity reduced their yield. Under weak light conditions, the quality and yield of sweetpotato sprouts were improved, and their taste was unaffected. Therefore, the condition of 750 μmol·m−2·s−1 for 2 hours/day was chosen to produce crispy, high-quality, and high-yielding sweetpotato sprouts.

Open access

Jaser A. Aljaser and Neil O. Anderson

Gladiolus (Gladiolus ×hybridus) is an asexually propagated, herbaceous perennial and an economically important cut flower crop. In commercial production, gladioli have tall flower stalks, which limit their use to cut flowers and annual garden plants. The gladiolus breeding program at the University of Minnesota has bred and selected rapid generation cycling (RGC) cycle 1 gladiolus, which can flower in <1 year from seed instead of the norm of 3 to 5 years (which are vegetatively propagated as corms). Gibberellin inhibitors, such as ancymidol, are used as plant growth retardants to control height in potted plants. Higher concentrations can inhibit flowering along with other negative side effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the growth, flowering, and corm/cormel production response of cycle 1 gladiolus to the gibberellin inhibitor, ancymidol (0, 100, and 400 mg·L−1 soak) in comparison with noncycle 1 genotypes and commercial cultivars for potted gladiolus production. Cycle 1 genotypes flowered with all ancymidol concentrations while noncycle 1 genotypes had significantly fewer flowers or were completely nonflowering under higher concentrations. All tested genotypes had increased leaf width as ancymidol concentration increased. Conversely, flower stalk heights were shorter as the ancymidol concentration increased while the number of stalks was nonsignificant. Corms, cormel number, and fresh weights decreased in all genotypes except for one cycle 1 genotype, which had an increase in both corm number and fresh weight when treated with 100 mg·L−1 ancymidol. Cycle 1 gladiolus are more resilient to this gibberellin inhibitor even at high concentrations and can potentially be used for gladiolus potted plant production.