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Open access

D. Allen Pattillo, Wheeler G. Foshee III, Eugene K. Blythe, Jeremy Pickens, Daniel Wells, Tyler A. Monday and Terrill R. Hanson

Raised bed production trials were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of effluent from a biofloc-style recirculating aquaculture system producing nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as nutrient-rich irrigation water for fall ‘Celebrity’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production. The objective of this study was to provide baseline vegetable production data and justification for using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient resource. The experiment was a split-plot, randomized block design with three treatments: aquaculture effluent, granular fertilizer, and fertigation. Tomato seeds were sown in June, transplanted in August, and grown until Oct. 2019 in nine replicated raised beds. Conventional field tomato production practices were followed throughout the trial, and data were collected for tomato fruit yield, market quality, size, leaf greenness (SPAD), and foliar nutrient analysis. Fruit yield was similar between fertigated and aquaculture effluent treatments, with granular fertilizer resulting in yield that was significantly lower (P ≤ 0.033). SPAD measurements were similar among treatments. All nutrients met or exceeded sufficiency ranges. Foliar nutrient analysis revealed no significant difference for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, boron, zinc, manganese, and iron among treatments. Sulfur and copper levels were significantly lower (P < 0.05) with aquaculture effluent treatment as compared with the granular and fertigated treatments. Overall, tomato production using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient supplement produced similar yields to commercial practices, making it potentially viable for producers.

Open access

Lauren Fessler, Amy Fulcher, Dave Lockwood, Wesley Wright and Heping Zhu

Advanced variable-rate spray technology, which applies pesticides based on real-time scanning laser rangefinder measurements of plant presence, size, and density, was developed and retrofitted to existing sprayers. Experiments were conducted to characterize the application of four programmed spray rates (0.03, 0.05, 0.07, or 0.09 L·m−3 of crop geometric volume) when applied to Malus domestica Borkh. ‘Golden Delicious’ apple trees using this crop sensing technology. Water-sensitive cards (WSCs) were used as samplers to quantify spray coverage, deposits, and deposit density in the target and nontarget areas, and an overspray index based on a threshold of greater than 30% coverage was calculated. The application rate ranged from 262 L·ha−1 at the programmed spray rate of 0.03 L·m−3 to 638 L·ha−1 at the rate of 0.09 L·m−3. For a given WSC position, spray coverage and deposits increased as the spray rate increased. WSC positions 1 and 2 were oversprayed at all rates. The effect of spray rate on deposit density varied with WSC positions, with high densities achieved by low spray rates for WSCs closest to the sprayer but by high spray rates for WSCs positioned either deeper within or under the canopy. When coalescing deposits were accounted for, deposit densities met or exceeded the recommended pesticide application thresholds (insecticides 20–30 droplets/cm2; fungicides 50–70 droplets/cm2) at all WSC positions for each spray rate tested. The lowest spray rate reduced off-target loss to the orchard floor by 81% compared with the highest rate, dramatically reducing potential exposure to nontarget organisms, such as foraging pollinators, to come into contact with pesticide residues. Applying the lowest rate of 0.03 L·m−3 met deposit density efficacy levels while reducing spray volume by 83% compared with the orchard standard application of 1540 L·ha−1 and by 87% compared with the 1950 L·ha−1 application rate recommended when using the tree row volume method. Thus, there is potential for growers to refine pesticide application rates to further achieve significant pesticide cost savings. Producers of other woody crops, such as nursery, citrus, and grapes, who use air-assisted sprayers, may be able to achieve similar savings by refining pesticide applications through the use of laser rangefinder-based spray application technology.

Open access

Han Xu, Cuihua Bai, Wei Wang, Changmin Zhou, Luwei Zhu and Lixian Yao

Free amino acid (FAA) profile is an important indicator of the quality of fruit and fruit product. Foliar nutrient diagnosis has been used for crop yield prediction for decades but not for fruit quality evaluation. Concentrations of 11 leaf nutrients including N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and B at stages of terminal shoot maturation and fruit development and fruit FAA profile at harvest were examined in longan in South China. The relation between leaf nutrient and fruit FAA was then investigated by multiple stepwise regression analysis. Foliar N content was greatest among the nutrients among the detected elements at both stages. Twenty-nine FAAs were determined in longan flesh, with alanine (19.9%), γ-aminobutyric acid (17.5%), glutamic acid (15.2%), and asparagine (10.7%) as the main components. Flesh individual FAA, essential amino acid (AA), umami-, and sweet and bitter taste AA strongly depended on foliar nutrients. However, the relation between flesh FAAs and foliar nutrients varied with FAA species. Leaf N was the dominant indicator for most pulp FAAs at two growth stages, while other nutrients (e.g., B, Zn, P, K, Ca, Mg) also played versatile roles on flesh FAAs. This work provides a novel tool to predict fruit FAAs via foliar nutrient diagnosis, which supports the practicality of producing specific target fruit or improving fruit quality through regulation of fertilization strategies in fruit production.

Open access

Giseiry Rosa-Valentín, Linda Wessel-Beaver and Jose Carlos V. Rodrigues

One of the most important members of the Potyviridae is Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV). It affects watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] as well as other cucurbits in most parts of the world. Although several genotypes have been reported as having resistance to ZYMV, differential responses to ZYMV strains are known to occur. Using a Puerto Rico strain of ZYMV (ZYMV-PR, GenBank accession number MN422959), we tested the response of 11 genotypes [PIs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Genetic Resources Program] previously reported as having resistance to this virus. In two greenhouse trials, the first three leaves of seedlings of each genotype were mechanically inoculated with ZYMV-PR. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was done on each seedling’s fourth leaf and symptom severity was rated on the first, third, fifth, and seventh leaves. There were significant genotype × trial interactions for most variables, but some genotypes performed consistently in both trials. All seedlings of PI 537277 tested negative for ELISA (absorbance < 0.200) across both trials. PI 537277, PI 595200, PI 595201, and PI 595203 were generally among the accessions with the lowest symptom severity scores. Overall, symptom severity correlated poorly with ELISA readings. But all plants of PI 537277, and most plants of PI 595201 and PI 595203, had low ELISA readings and low severity scores. Despite having low severity scores, PI 595200 was among the genotypes with the highest ELISA readings in trial 2. For the plant breeder, the most useful genotypes are those that exhibit reduced severity as well as low ELISA. PI 537277, PI 595201, and PI 595203 met those criteria in this study. Of these three accessions, PI 595203 would be the most useful in a breeding program because it has shown resistance to the Puerto Rico, Florida, and China strains of ZYMV.

Open access

Yongxia Zhang, Qingquan Liu, Yinjie Wang, Yongheng Yang, Ting Zhang, Haiying Tong, Wenjie An, Suzhen Huang and Haiyan Yuan

Open access

Qinglu Ying, Yun Kong and Youbin Zheng

To investigate plant growth and quality responses to different light spectral combinations, cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata f. rubra), kale (Brassica napus L. ‘Red Russian’), arugula (Eruca sativa L.), and mustard (Brassica juncea L. ‘Ruby steak’) microgreens were grown in a controlled environment using sole-source light with six different spectra: 1) FL: cool white fluorescent light; 2) BR: 15% blue and 85% red light-emitting diode (LED); 3) BRFRL: 15% blue, 85% red, and 15.5 µmol·m−2·s−1 far-red (FR) LED; 4) BRFRH: 15% blue, 85% red, and 155 µmol·m−2·s−1 FR LED; 5) BGLR: 9% blue, 6% green, and 85% red LED; and 6) BGHR: 5% blue, 10% green, and 85% red LED. For all the light treatments, the total photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was set at ≈330 µmol·m−2·s−1 under a 17-hour photoperiod, and the air temperature was ≈21 °C with 73% relative humidity (RH). At harvest, BR vs. FL increased plant height for all the tested species except arugula, and enlarged cotyledon area for kale and arugula. Adding high-intensity FR light to blue and red light (i.e., BRFRH) further increased plant height for all species, and cotyledon area for mustard, but it did not affect the fresh or dry biomass for any species. Also, BRFRH vs. BR increased cotyledon greenness for green-leafed species (i.e., arugula, cabbage, and kale), and reduced cotyledon redness for red-leafed mustard. However, BGLR, BGHR, and BRFRL, compared with BR, did not affect plant height, cotyledon area, or fresh or dry biomass. These results suggest that the combination of 15% blue and 85% red LED light can potentially replace FL as the sole light source for indoor production of the tested microgreen species. Combining high-intensity FR light, rather than low-level (≤10%) green light, with blue and red light could be taken into consideration for the optimization of LED light spectral quality in microgreen production under environmental conditions similar to this experiment.

Open access

Qinglu Ying, Yun Kong and Youbin Zheng

To determine whether supplemental blue light (B) or far-red light (FR) overnight can promote microgreen elongation to facilitate machine harvesting and improve microgreen quality and yield, two common microgreen species, mustard (Brassica juncea) and arugula (Eruca sativa), were grown in a greenhouse in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, during January 2019. Low-intensity (14 μmol·m−2·s−1) B or FR was applied to microgreens overnight from 1730 hr to 0630 hr, and no supplemental lighting (D) was used as a control. After 2 weeks of light treatments, B compared to D promoted stem elongation by 16% and 10%, respectively, and increased crop yield by 32% and 29%, respectively, in mustard and arugula. B compared to D also increased the cotyledon area in mustard and leaf mass per area in arugula and enhanced cotyledon color in both species despite having no effects on total chlorophyll, carotenoid, and phenolic contents. However, FR did not increase stem length or fresh weight compared with D, reduced plant height compared with B in both species, and reduced the cotyledon area in arugula. FR, compared with D and B, reduced the stem diameter and phytochemical contents of both species. Therefore, low-intensity B can be applied overnight for winter greenhouse microgreen production because of its beneficial effects on appearance quality and crop yield without negatively affecting nutritional quality.

Open access

McKenzie Thomas, Kimberly Jensen, Margarita Velandia, Christopher Clark, Burton English, Dayton Lambert and Forbes Walker

Home gardeners’ concerns for the environment are expressed both in the ecofriendly gardening practices they use and in environmental attributes they prefer in the gardening products they purchase. This study uses data from a 2018 survey of 601 Tennessee outdoor home gardeners and a multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) model to illustrate how outdoor home gardener demographics, expenditures, information use, and attitudes influence use of ecofriendly gardening practices and preferences for environmental attributes in home gardening supplies. Practices considered include planting pollinator plants, using rainwater collectors, composting, recycling gardening supplies packaging, using organic gardening methods, and use of soil testing. Gardening supply product attributes include decreased need for fertilizer, pesticides, and water; native plant species; organically produced products; and recyclable packaging. The most widely used practice is recycling gardening supplies packaging, and the least used is soil testing. Gardeners with a greater propensity to use the six gardening practices include male, college graduates, who spend relatively more of their income on gardening supplies, and consider themselves as being knowledgeable about environmental issues. The gardening supply product attribute most widely considered as important is decreased need for pesticides, and least widely considered as important are native species and organically produced. Gardeners more likely to prefer the six gardening supply product attributes include older gardeners, who seek other gardeners for information, and who perceived themselves as being knowledgeable about the environment. This same group likes to grow their own food and feels responsibility for protecting the environment for future generations.

Open access

Fernando Montero de Espinosa Baselga, Jonathan R. Schultheis, Michael D. Boyette, Lina M. Quesada-Ocampo, Keith D. Starke and David W. Monks

Internal necrosis (IN) is a physiological disorder that affects Covington, the most commonly grown sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivar in North Carolina. Because IN affects the quality of sweetpotato storage roots, studies have been conducted since the first report of IN in 2006. Field studies (three in 2016 and two in 2017) were conducted to evaluate preharvest and postharvest treatments on the occurrence of IN in ‘Covington’ storage roots. Four preharvest treatments consisted of combinations of high chlorine or minimal chlorine potash fertilizer and mowing vs. not mowing before harvest. For postharvest treatments, 30 storage roots were obtained at harvest from each preharvest treatment plot and immediately cured in 75 and 85 °F rooms for a duration of 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 5 weeks in 2016, and 0.5, 1, and 2 weeks in 2017. Shorter curing durations (0.5 and 1 week) coincided with industry recommendations while longer durations mimicked the challenges that some commercial facilities face when cooling down temperatures of rooms after curing is supposed to be concluded. Once curing temperature and curing duration treatments were completed, roots were placed in a 58 °F storage room at 85% relative humidity until cut. A control comparison was included in which harvested roots were placed in a 58 °F storage room (no curing) immediately after harvest. The storage roots from all temperature treatments were then cut 49 to 80 days after harvest, and incidence and severity of IN visually rated. Preharvest potash fertilizer treatments had minimal or no effect on occurrence of IN. However, mowing vines before harvest in several studies reduced IN incidence when roots were cured for more than 0.5 week at temperatures of at least 75 °F. Lower temperature (75 vs. 85 °F) and shorter curing duration (0.5 vs. 1, 2, 3, or 5 weeks) resulted in reduced IN occurrence in ‘Covington’ sweetpotato.

Open access

Aneela Nijabat, Adam Bolton, Muhammad Mahmood-ur-Rehman, Adeel Ijaz Shah, Rameez Hussain, Naima Huma Naveed, Aamir Ali and Philipp Simon

Heat waves occur with more regularity and they adversely affect the yield of cool season crops including carrot (Daucus carota L.). Heat stress influences various biochemical and physiological processes including cell membrane permeability. Ion leakage and increase in cell permeability are indicators of cell membrane stability and have been used to evaluate the stress tolerance response in numerous crops and inform plant breeders for improving heat tolerance. No study has been published about the effects of heat stress on cell membrane stability and relative cell injury of carrot. Therefore, the present study was designed to estimate these stress indicators in response to heat stress at the early and late seedling developmental stages of 215 diverse accessions of wild and cultivated carrot germplasm. The article identifies the relationship between early and late stages of seedling tolerance across carrot genotypes and identifies heat-tolerant genotypes for further genetic analysis. Significant genetic variation among these stress indicators was identified with cell membrane stability and relative cell injury ranging from 6.3% to 97.3% and 2.8% to 76.6% at the early seedling stage, respectively; whereas cell membrane stability and relative cell injury ranged from 2.0% to 94.0% and 2.5% to 78.5%, respectively, at the late seedling stage under heat stress. Broad-sense heritability ranged from 0.64 to 0.91 for traits of interest under study, which indicates a relatively strong contribution of genetic factors in phenotypic variation among accessions. Heat tolerance varied widely among both wild and cultivated accessions, but the incidence of tolerance was higher in cultivated carrots than in wild carrots. The cultivated carrot accessions PI 326009 (Uzbekistan), PI 451754 (Netherlands), L2450 (USA), and PI 502654 (Pakistan) were identified as the most heat-tolerant accessions with highest cell membrane stability. This is the first evaluation of cell membrane stability and relative cell injury in response to heat stress during carrot development.