Anthurium andraeanum Lind. (Araceae) is an economically important tropical potted and fresh-cut ornamental flower species (Dufour and Guerin, 2003). Studies have shown that reduced light intensity under conditions of excessive shading or prolonged low temperature and rainfall in cultivation facilities leads to the fading of the spathe (Li et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2012), which seriously impacts the quality and marketability of A. andraeanum flowers (Chang et al., 2012).
A significant correlation was previously found to exist between Ca content in A. andraeanum and spathe discoloration, and exogenous Ca supplementation could significantly alleviate the symptoms of spathe discoloration (Henny and Hamilton, 1992; Higaki et al., 1980). Anthocyanins, as flavonoid pigments that contribute red, purple, and blue coloration to plants, are one of the key factors determining the color of the spathe of Anthurium. Research shows that PAL activity is positively correlated with anthocyanin content. Light can induce an increase in PAL activity (Xia and Cai, 2004), while Ca has been found to be positively associated with PAL and can thus produce the same effect as light. This finding implies that Ca can be used instead of light to stimulate increases in PAL activity, which might then result in the elevated production of anthocyanins.
Oyster shells are a solid waste byproduct of the mariculture industry and are composed of more than 90% calcium carbonate, thus providing a valuable Ca resource (Teng et al., 2019). Calcium carbonate can provide a good source of exogenous Ca in the soilless cultivation of A. andraeanum and can be used in the cultivation matrix. Oyster shells have a naturally porous surface and good solubility, adsorption, and chemical activity (Liu, 2004), and can adsorb ammonium nitrogen (NH4+−N). The use of oyster shell in the preparation of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer (Miao et al., 2007) can also alleviate the loss of N. The soilless cultivation of A. andraeanum using oyster shells depends on the size of the oyster shell fragments and the pH value of the solution. These two factors are closely associated with the dissolution of calcium carbonate and the absorption of N and P, and the factors may affect the quality of A. andraeanum.
The use of oyster shells for the supplementation of Ca in the cultivation medium of A. andraeanum has not been previously investigated. The present study thus aimed to test the use of soilless cultivation using oyster shell for increasing anthocyanin content in A. andraeanum by 1) determining the N and P absorption of differently sized oyster shell fragments, 2) evaluating the effect of different pH values on the release of Ca from the shells, 3) assessing the impact of temperature and light intensity on PAL activity and anthocyanin content, 4) evaluating the effects of oyster shell fragment mass and cultivation time on PAL activity in the pedicles, and 5) determining the changes in Ca2+ in the pedicles and anthocyanin content in the spathe under cultivation with oyster shells.
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