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Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, and Natalia A. Peres

Cultivated caladiums (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are valued for their colorful and variable-shaped leaves (Harbaugh and Tjia, 1985; Wilfret, 1993). Cultivars generally are divided into three groups according to leaf shape and size: fancy-, lance-, and strap-leaved (Wilfret, 1986). Fancy-leaved caladiums produce large round–ovate to triangular leaves with three main veins, two large basal lobes partially to fully joined, and a petiole attached to the back of the leaf blade. Strap-leaved caladiums have linear leaves with one main vein and no obvious basal lobes. Lance-leaved caladiums produce leaves intermediate between fancy

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Teresa E. Seijo, Natalia A. Peres, and Zhanao Deng

Bacterial blight, caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. dieffenbachiae (Xad), is the most common foliar disease of caladium, an ornamental aroid grown for its colorful foliage. The disease can reduce the marketability of caladiums produced as potted plants and lower the yield of caladiums grown for tuber production. Three bacterial strains were isolated from symptomatic caladiums and identified as Xad using fatty acid analysis, carbon source use, and the sequence of the 16S-23S spacer, and tested for virulence against three susceptible cultivars. Two strains were virulent to all of the cultivars; however, one strain was differentially pathogenic, virulent against two cultivars, but not to the usually highly susceptible ‘Candidum’. In greenhouse inoculation tests of 17 cultivars and one breeding line, four cultivars were ranked as highly susceptible, nine as moderately susceptible, and five as resistant. Ten of these cultivars were also evaluated with natural infection in the field with good agreement between the results of the greenhouse and field evaluations. Cultivars White Queen, Florida Red Ruffles, Florida Sweetheart, Candidum Jr., and Mrs. Arno Nehrling have been identified as resistant to bacterial blight in greenhouse or field evaluations and can potentially be used in future breeding efforts to produce improved cultivars.

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Craig K. Chandler, Bielinski M. Santos, Natalia A. Peres, Celine Jouquand, Anne Plotto, and Charles A. Sims

There is a need for a strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) cultivar to complement ‘Strawberry Festival’ (Chandler et al., 2000) yields, currently the primary cultivar in Florida and an important cultivar in other winter and early spring production areas around the world. ‘Strawberry Festival’ has become a grower favorite because it is a sturdy upright plant that is easy to harvest with relatively well-distributed yield throughout the season and produces very few nonmarketable fruit. It has become a supermarket favorite because its fruit are attractive, fit well in 450-g clamshell containers, and have a long

Open access

Douglas A. Phillips, Philip F. Harmon, James W. Olmstead, Natalia A. Peres, and Patricio R. Munoz

‘Flicker’ is a southern highbush blueberry (SHB, Vaccinium corymbosum) cultivar frequently selected by growers in Central and South Florida. In 2014, several growers in Central Florida experienced issues with anthracnose stem lesions and twig dieback on ‘Flicker’, resulting in a reduction in new plantings and the removal of many existing plantings. The objective of this study was to determine the level of anthracnose susceptibility of certain commercially available SHB cultivars, which information can be used to limit further use of susceptible cultivars in the University of Florida blueberry breeding program. The screening was performed using a spray inoculation of a virulent Colletotrichum gloeosporioides isolate onto whole V. corymbosum plants, followed by measurement of incidence and severity of disease over time. In repeated experiments, ‘Flicker’ and two other cultivars had a significantly higher mean number of lesions and area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) than any other tested cultivar, and in both experiments, the observed lesions were similar in many respects to those previously reported on northern highbush blueberry (also V. corymbosum). Although the results of these experiments may ultimately indicate that Flicker has a unique genetic susceptibility to this form of anthracnose among SHB cultivars commercially grown in Florida, screening of additional cultivars must be performed for confirmation.

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Fahrettin Goktepe, Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, Teresa Seijo, and Natalia A. Peres

Caladiums, widely used in containers and landscapes as ornamental plants for their bright colorful leaves, are generally forced or grown from tubers. Commercial production of these tubers in central Florida is through dividing “seed” tubers and growing them in fields. Tuber quality is therefore of critical importance to success in container forcing, landscape use, and tuber production. Fusarium tuber rot (Fusarium solani) has been recognized as the most-destructive disease that affects caladium tuber quality. There is anecdotal evidence from growers indicating the existence of resistance in commercial caladium cultivars. To identify and confirm the source of fusarium tuber rot resistance in caladium, F. solani isolates have been collected from rotting tubers grown under different soil conditions and from different locations. The pathogenecity of these isolates has been tested through artificial inoculation of fresh harvested and/or stored tubers, and a number of highly virulent isolates have been identified. These isolates have been used to refine inoculation and disease evaluation techniques. Two techniques, spraying a conidial suspension onto fresh cut surfaces and inserting Fusarium-infested carnation leaf segments into artificial wounds, have proven to yield consistent resistance/susceptibility ratings among cultivars of known difference in resistance to fusarium tuber rot. Appropriate incubation temperatures and humidity seem to be very critical for disease development and evaluation. The two techniques have been used to evaluate 35 cultivars. Several cultivars, including `Candidum', showed a high level of resistance to fusarium tuber rot, and may be good breeding parent for developing new resistant cultivars.

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Colleen Kennedy, Luis F. Osorio, Natalia A. Peres, and Vance M. Whitaker

Powdery mildew (PM) of strawberry (Fragaria sp.) is a ubiquitous, wind-spread disease caused by the obligate parasite Podosphaera aphanis. To control PM, multiple fungicide applications are necessary each season, and none of the major cultivars in Florida have high levels of resistance. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to observe the response to selection and to estimate genetic parameters for PM and related traits in the University of Florida breeding population. In 2010, clonally replicated individuals from seven biparental crosses arising from 11 parents were included in a field trial in which clonally replicated seedlings were evaluated visually for percent coverage of PM mycelium using a modified Horsfall-Barratt scale of 0 to 6. Broad- (H2) and narrow-sense (h2) heritabilities for PM score were (mean ± se) 0.50 ± 0.08 and 0.40 ± 0.39, respectively, for the base population. After the second round of selection in the resistant population, no additive variance was detected, indicating that alleles for PM resistance had become fixed. In contrast, after two rounds of divergent selection in the susceptible population, there remained considerable additive variance (h2 = 0.42 ± 0.65). Moderate to high heritability estimates and a clear response to selection indicate that resistance to PM is genetically controlled through mostly additive effects. Selection of parents based on field trials with natural inoculum should result in good progress toward more resistant cultivars. The consistently moderate to strong genotypic and genetic correlations among PM and canopy density (CD) indicate that selection for PM resistance will result in reduced CD. Therefore, CD must be monitored over successive rounds of selection for low levels of PM to prevent CD falling below the commercially acceptable range.

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Fahrettin Goktepe, Teresa Seijo, Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, Natalia A. Peres, and Robert J. McGovern

Fusarium tuber rot, incited by Fusarium solani, is the major cause of losses of tuber quality and quantity in caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum) during storage and production. To develop a reliable inoculation method for evaluating cultivar susceptibility to Fusarium tuber rot and identifying sources of resistance, the effect of temperature on the mycelial growth of F. solani in vitro and on tuber rot in vivo was examined. The optimal temperature was then used to study the aggressiveness of F. solani isolates. The effect of temperature (13, 18, 23, 28, and 33 °C) on radial mycelial growth of nine F. solani isolates in vitro was determined, and all responded similarly to temperature variables, with optimal growth predicted to be at 30.5 °C. The relationship of these temperatures to disease development was then determined for the most aggressive F. solani isolate 05-20 and it was found that disease development in inoculated tubers was greatest at low temperatures (13 and 18 °C). Cold damage to tubers was observed at 13 °C; therefore, 18 °C was chosen for all future disease screening. The aggressiveness of nine isolates was tested on two caladium cultivars. Significant differences among isolates were observed for the diameter of rotted tissue in both cultivars, indicating that choice of isolate was important for screening. Isolates 05-20 and 05-257 were highly aggressive on both cultivars. Tubers of 17 commercial caladium cultivars were inoculated with three isolates (04-03, 05-20, and 05-527) and incubated at 18 °C. The interaction between isolates and cultivars was highly significant (P < 0.0001), indicating that cultivars were not equally susceptible to different pathogenic isolates of F. solani. Lesion diameters differed significantly (P < 0.0001) among cultivars/isolates and ranged from 9.5 mm (‘Rosebud’ and ‘White Christmas’ for isolate 04-03) to 23.9 mm (‘Carolyn Whorton’ for isolate 05-20). The cultivars were ranked for susceptibility to tuber rot within each isolate and the normalized total rank for the three isolates was used to place cultivars into four categories: resistant (‘Candidum’, ‘Rosebud’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Florida Sweetheart’, and ‘Aaron’), moderately resistant (‘White Wing’ and ‘Red Flash’), susceptible (‘Candidum Jr.’, ‘White Queen’, ‘Red Frill’, ‘Florida Cardinal’, ‘Miss Muffet’, and ‘Postman Joyner’), and highly susceptible (‘Fannie Munson’, ‘Gingerland’, ‘Frieda Hemple’, and ‘Carolyn Whorton’). The availability of these sources of host plant resistance, aggressive isolates, and resistance assessment techniques will facilitate the development of new Fusarium-resistant caladium cultivars.

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Craig K. Chandler, Bielinski M. Santos, Natalia A. Peres, Celine Jouquand, and Anne Plotto

There are two predominant strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) production systems throughout the world: open-field cultivation and production under protective structures (e.g., high tunnels and greenhouses). In California and Florida, strawberry is produced predominantly under open-field conditions, whereas in Japan and in parts of Europe such as Spain, The Netherlands, and Germany, the latter system is widely used. Because of the environmental differences between these two systems, there is a necessity for breeding cultivars that could be adapted to each specific situation. ‘Florida Elyana’ is the first Florida-bred cultivar designed for tunnel and greenhouse production. It is

Free access

Colleen Kennedy, Tomas N. Hasing, Natalia A. Peres, and Vance M. Whitaker

Many breeders have turned to wild relatives in search of beneficial traits such as disease resistance. In strawberry, the wild octoploid species Fragaria virginiana and F. chiloensis are fully interfertile with the cultivated species, F. ×ananassa, and are therefore potential sources of resistance. Powdery mildew may increase in economic importance in Florida in the near future as a result of the use of high tunnels and rowcovers for freeze protection, which limit free water and provide a favorable environment for disease development. The objective of this study was to screen an elite group of wild strawberry accessions for resistance to powdery mildew under two production systems. In 2010–11 and 2012–13, wild accessions, commercial standard cultivars, and susceptible controls were planted in open-field and high tunnel environments at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, FL. Although there was a significant year × genotype effect, some taxa showed high levels of resistance that were consistent across years. There was a high correlation for ratings of powdery mildew between the high tunnel and the open field for all genotypes (r = 0.89, P < 0.001). This information may be useful for breeders, because sources of resistance to powdery mildew are available within the tested genotypes. However, some accessions are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, and this must be considered when using these genotypes in breeding programs.

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Dustin P. Meador, Paul R. Fisher, Philip F. Harmon, Natalia A. Peres, Max Teplitski, and Charles L. Guy

The objective was to analyze the physical, chemical, and biological water quality in horticulture irrigation systems in 24 ornamental plant greenhouses and nurseries in the United States. At each greenhouse or nursery, water was collected from up to five points (“Sample Types”) which included 1) “Source” from municipal or private well supplies, 2) “Tank” from enclosed storage containers, 3) “Subirrigation” from water applied to crops in ebb-and-flood systems, 4) “Furthest Outlet” that were irrigation emitters most distant from the Source, and 5) “Catchment Basin” from open outdoor retention areas. On average, Source water had the highest physical and microbial quality of Sample Types including the highest ultraviolet (UV) light transmission at 86%, lowest total suspended solids (TSS) at 3.1 mg·L−1, and lowest density of aerobic bacteria with 1108 cfu/mL of water. Average quality of recycled water from Subirrigation or Catchment Basins did not meet recommended levels for horticultural irrigation water for UV transmission (68% to 72% compared with recommended 75%), microbial counts (>100,000 cfu/mL compared with recommended <10,000 cfu/mL), and chemical oxygen demand (COD) (48.2 to 61.3 mg·L−1 compared with recommended <30 mg·L−1). Irrigation water stored in Tanks or applied at Furthest Outlets had lower physical and biological water quality compared with Source water. Level of aerobic bacteria counts highlighted a risk of clogged microirrigation emitters from microbial contaminants, with highest bacteria levels in recirculated irrigation water. The physical, chemical, and microbial water quality results indicate a need for more effective water treatment to improve biological water quality, particularly with recirculated irrigation.