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Free access

Sandra E Vega, Jiwan P. Palta, and John B. Bamberg

Frost injury limits the cultivation of potatoes in many regions around the world. We are currently studying the factors that contribute to frost survival in potato in an attempt to improve its frost tolerance. Wild potato species have been distinguished for their high degree of non-acclimated frost tolerance (growing under normal conditions) and their high cold acclimation capacity (able to increase frost tolerance upon exposure to cold). Cold acclimation can be reversed upon exposure to warm temperatures (deacclimation). The ability to gain freezing tolerance rapidly in response to low temperatures as well as not being able to deacclimate rapidly in response to warm daytime temperatures would be advantageous for a plant against spring or fall freezes. Last year we presented evidence for the variability in the speed of cold acclimation among 7 wild tuber-bearing potato species (S. acaule, S. commersonii, S. megistacrolobum, S. multidissectum, S. polytrichon, S. sanctae-rosae and S. toralapanum). The same set of species was used for the present study to find out if there is also variability for the speed of deacclimation. Relative freezing tolerance of these species was measured before and after cold acclimation as well as after one day of deacclimation (exposure to warm temperatures). Our results suggest that there are differences in the speed of deacclimation among these species. We found that while some species lost near a half of their hardiness, others lost only a third or less of their hardiness after one day of deacclimation.

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Mustafa Özgen, Karim M. Farag, Senay Ozgen, and Jiwan P. Palta

Highly colored cranberries are desired for both fresh and juice markets. Berries accumulate more color when allowed to stay on the vines longer. However, early fall frosts often force growers to harvest before the fruit has reached its optimal color. This is especially true for the berries under the canopy. No product is currently available for grower to accelerate the color development in cranberries. Result from recent studies suggests that a natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), can accelerate color production in fruit and, at the same time, promote shelf life. LPE is a natural lipid and is commercially derived from egg and soy lecithin. The influence of LPE on anthocyanin accumulation and storage quality of cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens') was studied. Cranberry plants were sprayed with LPE at about 4 weeks before commercial harvest at multiple locations. Experiments were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Fruit samples were taken at 2 and 4 weeks after spray application to determine the changes in the fruit color. Plots were wet harvested using a standard commercial method and stored in a commercial cold storage facility. Marketable fruit were evaluated at 1 and 2 months after cold storage to determine effect of LPE on shelf life of cranberries. In general, a preharvest application of LPE resulted in a 9% to 27% increase in fruit anthocyanin concentration compared to the control. LPE treatments also resulted in 8% to 12% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control following cold storage. Influence of LPE on fruit quality was more apparent after 1 month of storage. These results are consistent with the observed effects of LPE on tomatoes. Interestingly ethanol application also enhanced storage quality. Our results suggest that a preharvest application of LPE may have the potential to enhance color and prolong shelf life of cranberry fruit.

Free access

Björn H. Karlsson, Jiwan P. Palta, and Peter M. Crump

Our previous research has provided evidence that in-season calcium applications can increase tuber calcium and improve tuber quality with reduced internal defects. To determine if increasing the tuber calcium concentration also mitigates tuber bruise incidence, five commercially relevant potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars (`Russet Burbank', `Atlantic', `Snowden', `Superior', and `Dark Red Norland') were grown during three seasons, 1999–2001. Three split applications of a calcium/nitrogen water soluble blend totaling 168 kg·ha–1calcium were made starting at hilling. All plots, including controls, received an equal amount of total nitrogen in a season. Tubers were allowed to be bruised during normal machine harvest standard to commercial production in Wisconsin. Over 100 tubers from each replication (5–10 replications/treatment) were cut and examined for the incidences of bruise and internal brown spot. Paired samples of medullary tissue were taken for measuring calcium concentration. As expected, tuber tissue calcium concentration increased significantly, in all cultivars and in all years, with in-season calcium application. Bruise incidence varied among cultivars and seasons. Although tuber calcium concentration varied among seasons, `Atlantic' and 'Snowden' consistently had the lowest calcium concentration, whereas `Superior' and `Dark Red Norland' consistently had the highest calcium concentration. Meta-analysis of pooled data for three years showed that blackspot bruise incidence was significantly reduced with calcium application in `Atlantic', `Burbank', and `Snowden'. On the other hand, `Dark Red Norland' and `Superior' had low incidence of bruise and were unaffected by calcium applications. Regression analyses of pooled data from all cultivars for three years revealed a significant quadratic relationship between blackspot bruise and tuber tissue calcium as well as between blackspot bruise and internal brown spot. A linear to plateau plot of medullary calcium concentration versus blackspot bruise incidence revealed that bruise incidence is minimized between 200 and 250 μg/kg (dry wt)–1 tuber calcium concentration. To our knowledge, ours is the first study providing evidence for reducing bruise by improving tuber calcium. Variations in the bruise incidences among cultivars generally followed tuber calcium concentration suggesting a genetic control. Given the role of calcium in improved membrane health and enhanced wall structure, and as a modulator of physiological responses, it is not surprising that internal brown spot and bruise incidences are reduced by in-season application to calcium-deficient cultivars.

Free access

J. Angel Saavedra, Elden J. Stang, and Jiwan P. Palta

Uniconazole (UCZ) can control tree size by suppressing tree growth. Growth control of one year-old `Haralred' on MAC 9 `MARK' (dwarf) and EMLA 7 (semidwarf) rootstock was evaluated in the greenhouse. Uniconazole (65 or 130 mg/L) was sprayed 0, 1, 2 or 3 times at 3 week intervals. Total shoot growth was inhibited 31% and 24% on `MARK' and EMLA 7 rootstock, respectively, with 130 mg/L. Rootstock and scion diameter and number of leaves per tree were not affected by UCZ. Total leaf area on `MARK' rootstock increased when UCZ was applied once at 65 or 130 mg/L. On EMLA 7 two 130 mg/L sprays resulted in 22% less total leaf area compared to the control. UCZ applied three times reduced specific leaf weight on EMLA 7 trees 12% compared to the control. Branch angle was increased proportional to UCZ applications on semidwarf rootstock from 40° to 47°, and decreased on dwarf rootstock from 47° to 39°. Stomatal conductance increased 43% on `MARK' with 130 mg/L UCZ applied two times. Net photosynthesis of attached leaves did not differ. All UCZ treatments produced 18 to 56% fewer total flower clusters per tree than the control. UCZ appeared to delay bloom significantly.

Free access

Beth Ann A. Workmaster, Jiwan P. Palta, and Michael Wisniewski

Infrared video thermography was used to study formation of ice in leaves, stems, and fruit of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens'). Ice formed on the plant surface at -1 or -2 °C by freezing of a droplet of water containing ice nucleation-active bacteria (Pseudomonas syringae van Hall). Samples were then cooled to a minimum of -8 °C. Observations on the initiation and propagation of ice were recorded. Leaves froze only when ice was present on the abaxial surface. Once initiated, ice propagated to the stem and then readily to other leaves. In both unripe and ripe fruit, ice propagation from the stem to the fruit via the pedicel was not observed. Fruit remained supercooled for up to 1 hour after ice was present in the stem. Fruit could only be nucleated when ice was present at the calyx (distal) end. Red (ripe) berries supercooled to colder temperatures and for longer durations than blush (unripe) berries before an apparent intrinsic nucleation event occurred. These observations provide evidence that leaves are nucleated by ice penetration via stomata. The ability of fruit to supercool appears to be related to the presence of barriers to extrinsic ice propagation at both the pedicel and fruit surface. Stomata at the calyx end of the fruit in the remnant nectary area may provide avenues for extrinsic ice nucleation.

Free access

Senay Ozgen, James S. Busse, and Jiwan P. Palta

The important roles of calcium on plant growth and development including cell division and cell elongation is well documented. The purpose of the present study was to determine the impact of root zone calcium on the growth and health of potato apical meristem and on the maintenance of apical dominance. For this purpose, single-node potato cuttings (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Dark Red Norland) were grown in sterilized modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) media containing varying concentrations of calcium (1 to 3000 μM). After 13 to 30 d of growth, plantlets were harvested and data for height of the main shoot and for the number of axillary shoots produced were recorded. Plantlets were ashed and tissue calcium concentration was determined. Shoot height was retarded with decreasing concentration of calcium in the media. Calcium deficiency induced shoot tip injury and loss of apical dominance. Tip injury was followed by the development of axillary shoots. The number of axillary shoots increased from one to 21 as calcium concentration in the media decreased from 3000 to 1 μM. At calcium concentration of 1500 μM or higher, there was a single main shoot with no axillary shoots. Addition of ethylene glycol tetra acetic acid (EGTA), a calcium chelator, to the media with 2720 μM calcium (sufficient calcium) resulted in the development of shoot injury and in the formation of axillary shoots. Calcium deficiency injury symptoms were prevented by the addition of a calcium analog, strontium, to MS media deficient in calcium. Strontium has been reported to strongly bind to plant cell walls and the inclusion of strontium prevented injury in shoots of plants grown on calcium-deficient media. These results suggest that strontium is able to mimic the role of calcium in the maintenance of cell wall integrity and supports previous studies that showed that calcium deficiency results from cell wall collapse of the subapical cells.

Free access

James S. Busse, Senay Ozgen, and Jiwan P. Palta

Shoot tip necrosis has been attributed to calcium deficiency in in vitro cultures, resulting in death of the stem tip, the loss of apical dominance, and axillary branch development. Using an in vitro shoot culture system with Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Dark Red Norland, we studied the development of injury symptoms at the microscopic and tissue levels at a range of media calcium concentrations varying from 6.8 to 3000 μm. Light and electron microscopic studies revealed that the primary injury due to calcium deficiency was the death and collapse of expanding pith cells below the shoot apex. The structure and organization of the shoot apical meristem was the same when plants were cultured on sufficient or suboptimal media calcium concentrations. However, the apical meristem senesced following subapical shoot tissue collapse. Death of the shoot apical meristem was a secondary effect of calcium deficiency, resulting in loss of apical dominance. Studies with 45Ca indicated that calcium was distributed in a gradient along the shoot, with highest concentration at the base and the lowest at the apex. Shoot tip necrosis developed after 20 days of culture on the suboptimal calcium concentration medium. The development of these symptoms and axillary shoot growth was associated with the lack of calcium accumulation in the shoots. Our results provide evidence that a primary injury of calcium deficiency is localized in the expanding pith cells below the shoot apical meristem and this injury results in the collapse of subapical cells. Death of the shoot apical meristem is a secondary injury resulting from calcium deficiency.

Open access

Kenneth L. Steffen and Jiwan P. Palta


The effect of light stress following various levels of freezing stress on photosynthetic and respiratory functions in leaf tissue of Solanum acaule (Bitt.) was investigated under laboratory conditions. Terminal leaflets from plants grown at 18/16C (light/dark) and 400 μmol·s−1·m−2 photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) were slowly frozen in the dark to various minimum temperatures and then thawed on ice, also in the dark. Immediately after thawing, paired leaf disks were cut from a single terminal leaflet. Disks were then held at 1.0C for 3 hr, with one disk exposed to 800 μmol·s−1·m−2 PAR and the other disk of the pair was held in the dark. Our experimental approach allowed comparative studies on tissue from the same leaflet. Light during the post-thaw period, as compared to darkness, resulted in greater inhibition of photosynthetic processes, but had little effect on respiration. Our results demonstrate a) the importance of considering a light stress component during the assesment of relative frost tolerance in photosynthetic tissue and b) that chloroplast functions are much more sensitive than mitochondrial functions to a post-thaw light stress.

Free access

Juan M. Quintana, Helen C. Harrison, James Nienhuis, Jiwan P. Palta, and Michael A. Grusak

To assess nutritional potential, pod yield, and Ca concentration of pods and foliage were determined for a snap bean population, which included sixty S1 families plus four commercial varieties. The experimental design was an 8 × 8 double lattice, repeated at two locations (Arlington and Hancock, Wis.). Snap beans were planted in June 1993 and machine harvested in August 1993. Calcium analyses were made using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Significant differences were detected in pod Ca concentration and yield among the S1 families. Pod size and Ca concentration were inversely correlated (R 2 = 0.88). Distinct differences between the locations were not observed, and higher Ca genotypes remained high regardless of location or pod size. Low correlation (R 2 = 0.21) between pod and leaf Ca concentration was found. Pods of certain genotypes appeared to have the ability to import Ca more efficiently than others, but this factor was not related to yield.

Free access

Juan M. Quintana, Helen C. Harrison, James Nienhuis, and Jiwan P. Palta

We have previously observed significant variation for pod Ca concentration among snap bean genotypes. In the present experiment, we compare pod Ca concentration between snap bean and dry bean genotypes. Eight snap bean cultivars and eight dry bean cultivars were chosen to be evaluated for pod Ca concentration in summers of 1995 and 1996 at Hancock, Wis. The experimental design consisted in randomized complete blocks with three replications in 1995 and six in 1996. Snap and dry beans were planted in June and hand-harvested in August for both experiments. Soil analysis showed 430 ppm of Ca in soil at time of planting. No additional Ca was applied. Plots consisted of 10 plants each. Harvesting was made by collecting a pooled sample of medium size pods from the 10 plants. Ca determinations were made using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Data was presented as mg of Ca per gram of dry weight, pooled from both years, and analyzed using SAS. Results reflected significant differences between genotypes. Checkmate (5.5) showed the highest pod calcium concentrations and Labrador (3.9) the lowest among snap beans. G0122 (5.1) resulted in the highest and Porrillo (3.6) the lowest within dry beans Results were consistent across years. Snap beans (4.6) presented significantly higher pod calcium concentration than dry beans (4.2). Apparently, snap bean genotypes have the ability to absorb calcium from the soil more efficiently than dry bean genotypes, and this phenomenon is not significantly influenced by environmental factors.