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Anil P. Ranwala and William B. Miller

Amylolytic activities extracted from scales of tulip (Tulipa gesneriana L. cv. Apeldoorn) bulbs stored at 4 °C for 6 weeks under moist conditions were characterized. Anion exchange chromatography of enzyme extract on DEAE-Sephacel revealed three peaks of amylolytic activity. Three enzymes showed different electrophoretic mobilties on nondenaturing polyacrylamide gels. The most abundant amylase activity was purified extensively with phenyl-agarose chromatography, gel filtration on Sephacryl S-200, and chromatofocusing on polybuffer exchanger PBE 94. The purified amylase was determined to be an endoamylase based on substrate specificity and end product analysis. The enzyme had a pH optimum of 6.0 and a temperature optimum of 55 °C when soluble starch was used as the substrate. The apparent Km value for soluble starch was 1.28 mg/ml. The inclusion of 2 mM CaCl2 in the reaction mixture resulted in a 1.4-fold increase in the enzyme activity. The presence of calcium ions also enhanced the thermo-stability of the enzyme at higher temperatures. The enzyme was able to hydrolyze soluble starch, amylose, amylopectin, and beta-limit dextrin, but it had no activity against pullulan, inulin, maltose, or p-nitrophenyl alpha-glucopyranoside. Only maltooligosaccharides, having a degree of polymerization of 7 or more, were hydrolyzed to a significant extent by the enzyme. Exhaustive hydrolysis of soluble starch with the enzyme yielded a mixture of maltose and matlooligosaccharides. This amylase activity was not inhibited by alpha- or beta-cyclodextrin upto a concentration of 10 mM. Maltose at a 50 mM concentration partially inhibited the enzyme activity, whereas glucose had no effect at that concentration.

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Douglas A. Bailey and William B. Miller

Plants of Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind. `Glory' were grown under 13.4, 8.5, or 4.0 mol·m-2·day-1 and sprayed with water (control); 2500 mg·liter-1 daminozide + 1500 mg·liter-1 chlormequat chloride (D+C); 62.5 mg·liter-1 paclobutrazol; or 4, 8, 12 or 16 mg·liter-1 uniconazole to ascertain plant developmental and pest-production responses to the treatment combinations. Days to anthesis increased as irradiance was decreased. Anthesis was delayed by the D+C treatment, while other growth retardant (GR) treatments had no effect on anthesis. Irradiance did not affect plant height at anthesis, but all GR treatments decreased height over control plants. Bract display and bract canopy display diameters declined as irradiance was decreased. Growth retardants did not affect individual bract display diameters, but all GR treatments except paclobutrazol reduced bract canopy display diameter. Plants grown under lower irradiance had fewer axillary buds develop, fewer bract displays per plant, and fewer cyathia per bract display. Cyathia abscission during a 30 day post-anthesis evaluation was not affected by treatment; however, plant leaf drop was linearly proportional to irradiance. All GR treatments increased leaf drop over controls, and the D+C treated plants had the highest leaf loss. Results indicate the irradiance and GR treatments during production can affect poinsettia crop timing, plant quality at maturity, and subsequent post-production performance.

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Ted Whitwell, John Kelly, and William B. Miller

In 1993, Carolina Nurseries and the Department of Horticulture at Clemson Univ. entered into a partnership to create a research and development program to solve short and long term nursery production problems. Research is conducted on site at Carolina Nurseries in a specially designed 0.6-ha area built by the nursery. Faculty from the Depts. of Horticulture, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Plant Pathology and Entomology have worked with graduate and undergraduate students located on site. The nursery staff is involved in overall planning and stay current with results so that research can be immediately implemented on the nursery. Yearly funding for the graduate student is provided by the nursery and grant funds are obtained from various companies for labor and supplies. Carolina Nurseries has committed to funding research to improve their production and also sharing the results with the rest of the nursery industry. Research findings are presented in peered reviewed articles, conference proceedings, abstracts, and oral presentations. Outstanding training opportunities for students and staff are available to also improve career development for future nursery managers. Faculty interaction with companies and the nursery industry are enhanced.

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Douglas A. Bailey and William B. Miller

Plants of Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind. `Glory' were grown under total irradiances of 13.4, 8.5, or 4.0 mol·m-2·day-1 and sprayed with water (control), 2500 mg daminozide/liter + 1500 mg chlormequat chloride/liter (D + C), 62.5 mg paclobutrazol/liter, or 4, 8, 12, or 16 mg uniconazole/liter to ascertain plant developmental and postproduction responses to treatment combinations. Anthesis was delayed for plants grown under the lowest irradiance. Anthesis was delayed by the D + C treatment, whereas other growth retardant treatments had no effect on anthesis date. Irradiance did not affect plant height at anthesis, but all growth retardant treatments decreased height over control plants. Inflorescence and bract canopy diameters were decreased at the lowest irradiance level. Growth retardants did not affect individual inflorescence diameters, but all, except paclobutrazol and 4 and 8 mg uniconazole/liter, reduced bract canopy diameter compared with control plants. Plants grown under the lowest irradiance developed fewer inflorescences per plant and fewer cyathia per inflorescence. Cyathia abscission during a 30-day postanthesis evaluation increased as irradiance was decreased; cyathia abscission was unaffected by growth retardant treatment. Leaf abscission after 30 days postanthesis was lowest for plants grown under the lowest irradiance. At 30 days postanthesis, all growth retardant treatments increased leaf abscission over controls. Results indicate that irradiance and growth retardant treatments during production can affect poinsettia crop timing, plant quality at maturity, and subsequent postproduction performance. Chemical names used: 2-chloroethyl-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (chlormequat chloride); butanedioic acid mono (2,2-dimethyl hydrazide) (daminozide); β-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl]- α -(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol), (E)-1-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-l-penten-3-ol (uniconazole, XE-1019).

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Susan E. Trusty and William B. Miller

Postproduction changes in carbohydrate types and quantities in the leaves, stems, and inflorescences of pot chyrsanthemums [Dendranthema × gramfiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura `Favor'] placed in interior conditions were investigated. Fructans, sucrose, glucose, and fructose were present in all plant parts. In inflorescences and leaves, an additional unidentified substance was present. All plant parts decreased in dry weight during the postproduction evaluation. This decrease was accompanied by overall reductions in total soluble carbohydrates (TSC) and starch. The appearance of leaves and stems was acceptable throughout the experiment. Leaves lost significant amounts of TSC during the first 4 days postproduction (DPP), due primarily to a 76% decrease in sucrose concentration. After 4 DPP, leaf and stem TSC remained relatively unchanged. In inflorescences, petal expansion continued through 12 DPP. Visible signs of senescence, including loss of turgor, color changes, and inrolling of petal edges were observed at 20 DPP, and by 28 DPP, the plants were determined unacceptable for consumer use. Inflorescences increased in fresh weight, but not dry weight, during petal expansion, then each decreased. Inflorescence TSC fell from 146 mg.g-1 dry weight at O DPP to 11 mg.g-1 at 28 DPP. Reducing sugars accounted for 84% of the inflorescence TSC at 4 DPP, dropping to 48% at 28 DPP. Fructan concentration decreased through 16 DPP and then remained unchanged, while starch levels rose from 25 to 34 mg·g -1 dry weight through 12 DPP, then decreased. Fractans decreased in polymerization during petal expansion. This result suggests an alternate use of fructans and starch as pools of available reserve carbohydrate during petal expansion in chrysanthemum.

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William B. Miller and Madeline W. Olberg

Ethephon [(2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid] is a plant growth regulator (PGR) that releases ethylene following application. Although ethephon is commonly used as a foliar spray during the commercial production of ornamental crops, including spring bulb crops such as daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus L.), there has been increased interest in using ethephon as a root-zone-applied PGR. In this work, we evaluated a number of factors important for the development of ethephon as a soil drench for daffodil. Results indicate that a given dose (milligrams ethephon per pot) could be applied in volumes ranging from 15 to 120 mL (per 15-cm pot) with equal efficacy. Similarly, the same dose of ethephon could be applied as a foliar/substrate surface spray with volume of 105 to 525 mL·m−2 with equal efficacy. Although the efficacy of ethephon drenches interacted with forcing temperature, drenches were nonetheless effective across the range of temperatures commonly used for daffodil production. Plant size at the time of ethephon application had no effect on final plant size (at flower senescence). The rate of ethylene release from a peat-based substrate was highly temperature dependent, and ethephon was readily leached from this same substrate.

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Anil P. Ranwala and William B. Miller

Experiments were conducted to evaluate storage temperature, storage irradiance and prestorage foliar sprays of gibberellin, cytokinin or both on postharvest quality of Oriental hybrid lilies (Lilium sp. `Stargazer'). Cold storage of puffy bud stage plants at 4, 7, or 10 °C in dark for 2 weeks induced leaf chlorosis within 4 days in a simulated consumer environment, and resulted in 60% leaf chlorosis and 40% leaf abscission by 20 days. Cold storage also reduced the duration to flower bud opening (days from the end of cold storage till the last flower bud opened), inflorescence and flower longevity, and increased flower bud abortion. Storage at 1 °C resulted in severe leaf injury and 100% bud abortion. Providing light up to 40 μmol·m-2·s-1 during cold storage at 4 °C significantly delayed leaf chlorosis and abscission and increased the duration of flower bud opening, inflorescence and flower longevity, and reduced bud abortion. Application of hormone sprays before cold storage affected leaf and flower quality. ProVide (100 mg·L-1 GA4+7) and Promalin (100 mg·L-1 each GA4+7 and benzyladenine (BA)) effectively prevented leaf chlorosis and abscission at 4 °C while ProGibb (100 mg·L-1 GA3) and ABG-3062 (100 mg·L-1 BA) did not. Accel (10 mg·L-1 GA4+7 and 100 mg·L-1 BA) showed intermediate effects on leaf chlorosis. Flower longevity was increased and bud abortion was prevented by all hormone formulations except ProGibb. The combination of light (40 μmol·m-2·s-1) and Promalin (100 mg·L-1 each GA4+7 and BA) completely prevented cold storage induced leaf chlorosis and abscission.

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Chad T. Miller, Neil S. Mattson, and William B. Miller

Oxalis regnellii, the shamrock plant, and O. triangularis are niche ornamental greenhouse crops produced and marketed primarily for their foliage; thus, it is imperative to produce the fullest, most colorful, and blemish-free plants as possible. An experiment was conducted using O. regnellii, comparing two irrigation methods, overhead (drip) irrigation versus subirrigation, in addition to varying 20N–2.2P–16.6K fertilizer concentrations, 50, 100, 200, 300, and 500 mg·L−1 nitrogen (N). Overhead irrigation produced larger plants with increased root mass as compared with subirrigation. Low or high fertilizer concentration (50 mg·L−1 N and 500 mg·L−1 N, respectively) led to reductions in the fresh and dry weight of overhead-irrigated plants compared with intermediate fertilizer rates. At the highest fertilizer treatment, plant height was decreased. Chlorophyll index (based on SPAD readings) increased linearly and quadratically for subirrigated and overhead-irrigated plants, respectively. A second study analyzed the effects of seven different fertilizer formulations on growth of O. regnellii and O. triangularis. The fertilizers used in this study were Jack's LX All Purpose (21N–2.2P–16.6K), Peter's Professional (20N–8.8P–16.6K), Jacks Poinsettia FeED Ca-Mg (15N–1.7P–12.5K), Jack's Petunia FeED Mg (20N–1.3P–15.7K), Peter's Professional Peat-Lite Dark Weather Feed (15N–0P–12.5K), Peter's Excel Cal-Mag (15N–2.2P–12.5K), and the slow-release fertilizer Osmocote® (14N–4.2P–11.6K). Growth of both species was significantly reduced by fertilizers that contained little or no phosphorus (P). Current water-soluble fertilizer recommendations of 21N–2.2P–16.6K or slow-release granule fertilizer of 14N–4.2P–11.6K (Osmocote®) produced acceptable, marketable plants, whereas the best O. regnellii and O. triangularis plants were produced using 15N–2.2P–12.5K and 20N–1.3P–15.7K formulations, likely as a result of the additional calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and iron (Fe) in the mixtures.

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Susan S. Liou, Chris B. Watkins, and William B. Miller

During transport and the subsequent storage of tulip bulbs, inadvertent failure in ventilation and/or high contamination of Fusarium-infected bulbs may expose healthy bulbs to high concentrations of ethylene. Ethylene is known to cause many detrimental effects on forcing quality, including gummosis, increased respiration, flower bud abortion, bulb splitting and poor rooting. In this work, exposure duration and timing as well as the post-stress storage temperatures were evaluated for their potential effects on ethylene sensitivity in bulbs of four tulip cultivars. Degree of damage in sensitive cultivars `Apeldoorn' and `World's Favourite' increased with days at about 10 ppm ethylene starting at 9 and 16 days respectively. This effect strongly depended on timing of ethylene stress, as late treated bulbs showed more severe responses to ethylene treatment than early treated bulbs. Additionally, bulbs that were cooled immediately after ethylene stress, compared with those stored at 17 °C after stress, have significantly higher flowering quality in all attributes measured. This response was also strongly dependent on timing of ethylene stress and cultivar. Implications of the potential cold reversal of ethylene damage as well as effects of ethylene exposure duration and timing of stress on shipping and storage recommendations will be discussed.

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Christopher B. Cerveny, William B. Miller, and Alan G. Taylor

Ranunculus asiaticus (L.) is an ornamental geophyte with some commercial production challenges presumed to be related to the storage of its desiccation tolerant tuberous roots (TRs). We investigated the influence of temperature and relative humidity during storage on viability of R. asiaticus TRs. The TRs were stored in specialized chambers for controlling relative humidity under flow-through or closed systems. In the flow-through system, air was bubbled through glycerol–water solutions to create relative humidities of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100% and then passed through storage chambers held at 5, 20, or 35 °C for up to 20 weeks. In closed storage, tissue was equilibrated to a given moisture content (fresh basis) at 15 °C by suspending TRs over glycerol–water solutions (35%, 60%, or 85% relative humidity) with fans to circulate air. These containers were closed for 4 weeks and then tissue was transferred to sealed jars for up to 17 weeks at 5 or 25 °C. In both systems, TRs held with elevated temperature and relative humidity had the largest decrease in percent survival when planted after storage. Flow-through storage gave greater variability in TRs moisture content than closed storage. Tuberous roots at 25 °C had higher respiration rates than at 5 °C under closed storage; elevated moisture content also led to increased respiration. From these results it can be concluded that R. asiaticus dry TRs should be stored cool and dry for long-term viability.