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Philipp W. Simon

Central Asia is the center of origin for many Allium species and a rich genetic source of wild relatives of onion and garlic. For this reason germplasm collections of cultivated Alliums have targeted the acquisition of seed and bulb samples from this region, and several plant expeditions from Asia, Europe, and North America have collected Allium germplasm in Central Asia. Central Asian Allium germplasm has been valuable both as raw materials for scientific research leading to published data, and as starting materials for genetic improvement of the crop. Utilizing this germplasm it has been possible to improve garlic so it can be bred like other seed-propagated crops. Several interspecific crosses have been made between onion and other Central Asian wild relatives and these crosses have yielded useful traits for onion improvement. Allium germplasm from this region has also been important in elucidating the systematics and origins of diversity in onion and garlic. By any of these measures, Central Asian Allium collections have been valuable. Challenges and successes in collecting, maintaining, evaluating, and using these collections remain.

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G. Schroeck, I.L. Goldman, and M.J. Havey

Since the 1930s, more than 130 inbred lines and 60 hybrid cultivars of onion have been released in the public sector in the United States. Other than breeder's reports from the period 1946-1965 and anecdotal information kept by onion workers, no systematic treatment of the pedigree of public onion germplasm releases has been developed. The objective of this research was to collect, characterize, and display the genetic relationships among more than 200 public onion germplasm sources used in the United States since 1931. Pedigree information revealed that most modern onion cultivars in the United States descend from a few open-pollinated populations brought to this country by immigrants. For example, selection in the open-pollinated populations Common Yellow and Silverskin by onion farmers in the eastern U.S. resulted in the formation of Yellow Globe Danvers, which was a precursor to virtually all Eastern storage onion germplasm in the U.S. Open-pollinated populations such Yellow Globe Danvers, Valencia, Sweet Spanish, Bermuda, and Grano formed the foundation germplasm for the first public U.S. onion breeding programs. Findings from this study suggest a relatively narrow germplasm base of public onion germplasm in the United States; however, this narrow pool coexists alongside significant gains through scientific breeding efforts, particularly during the past 75 years.

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Xin Zhao, C.B. Rajashekar, Edward E. Carey, and Weiqun Wang

Demand for organically grown produce is increasing, largely due to concerns of consumers about health and nutrition. Previous studies have not shown a consistent difference of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, between organic food crops and the conventional counterparts. However, to date, little consideration has been given to phytochemicals, secondary plant metabolites with potential health-promoting properties. We first discuss factors that can infl uence the levels of phytochemicals in crops, and then we critically review the results of published studies that have compared the effects of organic and conventional production systems on phytochemical contents of fruit and vegetables. The evidence overall seems in favor of enhancement of phytochemical content in organically grown produce, but there has been little systematic study of the factors that may contribute to increased phytochemical content in organic crops. It remains to be seen whether consistent differences will be found, and the extent to which biotic and abiotic stresses, and other factors such as soil biology, contribute to those differences. Problems associated with most studies tend to weaken the validity of comparisons. Given the limitations of most published studies, needs for future research are discussed.

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Mark W. Farnham

A collection of collard (Brassica oleracea L., Acephala group) germplasm, including 13 cultivars or breeding lines and 5 landraces, was evaluated using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers and compared to representatives of kale (Acephala group), cabbage (Capitata group), broccoli (Italica group), Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera group), and cauliflower (Botrytis group). Objectives were to assess genetic variation and relationships among collard and other crop entries, evaluate intrapopulation variation of open-pollinated (OP) collard lines, and determine the potential of collard landraces to provide new B. oleracea genes. Two hundred nine RAPD bands were scored from 18 oligonucleotide decamer primers when collard and other B. oleracea entries were compared. Of these, 147 (70%) were polymorphic and 29 were specific to collard. Similarity indices between collard entries were computed from RAPD data and these ranged from 0.75 to 0.99 with an average of 0.83. Collard entries were most closely related to cabbage (similarity index = 0.83) and Brussels sprouts entries (index = 0.80). Analysis of individuals of an OP cultivar and landrace indicated that intrapopulation genetic variance accounts for as much variation as that observed between populations. RAPD analysis identified collard landraces as unique genotypes and showed them to be sources of unique DNA markers. The systematic collection of collard landraces should enhance diversity of the B. oleracea germplasm pool and provide genes for future crop improvement.

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J.B. Magee, B.J. Smith, and Agnes Rimando

Control of muscadine diseases is necessary to minimize yield loss and is especially important for highest quality fresh-market berries. In a systematic disease control spray program, four fungicides registered for grapes were applied sequentially at 10- to 20-day intervals from early bloom until just before harvest to five muscadine cultivars. Objectives of the study were to: 1) determine the effects of the spray schedule on foliage and berry diseases; and 2) study the relationship between disease incidence and resveratrol content of the berries. Resveratrol, a phytoalexin, has shown potential value in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and certain cancer processes. Foliar diseases were rated visually twice during the season. Berry disease ratings were made at harvest. All fungal foliage and berry diseases were significantly reduced by fungicide treatments. Resveratrol was determined separately on berry skins, seed and pulp/juice by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). Overall, resveratrol levels in berry skins from unsprayed vines were much higher than those of sprayed vines. Concentrations varied by cultivar and within cultivar by treatment. The relationship between resveratrol concentration in skins and total disease score or scores of specific diseases was not established. Seed resveratrol concentrations differed by cultivar but were not affected by the fungicide treatments. Resveratrol concentration of seed was lower than that of skins. Accumulation of resveratrol in juice/pulp was much lower than in skins and seeds.

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Kelly T. Morgan, T.A. Obreza, and J.M.S. Scholberg

Understanding the growth pattern of fibrous, orange tree [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] roots enables proper fertilizer placement to improve nutrient uptake efficiency and to reduce nutrient leaching below the root zone. The objective of this study was to develop relationships defining citrus fibrous root length density (FRLD) as a function of soil depth, distance from the tree trunk, and tree size. Root systems of 18 trees with tree canopy volumes (TCV) ranging from 2.4 to 34.3 m3 on two different rootstocks and growing in well-drained sandy soils were sampled in a systematic pattern extending 2 m away from the trunk and 0.9 m deep. Trees grown on Swingle citrumelo [Citrus paradisi Macf. × Poncirus trjfoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstock had significantly greater FRLD in the top 0.15 m than trees on Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis × P. trifoliata). Conversely, Carrizo citrange had greater FRLD from 0.15 to 0.75 m below the soil surface. FRLD was significantly greater for ‘Hamlin’ orange trees grown on Swingle citrumelo rootstock at distances less than 0.75 m from the tree trunk compared with those on Carrizo citrange. Fibrous roots of young citrus trees developed a dense root mat above soil depths of 0.3 m that expanded both radially and with depth with time as trees grow and TCV increased. Functional relationships developed in this study accounted for changes in FRLD with increase in tree size.

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Patrick J. Conner

Germination of muscadine seed has frequently been low and irregular in the University of Georgia breeding program. A systematic study was undertaken to determine the best seed treatments and germination conditions for muscadine seed. Open-pollinated seeds of ‘Fry’ muscadine were used for all treatments. Stratification of seeds was performed by placing dry seed in damp vermiculite at 4 °C for periods of 0, 30, 60, and 90 d. The 90-d stratification period gave the highest germination percentage, with successively lower germination in the shorter stratification treatments. Pretreatment of seeds before stratification with three rates (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 M) of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and four rates (1, 2, 4, and 8 g·L−1) of gibberellic acid (GA3) were used in an attempt to promote germination. Low rates of H2O2 (0.5 M) and GA3 (1 g·L−1) were beneficial in some instances, whereas high rates of GA3 were detrimental. Nicking the seedcoats before stratification and soaking seeds in running water after stratification were ineffective in promoting germination. Germination temperatures of 32/22 °C (8 h/16 h) were superior to 22/22, 27/22, and 37/22 °C.

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp, and E. Stover

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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Yifei Wang, Stephanie K. Fong, Ajay P. Singh, Nicholi Vorsa, and Jennifer Johnson-Cicalese

The flavonoid and organic acid profiles of one cultivated tetraploid and six wild diploid blueberry species (Vaccinium spp.) were systematically investigated using high-performance liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS-MS). Eighteen individual anthocyanins from five aglycone classes were characterized among species, with malvidin and delphinidin glycosides accounting for 31.4% and 29.1% of total anthocyanins. Twenty-three flavonol glycosides from six aglycone classes were identified, among which quercetin and myricetin glycosides accounted for more than 80% of total flavonols in most species. Both inter- and intraspecies differences in anthocyanin and flavonol composition were observed, as described by principal component analysis. Only B-type proanthocyanidins were found in blueberry species, and highly polymerized molecules with degree of polymerization greater than 10 appeared to be the most abundant fraction. Although overall proanthocyanidin levels varied from 27.7 to 146.3 mg/100 g fruit, all species exhibited similar proanthocyanidin composition. Citric, quinic, and shikimic acid were the major identified blueberry organic acids. However, their relative abundance varied across species. In certain species either citric acid (e.g., Vaccinium darrowii) or quinic acid (e.g., Vaccinium corymbosum) was lacking.

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Christopher M. McGuire

1 Current address: Section of Ecology and Systematics, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853. I thank Ian Merwin, John Ray, Marvin Pritts, and Mary Jo Kelly for advice and assistance, and my family for encouragement and