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Jason J. Griffin, Thomas G. Ranney, and D. Mason Pharr

Tolerance to high solar irradiation is an important aspect of stress tolerance for landscape plants, particularly for species native to understory conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate differential tolerance to high solar irradiation and underlying photosynthetic characteristics of diverse taxa of Illicium L. grown under full sun or 50% shade. Eleven commercially available taxa of Illicium were evaluated for light tolerance by measuring light-saturated photosynthetic capacity (Amax), dark-adapted quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), and relative chlorophyll content using a SPAD chlorophyll meter. Comparisons of Amax indicated that three of the 11 taxa (I. anisatum L., I. parviflorum Michx. ex Vent., and I. parviflorum `Forest Green') maintained similar rates of light-saturated carbon assimilation when grown in either shade or full sun. All other taxa experienced a significant reduction in Amax when grown in full sun. Chlorophyll fluorescence analysis demonstrated that Fv/Fm was similar between sun and shade plants for the same three taxa that were able to maintain Amax. These taxa appeared to experience less photoinhibition than the others and maintained greater maximum photochemical efficiency of absorbed light. SPAD readings were not significantly reduced in these three taxa either, whereas most other taxa experienced a significant reduction. In fact, SPAD readings were significantly higher in I. parviflorum `Forest Green' when grown under full sun, which also maintained the highest Amax of all the taxa. These results suggest that there is considerable variation in light tolerance among these taxa, with I. parviflorum `Forest Green' demonstrating superior tolerance to high light among the plants compared. A more rigorous examination of I. parviflorum `Forest Green' (high light tolerance) and I. floridanum Ellis (low-light tolerance) demonstrated that I. parviflorum `Forest Green' had a considerably higher Amax, a higher light saturation point, greater potential photosynthetic capacity, reduced susceptibility to photoinhibition as indicated by superior PSII efficiency following light exposure, greater capacity for thermal de-excitation as indicated by a higher rate of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) under full sun, greater apparent electron transport rate (ETR) at mid-day, and higher concentrations of the free-radical scavenger myo-inositol. All of these factors contribute potentially to a greater capacity to use light energy for carbon fixation while minimizing photodamage.

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Yiwei Jiang and Bingru Huang

Heat and drought are two major factors limiting growth of cool-season grasses during summer. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of heat stress alone (H) or in combination with drought (H+D) on photosynthesis, water relations, and root growth of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) vs. perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Grasses were exposed to H (35 °C day/30 °C night) or H+D (induced by withholding irrigation) in growth chambers for 35 days. Soil water content declined under H+D for both grasses but to a greater extent for fescue than for ryegrass. Declines in canopy net photosynthetic rate (Pn), leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and leaf relative water content (RWC) and the increase in electrolyte leakage (EL) were much more severe and occurred earlier for ryegrass than fescue subjected to both H and H+D and for both species than under H+D then H. Evapotranspiration (ET) rate increased to above the control level within 3 or 6 days of H and H+D for both species, but fescue had a higher ET rate than ryegrass at 3 and 6 days of H and 6 days of H+D. Root dry weight and viability in all soil layers decreased under H and H+D for both species. However, fescue had higher root dry weight and viability than ryegrass in the 20-40 cm layer under H and in both the 0-20 and 20-40 cm layers under H+D. The results indicated that maintenance of higher Pn, Fv/Fm, ET, RWC, and root growth and lower EL would help cool-season turfgrass survive summer stress, and that their characteristics could be used for selecting stress tolerant species or cultivars.

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Krishna S. Nemali and Marc W. van Iersel

Optimal substrate volumetric water content (θ) and drought tolerance of impatiens, petunia, salvia, and vinca were investigated by growing plants under four constant levels of θ (0.09, 0.15, 0.22, and 0.32 m3·m-3). Gas exchange, quantum efficiency (ΦPSII), electron transport rate (ETR), non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), and leaf water potential (ϒ) were measured for all species, and response of photosynthesis (Pn) to internal CO2 concentration (Ci) was studied in petunia and salvia. Leaf photosynthesis (Pmax) was highest at a θ of 0.22 m3·m-3 for all species and did not differ between a θ of 0.15 and 0.22 m3·m-3 for vinca and petunia. The Pn-Ci response curves for petunia were almost identical at a θ of 0.22 and 0.15 m3·m-3. Regardless of species, ETR and ΦPSII were highest and NPQ was lowest at a θ of 0.22 m3·m-3. Based on these results, a θ of 0.22 m3·m-3 for salvia and impatiens and a slightly lower θ of 0.15 m3·m-3 for vinca and petunia, is optimal. Mean osmotic potential in all treatments was lower in vinca and salvia and resulted in higher turgor potential in these species than other species. Analysis of Pn-Ci response curves indicated that Pn at a θ of 0.09 m3·m-3 was limited by both gas phase (stomatal and boundary layer) and non-gas phase (mesophyll) resistance to CO2 transfer in salvia. At the lowest θ level, Pn in petunia was only limited by gas phase resistance, indicating that absence of mesophyll resistance during drought may play a role in the drought tolerance of petunia.

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Xunzhong Zhang, E.H. Ervin, and R.E. Schmidt

Decline of sod quality during the transportation, storage, and transplant stages of sale is a primary economic concern of sod producers. However, the mechanisms of extending sod quality during storage, transportation, and transplantation remain unclear. This study was conducted to investigate the influences of selected plant metabolic enhancers (PMEs) seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum Jol.) extract (SWE), humic acid [93% a.i. (HA)], and propiconazole (PPC), on sod tolerance to stress during storage and posttransplant root growth of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) sod. The SWE + HA, and PPC were applied alone, or in a combination, to tall fescue 2 weeks before harvest. Photochemical efficiency (PE) of photosystem II was measured immediately before harvest. The harvested sod was subjected to high temperature stress (40 °C) for 72 or 96 hours. The heated sod was replanted in the field and posttransplant injury and root strength were determined. On average over 1999 and 2000, application of SWE (50 mg·m-2) + HA (150 mg·m-2), PPC (0.30 mL·m-2), and a combination of SWE + HA with PPC (0.15 mL·m-2), enhanced PE of preharvest sod by 8.5%, 9.1%, and 11.2%, respectively, and increased posttransplant rooting by 20.6%, 34.6%, and 20.2%, respectively. All PME treatments reduced visual injury except SWE + HA and SWE + HA + PPC in 1999. Extension of heat duration from 72 to 96 hours caused significantly more injury to the sod and reduced posttransplant rooting by 22.9% averaged over 2 years. The data suggest that foliar application of SWE + HA, PPC alone, or in a combination with SWE + HA, may reduce shipment heat injury and improve posttransplant rooting and quality of tall fescue sod. Chemical name used: 1-(2-(2,4-dichloropheny)-4-propyl-1,3-dioxolan-2yl)methyl-1-H-1,2,4-triazole [propiconazole (PPC)].

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Bingru Huang and Hongwen Gao

Drought is among the most limiting factors for turfgrass growth. Understanding genetic variations and physiological mechanisms in turfgrass drought resistance would facilitate breeding and management programs to improve drought resistance. The experiment was designed to investigate shoot physiological responses of six tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars representing several generations of turfgrass improvement to drought stress. Grasses were grown in well-watered or drying (nonirrigated) soil for 35 days in the greenhouse. Net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (Tr), relative water content (RWC), and photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) declined during drought progression in all cultivars, but the time and the severity of reductions varied with cultivar and physiological factors. The values of Pn, RWC, gs, and Tr decreased significantly for `Rebel Jr', `Bonsai', and `Phoenix' when soil water content declined to 20% after 9 days of treatment (DOT) and for `Houndog V', `Kentucky-31', and `Falcon II' when soil water content dropped to 10% at 15 DOT. A significant decrease in Fv/Fm was not observed in drought-stressed plants until 21 DOT for `Rebel Jr', `Bonsai', and `Phoenix' and 28 DOT for `Houndog V', `Kentucky-31', and `Falcon II'. The decline in Pn resulted mainly from internal water deficit and stomatal closure under mild drought-stress conditions. After a prolonged period of drought stress (35 DOT), `Falcon II', `Houndog V', and `Kentucky-31' maintained higher Pn than did `Rebel Jr', `Bonsai', and `Phoenix', which could be attributed to their higher Fv/Fm. This study demonstrated variation in drought resistance among tall fescue cultivars, which was related to their differential responses in photosynthetic capacity and water relations.

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Zhaolong Wang, Bingru Huang, and Qingzhang Xu

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone regulating plant response to drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of exogenous ABA application on turf performance and physiological activities of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) in response to drought stress. Plants of two kentucky bluegrass cultivars, `Brilliant' (drought susceptible) and `Midnight' (drought tolerant), were treated with ABA (100 μm) or water by foliar application and then grown under drought stress (no irrigation) or well-watered (irrigation on alternate days) conditions in a growth chamber. The two cultivars responded similarly to ABA application under both watering regimes. Foliar application of ABA had no effects on turf quality or physiological parameters under well-watered conditions. ABA application, however, helped maintain higher turf quality and delayed the quality decline during drought stress, compared to the untreated control. ABA-treated plants exposed to drought stress had higher cell membrane stability, as indicated by less electrolyte leakage of leaves, and higher photochemical efficiency, expressed as Fv/Fm, compared to untreated plants. Leaf water potential was not significantly affected, whereas leaf turgor pressure increased with ABA application after 9 and 12 d of drought. Osmotic adjustment increased with ABA application, and was sustained for a longer period of drought in `Midnight' than in `Brilliant'. The results suggested that exogenous ABA application improved turf performance during drought in both drought-sensitive and tolerant cultivars of kentucky bluegrass. This positive effect of ABA could be related to increased osmotic adjustment, cell turgor maintenance, and reduced damage to cell membranes and the photosynthetic system.

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Sastry Jayanty, Jun Song, Nicole M. Rubinstein, Andrés Chong, and Randolph M. Beaudry

The temporal relationship between changes in ethylene production, respiration, skin color, chlorophyll fluorescence, volatile ester biosynthesis, and expression of ACC oxidase (ACO) and alcohol acyl-CoA transferase (AAT) in ripening banana (Musa L. spp., AAA group, Cavendish subgroup. `Valery') fruit was investigated at 22 °C. Ethylene production rose to a peak a few hours after the onset of its logarithmic phase; the peak in production coincided with maximal ACO expression. The respiratory rise began as ethylene production increased, reaching its maximum ≈30 to 40 hours after ethylene production had peaked. Green skin coloration and photochemical efficiency, as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence, declined simultaneously after the peak in ethylene biosynthesis. Natural ester biosynthesis began 40 to 50 hours after the peak in ethylene biosynthesis, reaching maximal levels 3 to 4 days later. While AAT expression was detected throughout, the maximum level of expression was detected at the onset of natural ester biosynthesis. The synthesis of unsaturated esters began 100 hours after the peak in ethylene and increased with time, suggesting the lipoxygenase pathway be a source of ester substrates late in ripening. Incorporation of exogenously supplied ester precursors (1-butanol, butyric acid, and 3-methyl-1-butanol) in the vapor phase into esters was maturity-dependent. The pattern of induced esters and expression data for AAT suggested that banana fruit have the capacity to synthesize esters over 100 hours before the onset of natural ester biosynthesis. We hypothesize the primary limiting factor in ester biosynthesis before natural production is precursor availability, but, as ester biosynthesis is engaged, the activity of alcohol acyl-CoA transferase the enzyme responsible for ester biosynthesis, exerts a major influence.

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Xiaozhong Liu and Bingru Huang

Previous studies found that high soil temperature is more detrimental than high air temperature for the growth of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris L.). The objective of the study was to investigate changes in fatty acid composition and saturation levels in leaves and roots for creeping bentgrass exposed to high soil temperature. Shoots and roots of `Penncross' plants were subjected to a differential air/soil temperature of 20/35 °C in a growth chamber. Soil temperature was controlled at 35 °C using an immersion circulating heater in water bath. Shoot injury induced by high soil temperature was evaluated by measuring level of lipid peroxidation expressed as malonyldialdehyde (MDA) content, chlorophyll content, and photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) of leaves. MDA content increased while chlorophyll content and Fv/Fm decreased at high soil temperature. The content of total fatty acids and different species of fatty acids were analyzed in both leaves and roots. Total fatty acid content in leaves increased initially at 5 days of high soil temperature and then decreased at 15 days, while total fatty acid content in roots decreased, beginning at 5 days. Linolenic acid was the major fatty acid in leaves and linoleic acid and palmitic acid were the major fatty acids in roots of creeping bentgrass. Leaf content of all fatty acid components except oleic acid increased initially and then decreased at high soil temperature. Root content of all fatty acid components except palmitoleic acid and oleic acid decreased, beginning at 5 d of high soil temperature. Oleic acid in leaves and palmitoleic and oleic acid in roots did not change during the entire experimental period. Leaf content of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids increased during the first 5 to 10 days of high soil temperature and decreased at 15 and 25 days, respectively. Root content of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids decreased beginning at 5 days of high soil temperature. Double bond index decreased in both leaves and roots. High soil temperature induced changes in fatty acid composition and saturation levels in leaves and roots, and this could be associated with physiological damages in leaves even though only roots were exposed to high temperature.

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Qingzhang Xu, Bingru Huang, and Zhaolong Wang

High air and soil temperatures are major factors limiting growth of cool-season grasses. A previous study by the authors reported that a soil temperature reduction of only 3 °C when air temperature was maintained at 35 °C significantly improved shoot and root growth of creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.) Farw. (syn. A. palustris Huds.)]. This study was designed to investigate the responses of photosynthetic activities of creeping bentgrass to lowered root-zone temperatures from the supraoptimal level when shoots were exposed to high air temperature. Two cultivars of creeping bentgrass, `L-93' and `Penncross', were exposed to the following air/root-zone temperature regimes in growth chambers and water baths: 1) optimal air and soil temperatures (20/20 °C, control); 2) lowering soil temperature by 3, 6, and 11 °C from 35 °C at high air temperatures (35/32, 35/29, and 35/24 °C); and 3) high air and soil temperatures (35/35 °C). Soil temperature was reduced from 35 °C by circulating cool water (18 °C) in water baths at variable flow rates. Both cultivars had similar responses to high or low root-zone temperatures with high air temperature. High air and root-zone temperatures caused significant reductions in canopy photosynthetic rate (Pcanopy), single-leaf photosynthetic rate (Pleaf), leaf chlorophyll content, photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity, beginning on day 1 of high air and soil temperature stress for Pcanopy and Pleaf, and day 7 for chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. The 3 °C reduction in root-zone temperature at high air temperature had no effect on those photosynthetic parameters, except chlorophyll content. Reducing root-zone temperature by 6 °C or 11 °C while maintaining air temperature at 35 °C significantly improved Pcanopy, Poleaf, leaf chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. Single leaf photosynthetic rate at 35/24 °C was not different from the control level, but Pcanopy at 35/24 °C was lower than the control level. A reduction in root-zone temperature enhanced canopy and single-leaf photosynthetic capacity even though shoots were exposed to supraoptimal air temperature, which could contribute to improved turfgrass growth.

Open access

Yingli Ma, Tingting Yuan, Tao Wang, Jiaxin Li, Zhongqiu Xu, Siqian Luo, and Yinfeng Xie

photochemical activity. Figure 2 shows that, compared with the control group (T1), the T9 fertilizer application increased the maximum photochemical efficiency (F v /F m ) and the photochemical performance index (PI abs ) of PSII. At P < 0.05, F v /F m and