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Ji Tian, Ke-ting Li, Shi-ya Zhang, Jie Zhang, Ting-ting Song, Yong-jun Zhu, and Yun-cong Yao

Anthocyanins are protective pigments that accumulate in plant organs such as fruits and leaves, and are nutritionally valuable components of the human diet. The MYB10 transcription factor (TF) plays an important role in regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis in Malus crabapple leaves. However, little is known about how the promoter regulates McMYB10 expression and influences the substantial variation in leaf anthocyanin accumulation and coloration that is observed in different crabapple cultivars. In this study, we analyzed leaf coloration, anthocyanin levels, and the expression levels of McMYB10 in the leaves of 15 crabapple cultivars with three leaf colors at various development stages, and showed that the expression of McMYB10 correlates positively with anthocyanin accumulation. We also examined the relationship between the number of R6 and R1 elements in the McMYB10 promoters of the different cultivars and the pigmentation of the new buds of spring-red cultivars, as well as the methylation level of the McMYB10 promoters at different development stages in three representative crabapple cultivars. The ratio of R6/R1 minisatellites in the promoters correlated with the color and anthocyanin accumulation in new crabapple buds, and we concluded that the differences in promoter structure and methylation level of the McMYB10 promoters coordinately affect the leaf color of crabapple cultivars.

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John A. Juvik

Extensive epidemiological evidence suggests that carotenoids (including vitamin A), ascorbate (vitamin C), tocols (including vitamin E), and glucosinolate breakdown products exert anticarcinogenic effects in a range of human tissues. Consumption of fresh and processed vegetables with enhanced levels of these phytochemicals could reduce human risk of cancer. The vitamins play a major role as antioxidants, offering protection against cancer by preventing or reversing oxidative damage to DNA and other cellular components. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates (GSs), which, during mastication, are hydrolyzed by the enzyme myrosinase into bioactive breakdown products (BBPs), including sulforaphane. BBPs appear to induce synthesis of drug metabolism enzymes resulting in increased detoxification rates of carcinogens. This paper describes an interdisciplinary investigation designed to develop vegetable cultivars that offer chemoprotection from cancer at doses commensurate with a normal American diet. Initial work has focused on surveying sweet corn and Brassicae oleraceae germplasm for variation in vitamin and glucosinolate content in conjunction with in vitro and in vivo bioassays to determine which compounds and concentrations optimize chemoprotectant activity. Segregating populations from crosses between sweet corn and Brassica lines that vary in vitamin and GS concentrations will be assayed for chemical content and chemoprotectant activity, and genetically characterized using DNA marker technology to identify and map genes controlling these traits. This information will improve selection methodology in a breeding program aimed to develop brassica and sweet corn germplasm with enhanced cancer chemoprevention.

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Manette Schönfeld and Cary A. Mitchell

CowPea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) is a candidate species for inclusion in a space-deployed Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) because it contributes to a balanced diet with its moderate protein content, high complex carbohydrate content, and low fat content, and because leaves and unripe pods as well as dry seeds are edible. Pour harvest scenarios were compared in the experimental line IT84S-2246 under controlled conditions with and without CO2 enrichment. Plants kept vegetative by removal of flowers and periodically stripped of fully expanded leaves yielded as much as either mixed-harvest scenario in which leaves were stripped at either 1- or 2-week intervals until pods started forming. The 2-week harvest scenario outyielded the 1-week scenario by 15 to 25%. The seed-only control produced the same amount of seeds as the 2-week leaf harvest scenario, but had lower total edible biomass because leaves were not harvested. Under 1000 ppm CO2, all treatments yielded from 30 to 70% more edible biomass than under non-CO2-enriched conditions. Research sponsored by NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC 2-100.

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Gray R. Bachman

The horticulture industry continues to show interest in using stabilized organic wastes as a component of container media. Vermicompost, also known as worm-worked waste or worm castings, is one of these materials of interest and can be produced from a number of organic wastes, including manure wastes. One issue that has not been addressed is the uniformity of vermicomposts produced from wastes of different sources. Are all vermicomposts created equal? The uniformity of vermicompost is important for growers to consider when using as a medium amendment. This research project investigated the physical properties of vermicompost 1) from different sources of wastes and 2) from a single waste source sequentially sampled over time. The first stage determined the physical properties of vermicompost from beef manure, hog manure, and peat-based media used by two earthworm growers. There were significant differences between the four vermicomposts in bulk density, air volume, percent air volume, percent volumetric moisture, total porosity, and water holding capacity. The second stage involved determining the physical characteristics of vermicompost produced from beef manure collected at the Illinois State University Research Farm from cattle receiving a consistent diet through the year. Manure was collected bimonthly. There was no difference in vermicompost bulk density among the samples. There were significant differences in air volume, percent air volume, percent volumetric moisture, total porosity, and water holding capacity. These changes in vermicompost physical characteristics must be quantified for growers to accurately predict performance as a growth medium amendment.

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Tracy A. Ohler and Cary A. Mitchell

The vigorous growth habit and tolerances to heat, water, and acid stresses suggest cowpea as a candidate species for Controlled Ecological Life-Support Systems (CELSS). The low fat, high protein, moderate carbohydrate content of the edible leaves and seeds complement cereal grains in the vegetarian diets planned for CELSS. Cowpea canopy densities of 3.6, 7.2, 10.7, and 14.3 plants·m-2 were grown under CO2 levels of 400 or 1200 μl·l-1. Plants were grown in a deep-batch recirculating hydroponic system. pH was maintained at 5.5 by a pH controller with an in-line electrode. The nutrient solution was replaced as needed and sampled weekly for analysis by inductively coupled plasmaatomic emission spectrometry. Fluorescent lights provided 674±147 μmol·m-2s-1 PAR for an 8-hour photoperiod. Day/night temperature was maintained at 27/25°C. CO2 draw-down within the growth chamber was measured to calculate net photosynthesis. Power consumption was metered and canopy quantum efficiency was calculated. Crop yield rate (g·m-2·d-1). harvest index (% edible biomass), and yield efficiency (edible g·m-2·d-1·(nonedible g)-1) were determined to evaluate the productivity of cowpea for a CELSS. This study was supported by NASA Grant NAGW-2329.

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C.L. Mackowiak, J.L. Garland, and R.M. Wheeler

As humans explore the solar system, life support will need to be increasingly self-sufficient. Growing higher plants and using recycling technologies can improve self-sufficiency. Sodium is an essential mineral for humans, but not typically for plants. Recycling sodium back to humans through food crops may reduce the need for sodium supplements in the human diet. However, if sodium from waste streams is added to the plant system in greater quantities than it is removed, then plant toxic levels may result. The recommended daily sodium requirement is 3000 mg per person. Based on a 20-m2 growing area per person, 150 mg·m–2 sodium would need to be removed each day. Most crops will not remove enough salt when grown at very low sodium levels; however, when grown in 20 mM sodium, plant uptake may meet the 3000 mg/d human sodium requirement without affecting yields. We grew four different salad crops (lettuce, radish, spinach, and table beet) hydroponically and calculated plant uptake rates and partitioning with 0, 20, 40, or 80 mM sodium supplemented nutrient solutions (corresponding to ≈1.4, 4.0, 8.0, and 13.0 dS·m–1 electrical conductivity). Sodium at 40 and 80 mM reduced edible yields. Sodium replaced tissue potassium in most cases, whereas calcium and magnesium concentrations were much less affected, particularly at 20 mM sodium. This data will be used to model sodium flows within a bioregenerative life support system and determine the feasibility of sodium recycling using food crops.

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Kyoung-Shim Cho, Hyun-Ju Kim, Jae-Ho Lee, Jung-Hoon Kang, and Young-Sang Lee

Fatty acid is known as a physiologically active compound, and its composition in rice may affect human health in countries where rice is the major diet. The fatty acid composition in brown rice of 120 Korean native cultivars was determined by one-step extraction/methylation method and GC. The average composition of 9 detectable fatty acids in tested rice cultivars were as followings: myristic acid; 0.6%, palmitic acid; 21.2%, stearic acid; 1.8%, oleic acid; 36.5%, linoleic acid; 36.3%, linolenic acid; 1.7%, arachidic acid; 0.5%, behenic acid; 0.4%, and lignoceric acid; 0.9%. Major fatty acids were palmitic, oleic and linoleic acid, which composed around 94%. The rice cultivar with the highest linolenic acid was cv. Jonajo (2.1%), and cvs. Pochoenjangmebye and Sandudo showed the highest composition of palmitic (23.4%) and oleic acid (44.8%), respectively. Cultivar Pochuenjangmebye exhitibed the highest composition of saturated fatty acid (28.1%), while cvs. Sandudo and Modo showed the highest mono-unsaturated (44.8%) and poly-unsaturated (42.4%) fatty acid composition, respectively. The oleic acid showed negative correlation with palmitic and linoleic acid, while positive correlation between behenic and lignoceric acids was observed.

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Krista C. Shellie, Robert L. Mangan, and Sam J. Ingle

The objective of this research was to investigate whether a controlled atmosphere established inside a high temperature forced air chamber could enhance the mortality of the most heat-resistant life stage of Mexican fruit fly larvae (Anastrepha ludens Loew) and thereby reduce the amount of time grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) harvested from Mexican fruit fly-infested regions must be exposed to high-temperature forced air to achieve quarantine security. The mortality of third instar larvae treated on diet was significantly higher after exposure to 1% oxygen or 1% oxygen enriched with 20% carbon dioxide than it was in either air or air enriched with 20% oxygen. Reducing the amount of oxygen in air from 21% to 1% during forced air heating at 46°C, reduced the exposure time required for 100% kill of larvae inside artificially infested grapefruit from 5 hours to 3.5 hours. Inconsistent fruit quality results warrant further study to optimize controlled atmosphere conditions during heating. Based upon relative levels of carbon dioxide inside the grapefruit during heating, fruit respiration during heating in 1% oxygen was lower than during heating in air. Results from this research suggest that reducing the amount of oxygen in a high temperature forced air chamber during heating can reduce the amount of time fruit must be exposed to heat for quarantine security against Mexican fruit fly.

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Abhava M. Dandekar, Gale H McGranahan, Sandra L. Uratsu, Charles Leslie, J. Steven Tebbets, and Patrick V. Vail

Insecticidal crystal protein fragments (ICPFs) of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) encoded by cryIA(c) gene were shown in diet incorporation studies to be lethal to codling moth (CM; Cydia pomonella) the key insect pest for walnut. However transformed walnut tissues expressing cryIA(c) with Bt codon usage patterns and native DNA sequence revealed very low levels of expression in planta. To correct this problem synthetic versions of one of these genes, cryIA(c) was used to transform walnut tissue. A total of 61 individual transgenic embryo lines were obtained. 34% of these lines (21/61) were high expressors (“class A”) demonstrating 80 to 100% mortality of first in star CM larvae and displaying no further larval development. Twelve clones (20%) were designated “class B” and these showed a marked retardation of larval development and a mortality between 40 to 79%. Embryos from the remaining 28 lines designated “class C” (46%). although transformed, were indistinguishable from the control (untransformed embryos) and showed a mortality of 0 to 39%.

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M. Wang and I.L. Goldman

The importance of folic acid in the human diet has been recognized in recent years by major increases in government recommended allowances. Red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) is an important vegetable source of folic acid, however little is known about the extent of variation for native folic acid content in red beet germplasm. A total of 18 red beet entries, including 11 hybrids (F1) and seven open-pollinated cultivars (OP), were evaluated for free folic acid content (FFAC) in replicated field experiments during 1993 and 1994. Significant differences among entries were detected in all studies. FFAC ranged from 3.3 to 15.2 μg·g-1 on a dry mass basis. A significant entry × year interaction was detected. Changes in rank of entries between years were minimal among F1 hybrids, while the changes in rank among OP cultivars were large. These data demonstrate significant variability among cultivated red beet germplasm sources for FFAC. Entries with high FFAC may be useful for increasing levels of this vitamin in red beet.