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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Jonathan Frantz, and Ingram McCall

Pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida hort. Vilm.), and gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii Bol. ex Adlam.) plants were grown hydroponically to characterize the deficiency symptoms caused by the absence of calcium (Ca) or boron (B). Primary symptoms occurred on the youngest tissue for both elements, but distinct differences between Ca and B deficiencies were observed. Plants responding to Ca deficiency exhibited discoloration and upward rolling of leaves and ultimately necrosis. Plants responding to B deficiency exhibited minor chlorosis, upward curling, and thickening of leaves, distorted meristems, and strap-like leaves. A second experiment investigated how a temporary disruption of Ca or B affects the plant throughout the crop cycle. Either Ca or B was removed from the nutrient solution for a 7-day period from Day 15 to Day 21, Day 22 to Day 28, or Day 29 to Day 35 after sowing. After the 7-day disruption, the respective element was reintroduced to the plants. Regardless of when the plants were deprived of Ca or B, the symptoms of the respective deficiency were present at the end of the experiment. These studies have shown that a temporary disruption of either Ca or B can cause lasting symptoms throughout the plug production cycle. Also, the symptoms that have been observed in plug production were most similar to those symptoms caused by B deficiency, not Ca deficiency.

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Christopher B. Cerveny and William B. Miller

Ethylene effects were investigated on two tulip (Tulipa gesneriana L.) cultivars, Markant and Carreria. Pre-cooled bulbs were treated with ethylene (flow-through) for 1 week at 0, 0.1, 1.0, or 10 μL·L−1 (± 10%) in a modified hydroponic system. After ethylene exposure, plants were either destructively harvested for root measurements or forced in a greenhouse for flower measurements. Ethylene exposure at concentrations as low as 1 μL·L−1 during the first week of growth reduced shoot and root elongation and subsequently increased flower bud abortion. At 10 μL·L−1, root growth was essentially eliminated. In a second experiment, bulbs were treated overnight with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) before a 7-day exposure to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene. 1-MCP pretreatment eliminated the harmful effects of ethylene on root and shoot growth. This study illustrates the effects of ethylene exposure during hydroponic tulip production and demonstrates a potential benefit to treating bulbs with 1-MCP before planting.

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Chad T. Miller, Krystal Snyder, and Mark P. Bridgen

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Raymond M. Wheeler, Steven H. Schwartzkopf, Theodore W. Tibbitts, and Robert W. Langhans

Abstract

Polyurethane foam plugs commonly are used as collars or supports to grow plants in solution culture. Despite their utility, these foam plugs can be quite toxic to plants, particularly to small seedlings. We have observed tissue injury in tests using plugs to support lettuce, red beet, and potato plants in solution culture. Typically, the injury is initiated on the hypocotyl or stem tissue in direct contact with the foam, and appears within 30 hr as a brownish discoloration on the tissue surface. This discoloration can be followed by complete collapse of affected tissue and eventual death of the seedling. When injury does not progress beyond surface browning, the seedling survives but growth is slowed. In this paper, we report on different treatments that can be used to remove the toxicity of these plugs so they can be used in plant research.

Open access

Peter R. Hicklenton and Mark S. Wolynetz

Abstract

Butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Montana’) plants were grown in recirculating solution culture in growth chambers under various combinations of day temperatures (TD; 12°, 15°, 19.5°, or 22.5°C) and night temperatures (TN; 5° or 14°) and root-zone temperature (TR; 20°, 23°, 26°, or 29°) Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) was 3.8 mol·day−1·m−2. Leaf area and weight were determined at 7-day intervals. The final harvest followed 28 days of treatments. There were no significant interaction effects between TD and TN. An increase of TD from 12° to 19.5° increased fresh and dry leaf weight and leaf area at final harvest, but increasing TN from 5° to 14° had little effect. Specific leaf area and leaf area ratio increased with increasing TD and TN. Leaf weight ratio increased with TD but remained constant with TN. The overall effect of TR on plant size was minor. Dry weight of roots decreased with increasing TR at the 14- and 21-day harvests, but fresh and dry leaf weights were not affected. Leaf area increased with TR up to 26°. Increases in TR resulted in increased values for specific leaf area, leaf area ratio, and leaf weight ratio at final harvest. The results suggest that some butterhead lettuce cultivars may be grown satisfactorily under low daily PPF by allowing TN to decline to 5° while maintaining TD at ≈ 19°C. In ‘Montana’, increasing TR above 20° under those conditions had little beneficial effect on plant size at harvest.

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D.M. Glenn and W.V. Welker

Our objectives in this study were to measure the effects of low levels of root system carbon dioxide on peach tree growth (Prunus persica L. Batsch) and nutrient uptake. Using soil and hydroponic systems, we found that increased root CO2: 1) increased root growth without increasing shoot growth, 2) increased leaf P concentration, 3) decreased leaf N concentration, and 4) reduced water use relative to air injection or no treatment.

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Pai-Tsang Chang, Marc W. van Iersel, William M. Randle, and Carl E. Sams

Dietary sources of selenium (Se) are associated with human health benefits, and Brassica species are good sources of Se in human diets. Selenium and S compete for absorption and accumulation in plant tissues; therefore, the ratios of Se to S in the growing environment determine the accumulation of selenium in plants. To determine responses for Brassica oleracea L., two levels of Na2SeO4 (96 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) were added to nutrient solutions with or without MgSO4·7H2O (96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). The highest plant fresh weight and S and SO4 2– accumulation were found when plants were grown in the medium with a SeO4 2– to SO4 2– ratio of 1 : 250 (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). However, the highest accumulation of Se was found when a low level of selenate (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) was added to nutrient solutions without S. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) was regulated by Se status; the highest GPx activity was measured when a high level of SeO4 2– (96 mg·L−1) was supplied to nutrient solutions without S supplementation. The lowest concentration of total glucosinolates was found when adding SeO4 2– to nutrient solutions without S. We saw no difference in plant growth and mineral accumulation when plants were grown with K2SeO4 versus Na2SeO4, suggesting that the growth-inhibiting effect of Na2SeO4 was the result of the SeO4 2– rather than potentially toxic effects of Na+.

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Jay Frick, S. Suzanne Nielsen, and Cary A. Mitchell

Effects of N level (15 to 30 mm), time of N increase (14 to 28 days after planting), and planting density (1163 to 2093 plants/m2) were determined for crop yield responses of dwarf, rapid-cycling brassica (Brassica napus L., CrGC 5-2, Genome: ACaacc). Crops were grown in solid-matrix hydroponic systems and under controlled-environment conditions, including nonsupplemented (ambient) or elevated CO2 concentrations (998 ± 12 μmol·mol-1). The highest seed yield rate obtained (4.4 g·m-2·day-1) occurred with the lowest N level (15 mm) applied at the latest treatment time (day 28). In all trials, CO2 enrichment reduced seed yield rate and harvest index by delaying the onset of flowering and senescence and stimulating vegetative shoot growth. The highest shoot biomass accumulation rate (55.5 g·m-2·day-1) occurred with the highest N level (30 mm) applied at the earliest time (day 14). Seed oil content was not significantly affected by CO2 enrichment. Maximum seed oil content (30% to 34%, dry weight basis) was obtained using the lowest N level (15 mm) initiated at the latest treatment time (day 28). In general, an increase in seed oil content was accompanied by a decrease in seed protein. Seed carbohydrate, moisture, and ash contents did not vary significantly in response to experimental treatments. Effects of N level and time of N increase were consistently significant for most crop responses. Planting density was significant only under elevated CO2 conditions.

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Jay Frick, Cyrille Precetti, and Cary A. Mitchell

An artificial neural network (NN) and a statistical regression model were developed to predict canopy photosynthetic rates (Pn) for `Waldman's Green' leaf lettuce (Latuca sativa L.). All data used to develop and test the models were collected for crop stands grown hydroponically and under controlled-environment conditions. In the NN and regression models, canopy Pn was predicted as a function of three independent variables: shootzone CO2 concentration (600 to 1500 mmol·mol-1), photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) (600 to 1100 μmol·m-2·s-1), and canopy age (10 to 20 days after planting). The models were used to determine the combinations of CO2 and PPF setpoints required each day to maintain maximum canopy Pn. The statistical model (a third-order polynomial) predicted Pn more accurately than the simple NN (a three-layer, fully connected net). Over an 11-day validation period, average percent difference between predicted and actual Pn was 12.3% and 24.6% for the statistical and NN models, respectively. Both models lost considerable accuracy when used to determine relatively long-range Pn predictions (≥6 days into the future).

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Jeanine M. Davis, Douglas C. Sanders, Paul V. Nelson, Laura Lengnick, and Wade J. Sperry

Boron deficiency in fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is a widespread problem that reduces yield and fruit quality but is often not recognized by growers. Tomatoes were grown in field and hydroponic culture to compare the effects of foliar and soil applied B on plant growth, fruit yield, fruit quality, and tissue nutrient levels. Regardless of application method, B was associated with increased tomato growth and the concentration of K, Ca, and B in plant tissue. Boron application was associated with increased N uptake by tomato in field culture, but not under hydroponic culture. In field culture, foliar and/or soil applied B similarly increased fresh-market tomato plant and root dry weight, uptake, and tissue concentrations of N, Ca, K, and B, and improved fruit set, total yields, marketable yields, fruit shelf life, and fruit firmness. The similar growth and yield responses of tomato to foliar and root B application suggests that B is translocated in the phloem in tomatoes. Fruit from plants receiving foliar or root applied B contained more B, and K than fruit from plants not receiving B, indicating that B was translocated from leaves to fruit and is an important factor in the management of K nutrition in tomato.