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Michael E. Compton

Several methods have been published on shoot regeneration from watermelon cotyledon explants. The major differences in regeneration protocols include the light environment in which seeds are germinated and the cotyledon region used. The purpose of these experiments was to compare the two main protocols for plant regeneration and develop one general procedure. To fulfill this objective, seeds were germinated in vitro in darkness or 16-hr light photoperiod for 7 days. Cotyledon explants from four watermelon cultivars (`Crimson Sweet', `Minilee', `Sweet Gem', and `Yellow Doll') were prepared from both dark- and light-grown seedlings. Apical and basal halves were obtained by making a cut across the cotyledon width. Apical and basal quarters were made, for comparison, by cutting apical and basal halves longitudinally. All explants were incubated on shoot regeneration medium for 6 weeks followed by a 3-week cycle on shoot elonga-tion medium. The percentage of cotyledons with shoots was 1.7-fold greater for cotyledons derived from seedings incubated in darkness than those germinated in light. Shoot formation was about 10-fold greater for explants from cotyledon basal halves and quarters than apical halves and quarters. According to these results, the best watermelon regeneration protocol should consists of basal explants from in vitro-germinated seedlings incubated in the dark for 7 days.

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Luping Qu, Xiping Wang, Ying Chen, Richard Scalzo, Mark P. Widrlechner, Jeanine M. Davis, and James F. Hancock

Seed germination patterns were studied in Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench grouped by seed source, one group of seven lots from commercially cultivated populations and a second group of nine lots regenerated from ex situ conserved wild populations. Germination tests were conducted in a growth chamber in light (40 μmol·m–2·s–1) or darkness at 25 °C for 20 days after soaking the seeds in water for 10 minutes. Except for two seed lots from wild populations, better germination was observed for commercially cultivated populations in light (90% mean among seed lots, ranging from 82% to 95%) and in darkness (88% mean among seed lots, ranging from 82% to 97%) than for wild populations in light (56% mean among seed lots, ranging from 9% to 92%) or in darkness (37% mean among seed lots, ranging from 4% to 78%). No germination difference was measured between treatments in light and darkness in the commercially cultivated populations, but significant differences were noted for treatments among wild populations. These results suggest that repeated cycles of sowing seeds during cultivation without treatments for dormancy release resulted in reduced seed dormancy in E. purpurea.

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Yin-Tung Wang

Most Phalaenopsis (the moth orchid) species and hybrids start to produce flowering shoots in the fall, bloom in January or February, and become limited in supply by April when market demand is strong. Means to defer the onset of flowering were studied. Starting 15 Sept. 1994, seedlings of 2-year-old hybrid Phalaenopsis TAM Butterfly were exposed to repeated cycles of 1 d darkness/1 d light (natural photoperiod, 1D/1L); 4 d darkness/3 d light (4D/3L); 7 d darkness/7 d light (7D/7L); and the natural photoperiod control (0D/7L). The dark treatments were achieved by covering plants with black fabric or by placing them in a dark cage. Treatments were terminated on 16 Dec., and all plants were exposed to the natural photoperiod. The control plants bloomed on 20 Jan. 1995, whereas the 4D/3L plants did not reach anthesis until 14 Apr., nearly 3 months later. Flowering of the 1D/1L and 7D/7L plants was also deferred until early April. Regardless of treatments, flower count and size were unaffected. In another experiment, beginning 15 Sept. 1995, 3-year-old plants were exposed to repeated weekly cycles of 2D/5L, 3D/4L, 4D/3L, or 5D/2L until 22 Jan. 1996. The nontreated control plants bloomed on 8 Feb. 1996, whereas the 5D/2L did not reach anthesis until 6 May. The 4D/3L treatment was not as effective as it was in 1994 and resulted in anthesis only 4 weeks after the control. In the last experiment, starting on 22 Jan. 1996, plants were removed at 2-week intervals from a 5D/2L treatment that was initiated on 15 Sept. 1995 and exposed to the natural photoperiod. Staggered anthesis was achieved. However, plants that bloomed in May and June had reduced flower count but not flower size.

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A.W. Stretch, M.K. Ehlenfeldt, and V. Brewster

In vitro conidia production by Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi (Reade) Honey, the cause of mummy berry disease in blueberry, was significantly enhanced by cellulose acetate membranes placed on the surface of V-8 juice agar for most of the pathogen isolates tested, compared to V-8 juice agar alone. Temperature and light affected conidia production, but the effects were not consistent. Higher temperature (22 vs. 15 °C) yielded better sporulation, but the effects of light environment were variable. When 55 isolates from various sources were rated visually for sporulation on cellulose acetate membranes at 22 °C under ambient light/dark cycles, a wide range of conidium production was observed, and three of 55 isolates (6%) were identified as having very high conidia production.

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Zhongchun Wang and Bruno Quebedeaux

One-year-old `Gala' apple trees which experienced either water stress (WS) or no stress (CK) were exposed to a 60-min pulse of 14CO2. The distributions of newly-fixed 14C-photosynthates and total individual carbohydrates (both labelled and non-labelled) were monitored every 2 or 4 h for a 24-h period. During the 24-h period, half the WS and CK plants received 24-h continuous light and the other half received a 12-h photoperiod (8:00 am to 8:00 PM). WS stimulated the 14C partitioning into sucrose (suc) during the first 2-4 h period while the partitioning into glucose (glu) and fructose (fru) was inhibited in mature leaves. WS significantly inhibited the partitioning of 14C into starch. At the end of the 24-h period, a greater partitioning of 14C into sorbitol (sor) was observed under WS in leaves, stems and roots. WS lowered starch levels in all plant parts and the dark cycle further stimulated starch breakdown. Starch breakdown during the dark cycle resulted in the accumulation of glu and suc but not sor whereas in light sor accumulated with higher sorbitol/starch ratios. Light and energy requirements for sor synthesis and metabolism will be discussed.

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G.W. Stutte, N.C. Yorio, C.L. Mackowiak, and R.M. Wheeler

This experiment was performed to test the hypothesis that tuber formation in potato is inhibited by short-term increases in root-zone temperature. Micro-propagated potato cv. Norland plantlets were grown in recirculating nutrient film culture under daylight fluorescent lamps at 350 μmol·m–2·s–1 PPF with at 20/16°C thermocycle at 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2 under inductive (12-hr light/12-hr dark) or non-inductive (12-hr light/12-hr dark with a 15-min light break 6 hr into the cycle) photoperiods for 42 days. Root-zone treatments consisted of continuous 18°C, continuous 24°C, 18°C with a 24°C cycle between 14 and 21 DAP (prior to tuber initiation), and 18°C with a 24°C cycle between 21 and 28 DAP (during the period of tuber initiation). The root-zone temperature was maintained with a recirculating, temperature-controlled, heat-exchange coil submerged in each nutrient solution. Warm root-zone temperatures did not inhibit tuber formation under an inductive photoperiod. The non-inductive photoperiod resulted in a 65% reduction in tuber biomass compared to the inductive photoperiod. Continuous 24°C and exposure to 24°C prior to tuber initiation reduced tuber formation an additional 40% under the non-inductive photoperiod. Both continuous and transient 24°C root-zone temperatures increased biomass partitioning to root/stolons compared to the 18°C treatment under both photoperiods. Total plant biomass was highest in plants exposed to continuous 24°C under both photoperiods. Results suggest that transient episodes of warm (24°C) root-zone temperature do not inhibit tuber formation in potato under inductive photoperiods. However, transient episodes of warm (24°C) root-zone temperatures did interact with stage of development under the non-inductive photoperiod.

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D.G. Mortley, P.A. Loretan, W.A. Hill, C.K. Bonsi, and C.E. Morris

Two sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] genotypes (`Georgia Jet' and the breeding clone TI-155) were grown at 12-, 15-, 18-, and 21-h light/12-, 9-, 6-, 3-h dark cycles, respectively, to evaluate their growth and elemental concentration responses to duration and amount of daily lighting. Vine cuttings (15 cm long) of both genotypes were grown in rectangular nutrient film technique channels for 120 days. Conditions were as follows: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) mean 427 μmol·m–2·s–1, 28C day/22C night air cycle, and 70% ± 5% relative humidity. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-strength Hoagland's solution. Storage root count per plant and per unit area, yield (in grams per square meters per day), and harvest index increased, while production efficiency (in grams per mole) decreased with increased daily PPF. Stomatal conductance for both genotypes declined with increased daily PPF. Leaves were smallest for both genotypes at the 21-h light period, while storage root yield declined as leaf area index increased. Except for a linear decrease in leaf N and K with increased light period, elemental concentration was not significantly influenced.

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R.M. Wheeler, K.A. Corey, J.C. Sager, C. L. Mackowiak, and W.M. Knott

Soybean plants [Glycine max (L.) Merr. cv. McCall] were grown from seed to harvest (90 days) in NASA's Biomass Production Chamber. The chamber provides approximately 20 m2 of growing area with an atmospheric volume of 113 m3. Photosynthesis and respiration rates of the stand were tracked by monitoring CO2 increase during the 12-h dark period and the subsequent drawdown to controlled set point (1000 ppm) when the lamps were turned on each day. Stand photosynthesis [under 875 μmol m-2 s-1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)] peaked at 35 μmol m-2 s-1 at 30 to 35 days after planting (DAP) and averaged 22 μmol m-2 s-1 throughout the life cycle. Dark period respiration peaked near 8 μmol m-2 s-1 at 30 to 35 DAP and averaged nearly 5 μmol m-2 s-1 throughout the life cycle. Prior to full canopy closure near 30 DAP, the light compensation point (LCP) for stand photosynthesis was lass than 100 μmol m-2 s-1 PPF; by 54 DAP the LCP had increasad to 175 μmol m-2 s-1. Stand transpiration rates peaked at 8.2 L m-2 day-1 at 40 to 45 DAP and averaged 4.3 L m-2 day-1 throughout growth.

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Suping Zhou, Roger J. Sauvé, Zong Liu, Sasikiran Reddy, Sarabjit Bhatti, Simon D. Hucko, Yang Yong, Tara Fish, and Theodore W. Thannhauser

treatment, tomato seedlings were transferred into two illuminated incubators (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA), which were programmed at 25 °C and light cycle of 16/8 h (day/night). After 1 week, the incubator for heat treatment was reprogrammed to

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Will Neily, Peter R. Hicklenton, and David N. Kristie

Stem elongation rates (SER) in snapdragon end zinnia were recorded in 3 DIF regimes (+5, -5, and 0; Daily average: 18C) using both high resolution (linear transducers), and low resolution techniques. Three developmental stages were chosen for study: Stage 1 was vegetative growth, preceding the formation of a flower bud. Stage 2 was the period from bud formation to preliminary expansion. Stage 3 was the period just before anthesis.

Low resolution measurements showed a decrease in snapdragon height in response to a negative DIF. A negative DIF was less effective in reducing zinnia height especially after the third developmental stage. Final plant height for both species was not affected by placing plants in the 3 DIF regimes for 1 week during the growth cycle.

Snapdragon and zinnia displayed unique diurnal SER patterns. Snapdragon showed a large peak in SER at the start of the dark period followed by a gradual decline. SER increased again during the light period. Most growth in vegetative zinnias occurred around the light/dark transition. This peak growth tended to shift to the night period as buds were formed and flowering proceeded. High resolution measurements revealed a reduction in SER for both species at negative DIP; greatest decreases occurred during the night.

DIF exerts an influence on diurnal SER in both snapdragon and zinnia, despite well defined differences in SER patterns. Negative DIF suppresses the SER of both species at all 3 developmental stages, but must be applied consistently in order to produce significant differences in final plant height.