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Sandra A. Balch, Cynthia B. McKenney, and Dick L. Auld

Geographically referenced information is an important aspect in the collection of wild plant species. It provides detailed information about the collection site as well as a method of relocating plant populations. In one project, native plants were collected and analyzed for the presence of gamma-linolenic acid, a valuable fatty acid used in medicinal products. In a second project, native wild-flowers were collected and evaluated for potential use as drought-tolerant ornamental landscape plants. All native plants were initially tagged in the spring while in bloom. Each collection site was revisited later for seed collection. Due to a lack of landmarks in the collection area, a GeoExplorer Global Positioning System (GPS) unit was used to capture coordinate data of latitude, longitude, and altitude. This was added to the passport file of each collection site. Differential correction was used to increase accuracy of GPS data to within a range of 10 m. ARC/INFO software was used to assemble, store, and display collection data in map form. This method has been used to document over 300 accessions and identify areas with a high frequency of plants possessing desired characteristics.

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Geeta K. Nanaiah and Jeffrey A. Anderson

Electrolyte leakage (EL) and ethane:ethylene ratio (EER) responses of pepper (Capsicum annuum L. Early Calwonder) leaf disks to temperature stresses were in close agreement. Midpoints of sigmoidal response curves following freezing stress were -4.6 and -4.4C for EL and EER, and 49.0 and 48.8C following high temperature stress. Evolution of ethane and EL were measured from disks infiltrated with a saturation series of 18-carbon fatty acids ranging from 0 to 3 double bonds. Only linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) stimulated ethane production and EL. In a second fatty acid experiment with 18- and 20-carbon acids with a double bond 3 (n-3) or 6 (n-6) carbons from the nonpolar end of the molecule, n-3 fatty acids stimulated more ethane than n-6 acids with the same number of carbons. Trienoic 18-carbon fatty acids stimulated more ethane than trienoic 20-carbon acids. Both 18-carbon acids yielded significantly greater EL than controls. Propyl gallate, a free radical scavenger, reduced ethane production without decreasing EL or K+ leakage.

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Lihang Xie, Lixin Niu, Yanlong Zhang, Min Jin, Duo Ji, and Xiaoxiao Zhang

The effects of different pollen sources on fruit and seed characteristics of Paeonia ostii ‘Feng Dan’ were investigated using analysis of three different pollination treatments and pollen sources from fifteen cultivars in two successive years. The results showed that self-pollination decreased fruit setting, the number of seeds per fruit, seed volume, seed and kernel weights, and the linoleic acid (LA) concentration in the seed oil, but increased the concentration of oleic acid (OA) compared with cross-pollination. Among those pollen donors, P. suffruticosa ‘Yinhong Qiaodui’ produced the highest fruit set (87.5%); the lowest fruit set was obtained with P. suffruticosa ‘Mo Run Jue Lun’ (44.33%). The most seeds per fruit were achieved by P. suffruticosa ‘Mochi Jin Hui’. P. suffruticosa ‘Dahong Baozhu’ produced the largest fruit, which contained larger and heaviest seeds. The oil extraction ratio (26% to 31.6%) and the concentration of three major unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) in seed oil also significantly differed among pollen sources. The content of OA, LA, and α-linolenic acid (ALA) ranged from 13.82 to 24.79, 12.09 to 21.84, and 23.50 to 38.64 g/100 g crude oil, respectively. Overall, pollen source has clear effects on seed yield and even on fatty acid (FA) composition of seed oil in tree peony.

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Shiow Y. Wang and Miklos Faust

Composition changes in galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols in apple shoots (Malus domestica Borkh. cv. Red Delicious) from August to April were determined. The predominant fatty acids in the membrane lipids of apple shoots were palmitic acid (C16:0), linoleic acid (C18:2), and linolenic acid (C18:3). The major galactolipid components in apple shoots were monogalactosyl diglyceride (MGDG) and digalactosyl diglyceride (DGDG). The amount of MGDG and DGDG increased from autumn to spring. Galactolipids contained highly unsaturated fatty adds, mainly linoleic (18:2) and linolenic (18:3) acid. The major individual phospholipids were phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethaeolamine (PE). β -Sitosterol and sitosteryl ester were the predominant sterols. The phloem contained higher amounts of galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols than did the xylem tissue. There was a significant increase in the content of galactolipids and phospholipids and onsaturation of their fatty acids during cold acclimation. A decrease in the ratio of free sterols to phospholipids also occurred in apple shoots toward cold winter months. Composition changes in galactolipids, phospholipids, and sterols that were associated with growth cessation, defoliation and cold acclimation from fall to winter, were mostly reversed following deacclimation in spring.

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Ashraf Abdallah, Miguel H. Ahumada, and Thomas M. Gradziel

Seed of California almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb, syn. P. amygdalus Batsch, and P. communis (L.) Arcangeli, non-Huds.] genotypes contained very low saturated fatty acids, high monounsaturated fatty acids, and low polyunsaturated fatty acids. Kernel oil consisted primarily of five fatty acids: palmetic, palmetoleic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic. Linolenic acid was only present in amounts of <0.02% and only in a few samples. Small but significant differences among genotypes and sampling sites were found in the proportions of palmetic, palmetoleic, and stearic fatty acids. The major differences in fatty acid composition among genotypes was found in the proportions of oleic, a monounsaturated fatty acid, and linoleic, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The proportion of oleic acid was highest, ranging from ≈62% to 76%, and was highly and negatively correlated with linoleic acid levels. Usable genetic variation and a significant genotype × environment interaction were identified for oil content and composition. The introgression of new germplasm from peach and related species does not appear to reduce oil quantity or quality, and may offer opportunities for further genetic improvement of kernel oil composition.

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Philip G. Gibson, Gregory L. Reighard, Gary L. Powell, and Thomas C. Jenkins

Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)] trees infected with peach latent mosaic viroid (PLMVd) have been associated with phenological changes including delay in bloom, reduced shoot vigor, and early autumn defoliation. In order to further characterize the changes occurring in trees inoculated with PLMVd, total fatty acid content was measured for floral buds during release from dormancy in `Coronet' peach trees. Palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and linolenic (18:3) acids were the major fatty acids in dormant and releasing peach buds of both control and PLMVd-inoculated (VI) trees. The degree of unsaturation increased immediately following release from dormancy in both the control and VI trees. However, desaturation of linoleic acid to linolenic acid was significantly inhibited in VI trees, which was accompanied by a concomitant delay in the resumption of growth. The disparity between the control and VI trees in the progression of increased fatty acid unsaturation continued through petal fall. The presence of PLMVd in `Coronet' peach trees slowed membrane fatty acid desaturation during release from dormancy and suggested that metabolic pathways involving fatty acid desaturation were linked to the delayed phenology of the VI trees.

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Geeta K. Nanaiah and Jeffrey A. Anderson

Electrolyte leakage (EL) and ethane: ethylene ratio (EER) responses of pepper (Capsicum annuum L. `Early Calwonder') leaf disks to temperature stresses were in close agreement. Midpoints of sigmoidal response curves following freezing stress were -4.6 and -4.4C for EL and EER, respectively, and 49.0 and 48.7C following high-temperature stress. Leaf disks exposed to temperatures below -4C in freezing experiments were induced to freeze while disks held at -4C and higher avoided freezing by supercooling. Evolution of ethane and EL were measured from disks infiltrated with a saturation series of 18-C fatty acids ranging from 0 to 3 double bonds. Only cis-9,12,15 linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) stimulated ethane production and EL. In a second fatty acid experiment with 18 and 20-C acids with a double bond 3 (n-3) or 6 (n-6) carbons from the nonpolar end of the molecule, n-3 fatty acids stimulated more ethane than n-6 acids with the same number of carbons. Trienoic 18-C fatty acids stimulated more ethane than trienoic 20-C acids. Both 18-C trienoic acids yielded significantly greater EL, while values from 20-C fatty acids were only slightly higher than those of controls. Propyl gallate, a free radical scavenger, reduced ethane production without decreasing EL or K+ leakage.

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Usha Rani Palaniswamy, Richard McAvoy, and Bernard Bible

Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA) are essential for normal human growth, development, and disease prevention. Purslane (Portulaca oleraceae L.) is an excellent source of the O3FA α-linolenic acid (LNA)—with higher concentrations than any green leafy-vegetable examined to date—and is being considered for cultivation (by USDA-ARS) in an effort to improve the balance of essential fatty acids in the western diet. Twenty-fi ve-day-old seedlings of both a green-leafed and a golden-leafed type of purslane were transplanted into a closed hydroponic system. Nitrogen, at 200 ppm, was provided as NO3 and NH4 forms to yield NO3: NH4 ratios of 1:0, 0.25:0.75, 0.5:0.5, and 0.75:0.25. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with five replications. The experiment was repeated. Young, fully expanded leaves were harvested 18 days after treatment initiation, frozen (–60°C), and then analyzed for fatty acids using gas chromatography. Although the two types of purslane did not differ in LNA concentration, the green-leafed purslane produced greater total dry mass than the golden-type. On a leaf dry mass basis, plants grown with a NO3:NH4 ratio of 0.5:0.5 produced 241% and 53% greater LNA than plants grown with NO3:NH4 ratios of 1:0 and 0.75:0.25, respectively. Plants grown with NO3:NH4 ratios of 1:0 and 0.25:0.75 produced similar leaf LNA concentrations. Total dry mass was not affected by the nitrogen treatments.

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E.A. Baldwin

More than 400 volatile components have been identified in tomato fruit, of which only 10–16 are likely to be important contributors to tomato flavor/aroma based on odor threshold data. Tomato volatiles are grouped as lipid-derived, carotenoid-related, amino acid-related, lignin-related, or of uncertain origin. These flavor components are either present in intact fruit or formed after blending due to mixing of previously compartmentalized enzymes and substrates. Lipid-derived volatiles are the biggest group containing cis-3-hexenal and hexanal, which are quantitatively the major volatile compounds in tomato fruit. cis-3-Hexenal and -ionone have the highest odor thresholds among tomato volatile compounds so far identified. Most of these compounds increase during ripening (or the enzymes, substrates and conditions develop that result in increased levels after blending) and appear to be related to ethylene production. Biosynthetic pathways have been established or suggested for most of the important flavor components, of which lipid degradation is the best-understood. Linoleic and linolenic acids are oxidized to hydroperoxides by lipoxygenase, which are then cleaved to volatile C6 aldehydes (hexanal and cis-3-hexenal, respectively). There are two membrane-associated lipoxygenases (tomloxA and B), of which tomloxB appears to be fruit-specific and increases during ripening. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) has been demonstrated to catalyze the interconversion of trans-hexene-2-al and -2-ol and of trans-hexene-2-al, hexanal and hexanol. The enzyme product of the Adh2 gene is induced by 3% O2, and is developmentally expressed in fruit aside from anoxic induction. Naturally occurring mutants and genetically engineered tomatoes with reduced ethylene production, color and/or retarded ripening patterns show changes in volatile concentrations.

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Philip G. Gibson, Gregory L. Reighard, Gary L. Powell, and Thomas C. Jenkins

Graft-transmissible agents found in `Ta Tao 5' peach have been associated with phenological changes, including delay in bloom, reduced shoot vigor, and early autumn defoliation. Peach Latent Mosaic Viroid (PLMVd) is present as a graft-transmissible agent in `Ta Tao 5'. In order to further characterize the changes occurring in trees exposed to PLMVd from `Ta Tao 5' grafts, total fatty acid content was measured for peach buds during chilling accumulation and release from dormancy in `Coronet' peach trees and `Coronet' trees treated with `Ta Tao 5' bud grafts. Palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), oleic (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and linolenic (18:3) acids were the major fatty acids in dormant and releasing peach buds of both the controls and treated trees. The degree of unsaturation increased immediately following completion of chilling requirement in both the untreated controls and in the treated trees. However, the desaturation of linoleic acid to linolenic acid was significantly inhibited in the trees treated with `Ta Tao 5' bud grafts, which was accompanied by a concomitant delay in the resumption of growth. The disparity between the control and treated trees in the trend toward increased fatty acid unsaturation continued through the resumption of growth. The changes in degree of fatty acid saturation correlated with a response to forcing conditions and the release from dormancy. The presence of PLMVd in `Coronet' peach trees affects membrane fatty acid saturation during chilling accumulation and dormancy release. These findings suggest that metabolic pathways involving fatty acid desaturation are linked to the phenotypic variation in trees exposed to PLMVd.