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Dean E. Knavel and Robert L. Houtz

Plants of Main Dwarf, a short-internode mutant of the normal-internode `Mainstream' muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.), have shorter internodes, fewer nodes, less total vine length, less total dry weight, smaller leaves, increased chlorophyll concentrations, increased specific leaf dry weight, and increased ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (EC 4.1.1.39, rubisco) activity per unit leaf area than `Mainstream' plants. Main Dwarf plants produce an equal number of fruit as `Mainstream' plants but are only half their size. Many of the plant and fruit characteristics for F1(Main Dwarf × `Mainstream') are similar to those of `Mainstream', except for greater leaf chlorophyll and rubisco activity per unit leaf area. The F1 (`Mainstream' × Main Dwarf) produced fewer and lower weight fruit than its reciprocal, F1 (Main Dwarf × `Mainstream').

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Jun Zhu, Duane P. Bartholomew, and Guillermo Goldstein

Despite the potential impact of rising global CO2 levels, only a limited number of studies have been conducted on the effects of ambient and elevated CO2 on plants having Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). To our knowledge, there are no studies for pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.], the most commercially important CAM plant. Pineapple plants were grown at CO2 levels of ≈330 (ambient) and ≈730 (elevated) μmol·mol-1 in open-top chambers for 4 months. The mean air temperature in the chambers was ≈39 °C day/24 °C night. Average plant dry mass at harvest was 180 g per plant at elevated CO2 and 146 g per plant at ambient CO2. More biomass was partitioned to stem and root but less to leaf for plants grown at elevated CO2; leaf thickness was 11% greater at elevated than at ambient CO2. The diurnal difference in leaf titratable acidity (H+) at elevated CO2 reached 347 mmol·m-2, which was up to 42% greater than levels in plants grown in ambient CO2. Carbon isotopic discrimination (Δ) of plants was 3.75% at ambient CO2 and 3.17% at elevated CO2, indicating that CO2 uptake via the CAM pathway was enhanced more by elevated CO2 than uptake via the C3 pathway. The nonphotochemical quenching coefficient (qN) of leaves was ≈45% lower in the early morning for plants grown at elevated than at ambient CO2, while afternoon values were comparable. The qN data suggested that the fixation of external CO2 was enhanced by elevated CO2 in the morning but not in the afternoon when leaf temperature was ≥40 °C. We found no effect of CO2 levels on leaf N or chlorophyll content. Pineapple dry matter gain was enhanced by elevated CO2, mainly due to increased CO2 dark fixation in environments with day temperatures high enough to suppress C3 photosynthesis.

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Daniel I. Leskovar and Daniel J. Cantliffe

Abbreviations: AW, alternate watering; CW, continuous watering; DAS, days after seeding, MDG, mean days of germination; NAR, net assimilation rate; RCBD, randomized complete-block design; RGR, relative growth rate. 1 Current address: Texas Agr. Expt

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Weicheng Xu, Faxian Su, Guangchen Zhang, Jianwei Hou, Sheng Zhao, Yuan Deng, Paul E. Read, and Guochen Yang

Sodium hydrogen sulfate (NaHSO3) in aqueous solution was sprayed on bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) plants beginning at first anthesis to test its effects as a photorespiration represser and resulting effects on yield. NaHSO3 sprays promoted plant height, stem diameter, fruit number and plant weight and increased the net assimilation rate, thus increasing yield. Concentrations of 60, 100, 120, 130, 200, 240 and 300 ppm were all effective, with 200 ppm optimum. Sprays repeated for three times at 7 day intervals were more effective in increasing growth and yield of bell pepper than spraying once or twice. This technique has gained acceptance as a practical method for improving production of bell pepper in Northeast China. Additional research is underway to further refine this practice.

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Hector R. Valenzuela, Stephen K. O'Hair, and Bruce Schaffer

Cocoyam was grown in 100%, 50%, or 30% daylight to determine the effect of light intensity on growth characteristics at various stages of plant development. Beginning ≈ 2 months after planting, growth was monitored at three or four monthly intervals. Plants grown in shade had more petiole and leaf lamina growth and extension, as well as increased top: corm plus cormel ratio (dry-weight basis), than plants grown in 100% daylight. Shade-grown plants had a higher leaf area index and specific leaf area than sun-grown plants. Sun-grown plants had a higher net assimilation rate and specific leaf density than shade-grown plants. Linear equations were developed to predict lamina area through measurements of leaf lamina width and length, petiole length, and lamina dry weight.

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N. Soltani, A.R. Harmon, and J.L. Anderson

`Crimson Sweet' watermelon plants grown under various mulches and rowcovers were harvested weekly and analyzed for absolute growth rate (AGR), relative growth rate (RGR), net assimilation rate (NAR), leaf area ratio (LAR), specific leaf area (SLA), specific leaf weight (SLW), leaf weight ratio (LWR), leaf area duration (LAD), biomass duration (BMD), and runner growth. Hourly air and soil temperatures were monitored inside the rowcovers. Vispore and Reemay rowcovers generally showed greater mean AGR, LAR, SLA, LAD, and BMD than Agronet black-clear and black mulches. No significant differences in LWR were found between mulched and rowcovered plants. Plants under mulches and rowcovers showed significant increases in AGR, RGR, NAR, LAR, SLA, LAD, and BMD over noncovered (bare ground) plants. Longest runner length was highly correlated with total runner length. Growth analyses depicted decreased growth rate inside the rowcovers during the hottest weeks of the summer, and generally correlated well with the earliness and total yield of the crop.

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Thomas E. Marler and Yasmina Zozor

Growth and leaf gas-exchange responses of carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) seedlings to wind or seismic stress were studied under glasshouse conditions. Forty days of twice daily seismic stress applied for 10 seconds consistently reduced carambola height, leaf area, dry weight, relative growth rate, and leaf-area ratio, but increased trunk cross-sectional area compared with plants receiving no seismic stress. Fifty-one days of wind load reduced plant height, leaf area, dry weight, trunk cross-sectional area, net assimilation rate, relative growth rate, leaf-area ratio, and stomatal conductance compared with plants receiving no wind stress. Morphological appearance was similar for plants receiving wind or seismic stress. Net CO2 assimilation of carambola leaflets was reduced by 30 minutes of wind load for up to 6 hours following the stress. Results suggest that wind may reduce carambola growth at least partially by influencing leaf gas exchange or by the mechanical stress associated with wind.

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Victor A Khan, C. Stevens, T. Mafolo, C. Bonsi, J.Y. Lu, E.G. Rhoden, M. A. Wilson, M. K. Kabwe, and Y. Adeyeye

TU-82-155 and `Georgia-Jet' early maturing. `Carver II'. TU-1892 and `Rojo-Blanco' late maturing sweepotato cultivars were evaluated in the field for: leaf area index (LAI), net assimilation rate, foliage crop growth rate (FCGR), storage roots crop growth rate (RCGR) and alpha a (the mean relative growth rate in dry wt to the mean relative growth rate in leaf area over a time interval) or the partitioning of assimilates. A split plot design was used and plants were sampled at 6, 8, 11 and 16 wk after transplanting. The results from study showed that LAI reached maximum development 8 and 12 wk after transplanting for early and late maturing cultivars, respectively. All cultivars irrespective to maturity groups showed a reduction in net assimilation rate 6 wk after transplanting while FCGR for early maturing cultivars gradually declined 6 wk after transplanting and varied among late maturing cultivars. `Carver II' showed increases in FCGR up to 11 wk after transplanting then rapidly declined while `Rojo-Blanco' and TU-1892 began to decline 8 and 6 wk after transplanting, respectively. RCGR showed rapid increases (100 g.m /area/week) and (150 g/m /area/week) for early and late maturing cultivars beginning 6 wk after transplanting and this increase continued until the 12th and 8 th wk after transplanting for early and late maturing cultivars, respectively. Cultivars from both maturity groups began to produce surplus assimilates (Alpha a) 6 wk after transplanting. which coincided with the rapid increases in RCGR at the same time. Thus indicating that storage root enlargement begins after the plant had accumulated a surplus of assimilates.

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Victor A. Kahn, C. Stevens, T. Mafolo, C. Bonsi, J.Y. Lu, E.G. Rhoden, M.A. Wilson, M.J.E. Brown, K. Kabwe, and Y. Adeyeye

TU-82-155 and `Georgia-Jet' early maturing. `Carver II', TU-1892 and `Rojo-Blanco' late maturing sweetpotato, cultivars were evaluated in the field for 0.20 and 40% vine removal (VR) at 8 wk after transplanting. Parameters measured were: leaf area index (LAI) recovery, net assimilation rate, foliage crop growth rate (FCGR), storage roots crop growth rate (RCGR). alpha a (the mean relative growth rate in dry wt to the mean relative growth rate in leaf area over a time interval) or the partitioning of assimilates, total and marketable yield. A split. splitplot design was used and plants were sampled at 3 and 8 wk following VR. Except for TU-82-155 all cultivars showed significant LAI recovery above the control at 3 and 8 wk after vine removal when 20% of the vines were removed while at the 40% VR, only 'Georgia-Jet'. TU-1892 and 'Carver II' showed significant increases in LAI for the same periods. Net assimilation rate showed significant interactions while FCGR was not significantly affected by either 20 or 40 VR compared to the control at 3 or 8 wk after VR. RCGR was significantly affected by both levels of VR at 3 and 8 wk after VR and surplus assimilates (alpha a) showed significant interactions between cultivars and % VR. Told yield declined for all cultivars irrespective to maturity groups with the sharpest decrease being at the 20% VR. All cultivars except TU-82-155 showed a decrease in marketable yield, the increase in marketable yield of TU-82-155 was due to a lower non-marketable yield.

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Douglas D. Archbold

Plants of a diverse collection of Fragaria clones from a range of native habitats representing F. chiloensis, F. virginiana, F. virginiana glauca, and F. vesca, were grown in a controlled environment at one of three day/night temperatures, 15/15, 23/15, or 31/15°C. Relative growth rate (RGR) and net assimilation rate (NAR) were estimated from plant leaf areas and total dry weights. At 23/15°C, the species mean RGR and NAR values were comparable although clones within species exhibited significant variation. At 15/15 and 31/15°C, RGR and NAR for species were lower than at 23/15°C. At 31/15°C, chiloensis and vesca mean values were reduced more than the others, to less than 50% the 23/15°C values. Also, NAR declined most for chiloensis, to 45% the 23/15°C value. At 15/15°C, virginiana had much higher RGR and NAR values than the other species, and its NAR mean value was greater than at 23/15°C. Although the species means would suggest that there are interspecific differences in temperature response, intraspecific variability was also large. Thus, classifying Fragaria species by temperature response may be an over-generalization.