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B.W. Roberts and Jeff Anderson

Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) was grown in 1989, 1990, and 1991. Cultural modifications were used in an effort to alleviate heat stress, improve fruit set, reduce sunscald, and improve yield quantity and quality. Treatments included bare soil, plastic mulch (both black and white), straw mulch, living rye (Secale cereale) mulch, and row covers (white and black) suspended above the foliage. Soil temperature at 2.5, 10, and 20 cm, soil moisture at 20 cm, and yield parameters were recorded. In general, plots containing white rowcovers produced good yields each year, straw mulched plots produced good yields two out of three years, plots with black plastic mulch gave poor yields two out of three years, and plots with living rye gave consistently poor yields. Yield inconsistency from year to year was correlated with, and can be explained by, soil temperatures. Sunscald was reduced by rowcovers.

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Lihua Fan, Jun Song, Charles F. Forney, and Michael A. Jordan

Ethanol concentration and chlorophyll fluorescence (CF) were measured as signs of heat stress in apple fruit [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. `McIntosh', `Cortland', `Jonagold', and `Northern Spy' apples were placed in trays and exposed to 46 °C for 0, 4, 8, or 12 hours. Following treatments, fruit were stored in air at 0 °C and evaluated after 0, 1, 2, or 3 months. Ethanol and ethylene production, CF, peel and flesh browning, firmness, skin color, soluble solids, and titratable acidity were measured. Increases in ethanol were apparent immediately following 12-hour heat treatments as well as after 3 months. After 3 months, ethanol concentrations were 16-, 52-, 6-, and 60-fold higher in `McIntosh', `Cortland', `Jonagold', and `Northern Spy' apples than in controls, respectively. The concentrations of ethanol accumulated reflected the degree of heat-induced fruit injury. Heat treatments reduced ethylene production relative to control values. After 3 months of storage ethylene production of fruit exposed to 46 °C for 12 h was <0.48 μmol·kg-1·h-1 compared to >4.3 μmol·kg-1·h-1 for controls. Heat treatments also reduced CF which was expressed as Fv/Fm, where Fv is the difference between the maximal and the minimal fluorescence (Fm - Fo), and Fm is the maximal fluorescence. After 3 months storage at 0 °C, Fv/Fm was ≈0.2 in fruit held at 46 °C for 12 hours compared with 0.5-0.6 for control fruit. Exposure to 46 °C for 12 hours caused severe peel and flesh browning in all cultivars. Severity of peel and flesh browning increased with increasing duration of heat treatment and subsequent storage at 0 °C. `Northern Spy' apple fruit were most susceptible to heat stress based on the degree of flesh browning. Heat treatments of 8 and 12 hours reduced firmness of `McIntosh', `Cortland', and `Northern Spy', but not `Jonagold' apples. Hue angle of the green side of fruit was also reduced in `Cortland', Jonagold' and `Northern Spy' apples receiving the 8- and 12-hour treatments. Heat treatments caused a decrease in fruit tiratable acidity, but had no effect on soluble solids content. The increase in ethanol production and decrease in CF correlated with heat-induced injury, and were apparent before browning was visually apparent. Ethanol and CF have the potential to be used to nondestructively predict the severity of injury that develops during storage.

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Kerry M. Strope and Mark S. Strefeler

Fifty-three commercial New Guinea Impatiens cultivars (Impatiens hawkeri Bull.) from six different breeding series were tested for level of heat tolerance. Five floral (flower number, flower length, flower width, floral dry weight, and flower bud number) and five vegetative characteristics (leaf dry weight, stem dry weight, total dry weight, number of nodes, and number of branches) were evaluated with emphasis placed on continued flowering under long term heat stress. Significant differences among cultivars were found in each data category (P ≤ .0001). Flower number varied from 0 to 6, flower length varied from 10 to 51 mm, flower width varied from 10 to 47 mm, floral dry weight varied from 0 to 0.5 g, and flower bud number varied from 0 to 14. Four heat tolerant (Celebration Cherry Red, Celebration Rose, Lasting Impressions Shadow, and Paradise Moorea) and three nonheattolerant (Lasting Impressions Twilight, Danziger Blues, and Pure Beauty Prepona) cultivars were identified using a Weighted Base Selection Index. These cultivars were used as parents in a full diallel crossing block with reciprocals and selfs. One hundred seedlings from each of 49 crosses were evaluated for heat tolerance. General and specific combining abilities of the parents were evaluated as was heritability. It was found that the four heat tolerant cultivars had higher general combining abilities. Heat tolerance has low heritability and is controlled by many genes. Superior genotypes were identified (selection intensity of 0.05) and retained for further evaluation and breeding efforts.

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Lorna C. Wilkins, William R. Graves, and Alden M. Townsend

Use of cultivars resistant to high soil temperature could improve the performance of urban trees. The objective of this project was to examine selections of red maple (Acer rubrum L. and A. x freemanii E. Murray) for genotypic differences in resistance to root-zone heat stress. Development of roots and shoots from rooted single-node cuttings of seven genotypes grown in solution culture was optimal at about 28C. Shoot extension stopped within 3 weeks and terminal buds formed on plants of all genotypes at 36C. In a second experiment, the influence of 34C root-zone temperature on development varied significantly among six genotypes. Formation of terminal buds at 34C was observed only on plants of cv. Morgan and cv. Red Sunset. The reduction in new dry matter at 34C compared to plants at 28C ranged from 21% for cv. Schlesinger to 69% for cv. Morgan. We conclude that genotypes of red maple differ in resistance to high root-zone temperature.

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David J. Weston*, David J. Weston, Ginger A. Swire-Clark, and Wm. Vance Baird

Rubisco, the primary enzyme governing carbon assimilation, is dependent upon Rubisco activase. The heat sensitivity of activase, including its expression and thermal stability, varies among species and is considered a key component governing photosynthetic performance in response to moderate heat stress (32-35 °C). However, the Rubsico-Rubsico activase association has yet to be examined among woody plants or varieties within a species, the understanding of which will assist cultivar improvement strategies. Using molecular and physiological techniques to study the role of activase in thermal regulation of photosynthesis, we found that net photosynthesis decreased in Acer rubrum L. `Northwood' at 31°C, whereas the southern variety, A. rubrum `Florida Flame', maintained optimal assimilation rates up to 36 °C. Additionally, the maximal carboxylation rate of Rubisco (Vcmax) at 35 °C was 31.7% lower for Northwood in comparison to Florida Flame. The cloned activase sequences from both cultivars show 97% nucleotide homology and 98% amino acid identity, indicating the potential for similar protein product formation and function. Interestingly, sequence analysis indicates that both cultivars produce at least two isoforms of activase derived from alternative transcript splicing. We will discuss activase mRNA processing and protein isoform abundance in relation to Rubisco kinetic properties as a function of heat tolerance in these two thermally contrasting woody plant genotypes.

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Wayne L. Schrader

Artichoke is a cool-season perennial crop that is grown as an annual from seed in southern California. Growing artichokes as annuals from seed allows growers to harvest during the winter from November to March. Artichoke seed is planted in May, transplants are moved to the field in July, and harvesting begins as early as November in years with relatively cool fall weather. Hot fall weather during September and October suppresses plant growth and causes premature flowering, which lowers yield and average bud size. Plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments were evaluated in annual artichokes to determine if they could reduce the adverse effects of hot weather during September and October. Treatments included multiple applications of apogee (gibberellin inhibitor), retain (ethylene inhibitor), apogee + retain, cytokinin, and control plots. Harvestable buds were counted as a measure of earlier flowering induced by hot weather. Apogee and cytokinin show promise in reducing heat stress during hot fall artichoke production. Other PGR treatments increased the number of harvestable buds compared to control plots.

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Jun Song, Lihua Fan, Charles F. Forney, and Michael A. Jordan

Ethanol production and chlorophyll fluorescence were measured as signals of freezing and heat stress in apple fruit. `Cortland' and `Jonagold' apples were held at –8.5 °C for 0, 6, 12 or 24 h (freezing treatments), or at 46 °C for 0, 4, 8 or 12 h (heat treatments). Following treatments, fruit were stored at 0 °C and evaluated after 0, 1, 2, or 3 months. Following storage, fruit samples were kept for 12 h at 20 °C and then analyzed for ethanol production, chlorophyll fluorescence, and visible injury. Severity of flesh browning increased with increasing treatment time for both freezing and heat treatments. Freezing for 24 h and heating for 12 h caused severe flesh browning in both cultivars. Severity of heat-induced browning increased during storage. Increases in ethanol production were apparent 12 h following treatments and reflected the degree of stress-induced fruit injury. After 2 months of storage, ethanol concentrations peaked and were as much as 400-fold greater than that of controls. These stress treatments also reduced ethylene production and chlorophyll fluorescence. The degree of increase in stress-induced ethanol production and decrease in chlorophyll fluorescence correlated with stress-induced injury and could be used to predict the severity of injury that develops during storage. Other volatile production and their relationship to fruit stress will also be discussed.

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Sookhee Park and Jiwan P. Palta

High temperature effects potato production by reducing overall growth and partitioning of photosynthate to tubers. Recent studies from our laboratory demonstrated that these effects can be reduced by increasing rhizospheric calcium. This present study was conducted to determine if this mitigation of heat stress effect on potato is due to modulation of heat shock protein by calcium during stress. An inert medium and nutrient delivery system capable of maintaining precise rhizospheric calcium levels were used. Biomass was measured and protein samples were collected from potato leaves. Using electroblotting, heat shock proteins were detected by antibodies to Hsp21 and Hsp70 (obtained from Dr. Elizabeth Vierling). Injury by prolonged heat stress was mitigated at calcium concentration >5 ppm. The calcium concentration of leaf and stem tissues were twice as high in 25 ppm calcium-treated plant compared to 1 ppm calcium-treated plants. Total foliage fresh weight was 33% higher and dry weight 20% higher in plants supplied with 25 ppm of calcium than supplied with 1 ppm of calcium. HSP21 was expressed only at high temperature and at greater concentrations in 25 ppm calcium treatment. HSP70 was expressed in both control, 20 °C/15 °C (day/night) and heat-stressed tissue, 35 °C/25 °C (day/night) under various calcium treatments (1 to 25 ppm). Also, there were some differences in HSPs expression patterns between young and mature leaves. Young tissue responded immediately to the heat stress and started to express HSP21 within 1 day. Mature tissue started to express HSP21 after 2 days. HSP21 of young tissue disappeared sooner than mature tissue when heat stress-treated plants were returned to normal conditions. These results support our earlier studies indicating that an increase in rhizospheric calcium mitigate heat stress effects on the potato plant. Furthermore these results suggest that this mitigation may be due to modulation of HSP21by rhizospheric calcium during heat stress.

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Ritu Dhir, Richard L. Harkess, and Guihong Bi

23 °C. Temperatures above 30 °C are quite common during summers in the southeastern states of the United States ( Weather Channel, 2008 ). Elevated air temperatures (heat stress) have been found to cause foliar bleaching in ivy geraniums ( Dhir et al

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Matthew D. Kleinhenz and Jiwan P. Palta

Micropropagated `Red Norland' plants were transferred to an inert mixture of 1 perlite: 1 medium-grain quartzite (v/v) and grown 21 days at 20°C day/15°C night on a 25% Hoagland solution without Ca(NO3)2 (Ca at 10 mg·L–1 from CaCl2, N at 35 mg·L–1 from KNO3). Thereafter, Ca treatments (Ca at 0.2, 1, 5, 25, 125 mg·L–1) were imposed for 21 days with other nutrients unchanged. Day/night temperatures were 20/15°C and 35/20°C for control and stress plants, respectively. Continuous drip supply of nutrient solution in excess of demand maintained target rhizospheric Ca levels. All experiments were conducted in controlled-environment chambers with 400-μmol·m–2·s–1 light level. The following results were obtained. 1) Stress, but not control, plants grown with Ca at 0.2 and 1.0 mg·L–1 displayed reduced leaf expansion, extreme senescence, and death of the primary shoot meristem. 2) Plants grown with Ca at 5, 25 and 125 mg·L–1 grew normally under both temperature regimens, although plants responded to temperature with different biomass partitioning. (3) Total root mass at harvest was similar under all Ca–temperature combinations but low-Ca-treated plants had comparatively darker roots with fewer branches. (4) Light microscopic evaluation revealed normal staining patterns of lignified elements in leaves and stems of all plants. These data suggest that constant rhizospheric Ca levels >1 mg·L–1 are required for continued plant growth during exposure to heat stress.