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David L. Bubenheim

The role of spectral quality and CO2 concentration in environmental control of lignin synthesis in spring wheat is being studied by the NASA Controlled Ecological Life Support System Program (CELSS). Wheat cultivars were exposed to four different spectral environments provided by 1) metal halide lamps (MH), 2) high pressure sodium lamps (HPS), 3) low pressure sodium lamps (LPS; almost monochromatic, 589 nm), or 4) LPS plus low irradiance blue light (5 μmol m-2 s-1; LPS + Blue) at equal photosynthetic photon flux. Stem lignin content was suppressed 25% under the LPS compared with the MH and HPS; blue addition (LPS + Blue) resulted in 25% greater lignin content compared with the LPS alone and 8% suppression compared with MH and HPS. CO2 studies compared lignin content of wheat grown in the field, greenhouse at 350 μmol mol-1 CO2, and growth chambers at 350 and 700 μmol mol-1 CO2, Lignin content was greatest and equal in the field and growth chamber at 700 μmol mol-1 CO2. Lowest lignin content was measured in the growth chamber at 350 μmol mol-1 CO2; lignin content in the greenhouse was intermediate between that measured in the field and growth chamber at 350 μmol mol-1 CO2, Additional CO2 studies in controlled environments will be discussed.

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C.B. Watkins, K.J. Silsby, and M.C. Goffinet

The histology of external CO2 injury of the skin of `Empire' apples and postharvest factors affecting occurrence of injury were investigated. Injury was greater in a 5% CO2/2% O2 atmosphere than in 2% CO2/2% O2, but incidence was affected by orchard source. Susceptibility to injury was highest during the first 4 weeks of storage, while a postharvest treatment with diphenylamine prevented the disorder. Ethanol reduced injury, but ascorbic acid increased incidence of the disorder. Keeping fruit in air cold storage for 10 days before application of CO2 markedly reduced incidence of CO2 injury. Histological studies showed that external CO2 injury begins at the hypodermis—cortex boundary and spreads outward into the upper hypodermis and inward into outer cortex cells, although the cuticle and epidermis appear unaffected and unbroken. Radial walls of affected cells collapse and become pleated, so that the skin surface sinks below nearby normal regions. Other cellular events include loss of cytoplasmic integrity, coagulation of the protoplast, loss of organelle structure, and cell wall separation. Nondigested starch can be found in cells of affected fruit at the hypodermis—cortex boundary. We conclude that several factors affect fruit susceptibility to CO2 injury, including orchard, antioxidant treatment, and delays before application of CO2.

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B. Tisserat and S.F. Vaughn

The growth (fresh weight), morphogenesis (number of needles and roots and shoot length) and monoterpene (α- and β-pinene) levels were determined in Pinus taeda L. (loblolly pine) seedlings exposed to 350, 1,500, 3,000, 10,000, or 30,000 μmol·mol-1 CO2 for 30 days under greenhouse conditions. Seedlings exposed to ultra-high levels (i.e., ≥3000 μmol·mol-1 CO2) had significantly higher (P = 0.05) fresh weight, needle number, root number, and shoot lengths compared to seedlings grown under ambient air (350 μmol·mol-1 CO2). Seedling fresh weights, number of roots, shoot length, and number of needles from pine seedlings supplemented with 10,000 μmol·mol-1 CO2 increased 341%, 200%, 74%, and 75 %, respectively, when compared to seedlings grown without any CO2 enrichment. In addition, α- and β-pinene levels in seedlings increased under ultra-high CO2 levels. The dominant monoterpene, α-pinene, increased 57% in seedlings grown under 10,000 μmol·mol-1 CO2 compared to levels obtained under 350 μmol·mol-1 CO2.

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Giancarlo Colelli, F. Gordon Mitchell, and Adel A. Kader

Good quality of fresh `Mission' figs (Ficus carica L.) was maintained for up to 4 weeks when kept at 0, 2.2, or 5C in atmospheres enriched with 15% or 20% CO2. The visible benefits of exposure to high CO2 levels were reduction of decay incidence and maintenance of bright external appearance. Ethylene production was lower, and fruit softening (as measured with a deformation tester) was slower in the high-CO2-stored figs than in those kept in air. Ethanol content of the CO2-treated fruit increased slightly during the first 3 weeks and moderately during the 4th week, while acetaldehyde concentration increased during the first week, then decreased. The results may be applicable to the transport and storage of fresh `Mission' figs, as high CO2 extended their postharvest life, especially near 0C.

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Ribo Deng and Danielle J. Donnelly

Micropropagated `Festival' red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) shoots were rooted in specially constructed plexiglass chambers in ambient (340 ± 20 ppm) or enriched (1500 ±50 ppm) CO2 conditions on a medium containing 0, 10, 20, or 30 g sucrose/liter. Plantlet growth and leaf 14CO2 fixation rates were evaluated before and 4 weeks after ex vitro transplantation. In vitro CO2 enrichment promoted in vitro hardening; it increased root count and length, plantlet fresh weight, and photosynthetic capacity but did not affect other variables such as plantlet height, dry weight, or leaf count and area. No residual effects of in vitro CO2 enrichment were observed on 4-week-old transplants. Sucrose in the medium promoted plantlet growth but depressed photosynthesis and reduced in vitro hardening. Photoautotrophic plantlets were obtained on sucrose-free rooting medium under ambient and enriched CO2 conditions and they performed better ex vitro than mixotrophi plantlets grown with sucrose. Root hairs were more abundant and longer on root tips of photoautotrophic plantlets than on mixotrophic plantlets. The maximum CO2 uptake rate of plantlet leaves was 52% that of greenhouse control plant leaves. This did not change in the persistent leaves up to 4 weeks after ex vitro transplantation. The photosynthetic ability of persistent and new leaves of 4-week-old ex vitro transplants related neither to in vitro CO2 nor medium sucrose concentration. Consecutive new leaves of transplants took up more CO2 than persistent leaves. The third new leaf of transplants had photosynthetic rates up to 90% that of greenhouse control plant leaves. These results indicate that in vitro CO2 enrichment was beneficial to in vitro hardening and that sucrose may be reduced substantially or eliminated from red raspberry rooting medium when CO2 enrichment is used.

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Serge Yelle, Richard C. Beeson Jr., Marc J. Trudel, and André Gosselin

Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Vedettos and Lycopersicon chmielewskii Rick, LA 1028, were exposed to two CO2 concentrations (330 or 900 μmol·m-3) for 10 weeks. The elevated CO2 concentration increased the relative growth rate (RGR) of L. esculentum and L. chmielewskii by 18% and 30%, respectively, after 2 weeks of treatment. This increase was not maintained as the plant matured. Net assimilation rate (NAR) and specific leaf weight (SLW) were always higher in C02-enriched plants, suggesting that assimilates were preferentially accumulated in the leaves as reserves rather than contributing to leaf expansion. Carbon dioxide enrichment increased early and total yields of L. esculentum by 80% and 22%, respectively. Carbon exchange rates (CER) increased during the first few weeks, but thereafter decreased as tomato plants acclimated to high atmospheric CO2. The relatively constant concentration of internal C0 with time suggests that reduced stomatal conductance under high CO2 does not explain lower photosynthetic rates of tomato plants grown under high atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Leaves 5 and 9 responded equally to high CO2 enrichment throughout plant growth. Consequently, acclimation of CO2-enriched plants was not entirely due to the age of the tissue. After 10 weeks of treatment, leaf 5, which had been exposed to high CO2 for only 10 days, showed the greatest acclimation of the experiment. We conclude that the duration of exposure of the whole plant to elevated CO2 concentration, rather than the age of the tissue, governs the acclimation to high CO2 concentrations.

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Qi-yuan Pan and Bruno Quebedeaux

Apple and many other Rosaceae plants translocate sucrose as well as sorbitol. How photosynthates are partitioned between sorbitol and sucrose in the Rosaceae is not understood. This study was designed to examine the effects of elevated air CO2 on partitioning of sorbitol and other soluble sugars in sink and source apple leaves. Young `Gala' apple plants were exposed to the ambient air and 700, 1000, and 1600 μl·liter–1 of CO2 for 8 days under a light intensity of 928 μmol·m–2·s–1 with a 14-h day/10-h night cycle. Sorbitol, sucrose, glucose, and fructose concentration in sink and source leaves were determined by HPLC analysis. In source leaves, sorbitol was significantly increased, while sucrose was decreased as the air CO2 was elevated from 400 to 1600 μl·liter–1. The sorbitol/sucrose ratio varied from 1.31 in air and 2.26 at 1600 μl·liter–1 of CO2. In sink leaves, sorbitol concentration did not vary across the four CO2 levels; however, sucrose was higher at the three super-atmospheric CO2 levels. Our results suggest that increased photosynthesis via elevated CO2 favors photosynthate partitioning into sorbitol rather than sucrose. A mechanism for regulating this partitioning will be discussed.

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Yoshiaki Kitaya, Genhua Niu, Toyoki Kozai, and Maki Ohashi

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Summer-green) plug transplants were grown for 3 weeks under 16 combinations of four levels (100, 150, 200, and 300 μmol·m-2·s-1) of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), two photoperiods (16 and 24 h), and two levels of CO2 (400 and 800 μmol·mol-1) in growth chambers maintained at an air temperature of 20 ±2 °C. As PPF increased, dry mass (DM), percent DM, and leaf number increased, while ratio of shoot to root dry mass (S/R), ratio of leaf length to leaf width (LL/LW), specific leaf area, and hypocotyl length decreased. At the same PPF, DM was increased by 25% to 100% and 10% to 100% with extended photoperiod and elevated CO2 concentration, respectively. Dry mass, percent DM, and leaf number increased linearly with daily light integral (DLI, the product of PPF and photoperiod), while S/R, specific leaf area, LL/LW and hypocotyl length decreased as DLI increased under each CO2 concentration. Hypocotyl length was influenced by PPF and photoperiod, but not by CO2 concentration. Leaf morphology, which can be reflected by LL/LW, was substantially influenced by PPF at 100 to 200 μmol·m-2·s-1, but not at 200 to 300 μmol·m-2·s-1. At the same DLI, the longer photoperiod promoted growth under the low CO2 concentration, but not under the high CO2 concentration. Longer photoperiod and/or higher CO2 concentration compensated for a low PPF.

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Chieri Kubota, Haruna Maruko, and Toyoki Kozai

For vegetative propagation of sweetpotato, single or multi-node leafy cuttings are used as propagules. A quantitative understanding of leaf development is important for predicting the number of propagules produced after a given production period under various environmental conditions. For plant production in a relatively closed structure, controlling CO2 concentration is necessary, but effects of CO2 concentration on cutting production rates of sweetpotato are not well-investigated. Single-node cuttings each with a fully expanded leaf (the initial leaf blade length was 66 mm) were grown under one of three levels of CO2 concentration (400, 800, and 1200 μmol·mol-1), 250 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF, 16 h/day photoperiod, and 29 °C air temperature. The plant dry weight increased faster in the higher CO2 concentrations. Changes in the number of harvestable cuttings during the production period was defined by changes in the number of leaves reaching a leaf blade length (LBL) longer than a given standard length (LS). The number of harvestable cuttings increased almost linearly with time after the LBL of the first leaf reached the LS, regardless of CO2 concentration. The effect of CO2 concentration on cutting production rate (number of harvestable cuttings per day) was varied with different LS. For example, at LS = 20, 30, and 40 mm, the cutting production rate increased slightly at higher CO2 concentrations, while at LS = 60 mm, it decreased significantly at higher CO2 concentrations. This indicates that, under the present experimental conditions, increasing CO2 concentration increased the number of small leaves that might not be usable as cuttings (propagules). Environmental control is necessary in vegetative propagation to increase the number of propagules and the biomass usable as propagules, thereby minimizing energy and resources needed for the propagule/transplant production process.

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Yoshiaki Kitaya, Tsutomu Moriya, and Makoto Kiyota

Supplemental lighting and CO2 enrichment have been employed to promote plant growth in commercial plant production in greenhouses. In a semi-closed plant production system with a large number of plants at a high density, the relative humidity in the air around growing plants could be in excess of 80%. This research was initiated to determine the effects of CO2 concentration and photoperiod on the growth of plants under relatively high humidity conditions. In the experiment, lettuce plants were grown for 13 days under eight combinations of two CO2 levels (CO2, 0.38 and 0.76 mmol·mol-1), two photoperiods (PP, 16 and 24 h/day), and two relative humidity levels (RH, 80% and 90%) in growth chambers. The air temperature was 25 °C. Plants were illuminated with fluorescent lamps at a photosynthetic photon flux of 0.23 mmol·m-2·s-1. The dry mass of lettuce shoots (leaves and stems) grown in 0.76 mmol·mol-1 CO2, 24 h/day PP, and 80% to 90% RH was greatest in all treatments and was five times the least value obtained in 0.38 mmol·mol-1 CO2, 16 h/day PP and 90% RH. The dry mass of lettuce shoots decreased to 40% as RH increased from 80% to 90 % under 0.38-0.76 mmol·mol-1 CO2 and 16 h/day PP. Growth suppression by excess humidity was less significant in longer PP and higher CO2. Supplemental lighting and CO2 enrichment would be more effective for promoting growth of plants grown under higher humidity conditions.