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Dean A. Kopsell, Kimberly J. Whitlock, Carl E. Sams, and David E. Kopsell

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a succulent weedy annual in much of the United States. In other parts of the world, purslane is grown as a specialty crop, valued for its nutritional quality. As a leafy crop, purslane contributes carotenoid phytochemicals in the typical Mediterranean diet. Nitrogen (N) influences plant growth and alters pigment composition and accumulation. However, little is known about the impact N fertility may have on pigment concentrations in purslane shoot tissues. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of N fertility levels on biomass and concentrations of nutritionally important carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments in purslane. Green Leaf and Golden Leaf purslane cultivars were grown in nutrient solution culture under N concentrations of 13, 26, 52, or 105 mg·L−1. Plants were harvested at 45 days after planting (DAP), and measured for concentrations of shoot pigments using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methodology. There was no influence of N treatment concentration on purslane shoot tissue fresh weight (FW) accumulation. Nitrogen treatment significantly influenced shoot tissue β-carotene (BC), lutein (LUT), neoxanthin (NEO), total carotenoids, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll, and the chlorophyll a to b ratio in purslane shoot tissues. Concentrations of LUT, NEO, violaxanthin (VIO), chlorophyll b, total xanthophyll cycle pigments, and the chlorophyll a to b ratio differed between the purslane cultivars. Increases in N concentrations acted to increase concentrations of nutritionally important shoot tissue carotenoid pigments in only the Green Leaf purslane cultivar. Therefore, N fertility management and cultivar selection should be considered when producing purslane as a nutritious specialty vegetable crop.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Jonathan Frantz, and Ingram McCall

Pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida hort. Vilm.), and gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii Bol. ex Adlam.) plants were grown hydroponically to characterize the deficiency symptoms caused by the absence of calcium (Ca) or boron (B). Primary symptoms occurred on the youngest tissue for both elements, but distinct differences between Ca and B deficiencies were observed. Plants responding to Ca deficiency exhibited discoloration and upward rolling of leaves and ultimately necrosis. Plants responding to B deficiency exhibited minor chlorosis, upward curling, and thickening of leaves, distorted meristems, and strap-like leaves. A second experiment investigated how a temporary disruption of Ca or B affects the plant throughout the crop cycle. Either Ca or B was removed from the nutrient solution for a 7-day period from Day 15 to Day 21, Day 22 to Day 28, or Day 29 to Day 35 after sowing. After the 7-day disruption, the respective element was reintroduced to the plants. Regardless of when the plants were deprived of Ca or B, the symptoms of the respective deficiency were present at the end of the experiment. These studies have shown that a temporary disruption of either Ca or B can cause lasting symptoms throughout the plug production cycle. Also, the symptoms that have been observed in plug production were most similar to those symptoms caused by B deficiency, not Ca deficiency.

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Christopher B. Cerveny and William B. Miller

Ethylene effects were investigated on two tulip (Tulipa gesneriana L.) cultivars, Markant and Carreria. Pre-cooled bulbs were treated with ethylene (flow-through) for 1 week at 0, 0.1, 1.0, or 10 μL·L−1 (± 10%) in a modified hydroponic system. After ethylene exposure, plants were either destructively harvested for root measurements or forced in a greenhouse for flower measurements. Ethylene exposure at concentrations as low as 1 μL·L−1 during the first week of growth reduced shoot and root elongation and subsequently increased flower bud abortion. At 10 μL·L−1, root growth was essentially eliminated. In a second experiment, bulbs were treated overnight with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) before a 7-day exposure to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene. 1-MCP pretreatment eliminated the harmful effects of ethylene on root and shoot growth. This study illustrates the effects of ethylene exposure during hydroponic tulip production and demonstrates a potential benefit to treating bulbs with 1-MCP before planting.

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Chad T. Miller, Krystal Snyder, and Mark P. Bridgen

The National Floriculture Forum (NFF) is an annual meeting that brings together floriculture focused industry members from greenhouse growers and industry leaders and experts, to university faculty and graduate students, along with government scientists from various institutions and agencies. Attendance varies from year to year, averaging 45–50 attendees. The forum was first convened in 1999, meeting annually, (with the exception of 2010 and 2012) at important industry-related locations around the United States. The NFF has even gone international with meetings in the Netherlands, Germany, and one in Canada (Table 1). The meetings are generally advertised through emails, social

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D.M. Glenn and W.V. Welker

Our objectives in this study were to measure the effects of low levels of root system carbon dioxide on peach tree growth (Prunus persica L. Batsch) and nutrient uptake. Using soil and hydroponic systems, we found that increased root CO2: 1) increased root growth without increasing shoot growth, 2) increased leaf P concentration, 3) decreased leaf N concentration, and 4) reduced water use relative to air injection or no treatment.

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Pai-Tsang Chang, Marc W. van Iersel, William M. Randle, and Carl E. Sams

Dietary sources of selenium (Se) are associated with human health benefits, and Brassica species are good sources of Se in human diets. Selenium and S compete for absorption and accumulation in plant tissues; therefore, the ratios of Se to S in the growing environment determine the accumulation of selenium in plants. To determine responses for Brassica oleracea L., two levels of Na2SeO4 (96 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) were added to nutrient solutions with or without MgSO4·7H2O (96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). The highest plant fresh weight and S and SO4 2– accumulation were found when plants were grown in the medium with a SeO4 2– to SO4 2– ratio of 1 : 250 (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). However, the highest accumulation of Se was found when a low level of selenate (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) was added to nutrient solutions without S. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) was regulated by Se status; the highest GPx activity was measured when a high level of SeO4 2– (96 mg·L−1) was supplied to nutrient solutions without S supplementation. The lowest concentration of total glucosinolates was found when adding SeO4 2– to nutrient solutions without S. We saw no difference in plant growth and mineral accumulation when plants were grown with K2SeO4 versus Na2SeO4, suggesting that the growth-inhibiting effect of Na2SeO4 was the result of the SeO4 2– rather than potentially toxic effects of Na+.

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Jay Frick, S. Suzanne Nielsen, and Cary A. Mitchell

Effects of N level (15 to 30 mm), time of N increase (14 to 28 days after planting), and planting density (1163 to 2093 plants/m2) were determined for crop yield responses of dwarf, rapid-cycling brassica (Brassica napus L., CrGC 5-2, Genome: ACaacc). Crops were grown in solid-matrix hydroponic systems and under controlled-environment conditions, including nonsupplemented (ambient) or elevated CO2 concentrations (998 ± 12 μmol·mol-1). The highest seed yield rate obtained (4.4 g·m-2·day-1) occurred with the lowest N level (15 mm) applied at the latest treatment time (day 28). In all trials, CO2 enrichment reduced seed yield rate and harvest index by delaying the onset of flowering and senescence and stimulating vegetative shoot growth. The highest shoot biomass accumulation rate (55.5 g·m-2·day-1) occurred with the highest N level (30 mm) applied at the earliest time (day 14). Seed oil content was not significantly affected by CO2 enrichment. Maximum seed oil content (30% to 34%, dry weight basis) was obtained using the lowest N level (15 mm) initiated at the latest treatment time (day 28). In general, an increase in seed oil content was accompanied by a decrease in seed protein. Seed carbohydrate, moisture, and ash contents did not vary significantly in response to experimental treatments. Effects of N level and time of N increase were consistently significant for most crop responses. Planting density was significant only under elevated CO2 conditions.

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Jay Frick, Cyrille Precetti, and Cary A. Mitchell

An artificial neural network (NN) and a statistical regression model were developed to predict canopy photosynthetic rates (Pn) for `Waldman's Green' leaf lettuce (Latuca sativa L.). All data used to develop and test the models were collected for crop stands grown hydroponically and under controlled-environment conditions. In the NN and regression models, canopy Pn was predicted as a function of three independent variables: shootzone CO2 concentration (600 to 1500 mmol·mol-1), photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) (600 to 1100 μmol·m-2·s-1), and canopy age (10 to 20 days after planting). The models were used to determine the combinations of CO2 and PPF setpoints required each day to maintain maximum canopy Pn. The statistical model (a third-order polynomial) predicted Pn more accurately than the simple NN (a three-layer, fully connected net). Over an 11-day validation period, average percent difference between predicted and actual Pn was 12.3% and 24.6% for the statistical and NN models, respectively. Both models lost considerable accuracy when used to determine relatively long-range Pn predictions (≥6 days into the future).

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Jeanine M. Davis, Douglas C. Sanders, Paul V. Nelson, Laura Lengnick, and Wade J. Sperry

Boron deficiency in fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is a widespread problem that reduces yield and fruit quality but is often not recognized by growers. Tomatoes were grown in field and hydroponic culture to compare the effects of foliar and soil applied B on plant growth, fruit yield, fruit quality, and tissue nutrient levels. Regardless of application method, B was associated with increased tomato growth and the concentration of K, Ca, and B in plant tissue. Boron application was associated with increased N uptake by tomato in field culture, but not under hydroponic culture. In field culture, foliar and/or soil applied B similarly increased fresh-market tomato plant and root dry weight, uptake, and tissue concentrations of N, Ca, K, and B, and improved fruit set, total yields, marketable yields, fruit shelf life, and fruit firmness. The similar growth and yield responses of tomato to foliar and root B application suggests that B is translocated in the phloem in tomatoes. Fruit from plants receiving foliar or root applied B contained more B, and K than fruit from plants not receiving B, indicating that B was translocated from leaves to fruit and is an important factor in the management of K nutrition in tomato.

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Mariateresa Cardarelli, Youssef Rouphael, Delia Muntean, and Giuseppe Colla

The fertilizer nitrogen (N) inputs to some potted plants such as ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala D.C.) are frequently higher than the actual demand. Optimization of N fertilization rate and selecting N-efficient cultivars are important approaches to increase the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and to reduce environmental pollution from nitrate leaching. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of increasing levels of nitrate (0.5, 2.5, 5, 10, or 20 mm of NO3 ) in the nutrient solution on plant growth, quality, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) index, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf pigments, mineral composition, and NUE in five ornamental cabbage cultivars (Coral Prince, Coral Queen, Glamour Red, Northern Lights Red, and White Peacock), grown in closed subirrigation system. ‘Glamour Red’ and ‘Northern Lights Red’ needed 3.3 and 2.9 mm of NO3 in the supplied nutrient solution, respectively, to produce 50% of predicted maximum shoot dry weight (SDW), whereas the vigorous cultivars Coral Prince, Coral Queen, and White Peacock needed 5.5, 4.7, and 4.3 mm of NO3 , respectively. Total leaf area (LA), SDW, SPAD index, N, Ca, and Mg concentrations increased linearly and quadratically in response to an increase of the nitrate concentration in the nutrient solution. Irrespective of cultivars, fertilizing above 10 mm NO3 produced high-quality plants (quality index of 5) and resulted in sufficiently high tissue concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Fe.