Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a model fruit for investigating flesh lignification during storage and response to chilling injury. However, the investigations of enzymes and coding genes and loquat fruit lignification under low-temperature storage are still limited. Here, the activity and transcript levels of up-stream enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, including l-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H), and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL), were investigated. The results indicated that activity of these enzymes was positively correlated with loquat fruit lignification and suppression of these increases by heat treatment (HT) and low-temperature conditioning (LTC) significantly alleviated loquat fruit lignification. Coding genes for these enzymes were subsequently isolated based on information from an RNA-seq database and expression of Ej4CL1 was found to be the most responsive to low temperature and inhibition by HT and LTC treatment, whereas the other genes were less responsive to these treatments. Furthermore, function of Ej4CL1 was analyzed by transient overexpression in tobacco leaves, where it stimulated lignin accumulation. Ej4CL1 may be a key candidate that involved in CI-related loquat fruit lignification.
Xue Li, Chen Zang, Hang Ge, Jing Zhang, Donald Grierson, Xue-ren Yin, and Kun-song Chen
Chao Dong, Xue Li, Yue Xi, and Zong-Ming Cheng
Pyracantha coccinea is a thorny evergreen shrub native to southeast Europe to southeast Asia. It is a popular ornamental plant because of its showy bright red fruits and small white flowers. However, in vitro vegetative propagation of P. coccinea has not been studied. Nodal segments with one or two axillary buds (1 to 1.5 cm in length) were cut and disinfected in a solution of 0.1% (v/v) mercuric chloride (HgCl2) for 5 minutes, and proliferated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with various concentrations 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). After 4 weeks, newly formed shoots were transferred to proliferation and rooting media containing various concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Establishment of axillary buds was significantly better with an establishing rate of 67% on basal MS medium augmented with 6.6 µm 6-BA. The best medium for proliferation of shoots was three-fourth basal MS supplemented with 1.5 µm IBA, with a proliferation rate of 3.4 axillary bud. The optimum rooting medium was one-fourth MS basal medium containing 93 µm IBA. Rooting of shoots was as much as 77%. Rooted plantlets were transferred to pots containing vermiculite:perlite:peat (6:1:2) and acclimatized to ambient greenhouse conditions with a 95% survival rate. This protocol can be used for in vitro propagation of P. coccinea.
Hsuan Chen, Lan Xue, Tong Li, and Ryan N. Contreras
Hibiscus syriacus is a woody shrub in the Malvaceae family that is common in landscapes due to its broad adaptability and variable ornamental characteristics. Interspecific hybridization has been used to improve Hibiscus by building novel floral traits, hybrid vigor, and hybrid infertility. A few interspecific hybrid Hibiscus cultivars (H. syriacus × H. paramutabilis), such as Lohengrin and Resi, are notable because of their vigorous vegetative growth, female infertility, and large flowers. However, little is known about the male fertility and breeding potential of these hybrid cultivars, which could increase flower size by backcrossing to H. syriacus. In this study, we estimated male fertility of the two hybrid cultivars by acetocarmine staining and in vivo pollination and assessed selection methods for floral traits, specifically flower size and petal number. A BC1F1 population of 294 individuals was developed by crossing hybrid cultivars Lohengrin or Resi with a variety of double-flowered H. syriacus cultivars. A negative correlation between petal number and petal area was detected by quantile regression, which is a method that circumvents the problem of simple linear regression, which violates statistical assumptions. Quantile regression was used to build simultaneous selection thresholds for different levels of required stringency. As expected, the female fertility of hybrid cultivars was extremely low or zero; however, the male fertility of hybrid cultivars was not reduced compared with H. syriacus cultivars. A negative linear correlation between the petal number and petal area of the BC1F1 individuals was observed. In addition, quantile regression was recommended to set a single selection threshold to be applied to the selection of two negatively correlated traits, which was more effective than independent selection of petal numbers and petal areas among progeny.
Ying Wang, Tingting Xue, Xing Han, Lingxiao Guan, Liang Zhang, Hua Wang, and Hua Li
Kaolin particle film (KPF) is an aqueous formulation of chemically inert mineral particles that can be sprayed on the surface of crops to form a protective film, resulting in increased fruit yield and quality. In this work, the effects of kaolin-based, foliar reflectant particle film on grape composition and volatile compounds in ‘Meili’ (Vitis vinifera L.) grapes were investigated under different growth stages over two growing seasons. The 100-berry weight and titratable acid content were decreased, and the sugar and soluble solid contents were increased in grapes of plants treated with kaolin over 2 years. Compared with grapes from plants not sprayed with kaolin, the levels of total phenol, flavonoid, flavanol, tannin, and anthocyanins of grapes from plants treated with kaolin for 2 years were mostly increased. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis also revealed an increased content of monomeric anthocyanin and changed anthocyanin composition. However, there was little effect on the volatile compounds in the grapes. These results demonstrate that KPF can facilitate the accumulation of sugar and phenolics, thereby improving grape quality even in a humid climate.
Hyungmin Rho, Paul Colaizzi, James Gray, Li Paetzold, Qingwu Xue, Bhimanagouda Patil, and Charles Rush
The Texas High Plains has a semi-arid, hot, windy climate that features high evapotranspiration (ET) demands for crop production. Irrigation is essential for vegetable production in the region, but it is constrained by depleting groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer. High-tunnel (HT) production systems may reduce irrigation water demand and protect crops from severe weather events (e.g., hail, high wind, freezing) common to the region. The objective of this study was to compare yields, fruit quality, crop water use, and crop water use efficiency (WUE) of jalapeno pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in HT and open field (OF) production systems. We hypothesized that the protection from dry and high winds by HT would improve yields and quality of fruits and reduce water use of peppers and tomatoes. During the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons, peppers and tomatoes were transplanted on two HT plots and two identical OF plots. Plastic mulch was used in combination with a surface drip irrigation system. Micrometeorological variables (incoming solar irradiance, air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed) and soil physical variables (soil temperature and volumetric soil water) were measured. Air temperatures were significantly higher during the daytime, and wind speed and light intensity were significantly lower in HT compared with OF. Despite the lower light intensity, yields were greater in HT compared with OF. The fruits grown in HT did not show significant differences in chemical quality attributes, such as ascorbic acid and lycopene contents, compared with those grown in OF. Because of protection from dry, high winds, plants in HT required less total water over the growing seasons compared with OF, resulting in increased WUE. The 2018 and 2019 data showed that HT production is advantageous as compared to conventional OF production in terms of increased WUE and severe weather risk mitigation for high-value vegetable production in the Texas High Plains.
Ying Qu, Xue Bai, Yajun Zhu, Rui Qi, Geng Tian, Yang Wang, Yonghua Li, and Kaiming Zhang
Leaves of Begonia semperflorens accumulate anthocyanins and turn red under low temperature (LT). In the present work, LT increased H2O2 content and superoxide anions production rate, causing significant increases in the activities of enzymes and contents of reduced components involved in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle (AsA-GSH cycle). As a result, LT-exposed seedlings increased the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, and accumulated anthocyanin. Based on LT condition, application of N,N'-dimethylthiourea (DMTU) decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) content, and unbalanced the AsA-GSH-controlled redox homeostasis. As a result, seedlings in the LT + DMTU group did not accumulate anthocyanin. Our results suggest that ROS may act as an important inducer in LT-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis.
Xue-Min Hou, Zi-Hua Wang, Xi-Min Deng, and Guo-Hui Li
This experiment was carried out to obtain a pressure–volume (P-V) curve and Höfler diagram of the cortex tissue of fresh ‘Fuji’ apple fruit (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) with a novel centrifuge method. Based on the P-V curve and Höfler diagram, several water relation parameters of cortex tissue were determined and the interrelationship of these parameters was established. Turgor loss point (TLP) occurred at –1.74 MPa and 73.7% of relative water content (R*). At full hydration, osmotic potential (ψS) was –1.30 MPa and symplastic water accounted for 86.8% of R*. Bulk elastic modulus decreased linearly by 28% as pressure potential declined from 1.30 MPa at full hydration to zero at the TLP. This centrifuge technique can provide a simple and efficient way to determine water relation parameters of fleshy fruits.
Zai Q. Yang, Yong X. Li, Xiao P. Xue, Chuan R. Huang, and Bo Zhang
Wind tunnel tests were conducted in an NH-2-type wind tunnel to investigate the wind pressure coefficients and their distribution on the surfaces of a single-span plastic greenhouse and a solar greenhouse. Wind pressures at numerous points on the surfaces of the greenhouse models were simultaneously measured for various wind directions. The critical wind speeds, at which damage occurred on the surfaces of single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses, were derived. To clearly describe the wind pressure distribution on various surface zones of the greenhouses, the end surface and top surface of the plastic greenhouse and the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse were divided into nine zones, which were denoted as Zone I to Zone IX. The results were as follows: 1) At wind direction angles of 0° and 45°, the end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse was on the windward side, and the maximum positive wind pressure coefficient was near 1. At wind direction angles of 90° and 180°, the entire end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse was on the leeward side, and the maximum negative wind pressure coefficient was near −1. The maximum positive wind pressure on the end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse appeared in Zone IV at a wind direction angle of 15°, whereas the maximum negative pressure appeared in Zone VIII at a wind direction angle of 105°. 2) Most of the wind pressure coefficients on the top surface of the plastic greenhouse were negative. The maximum positive and negative wind pressure coefficient on the top surface of the plastic greenhouse occurred in Zones I and II, respectively, at a wind direction angle of 60°. 3) At a wind direction angle of 0°, the distribution of wind pressure coefficient contours was steady in the middle and lower zones of the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse, and the wind pressure coefficients were positive. At a wind direction angle of 90°, the wind pressure coefficients were negative on the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse. A maximum positive wind pressure coefficient was attained at a wind direction angle of 30° in Zone IX, whereas the maximum suction force occurred in Zone VII at a wind direction angle of 135°. 4) The minimum critical wind speeds required to impair the single-span plastic greenhouse and solar greenhouse were 14.5 and 18.9 m·s−1, respectively.
Chong Wang, Yang Song, Mingqian Wang, Jiajun Lei, Li Xue, and Shizhong He
Phu-Long Pham, Ying-Xue Li, He-Rong Guo, Rui-Zhen Zeng, Li Xie, Zhi-Sheng Zhang, Jianjun Chen, Qing-Lian Su, and Qing Xia
Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo is a famous traditional Chinese medicinal plant. It produces various phytochemicals, particularly polysaccharides, which have nutraceutical and pharmaceutical values. To increase its biomass production and polysaccharide content, our breeding program has generated a series of polyploid cultivars through colchicine treatment of protocorm-like bodies (PLBs). The present study compared two tetraploid cultivars, 201-1-T1 and 201-1-T2, with their diploid parental cultivar, 201-1, in an established in vitro culture system. Tetraploid ‘201-1-T1’ and ‘201-1-T2’ had shorter leaves and shorter and thicker stems and roots, and they produced higher biomass compared with the diploid cultivar. The length and width of stomata significantly increased, but stomatal density decreased in tetraploid cultivars. The PLB induction rates from the stem node explants of the tetraploid cultivars were significantly higher than those of diploid. However, the PLB proliferation of tetraploids was lower than that of the diploid. The mean number of plantlets regenerated from tetraploid PLBs was also lower than that of the diploid after 4 months of culture. Polysaccharide contents in stems, leaves, and roots of 6-month-old tetraploid plantlets were significantly higher than those of diploids. The polysaccharide content in the stem of ‘201-1-T1’ was 12.70%, which was a 2-fold increase compared with the diploid cultivar. Our results showed that chromosome doubling could be a viable way of improving D. officinale in biomass and polysaccharide production.