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Genhua Niu, Denise S. Rodriguez, and Yin-Tung Wang

The effect of drought on the growth and gas exchange of six bedding plant species—agastache [Agastache urticifolia (Benth.) O. Kuntze `Honeybee Blue'], dusty miller (Cineraria maritima L. `Silverdusty'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Wave Purple'), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata Lam. `Escapade'), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum L. `Black Pearl'), and vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don `Titan']—was quantified under greenhouse conditions. Seeds were sown in January and seedlings were grown in the greenhouse until 18 Apr., when two irrigation treatments—drought (D, ≈18% volumetric moisture content at reirrigation) and control (C, ≈25% volumetric moisture content at reirrigation)—were initiated. Leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), and transpiration (E) were determined in response to a range of substrate moisture content (from ≈5% to 30% by volume) and temperature (from 20 °C to 40 °C). Dry weight of agastache, ornamental pepper, and vinca was unaffected by drought, whereas that of other species was reduced. Leaf area of plumbago and height of plumbago and vinca were reduced by drought. As substrate moisture content decreased from 25% to 10%, Pn, E, and gs decreased linearly in all species except petunia and plumbago. Leaf net photosynthetic rate of all species declined as leaf temperature increased from 20 °C to 40 °C. In contrast, E of all species, except petunia, increased as temperature increased. Transpiration rate of petunia increased as temperature increased from 20 °C to 30 °C, and then decreased between 30 °C and 40 °C. Although petunia had the highest Pn among the tested species, its Pn and gs declined more rapidly compared with the other species as temperature increased from 20 °C to 40 °C or as substrate moisture content decreased, indicating that petunia was most sensitive to high temperature and drought.

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Jianping P. Wang, Suleiman S. Bughrara, and C. Jerry Nelson

Identification and screening of grasses with excellent drought tolerance is a desirable strategy in breeding drought-tolerant turf and forage cultivars. Not all fescue selections and cultivars may be equally drought tolerant. An Atlas fescue (Festuca mairei St. Yves) selection and three tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars—Barolex, Kentucky 31, and Falcon II—were subjected to increasing drought stress for a 12-week period. Soil water content (SWC), leaf elongation (LE), leaf water content (LWC), and leaf water potential (Ψw) were measured weekly, and root length (RL) and biomass (RM) were recorded after 12 weeks. The SWC declined progressively during the 12-week drought treatment for all grasses. However, for the three tall fescue cultivars, the SWC decreased at a faster rate than for Atlas fescue. This indicated that Atlas fescue extracted soil water more slowly and developed less-intensive stress than the three tall fescue cultivars. The LE, LWC, and leaf Ψw decreased in drought-treated plants of all grasses; nevertheless, the values for the Atlas fescue remained similar to control plants for a longer period of time than the values for the three tall fescue cultivars. Drought stress significantly reduced root biomass and root length of the grasses. These four Festucas avoid drought stress through changes in leaf and root morphology and probably through osmotic adjustment to maintain sufficient turgor pressure in the growing zone for leaf elongation. The slower decrease in LE, LWC, and leaf Ψw for Atlas fescue during the drought-stress period suggested greater drought tolerance and the potential value for improving this character in a breeding program.

Open access

Mohamed S. Elmongy, Xiuyun Wang, Hong Zhou, and Yiping Xia

Auxins and humic acid (HA) were investigated for their roles in adventitious root induction in azalea microshoots in our previous study. To reveal the regulatory mechanisms of auxins and HA in this process, measurements of the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), carbohydrates, and phenolic compounds and gene expression during in vitro root development were performed. During the adventitious root induction process, ROS levels in shoots treated with auxins and HA increased compared to untreated shoots, especially during the earliest period after transfer to the media. Media supplemented with NAA experienced increases in H2O2 contents by 480%and 250%, respectively, after 7 and 14 days of culture. The phenolic compound levels were also enhanced in the shoots treated with auxins and HA, reflecting the different rooting-promoting abilities of both auxins and HA. The highest levels of total phenolic [68.6 mg·g−1 fresh weight (FW)], polyphenolic acids (121.72 μg caffic acid/g FW), and total flavonols (162.42 μg quercetin/g FW) were recorded after 21 days for NAA media, but the maximum levels of anthocyanins (49.76 μg cyanindin/g FW) were recorded after 21 days for IBA medium. Soluble carbohydrate, starch, and soluble protein levels were increased in the shoots treated with all treatments; however, the influence of NAA treatments was stronger than that of other treatments for most investigated parameters. The NAA significantly enhanced soluble carbohydrates by 30%, 37%, and 25%, respectively, at 14, 21, and 28 days compared with untreated microshoots. Expression of the POD1 gene increased in the shoots submitted to HA treatment media. Expression levels of auxin response factors (ARFs) increased with IBA- and NAA-treated explants, suggesting that ARFs may have diverse regulatory roles in adventitious root induction in evergreen azalea. Moreover, the profiles of the IAA1, IAA9, IAA14, and IAA27 transcripts were analyzed to reveal their roles in the adventitious rooting of evergreen azalea microshoots. These results indicate that auxins and HA promote adventitious root induction in Rhododendron plants through their impact on ROS, carbohydrate contents, phenolic compound levels, and expression levels of different genes related to root development in evergreen azalea plants.

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H. Wang, S. Parent, A. Gosselin, and Y. Desjardins

Micropropagated plantlets of Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus ex Hook. F. `Terra Mix', Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott `Florida Ruffles', and Syngonium podophyllum Schott `White Butterfly' were inoculated with two vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi, Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith and G. vesiculiferum Gerderman and Trappe. They were potted in three peat-based media to determine the effects of mycorrhizal peat substrate on acclimatization and subsequent growth of micropropagated plantlets under greenhouse conditions. Symbiosis was established between the three ornamental species and VAM fungi within 4 to 8 weeks of culture in the greenhouse, but not during acclimatization. Mortality of Gerbera and Nephrolepis mycorrhizal plantlets was reduced at week 8 compared to the noninoculated control. A peat-based substrate low in P and with good aeration improved VAM fungi spread and efficiency. Mycorrhizal substrates had a long-term benefit of increasing leaf and root dry weight of Gerbera and Nephrolepis. Mycorrhizal Gerbera plants flowered significantly faster than non-mycorrhizal plants.

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Julia M. Harshman, Wayne M. Jurick II, Kim S. Lewers, Shiow Y. Wang, and Christopher S. Walsh

Raspberries are a delicate, high-value crop with an extremely short shelf life exacerbated by postharvest decay caused by Botrytis cinerea Pers. European red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) is the most widely grown variety. Yellow (R. idaeus L.), black (R. occidentalis L.), and purple raspberries (R. ×neglectus Peck. or R. occidentalis ×idaeus hybrids) are available mainly at local markets and U-pick farms. To compare the postharvest quality of the raspberry color groups, pesticide-free fruit from cultivars and breeding selections of red, yellow, purple, and black raspberries were examined for oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), phenolics, anthocyanins, soluble solids, titratable acids, pH, color, firmness, decay and juice leakage rates, ethylene evolution, and respiration. There were significant correlations between decay rate and physiochemical properties. Both decay and leakage rates were correlated with weather conditions before harvest, but each color group responded differently to different weather factors. There were no correlations among changes in color, firmness, decay, or juice leakage rates. All the other color groups were less acidic than the familiar red raspberry. Yellow raspberries had the worst decay rates but the best leakage rates. Black and purple raspberries, with the highest phenolics and anthocyanins and the lowest ethylene evolution rates, resisted decay the longest but bled soonest.

Full access

J.D. Hansen, M.L. Heidt, M.A. Watkins, S.R. Drake, J. Tang, and S. Wang

Efficacy of using radio frequency (RF) at 27.12 MHz was evaluated as a postharvest quarantine treatment against fifth instars of the codling moth [Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)], in apples (Malus sylvestris). Tests under the given conditions demonstrated that the energy fields between the RF unit's electrodes were neither predictable nor uniform. Moving fruit submerged in water during RF exposure may improve uniformity, but pulp temperatures varied considerably among fruit, among sites on the same fruit, and at different depths within the same site. As a result of these inconsistencies, quarantine efficacy was not obtained either using a range of final average temperatures from 40 to 68 °C (104.0 to 154.4 °F) or at holding times up to 20 minutes. We concluded it would be difficult to obtain the appropriate parameters for treatment efficacy and fruit quality maintenance using this technology under these conditions.

Full access

J.D. Hansen, M.L. Heidt, M.A. Watkins, S.R. Drake, J. Tang, and S. Wang

Quarantine regulations require domestic sweet cherries (Prunus avium) exported to Japan to be treated to control codling moth [Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)]. The current procedure, methyl bromide fumigation, may be discontinued because of health, safety, and environmental concerns. To examine a potential alternative method, `Bing' sweet cherries were each infested with a codling moth larva, submerged in a 38 °C water bath for 6 minutes pretreatment, then exposed to various temperatures generated by radio frequency and held at that temperature for different times: 50 °C for 6 minutes, 51.6 °C for 4 minutes, 53.3 °C for 0.5 minutes, and 54.4 °C for 0.5 minutes. Insect mortality was evaluated 24 hours after treatment and fruit quality was evaluated after treatment and after 7 and 14 days of storage at 1 °C. No larvae survived at the 50 and 51.6 °C treatments. Fruit color of non-infested cherries was darkened as temperature increased. Stem color was severely impacted after 7 days of storage, even in a warm water bath of 38 °C for 6 minutes, as was fruit firmness at the same treatment. Fruit quality loss increased after 14 days of storage, compared to after 7 days of storage. The amount of pitting and bruising of cherries increased with temperature and again this increase was more evident after 14 days of storage.

Free access

S.M. Scheiber, R.C. Beeson Jr, J. Chen, Q. Wang, and B. Pearson

Solenostemon scutellarioides (coleus) were grown in drainage lysimeters in concurrent experiments to evaluate effects of irrigation quantity and frequency on growth responses, leaf gas exchange, and nitrate leaching. Lysimeters in Expt. 1 were irrigated either with 13 mm daily or 13 mm every other day. Daily irrigation increased mean leachate and doubled nitrate leached compared with every other day (22.9 kg·ha−1 N versus 10.8 kg·ha−1 N, respectively). In Expt. 2, lysimeters were irrigated every 2 days with 13 mm or every 3 days with 18 mm such that total depth applied was equivalent. Irrigation frequency had no effect on irrigation quantity or nitrate leached. In these experiments, assimilation rates, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rates were influenced by day since irrigation with values lower on days without irrigation. However, neither irrigation quantity nor frequency affected final shoot dry weight, root dry weight, height or growth indices (P > 0.05).

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William S. Conway, Carl E. Sams, Chien Yi Wang, and Judith A. Abbott

`Golden Delicious' apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) were treated with heat or CaCl2 solutions or a combination thereof to determine the effects of these treatments on decay and quality of fruit in storage. Heat treatment at 38C for 4 days, pressure infiltration with 2% or 4% solutions of CaCl2, or a combination of both, with heat following CaCl2 treatment affected decay and firmness during 6 months of storage at 0C. The heat treatment alone reduced decay caused by Botrytis cinerea (Pers.:Fr.) by ≈30%, while heat in combination with a 2% CaC12 solution reduced decay by ≈60 %. Calcium chloride solutions of 2% or 4% alone reduced decay by 40 % and 60 %, respectively. Heat treatments, either alone or in combination with CaC12 treatments, maintained firmness (80 N) best, followed by fruit infiltrated with 2% or 4% solutions of CaCl2 alone (70 N) and the nontreated controls (66 N). Instron Magness-Taylor and Instron compression test curves show that heat-treated fruit differed qualitatively and quantitatively from nonheated fruit. Heat treatment did not increase the amount of infiltrated Ca bound to the cell wall significantly, and a combination of heat treatment after CaCl2 infiltration increased surface injury over those fruit heated or infiltrated with CaCl2 solutions alone.

Free access

Yunwen Wang, Huangjun Lu, Richard N. Raid, Gregg S. Nuessly, and Georgy Faroutine

Bacterial leaf spot (BLS) disease, caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vitians (Xcv) has become an increasingly damaging disease in the lettuce production areas of the United States. To understand the nature of the outbreaks of this disease, the pathogenic variations for causing disease were evaluated on 29 lettuce cultivars and germplasm lines using three Xcv isolates recovered in different years from the Everglades Agriculture Area (EAA) of Florida. Significant differences were shown in both the BLS incidences and disease severities among the three Xcv isolates, and the rank from high virulence to less severity was L7 > JF196 > NF1. Our results suggest that the pathogenic variations of the isolates may have been associated with the epidemic outbreaks of BLS in EAA. Among the 29 lettuce genotypes, the host plant resistance was characterized by specific host genotype and Xcv isolate interactions. The leaf lettuce PI358001-1 was consistently in the high resistant category to all three Xcv isolates, and is a promising resistant source for development of resistant cultivars.