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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Photothermal ratio (PTR) is defined as the ratio of radiant energy (light) to thermal energy (temperature). The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTR during the vegetative (PTRv) and reproductive phase (PTRr) on finished plant quality of `Freedom' poinsettia. In Expt. I, plants were grown under 27 combinations of three temperatures, three daily light integrals (DLI), and three plant spacings from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction and then moved to a common PTR until anthesis. In Expt. II, plants were grown under a common PTR during the vegetative stage and then assigned to nine combinations of one temperature, three DLIs, and three plant spacings after the onset of short-day flower induction. Both PTRr and PTRv affected final plant dry weight. All components of dry weight (total, stem, green leaf, and bract) responded in a linear way to PTRr and in a quadratic way to PTRv. Stem strength was more dependent on PTRv than PTRr. When PTRv increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, stem diameter increased about 24% while stem strength increased 75%. The size of bracts and cyathia was linearly correlated to PTRr, but not affected by PTRv. When PTRr increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, bract area, inflorescence diameter, and cyathia diameter increased 45%, 23%, and 44%, respectively.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Plant growth and development are driven by two forms of energy: radiant and thermal. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of the ratio of radiant energy to thermal energy on plant quality of Euphorbia pulcherrima `Freedom'. Plants were grown under 27 combinations of temperature (thermal energy), light (radiant energy), and spacing, i.e., factorial combinations of three levels of constant temperature (19, 23, or 27°C:), three levels of daily light integral (5, 10, or 20 mol·m–2·d–1), and three levels of plant spacing (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction. Plants were treated for 450 degree-days (base temperature = 5°C) in Expt. 1 or 5 weeks in Expt. 2. The results showed that increasing radiant energy or decreasing average daily temperature during accumulation of 450 degree-days increased plant dry weight. When radiant and thermal energy were calculated into the ratio, plant dry weight increased linearly as the ratio increased Plants exposed to low light: levels and high temperatures, i.e., those at a low ratio, developed thin, weak stems. Higher radiant-to-thermal energy ratios produced thicker stems.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

The objectives of this study were to quantify the effects of the radiant-to-thermal energy ratio (RRT) on poinsettia plant growth and development during the vegetative stage and develop a simple, mechanistic model for poinsettia quality control. Based on greenhouse experiments conducted with 27 treatment combinations; i.e., factorial combinations of three levels of constant temperature (19, 23, or 27°C), three levels of daily light integral (5, 10, or 20 mol/m2 per day), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction, the relationship between plant growth/development and light/temperature has been established. A model for poinsettia quality control was constructed using the computer software program STELLA II. The t-test shows that there were no significant differences between model predictions and actual observations for all considered plant characteristics; i.e., total, leaf and stem dry weight, leaf unfolding number, leaf area index, and leaf area. The simulation results confirm that RRT is an important parameter to describe potential plant quality in floral crop production.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Shoot elongation of `Stargazer' lily is rapid during the first 15 to 20 days after planting (1 to 2 cm·day–1 is common). Lower stem leaves are small, separated by long internodes. We determined if dipping `Stargazer' bulbs in uniconazole (5-, 10-, 20-, or 40-ppm solutions for 1 min) before planting would slow initial stem elongation, decrease final height, and improve appearance. Emergence, visible bud, anthesis dates, and flower bud count were recorded. Plant height was measured three times per week until anthesis. Uniconazole did not affect time to emergence, visible bud, anthesis, or flower bud count. Compared to the final height of 48 cm (untreated plants), height was reduced 7, 17, 22, and 30 cm (5%, 35%, 46%, and 62%) at anthesis for plants in the 5-, 10-, 20-, and 40-ppm treatments, respectively. The uniconazole bulb dips did not affect stem elongation rate for the first 10 days after treatment or from 45 days after treatment through anthesis (day 65). Relative to untreated plants, stem elongation rate of treated plants decreased linearly from 10 to about 35 days after treatment, with a maximum reduction of 55%, 75%, 85%, and 100% for plants in the 5-, 10-, 20-, and 40-ppm treatments, respectively.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Light (radiant energy) and temperature (thermal energy) affect quality of greenhouse crops. Radiant energy drives photosynthesis and, consequently, plant biomass accumulation. Thermal energy is the primary environmental factor driving developmental rate. The concept of a photothermal ratio (PTR), the ratio of radiant energy [moles of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons/m2] to thermal energy (degree-day), was proposed to describe the balance between plant growth and plant development in greenhouse crops. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTR during vegetative (PTRv) or reproductive (PTRr) phases on finished plant quality of `Freedom' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch). In Expt. 1, plants were grown under 27 combinations of three constant temperatures (19, 23, or 27 °C), three daily light integrals (DLIs) as measured by the number of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons (5, 10, or 20 mol·m-2·d-1), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm) from pinch to the start of short-day flower induction, and then moved to a common PTR until anthesis. In Expt. 2, plants were grown under a common PTR during the vegetative stage and then moved to combinations of three DLIs (5, 10, or 15 mol·m-2·d-1) and three plant spacings (25 × 25, 30 × 30, or 35 × 35 cm) at a constant 20 °C from the start of short days until anthesis. Both PTRr and PTRv affected final plant dry weight (DW). All components of DW (total, stem, leaf, and bract) increased linearly as PTRr increased, and responded quadratically to PTRv, reaching a maximum when PTRv was 0.04 mol/degree-day per plant. Stem strength depended more on PTRv than PTRr. When PTRv increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, stem diameter increased ≈24%, while stem strength increased 75%. The size of bracts and cyathia increased linearly as PTRr increased, but was unaffected by PTRv. When PTRr increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, bract area, inflorescence diameter, and cyathia diameter increased 45%, 23%, and 44%, respectively.

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Bo-Ling Liu, Zhi-Bin Fan, Ze-Qun Liu, Xun-Hong Qiu and Yan-Hong Jiang

Salvia miltiorrhiza (commonly known in China as Danshen) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is applied in the treatment of many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. Commercial propagation of Danshen is carried out either through seed germination or in vitro regeneration (micropropagation). However, it is not clear if the different propagation methods affect the chemical properties of the derived plants. In the present study, we first established a highly efficient tissue culture system for Danshen propagation. The addition of 1.0 mg·L−1 6-benzyladenine (BA) and 0.1 mg·L−1 α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) to Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium was optimal for inducing adventitious shoots; the highest rate of rooting was recorded on MS medium with 0.2 mg·L−1 NAA, on which the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was 95%. Next, we assessed antioxidant properties in the different tissues of plants of the same age, derived from micropropagation or seed germination, and measured tanshinone, total phenol, and total flavonoid contents. Our results showed that tissues of micropropagated plantlets had higher antioxidant activities than tissues of seed-derived plantlets; the micropropagated plantlets also had higher tanshinone contents in their roots. Thus, a rapid and efficient micropropagation system was established for Danshen, and it can be used for cultivating this plant to obtain therapeutic compounds.

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Yi Kai, Yang Bin, Zhang Min, Gao Ainong, Zhang Jinger, Liu Zhi, Sha Shoufeng and Xie Chongxin

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Meiling Yang, Fang Li, Hong Long, Weiwei Yu, Xiuna Yan, Bin Liu, Yunxiu Zhang, Guorong Yan and Wenqin Song

As a wild apple species native to central Asia, Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem. is distributed in a wide region covering most of the Tienshan Mountains. Malus sieversii is a useful genetic pool for apple breeding since rich with diversity. In this paper, we first describe the species range of this endangered species. We then describe an in situ reserve that has been established. We also investigated some reproductive characteristics of M. sieversii including pollen germination, seed dormancy, and seed viability. Both stratification and seedcoat removal efficiently released seed dormancy and accelerated seed germination. Pollen germination rate is around 60%. Our data suggest that injurious insects and human activities, rather than reproductive characters, limit the renewal of M. sieversii.

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Cai-Hong Jia, Ju-Hua Liu, Zhi-Qiang Jin, Qiu-Ju Deng, Jian-Bin Zhang and Bi-Yu Xu

A full-length cDNA isolated from banana (Musa acuminata L. AAA group) fruit was named MaMDH, containing an open reading frame encoding 332 amino acids that represents the gene for cytoplasmic malic dehydrogenase (MDH). Sequence analysis showed that MaMDH shares high similarity with MDHs from castor bean (XP_002533463), tobacco (CAC12826), peach (AAL11502), and chickpeas (CAC10208). Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of MaMDH spatial expression showed that it was expressed in all organs examined: roots, rhizomes, leaves, flowers, and fruits. The expression was the highest in flowers followed by the fruits and roots, whereas the rhizomes and leaves displayed the lowest expression levels. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that MaMDH exhibited differential expression patterns in post-harvest banana fruits correlating with ethylene biosynthesis. In naturally ripened banana fruits, MaMDH expression was in accordance with ethylene biosynthesis. In accordance, for banana fruits treated with the ethylene analog 1-methylclopropene (1-MCP), MaMDH expression levels were inhibited and remained constant. After treatment with ethylene, MaMDH expression in banana fruits significantly increased with ethylene biosynthesis and peaked 3 days after harvest, which was 11 days earlier than that in naturally ripened banana fruits. These results suggest that MaMDH expression is induced by ethylene to regulate post-harvest banana fruits ripening.

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Wei Hu, Ju-Hua Liu, Xiao-Ying Yang, Jian-Bin Zhang, Cai-Hong Jia, Mei-Ying Li, Bi-Yu Xu and Zhi-Qiang Jin

The banana, a typical climacteric fruit, undergoes a postharvest ripening process followed by a burst in ethylene production that signals the beginning of the climacteric period. Postharvest ripening plays an important role in improving the quality of the fruit as well as limiting its shelf life. To investigate the role of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) in climacteric ethylene biosynthesis and fruit ripening in postharvest banana, a GAD gene was isolated from banana, designated MuGAD. Coincidently with climacteric ethylene production, MuGAD expression as well as the expression of the genes encoding the Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (MaACS1) and Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase (MaACO1) greatly increased during natural ripening and in ethylene-treated banana. Moreover, ethylene biosynthesis, ripening progress, and MuGAD, MaACS1, and MaACO1 expression were enhanced by exogenous ethylene application and inhibited by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Taken together, our results suggested that MuGAD is involved in the fruit ripening process in postharvest banana.