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Fang Geng, Renae Moran, Michael Day, William Halteman and Donglin Zhang

The influence of red and blue light wavelengths was tested to improve the initial in vitro multiplication of apple (Malus × domestica) rootstock cultivars Budagovsky 9 (B.9), Geneva 30 (G.30), and Geneva 41 (G.41). Single-node segments were established in semisolid Murashige and Skoog media and then transferred to proliferation media and cultured 40 days under white, red, or blue light irradiance. In a second experiment, G.30 was cultured under red, blue, or white light with and without gibberellic acid (GA3). The three rootstocks responded similarly under white light in terms of shoot number, length of the longest shoot, and the number of elongated shoots. Red light increased the number of shoots, length of the longest shoot, and the number of elongated shoots of B.9 and G.30 when compared with white or blue light. Red light increased the number of elongated B.9 and G.30 shoots to five per explant compared with one per explant under white light. In contrast, shoot growth of G.41 showed no difference under the three light quality treatments, and the number of elongated shoots per explant was less than one. When compared with an absence of GA3, a concentration of GA3 at 0.5 mg·L−1 promoted in vitro shoot growth of G.30 under red and blue light.

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Fang Geng, Renae Moran, Michael Day, William Halteman and Donglin Zhang

These studies were conducted to determine the most effective methods for increasing shoot elongation during the initial proliferation stage of micropropagation in two dwarfing apple, Malus ×domestica (Borkh.), rootstock cultivars. Several experiments were conducted to compare explant collection date, exposure to chilling (5 ± 1 °C) temperatures, and varying concentrations of plant growth regulators in Murashige and Skoog (MS) media. Microshoot growth of ‘Geneva 41’ (‘G.41’) was very low and unaffected by chilling duration from 0 to 8 weeks or by gibberellic acid (GA3) concentration from 0 to 1.0 mg·L−1, but was improved by an additional subculture which increased shoot length from 1 to 15 mm. In ‘Geneva 30’ (‘G.30’), shoot elongation was most affected by date, chilling explants, and by optimizing cytokinin concentration and type. Explant collection date in April increased shoot growth compared with August or November. Microshoot growth of ‘G.30’ was increased by chilling nodal explants for 4 and 6 weeks when explants were collected in August and November, but not in April. Eight weeks chilling was detrimental for explants collected in April, and generally had little or no effect with August and November. The cytokinin 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) increased shoot number to a greater extent than thidiazuron (TDZ) or zeatin (ZT), and was also more effective for increasing shoot elongation with concentrations of 0 to 2.0 mg·L−1. In ‘G.30’, GA3 increased shoot growth at the optimum concentration of BA, but not with lower concentrations. ‘G.30’ microshoots were fewer and shorter with 24-epi-brassinolide (EBR) at concentrations of 0.1 and 1.0 mg·L−1. Chemical names: N-phenyl-N’-(1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-yl)urea (TDZ), 6-(4-hydroxy-3-methylbut-2-enylamino)purine (ZT).

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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.

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Jyotsna Joshi, Geng Zhang, Shanqi Shen, Kanyaratt Supaibulwatana, Chihiro K.A. Watanabe and Wataru Yamori

“Plant factory with artificial lighting” (PFAL) refers to a plant production facility that can achieve mass production of vegetables year round in a controlled environment. However, the high-density planting pattern in PFALs causes low light conditions in the lower canopy, leading to leaf senescence in the outer leaves and thus to reductions in plant yields. In the present study, the effect of supplemental upward lighting underneath the plants on photosynthetic characteristics and plant yield was examined in lettuce, in comparison with supplemental downward lighting from above the plants at the same light intensity. Supplemental upward lighting increased the curvature factor of the photosynthetic response to light from above the plants. Moreover, supplemental upward lighting significantly enhanced the lettuce yield by retarding the senescence of the outer leaves. Here, we propose a novel cultivation system with a combination of downward lighting and supplemental upward lighting that can effectively increase plant growth and yield in PFALs.

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Yan Cheng, Qian Wang, Qingyu Ban, Jianfeng Geng, Xiao Wei Zhang, Ying Yi and Xilin Hou

Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) identified so far in Brassica were mainly generated in the final stage of plant development, which did not apply to the exploitation of genetic effects that were expressed during a specific developmental stage. Thus, the objective of this study was to simultaneously identify unconditional and conditional QTL associated with plant height at various stages of nonheading Chinese cabbage. One hundred twelve doubled haploid (DH) lines developed from the cross between nonheading Chinese cabbage lines ‘SW-13’ and ‘SU-124’ were used for QTL analysis of plant height by the composite interval mapping method combined with mixed genetic model. The map we used for QTL analysis was an updated version of the first genetic map of nonheading Chinese cabbage with 48 additional markers to the same DH population. With data from 2 years, a total of 11 unconditional QTLs in six linkage groups and 23 conditional QTLs in eight linkage groups were identified for plant height. The results indicated that the number and type of QTLs and their genetic effects for plant height were different in a series of measuring stages. Each QTL can explain 7.92% to 28.25% of the total phenotypic variation. Two QTLs (ph8-4 and ph8-5) were identified to be associated with plant height using both unconditional and conditional mapping methods simultaneously in 2 years. These results demonstrated that it is highly effective for mapping QTL of developmental traits using the unconditional and conditional analysis methodology.

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Renae E. Moran, Youping Sun, Fang Geng, Donglin Zhang and Gennaro Fazio

Winter injury to the root systems of fruit trees can cause significant tree losses and yield reductions in the northern regions of the United States and Canada. To compare the root and trunk cold temperature tolerance, a series of experiments were conducted using ungrafted apple rootstocks. ‘Geneva® 11’ (G.11), ‘Geneva® 30’ (G.30), ‘Geneva® 41’ (G.41), ‘P.2’, and ‘Budagovsky 9’ (B.9) apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) rootstocks had root tissue hardiness similar to ‘M.26’, but ‘Geneva® 935’ (G.935) had greater cold-hardiness than M.26 when based on shoot regrowth in ungrafted trees. The LT50 of M.26 and P.2 roots ranged from –12 to –14 °C. The LT50 was –13 °C for B.9, –13.4 to –14.6 °C for G.30, and –12 °C for G.11. The LT50 of G.41 was one of the highest in one experiment, –8 °C, and one of the lowest in another, colder than –15.0 °C. The LT50 of G.935 roots was the lowest and ranged from –16 to –19 °C. Compared with M.26, trunk cold-hardiness in December was greater in B.9 and P.2 and was similar in G.30. Cold-hardiness of G.11 in December was mixed with less injury in the xylem but more injury in the phloem compared with M.26. In October, M.26 and G.935 trunks had little injury after exposure to –24 °C.

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Jian-Feng Geng, Cheng-Song Zhu, Xiao-Wei Zhang, Yan Cheng, Yuan-Ming Zhang and Xi-Lin Hou

Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis (L.) Hanelt, known as nonheading chinese cabbage in China, is an important vegetable in eastern Asia and its genetic improvement requires a genetic linkage map. The first genetic linkage map of nonheading chinese cabbage using 112 doubled haploid lines derived from a released F1 hybrid cultivar Shulü between two lines SW-3 and Su-124 was constructed in this paper. One hundred thirty-eight molecular markers were mapped into 14 linkage groups. Among these markers, there were 77 sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers, 27 simple sequence repeat markers, 21 random amplification polymorphic DNA markers, and 13 intersimple sequence repeat markers. Chi-square tests showed that 54 markers are distorted from Mendelian segregation ratios, and the direction of the distortion is mainly toward the maternal parent SW-3. The distortion affects not only the estimation of genetic distance, but also the order of distorted markers on a same linkage group. Given a specific marker order, the authors proposed a multipoint approach to correct the linkage map in an unbiased manner in an F2 population while considering distorted, dominant, and missing markers. A new method was used to correct the linkage map in the doubled haploid population mentioned earlier considering new, distorted, and missing markers. The total length of the corrected linkage map was 1923.75 cM, with an average marker spacing of 15.52 cM. The map will facilitate selective breeding and mapping of quantitative trait loci.