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Honghui Gu, Jiansheng Wang, Huifang Yu, Zhenqing Zhao, Xiaoguang Sheng, Jisuan Chen and Yingjun Xu

Sulforaphane is an anticarcinogenic isothiocyanate derived from 4-methylsulfinylbutyl glucosinolate (glucoraphanin), which is abundant in broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) florets. However, some breakdown products from alkenyl glucosinolates present in many broccoli cultivars, particularly oxazolidine-2-thione hydrolyzed from 2-(R)-hydroxy-3-butenyl glucosinolate (progoitrin), have potentially harmful effects on human and animal health. The main objective of this study was to improve the glucoraphanin concentration in F1 hybrids by cross-breeding with inbred lines and doubled haploids. Glucoraphanin concentrations in 31 of the 61 F1 hybrids were significantly higher (P = 0.05) than that of the commercial cultivar (Youxiu) with the highest concentration of glucoraphanin (4.18 μmol·g−1 dry weight) among eight reference cultivars. Sixteen of the F1 hybrids had glucoraphanin concentrations 3-fold higher than that of ‘Youxiu’. Alkenyl glucosinolates were not detected in the new hybrids as a result of the parents having few of these compounds but were found in five reference cultivars. Most F1 hybrids showed moderate indole glucosinolate concentrations and acceptable commercial traits. IL609 and IL702.2 were determined to be promising parental lines as a result of the high glucoraphanin concentration that they and their offspring contained. The findings also indicated that some F1 hybrids do not show the high-glucoraphanin character of their parents; consequently, evaluation of these F1 hybrids for their glucosinolate content is required for breeding high-glucoraphanin broccoli.

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Qing Xu, Shi-Rong Guo, He Li, Nan-Shan Du, Sheng Shu and Jin Sun

The use of grafted seedlings in vegetable crops has increased in recent years to enhance the resistance to biological and abiotic stresses, and improve yields. However, incompatibility restricts the wide application of grafting. In this study, two pumpkin (Cucurbita) cultivars, with great differences in grafting affinity and symbiotic affinity, were used as rootstocks and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings were used as the scion. The effects of compatibility or incompatibility on histological aspects, antioxidant enzyme activities, phenylpropanoid contents, and chlorophyll fluorescence were studied. The results showed that compatible graft combinations present a stronger resistance to the oxidative damage resulting from grafting and had relatively weak phenylpropanoid metabolisms. The results also indicated that the chlorophyll fluorescence levels of incompatible combinations were lower, except compared with the original fluorescence. Finally, a necrotic layer existed earlier in compatible graft combinations. These differences at the morphological, physiological, and cellular levels may govern compatibility and incompatibility, and may provide valuable information for determining the symbiotic affinity of grafted seedlings at an early stage.

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Sheng Xu, Mingmin Jiang, Jiangyan Fu, Lijian Liang, Bing Xia and Ren Wang

From a field experiment, the changes in morphophysiological characters and antioxidant enzyme activities were studied in two Lycoris species (Lycoris radiata and Lycoris aurea) subjected to 16 days of water deficit stress. With the increase of water deficit stress processing time, leaf relative water content (RWC), membrane stability index (MSI), net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (g S), transpiration rate (E), and chlorophyll (Chl) content decreased in both studied species. The water use efficiency (WUE) showed an opposite tendency between the two species under water deficit stress, where WUE of L. aurea decreased moderately and WUE of L. aurea increased somehow. Intercellular CO2 concentration (C i) in L. aurea and L. radiata decreased in respond to water deficit stress at early stages of stress treatment, then increased throughout the rest of the stress period, and reached levels higher than those in well-watered plants at the end of the treatment. In addition, there was a significant increment in soluble sugar content and proline accumulation under water deficit stress in both species, and L. radiata showed a much more accumulation. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), guaiacol peroxidase (POD), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) increased in both plants subjected to water deficit stress while declined as the stress time increased. In L. aurea, catalase (CAT) showed a sustained increment, but it responded later and after a transient increase declined again in L. radiata under water deficit stress. In conclusion, L. radiata was more tolerant to water deficit stress than L. aurea as evidenced by its relatively higher water status, higher levels of proline, soluble sugar and pigments, and stronger photoprotection. Moreover, relatively higher antioxidant enzyme activities and lower levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in L. radiata were also associated with its better protection against water deficit stress-induced oxidative damage.

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Ni Jia, Qing-Yan Shu, Dan-Hua Wang, Liang-Sheng Wang, Zheng-An Liu, Hong-Xu Ren, Yan-Jun Xu, Dai-Ke Tian and Kenneth Michael Tilt

Petal anthocyanins were systematically identified and characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)–electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (MS) coupled with diode array detection among nine wild herbaceous peony (Paeonia L.) species (15 accessions). Individual anthocyanins were identified according to the HPLC retention time, elution order, MS fragmentation patterns, and by comparison with authentic standards and published data. Six main anthocyanins, including peonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-arabinoside (Pn3G5Ara), peonidin-3-O-glucoside, pelargonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (Cy3G), were detected. In addition to the well-known major anthocyanins, some minor anthocyanins were identified in herbaceous peony species for the first time. Detection of the unique anthocyanins cyanidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside and pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside in both Paeonia anomala L. and P. anomala ssp. veitchii (Lynch) D.Y. Hong & K.Y. Pan indicated these two species should belong to the same taxon. Pn3G5Ara was found only in European wild species and subspecies suggesting different metabolic pathways between European and Chinese accessions. Anthocyanins conjugated with galactose and arabinose were observed in the genus Paeonia for the first time. The North American species, Paeonia tenuifolia L., had high Cy3G content in flower petals. This anthocyanin composition is distinct from the anthocyanin composition in Asian and European species and possibly is responsible for the vivid red coloration in flowers.

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Weicheng Xu, Faxian Su, Guangchen Zhang, Jianwei Hou, Sheng Zhao, Yuan Deng, Paul E. Read and Guochen Yang

Sodium hydrogen sulfate (NaHSO3) in aqueous solution was sprayed on bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) plants beginning at first anthesis to test its effects as a photorespiration represser and resulting effects on yield. NaHSO3 sprays promoted plant height, stem diameter, fruit number and plant weight and increased the net assimilation rate, thus increasing yield. Concentrations of 60, 100, 120, 130, 200, 240 and 300 ppm were all effective, with 200 ppm optimum. Sprays repeated for three times at 7 day intervals were more effective in increasing growth and yield of bell pepper than spraying once or twice. This technique has gained acceptance as a practical method for improving production of bell pepper in Northeast China. Additional research is underway to further refine this practice.