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John M. Dole, Paul Fisher, and Geoffrey Njue

Several treatments were investigated for increasing vase life of cut `Renaissance Red' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch.) stems. A vase life of at least 20.6 days resulted when harvested stems were placed directly into vases with 22 °C deionized water plus 200 mg·L-1 8-HQS (the standard floral solution used) and 0% to 1% sucrose without floral foam. Maturity of stems at harvest, ranging from 0 to 4 weeks after anthesis, had no effect on vase life or days to first abscised leaf. Pretreatments immediately after harvest using floral solution heated to 38 or 100 °C, or 1 or 10-min dips in isopropyl alcohol, had no effect, whereas 24 hours in 10% sucrose shortened vase life by 6.4 days and time to first abscised cyathium by 4.5 days. Stem storage at 10 °C decreased vase life, particularly when stems were stored dry (with only 0.8 days vase life after 3 weeks dry storage). Increasing duration of wet storage in floral solution from 0 to 3 weeks decreased vase life from 21.5 to 14.6 days. Placing cut stems in a vase containing floral foam decreased time to first abscised leaf by 3.7 to 11.6 days compared with no foam. A 1% to 2% sucrose concentration in the vase solution produced the longest postharvest life for stems placed in foam but had little effect on stems not placed in foam. A 4% sucrose concentration decreased vase life compared with lower sucrose concentrations regardless of the presence of foam. Holding stems in the standard floral solution increased vase life and delayed leaf abscission compared with deionized or tap water only, with further improvement when stem bases were recut every three days. Commercial floral pretreatments and holding solutions had no effect on vase life and days to first abscised cyathium but delayed leaf abscission.

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V. M. Gingas, J. C. Kamalay, and S. C. Domir

Suspension cultures of five elm selections (U. americana A, 680, 8630 and Del 2 and U. pumila S) exhibiting a range of susceptibility responses to the Dutch Elm Disease fungus (Ophiostoma ulmi) have been successfully established for future elicitor/phytoalexin studies. Calli initiated from foliar tissues of mature, greenhouse-grown trees cultured on a solid modified MS medium containing 2,4-D and BA were adapted to a liquid modified MS medium containing BA and either IAA or NAA. Cells were grown in either the presence or absence of light with continuous agitation. Uniform, rapidly dividing cell cultures were achieved when friable white or tan calli were grown in the medium containing 1 mg/l each NAA and BA in darkness. Cultures yielding an abundance of phenolic compounds exhibited decreased cell uniformity and proliferation. Increased phenolic production was associated with the presence of phenolics in the initial callus tissue, exposure to light and the use of IAA as the auxin source.

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Lianghong Chen and Mack Nelson

Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique is based on DNA amplification by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of random DNA segments using single arbitrary nucleotide sequences. It has been widely used for genetic mapping, plant and animal breeding programs, and DNA fingerprinting. However, there is no single set of RAPD-PCR conditions that can be applied to all situations. In order to adjust reaction component concentrations within suggested ranges for efficient amplification during the use of RAPD in detection of genetic variation of genus Camellia, crucial factors, such as concentrations of MgCl2 and DNA, annealing temperature (37 to 44 °C), and the use of an AmpliTaq® DNA polymerase and Stoffel fragment were examined. Five camellia cultivars, `Winter's Beauty', `Pink Icicle', `Polar Ice', `Winter's Hope', and `Snow Flurry', were under investigation. Clear and reproducible amplification products were produced with 3.0 μM MgCl2 and 30 ng template DNA/25 μL reaction mixer at annealing temperature 37 °C and 40 °C, compared with MgCl2 at 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 μM. When annealing temperature increased, the RAPD-PCR stringency was increased, as expected. Stoffel fragment was found to provide highly reproducible results.

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Richard S. Buker*, Jackie K. Burns, and Fritz M. Roka

Continuous canopy shakers (CCS) were developed in the late 90's and have been used to commercially harvest citrus in Florida. A viable mechanical harvester in Florida must be able to selectively remove mature `Valencia' fruit. A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of operating conditions on mature and immature fruit removal during the 2003 harvest season. The study was conducted in the southern flat woods and northern ridge areas. The study treatments were completely random and replicated four times. The CCS treatments were 145, 215, 230, and 245 cycles per minute (cpm) and a hand picked control. The harvest occurred on 17 and 19 June at the southern and northern sites, respectively. Mature fruit removal linearly increased from 95.7% to 97.9% between 145 and 245 cpm, respectively. Varying the operating ranges significantly influenced mature fruit removal in the southern flat woods site. The trees at the southern site were taller (>4m), and had a larger crop load. At the northern ridge site where trees were smaller, varying the CCS operating ranges did not significantly influence mature fruit removal. Immature fruit removal was influenced by the operating ranges. Immature fruit removal was increased at least 22% over hand picked controls. The results were interpreted to indicate the frequency of CCS is dependent on tree size. The initial selectivity of the CCS was not equal to hand picking.

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Susan L. Barkley, Sushila Chaudhari, Jonathan R. Schultheis, Katherine M. Jennings, Stephen G. Bullen, and David W. Monks

There is a research gap with respect to documenting the effects of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) seed root density and size on transplant yield and quality. Field studies were conducted in 2012 and 2014 to determine the effect of sweetpotato seed root (canner size) density [12, 24, 37, 49, 61, 73, and 85 bushels [bu (50 lb)] per 1000 ft2] on ‘Covington’ and ‘Evangeline’ slip production in propagation beds. Another field study was conducted in 2012 and 2013; treatments included canner, no. 1, and jumbo-size ‘Covington’ roots at 49 bu/1000 ft2, to determine the effect of seed root size on slip production. As seed root density increased in the propagation bed, transplant production increased with no change in slip quality as measured by node counts and slip length except for stem diameter. In 2012, the best marketable slip yield was obtained at root densities of 73 and 85 bu/1000 ft2. In 2014, marketable slip production of ‘Evangeline’ increased as seed root density increased at a greater rate than ‘Covington’. In 2014, the best seed root density for marketable slip production was 49 to 85 bu/1000 ft2 for ‘Covington’ and 85 bu/1000 ft2 for ‘Evangeline’. In 2012, potential slip revenues increased with an increase in seed root density up to 73 bu/1000 ft2. In 2014, revenue trend was similar for ‘Covington’ as 2012; however, for ‘Evangeline’, revenue was greatest at 85 bu/1000 ft2. Seed root size had no effect on marketable slip production when using a once-over harvest system. Results suggest growers would use a seed root density from 49 to 85 bu/1000 ft2 depending on variety, and any size roots for production of optimum marketable slips. Selection of optimum seed root density also depends on grower needs; e.g., high seed root density strategy will have a higher risk due to the upfront, higher seed costs, but potentially have higher profits at harvest time. Lower seed root density strategy would be a lower initial risk with a lower seed cost, but also potentially have lower net revenues.

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Jill A. Montgomery, Ray A. Bressan, and Cary A. Mitchell

Obtaining uniform mechano-dwarfing of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. seedlings within dense plantings is problematic. Alternative forms of mechano-stimulation were applied to seedlings in effort to obtain uniform growth reduction compared with undisturbed controls in both greenhouse and controlled growth environments. Arabidopsis grown under low photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) artificial light grew upright with limited leaf expansion, which enhanced mechano-responsiveness compared to that of rosette-growing plants under filtered sunlight or high PPF artificial light. Hypocotyls of seedlings grown at PPFs >60 μmol·m-2·s-1 elongated less and had 6% less sensitivity to mechanical stress than seedlings grown at PPFs <60 μmol·m-2·s-1. Fluorescent lamps alone (F) or fluorescent plus incandescent (F+I) lamps were compared for seedling responses to mechanical stress. Under F lighting, hypocotyl elongation was reduced 25% to 40% by twice-daily brush or plate treatments, and brushed seedlings exhibited more growth reduction than did plate treatments. Seedlings grown under F+I lamps exhibited similar stress-induced growth reduction compared to seedlings grown under F only, but stressed F+I seedlings lodged to a greater extent due to excessive hypocotyl elongation. Temperature-response studies using standardized F-only lighting indicated increased hypocotyl elongation but decreased leaf expansion, and decreased mechano-responsivity to brushing over the temperature range from 20 to 28 °C. Daylength studies indicated similar degrees of mechano-inhibition of hypocotyl elongation over the daylength range of 12, 16, 20, and 24 hours, whereas fresh weight of stressed seedling shoots declined compared to controls. A combination of environmental growth parameters that give repeatable, visual mechanical dwarfing of Arabidopsis include low-PPF fluorescent lighting from 55 to 60 μmol·m-2·s-1, ambient temperatures from 22 to 25 °C, and twice-daily brush treatments.

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Jerry C. Leyte and Charles F. Forney

Forced-air cooling rates of highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) packaged in 6-oz (177-mL) or 1-pt (473-mL) clamshell containers were affected by positions of vent holes in corrugated flats. Most rapid cooling occurred in flats with vents across the top of the flat. Additional vents aligned in front of clamshells resulted in more rapid and uniform cooling than vents placed between clamshells. Vent holes in the bottom of flats had no effect on cooling rates. Clamshells cooled more slowly in the front of the pallet where cold air entered than in the back of the pallet where cold air exited. Fruit in 6-oz clamshells cooled faster than fruit in 1-pt clamshells.

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Philip L. Forsline, James R. McFerson, and Warren F. Lamboy

The USDA–ARS active collection of Malus includes over 2500 accessions maintained as field-grown trees at the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU), Geneva, N.Y. Nearly 30% of this collection is presently cryopreserved as dormant buds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colo., as a backup security collection. Successful bud-grafting recovery rates (≥40%) after one to four years of cryogenic storage have been documented for over 675 of 750 accessions tested. However, current protocols dictate budwood collection at PGRU from late December through early March, when buds are thought to be optimally acclimated for desiccation and slow freezing to –30°C, our pretreatment for cryopreservation. This causes a processing bottleneck. Our observations suggest temporary storage of budwood at –4°C after field harvest is possible, but we had not tested this directly. Therefore, we collected budwood from four accessions representing different levels of cold tolerance on six dates from January to March, 1995. Dormant buds were processed for cryopreservation monthly after storage in sealed bags at –4°C for 1 to 6 months. Recovery rates ranged from 55% to 100%. Neither collection date nor length of storage at –4°C affected rate of recovery. These results suggest we can significantly increase the throughput and efficiency of our cryopreservation efforts, thereby enhancing management and security of the Malus collection.

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Jonathan M. Frantz and Cary A. Mitchell

A major source of power consumption in controlled-environment crop production is plant-growth lighting. Methods developed to minimize this source of power consumption will reduce the negative environmental impact of crop production through more-efficient management of non-renewable resources. One such method uses “intracanopy lighting,” in which the plants are allowed to grow through multiple levels of low-intensity lamps to irradiate the understory that normally is shaded when traditional overhead lighting is used. Early results with cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp `IT87D-941-1') indicate a significant reduction in net power consumption within a given growth area or volume while enhancing the harvest index (HI = percent edible biomass). Incorporation of mylar reflectors and manipulation of lamp geometries for more-efficient use of available photosynthetically active radiation, while maintaining low power consumption are the focus of present experiments. Photosynthetic rates by leaves of different ages and positions within the canopy are measured as a way of determining lighting efficiency. The productivity parameters HI, edible yield rate (EYR = gDW × m–2 × day–1), yield efficiency rate (YER = gDW edible × m–2 × day–1 [gDW non-edible]-1), energy conversion efficiency (ECE = EYR × [kW·h]–1), and energy partition efficiency (EPE = YER × [kW·h]–1) express the costs of edible biomass production in terms of the spatial, temporal, energetic, and non-edible biomass penalties. [Research supported in part by NASA grant NAGW-2329.]

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Mark V. Yelanich and John A. Biernbaum

A model constructed to describe nitrogen dynamics in the root zone of subirrigated container-grown chrysanthemum was used to develop and test nitrogen fertilization strategies. The model predicts the nitrogen concentration in the root zone by numerical integration of the rates of nitrogen applied, plant nitrogen uptake, and nitrogen movement to the medium top layer. The three strategies tested were constant liquid N fertilization, proportional derivative control (PD) based upon weekly saturated medium extraction (SME) tests, or PD control based upon daily SME tests. The optimal concentration of N to apply using a single fertilization concentration was 14 mol·m–3, but resulted in greater quantities of N being applied than if PD controller strategies were used. The PD controllers were better able to maintain the predicted SME concentration within 7 to 14 mol·m–3 optimal range and reduce the overall sample variability over time. Applying 14 mol·m–3 N at every irrigation was found to be an adequate fertilization strategy over a wide range of environmental conditions because N was applied in excess of what was needed by the plant.