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Open access

Brian Schwartz, Jing Zhang, Jonathon Fox, and Jason Peake

Heavily shaded environments often limit the performance and persistence of hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), therefore a field-based shade study was performed to determine whether different mowing heights (0.5 and 1.5 inch) or two trinexapac-ethyl (TE) growth regulator management treatments (control and 2 oz/acre) allow either ‘TifSport’ or ‘TifGrand’ hybrid bermudagrass to persist under 77% shade. Turfgrass quality (TQ), green cover, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and dark-green color index (DGCI) were evaluated on the two cultivars under a shade structure in Tifton, GA, during 2010 and 2011. Neither of the cultivars maintained acceptable TQ throughout the entire year under 77% shade, although ‘TifGrand’ displayed adequate TQ at the higher mowing height (1.5 inch) and demonstrated more shade tolerance than ‘TifSport’, as indicated by TQ, green cover, and NDVI. The TE application did not enhance the turf performance of ‘TifSport’ under 77% shade when mowed at 0.5 inch, but it improved turf performance of ‘TifGrand’ at the same height. The effect of TE application was cultivar and mowing height dependent under this heavily shaded environment, which warrants future study to determine the best management practices of these cultivars as well as continued efforts to develop new, shade-tolerant bermudagrass hybrids.

Free access

Xue Li, Chen Zang, Hang Ge, Jing Zhang, Donald Grierson, Xue-ren Yin, and Kun-song Chen

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a model fruit for investigating flesh lignification during storage and response to chilling injury. However, the investigations of enzymes and coding genes and loquat fruit lignification under low-temperature storage are still limited. Here, the activity and transcript levels of up-stream enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, including l-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H), and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL), were investigated. The results indicated that activity of these enzymes was positively correlated with loquat fruit lignification and suppression of these increases by heat treatment (HT) and low-temperature conditioning (LTC) significantly alleviated loquat fruit lignification. Coding genes for these enzymes were subsequently isolated based on information from an RNA-seq database and expression of Ej4CL1 was found to be the most responsive to low temperature and inhibition by HT and LTC treatment, whereas the other genes were less responsive to these treatments. Furthermore, function of Ej4CL1 was analyzed by transient overexpression in tobacco leaves, where it stimulated lignin accumulation. Ej4CL1 may be a key candidate that involved in CI-related loquat fruit lignification.

Full access

Shugang Zhao, Jiamin Niu, Linying Yun, Kai Liu, Shuang Wang, Jing Wen, Hongxia Wang, and ZhiHua Zhang

The role of the walnut (Juglans regia L.) shell in nut development, transportation, cleaning, and storage is often ignored. The shell suture seal and thickness are directly associated with kernel characteristics. In the present study, shell differentiation and microstructure were observed with an optical microscope using paraffin-sectioning and cryosectioning. The results showed that the parenchymal cells of the endocarp began to differentiate into sclerenchymal cells from 49 d after flowering (DAF), and the entire process continued until fruit maturation. The mature shell consists of three parts, including the sclereid layer (L1), sclerenchymal cell layer (L2), and shrunken cell layer (L3), from the outside to the inside. The shell thickness, suture seal grade, and mechanical strength were evaluated, as well as the lignin, cellulose, and phenolic compounds of the shell. Suture seal grade was positively correlated with lignin content, shell thickness, and L1 thickness and negatively correlated with shell cell diameter. Similarly, the mechanical strength of the shell was positively correlated with lignin content and L1 thickness. ‘Qingxing’ fruits were subjected to two treatments, namely, 30% shading and 70% shading, from 10 d after anthesis to maturity, with no shading used as control. After harvesting in September, nutshell sections showed thinner shells, with decreased contents of lignin and polyphenols, obtained under shaded conditions, and two of the three parts of the shell changed dramatically. The thinning of L1 and thickening of L3 eventually led to a thinner shell. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship among the shell structure, cellular components, and physical properties and provide a theoretical basis for cultivar breeding, rational planting density, and regulation of shell development.

Full access

Dana Sullivan, Jing Zhang, Alexander R. Kowalewski, Jason B. Peake, William F. Anderson, F. Clint Waltz Jr., and Brian M. Schwartz

Quantitative spectral reflectance data have the potential to improve the evaluation of turfgrasses in variety trials when management practices are factors in the testing of turf aesthetics and functionality. However, the practical application of this methodology has not been well developed. The objectives of this research were 1) to establish a relationship between spectral reflectance and turfgrass quality (TQ) and percent green cover (PGC) using selected reference plots; 2) to compare aesthetic performance (TQ, PGC, and vegetation indices) and functional performance (surface firmness); and 3) to evaluate lignin content as an alternate means to predict surface firmness in turfgrass variety trials of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis]. A field study was conducted on mature stands of three varieties (‘TifTuf’, ‘TifSport’, and ‘Tifway’) and two experimental lines (04-47 and 04-76) at two mowing heights (0.5 and 1.5 inch) and trinexapac-ethyl application (0.15 kg·ha−1 and nontreated control) treatments. Aesthetic performance was estimated by vegetation indices, spectral reflectance, visual TQ, and PGC. The functional performance of each variety/line was measured through surface firmness and fiber analysis. Regression analyses were similar when using only reference plots or all the plots to determine the relationship between individual aesthetic characteristics. Experimental line 04-47 had lower density in Apr. 2010, whereas varieties ‘TifTuf’, ‘TifSport’, and ‘Tifway’ were in the top statistical group for aesthetic performance when differences were found. ‘TifSport’ and ‘Tifway’ produced the firmest surfaces, followed by ‘TifTuf’, and finally 04-76 and 04-47, which provided the least firm surface. Results of leaf fiber analysis were not correlated with turf surface firmness. This study indicates that incorporating quantitative measures of spectral reflectance could reduce time and improve precision of data collection as long as reference plots with adequate range of green cover are present in the trials.

Full access

Tonghua Pan, Juanjuan Ding, Gege Qin, Yunlong Wang, Linjie Xi, Junwei Yang, Jianming Li, Jing Zhang, and Zhirong Zou

During the autumn/spring “off” season, yield and quality of tomatoes are often affected by insufficient CO2 and low light in greenhouse production. Although tomato is one of the most widely cultivated vegetables, few studies have investigated the interactive effects of supplementary light and CO2 enrichment on its growth, photosynthesis, yield, and fruit quality in greenhouse production. This study investigates the effects of supplementary light (200 ± 20 μmol·m–2·s–1) and CO2 enrichment (increases to about 800 μmol·mol–1), independently and in combination, on these parameters in autumn through spring tomato production. Compared with tomatoes grown under ambient CO2 concentrations and no supplementary light (CaLn), supplementary light (CaLs) and supplementary light and CO2 enrichment (CeLs) significantly promoted growth and dry weight accumulation. Meanwhile, CO2 enrichment (CeLn) and CaLs significantly improved photosynthetic pigment contents and net photosynthetic (Pn) rates, whereas CeLs further improved these and also increased water use efficiency (WUE). CeLn, CaLs, and CeLs significantly increased single fruit weight by 16.2%, 28.9%, and 36.6%, and yield per plant by 19.0%, 35.6%, and 60.8%, respectively. The effect of supplementary light on these parameters was superior to that of CO2 enrichment. In addition, CaLs and CeLs improved nutritional quality significantly. Taken together, CeLs promoted the greatest yield, WUE, and fruit quality, suggesting it may be a worthwhile practice for off-season tomato cultivation.

Free access

Ren-jun Feng, Li-li Zhang, Jing-yi Wang, Jin-mei Luo, Ming Peng, Jun-feng Qi, Yin-don Zhang, and Li-fang Lu

Cold stress is one of the most important environmental factors affecting crop growth and agricultural production. Induced changes of gene expression and metabolism are critical for plants responding and acclimating to cold stress. Banana (Musa sp.) is one of the most important food crops in the tropical and subtropical countries of the world. Banana, which originated from tropical regions, is sensitive to cold, which can result in serious losses in commercial banana production. To investigate the response of the banana to cold stress conditions, changes in protein expression were analyzed using a comparative proteomics approach. ‘Brazil’ banana (Musa acuminata AAA group) is a common banana cultivar in southern China. ‘Brazil’ banana plantlets were exposed to 5 °C for 24 hours and then total crude protein was extracted from treatment and control leaves by phenol extraction, separated with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and subsequently identified by mass spectrometry (MS). Out of the more than 400 protein spots reproducibly detected, only 41 protein spots exhibited a change in intensity by at least 2-fold, with 26 proteins increasing and 15 proteins decreasing expression. Of these, 28 differentially expressed proteins were identified by MS. The identified proteins, including well-known and novel cold-responsive proteins, are involved in several cellular processes, including antioxidation and antipathogen, photosynthesis, chaperones, protein synthesis, signal transduction, energy metabolism, and other cellular functions. Proteins related to antioxidation, pathogen resistance, molecular chaperones, and energy metabolism were up-regulated, and proteins related to ethylene synthesis, protein synthesis, and epigenetic modification were down-regulated in response to cold temperature treatment. The banana plantlets incubated at cold temperatures demonstrated major changes in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, defense against diseases, and energy supply. Increased antioxidation capability in banana was also discovered in plantain, which has greater cold tolerance than banana in response to cold stress conditions. Therefore, we hypothesized that an increased antioxidation ability could be a common characteristic of banana and plantain in response to cold stress conditions. These findings may provide a better understanding of the physiological processes of banana in response to cold stress conditions.

Full access

Kang-Di Hu, Xiao-Yue Zhang, Sha-Sha Wang, Jun Tang, Feng Yang, Zhong-Qin Huang, Jing-Yu Deng, Si-Yuan Liu, Shang-Jun Zhao, Lan-Ying Hu, Gai-Fang Yao, and Hua Zhang

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been proven to be a multifunctional signaling molecule in plants. In this study, we attempted to explore the effects of H2S on the climacteric fruit tomato during postharvest storage. H2S fumigation for 1 d was found to delay the peel color transition from green to red and decreased fruit firmness induced by ethylene. Further investigation showed that H2S fumigation downregulated the activities and gene expressions of cell wall–degrading enzymes pectin lyase (PL), polygalacturonase (PG), and cellulase. Furthermore, H2S fumigation downregulated the expression of ethylene biosynthesis genes SlACS2 and SlACS3. Ethylene treatment for 1 d was found to induce the expression of SlACO1, SlACO3, and SlACO4 genes, whereas the increase was significantly inhibited by H2S combined with ethylene. Furthermore, H2S decreased the transcript accumulation of ethylene receptor genes SlETR5 and SlETR6 and ethylene transcription factors SlCRF2 and SlERF2. The correlation analysis suggested that the fruit firmness was negatively correlated with ethylene biosynthesis and signaling pathway. The current study showed that exogenous H2S could inhibit the synthesis of endogenous ethylene and regulate ethylene signal transduction, thereby delaying fruit softening and the ripening process of tomato fruit during postharvest storage.

Open access

Brian M. Schwartz, Wayne W. Hanna, Lisa L. Baxter, Paul L. Raymer, F. Clint Waltz, Alec R. Kowalewski, Ambika Chandra, A. Dennis Genovesi, Benjamin G. Wherley, Grady L. Miller, Susana R. Milla-Lewis, William C. Reynolds, Yanqi Wu, Dennis L. Martin, Justin Q. Moss, Michael P. Kenna, J. Bryan Unruh, Kevin E. Kenworthy, Jing Zhang, and Patricio R. Munoz