In the expanding North American medical cannabis industry, growers lack reliable and systematically investigated information on the horticultural management of their crops, especially with regard to nutrient management and growing substrates. To evaluate organic substrates and their optimal nutrient management, five rates that supplied 57, 113, 170, 226, and 283 mg N/L of a liquid organic fertilizer (2.00N–0.87P–3.32K) were applied to container-grown plants [Cannabis sativa L. ‘WP:Med (Wappa)’] in two coir-based organic substrates. The trial was conducted in a walk-in growth chamber and the two substrates used were ABcann UNIMIX 2-HP (U2-HP) with lower container capacity (CC) and ABcann UNIMIX 2 (U2) with higher CC. U2-HP produced 11% higher floral dry weight (yield), 13% higher growth index (GI), 20% higher ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, 57% higher THC yield (per plant), 22% higher Δ9-tetrahydrocannabidiolic acid (THCA) yield, and 20% higher cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) yield than U2. Increasing fertilizer rate led to increased growth and yield but also to a dilution of THC, THCA, and CBGA. In U2-HP, to maximize both yield and cannabinoid yield, the optimal organic fertilizer rates were those which supplied 212–261 mg N/L. For U2, the highest applied rate, that supplied 283 mg N/L, maximized yield; although lower rates delivered higher cannabinoid concentrations in dry floral material. The results on these substrates and recommended fertilizer rates can serve as a guide when using other organic fertilizers and substrates; although results may differ with cannabis variety.
Deron Caplan, Mike Dixon, and Youbin Zheng
Matthew D. Whiting and Gregory A. Lang
To initiate photosynthetic studies of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) canopy architectures and cropping management under high light and temperature conditions (Yakima Valley, Wash.), we developed a whole-canopy research cuvette system with a variable airflow plenum that allowed different patterns of air delivery (in concentric circles around the trunk) into the cuvette. Air and leaf temperatures (Tair and Tleaf, respectively) were determined at four horizontal planes and four directional quadrants inside cuvette-enclosed canopies trained to a multiple leader/open-bush or a multiple leader/trellised palmette architecture. Air flow rate, air delivery pattern, and canopy architecture each influenced the whole-canopy temperature profile and net CO2 exchange rate (NCER) estimates based on CO2 differentials (inlet-outlet). In general, Tair and Tleaf were warmer (≈0 to 4 °C) in the palmette canopy and were negatively correlated with flow rate. The response of Tair and Tleaf to flow rate varied with canopy position and air delivery pattern. At a flow of 40 kL·min-1 (≈2 cuvette volume exchanges/min), mean Tair and Tleaf values were 2 to 3 °C warmer than ambient air temperature, and CO2 differentials were 15-20 μL·L-1. Tair and Tleaf were warmer than those in unenclosed canopies and increased with height in the canopy. Carbon differentials declined with increasing flow rate, and were greater in the palmette canopy and with a less dispersed (centralized) delivery. Dispersing inlet air delivery produced more consistent values of Tair and Tleaf in different canopy architectures. Such systematic factors must be taken into account when designing studies to compare the effects of tree architecture on whole-canopy photosynthesis.
Sheila A. Blackman and Eric E. Roos
The low quality of some seed lots received by germplasm repositories such as the National Seed Storage Laboratory can thwart efforts to regenerate seed for storage. This germplasm is in danger of irretrievable loss. The aim of this work is to promote the germination, and hence regeneration, of such low quality seeds through sterile culture of the isolated embryos. Hybrid (B73×LH51) maize seeds were aged 5 y at 32°C and 0.037 g H2O g-1 dry wt. Vigor - but not viability -declined under these conditions. The effects of four factors on growth and germination were systematically examined. These were: seed pretreatments; antibiotics and fungicides; nutrients; and growth substances. Amongst the pretreatments, none surpassed partial hydration of seeds for 24 hr to 0.55 g H2O g-1 dry wt at 25°C prior to embryo dissection. Thiram (2.4 mg mL-1) and kanamycin (50 ug ml1) effectively controlled bacterial and fungal growth with no deleterious effects on growth during culture of the isolated embryos. Exogenous sucrose (optimum 5 % wt/vol) significantly stimulated radicle growth in both deteriorated and non-deteriorated embryos. No other organic or inorganic nutrient stimulated growth. Naphthalene acetic acid did not affect growth while kinetin reduced radicle growth and stimulated coleoptile growth. Gibberellic acid (GA3 at 10-5M) significantly stimulated radicle growth in deteriorated embryos, whereas it promoted coleoptile growth in both deteriorated and non-deteriorated embryos. These data suggest GA or a GA-stimulated process may limit the growth of aged embryos.
Jeffrey A. Anderson
Acute high-temperature stress affects plant protein structure, leading to denaturation and aggregation. Although folding states of individual proteins have been extensively studied, little information is available on protein thermostability in complex mixtures. The objective of this study was to systematically examine protein stabilizing and destabilizing factors in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) leaf extracts using light transmission measurements. Increasing turbidity and subsequent precipitation were monitored in heated extracts as changes in light scattering at 540 nm. Factors evaluated included leaf tissue concentration, buffer pH, compounds that can stabilize enzymatic activity (chelating agent, complexer of phenolics, and a compatible solute), and destabilizing agents (nonionic detergent and divalent cation). Leaf extract thermostability decreased with increasing tissue concentration from 6 to 60 g fresh weight per liter of buffer. Turbidity and precipitation occurred after exposure to higher temperatures as buffer pH increased from 6.0 to 7.0. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (chelating agent) and polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (complexer of alkaloids and phenolics) had relatively small effects on extract thermostability. Nonionic detergent (Tween 20) destabilized extract thermostability, especially when incorporated in the extraction buffer. Calcium reduced thermostability by about 2 °C when added as CaCl2 at 1 mm. Calcium caused an increase in turbidity that was not directly associated with protein complexes and was not affected by treatment temperature. Mannitol, a compatible solute, increased the temperature at which turbidity and precipitation were induced, but only at high (500 mm) concentrations. Agents that stabilize or destabilize proteins at high temperatures can be assayed in plant extracts by measuring turbidity changes at 540 nm. These findings can be applied to functional studies determining the basis for differences in thermotolerance between genotypes and between control and acclimated tissues.
R.B.H. Wills and M.A. Warton
A systematic study was conducted on the ability of potassium permanganate absorbent to remove low levels of ethylene from the atmosphere. Absorption of potassium permanganate onto alumina beads by dipping in a saturated solution was maximal at 2 g/100 g after 2 hours at 20 °C and 4 g/100 g after 1 hour at 65 °C. Commercial alumina-based absorbents were found to contain potassium permanganate at 2.7 to 6.0 g/100 g suggesting many are prepared at elevated temperature. Trials in a closed system at 20 °C and 60% to 70% RH with alumina beads containing potassium permanganate at 4 g/100 g showed a logarithmic decrease in ethylene concentration with 90% of the ethylene removed after 2.5 to 3.0 hours. Relative humidity (RH) had a marked inverse effect on ethylene absorption with reactivity at 100% RH calculated to be 15% of that at 0% RH. Performance of potassium permanganate where ethylene was continually generated by a continuous flow of ethylene at 14 μL·h-1 through the container showed a steady state was attained within 1 hour and maintained for 24 hours. Ethylene removal increased linearly with bead weight and ranged from 30% with 1 g to 90% with 50 g. Examination over 20 days showed a continuing decrease in rate of ethylene removal which after 14 days had declined to 10% of incoming ethylene although 44% of the original level of potassium permanganate still remained in the beads. Calculations based on known endogenous ethylene production rates suggest that at 20 °C and 90% RH, use of a potassium permanganate-alumina absorbent would be beneficial with produce having a low level of ethylene generation. Suitability for larger packages of produce generating higher ethylene levels is questionable as >1 kg of absorbent may be required.
Tim R. Pannkuk, Richard H. White, Kurt Steinke, Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, David R. Chalmers, and James C. Thomas
Urban landscape irrigation is becoming increasingly important from a resource management point of view. Significant water use savings may be achieved if landscape irrigation is based on reference evapotranspiration (ETo). This study measured landscape crop coefficients (KL) for landscapes that are comprised of different vegetation types and irrigation water quality differences affecting KL. The KL was determined from the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to the ETo calculated from the modified Penman-Monteith equation. Irrigation quantity was based on 100% replacement of ETo. The KL values were determined for the following landscape vegetation on a fine sandy loam: St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.], a single shumard red oak (Quercus shumardii Buckl.), St. Augustinegrass plus red oak, native grasses [Muhlenbergia capillaries (Lam.) Trin. and Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash], and native grasses plus Red Oak in both College Station (CS) and San Antonio (SA), TX. Soil was systematically placed into lysimeters containing a drainage system and soil moisture probes. Lysimeters (1136 L) were placed in-ground in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. Soil moisture measurements were made at 0- to 20-, 20- to 40-, and 40- to 60-cm depths. The KL was determined after a rainfall or irrigation event for periods of 2 to 5 days. During the combined growing seasons of 2007 and 2008, KL in SA increased from early, to mid, to late season. In CS, the KL was unaffected by plant treatment or season. The St. Augustinegrass treatment KL seasonally ranged from 0.45 to 0.62 in SA. In CS, soil sodium accumulation caused decreased KL. These results of KL for mixed-species landscapes on non-sodic sites trend toward seasonal values of 0.5 to 0.7 for irrigation decisions in southern Texas. Landscape coefficients can be used as a tool in irrigation decision-making, which could contribute to water savings in amenity landscapes.
Kenneth A. Shackel, H. Ahmadi, W. Biasi, R. Buchner, D. Goldhamer, S. Gurusinghe, J. Hasey, D. Kester, B. Krueger, B. Lampinen, G. McGourty, W. Micke, E. Mitcham, B. Olson, K. Pelletrau, H. Philips, D. Ramos, L. Schwankl, S. Sibbett, R. Snyder, S. Southwick, M. Stevenson, M. Thorpe, S. Weinbaum, and J. Yeager
To be useful for indicating plant water needs, any measure of plant stress should be closely related to some of the known short- and medium-term plant stress responses, such as stomatal closure and reduced rates of expansive growth. Midday stem water potential has proven to be a useful index of stress in a number of fruit tree species. Day-to-day fluctuations in stem water potential under well-irrigated conditions are well correlated with midday vapor-pressure deficit, and, hence, a nonstressed baseline can be predicted. Measuring stem water potential helped explain the results of a 3-year deficit irrigation study in mature prunes, which showed that deficit irrigation could have either positive or negative impacts on tree productivity, depending on soil conditions. Mild to moderate water stress was economically beneficial. In almond, stem water potential was closely related to overall tree growth as measured by increases in trunk cross-sectional area. In cherry, stem water potential was correlated with leaf stomatal conductance and rates of shoot growth, with shoot growth essentially stopping once stem water potential dropped to between −1.5 to −1.7 MPa. In pear, fruit size and other fruit quality attributes (soluble solids, color) were all closely associated with stem water potential. In many of these field studies, systematic tree-to-tree differences in water status were large enough to obscure irrigation treatment effects. Hence, in the absence of a plant-based measure of water stress, it may be difficult to determine whether the lack of an irrigation treatment effect indicates the lack of a physiological response to plant water status, or rather is due to treatment ineffectiveness in influencing plant water status. These data indicate that stem water potential can be used to quantify stress reliably and guide irrigation decisions on a site-specific basis.
William A. Hoch, Geunhwa Jung, and Brent H. McCown
A significant pest affecting commonly planted Betula spp. is the birch leafminer (Fenusa pusilla Lepeletier), an insect that can be present in large populations in the landscape and can greatly reduce the vigor and ornamental value of these trees. Twenty-two interspecific crosses were performed between leafminer resistant and susceptible Betula species in an attempt to create the novel combination of ornamental white bark and significant leafminer resistance. Of the nine successful crosses, two produced resistant offspring. Progeny of the diploid × hexaploid cross B. turkestanica Litvin (2x) × B. alleghaniensis Britt. (6x) displayed a broad range of resistance levels, likely the result of segregating alleles contributed by the hexaploid parent. All crosses involving highly resistant individuals of B. costata Trautv. (2x) yielded leafminer susceptible progeny. These results suggest that the larval antibiosis demonstrated by B. alleghaniensis and B. costata is inherited as a recessive trait, and exhibits a gene dosage effect as evidenced by the B. turkestanica × B. alleghaniensis offspring. While most progeny of the B. populifolia Marsh (2x) × B. maximowicziana Regal (2x) cross were susceptible, a single resistant offspring, which was found to be triploid (3x), displayed a mechanism of resistance similar to that of a hypersensitive response. No strong intersectional barriers to hybridization were observed and all interploidy crosses were successful. The chromosome numbers of B. costata (2n = 2x = 28) and B. turkestanica (2n = 2x = 28) are reported here for the first time. The results of this study indicate that the potential exists for the development of insect resistant, ornamental white-barked birch clones through the implementation of a planned, systematic breeding program.
X.E. Yang, X.Y. Lin, Y.S. Zhang, and E.W. Stover
Citrus is a major fruit crop in the acid red soils (Ultisol) of hilly areas in Southeast China. These soils are normally deficient in P, K, and other elements. Integrated nutrient management is important for sustainable production of citrus in these areas. In this study, a systematic approach was used to identify the limiting factors for plant growth, using sorghum as a test species. Long-term field experiments were conducted with seven different P and K supply levels to determine optimal application rates for citrus (cv. Ponkan), following alleviation of other limiting factors. The primary nutritional limitations to plant growth in red acid soils included: severe deficiencies in N, P, and K, and moderate deficiencies in Ca, Zn, and B. With increasing application of P and K to field soil, N concentrations in citrus leaves decreased up to 60% due to dilution from increased growth, whereas P and K concentrations increased 2-3 fold. After 2 years of fertilizer application, the N: P: K ratio in leaves reached 1:0.5:1 for the optimal P and K treatment. The available P and K in the soils, measured after harvest each year, increased with increasing P and K application rates. However, within each treatment, increase in P and K with additional years of fertilization was modest. Citrus fruit yields generally increased with increasing P and K and reached a maximum at P and K rates of 125 kg P2O5/ha and 500 kg K2O/ha. In 3 years of successive field experiments, the highest net income was obtained by a balanced NPK fertilization practice using N: P2O5: K2O input of 450: 125: 500 kg/ha per year.
Tania Hernández-Carrión, Carlos E. Ortiz, Rafael Montalvo-Zapata, Milca I. Mercado-Olivieri, and Luis E. Rivera
Tropical-type is a general description for sweetpotato cultivars with intermediate sweetness that have light-fleshed roots. This type is commonly grown and consumed across the Caribbean Basin. Systematic efforts for the genetic improvement of the tropical-type sweetpotato have been limited. Cultivars available for being grown in Puerto Rico lack either the sweetness or attractiveness demanded by producers and consumers. Defining optimum sweetness in this type is important because this characteristic is totally dependent on the root's sugar content and cannot be modified as in processed products. The objective was to obtain data on sugar content for the development of quantitative selection criteria for sweetness. Raw, boiled and baked roots were evaluated for glucose, sucrose, fructose, and maltose. `Mina' and `Miguela', tropical-type cultivars widely accepted for sweetness and table quality but poor yielders were used. `Viola', a substaple type, was the check. Sugars were detected by HPLC. Sugar-Pak (Waters) and LC-NH2 (Phenomenex) columns and a refractive index detector were used for the analyses. Across cultivars and type, sucrose (4.0% to 6.5%) was more concentrated than glucose (0.4% to 0.8%) and fructose (0.3% to 0.4%). Concentration of sucrose in the tropical type (7.7%) was higher than in the substaple type check (4.4%). Boiling or baking did not markedly change the concentration of the above sugars. Maltose was not detected in raw samples; however, both boiling and baking increased maltose concentration from 9.0% to 15.4%. In the development of a practical quantitative selection criteria for sweetness, both sucrose and maltose must be considered.