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Robert A. Saftner, J. George Buta, William S. Conway, and Carl E. Sams

The effects of organosilicone and more conventional hydrocarbon surfactants on postharvest radiolabeled calcium (Ca) and on Ca solution infiltration into `Golden Delicious' apples were examined to provide a direct and more efficient pressure infiltration technique to increase fruit Ca concentration. Both radiolabeled Ca infiltration and the proportional increase in fruit Ca estimated by fruit weight gain from Ca solutions of known concentration were significantly enhanced by a range of surfactants having differing chemical structures. Two organosilicone surfactants, Silwet L-77 and Silwet L-7604, known for their greater capacity to lower the surface tension of solutions than conventional hydrocarbon surfactants, were the best among the surfactants tested at augmenting Ca infiltration. Applications of surfactants to fruit were as effective or more effective when used as a pretreatment rather than by mixing with Ca solutions. The applied atmospheric pressure necessary to infiltrate Ca to levels considered sufficient to maintain fruit firmness and resist decay during storage could be lowered in fruit treated with organosilicone surfactants. Postharvest surfactant and Ca treatments may offer a practical means of increasing the Ca concentration of apple fruit.

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Robert H. Stamps

Impatiens `Dazzler Violet', Petunia × hybrida `Carpet Blue', and Spathiphyllum `Ty's Pride' plugs were planted in 10-cm pots containing a commercial peat-based soilless growing medium composed of Canadian 60 peat: 20 vermiculite: 20 perlite (by vol) not treated with surfactant. Growing medium was treated, or not treated, 1) at planting, 2) during production, and/or 3) preshipment with experimental surfactants. The production phase consisted of growing plants on raised benches in a greenhouse until they reached marketable size. Phytotoxicity, plant water use and growth were determined. At the beginning of the postproduction phase, growing medium in all pots was brought to container capacity. Plants were then dried to wilting three times. Water loss and water retained on rewatering and times to wilt and recovery were recorded. Surfactant treatments caused no foliar phytotoxicity and did not delay flowering for petunia or spathiphyllum. However, surfactant treatments delayed flowering for impatiens by ≈4 days. Surfactant treatments increased top growth of petunia but not of the other crops. Postproduction, water retention at rewatering, and times to wilt were increased for petunia and spathiphyllum when they were in surfactant-treated medium. For impatiens, treatments had no effects on water retention or wilting, probably due to the small root systems and limited attendant medium dewatering for this crop. Generally, all three experimental surfactants performed similarly and weekly and preshipment surfactant applications were of no additional benefit compared to a single initial application at planting.

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Karen L. Panter, Steven E. Newman, Amy M. Briggs, and Michael J. Roll

Three application rates of two new growing medium surfactants were tested under two different irrigation systems on Dianthus barbatus plants. The objectives of the study were to determine if either of the surfactants influenced plant growth and development and to determine if surfactant applications decreased irrigation frequencies. The three levels of surfactant tested were 0 mg·L–1 (control), 10 mg·L–1 applied at each watering, and 100 mg·L–1 applied once a week. Each surfactant and rate was tested on hand-watered and ebb-and-flood irrigated plants. D. barbatus plants were grown for 8 weeks in 875-ml (12.7 cm) pots. Plants were watered when at least one plant per treatment showed visible wilt. Results showed that phytotoxicity symptoms occurred with repeated applications of both surfactants tested, especially at the 10 mg·L–1 rate at each watering. Application of either surfactant at 10 mg·L–1 at each watering decreased plant heights, dry weights, and plant widths, and increased phytotoxicity symptoms over the controls and the 100 mg·L–1 weekly treatments. Fewer waterings were required in surfactant-treated containers.

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G.L. McDaniel, D.C. Fare, W.T. Witte, and P.C. Flanagan

Research was conducted to compare non-ionic, paraffin-based crop oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and organosilicone surfactants combined with Manage (MON 12051, holosulfuron) applied at a reduced rate for yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) control efficiency and evaluation of phytotoxicity to five container-grown ornamental species. Manage at 0.018 kg a.i./ha was combined with 0.25% or 0.5% (v/v) of the following surfactants: X-77, Scoil, Action “99”, Sun It II, or Agri-Dex. Yellow nutsedge tubers (10 per 3.8-L container) were planted into containers along with the following nursery crops: `Lynnwood Gold' forsythia, `Big Blue' liriope, `Pink Lady' weigela, `Blue Girl' Chinese holly, and `Bennett's Compacta' Japanese holly. Treatments were applied 5 weeks after potting on 13 June 1998 and phytotoxicity ratings taken 4 and 8 weeks later and growth measured after 8 weeks. Sun It II provided the most-effective nutsedge control without reducing growth and causing minimal phytotoxicity to the ornamental plants tested. X-77 (the recommended surfactant for Manage) provided only moderate nutsedge control. Efficient nutsedge control can be accomplished with Manage at one-half the recommended rate when combined with the correct surfactant. Some temporary phytotoxicity symptoms can be expected and a slight overall growth reduction is possible, depending on the surfactant selected.

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Vladimir Orbovic, John L. Jifon, and James P. Syvertsen

Although urea can be an effective adjuvant to foliar sprays, we examined effects of additional surfactants on urea penetration through leaf cuticles along with the effect of urea with and without surfactants on net gas exchange of leaves of `Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) trees budded to Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis L. Osbeck × Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf.) rootstock. Various combinations of urea, a nonionic surfactant (X-77), and an organosilicone surfactant (L-77), were applied to grapefruit leaves and also to isolated adaxial cuticles. When compared to X-77, L-77 exhibited superior surfactant features with smaller contact angles of droplets deposited on a teflon slide. Both L-77 and X-77 initially increased penetration rate of urea through cuticles, but the effect of X-77 was sustained for a longer period of time. The total amount of urea which penetrated within a 4-day period, however, was similar after addition of either surfactant. Solutions of either urea, urea + L-77, urea + X-77, or L-77 alone decreased net assimilation of CO2 (ACO2) for 4 to 24 hours after spraying onto grapefruit leaves. A solution of X-77 alone had no effect on ACO2 over the 4-day period. Although reductions in ACO2 were similar following sprays of urea formulated with two different surfactants, the underlying mechanisms may not have been the same. For the urea + X-77 treatment, X-77 increased the inhibitory effects of urea on ACO2 indirectly by increasing penetration of urea into leaves. For the urea + L-77 formulation, effects of L-77 on ACO2 were 2-fold, direct by inhibiting ACO2 and indirect by increasing urea penetration. One hour after application, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of leaf surfaces treated with X-77 revealed that they were heavily coated with the residue of the surfactant, whereas leaves treated with L-77 looked similar to nontreated leaves with no apparent residues on their surfaces. The amount of X-77 residue on the leaves was lower 24 hours after application than after 1 hour as observed by SEM.

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R.E. Byers, D.H. Carbaugh, and C.N. Presley

Submerging `Stayman' apples in nonionic and anionic surfactant-water solutions caused increased water uptake and fruit cracking. The primary sites of water uptake were lenticels and injured areas of the fruit cuticle. Fruit cracking caused by submerging fruit in 1.25 ml X-77/liter surfactant was used to predict the natural cracking potential of `Stayman' strains and apple cultivars in the field. Submerging apples in aqueous pesticide mixtures did not Increase fruit cracking or water uptake. Fruit cracking and uptake of surfactant-water were not correlated between apple cultivars. In a surfactant-water bath, `Starkrimson Delicious' absorbed more water than `Stayman', `York', `Jonathan', and `Golden Delicious'; no `Starkrimson Delicious' fruits cracked, but 32% to 80% of the other cultivars did. In field tests, four airblast spray applications of GA4+7 in July and Aug. 1987 reduced fruit cracking from 56% to 21%, and five applications In July, Aug., and Sept. 1988 reduced fruit cracking from 93% to 75%. In 1987, daminozide reduced cracking, but, in 1988, neither daminozide, NAA, nor Vapor Gard alone reduced cracking. However, in 1988, a combination treatment of GA4+7, daminozide, NAA, and Vapor Gard reduced fruit cracking from 93% to 22%. Also, two scorings of the trunk with a carpet knife reduced fruit cracking 22%. Chemical names used: alkylaryl polyoxyethylene alcohol glycol (X-77); butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA); di-1-p-methene (Vapor Gard); gibberellic acid (GA4+7).

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Shiow Y. Wang and Dean Der-Syh Tzeng

Foliar application of a mixture of methionine (1 mm) and riboflavin (26.6 μm) reduced the severity of powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca macularia (Wallr. ex Fr.) Jacz. f. sp. fragariae] infection in `Earliglow' strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) plants. Efficacy of this mixture on controlling powdery mildew infection was enhanced by supplements of copper, iron, and surfactants [sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), Triton X-100, Tween-20, or oxyalkylenemethylsiloxane (Silwet L-77)]. Free-radical scavengers (n-propyl gallate, thiourea) and antioxidants (α-tocopherol, β-carotene) reduced the efficacy of this mixture. Plants treated with a mixture of riboflavin (26.6 μm), d,l-methionine (1 mm), copper sulfate pentahydrate (1 mm), and surfactants (SDS or Silwet L-77 at concentrations of 0.05% to 0.1%) showed a decrease in powdery mildew infection. Results of this study suggest that treatment with a mixture of methionine and riboflavin is beneficial to strawberry plants and may serve as an alternative to fungicides for controlling powdery mildew.

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Stéphane Roy, William S. Conway, J. George Buta, Alley E. Watada, Carl E. Sams, and William P. Wergin

`Golden Delicious' apples (Malus domestica Borkh) were dipped in either distilled water, methylene chloride, or one of the following surfactants: Brij 30, Tween 20, Tween 80, Tergitol 15-S-9, and Triton X-100. The fruit then were pressure-infiltrated with a 2% solution of CaCl2. Following 4 months storage at 0 °C, fruit were removed and flesh Ca concentration analyzed. The fruit surface was observed using low-temperature scanning electron microscopy, and fruit were rated for surface injury. Brij 30 altered the epicuticular wax the least and resulted in the smallest increase in flesh Ca concentration and the softest fruit. Triton X-100 altered the epicuticular wax the most and resulted in the highest fruit flesh Ca concentration and firmest of the surfactant-pretreated fruit. Methylene chloride removed some of the epicuticular wax, and fruit pretreated with this solvent had the highest flesh Ca concentration and greatest firmness. However, all of the fruit treated with methylene chloride were severely injured.

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Gene E. Lester, John L. Jifon, and D. J. Makus

Netted muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] fruit quality (ascorbic acid, β-carotene, total free sugars, and soluble solids concentration (SSC)) is directly related to plant potassium (K) concentration during fruit growth and maturation. During reproductive development, soil K fertilization alone is often inadequate due to poor root uptake and competitive uptake inhibition from calcium and magnesium. Foliar applications of glycine-complexed K during muskmelon fruit development has been shown to improve fruit quality, however, the influence of organic-complexed K vs. an inorganic salt form has not been determined. This glasshouse study investigated the effects of two K sources: a glycine-complexed K (potassium metalosate, KM) and potassium chloride (KCl) (both containing 800 mg K/L) with or without a non-ionic surfactant (Silwet L-77) on melon quality. Orange-flesh muskmelon `Cruiser' was grown in a glasshouse and fertilized throughout the study with soil-applied N–P–K fertilizer. Starting at 3 to 5 d after fruit set, and up to 3 to 5 d before fruit maturity at full slip, entire plants were sprayed weekly, including the fruit, with KM or KCl with or without a surfactant. Fruit from plants receiving supplemental foliar K had significantly higher K concentrations in the edible middle mesocarp fruit tissue compared to control untreated fruit. Fruit from treated plants were also firmer, both externally and internally, than those from non-treated control plants. Increased fruit tissue firmness was accompanied by higher tissue pressure potentials of K treated plants vs. control. In general, K treated fruit had significantly higher SSC, total sugars, total ascorbic acid, and β-carotene than control fruit. Fall-grown fruit generally had higher SSC, total sugars, total ascorbic acid and β-carotene concentrations than spring-grown fruit regardless of K treatment. The effects of surfactant were not consistent but in general, addition of a surfactant tended to affect higher SSC and β-carotene concentrations.

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Antonio Heredia and Martin J. Bukovac

Micelles of two nonionic surfactants (Triton X-114 and Neodol 91) were shown by gel filtration chromatography to solubilize nondissociated NAA molecules in aqueous solutions. Micelle solubilization of nonpolar active ingredients in aqueous spray systems alters the distribution of the chemical in the spray solution and may influence chemical deposit formation and penetration characteristics. Chemical names used: 2-(1-naphthyl)acetic acid (NAA), octylphenoxy polyethoxylate-7.5 POE (Triton X-114), linear alcohol (C9-11) polyethoxylate-6 POE (Neodol 91).