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Deyuan Wang and Paul W. Bosland

Pepper (Capsicum spp.) is one of the most cultivated vegetable and spice crops in the world. Capsicum genetics have been extensively studied, but the most recent Capsicum gene list was published more than a decade ago. Since then, new genes have been described. This updated gene list provides detailed descriptions of genes, including the genes' characteristics, the genetic background of the mutants/lines, action mechanisms of genes, gene interactions, molecular markers, and chromosome localization when available. This new list includes 292 genes for morphological traits; physiological traits; sterility; and resistance to diseases, nematodes, and herbicides, which includes the 92 genes that have not been previously described.

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James W. Rushing

The production, handling, processing and marketing of over-the-counter medicinal products manufactured from plants is virtually unregulated. This can include dietary supplements, functional foods and nutraceuticals, any of which may contain botanical constituents. Of particular concern is the possible presence of human pathogens in products offered at retail. A review of literature is presented. Options for sterilizing herbal medicinal products, including fumigation, irradiation and heat treatments, are presented. Experiences of the spice industry are discussed as they relate to the development of similar protocols for herbal medicines. Methods used to ensure microbiological safety must be evaluated for their effect on the medicinally active constituents in the plant material. Very little data of this nature are available. Avenues for future research are proposed.

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Sandra M. Reed

Breeding efforts in Clethra alnifolia L., an ornamental shrub native to the Eastern U.S., are hindered by a lack of information on the reproductive behavior of this species. The objective of this study was to evaluate self-compatibility, time of stigma receptivity, and the relationship between time of pollen shed and stigma receptivity in C. alnifolia. Stigma receptivity and changes in floral morphology were monitored over a 7-day period beginning at flower opening. Pollen germination and pollen tube growth in styles were examined following self- and cross-pollinations using fluorescence microscopy. Seed set and germination were compared following self- and cross-pollinations. Anthers began to dehisce in `Hummingbird' and `Ruby Spice' the day after flowers opened, but stigmas did not become fully receptive to pollen until 2 days later. An increase in the length of pistils was observed following flower opening. Maximum elongation of pistils occurred at approximately the same time stigmas became receptive and could be utilized as an indicator of receptivity. While self-pollen tubes appeared to grow slightly slower than cross-pollen tubes, there was no indication of a self-incompatibility system acting at the stigmatic or stylar level in C. alnifolia. Self-pollinations of `Hummingbird' and `Ruby Spice' produced fewer seeds than did cross-pollinations of these cultivars. Germination of all seed obtained from this study was too poor to allow a comparison of germination rates of the self- and cross-pollinated seed. However, because a few self-progeny were obtained, emasculation is recommended when making controlled pollinations. The presence of a late acting self-incompatibility system or early-acting inbreeding depression was proposed as being responsible for the lower seed set following self-pollination.

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W. Jack Rowe II, Daniel A. Potter, and Robert E. McNiel

authors thank P.G. Spicer and D.W. Held for technical assistance.

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M. D. McCullough, J. E. Motes, B. A. Kahn, and N. E. Maness

One of the problems associated with machine harvesting of spice peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) is plant lodging. Factorial combinations of four bedding treatments and two N rates were compared for effects on lodging and fruit yield of Chile at Fort Cobb and Bixby, Okla.. and of paprika at Bixby, Okla. Bedding treatments were: 1) no-bed; 2) no-bed with 5 cm of soil hilled to the bases of plants; 3) bedded preplant but bed not maintained throughout the growing season; and 4) bedded preplant and bed maintained throughout the growing season. All plots received preplant N at a low rate (45 kg ha-1). Half the plots also received a topdressing of 45 kg ha“ of N at early fruit set. No significant differences were found among the different bedding treatments for lodging. Bedding treatments one and three led to higher Chile yields at Bixby than treatments two and four. Bedding treatments one and two led to higher paprika yields than treatments three and four. Chiles showed an increase in plant height and width with the higher N rate at both locations. The higher N rate also increased plant dry matter and fruit yield in all three studies. Paprika uprooting force was greater in treatments two and four compared to treatments one and three.

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Jyotsna Sharma and Jim Rich

Plants infected with Meloidogyne spp. (root-knot nematodes) often are stunted and lose aesthetic value due to chlorosis, wilting, and leaf margin necrosis. We assessed reproduction of three root-knot nematode species, Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, and M. javanica, on five plant taxa native to the southeastern U.S. The plant taxa included were: Hydrangea quercifolia `Oakleaf', Viburnum obovatum `Densa', Itea virginica `Little Henry', Illicium parviflorum, and Clethra alnifolia `Ruby Spice'. Three commonly grown non-native shrubs, Ligustrum japonicum `Texanum', Ilexcrenata `Compacta', and Buxus microphylla `Wintergem', also were included in the study to serve as susceptible, positive controls. Highest gall rating (10) was observed on roots of I. crenata `Compacta' infected with M. incognita, but highest number of eggs (6397 eggs/g of roots) was observed in plants of this cultivar inoculated with M. javanica. Few or no galls were observed on roots of the five native plant taxa, and nematode eggs were recovered only from roots of I. virginica `Little Henry' inoculated with M. arenaria and M. javanica (13 and 20 eggs/g of roots, respectively). Fresh weights of shoots or roots were not affected by nematode inoculation. Due to lack of root gall development and little or no reproduction on the native taxa, we conclude that these are resistant or immune to the three species of Meloidogyne and might be suitable for planting in infested soil.

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Allen D. Owings, Gordon E. Holcomb, Anthony L. Witcher, C. Allen Broyles, and Edward W. Bush

Performance evaluations of numerous annual and perennial herbaceous ornamentals were conducted in landscape settings in 2004 at the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. A mid-summer through fall evaluation of Kong coleus found no difference in flowering performance and visual quality ratings of the five available cultivars. In a sun/shade study, Kong coleus cultivars in 60% shade were about 50% shorter than those in sun. Other impressive coleus have been Aurora Black Cherry and Mississippi Summer Sun. The Stained Glassworks series of coleus have been average performers. The Son series of lantanas (Sonrise, Sonset, Samson, Sonshine) have been top performers in terms of visual quality and continual bloom. All-America daylilies most prevalent to rust symptoms have included Judith, Leebea Orange Crush, Starstruck, Lady Lucille, and Chorus Line. Some rust has also been noted on Plum Perfect and Frankly Scarlet. Profusion Apricot and Profusion White have been less susceptible to Xanthomonas bacterial petal blight than Profusion Fire, Profusion Cherry, and Profusion Orange. Earth Kind roses, being promoted by Texas A&M, are being evaluated for landscape performance along with black spot and powdery mildew susceptibility. Most problematic cultivars thus far have included Georgetown Tea, Clotilde Soupert, Nacogdoches, Reve d'Or, New Dawn, Souvenir de St. Anne's, Spice, Lamarque, Puerto Rico, Sarah Jones, Ducher, and Louis Philippe. Lady Bird cosmos have been good late summer/early fall landscape performers.

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Dean A. Kopsell, David E. Kopsell, and Joanne Curran-Celentano

Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is a popular culinary herbal crop grown for fresh or dry leaf, essential oil, and seed markets. Recently, basil was shown to rank highest among spices and herbal crops for xanthophyll carotenoids, which are associated with decreased risks of cancer and age-related eye diseases. The research goal for the current study was to characterize the concentrations of nutritionally important carotenoid pigments in popular varieties of basil. Eight cultivars of sweet basil (`Genovese', `Italian Large Leaf', `Nufar', `Red Rubin', `Osmin Purple', `Spicy Bush', `Cinnamon', and `Sweet Thai') were grown in both field and greenhouse environments and evaluated for plant pigments using HPLC methodology. Environmental and cultivar differences were observed for all of the pigments analyzed. `Sweet Thai' accumulated the highest concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene carotenoids in the field, while `Osmin Purple' accumulated the highest carotenoid concentrations in the greenhouse. Comparing the two environments, cultivar levels for carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments were higher in the field environment when expressed on both a fresh and dry weight basis. Exceptions were found only for the purple leaf basils (`Osmin Purple' and `Red Rubin'). Positive correlations existed between carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments in both environments. This study demonstrates sweet basil accumulates high levels of nutritionally important carotenoids in both field and greenhouse environments.

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Kent Cushman and Crofton Sloan

A circular garden, divided into eight sections or “slices,” was established for the purpose of demonstrating agriculture to youth. Each section of the garden represents a form of agriculture associated with the consumption of pizza. Soybeans were planted to represent oil, wheat to represent flour, vegetables to represent tomato sauce and vegetable toppings, herbs to represent spices, and pine trees to represent paper and cardboard products. A dairy cow, beef cow, and pig were fenced within separate sections to represent cheese, beef, and pork, respectively. The idea originated in Madera, Calif., from Thank-a-farmer, Inc. and was used with permission. The garden is an ongoing cooperative effort between research and extension personnel of Mississippi State University, local county officials, and area schools. The project has garnered support from the Mississippi Cattle Industry Board (start-up and maintenance funds), Heritage Vinyl Products (fencing), D.P. Fence Co. (construction), and Dominoe's Pizza (pizza lunches for the youth). We anticipate at least 1000 school children to visit the “Pizza Farm” each year, and we expect the community to continue to support and take pride in this project.

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Sandra M. Reed

Clethra alnifolia, which is commonly known as summersweet, is an attractive deciduous shrub that produces fragrant flower in mid-summer. Breeding efforts are hampered by a lack of information on the reproductive behavior of this native species. The objective of this study was to evaluate self-compatibility in C. alnifolia. Pollen germination and pollen tube growth in styles were examined following self- and cross-pollinations using fluorescence microscopy. Seed set and germination were compared following self- and cross-pollinations. While self-pollen tubes appeared to grow slightly slower than cross-pollen tubes, there was no indication of a self-incompatibility system acting at the stigmatic or stylar level in C. alnifolia. Self-pollinations of `Hummingbird' and `Ruby Spice' produced fewer seeds than did cross-pollinations of these cultivars. Germination of all seed obtained from this study was too poor to allow a comparison of germination rates of the self- and cross-pollinated seed. However, because a few self-progeny were obtained, emasculation is recommended when making controlled pollinations. The presence of a late-acting self-incompatibility system or early acting inbreeding depression was proposed as being responsible for the lower seed set following self-pollination.