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Open access

Tej P. Acharya, Mark S. Reiter, Greg Welbaum and Ramón A. Arancibia

Low tunnels (LTs) enhance vegetative growth and production in comparison with open field, but it is not known whether nitrogen (N) requirements and use efficiency increase or decrease for optimal crop performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine differences in N requirement, uptake, and use efficiency in basil grown under LTs compared with open field. The experimental design each year was a split plot with four replications. The main effect (plots) was N fertilizer application rate (0, 37, 74, 111, 148, and 185 kg·ha−1) and the secondary effect (subplots) was production system (LTs covered with spun-bonded rowcover vs. open field). Plant height and stem diameter were greater under LT than open field; however, they were unaffected by N fertilizer rate. Total fresh and dry weight increased with LT by 61% and 58% and by 50% and 48% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Optimum N rates for fresh weight (98% of peak yield) were 124 and 104 kg·ha−1 N under LT and open field, respectively. Leaf N concentration decreased under LT, but total plant N uptake increased because of increased dry weight. Without fertilization, soil available N use efficiency (SNUE) for dry weight increased by 45% and 66% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Mixed results were obtained for N fertilizer use efficiency (NFUE) in response to N rate. In conclusion, LT increased summer production of sweet basil, total plant N uptake, and SNUE.

Open access

Youn Young Hur, Su Jin Kim, Jeong Ho Roh, Kyo Sun Park, Hae Keun Yun, Jong Chul Nam, Sung Min Jung, Sang Uk Koh, Dong Jun Im, Dong Hoon Lee, Seo June Park and Kyong Ho Chung

Open access

Rui Wang, Yuqing Gui, Tiejun Zhao, Masahisa Ishii, Masatake Eguchi, Hui Xu, Tianlai Li and Yasunaga Iwasaki

Floral initiation is an important transition point from vegetative growth to reproductive growth in tomatoes and is known to be affected by light intensity, temperature, and nutrients. However, the regulation between flower formation and environmental factors, including nutrient conditions, due to source–sink dynamics (supply and demand of photoassimilates) is seldom documented. To evaluate the effects of light intensity and nutrition conditions on prefloral formation and development, dynamic floral characteristics during development were fitted with sigmoidal logistic curves under four light treatments with shading nets in two nutrient conditions. Source activity and sink strength were altered, which caused differences in the floral positions, length of floral shoots, floral initiation dates, and leaf numbers under the different treatments. Accumulated light acts upstream of nutrition supply during the formation of buds and leads to the accumulation of carbohydrates in source organs. Leaf area reached ≈500 cm2, and dry matter weights reached ≈3 g in each treatment until the flowering day, revealing that some level of photoassimilates are necessary for floral initiation. Both days to flowering and bud number were highly correlated with daily light integral (DLI) from 6 to 12 days before anthesis, which means this period is important for anthesis in tomato. Our results highlight regulation of the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth by tomato seedlings due to environmental factors and nutrients. A better understanding of communication between source organs and sink organs during floral initiation response to different environments is expected to provide management strategies for greenhouse tomato production.

Open access

Lan-Yen Chang and Jeffrey K. Brecht

Bruising of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) fruit is a common mechanical injury that reduces product value. Wound-induced ethylene may accelerate deterioration or decay, affecting strawberry quality and shelf life. However, bruising susceptibility varies among strawberry cultivars. In this study, cultivars Monterey, Sweet Sensation, Radiance, and two proprietary cultivars (Cultivar A and Cultivar B) from a private breeding program were investigated to evaluate their bruising susceptibility and wound response. Bruising consisted of dropping a 28-g steel ball from 27 cm onto individual fruit; unbruised fruit were the primary control, while fruit exposed to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene were used as a check for ethylene response. All fruit were stored at 20 °C, 90% relative humidity (RH), with respiration and ethylene production measured at 2-hour intervals for 24 hours. Appearance observations were recorded daily until decay onset. Peak respiration rates of 30–40 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 mostly occurred within 4 hours (‘Cultivar B’) to 6 hours (‘Cultivar A’ and ‘Sweet Sensation’) after bruising, except ‘Monterey’, which peaked at 60 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 in 2 hours, and ‘Radiance’, which reached 70 mL CO2·kg−1·h−1 in 6 hours. Maximum ethylene production rates after bruising were 0.05 to 0.06 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Monterey’, ‘Cultivar A’, and ‘Cultivar B’, 0.10 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Sweet Sensation’, and 0.20 to 0.37 μL·kg−1·h−1 for ‘Radiance’. ‘Cultivar B’, with the lowest ethylene production, exhibited the lowest overall bruising severity, whereas ‘Radiance’, with the highest ethylene production, exhibited the most severe bruising-induced water soaking, and the other cultivars were intermediate, although ‘Monterey’ bruises were more discolored than those of the other cultivars. ‘Monterey’, ‘Radiance’, and ‘Sweet Sensation’ showed more yellowing and browning of the calyx in response to both bruising and ethylene exposure than ‘Cultivar A’ and ‘Cultivar B’. Except for ‘Cultivar B’, bruising and ethylene exposure increased decay severity.

Open access

Felipe Barrera Sánchez, Larissa Pereira Ribeiro, Mayara Fávero Cotrim, Carlos Antonio da Silva Junior, Leonardo Lopes Bhering and Paulo Eduardo Teodoro

This study aimed to estimate the predicted genetic gains with the simultaneous selection of yield traits and soluble solids content in cherry tomato hybrids. Twenty cherry tomato hybrids were evaluated in hydroponic cultivation in randomized block design with three replicates. The following traits were evaluated: number of clusters per plant, number of flowers per cluster, number of fruits per cluster, number of fruits per plant, fruit weight, fruit yield per plant, and total soluble solids content. The parameters of heritability, experimental cv, and genotypic cv were estimated. Subsequently, selection gains by direct selection and Mulamba and Mock index were estimated. Direct selection of cherry tomato hybrids for fruit yield and soluble solids content is inefficient because selection based on one of these traits will provide undesirable gains in the other. However, simultaneous selection for yield and taste quality is possible based on the Mulamba and Mock index because the methodology provided high selection gains for both yield and soluble solids content.

Open access

Shirin Shahkoomahally, Jose X. Chaparro, Thomas G. Beckman and Ali Sarkhosh

The rootstock is an essential element for orchard management, influencing scion growth, nutrient concentration, and fruit quality. Seasonal variations in leaf nutrients of ‘UFSun’ grafted on five different rootstocks (‘Flordaguard’, ‘Barton’, ‘MP-29’, ‘P-22’, and ‘Okinawa’) were investigated during the 2017–18 growing season in Citra, FL. There was no significant variation in the macronutrient concentrations (N, P, K, Mg, Ca, and S) among different rootstocks; however, ‘UFSun’ on ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Flordaguard’ showed greater concentrations of Ca, K, and Mg concentration than other rootstocks. In contrast, ‘Flordaguard’ showed less potential to accumulate P as compared with other rootstocks. The Ca concentration was lowest in ‘MP-29’ and ‘Barton’ in April and June. The concentration of macronutrients (N, P, K, Mg, Ca, and S) in leaves was greater in April and October than in December and June. With respect to rootstocks, macronutrients in December and June were the highest in ‘Okinawa’ and the lowest in ‘Barton’. In April, the lowest concentration of macronutrient was recorded in ‘Barton’, whereas the highest concentrations were found in ‘P-22’, ‘Okinawa’, and ‘Flordaguard’. The highest leaf micronutrient concentrations were found in ‘MP-29’ and ‘Barton’, and the lowest in ‘Okinawa’ and ‘Flordaguard’ in June and October. For all rootstocks, concentrations of micronutrients increased between leaf growth in April and senescence in October. The micronutrient concentrations of leaves decreased during December. The widest dynamic changes during the vegetative cycle were found on ‘P-22’. Seasonal trends were more consistent for micronutrients than for macronutrients.

Open access

W. Garrett Owen, Brian E. Jackson, William C. Fonteno and Brian E. Whipker

Processed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) wood has been investigated as a component in greenhouse and nursery substrates for many years. Specifically, pine wood chips (PWCs) have been uniquely engineered/processed into a nonfibrous blockular particle size suitable for use as a substrate aggregate. The objective of this research was to compare the dolomitic limestone requirements of plants grown in peat-based substrates amended with perlite or PWC. In a growth trial with ‘Mildred Yellow’ chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium), peat-based substrates were amended to contain 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50% (by volume) perlite or PWC for a total of 11 substrates. Substrates were amended with dolomitic limestone at rates of 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 lb/yard3, for a total of 55 substrate treatments. Results indicate that pH of substrates amended with ≥30% perlite or PWC need to be adjusted to similar rates of 9 to 12 lb/yard3 dolomitic limestone to produce similar-quality chrysanthemum plants. In a repeated study, ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ african marigold (Tagetes erecta) plants were grown in the same substrates previously formulated (with the exclusion of the 50% ratio) and amended with dolomitic limestone at rates of 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 lb/yard3, for a total of 54 substrate treatments. Results indicate a similar dolomitic limestone rate of 15 lb/yard3 is required to adjust substrate pH of 100% peatmoss and peat-based substrates amended with 10% to 40% perlite or PWC aggregates to the recommended pH range for african marigold and to produce visually similar plants. The specific particle shape and surface characteristics of the engineered PWC may not be similar to other wood products (fiber) currently commercialized in the greenhouse industry, therefore the lime requirements and resulting substrate pH may not be similar for those materials.

Open access

Joshua K. Craver, Krishna S. Nemali and Roberto G. Lopez

Indoor production of bedding plant seedlings using sole-source radiation may present value in increasing uniformity and consistency compared with greenhouse production. However, information on physiological acclimation related to growth and photosynthesis in seedlings exposed to high-intensity blue radiation and elevated CO2 is limited. Seedlings of petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) ‘Dreams Midnight’ were exposed to red (peak = 660 nm):blue (peak = 451 nm) radiation ratios of 50:50 (R50:B50) or 90:10 (R90:B10) and radiation intensities of 150 or 300 µmol·m−2·s–1 under two CO2 regimes of 450 or 900 µmol·mol–1. Shoot dry mass (SDM), leaf area index (LAI), internode length, and whole-plant photosynthesis and light-use efficiency (LUE) responses to increasing radiation intensity were measured. In addition, leaf photosynthetic rate (A) was measured at ambient and supra-optimal CO2 concentrations for plants grown under 450 µmol·mol–1 CO2. Our results indicated growth (based on SDM, LAI, and internode length) was lowered for seedlings produced under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. However, we observed an increase in whole-plant light-saturated photosynthesis (Ag,max) and whole-plant light saturation point (LSP) under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. In addition, we observed lower LUE below and higher LUE above a radiation intensity of 500 µmol·m−2·s–1 in seedlings grown under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10. Based on our results, seedling growth was lowered under a high proportion of blue radiation mainly due to lower radiation interception (due to lower LAI and shorter internode length) and LUE of intercepted radiation at the intensities used. Higher Ag,max and LSP in R50:B50 compared with R90:B10 under higher radiation intensities was likely in part due to higher LUE. Further investigation revealed A was higher at both optimal and supra-optimal CO2 concentrations under R50:B50 compared with R90:B10, indicating a lack of stomatal effects of a higher proportion of blue radiation on carboxylation and LUE. We hypothesize that higher LUE in R50:B50 compared with R90:B10 under higher radiation intensities is due to improved photochemical quenching from increased biosynthesis of carotenoids and anthocyanins. The results from our study generated fundamental information on growth and photosynthetic responses to excess blue radiation, data that can be further used in optimizing plant production in controlled environments.

Open access

Sanele Fana Kubheka, Samson Zeray Tesfay, Asanda Mditshwa and Lembe Samukelo Magwaza

This study investigated the efficacy of edible gum arabic (GA) and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) containing moringa (M) leaf extract as postharvest treatments for maintaining organoleptic quality and controlling Colletotrichum gloeosporioides on ‘Maluma’ avocado fruit. For the quality study, after the fruit was dipped into the treatments: GA 10%, GA 15%, GA 10% + M, GA 15% + M, and CMC 1% + M and uncoated fruit served as control, the fruit were then stored at 5.5 °C [95% relative humidity (RH)] for 21 days, and moved to ambient conditions at 21 ± 1 °C (60% RH) for 7 days to simulate retail condition. Quality parameters that were evaluated include mass loss, firmness, and color changes (L*, a*, b*, respectively), and sensory quality attributes, such as taste, color, mouthfeel, odor, and overall acceptability. Fruit quality study results showed fruit coated with GA 15% + M and CMC 1% + M had lower mass loss (3.66%), retained firmness (62.37 N), and color changes [L* (30.85), a* (−2.33) and b* (7.14)] compared with other treatments. In this biofungicidal study on antimicrobial properties of extracts, treatments against fungi strains using an in vitro test were investigated, which showed treatments of moringa leaf extract, GA 10% + M, and GA 15% + M suppressed radial mycelial growth of C. gloeosporioides by 30%, 28%, and 33%, respectively. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that GA 15% + M and CMC 1% + M retained fruit firmness and lowered weight loss and suppressed mycelial growth of C. gloeosporioides on ‘Maluma’ avocado fruit. These edible coatings could therefore be an alternative organic postharvest coating treatment and could potentially be commercialized as a new organic biofungicide for the avocado fruit industry.

Open access

Ming-Wei S. Kao, Jeffrey K. Brecht and Jeffrey G. Williamson

The physical and chemical characteristics of two melting flesh (MF) cultivars, TropicBeauty and Flordaprince, and two non-melting flesh (NMF) cultivars, UFSun and Gulfking, with advancing maturities, were determined at harvest, after ripening at 20 °C for 7 days (i.e., direct ripening) and after storage at 0 °C for 14 days then ripening at 20 °C for 7 days (i.e., ripening following low temperature storage). The NMF cultivars were able to retain flesh firmness better than the MF cultivars as fruit matured and ripened on the tree and after the two storage treatments. The NMF fruit of the least mature to the most advanced maturity groups (MGs) were ≈2 to 7 times firmer than the MF fruit in the same MGs after ripening in both storage conditions. For both MF and NMF fruit, a significant reduction of titratable acidity (TA) occurred with no significant changes in soluble solids content (SSC) and total soluble sugar (TSS) as maturity and ripening progressed on the tree and after ripening in both storage conditions. Minimum quality standards of “ready for consumption” peaches were used as general guidelines to determine the optimum harvest maturity of all four cultivars. The NMF fruit ripened directly had wider optimum harvest maturity ranges and could be harvested at more advanced stages than the MF fruit. The MF fruit that ripened following low temperature storage needed to be picked at earlier maturity stages than those that were directly ripened. The optimum harvest maturity of NMF UFSun for the low temperature storage treatment was more advanced than that of the other three cultivars due to abnormal softening found in the lower MGs after ripening. Linear correlation analyses showed that the skin ground color (GC) a* values of both MF cultivars and NMF ‘UFSun’ were highly correlated with the flesh color (FC) a* values, suggesting that GC a* values can be an informative harvest indicator for this NMF cultivar instead of the traditionally used FC. The GC a* values also had high linear correlation with TA for all four cultivars, suggesting that TA can be a potential maturity index for both MF and NMF peaches. Significant correlations of GC a* values and flesh firmness (GC-FF) were found in all four cultivars in one year but only in MF peaches in both years, showing that flesh firmness was the most consistent maturity indicator for the MF cultivars in this study.