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  • Author or Editor: Chen Wang x
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Much nitrogen (N) is lost in high-input protected cropping systems mainly via leaching of not only nitrate-N but also extractable organic N (EON), but the role of EON in this process is poorly appreciated. A consecutive 3-year plot experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of co-application of manures with chemical N fertilizer on N accumulation and loss in a greenhouse soil rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce. Application of manures significantly enhanced the average contents and stocks of NO3 -N, EON, and total N (TN) in 0- to 60-cm soil layer, although EON accumulated within growing season, while NO3 -N accumulated with fluctuation, and TN accumulated gradually throughout the 3-year experiment. With application rate at 120 or 180 t dry manures per hectare per 3 years, the corresponding apparent N surplus was 2710 or 3924 kg⋅ha−1 per 3 years. Due to little increase of biomass N uptakes during vegetable seasons, the accumulated N in soil profile would be a potential loss source, largely via leaching of both nitrate and EON. Application of manures slowed soil acidification but intensified secondary salinization of the greenhouse soil. Considering the manures-induced high soil N accumulation and loss, well-balanced evaluation of the role of manures in high-input agricultural ecosystems is needed.

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Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) is an important warm-season turfgrass distributed in tropical and coastal areas. It has excellent resistance to abiotic stresses, such as salinity, drought, and low temperature. However, the research on genetic diversity of local P. vaginatum collections from China is limited. In this study, the genetic diversity among 58 P. vaginatum accessions from four different provinces in China and four cultivars were assessed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The results indicated that a total of 45 alleles were detected by 19 polymorphic markers, with a range of 2 to 4 and an average of 2.4 alleles per marker. The genetic similarity coefficients between each pair of the 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars ranged from 0.51 to 1.00, with an average of 0.77. The range of variation of Shannon diversity index of each SSR marker was 0.047 to 1.075, with an average of 0.486. The polymorphic information content of each SSR marker varies from 0.016 to 0.577, with an average of 0.249. The results of cluster analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars were divided into four groups. These results provide the theoretical basis for the genetic diversity assessments and molecular marker–assisted breeding of P. vaginatum species.

Open Access

This research was initiated to determine the response of apple (Malus ×domestica) fruit quality to sprays of zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) and sugar alcohol zinc. Two apple cultivars Fuji and Gala were evaluated, the leaf zinc (Zn) concentration of which were about 14.3 mg·kg−1 dry weight without Zn deficiency symptoms. The trees were sprayed with ZnSO4 and sugar alcohol zinc separately during four different developmental stages: 2 weeks before budbreak (P1), 3 weeks after bloom (P2), the termination of spring shoot growth (P3), and 4 weeks before harvest (P4). The fruit was harvested at maturity and analyzed for fruit quality and fruit Zn concentration. Zinc sprays during the four different developmental stages increased Zn concentration of peeled and washed fruit at harvest, without phytotoxicity. The treatments at stages P2 and P4 increased average fruit weight of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’, respectively. The treatments at stages P1 and P4 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Gala’, while the treatments at stages P1 and P2 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Fuji’. The treatments at stages P1, P2, and P4 increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Gala’ fruit, while the treatments at all the stages increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Fuji’. And the effects of sugar alcohol zinc were equal and more pronounced than those of ZnSO4. Thus, Zn sprays at critical periods can improve fruit quality of apple trees, which show no Zn deficiency symptoms with leaf Zn concentration less than 15 mg·kg−1 dry weight.

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Most strawberry plants have white flowers and red fruit. We developed a new strawberry selection with pink flowers and white fruit, and named it G23. Basic phenotypic data were recorded over years of observation and experimentation with the flower crown diameter, petal color, and rate of fruit set, as well as fruit skin color, flesh color, seed color and attachment status, fruit weight and shape, soluble solids contents, and firmness. We found that G23 bloomed with a stable pink flower and produced white fruit consistently with a relatively high fruit-set rate compared with its female parent, ‘Pink Panda’. G23 displayed high resistance to Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) and anthracnose (Colletotrichum spp.). It is also tolerant of high temperatures (up to 40 °C) and long-term drought. The asexual propagation ability of G23 is high, with ∼60 to 100 stolon ramets formed during the summer. In summary, this new pink-flowered and white-fruited strawberry germplasm is suitable for ornamental use, as a result of its remarkable flowering and fruiting characteristics. In addition, it provides opportunities for innovative strawberry germplasm for future breeding.

Open Access

Penstemon, with more than 250 species native to North America, holds significant aesthetic and ecological value in Utah, supporting diverse pollinators. Despite their significance, the survival of penstemon is threatened by challenges such as habitat loss, climate change, and Utah’s naturally high soil salinity. To address these challenges and understand their adaptability, this study evaluated the salt tolerance of two penstemon species [Penstemon davidsonii (Davidson’s penstemon) and Penstemon heterophyllus (foothill penstemon)] under controlled greenhouse conditions. The aim was to develop baseline information for nursery production and landscape use that utilize reclaimed water for irrigation. Plants were irrigated weekly with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.0 dS·m−1 as control or a saline solution at an EC of 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, or 10.0 dS·m−1 for 8 weeks. Half of the plants were harvested after four irrigation events, and the remaining plants were harvested after eight irrigation events. At harvest, visual rating (0 = dead and 5 = excellent without foliage salt damage), plant width, number of shoots, leaf area, shoot dry weight, leaf greenness [Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD)], stomatal conductance, and canopy temperature were collected to assess the impact of salinity stress. In both species, salt damage was dependent on the salinity levels and length of exposure. After four irrigation events, both species exhibited foliage damage that increased in severity with rising EC. The most severe damage was observed in plants receiving saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. After eight irrigation events, P. davidsonii exposed to a saline solution with an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 received a visual rating of 0, whereas P. heterophyllus had a visual rating of 0.4. Both species exhibited salinity-induced effects, with variations observed in the specific parameters and the degree of response. Penstemon davidsonii exhibited significant salinity stress, as indicated by reduced leaf area, shoot dry weight, SPAD reading, and stomatal conductance with increasing EC of the saline solution. In addition, in both species, at both harvests, canopy temperatures increased either linearly or quadratically by 8% to 36% as the EC levels of the saline solution increased. These results indicate that P. davidsonii was more sensitive to salinity stress than P. heterophyllus.

Open Access

Fresh fruit of longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) are susceptible to pericarp browning and aril breakdown. Aril breakdown in longan fruit is regarded as one of the most important factors reducing quality and shortening storage life of the fruit. To better understand the molecular mechanism of aril breakdown, the expression patterns of three expansin (EXP) and three xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) genes in relation to the aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at room temperature (25 °C) or low temperature (4 °C) were investigated. The results showed that aril breakdown index increased progressively during storage at 25 and at 4 °C. Northern blotting analysis revealed that the accumulations of three EXP and three XET genes exhibited differential characteristics with the occurrence of aril breakdown. During storage at 25 °C, the accumulations of Dl-XET3 increased after 1 day, suggesting that Dl-XET3 correlated well with the early aril breakdown, while Dl-EXP3 together with Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 was involved in later aril breakdown. However, expression of Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 could be mainly involved in aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at 4 °C. In addition, Dl-EXP2, whose accumulation increased sharply when longan fruit were transferred from low temperature to room temperature within 12 hours, was related to the aril breakdown in this storage period. These data indicated that Dl-EXPs and Dl-XETs were closely related to aril breakdown in longan fruit.

Free access

Cytosine methylation plays important roles in regulating gene expression and modulating agronomic traits. In this study, the fluorescence-labeled methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (F-MSAP) technique was used to study variation in cytosine methylation among seven pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars at four developmental stages. In addition, phenotypic variations in the leaves of these seven cultivars were investigated. Using eight primer sets, 22,796 bands and 950 sites were detected in the pecan cultivars at four stages. Variation in cytosine methylation was observed among the pecan cultivars, with total methylation levels ranging from 51.18% to 56.58% and polymorphism rates of 82.29%, 81.73%, 78.64%, and 79.09% being recorded at the four stages. Sufficiently accompanying the polymorphism data, significant differences in phenotypic traits were also observed among the pecan cultivars, suggesting that cytosine methylation may be an important factor underlying phenotypic variation. Hypermethylation was the dominant type of methylation among the four types observed, and full methylation occurred at higher levels than did hemimethylation in the pecan genomes. Cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) identified Dice coefficients ranging from 0.698 to 0.778, with an average coefficient of 0.735, and the variance contribution rates of the previous three principal coordinates were 19.6%, 19.0%, and 18.2%, respectively. Among the seven pecan cultivars, four groups were clearly classified based on a Dice coefficient of 0.75 and the previous three principal coordinates. Tracing dynamic changes in methylation status across stages revealed that methylation patterns changed at a larger proportion of CCGG sites from the 30% of final fruit-size (30%-FFS) stage to the 70%-FFS stage, with general decreases in the total methylation level, the rate of polymorphism, and specific sites being observed in each cultivar. These results demonstrated that the F-MSAP technique is a powerful tool for quantitatively detecting cytosine methylation in pecan genomes and provide a new perspective for studying many important life processes in pecan.

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Zinc finger-homeodomains (ZF-HDs) are considered transcription factors that are involved in a variety of life activities in plants, but their function in regulating plant salt stress tolerance is unclear. The SL-ZH13 gene is significantly upregulated under salt stress treatment in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaves, per our previous study. In this study, to further understand the role that the SL-ZH13 gene played in the response process of tomato plants under salt stress, the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method was applied to down-regulate SL-ZH13 expression in tomato plants, and these plants were treated with salt stress to analyze the changes in salt tolerance. The silencing efficiency of SL-ZH13 was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. SL-ZH13-silenced plants wilted faster and sooner than control plants under the same salt stress treatment condition, and the main stem bending angle of SL-ZH13-silenced plants was smaller than that of control plants. Physiological analysis showed that the activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and proline content in SL-ZH13-silenced plants were lower than those in control plants at 1.5 and 3 hours after salt stress treatment. The malondialdehyde content of SL-ZH13-silenced plants was higher than that in control plants at 1.5 and 3 hours after salt stress treatment; H2O2 and O2 - accumulated much more in leaves of SL-ZH13-silenced plants than in leaves of control plants. These results suggested that silencing of the SL-ZH13 gene affected the response of tomato plants to salt stress and decreased the salt stress tolerance of tomato plants.

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