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  • Author or Editor: Penelope Perkins-Veazie x
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Abstract

Priming has been used to circumvent thermodormancy in lettuce seeds, but results have sometimes varied according to cultivar and seed lot. Two- and 3-year-old seeds of ‘Montello’ and ‘Green Lakes’ lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) were aged at 41°C and 100% RH for 2, 3, or 5 days, dried, then primed for 20 hours at 15° in aerated 1% K3PO4 and redried at 7° and 45% RH. Germination at 25° was not affected by 2 and 3 days of accelerated aging or by priming of 2- and 3-year-old seeds. After 5 days of accelerated aging, germination decreased for both primed and nonprimed seeds. No germination occurred at 35° unless the seeds were primed. Natural aging led to a reduction in germination of primed ‘Green Lakes’ seeds at 35°. All accelerated aging treatments led to reduced germination of the primed seeds at 35°, regardless of cultivar. After prolonged accelerated aging (3 or 5 days), priming did not overcome thermodormancy. Accelerated aging greatly reduced germination rate at 25°. Priming for longer durations of 35 and 40 hours, after 3 days of accelerated aging, increased germination rates slightly at 25° but did not improve germination patterns at 35°. Only lettuce seeds of the highest quality could be effectively primed to overcome thermodormancy.

Open Access

Watermelons contain the carotenoids b-carotene, phytofluene, lycopene, and lutein. These carotenoids play an important role in plant oxidative protection and may serve to protect humans against oxidative assaults. Of the carotenoids, lycopene is the predominant pigment in red-fleshed melons (30-130 μg·g-1), b-carotene is present in small amounts (1-14 μg·g-1), and other carotenoids are present in minute amounts (1-3 μg·g-1). Seventy varieties were screened for lycopene content using scanning colorimetry, spectrophotometry, and HPLC techniques, and grouped as low, medium, high, or very high in lycopene. Pink-fleshed heirloom varieties such as Sweet Princess and Black Diamond contained low amounts of lycopene (<40 μg·g-1). A number of seeded and seedless varieties had medium amounts of lycopene (40-60 μg·g-1). Varieties in the high category (60-80 μg·g-1) were primarily seedless types, although `Dixie Lee', an open-pollinated, seeded variety had 69 μg·g-1, indicating that high lycopene content is not restricted to hybrid or seedless melon germplasm. Six selections were found to be very high in lycopene (>80 μg·g-1), including the minimelon Hazera 6008 (Extazy). Total carotenoids and carotenoid profiles were determined by HPLC for 23 varieties in 2003. Both seeded and seedless type melons had varieties high in bcarotene, lycopene, and total carotenoids. These results indicate that commercial watermelon varieties have a wide range in lycopene and b-carotene content, and that most commercially important varieties are high in lycopene and total carotenoids, providing important sources of phytonutrients to the human diet.

Free access

Separately, grafting and the use of plastic mulch can increase yield, quality, and early harvest of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), especially when plants are under biotic and/or abiotic stress. A 2-year field study was conducted to evaluate the combination of four different rootstocks and two types of plastic mulch (black and clear) on date of watermelon first flowering, fruit ripening, yield, and fruit quality when plants were exposed to Verticillium dahliae. Seedless watermelon cv. Secretariat was grafted onto rootstocks Lagenaria siceraria cv. Pelop, Benincasa hispida cv. Round, and two interspecific hybrid squash rootstocks Cucurbita maxima × C. moschata cvs. Super Shintosa and Tetsukabuto, with nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ as the control. Fruit were harvested 0, 7, and 14 days after both the leaflet and tendril attached to the fruit pedicel were completely dry (fruit considered to be physiologically mature). The area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) values for verticillium wilt were not different for mulch type in either year, although the overall AUDPC value was greatly reduced in the four grafted treatments (227) compared with nongrafted (743). There was no difference in days to male or female flowering due to mulch type or year, and rootstock did not affect first flowering of male flowers. Female flowering was 14 and 11 days later in 2018 and 2019, respectively, for ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto bottle gourd ‘Round’ compared with ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto ‘Tetsukabuto’. Female flowering of ‘Secretariat’ on ‘Round’ was also 7 days later compared with nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ both years. However, days to first harvest was not different with mulch or rootstock and was 92 days after transplanting (DAT) in 2018 and 114 DAT in 2019. There was no difference in yield (fruit number and weight) due to year, harvest date, or mulch, but there was a difference due to grafting. ‘Secretariat’ grafted onto ‘Super Shintosa’ had the greatest total number and weight of fruit per plant (3.7 and 14.8 kg, respectively), and nongrafted ‘Secretariat’ had the lowest (0.7 and 3.2 kg, respectively). Fruit quality attributes hollow heart formation (rating 3.2/5 on average), hard seed count (6 on average), total soluble solids (11% on average), and lycopene content were not different among mulch type, rootstock treatment, or harvest date; however, lycopene content did differ due to year (52.44 and 32.51 µg·g−1 in 2018 and 2019, respectively). Flesh firmness was highest for watermelon grafted onto ‘Super Shintosa’ rootstock (6.7 N) and lowest for nongrafted watermelon (4.3 N). Overall, rootstocks reduced verticillium wilt severity and increased fruit yield whereas mulch had no effects, and 5 V. dahliae colony forming units (cfu)/g of soil may be the minimum level for impact on watermelon fruit yield.

Open Access

In triploid (seedless) watermelon [Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Thunb. Matsum. and Nakai)], hollow heart (HH) is a disorder that is expressed as a crack in the center of the fruit that expands to an open cavity. Although HH incidence and severity is part of a screening process for marketable watermelon fruit during cultigen evaluations, HH incidence is highly variable with growing season, even when the best cultural practices are used. Placental tissue firmness is also measured because firmness is related to the marketability of watermelon and may be related to HH. Genetic and environmental factors can influence watermelon HH development, including plant genetics, pollen amount and viability, pollinator activity, and temperature and rainfall fluctuations. We used seedless watermelon cultigen evaluation data collected over 3 years (2012–14) to determine the relationship between germplasm HH and tissue firmness. Transplanted watermelon representing 30 to 44 cultigens per year were grown at the Central Crops Research Station, Clayton, NC, and interplanted with pollenizers ‘Ace’ and/or ‘SP-6’. Harvested fruit were cut length-wise and rated for HH incidence and severity. Flesh firmness was determined by a handheld penetrometer at five locations in the flesh (stem end, top side, ground spot, blossom end, and heart). A common cultigen subset, consisting of 13 cultigens that were grown in all three experiments, was used for analysis of HH severity and incidence, and placental firmness. The presence of HH was negatively correlated with tissue firmness in both the large multiyear cultigen set (R 2 = −0.32; P = 0.0001) and the common cultigen set (R 2 = −0.78; P = 0.0001). Cultigens with lower watermelon tissue firmness values had higher HH incidence and severity. By using multiyear cultigen studies and logistic regression, we were able to detect trends for cultigen susceptibility to this highly variable disorder. Using logistic regression, the probability of HH development was highest for ‘Bold Ruler’, ‘Liberty’, and ‘Affirmed’, and lowest for ‘Maxima’ and ‘Captivation’. The identification of cultigens with a tendency for higher or lower rates of HH will be useful for further research of the causes of HH. Measurements of placental flesh firmness may be useful indicators of susceptible cultigens.

Open Access

Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a small red berry that grows on shrubs from Maine to Alabama. This plant originated in China and was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s for erosion control. About 20% of the berry' fresh weight is in its single, large seed. The berries of Autumn olive are extremely rich in lycopene (30–50 mg/100 g). The berries are astringent, indicating that fruit may be high in phenolic compounds as well as carotenoids. There has been great interest in producing the plants in domesticated plantings, and in using the fruit as a natural source of lycopene.

This study was done to determine the relative contents of lycopene and phenolics among selections and varieties of autumn olive. The lycopene content of six selections and varieties was 30 to 55 mg·g–1. The lycopene content of berries did not increase after 4 days storage at 25 °C followed by 2 days at 5 °C. Autumn olives are high in soluble solids content (11% to 17%), and relatively high in acidity (1.7% to 5.5% citric acid). The astringent flavor of the berries may be due to the high total phenolic content (1700 mg·kg–1 chlorogenic acid equivalents). The berries were found to be high in flavanols and hydroxybenzoic acids (33 rutin and 31 gallic acid mg·kg–1 equivalents), while the seeds were high in hydroxycinnamic acids and extremely high in hydroxybenzoic acids (35 chlorogenic acid and 184 gallic acid mg·kg–1 equivalents).

Free access

`White Rock' and `White County' fresh market peaches (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) were released in 2004 by the University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. These cultivars join `White River' as recent products of the peach breeding program which is based at the University of Arkansas Fruit Substation, Clarksville. Both cultivars are sub- or low-acid types and have white flesh. `White Rock' ripens at on average 25 June, and is very firm at maturity. Average fruit weight was 142 g with 12% soluble solids and light white peach flavor. `White County' ripens on average 14 July. It is large fruited with average weight of 258 g and maintains firmness until full maturity. The fruits are freestone with an excellent white peach flavor. Both cultivars show good bacterial spot resistance although occasional lesions are seen on leaves. These new cultivars offer additional white peach cultivar choices for the mid-South and other areas of similar climate.

Free access