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  • Author or Editor: Dennis P. Stimart x
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Postharvest longevity (PHL) is important in determining quality and consumer preference of cut flowers; thus, it remains a pressing problem for the florist industry. Information on genetics and heritability of cut flower PHL is lacking. This study focused on determining gene numbers and inheritance of Antirrhinum majus L. cut flower PHL. An inbred backcross population was generated from a yellow short-lived (YS; 6d PHL) and a white long-lived (WL; 14 d PHL) inbred. F1 hybrids were backcrossed reciprocally three times to each parent. Parental backcross (BC) populations contained 55 to 65 lines. Lines within each BC generation were self-fertilized three generations by single-seed descent without selection to produce BC1S3, BC2S3, and BC3S3 generations. Cut flowers from all generations were evaluated together for PHL in deionized water. Gene numbers were estimated using confidence intervals and the proportion of non-parental BC lines. Continuous variation, estimates of a minimum of two to four genes controlling PHL, and significant environmental variation suggest selection for increased PHL would be successfu,l but slow. A negative correlation between PHL and yellow flower color was detected in this study. In spite of that fact, mean PHL of the yellow flowered inbred lines improved 1 to 2 d when backcrossing to YS and 3 to 4 d when backcrossing to WL without selection. Thus, inbred backcrossing to a long-lived parent with selection for flower color should make acquisition of longlived colored lines attainable.

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Hypocotyls from Antirrhinum majus L. were excised at 2 weeks of age from seedlings grown under a 16-hour photoperiod or continuous darkness. Explants were cultured on modified Murashige-Skoog (MS) medium containing 0, 0.44, 2.22, 4.44, 8.88, or 44.4 μm BA to investigate adventitious shoot formation. Excised hypocotyls from eight commercial cultivars, three inbred lines, and an F1 hybrid between two of the inbreds were cultured on MS medium containing 2.22 μm BA to assess genotypic effects on adventitious shoot formation. The influence of seedling age was assessed by excising hypocotyls from seedlings at 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, or 30 days. Optimal conditions for adventitious shoot formation on excised hypocotyls included: seedling growth in a lighted environment, use of hypocotyls from 10-day-old seedlings, and culture on medium containing 2.22 μm BA for 3 weeks. Under these conditions, up to a 5-fold improvement in number of shoots per hypocotyl over previous studies was achieved. Adventitious shoot formation was genotype-dependent and appeared to be a dominant trait. Chemical name used: N 6-benzyladenine (BA).

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Leaf impressions were made from two short-lived (4 and 5 d) inbreds, a long-lived (11 d) inbred, and their hybrids (8 and 9 d) of Antirrhinum majus L. using Super Glue and glass microscope slides. Leaves were taken from mid stem, pressed on glass slides (under side down), spread with a small amount of Super Glue, set for 3 to 4 s. Then, the leaf was peeled off leaving a permanent impression in the glue. Slides were placed under a microscope equipped with a video imaging system and computer images were taken to facilitate counting of stomatal complexes. Number of stomata ranged from 10,400 to 21,300 per cm2 of leaf. A LI-COR LI-3100 area meter (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, Neb.) was used to measure total leaf area of 40-cm cut flower stems of each accession. Stomata per flowering stem ranged from 1,074,000 to 2,282,000, with the long-lived inbred having the fewest stomata, the hybrids intermediate with 11% to 21% more, and the short-lived inbreds having 40% to 113% more stomata per stem. It appears long postharvest life of A. majus is associated with flowering stems with fewer stomata per cut stem.

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A phenol-sulfuric acid assay was used to quantify non-specific neutral carbohydrates in Antirrhinum majus L. flowering stems of three inbreds and their hybrids. Flowering stems 40 cm long were harvested with five to six florets open and flower, leaf, and stem tissue separated, freeze-dried, and finely ground. Carbohydrates were extracted from the tissue with 95% ethanol in a 70 °C water bath and combined with a 5% w/v phenol solution and concentrated sulfuric acid. Glucose equivalents were determined with a spectrophotometer at absorbance of 490 nm. Averaged over tissue type, results were genotype dependent, ranging from 213 to 291 μg glucose equivalent per mg dry tissue with a LSD0.05 = 13. Flowers had the highest concentration of 340 μg/mg dry tissue, followed by stems, then leaves with 36% and 38% lower concentrations, respectively. Carbohydrate concentrations in two inbreds were compared when grown under cool (16 °C) and warm (29 °C) conditions. A genotype x environment interaction exists with inbred 3 exhibiting no reduction, 6% increase, and a 45% reduction in carbohydrate concentration when grown in warm conditions, while inbred 2 exhibited 15%, 23%, and 37 % reductions for flowers, leaves, and stems, respectively. Overall, there were 10% and 21% reductions in carbohydrate concentration for inbreds 2 and 3, respectively, when plants were grown under warm conditions.

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Cut flowers of Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) P1, P2, F1, F3, and F2 × F2 plants were harvested after the first five flowers were open and were evaluated for postharvest longevity to further evaluate genes conditioning postharvest longevity. F3 progeny evaluated were derived by selfing F2 selections of long keeping, mid-range, and short keeping types. F2 × F2 progeny evaluated were derived from crosses within and between postharvest longevity categories. Populations for evaluation were grown in the greenhouse in winter 1998-1999 in a randomized complete-block design according to standard forcing procedures. Thirty plants of each genotype were held in the laboratory in deionized water under continuous fluorescent lighting at 22 °C for postharvest assessment. The end of postharvest life was defined as 50% of the flowers drying, browning, or wilting. Data will be presented on postharvest longevity and allelic relationships within populations.

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A double-flower form of Nicotiana alata Link & Otto was characterized genetically as a monogenic recessive trait expressed when homozygous. Reciprocal crosses demonstrated no maternal effect on expression of double flowers. A single dominant gene expressed in the homozygous or heterozygous state caused the single-flower phenotype. The symbol fw is proposed to describe the gene controlling double-flower phenotype.

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In an effort to reduce chemical usage to prolong postharvest keeping time of cut flowers, a cross was made between a long-lived (vase life, 10.9 days) inbred line of Antirrhinum majus and a short-lived (vase life, 5.0 days) inbred line. The F1 hybrid was backcrossed to the short-lived parent. Sixty plants of the BC1 generation were carried on through three generations of selfing by single-seed descent. Eight replications each of 60 BC1S3 families, the parents, and the F1 hybrid were grown in the greenhouse, harvested with 40-cm stems when five florets opened, and placed in distilled water for vase life evaluation. Stems were discarded when 50% of the florets on a spike wilted, browned, or dried. Three families proved not significantly different from the long-lived inbred parent. Results indicate that inbred backcross breeding shows potential to increase the postharvest keeping time of short-lived Antirrhinum majus inbred lines.

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Genetic analysis of a white double-flowering Nicotiana alata is being investigated. Self-pollination of the double-flowering plant produced all double progeny. Reciprocal hybridization of the double-flowered selection with N. alata cultivars produced nondouble F1 progeny that segregated 3:1 (nondouble to double) in the F2 generation. Reciprocal backcrosses of F1 plants to the parents resulted in nondouble progeny when backcrossed to the nondouble parent and 1:1 segregation when backcrossed to the double parent. Intercross of F1 plants resulted in progeny segregating 3:1. Double flowering habit has been transferred to white, red, salmon, green, and bicolor N. alata. Results suggest double flowering is under nuclear control regulated by a recessive allele.

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Gibberellic acid (GA3) and photoperiod were used in combination in an effort to reduce generation time of Antirrhinum majus L. Four commercial inbred lines of A. majus were started from seed and grown in a glasshouse in winter 1993-94. GA3 was applied as a foliar spray every 2 weeks at 0, 144, 289, 577, or 1155 μm starting 5 weeks after seeds were sown. Supplemental lighting (60 μmol·m–2·s–1) from 0600 to 2000 hr and night interruption from 2300 to 0300 hr was used throughout the experiment. Data were collected weekly on plant height and leaf count from the start of GA3 treatments through anthesis. Time to flowering was determined as days from seed sowing to anthesis. GA3 treatment of A. majus under a long-day photoperiod increased time to flowering, plant height and leaf count. It would appear that long-days may have overridden the floral induction effects of GA3.

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An inbred backcrossing approach was taken to transfer long postharvest keeping time of cut flowers from a white inbred line of Antirrhinum majus L. into a yellow short-lived inbred line. Three backcrosses to the short-lived recurrent parent were done followed by three generations of selfing by single-seed descent. Plants from 56 accessions of BC1S3 through BC3S3 were grown twice (June and August 1995) in a greenhouse and flower stems harvested for postharvest longevity evaluation. Postharvest evaluation was done in deionized water under continuous fluorescent light. Longevity was determined as the number of days from cutting to discard when 50% of the open florets on a flower stem wilted or turned brown. One yellow accession was retrieved that was not significantly different in postharvest longevity from the white long-lived parent. Environment substantially influenced postharvest longevity over harvest dates. Possible causes for variation of postharvest keeping time will be presented.

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