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  • Author or Editor: G. A. Clark x
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In this study, the temporal and spatial regulation of putative ethylene receptor genes was examined during ethylene and pollination-induced flower petal abscission of zonal geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum L.H. Bailey). We used the Arabidopsis thaliana ETR1 gene as a heterologous probe to isolate two full-length cDNA clones, GER1 and GER2, from an ethylene-treated geranium pistil cDNA library. Both cDNAs share a high degree of DNA sequence similarity to ETR1, and examinations of deduced amino acid sequences indicate that the proteins encoded by each gene have the conserved ethylene binding and response regulator domains found in ETR1. Experiments focused on determining the temporal regulation of these genes revealed that both genes are expressed in geranium florets much earlier than when the florets become responsive to ethylene treatment, which is sufficient to cause petal abscission in 1 hr. Both genes are expressed in pistils throughout floret development. Experiments focused on determining the spatial regulation of these genes revealed that both genes are expressed at moderate levels in leaves, pistils, anthers, and petals, and are expressed at very low levels in roots. Preliminary evidence suggests that GER2 is transcriptionally regulated by ethylene in pistils after exogenous ethylene treatment. Currently, the transcriptional regulation of these genes in pistils after pollination is unknown.

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Three experiments were conducted to evaluate media component effects on paclobutrazol activity. In Expts. 1 and 2, a broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L.) seedling bioassay was used to compare the activity of paclobutrazol at six concentrations (0-0.32 mg·L-1). Results from Expt. 1 indicated that an average of 4-, 5-, and 10-fold higher concentrations were required in old composted pine bark, fresh pine bark, and composted pine bark samples, respectively, to achieve the same activity observed in sphagnum peatmoss (peat) samples. Activity in coir was similar to that in peat while activity in vermiculite and perlite was greater than that in peat. Activity in a fibrous peat sample was greater than in two less-fibrous peat samples. Results from Expt. 2 indicated that paclobutrazol activity was reduced more in the fine (<2 mm) fraction of fresh and composted bark samples than in medium (2-4 mm) or coarse (>4 mm) fractions. In Expt. 3, petunia {Petunia hybrida Vilm. `Madness Red') was grown in a mixture of either 60% composted pine bark: 0% peat or 0% composted bark: 60% peat. The paclobutrazol concentration required to achieve the same size control was 14 times higher in the former mixture than in the latter. Thus, media components differ greatly in their influence on paclobutrazol activity and the bioassay procedure may serve as a useful tool for predicting media-paclobutrazol interactions. Chemical name used: (±)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(l,l-dimethyl)-lH-l,2,4-triazole-l-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Dendranthema×grandiflorum (Ramat.) were grown in either a peat-based or pine bark—based medium and drenched with growth retardants at a range of concentrations to generate dose : response curves. The effect of ancymidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole on stem elongation was less in the pine bark—based than in the peat-based medium. Generally, the concentrations required to achieve the same response were 3- to 4-fold as high in the pine bark—based medium as in the peat-based medium. However, chlormequat was slightly more active in the pine bark—based medium than in the peat-based medium. Chemical names used: α-cyclopropyl-α—(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol (ancymidol); (±)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1-di methyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol); (E)-(RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)pent -l-en-3-ol (uniconazole); 2-chloroethyltrimethylammonium chloride (chlormequat).

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Previously, when selecting for flavor in the University of Florida southern highbush blueberry (SHB, Vaccinium corymbosum L. hybrids) breeding program, sugar/acid ratios and breeder preference were the only factors considered. A more precise method of evaluating flavor would include volatile compounds that may also contribute to the flavor experience. Therefore, volatile profiles of five SHB cultivars (Farthing, FL01-173, Scintilla, Star, and Sweetcrisp) were compared using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. All cultivars were harvested on four separate dates within the harvest season, and fruit from each cultivar were also harvested at four developmental stages on the first harvest date. Among the cultivars, soluble solids content and volatile production tended to increase with fruit maturity, whereas titratable acidity decreased. All volatile components were more variable than measures of sugars and acids during the harvest season. Many of the volatiles present varied significantly between harvest dates, resulting in significant genotype × environment interactions during the harvest season. A closer examination of linalool, trans-2-hexenol, trans-2-hexenal, hexanal, and 1-penten-3-ol, five volatile compounds commonly associated with blueberry flavor, showed cultivar, developmental stage, and harvest date differences for each volatile. ‘Star’ experienced the least variation through the harvest period.

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Sixteen field-located drainage lysimeters (each 60 cm wide, 2.44 m long, 60 cm deep) designed specifically for determination of water requirements for fruiting strawberry production (season - Oct to April) were installed in 1986. Each lysimeter was equipped with individual micro-irrigation and drainage collection systems automated for minimal management input. Initially, computer control (using a low-cost microcomputer) was used to continuously check switching-tensiometers located in each lysimeter and apply irrigation water as needed, A drainage suction (-10 MPa) was applied continuously to simulate field drainage conditions. Manually-installed lysimeter covers were used to protect the plots from interference from rainfall when needed, Initial irrigation application treatments were set at four levels of soil moisture tension controlled by tensiometers and were measured using flow meters for each lysimeter. This paper will discuss problems that were experienced with the initial setup (difficulty in measuring actual application amounts, tensiometer and computer control, elimination of rainfall interference, uniformity of irrigation application, and salinity in the rooting zone) and the modifications (pressurized reservoir tanks, construction of motorized rain-out shelter, micro-irrigation emitters used, and fertilization program) which have been made to overcome them,

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Experiments were conducted to determine if the seedling hypocotyl elongation and petal abscission assays could be used to identify differences in ethylene sensitivity among seedling geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum) cultivars. When seedlings of six geranium cultivars were germinated and grown in the dark in the presence of the ethylene biosynthetic precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) at various concentrations, they exhibited the triple response (measured as reduced hypocotyl length). While seedlings from all six cultivars were sensitive to ACC, `Scarlet Elite' seedlings were most sensitive, and `Multibloom Lavender', `Elite White' and `Ringo 2000 Salmon' seedlings were the least sensitive when germinated and grown on 20 mm [2022 mg·L-1 (ppm)] ACC. Florets representing three developmental stages of each of the six cultivars were exposed to 1 μL·L-1 of exogenous ethylene for 0, 30, or 60 min to determine if differences in cultivar sensitivity could be determined for petal abscission. Of the six cultivars tested, `Ringo 2000 Salmon', `Multibloom Lavender' and `Elite White' were the least ethylene sensitive. Florets were also self-pollinated to test for cultivar differences in ethylene synthesis and subsequent petal abscission. Ethylene production and petal abscission were both promoted in self-pollinated florets compared to nonpollinated florets. `Ringo 2000 Salmon', `Multibloom Lavender' and `Elite White' florets produced similar amounts of ethylene as all other cultivars, but abscised fewer petals after pollination. Our results indicate that the seedling hypocotyls elongation assay may be used to identify geranium cultivars with reduced sensitivity to ethylene. The data also suggest that genetic variability exists among geraniums for both ethylene sensitivity and biosynthesis.

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A series of experiments on ethylene-insensitive (EI) petunia plants (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr.) generated in two genetic backgrounds were conducted to determine the involvement of ethylene in horticultural performance. Experiments examined various aspects of horticultural performance: days to flower, flower senescence after pollination and without pollination, fruit set and ripening, and adventitious root formation on vegetative stem cuttings. The development of EI plants was altered in several ways. Time from seed sowing to first flower anthesis was decreased by a week for EI plants grown at 26/21 °C. Flower senescence in nonpollinated and self-pollinated flowers was delayed in all EI plants compared to wild-type plants. Fruit set percentage on EI plants was slightly lower than on wild-type plants and fruit ripening on EI plants was delayed by up to 7 days. EI plants produced fewer commercially acceptable rooted cuttings than wild-type plants. There was a basic difference in the horticultural performance of the two EI lines examined due to a difference in the genetic backgrounds used to generate the lines. EI plants displayed better horticultural performance when grown with day/night temperatures of 26/21 °C than 30/24 °C. These results suggest that tissue-specific ethylene insensitivity as well as careful consideration of the genetic background used in transformation procedures and growth conditions of etr1-1 plants will be required to produce commercially viable transgenic floriculture crops. EI petunias provide an ideal model system for studying the role of ethylene in regulating various aspects of plant reproduction.

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As one of the Florida's state wildflowers, Coreopsis leavenworthii is highly desirable for roadside plantings in all parts of the state. Seeds of this species are being produced by growers. Where should seed be produced for different ecotypes? Where can the seed be used? These are among questions that have arisen in commercial seed production and distribution. To address these questions, it was necessary to assess the levels of genetic diversity. Eleven populations (242 total individuals) were collected from different parts of Florida, grown at one location in central Florida, and observed for morphological variations. North Florida natural populations had more complex leaves, while south Florida natural populations had smaller flowers. Principal component analyses revealed that two of the seven characteristics studied accounted for as much as 88% of the morphological variations observed. Molecular diversity was analyzed by using the fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) technique and the capillary sequencing system. Four primer combinations detected 320 AFLP fragments, of which 90.6% were polymorphic. The overall genetic diversity in the species was 0.2206 (estimated using AMOVA), of which 77.9% was within populations and 22.1% was among populations. The genetic distance among populations seemed to be loosely correlated with geographical distances. A high level of gene flow was found in several populations. Based on the results, a model has been developed to describe the genetic relationship of Coreopsis leavenworthii populations.

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The Florida horticulture industry (vegetables, ornamentals, citrus, and deciduous fruit), valued at $4.5 billion, has widely adopted microirrigation techniques to use water and fertilizer more efficiently. A broad array of microirrigation systems is available, and benefits of microirrigation go beyond water conservation. The potential for more-efficient agricultural chemical (pesticides and fertilizer) application is especially important in today's environmentally conscious society. Microirrigation is a tool providing growers with the power to better manage costly inputs, minimize environmental impact, and still produce high-quality products at a profit.

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Sweet potato virus disease (SPVD) is the most devastating virus disease on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] world wide, especially in East Africa. However, weather it is present in the U.S. is unknown. SPVD is caused by co-infection of sweetpotato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and sweetpotato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV). Presence of two other potyviruses, sweetpotato virus G (SPVG) and Ipomoea vein mosaic virus (IVMV) has also been confirmed in the U.S. Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV), a whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) transmitted Begomovirus, also has the potential to spread to commercial sweetpotato fields and poses a great threat to the sweetpotato industry. The U.S. collection of sweetpotato germplasm contains about 700 genotypes or breeding lines introduced from over 20 different countries. Newly introduced sweetpotato germplasm from foreign sources are routinely screened for major viruses with serology and graft-transmission onto indicator plants (Ipomoea setosa). However, a large portion of this collection including heirloom cultivars or old breeding materials has not been systemically screened for these major sweetpotato viruses. In this study, a total of 69 so-called heirloom sweetpotato PI accessions were evaluated for their virus status. We used Real-time PCR to detect five sweetpotato viruses, including four RNA viruses (SPCSV, SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV) and one DNA virus (SPLCV). A multiplex Real-time RT-PCR system was developed to detect three RNA viruses (SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV). Preliminary data indicated that about 15% of these heirloom sweetpotato germplasm carried at least one of these viruses tested. Details on virus infection status will be presented.

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