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  • Author or Editor: He Li x
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This study investigated the ploidy of ‘Mianli’ with flow cytometry and the traditional chromosome squash technique. Its pollination biology and the occurrence and formation of embryo sacs before and after flowering were observed in paraffin sections to characterize its embryo sacs. The intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker technique was used to test the uniformity of progeny of ‘Mianli’ treatments. The chromosome number of ‘Mianli’ is 2n = 2x = 34. The ploidy results were consistent with those identified by flow cytometry. ‘Mianli’ is male-sterile, and the anatropous ovule has double integuments. ‘Mianli’ can bear fruit normally and produce fertile seeds under the treatments of emasculation with bagging or no emasculation with bagging, but the seed yield is very low and significantly lower than that under artificial pollination or natural pollination. The developmental process of embryo sacs under natural pollination showed that most megasporocytes develop into mature sexual embryo sacs through meiosis and a few megasporocytes degenerate. Some sexual embryo sacs continue to develop into embryos after fertilization, and some sexual embryo sacs are aborted. In addition, new aposporous initial cells are generated irregularly at each stage from the emergence of megasporocyte to the end of sexual reproduction or abortion. The observation of the development of embryo sacs under emasculation with bagging showed that after pollination is blocked, mature sexual embryo sacs degenerate, and aposporous mononucleate embryo sacs appear around the degenerated sexual embryo sacs or in the peripheral tissues. Then, the process of proembryonic masses developing into spherical embryo was observed. A genetic uniformity analysis of progeny of ‘Mianli’ using ISSR was performed. The results showed that the progeny population under emasculation with bagging has high consistency at the molecular level, with some plants having full consistency with the female parent’s banding pattern, demonstrating consistency with the maternal genetic characteristics. The progeny under artificial pollination or natural pollination do not have the same banding pattern as the female parent. Because there is no pseudogamy, all of the progeny are true hybrids. In summary, it seems that ‘Mianli’ only has sexual reproduction in the presence of pollen, and only a few ovules are stimulated to undergo apomixis after pollination is blocked.

Open Access

In studying the postharvest water relations of cut flowers, researchers aim to determine rates of water uptake and water loss along with changes in fresh weight. An automatic apparatus was devised for continuous monitoring of these indices. The novel apparatus consists of two balances automatically recording mass at a relatively high data acquisition rate (min−1), a personal computer, two containers, and plastic tubing. The apparatus is accurate, labor-saving, and real-time. It enabled dynamic synchronous recording of water uptake as well as fresh weight of the cut flower stem, from which precise water uptake loss rates during vase life can be accurately determined. Rates of water uptake and water loss of individual cut rose (Rosa hybrida cv. Movie Star) stems were measured using the apparatus under alternating 12-h light and dark periods. Both water uptake and water loss rates fluctuated with the light to dark shift over 120 h of observation. Stem fresh weight increased rapidly over the first 40 h of vase period and decreased gradually thereafter. Cut lily (Lilium hybrida cv. Yellow Overlord) stems showed similar trends in water uptake and water loss rate to cut rose stems. The accuracy and sensitivity of the new apparatus was validated by comparison with manual weighing using a balance at 2-h intervals under alternating 12-h light and dark periods over 108 h. The apparatus described here constitutes a suitable method for direct measurement of water uptake and fresh weight, including capturing relatively rapid water balance responses to changes in the postharvest environment.

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Fertilization is among the most important factors influencing fruit quality of citrus. Effects of Individual element such as N, P, or K on fruit quality have been well-documented. Much less has been done on the interactions of N, P, and K in relation to citrus fruit quality. A field experiment was conducted from 1994 to 1999 in a commercial grove on a Riviera fine sand (Loamy, siliceous, hyperthermic Arenic Glossaqualf) to investigate the effects of fertilizer rates and sources on fruit quality of 26-year-old `White Marsh' grapefruit trees (Citrus paradisi Macfad.) on Sour Orange rootstock (Citrus aurantium Lush). Fertilizer was applied as water-soluble dry granular broadcast (three applications/year) at N rates of 0, 56, 112, 168, 224, and 336 kg/ha per year using a N;P:K blend (1.0:0.17:1.0). There was a quadratic relationship between fruit weight or peel thickness and fertilizer rates. Fruit weight per piece increased with fertilizer rates from 0 to 168 kg N/ha per year, but decreased from 168 to 336 kg N/ha per year. Fruit size was small at zero or low fertilizer rates due to nutrient deficiencies. Large fruit sizes of `White Marsh' grapefruit in the sandy soil were achieved at fertilizer rate around 168 kg N/ha per year. Increasing fertilizer application rates higher than 168 kg/ha per year greatly increased the number of fruit per tree, but decreased the size of fruit. Peel thickness, which is related to the fruit size, declines at higher fertilizer rates. Increase in fertilizer rate from 0 to 336 kg N/ha per year increased solids content and fruit acid concentration of the grapefruit. Fertilization rate effect on fruit Brix concentration was more complicated. Brix concentration was not affected by increasing fertilizer rates from 0 to 168 kg N/ha-per year, but was increased at higher fertilization rates (168 to 336 kg N/ha per year). As a result, the Brix/acid ratio was, in general, decreased by increasing fertilizer rates.

Free access

Soils of litchi orchards in China are commonly deficient in nitrogen and potassium. The cultivar Feizixiao litchis planted in a typical acidic upland orchard, which is low in nitrogen and potassium, were used as a subject in field experiments with different ratios of potassium to nitrogen (K2O:N = 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, and 1.4). Field experiments were conducted from 2009 to 2012. The effects of K2O:N ratio on the yield, quality, and storability of litchi were investigated and discussed. Results indicated that with the increase of K2O:N ratio, fruit yield initially increased and then decreased, and litchi had the highest yield when K2O:N was 1.2. When K and N fertilizers were applied at the ratio of 1.2, litchi had a better fruit quality with higher vitamin C content, soluble sugar, and soluble solid. With the increase of K2O:N ratio, healthy fruit rate initially increased and then decreased. This rate reached the maximum value when K2O:N was 1.2. Meanwhile, fruit-rotting rate, peel-browning index, cell membrane permeability, and peroxidase (POD) activity decreased at first and then increased and reached the minimum value when the K2O:N ratio was 1.2. Therefore, litchi fruit had the highest yield, better quality, and best storage property when K2O:N was 1.2. Thus, this ratio is recommended for the main litchi production areas in China.

Free access

Chinese cymbidiums are important flowering ornamental plants. Traditional propagation via seed or division cannot satisfy growers’ demand for commercialization of new cultivars, and in vitro propagation has a low micropropagation efficiency due to the browning of rhizomes. In this study, rhizomes of Cymbidium ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ were cultured on half-strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 6-benzyl aminopurine (BAP), NAA (α-napthaleneacetic acid), or BAP with NAA under either the dark or light. The degree of browning was read, and rhizome proliferation or sprouting (sprout numbers) was evaluated. Results showed that there was significant difference in browning grade of rhizomes between ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ regardless of dark and light culture. Dark culture induced rhizome proliferation but failed to induce sprouts. Light culture slightly elevated the degree of browning but induced sprouting. Among the growth regulators evaluated, BAP was more effective for sprout induction. As rhizome browning appeared to be inevitable in micropropagation of the cymbidiums, a compromise between browning and sprout production could be a realistic approach. Our study showed that rhizomes cultured on half-strength MS medium supplemented with 1.5 mg·L−1 BAP were able to produce more than 16 sprouts per vessel even though browning occurred in the rhizomes. Thus, culturing rhizomes in this medium could be a practical solution for in vitro propagation of Chinese cymbidiums.

Open Access

Tree peony (Paeonia sp.) is a popular traditional ornamental plant in China. Among the nine wild species, Paeonia rockii displays wide-ranging, deep purple variegation at the base of the petals, whereas Paeonia ostii exhibits purely white petals. Overall, the posttranscriptional regulation involved in tree peony flower opening and pigmentation remains unclear. To identify potential microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in flower variegation, six small RNA libraries of P. ostii and P. rockii petals at three different opening stages were constructed and sequenced. Using Illumina-based sequencing, 22 conserved miRNAs and 27 novel miRNAs were identified in P. rockii and P. ostii petals. Seventeen miRNAs were differentially expressed during flower development, and several putative target genes of these miRNAs belonged to transcription factor families, such as Myb domain (MYB), and basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Furthermore, an integrative analysis of the expression profiles of miRNAs and their corresponding target genes revealed that variegation formation might be regulated by miR159c, miR168, miR396a, and novel_miR_05, which target the MYB transcription factors, chalcone synthase (CHS), and ABC transporter. Our preliminary study is the first report of miRNAs involved in Paeonia flower pigmentation. It provides insight regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of flower pigmentation in tree peony.

Free access

The database of grape transcription factors (DGTF) is a plant transcription factor (TF) database comprehensively collecting and annotating grape (Vitis L.) TF. The DGTF contains 1423 putative grape TF in 57 families. These TF were identified from the predicted wine grape (Vitis vinifera L.) proteins from the grape genome sequencing project by means of a domain search. The DGTF provides detailed annotations for individual members of each TF family, including sequence feature, domain architecture, expression information, and orthologs in other plants. Cross-links to other public databases make its annotations more extensive. In addition, some other transcriptional regulators were also included in the DGTF. It contains 202 transcriptional regulators in 10 families.

Free access

Ferric chelate reductase (FRO) is a critical enzyme for iron absorption in strategy I plants, reducing Fe3+ to Fe2+. To identify FRO family genes in the local Citrus junos cultivar Ziyang Xiangcheng and to reveal their expression model, the citrus (Citrus sp.) genome was searched for homologies of the published sequence CjFRO1. Five FROs were found, including CjFRO1; these were named CjFRO2, CjFRO3, CjFRO4, and CjFRO5, respectively, and cloned via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR. The deduced amino acid sequences of five CjFROs contained flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-binding motifs, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-binding motifs, and 6–10 transmembrane domains, with isoelectric points between 6.73 and 9.46, and molecular weights between 67.2 and 79.9 kD. CjFRO1 and CjFRO2 were predominantly found in the aboveground parts of C. junos, with CjFRO1 highly expressed in leaves, and CjFRO2 largely expressed in stems and leaves. CjFRO3 was less expressed in roots, stems, and leaves. CjFRO4 and CjFRO5 were predominately found in roots. Under iron-deficient conditions, CjFRO4 was significantly and specifically increased in the roots of C. junos, whereas CjFRO1 was upregulated in the roots and leaves.

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The regeneration frequency of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is greatly influenced by its genetic makeup and recalcitrant nature. Phenolic secretion, in particular, is a major problem in okra tissue culture. This study describes a reproducible, rapid, and more efficient in vitro regeneration method using cotyledonary node explants of okra. Explants were incubated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing different concentrations and combinations of various plant growth regulators (PGRs) [benzyladenine (BA), thidiazuron (TDZ), and α-naphthylacetic acid (NAA)], and regeneration enhancers [silver nitrate (AgNO3) and Pluronic F-68]. Cut ends of cotyledonary node segments rapidly turned brown and cultures failed to establish. Antibrowning additives, such as activated charcoal (AC), ascorbic acid (AA), and AgNO3 at various concentrations in PGR-free MS basal medium were tested for their ability to control phenolic secretion from explants. Among these additives, 15 mg·L−1 AA was found to be optimal for controlling phenolic secretion, resulting in healthy explants and culture establishment. The highest number of shoots (a mean of 9.3 ± 0.9 shoots per cotyledonary node explant) was obtained on MS media containing 0.5 mg·L−1 NAA + 1 mg·L−1 TDZ + 0.1% Pluronic F-68. Individual shoots were elongated on MS medium + 1 mg·L−1 BA + 0.1 mg·L−1 gibberellic acid (GA3) (shoot length 5.3 ± 0.2 cm) and rooted on ½ MS medium + 1 mg·L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and 200 mg·L−1 AC (5.3 ± 0.2 roots per shoot). Rooted plantlets were acclimatized in plastic pots inside a plant growth chamber at 25 ± 2 °C and 70% relative humidity, with an 80% survival rate. This optimized protocol can be used for producing transgenic plants of commercial okra cultivars through genetic transformation.

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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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