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  • Author or Editor: Kirk W. Pomper x
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The North American pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] has great potential as a fruit crop or as a landscape plant. The influence of incident irradiance on pawpaw seedling growth and development in containers was examined in the greenhouse and outdoors. Root spiraling can be a problem for container-grown pawpaw seedlings; therefore, the influence of paint containing cupric hydroxide [Cu(OH)2] at 100 g·L-1 applied to the interior of containers on plant growth was also examined in a greenhouse environment. In pawpaw seedlings grown outdoors for 11 weeks, low to moderate shading levels of 28%, 51%, or 81% increased leaf number, total leaf area, and total plant dry weight (DW) compared to nonshaded seedlings. A shading level of 81% decreased the root to shoot ratio by half compared to nonshaded plants. Shading of 98% reduced leaf number, leaf size, and shoot, root, and total plant DW. Shading increased leaf chlorophyll a and b concentrations for pawpaw seedlings grown outdoors, while it decreased average specific leaf DW (mg·cm-2). In a separate greenhouse experiment, pawpaw seedlings subjected to shade treatments of 0%, 33%, 56%, 81%, or 98% did not respond as greatly to shading as plants grown outdoors. Greenhouse-grown plants had greater total and average leaf area under 33% or 56% shading than nonshaded plants; however, shading >56% reduced root, shoot, and total plant DW. Total shoot DW was greater in greenhouse grown plants with 33% shading compared to nonshaded plants. Pawpaw seedlings in control and most shade treatments (33% to 81%) in the greenhouse environment had more leaves and greater leaf area, as well as larger shoot, root, and total plant DW than seedlings in similar treatments grown outdoors. The greenhouse environment had a 10% lower irradiance, a 60% lower ultraviolet irradiance, and a significantly higher (1.23 vs. 1.20) red to far-red light ratio than the outdoors environment. Treatment of container interiors with Cu(OH)2 decreased total and lateral root DW in nonshaded seedlings, and it adversely affected plant quality by causing a yellowing of leaves and reduction of chlorophyll levels by the end of the experiment in shaded plants. Growth characteristics of pawpaw seedlings were positively influenced by low to moderate shading (28% or 51%) outdoors and low shading (33%) in the greenhouse. Seedlings did not benefit from application of Cu(OH)2 to containers at the concentration used in this study. Commercial nurseries can further improve production of pawpaw seedlings using low to moderate shading outdoors.

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Ripening pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] fruit exhibit climacteric peaks of ethylene and CO2 production 48 to 72 hours after harvest, and thus may be considered climacteric. The development of desirable quality traits and the loss of fruit firmness during ripening is extremely rapid, and a variety of strategies to slow these processes via manipulation of ethylene production and/or response and by more direct techniques like postharvest heat treatment have been attempted. Fruit, branches with fruit, and/or whole trees have been sprayed with ethephon or aminoethoxyvinylglycine to hasten or delay ripening, respectively. After harvest, fruit have been treated with commercial and higher rates of 1-methylcyclopropene for various durations at ambient and cold storage temperatures. Fruit have also been heat-treated at various temperatures, using both brief “shock” treatments above 40 °C and longer periods at 35 °C to 40 °C. In addition, in an attempt to alleviate the loss of ripening capacity as well as the development of injury symptoms from cold storage for longer than 4 weeks, cold-stored fruit were warmed to ambient temperature intermittently and then returned to cold storage. While some effects of the treatments were noted, the responses to all of these treatment strategies have failed to appreciably alter fruit ripening, the rapid loss of firmness, or otherwise maintain fruit quality beyond that without treatment.

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The pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] is a native American tree fruit with potential in edible landscapes and as a new fruit crop. A split-plot experiment (main plot: fertilizer level and subplot potting medium) was conducted in the greenhouse to identify the best growing medium for production of pawpaw seedlings. Seeds were sown in rootrainers containing one of the following media: 1) Promix (control); 2) 6 pine bark:1 mason sand (v/v); 3) 1 mason sand: 1 sphagnum peat; and 4) 4 pine bark:1 mason sand:1 sphagnum peat. When seedlings had at least two to three leaves, weekly fertigation of seedlings began, using 0, 250, or 500 ppm Peters 20N-20P-20K. Germination rate at 10 weeks was similar in all media, at about 80%. The plants were destructively harvested 10 weeks after imposition of fertigation treatments. Both potting media and fertigation influenced leaf number and height; however, there was a significant interaction between these main effects. Leaf number and height for plants in medium 3 were similar to those of the control (medium 1), at about 11 leaves and 18-cm plant height, respectively, at 500 ppm fertigation. Plants in media 2 and 4 were about half as tall and had about half as many leaves as control medium plants at 500 ppm fertigation. Plant leaf area and biomass data will be discussed.

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In an effort to determine the optimal light level for growing pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] seedlings outside, seedlings were germinated in a greenhouse until the two- to three-leaf stage, at which time they were placed outside and shade treatments were imposed that reduced incident light intensity by 30%, 55%, 80%, and 95%. Control seedlings were left unshaded outside. A randomized block design was used, with 20 replicate seedlings in each experimental treatment per block. Plants were destructively harvested 11 weeks after the start of the experiment. After 11 weeks, the height and number of leaves per seedling were about 35% higher with light to moderate shading (30%, 55%, and 80%) than in control (unshaded) seedlings. Shoot and leaf dry weights of seedlings grown in 30%, 55%, and 80% shade were almost 2-fold greater than control plants. Root dry weight of seedlings in 30% and 55% shade was 2-fold higher than in control plants. Total plant biomass was greatest in the 30%, 55%, and 80% shade treatments, about 2-fold higher than control plants. Total leaf area per seedling increased significantly with up to 80% shading. Seedlings growing under 95% shading had fewer and smaller leaves and reduced biomass production compared to control plants. There was a trend for shaded plants to display a higher leaf chlorophyll content than control plants. Overall, the best seedling growth was achieved in the 30% and 55% shade treatments outdoors.

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Pawpaw is a native American tree fruit that has great potential as a new commercial crop. The USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Asimina sp. is located at Kentucky State Univ. (KSU); therefore, germplasm collection and storage are important components of the research program. Recalcitrant seeds do not tolerate desiccation, have a relatively short period of viability, and tend not to tolerate subfreezing temperatures. Since pawpaw seed shows a moderate level of recalcitrance, the objectives of this experiment were to determine which storage temperatures (20, 5, -15, and -70 °C for 8.5 weeks) would maintain viable seed, and whether prior seed stratification (5 °C for 17.5 weeks) would influence survival at the various storage temperatures. Seeds were placed in ziplock bags in moist peat moss and subjected to the range of storage temperatures either before or after stratification. After storage and stratification treatments, seed germination rate was examined for 10 weeks at 25 °C on moist filter paper in petri dishes. Both stratification and storage temperature significantly affected seed germination rate. Seeds did not germinate after storage at subfreezing temperatures, regardless of stratification treatment. The best germination rate, ≈70%, was obtained with stratification followed by storage at 20 °C. However, for long-term storage of viable nongerminating pawpaw seed, stratification followed by storage at 5 °C would be most appropriate. Subfreezing storage temperatures were found to be lethal to pawpaw seeds.

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The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the largest fruit native to the U.S. and has potential as a new fruit crop. Few methods are available to clonally propagate pawpaw, with grafting or budding onto a seedling rootstock being the only currently feasible method. Developing new options for clonal propagation of pawpaw could help advance this growing industry. Layering has been used to clonally propagate other difficult to root tree species. The objective of this study was to examine trench layering as a method to clonally propagate pawpaw. A randomized factorial experiment was implemented to examine the roles of plant juvenility and auxin concentration on rooting in a greenhouse trench layering system. Seedlings were defoliated, tipped, and transplanted into trench layering beds at 3, 6, and 12 weeks after emergence. Shoots were etiolated, then girdled and treated with three levels of IBA (0, 5000, and 10,000 ppm). The main effects of age and IBA concentration significantly affected the percentage of shoots producing roots. Juvenility enhanced rooting, with 15% of the shoots of the 3-week-old pawpaw seedlings producing roots, compared to only about 5% of the 12-week-old seedlings rooting. Auxin application to shoots also promoted rooting, with 16% of IBA-treated shoots producing roots, compared to the untreated control, with only 2% of shoots producing roots. There was no significant difference in rooting percentage between the two concentrations of IBA. The treatment combination most successful at promoting root initiation was 10,000 ppm IBA applied to shoots of 3-week-old seedlings, with 31% of shoots rooting.

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Pawpaw[Asiminatriloba (L.) Dunal] is a highly perishable climacteric fruit. Generally, fruit may be stored at 4 °C for 4 weeks with minimal loss in quality or subsequent ripening capacity. However, comparisons among cultivars and advanced selections for ripening behavior and postharvest storage life have not been reported. Ideally, cultivars with superior ripening traits (higher firmness, or a slower rate of firmness loss) and longer storage life may be identified for the commercial market. To determine if differences among genotypes may exist, respiration, C2H4 production, and fruit firmness of six varieties, 8-20, 9-58, `Middletown', `PA Golden', `Taytwo', and `Taylor', were measured during ripening after harvest and after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 weeks of 4 °C storage. No differences were observed among the cultivars regarding respiration and C2H4 production. Respiratory and ethylene peaks were detected within 48 hours after harvest or removal from cold storage. Rapid loss of firmness was measured during ripening at ambient temperature after harvest and after removal from cold storage (days 0–3), with some loss during cold storage itself (weeks 1–6). As expected, firmer fruits at harvest had a lower respiration rate. However, no obvious differences in ripening behavior or cold storage response were observed among the six genotypes. As a general guideline, only firmer fruits should be cold stored, since fruit softening did not stop at 4 °C. A broader analysis of all of the named cultivars and advanced selections of pawpaw will be needed to determine if the present results are generally representative of pawpaw.

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The North American pawpaw [Asiminatriloba (L.) Dunal] is a tree fruit native to the eastern and midwestern areas of the United States. The fruit has a rich, unique flavor and pawpaw has great potential as a new fruit crop. Kentucky State University (KSU) in Frankfort is the site for the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR) for Asimina species, containing over 1700 accessions from 17 different states. The objective of this study was to evaluate the diversity in reproductive characteristics for pawpaw accessions in the KSU-USDA repository orchard from six geographic regions (Ind.-site 1, Ind.-site 2, Ky., Md., N.Y., and W.Va.). Data were collected in 2002, 2003, and 2004 for trunk cross-sectional area, total number of flowers, length of flowering, flowering peak, fruit set, total number of clusters, total number of fruit, number of fruit per cluster, average fruit weight, yield, yield efficiency, length of harvest, harvest peak, and growing degree days required for ripening. Significant differences in characteristics were found within and among populations for the various regions. Accessions from Kentucky and West Virginia had the latest flowering peaks. Trees from Maryland had the highest fruit weight in 2002, whereas the West Virginia population produced the largest fruit in 2004. The New York accessions consistently had the latest harvest peak and required the fewest growing degree days for ripening. Correlations were also found between several vegetative and reproductive characteristics. This study suggests that a significant level of reproductive diversity exists within KSU's repository collection that could be used in future breeding strategies for cultivar improvement.

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Pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] has significant potential as a new fruit crop. During ripening, loss of firmness is extremely rapid, and this trait may be the biggest obstacle to the development of a broader market. Cold storage of pawpaw fruit seems limited to 4 weeks at 4 °C, though fruit softening merely slows during storage. A study of several cultivars with commercial appeal has shown that none have superior cold storage life. Extending the cold storage beyond 4 weeks resulted in increasing loss of fruit firmness, poor poststorage ripening, and development of quality traits, and many fruit exhibiting flesh and peel discoloration. Cold storage duration affected fruit volatile production. By 4 weeks of cold storage, ethyl hexanoate and ethyl octanoate were the major volatiles produced, replacing methyl hexanoate, which was the major volatile produced by ripe fruit after harvest. By 8 weeks of cold storage, volatile ester production was generally low and ethyl hexanoate became the only major volatile. This loss of volatile production was accompanied by a decrease in alcohol acetyl transferase activity. Also, during cold storage, there was an increase in total phenolic content, lipid peroxidation products, and polyphenol oxidase activity. These changes may contribute to the black discoloration that developed in fruit cold-stored for 8 weeks or more. It is apparent that cold storage alone may not be sufficient to extend the storage life of most, if not all, current pawpaw cultivars beyond 4 weeks.

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Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were identified for self-incompatibility (SI) alleles that will allow marker-assisted selection of desired S-alleles and assist in cloning the locus responsible for the sporophytic SI displayed in hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.). DNA was extracted from young leaves collected from field-planted parents and 27 progeny of the cross OSU 23.017 (S1 S12) × VR6-28 (S2 S26). Screening of 10-base oligonucleotide RAPD primers was performed using bulked segregant analysis. DNA samples from six trees each were pooled into four “bulks,” one for each of the following: S1 S2, S1 S26, S2 S12, and S12 S26. “Super bulks” of twelve trees each for S1, S2, S12, and S26 then were created for each allele by combining the appropriate bulks. The DNA from these four super bulks and also the parents was used as a template in the PCR assays. Amplification products were electrophoresed on 2% agarose gels and photographed under UV light after ethidium bromide staining. 200 primers were screened and one RAPD marker each was identified for alleles S2 (OPI-07700) and S1 (OPJ-141700).

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