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  • Author or Editor: Yang Li x
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‘Tainong 1’ mango fruit were treated with hot water for 10 minutes at 55 °C and then stored at 5 °C for 3 weeks. After removal from low-temperature storage, the effects of hot water treatment (HWT) on chilling injury (CI), ripening and cell wall metabolism during storage (20 °C, 5 days) were investigated. HWT reduced the CI development of the fruit as manifested by firmer texture, external browning, and fungal lesions. A more rapid ripening process, as indicated by changes in firmness, respiration rate, and ethylene production, occurred in heated fruit after exposure to low temperature as compared with non-heated fruit. At the same time, the cell wall components in heated fruit contained more water-soluble pectin and less 1,2-cyclohexylenedinitrilotetraactic acid (CDTA)-soluble pectin than those in non-heated fruit. HWT also maintained higher polygalacturonase [enzyme classification (EC) 3.2.1.15] and β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23) activities as well as lower pectin methylesterase (EC 3.1.1.11) activity. In general, the changes of ripening and cell wall metabolism parameters in the heated fruit after low-temperature storage exhibited a comparable pattern to that of non-cold-stored fruit.

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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.

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Lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit were harvested at green, pink, and red developmental stages. The fruit of each group were used to determine developmentally and environmentally (chilling) regulated ethylene production. The rate of ethylene production in the fruit was green > pink > red. Storage at either 4 or 10 °C increased C2H4 production as much as 8.6-fold compared with control fruit stored at 25 °C. The green fruit were most responsive to chilling in terms of ethylene production.

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Two complementary DNA fragments encoding expansin genes Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 were isolated from ripening kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Bruno) by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction amplification using a pair of degenerate primers. The homology between these two expansin family members was 50% in nucleotide sequence and 74% in amino acid sequence. It was revealed that Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 belong to subgroups A and B of an expansin gene family respectively. However, gene expression of these two members shared similar patterns. Both were upregulated by ethylene treatment and downregulated by acetylsalicylic acid treatment. The study suggests that members of both subgroups A and B of the expansin family are involved in kiwifruit fruit ripening.

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To shorten Ilex seed germination time and speed up breeding cycles, immature embryos of Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ seedlings were removed from fruits at their heart-shape stage and cultured in vitro on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium or Woody Plant Medium (WPM) with 3% sucrose and 0.65% agar. Cultures were incubated at 27 °C for 2 weeks in darkness and subsequently moved to a growth chamber with 14-hour photoperiod (115 μmol⋅m−2⋅s–1). Embryos began to germinate 2–3 weeks after culture. The highest germination rate was 91.67% under 1/4 MS medium. Embryos cultured on MS medium also had high germination rates and produced the longest seedlings to 8.02 mm. Nodal segments with one axillary bud taken from embryo germination seedlings were cultured on MS medium with various concentrations of cytokinins and auxins for micropropagation. Zeatin (ZT; 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-trans-2-butenylaminopurine) increased the number of shoots and shoot lengths significantly more than 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). The recommended ZT concentration should be 2.28 µM. Rooting induction could be established on 1/4 MS medium with various concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) or 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). IBA at 4.14 µM produced the best rooting percentage (91.67%) and good-root quality. All rooted plantlets were transplanted into a mixture of peatmoss and perlite (1:1 v/v) and acclimatized in a mist system. The average survival rate was 88.8%. The rapid embryo germination protocol for Ilex crenata could save Ilex breeders at least 2 years compared with traditional seed germination.

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Nitrogen and potassium are two crucial nutrient elements that affect the yield and quality of crops. The aim of this study was to quantify the impacts of potassium on growth dynamics and quality of muskmelon, so as to optimize potassium management for muskmelon in a plastic greenhouse, and develop a coupling model of nitrogen and potassium. For this purpose, four experiments (two experiments with different levels of potassium treatment and planting dates, and the other two experiments with different ratios of nitrogen and potassium, and planting dates) on muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’) were conducted in a plastic greenhouse located at Sanya from Jan. 2014 to Sept. 2015. The quantitative relationship between leaf potassium content and growth dynamics and yield of muskmelon was determined and incorporated into a photosynthesis-driven crop growth model (SUCROS). Independent experimental data were used to validate the model. The critical leaf potassium content at the flowering stage for muskmelon ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’ were 55.0 and 46.0 mg·g−1. The result showed that the coefficient of determination (r 2) between the predicted and measured values of leaf area index (LAI), direct weight of shoot (DWSH), direct weight of stem (DWST), dry weight of leaf (DWL), dry weight of fruit (DWF), fresh weight of fruit (FWF), soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C (Vc), and soluble solids content (SO) of potassium model were 0.93, 0.98, 0.83, 0.96, 0.98, 0.99, 0.94, 0.94, 0.89, 0.85, and 0.90, respectively; and the relative root-mean-squared error (rRMSE) were 10.8%, 19.6%, 30.3%, 21.1%, 11.9%, 17.2%, 13.9%, 27.8%, 20.6%, and 10.1%, respectively. The two ways of nitrogen and potassium coupling (multiplicative coupling and minimum coupling) were compared, and the multiplicative coupling was used in model development finally. The r 2 between the predicted and measured values of LAI, DWSH, DWST, DWL, DWF, FWF, SU, PR, Vc, and SO of nitrogen and potassium coupling model were 0.78, 0.91, 0.93, 0.94, 0.83, 0.89, 0.92, 0.95, 0.91, and 0.93, respectively; and their rRMSE were 9.2%, 12.4%, 11.8%, 43.2%, 6.6%, 7.2%, 6.85%, 4.98%, 6.61%, and 4.35%, respectively. The models could be used for the optimization of potassium, nitrogen, and potassium coupling management for muskmelon production in a plastic greenhouse.

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In this study, the effects of light-emitting diode (LED) panels with different illumination schedules and mounted above butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) seedlings on lettuce growth and photosynthesis were examined, and the performance of the vertical and horizontal movable system on energy savings was evaluated. The illumination schedules used were fixed LED [F-LED (four LED panels illuminated the area below)] and movable LED [M-LED (two LED panels moved left and right once per day to illuminate the same area as F-LED)] at distances of 10 and 30 cm above the seedlings. The plant yields were uniform in all LED treatments. The highest light utilization efficiencies and lowest electricity consumption were found for the treatments with irradiation from a shorter distance above the seedlings. The true leaf numbers and ascorbic acid concentrations were the highest in the M-LED and F-LED treatments at a distance above the seedlings of 10 cm, while the leaf lengths and sucrose concentrations in these groups were significantly lower than those in the 30-cm treatment. These results indicate that illumination with M-LED can halve the initial light source input while maintaining yield and that sustained illumination from a shorter distance above the seedlings is the main factor in electricity savings.

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The ability of mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal `Elliott' highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) plants to acquire soil N under different preplant organic soil amendment regimes (forest litter, rotted sawdust, or no amendment) was investigated in a field experiment using 15N labeled (NH4)2SO4. Plants inoculated with an ericoid mycorrhizal isolate, Oidiodendron maius Dalpé (UAMH 9263), had lower leaf 15N enrichment and higher leaf N contents than noninoculated plants but similar leaf N concentrations, indicating mycorrhizal plants absorbed more nonlabeled soil N than nonmycorrhizal plants. Mycorrhizal plants produced more plant dry weight (DW) and larger canopy volumes. The effect of preplant organic amendments on the growth of highbush blueberry plants was clearly demonstrated. Plants grown in soil amended with forest litter produced higher DW than those in either the rotted sawdust amendment or no amendment. Plants grown in soils amended preplant with sawdust, the current commercial recommendation, were the smallest. Differences in the carbon to nitrogen ratio were likely responsible for growth differences among plants treated with different soil amendments.

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Cold stress is a major factor limiting the growth of warm-season turfgrass species. Cold tolerance in warm-season turfgrass species could be improved through in vitro selection for somaclonal variations. The objectives of this study were to establish an effective in vitro culture protocol for generating plants from calli using mature seeds of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) and to determine whether in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variations would lead to improved cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The optimal concentrations of supplemental compounds in the culture medium for callus induction, embryogenic callus formation, and plant regeneration were determined. The supplemental compounds included 2,4–dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D), 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), kinetin (KT), naphthalene-1-acetic acid (NAA), CuSO4, and acidic hydrolysis casein (AHC). The highest rates of callus induction (97.50%), embryogenic callus formation (66.88%), and regeneration (55.94%) were obtained with the supplemental compounds of 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D and 10.0 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for callus induction; with 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D, 15 mg·L−1 CuSO4, and 1.0 g·L−1 AHC for embryogenic callus formation; and with 8.0 mg·L−1 6-BA, 0.2 mg·L−1 KT, 0.5 mg·L−1 NAA, and 10 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for plant regeneration. Embryogenic calli were subjected to 2 or 6 °C treatment for 90 days for in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variation. Plants regenerated from calli surviving cold treatment (cold-selected) for 45 or 60 days were then exposed to low temperatures [15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night)]. Plant variants derived from cold-selected calli exhibited significant improvement in their tolerance to low temperature of either 15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night), as manifested by higher turf quality, leaf chlorophyll content, and membrane stability as well as lower levels of lipid peroxidation compared with the control plants. This study demonstrated the feasibility of in vitro selection for cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The cold-tolerant variants could be useful germplasm for breeding programs and further molecular characterization of cold tolerance mechanisms.

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