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  • Author or Editor: Todd C. Wehner x
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There is a large genetic diversity for fruit size and yield in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus]. Current cultivars have high fruit quality but may not be the highest yielders. This study was designed to estimate variance components and heritability of fruit yield (Mg·ha−1), fruit count (th·ha−1), and fruit size (kg/fruit) in a cross involving high-yielding ‘Mountain Hoosier’ with low-yielding ‘Minilee’. Six generations (PaS1, PbS1, F1, F2, BC1Pa, and BC1Pb) were developed and tested in Summer 2008 at two locations in North Carolina. Discrete classes were not observed within the F2 segregating population. The actual distribution of the F2 population for fruit yield, fruit count, and fruit size deviated from the normal distribution. ‘Mountain Hoosier’ had higher parental and backcross variance than ‘Minilee’. High F2 variance for fruit yield indicated large phenotypic variance. There was a larger environmental variance than genetic variance associated with the yield traits. Estimates of broad- and narrow-sense heritability were low to medium. A large number of effective factors indicated polygenic inheritance for fruit yield and fruit size. Gain from selection for yield is amendable by selection. As a result of this complex inheritance, selection based on individual plant selection in pedigree method may not be useful for yield improvement in this population. Hence, a selection scheme based on progeny testing using replicated plots, perhaps at multiple locations, is recommended.

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Watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] is one of the Cucurbitaceae species and subtropical crops that exhibit chilling injury (CI) when exposed to low temperatures. Watermelon seedlings were tested for chilling tolerance using methods modified from cucumber. Three experiments were conducted using different combinations of chilling durations of 6, 12, 24, or 36 hours and chilling temperatures of 2 or 4 °C. Watermelon seedlings were more resistant to low temperatures than cucumber seedlings, so it was necessary to use long chilling durations to induce significant foliar damage. A diverse set of 16 watermelon cultigens was tested: Allsweet, Black Diamond, Chubby Gray, Charlee, Charleston Gray, Dixielee, Golden, Golden Honey, New Winter, NH Midget, Sugar Baby, Sugarlee, Sunshade, PI 189225, PI 244018, and PI 595203. Experiments were conducted in a controlled environment with a light intensity of 500 mmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD). Optimal conditions for chilling treatment were 36 hours at 4 °C or 24 hours at 2 °C. The most resistant cultigen was PI 244018, and the most susceptible cultigens were NH Midget and Golden.

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Production of pickling cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) requires a significant expenditure of labor and money. Those resources could be better managed if both yield and harvest date could be predicted for a given planting date and production area. The objective of this experiment was to develop a model to simulate growth and yield of pickling cucumbers under field conditions in North Carolina. Detailed measurements of leaf area, branching habit, flowering, fruiting, and dry weight distribution were obtained for the cultigens `Calypso', M 21, `Wis. SMR 18', and WI 2757 for 10 planting dates. Light interception, air temperature, and rainfall were also recorded. There were differences among cultigens and planting dates for time needed to reach certain growth stages. Number of days to reach a given stage generally decreased with later planting dates. Addition of nodes over time to the main stem was linear and the interaction of planting date by cultigen was significant. Number of staminate and pistillate flowers was affected by both cultigen and planting date.

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Currently, both hybrid and inbred pickling cucumber cultivars are being grown commercially in the United States. Heterosis for yield in pickling cucumber has been previously reported. However, heterosis has not been repeatable in other studies. The objective of this study was to determine the existence of heterosis and inbreeding depression for yield in pickling cucumber. Six pickling cucumber inbreds (`Addis', `Clinton', M 12, M 20, `Tiny Dill', `Wisconsin SMR 18') were hybridized to form four F1 hybrid families (`Addis × M 20, `Addis' × `Wis. SMR 18', `Clinton' × M 12, M 20 × `Tiny Dill'). Within each family, F2, BC1A and BC1B generations were also formed. Thirty plants of each generation within each family were grown in 3.1-m plots for four replications in the spring and summer seasons of 1996 at the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Clinton, N.C. Data were collected at once-over harvest for total, marketable, and early yield in terms of number (1000 fruit/ha) and weight (Mg/ha). In addition to yield, a fruit shape rating was collected for each plot. High parent heterosis for yield (total and marketable fruit weight) was only observed for `Addis' × `SMR 18' grown in the summer season. The three other families did not exhibit heterosis for total, marketable, and early yield. Heterosis for shape rating was not observed for any family. `Addis' × `Wis. SMR 18' also exhibited inbreeding depression for total fruit weight, marketable fruit weight, early fruit number, and early fruit weight during the spring season and for marketable fruit number and marketable fruit weight during the summer season.

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Downy mildew [Pseudoperonospora cubensis (Berk. & Curt.) Rostov] is an important disease in most cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) production areas of the world. Resistant cultivars are available, but higher levels are needed if yield losses are to be avoided. The objective of this experiment was to test all available plant introduction accessions, cultivars, and breeding lines (collectively referred to as cultigens) of cucumber for downy mildew resistance under field conditions in North Carolina. Cultigens were tested in 2 years and two replications under natural field epidemics of the disease. Mean ratings for downy mildew leaf damage ranged from 1.3 to 9.0 on a 0 to 9 scale. The most resistant nine cultigens originated from the U.S., and were primarily adapted cultivars or breeding lines. The most-resistant cultigens, for which multiple-year data were available, were Gy 4, `Clinton', PI 234517, `Poinsett 76', Gy 5, `Addis', M 21, M 27, and `Galaxy'. The most-susceptible cultigens for which multiple year data were available, were PI 288995, PI 176952, PI 178886, and PI 211985. We classified 17 cultigens as highly resistant (1.3 to 3.0), 87 as moderately resistant (3.3 to 5.0), 311 as moderately susceptible (5.3 to 7.0), and 248 as highly susceptible (7.3 to 9.0) for the 663 cultigens with multiple-year data. No plant introduction accessions were found to be more resistant than the most-resistant elite cultivars and breeding lines tested.

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Eighteen cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) cultivars (15 oriental trellis and three standard American slicers) were grown on trellis and flat-bed production systems during the spring and summer seasons of 1995. Vine, flower, fruit quality, keeping ability, and yield traits were measured. Vine length, incidence of powdery mildew, fruit shape, fruit quality, fruit firmness, yield of Fancy plus No. 1 grade slicer fruits, marketable yield, and percentage of culled fruits were all higher when cultivars were grown on trellis support. Anthracnose damage, fruit length, fruit diameter, average fruit mass, fruit color, overall impression, fruit shriveling, seedcell size, branch number, percentage of staminate nodes, and total yield were not significantly affected by production system. The best cultivars for marketable yield (mass of Fancy, No. 1 and 2 grade slicers) were `Summer Top', `Tasty Bright', and `Sprint 440' on trellis support and `Sprint 440' and `Poinsett 76' on flat bed. The cultivars with the best fruit quality were `Tasty Bright', `Summer Top', and `Sprint 440' on trellis and `Poinsett 76', `Sprint 440', and `Tasty Bright' on flat bed. The best cultivars overall on the trellis production system were `Sprint 440', `Summer Top', `Tasty Bright', and `89-211', and the worst were `Sky Horse', `Hongzhou Green 55', and `Fengyan'. The best cultivars overall on the flat bed were `Poinsett 76', `Sprint 440', and `89-211', while the worst cultivars were `Sky Horse' and `Hongzhou Green 55'.

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Root knot caused by Meloidogyne spp. is an important disease of cucumber. Resistance to M. javanica in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is conferred by the newly discovered mj gene. The objective of this research was to determine whether mj was linked to other genes controlling morphological or disease resistance traits in cucumber. Four inbred lines homozygous for mj (LJ 90430, `Manteo', NCG-198, and NCG-199) were crossed with inbreds (`Coolgreen', M 21, NCG-101, WI 2757, and `Wisconsin SMR 18') to form six families: NCG-101 × LJ 90430, WI 2757 × LJ 90430, NCG-199 × `Wis. SMR 18', NCG-198 × M 21, `Manteo' × M 21, and NCG-198 × `Coolgreen'. F2 progeny were evaluated in all families, and BC1 progeny were evaluated only in the NCG-199 × `Wis. SMR 18' family. Meloidogyne javanica resistance and the 17 other traits controlled by simple genes were evaluated in greenhouse or field tests. None of the 17 genes were linked with mj. Therefore, cucumber breeders interested in nematode resistance should be able to incorporate the trait into lines without having to break linkages with the 17 genes used in this study.

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Yield was evaluated in 817 plant introduction accessions of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) along with 19 check cultivars. The study was conducted in spring and summer seasons of 1997 and 1998 with three replications using recommended horticultural practices and optimized field plot trials. In order to get fruit from each cultigen regardless of sex expression, plants were sprayed with ethrel (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) to make them gynoecious. Plots were harvested once-over when 10% of the fruit in a plot were oversize. Data were collected on fruit weight (total, marketable, early and cull), fruit number (total, marketable, early and cull), fruit type, fruit quality, and days to harvest. Total fruit weight for all cultigens ranged from 4 to 214 Mg/ha, with 1 to 40 fruit per plot. Based on statistical analysis, fruit number was the most useful trait for yield evaluation. Stand corrections for yield were not found to be useful. The cultigens with the highest fruit numbers for pickling type were PI 215589, PI 179678, PI 249561, PI 356809, and PI 370643. Highest fruit number for slicing type were PI 344440, PI 422199, and PI 342951. Highest fruit number for middle-eastern type were PI 525150, PI 525153, PI 181910, and PI 534540. Highest fruit number for Oriental trellis type were PI 432849, PI 432866, PI 508455, PI 372893, and PI 532520. Several cultigens produced more than the check cultivars. High-yielding cultigens could be used in breeding programs to improve the yield of cucumber.

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