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Wilfredo Colón-Guasp, Terril A. Nell, Michael E. Kane and James E. Barrett

The use of abscisic acid (ABA) as an in vitro prehardening treatment to enhance ex vitro acclimatization of Stage III Aronia arbutifolia plantlets was explored. Effects of ABA (0-4 mg·liter-1) pretreatment on ex vitro shoot growth, leaf carbon assimilation (LCA) and nonstructural carbohydrate content were evaluated during plantlet acclimatization under two photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) levels (450 and 650 μmol·m-2·s-1). Stage III plantlets rooted in the presence of ABA exhibited both shoot growth inhibition and transient negative LCA rates at time of transfer ex vitro. Regardless of treatment, maximum LCA rates were achieved by day 20 post-transplant. Pretreatment with ABA had no effect on stem or leaf starch content at time of transplant, however, leaf and stem soluble sugar content was higher in ABA treated plantlets than controls. Further suppression of shoot growth and alteration in the pattern of stem starch utilization occurred at the higher irradiance level. These results indicate that ABA pretreatments provide no physiological advantage that would facilitate ex vitro acclimatization of Aronia plantlets.

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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell, James E. Barrett and Charles A. Conover

This experiment was conducted to evaluate the interior performance of Chrysalidocarpus lutescens grown for 8 months under 481, 820, and 1241 μmol·m–2·s–1 and fertilized weekly with a 20N–4.7P–16.6K soluble fertilizer at 440, 880, and 1660 mg/pot. Afterwards, plants were placed indoors and maintained at 20 μmol·m–2·s–1 for 12 h daily at 21±1C and a relative humidity of 50%±5% for 3 months. At the end of the production phase, light compensation point (LCP) varied from 243 μmol·m–2·s–1 at the high irradiance level to 140 μmol·m–2·s–1 at the lowest one. Chlorophyll concentration in the leaves was not affected by irradiance or fertilizer rate. Starch concentration in stems and roots were higher the lower the fertilizer rate applied during production and the higher the irradiance level. After 3 months indoors, LCP declined for all the treatments, but the lowest LCP reached, 126 μmol·m–2·s–1, was still too high if the plant has to survive an interior environment. After the interior holding period, a 45% to 55% reduction was observed on leaf, stem, and root soluble sugar concentrations, and stem and root starch concentrations decreased by 97%, and 62% to 72%, respectively, compared to the concentration at the end of production. The number of fronds increased in all treatments during the postproduction evaluation. However, the drastic carbohydrate concentration depletion during the interior holding period indicates that C. lutescens is not a species for extended use under very low interior light conditions.

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David G. Clark, Christopher Dervinis, James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

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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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell, Charles A. Conover and James E. Barrett

Effects of three light intensities (564, 306 and 162 μmol m-2 s-1) and three fertilizer rates (220, 440 and 880 mg/15 cm pot, weekly) were evaluated on acclimatization potential of Chamaedorea elegans. Treatments were applied during four months under greenhouse conditions after which plants were placed indoors (20 μmol m-2 s-1, 21±2C and 50% RH) for two months. Light compensation point (LCP) was significantly reduced by decreasing light intensity and increasing fertilizer rates. Leaf and root fresh and dry weights increased with irradiance while shoots were not affected. Chlorophyll a levels were higher in plants grown under the lowest light intensity. Carbohydrate content is being analyzed and anatomical examination of leaves studied. Plant performance indoors will be discussed. These studies demonstrate that Chamaedorea, a monocot, acclimatizes similarly to dicots.

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Jeff B. Million, James E. Barrett, Terril A. Nell and David G. Clark

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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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell, James E. Barrett and Charles A. Conover

The effect of irradiance and fertilizer level on the acclimatization of Chamaedorea elegans Mart. was studied. Chamaedorea elegans was grown for 4 months in 1.6-liter pots under 162, 306, or 564 μmol·m–2·s–1 and fertilized weekly with 20N–4.7P–16.6K soluble fertilizer at 220, 440, or 880 mg/pot. At the end of the production period, plants were moved to interior rooms and maintained for 2 months at 20 μmol·m–2·s–1 for 12 h daily at 21 ± 1C and a relative humidity of 50% ± 5%. At the end of the production phase, the light compensation point (LCP) and the concentration of nonstructural carbohydrates were lower, and chlorophyll concentration was higher the lower the irradiance level. Increasing fertilizer concentration decreased the number of fronds, LCP, and nonstructural carbohydrates. After 2 months in the interior environment, LCP and number of fronds of C. elegans did not differ among treatments. Chlorophyll concentration of plants grown under 564 μmol·m–2·s–1 had increased 61%, while starch in the stem had decreased 43% relative to the concentration found at the end of the production period. In C. elegans grown under 306 μmol·m–2·s–1, stem starch depletion was only 13% during the interior evaluation period. These results indicated that C. elegans grown under the highest irradiance level used reserved carbohydrates in the interior environment while adjusting to low light and producing new leaves. Chamaedorea elegans was best acclimatized at the intermediate irradiance and medium fertilizer concentration.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, A.A. De Hertogh and James E. Barrett

Potted Lilium Asiatic hybrids `Aristocrat', `Horizon', and `Polka' were evaluated following 3, 6, or 9 days of transport at 2, 7, or 13C. `Aristocrat' and `Horizon' withstood transport with little or no effect on floral bud opening. `Polka' was the most sensitive cultivar to transport, where bud opening decreased 33% when transported at 13C for 9 days. Most floral buds opened on `Aristocrat' (90% to 98%), while fewer buds opened on `Horizon' (37% to 56%) and `Polka' (52% to 90%). Individual flower longevity and diameters were largely unaffected by transport. Plant longevity was reduced 4 to 7 days when transported for 9 days at ≥7C or for >3 days at 13C. Plant longevity averaged 16 days for `Aristocrat' and `Polka' and 12 days for `Horizon'. `Aristocrat' and the Oriental potted hybrid lily `Star Gazer' were maintained at postproduction conditions of 18, 21, or 24C at 7 or 14 μmol·m–2·s–1 after being commercially transported for 4 days at 5 ± 2C. Postproduction conditions had no effect on floral bud opening of `Aristocrat' (98% to 99%), while bud opening of `Star Gazer' was reduced 17% at 24C compared to 18C. Plants lasted 4 and 9 days longer at 18C than at 21 or 24C, respectively. Foliar discoloration was greatest at 24C. Irradiance level had no effect on the variables evaluated.

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Jane Whittaker, Terril A. Nell, James E. Barrett and Thomas J. Sheehan

The effect of postharvest dips on the longevity of Anthurium andraenum cultivar Nitta and Alpinia purpurata was evaluated. The inflorescences were dipped in a 200 ppm benzyladenine (BA) solution, an antitranspirant, or water for 10 minutes. After dipping, anthuriums were placed directly in water and gingers were placed in either water or a 2% sucrose solution and placed in interior conditions (10 μmol m-2s-1 for 12 hr/day, 21±2C). Ginger longevity was increased by 10 days or more by the sucrose solution. The greatest longevity of gingers was obtained when dipped in either BA or the antitranspirant and held in the sucrose solution. Anthurium longevity increased 10 days when dipped in BA, while the other treatments had little effect.

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Jeff B. Million, James E. Barrett, Terril A. Nell and David G. Clark

A broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L.) seedling bioassay was used to measure paclobutrazol activity and distribution in two growing media following drench or subirrigation applications. The bioassay exhibited a saturation-type response curve for paclobutrazol concentrations up to 1000 μg·L-1 in solution and 100 μg·L-1 in the media. The concentration of paclobutrazol required to achieve one-half of the maximum observed bioassay activity was 3-fold as high in bark-based commercial potting medium as in a peat-based medium. Less than 2% of applied paclobutrazol leached out during the drench application despite the collection of up to 50 mL of leachate per 120 mL of the solution (1000 μg·L-1) that was applied per 15-cm pot. Immediately following drench application, paclobutrazol concentrations in both media were highest in the uppermost 2.5 cm and decreased downward. By 3 weeks after treatment, drench-applied paclobutrazol had moved into lower depths. Distribution of paclobutrazol was limited to the bottom 2.5 cm of media when applied as a subirrigation soak. Chemical name used: (±)-(R*,R*)-β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Richard K. Schoellhorn, James E. Barrett, Carolyn A. Bartuska and Terril Nell

Effects of heat stress on viable and nonviable axillary meristem development and subsequent lateral branching in 'Improved Mefo' chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum Ramat. (Kitamura)] were studied. Plants grown at 33 °C day/27 °C night produced more nonviable buds than did plants grown at 23 °C day/18 °C night. A negative linear relationship {y = 28.7 + [-0.66 (x days)], r 2 = 0.70} between timing of exposure to high temperatures and the number of nonviable buds was observed. Histological examination 28 days after exposure to 33 °C/27 °C revealed that plants showed both normal and abnormal bud development. Abnormal bud development occurred as a consequence of premature differentiation of axillary meristematic tissue into nonmeristematic parenchyma tissue immediately after separation of axillary from apical meristems.