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Anusuya Rangarajan, Wanda Chenoweth, John F. Kelly and Karen Agee

Studies have been underway to evaluate the genetic variation in iron nutritional quality of the green leafy vegetable Amaranthus. Initial screening of 35 lines of amaranth from 12 species indicated wide variation in total iron, and small, but significant, differences in bioavailable iron, as determined by an in vitro assay. To verify if the differences in bioavailable iron detected by the in vitro assay were biologically significant, two lines of amaranth, A. tricolor Ames 5113 and A. hypochondriacus Ames 2171, were evaluated using a hemoglobin repletion assay in rats. Weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were made anemic by feeding an ironfree casein-based diet for 4 weeks. The anemic animals were fed treatment diets in which all Fe was provided by the amaranth lines. Hemoglobin levels were measured at the start and end of the treatment period to determine bioavailability. Although A. tricolor contained a higher concentration of total iron (670 ppm), the bioavailability of this iron to rats was lower than from the A. hypochondnacus line (total Fe = 210 ppm). Similar amounts of either amaranth line added to the diet produced similar changes in hemoglobin, although total iron concentrations were significantly different, confirming results observed with in vitro assays.

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Lisa Chen Cushman, H. Brent Pemberton, J. Creighton Miller Jr. and John W. Kelly

Simulated shipping (storage) experiments were conducted to determine the effects of shipping temperature and duration on flower longevity and leaf abscission of pot rose Rosa L. `Meijikatar' (= Orange Sunblaze) and `Meirutral' (= Red Sunblaze). In addition, three flower stages (1 = tight bud, calyx not reflexing; 2 = showing color, calyx reflexing, no petals reflexed; 3 = full color, petals beginning to reflex, traditional bud stage) were selected immediately prior to storing plants at 4, 16, or 28 °C for 2, 4, or 6 days. The experiment was conducted during the summer and repeated during the winter. Evaluations were made in an interior environment at 21 °C for both experiments. `Meirutral' exhibited longer poststorage longevity and less leaf abscission than `Meijikatar' in both experiments. Flowers of both cultivars advanced by about one stage during storage at temperatures greater than 4 °C in summer, but developed more slowly in winter. Results from both experiments showed that plants stored at 4 °C had the longest poststorage floral longevity, the best flower quality, and the least leaf abscission, regardless of cultivar, storage duration, or flower stage at the beginning of storage. For plants stored at 16 °C, floral longevity decreased and leaf abscission increased when the duration was longer than 4 days. At 28 °C, flower longevity decreased and leaf abscission increased, especially at durations longer than 2 days. In the winter experiment, there was no leaf abscission on plants placed in the dark at 21 °C and watered during storage treatments lasting up to 6 days. In the summer experiment, the younger the flower, the more it was negatively affected by high storage temperature. Overall, poststorage floral longevity was longer in the summer than the winter experiment.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse, Robert K. Pollock, Margaret J. McMahon, John W. Kelly and Roy E. Young

Experiments were conducted to correlate the response of chrysanthemum [Dendrathema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] plants to light environment based on various quantitative light quality parameters by growing plants under 6% or 40% CuSO4 and water spectral filters. Using a narrow band width (R = 655-665 and FR = 725-735 nm) or a broad band width (R = 600-700 and FR = 700-800 nm) for R: FR ratio calculation, 6% CuSO4 filter transmitted light with a higher R: FR ratio than 40% CuSO4 or water filters. Light transmitted through 40% CuSO4 and water filters had similar narrow band R: FR ratios (≈1.2), but the broad band R: FR ratio (2.0) of 40% CuSO4 filter was higher than that of water filters. The estimated phytochrome photoequilibrium (ϕ) value varied considerably with the photochemical properties of phytochrome used for estimations. Final height and internode length of plants grown in 6% or 40% CuSO4 chambers was ≈30% less than of plants in corresponding control chambers. Leaf and stem dry weights were reduced by light transmitted through CuSO4 filters. The results suggest that broad band R: FR ratio correlated more closely to above plant responses than the narrow band R: FR ratio. Blue (B): R and B: FR ratios (not absolute amount of blue wavelengths) correlated well with plant response, suggesting that involvement of blue light should not be ignored in expressing plant response to light transmitted through CuSO4 filters. At present, the presentation of complete spectral data would be the most useful in explaining plant response to light environment.

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Terry C. Kelly', Yao-Chi Lu, Aref A. Abdul-Baki and John R. Teasdale

Concern for the environment has focussed attention on the need for environmentally sound, yet economically profitable, farming practices. A hairy vetch (Vicia villosa L. Roth.) organic mulch system for fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) production provides environmental benefits by enhancing the soil and reducing the need for fertilizer and herbicide inputs and is more profitable than conventional practices. Tomato field trials over 3 years at the Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center compared the hairy vetch mulch system with black polyethylene mulch and bare ground (no mulch). Using partial budget analysis in a farm context, the hairy vetch mulch treatment was more profitable in all years under all market and yield adjustment scenarios. The vetch mulch system also was the preferred system for a risk-averse grower, according to a safety-first criterion. The combination of environmental benefits and the economic benefits to the grower make the hairy vetch mulch system an attractive alternative for producing fresh-market tomatoes in the Mid-Atlantic and parts of northeastern United States.

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L. Carl Greve, Gale McGranahan, Janine Hasey, Ronald Snyder, Kathy Kelly, David Goldhamer and John M. Labavitch

The variation in polyunsaturated fatty acid content of walnut (Juglans regia L.) oils was determined by analysis of samples isolated from specimens growing in four germplasm collections [California (55 cultivars), Washington (64 seedlings), China (12 cultivars), and France (20 cultivars)]. In addition, the impact of within-state geographic differences on oil composition was examined by comparing samples from three California cultivars (`Ashley', `Hartley', and `Franquette') grown in three locations. Local environmental effects on oil composition of `Chico' were also examined by comparing 1) samples collected from shaded and sun-exposed locations of the same trees and 2) samples collected from trees subjected to three irrigation regimes. Polyunsaturated fatty acid content, as a percentage of total fatty acids, ranged from 47.2% in nuts from PI 142323 from France to 81.0% in `Ashley' from California. However, our data indicate that environment, genotype, nut maturity, and their interactions all contribute significantly to variation in the degree of unsaturation of walnut oil.

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Dennis R. Decoteau, Heather A. Hatt, John W. Kelly, Margaret J. Mcmahon, Nihal Rajapakse, Roy E. Young and Robert K. Pollock

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Juan Carlos Díaz-Pérez, Kelly St. John, Mohammad Yamin Kabir, J. Alberto Alvarado-Chávez, Ania M. Cutiño-Jiménez, Jesús Bautista, Gunawati Gunawan and Savithri U. Nambeesan

Colored shade nets may affect plant growth and fruit yield of horticultural crops. The understanding of how colored shade nets influence plants, however, is far from complete. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of colored shade nets on bell pepper fruit yield, postharvest transpiration, color, chemical composition, and antioxidant capacity. The experiment was conducted in Tifton, GA, during the spring of 2015 and 2016. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications and five colored shade net treatments (black, red, silver, and white nets, and an unshaded control). The nets were placed on the top of wooden rectangular structures (15 m wide × 6 m long × 5 m high), leaving the sides of the structures uncovered. Results showed that in both 2015 and 2016, marketable and total fruit number, yield, and individual fruit weight were reduced under the unshaded treatment. There were inconsistent differences in marketable and total fruit number, yield, and individual fruit weight among colored shade nets. Postharvest fruit transpiration and skin permeance were also reduced in unshaded conditions, and no differences were found among colored shade nets. Fruit color L* and b* values were highest, and a* value was lowest in unshaded conditions. Fruit soluble solids, total phenols, flavonoids, and antioxidant capacity [Cupric Reducing Antioxidant Capacity (CUPRAC) and Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC)] responded differently among colored shade nets in the 2 years. Total phenols, flavonoids, and TEAC, however, were among the highest in unshaded conditions. In conclusion, results of the present study support previous findings that shade nets increase fruit yield and quality in bell pepper compared with fruit produced in unshaded conditions. Nevertheless, there were no consistent differences in fruit total and marketable yield and postharvest fruit transpiration and chemical composition of fruit produced under colored shade nets.

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Francesco Di Gioia, Monica Ozores-Hampton, Jason Hong, Nancy Kokalis-Burelle, Joseph Albano, Xin Zhao, Zack Black, Zhifeng Gao, Chris Wilson, John Thomas, Kelly Moore, Marilyn Swisher, Haichao Guo and Erin N. Rosskopf

Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is considered a promising sustainable alternative to chemical soil fumigation (CSF), and has been shown to be effective against soilborne diseases, plant-parasitic nematodes, and weeds in several crop production systems. Nevertheless, limited information is available on the effects of ASD on crop yield and quality. Therefore, a field study was conducted on fresh-market tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in two different locations in Florida (Immokalee and Citra), to evaluate and compare the ASD and CSF performances on weed and nematodes control, and on fruit yield and quality. In Immokalee, Pic-Clor 60 (1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin) was used as the CSF, whereas in Citra, the CSF was Paldin™ [dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) + chloropicrin]. Anaerobic soil disinfestation treatments were applied using a mix of composted poultry litter (CPL) at the rate of 22 Mg·ha−1, and two rates of molasses [13.9 (ASD1) and 27.7 m3·ha−1 (ASD2)] as a carbon (C) source. In both locations, soil subjected to ASD reached highly anaerobic conditions, and cumulative soil anaerobiosis was 167% and 116% higher in ASD2 plots than in ASD1 plots, in Immokalee and Citra, respectively. In Immokalee, the CSF provided the most significant weed control, but ASD treatments also suppressed weeds enough to prevent an impact on yield. In Citra, all treatments, including the CSF, provided poor weed control relative to the Immokalee site. In both locations, the application of ASD provided a level of root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne sp.) control equivalent to, or more effective than the CSF. In Immokalee, ASD2 and ASD1 plots provided 26.7% and 19.7% higher total marketable yield as compared with CSF plots, respectively. However, in Citra, total marketable yield was unaffected by soil treatments. Tomato fruit quality parameters were not influenced by soil treatments, except for fruit firmness in Immokalee, which was significantly higher in fruits from ASD treatments than in those from CSF soil. Fruit mineral content was similar or higher in ASD plots as compared with CSF. In fresh-market tomato, ASD applied using a mixture of CPL and molasses may be a sustainable alternative to CSF for maintaining or even improving marketable yield and fruit quality.