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  • Author or Editor: Yang Li x
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Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPSs) are common adverse reactions to antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of edible horticultural therapy (EHT) on EPSs in schizophrenic patients. This study assessed the changes in psychopathological symptoms and extrapyramidal symptoms in patients with schizophrenia before and after participating in a six-session EHT. Forty schizophrenic patients, recruited from Wuhan Wudong Hospital, were randomly assigned to the EHT group (average age: 45.40 ± 13.960 years) or the control group (average age: 49.30 ± 12.516 years). The EHT program held weekly sessions from May 2020 to June 2020. A psychiatrist assessed the psychopathological symptoms and extrapyramidal symptoms of schizophrenic patients in both groups with the Chinese version of the Positive and Negative Syndromes Scale (PANSS) and the Rating Scale for Extrapyramidal Side Effects (RSESE). After six courses of horticultural therapy, the terms of positive, negative, and general symptoms on the PANSS significantly improved in the EHT group. Moreover, the EPSs were also significantly improved in the EHT group. However, there was no change in the PANSS and RSESE scores in the control group. This study shows that EHT has the potential to improve not only psychopathological symptoms but also EPSs in psychiatric patients. This adds new evidence for EHT as an adjunct to treatment for schizophrenia.

Open Access

The art of pressed flowers is a method of artistic expression involving the pressing of flowers, leaves, and other plant organs for artistic creative purposes. However, the pressing process often results in color variation of the plant material, which significantly diminishes the quality of artistic works and must be solved using appropriate techniques. During this research, phenylalanine (10 mmol⋅L−1) was used to treat the petals of postharvest Petunia flowers to investigate the impact of phenylalanine on mitigating color variation, and the effect of phenylalanine on inhibiting the color variation of Petunia petals during the pressing process was evaluated by color measurement, physicochemical indices, and gene expression level analyses. Using the CIEL*a*b* color measurements, the samples from the test group had significantly higher brightness (L*) and red coloration (a*) at the final stage (S4) than the control group. In addition, phenylalanine had a significant inhibitory effect on malondialdehyde and superoxide anion accumulations in Petunia petals during pressing and reduced the enzymatic activities of superoxide dismutase, polyphenol oxidase, and catalase. The quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that the transcript levels of CHS, DFR, F3′5′H, and UFGT genes in the petals of the treatment group continued to increase during the pressing process, and the transcript levels of key genes in the anthocyanin metabolic pathway of the treated samples were higher than those of the control group at the final stage (S4). These results indicated that phenylalanine can effectively diminish the color variation of Petunia petals in the pressing process, which could serve as a theoretical basis for the development of a comprehensive technology system aimed at preserving the color of pressed horticultural plants.

Open Access

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been involved in responses to biotic and abiotic stress, including hypoxia and anaerobic stress. Vacuum packaging (a typical anaerobic stress) is an effective storage method used to delay browning of fresh-cut lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera). In model plants, ERF genes have been identified as responsive to hypoxia. Whether ERF is associated with browning of vacuum-packaged lotus root has not been studied. The effects of vacuum packaging on browning, phenolic content, the enzyme activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD), and PPO, PAL, POD, and ERF genes expression in fresh-cut lotus root were studied. Downregulation of NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 attributable to vacuum packaging coincided with increased related enzyme activities and the degree of browning of fresh-cut lotus root. The expression patterns of NnERF4/5 were consistent with the changes in NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 gene expression. It has been proposed that NnERF4/5 could have be important regulators of fresh-cut lotus root browning, and that the relationships of NnERF4/5 and NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 should to be studied further.

Free access

The method of returning banana (Musa nana) pseudostems to the field can effectively maintain and improve the level of organic matter in the soil. In this article, we show that a small vertical-type banana pseudostem chopper can be used in banana plantations that do not need to be replanted. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship among the blade type, cutting force, and cutting power. The effects of the blade roll angles, pitch angles, and feeding angles on the crushing qualification rate and crushing efficiency were obtained by comparing the decomposition characteristics of a banana pseudostem before and after crushing. The results showed that the arc-shaped blade exhibited the smallest cutting force and cutting power consumption. The maximum crush qualification rate and crush efficiency were obtained when the roll angle was 12°, the pitch angle was −5°, and the feeding angle was 5°. The weight reduction rate and average decomposition rate of the crushed pseudostem were 2.73 and 3.61 times greater than those of natural decomposition, respectively. The results can be used as a reference for the design and optimization of banana pseudostem choppers.

Open Access

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is an important horticultural crop that is sensitive to heavy metals such as lead (Pb) in polluted water or soil. However, there are no available data regarding Pb tolerance phenotyping in watermelon. Watermelon seedlings were exposed to various Pb doses (0, 20, 40, 60, 80 µm·L–1 Pb) for 14 days, after which 20 µm Pb was identified as the optimal treatment for lead tolerance analysis in watermelon because it caused significant symptoms (leaf chlorosis, stubby and yellow roots) but little damage to seedlings. Subsequently, the Pb responses were analyzed in eight watermelon varieties (V1–V8), and membership function analysis was used to determine a single Pb tolerance index. Of the eight watermelon varieties, V4 and V7 were ranked the most Pb tolerant; V1, V2, V5, and V6 were moderately Pb tolerant; and V3 and V8 were the most Pb-sensitive varieties. Compared with most Pb-sensitive varieties (V3 and V8), the most Pb-tolerant varieties (V4 and V7) maintained high antioxidant activity, and had lower malondialdehyde (MDA) and total soluble protein (TSP) contents. In addition, carotenoid and chlorophyll (both a and b) contents were stimulated and inhibited, respectively, in leaves of high-Pb translocation varieties (V4 and V8). Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed relative root length as an indicator of Pb tolerance because it correlated significantly with shoot growth. These results provide useful insight into the mechanism of Pb tolerance in cucurbit crops, as well as information regarding the breeding of watermelon with enhanced tolerance to this heavy metal (Pb).

Open Access

Agave species are economically important plants in tropical and subtropical desert ecosystems as ornamentals as well as potential bioenergy crops. However, their relatively long life cycles and the current lack of biotechnology tools hinder their breeding. In this study, an efficient system for micropropagation was developed for Agave americana L. by using basal stems as explants and grown on a modified Murashige and Skoog medium (MSI) or a 1/2 MSI medium supplemented with various concentrations of 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) for shoot proliferation. The highest number of shoots (18.5 shoots/explant) from basal stems was obtained on MSI supplemented with 13.32 μM BA. An efficient shoot regeneration system was also developed from leaf tissues. Combinations of auxin with cytokinin, basal media, and leaf regions were optimized for shoot induction. Adventitious shoot formation from leaf segments was induced and proliferated with combination ranging of 0.54 to 2.68 μM [α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA)] with 8.88 to 13.32 μM (BA), and the maximum frequency (≈69%) was obtained with 2.68 μM NAA plus 13.32 μM BA. MSI medium and the basal segment of leaf affected shoot induction. The highest rooting frequency and mean number of shoots occurred in 1/2 MSI containing with 4.92 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) alone (90%, 3.4) or 1.48 μM IBA plus 1.61 μM NAA (92%, 5.2). Survival of in vitro plantlets after transfer and acclimatization to ex vitro conditions was 87%. This is the first complete protocol for micropropagation of A. americana.

Free access

Aspergillus niger is a common pathogenic fungus causing postharvest rot of fruit and vegetable, whereas the knowledge on virulence factors is very limited. Superoxide dismutase [SOD (EC 1.15.1.10)] is an important metal enzyme in fungal defense against oxidative damage. Thus, we try to study whether Cu/Zn-SOD is a virulence factor in A. niger. Cu/Zn-SOD encoding gene sodC was deleted in A. niger [MA70.15 (wild type)] by homologous recombination. The deletion of sodC led to decreased SOD activity in A. niger, suggesting that sodC did contribute to full enzyme activity. ΔsodC strain showed normal mycelia growth and sporulation compared with wild type. However, sodC deletion markedly increased the cell’s sensitivity to intracellular superoxide anion generator menadione. Besides, spore germination under menadione and H2O2 stresses were significantly retarded in ΔsodC mutant compared with wild type. Further results showed that sodC deletion induced higher superoxide anion production and higher content of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA) compared with wild type, supporting the role of SOD in metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, ΔsodC mutant had a reduced virulence on chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) as lesion development by ΔsodC was significantly less than wild type. The determination of superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA in A. niger-infected pear showed that chinese white pear infected with ΔsodC accumulated less superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA compared with that of wild type A. niger, implying that ΔsodC induced an attenuated response in chinese white pear during fruit–pathogen interaction. Our results indicate that sodC gene contributes to the full virulence of A. niger during infection on fruit. Aspergillus niger is one of the most common species found in fungal communities. It is an important fermentation industrial strain and is also known to cause the most severe symptoms in fruit during long-term storage (). Meanwhile, plants activate their signaling pathways to trigger defense responses to limit pathogen expansion. One of the earliest host responses after pathogen attack is oxidative burst, during which large quantities of ROS are generated by different host enzyme systems, such as glucose oxidase (). ROS such as singlet oxygen, superoxide anion, hydroxyl (OH), and H2O2 are released to hinder the advance of pathogens (). ROS can react with and damage cellular molecules, such as DNA, protein, and lipids, which will limit fungal propagation in the host plant ().

Free access

Colors of flower and seedcoat are interesting traits of asparagus bean, a cultivated subspecies of cowpea grown throughout Asia for its tender, long green pods. Little is known about the inheritance of these traits including their genome location. We report here the genetic analysis and mapping of the genes governing flower and seedcoat color in asparagus bean based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Analysis of the F1 and F7:8 generation of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) population showed a monogenetic inheritance of both traits. Purple flower and brown seedcoat are dominant over white flower and cream seedcoat, respectively. We further show that genes governing flower color and seedcoat color are tightly linked on LG8, ≈0.4 cM apart. Synteny analysis showed that the gene controlling seedcoat color in our study is syntenic to the soybean T locus. The use of the mapping information in asparagus bean breeding is discussed.

Free access

Flesh browning is an important negative trait for quality preservation of fresh-cut fruits. To obtain a better understanding of the inheritance and genetic control of flesh browning in apple, the phenotype of a hybrid population derived from ‘Jonathan’ × ‘Golden Delicious’ was studied for 2 successive years. The inheritance of the flesh browning trait was analyzed by the frequency distribution of the phenotypes. Flesh browning-associated major genes were then mapped by screening genome-wide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Flesh browning is inherited quantitatively and showed a clear bimodal frequency distribution, indicating that the segregation of major genes is involved in the variation. The segregation ratio of light and heavy browning was 7:1 in 2010, 2011, and 2010 + 2011, suggesting that the inheritance of the trait in apple involves three segregated loci of major genes. The heritability of the major gene effect was 72.14% and 72.76% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. SSR markers were screened from 600 pairs of SSR primers located on 17 apple linkage groups (LGs). The three major genes were mapped on LG10, 15, and 17 on the apple genome, respectively, by linkage analysis of flesh browning phenotypes and the genotypes of SSR markers. Two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flesh browning were mapped on LG15 of ‘Jonathan’ and LG17 of ‘Golden Delicious’, respectively, which are the same linkage groups that two major genes mapped on.

Free access

Head splitting resistance (HSR) in cabbage is an important trait closely related to appearance, yield, storability, and mechanical harvestability. In this study, a doubled haploid (DH) population derived from a cross between head splitting-susceptible inbred cabbage line 79-156 and resistant line 96-100 was used to analyze inheritance and detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for HSR during 2011–12 in Beijing, China. The analysis was performed using a mixed major gene/polygene inheritance method and QTL mapping. This approach, which uncovered no cytoplasmic effect, indicated that HSR can be attributed to additive-epistatic effects of three major gene pairs combined with those of polygenes. Major gene and polygene heritabilities were estimated to be 88.03% to 88.22% and 5.65% to 7.60%, respectively. Using the DH population, a genetic map was constructed with simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers anchored on nine linkage groups spanning 906.62 cM. Eight QTLs for HSR were located on chromosomes C4, C5, C7, and C9 based on 2 years of phenotypic data using both multiple-QTL mapping and inclusive composite interval mapping. The identified QTLs collectively explained 37.6% to 46.7% of phenotypic variation. Three or four major QTLs (Hsr 4.2, 7.2, 9.3, and/or 9.1) showing a relatively larger effect were robustly detected in different years or with different mapping methods. The HSR trait was shown to have a complex genetic basis. Results from QTL mapping and classical genetic analysis were consistent. Our results provide a foundation for further research on HSR genetic regulation and molecular marker-assisted selection (MAS) for HSR in cabbage.

Free access