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  • Author or Editor: Yang Li x
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The Chinese Incense-cedar (Calocedrus macrolepis Kruz), an important wood and ornamental tree, is native to southwest China and also in northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. As a result of ecological degradation in these areas, Chinese Incense-cedar was considered a vulnerable species according to the criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. In the current report, we developed and characterized 13 novel microsatellite markers for this species using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats. Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 36 individuals from nine geographical populations. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to nine with an average of 6.08. The observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.0000 to 1.0000 and from 0.1549 to 0.8912 with averages of 0.6688 and 0.6815, respectively. Four of the 13 loci were significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for investigating genetic population structure and diversity to establish conservation strategy for this interesting and vulnerable species.

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The banana, a typical climacteric fruit, undergoes a postharvest ripening process followed by a burst in ethylene production that signals the beginning of the climacteric period. Postharvest ripening plays an important role in improving the quality of the fruit as well as limiting its shelf life. To investigate the role of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) in climacteric ethylene biosynthesis and fruit ripening in postharvest banana, a GAD gene was isolated from banana, designated MuGAD. Coincidently with climacteric ethylene production, MuGAD expression as well as the expression of the genes encoding the Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (MaACS1) and Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase (MaACO1) greatly increased during natural ripening and in ethylene-treated banana. Moreover, ethylene biosynthesis, ripening progress, and MuGAD, MaACS1, and MaACO1 expression were enhanced by exogenous ethylene application and inhibited by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Taken together, our results suggested that MuGAD is involved in the fruit ripening process in postharvest banana.

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Wintersweet is a woody ornamental plant and has a long history of human cultivation. Few molecular markers have been characterized and remain scant in wintersweet. This study aimed to mine simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the transcriptomic database of wintersweet. A total of 3972 SSRs and 97,060 putative SNPs/indels (92,307 SNPs and 4753 indels) were identified in this data set. This study marks the highest number of SSR and SNP markers discovered to date from wintersweet by using transcriptome sequencing data. These identified markers will provide a useful source for molecular genetic studies such as genetic diversity and characterization, association mapping, and map-based gene cloning in wintersweet.

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During the autumn/spring “off” season, yield and quality of tomatoes are often affected by insufficient CO2 and low light in greenhouse production. Although tomato is one of the most widely cultivated vegetables, few studies have investigated the interactive effects of supplementary light and CO2 enrichment on its growth, photosynthesis, yield, and fruit quality in greenhouse production. This study investigates the effects of supplementary light (200 ± 20 μmol·m–2·s–1) and CO2 enrichment (increases to about 800 μmol·mol–1), independently and in combination, on these parameters in autumn through spring tomato production. Compared with tomatoes grown under ambient CO2 concentrations and no supplementary light (CaLn), supplementary light (CaLs) and supplementary light and CO2 enrichment (CeLs) significantly promoted growth and dry weight accumulation. Meanwhile, CO2 enrichment (CeLn) and CaLs significantly improved photosynthetic pigment contents and net photosynthetic (Pn) rates, whereas CeLs further improved these and also increased water use efficiency (WUE). CeLn, CaLs, and CeLs significantly increased single fruit weight by 16.2%, 28.9%, and 36.6%, and yield per plant by 19.0%, 35.6%, and 60.8%, respectively. The effect of supplementary light on these parameters was superior to that of CO2 enrichment. In addition, CaLs and CeLs improved nutritional quality significantly. Taken together, CeLs promoted the greatest yield, WUE, and fruit quality, suggesting it may be a worthwhile practice for off-season tomato cultivation.

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This research was initiated to determine the response of apple (Malus ×domestica) fruit quality to sprays of zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) and sugar alcohol zinc. Two apple cultivars Fuji and Gala were evaluated, the leaf zinc (Zn) concentration of which were about 14.3 mg·kg−1 dry weight without Zn deficiency symptoms. The trees were sprayed with ZnSO4 and sugar alcohol zinc separately during four different developmental stages: 2 weeks before budbreak (P1), 3 weeks after bloom (P2), the termination of spring shoot growth (P3), and 4 weeks before harvest (P4). The fruit was harvested at maturity and analyzed for fruit quality and fruit Zn concentration. Zinc sprays during the four different developmental stages increased Zn concentration of peeled and washed fruit at harvest, without phytotoxicity. The treatments at stages P2 and P4 increased average fruit weight of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’, respectively. The treatments at stages P1 and P4 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Gala’, while the treatments at stages P1 and P2 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Fuji’. The treatments at stages P1, P2, and P4 increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Gala’ fruit, while the treatments at all the stages increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Fuji’. And the effects of sugar alcohol zinc were equal and more pronounced than those of ZnSO4. Thus, Zn sprays at critical periods can improve fruit quality of apple trees, which show no Zn deficiency symptoms with leaf Zn concentration less than 15 mg·kg−1 dry weight.

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As a wild apple species native to central Asia, Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem. is distributed in a wide region covering most of the Tienshan Mountains. Malus sieversii is a useful genetic pool for apple breeding since rich with diversity. In this paper, we first describe the species range of this endangered species. We then describe an in situ reserve that has been established. We also investigated some reproductive characteristics of M. sieversii including pollen germination, seed dormancy, and seed viability. Both stratification and seedcoat removal efficiently released seed dormancy and accelerated seed germination. Pollen germination rate is around 60%. Our data suggest that injurious insects and human activities, rather than reproductive characters, limit the renewal of M. sieversii.

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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seed oil has the potential for use as an edible oil and as a pharmaceutical, cosmetic, insecticidal, and industrial product. In this study, we investigated, for the first time, the effect of cultivar and season on seed number, oil content, and fatty acid profiles as well as their proportions in different cucumber cultivars. We examined the effects of spring and autumn seasons on seed oil content and fatty acid composition in 46 cucumber cultivars and one wild species of cucumber (C. anguria) grown in greenhouse experiments in 2013 and 2014. Seed oil was determined using the Soxhlet method and fatty acids using the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. Seed oil content in the cucumber seeds ranged from 41.07% in ‘Hazerd’ to 29.24% in ‘Lubao’ while C. anguria had 23.3%. Fatty acids detected were linoleic (C18:2), palmitic (C16:0), oleic (C18:1), stearic (C18:0), linolenic (C18:3), behenic (C22:0), arachidic C20:0), lignoceric (C24:0), eicosenoic (C20:1), palmitoleic (C16:1), and myristic (C14:0), among other unidentified fatty acids. The results showed significant effects of cultivar genotype, growing season, and interactions on the variables examined. The content of seed oil and fatty acids differed significantly among the cultivar genotypes. Spring-grown cucumbers had higher quantities of oil than the autumn-grown cucumbers. The content of fatty acids (mainly palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, eicosenoic, and lignoceric) also was higher in spring. In autumn there were more seeds, and higher linoleic, linolenic, and other unspecified fatty acids. The higher the oleic acid content the lower was the linoleic acid indicating a strong negative relationship in these two fatty acids. The higher the seed oil content the higher was linoleic and oleic indicating a positive relationship between the seed oil and the two fatty acids. Results of this study provide important information applicable in improving management and production of cucumber seed oil especially considering its versatility in uses. Furthermore, the wide range of fatty acids found in the studied cucumber cultivars could be used in the production of novel industrial oils through genetic engineering.

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs (20–25 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally. However, identification and characterization of miRNAs remain limited for conifer species. In this study, we applied transcriptome-wide miRNAs sequencing to a conifer species Platycladus orientalis, which is highly adaptable to a wide range of environmental adversities, including drought, barren soil, and mild salinity. A total of 17,181,542 raw reads were obtained from the Illumina sequencing platform; 31 conserved and 91 novel miRNAs were identified, and their unique characteristics were further analyzed. Ten randomly selected miRNAs were validated by quantificational real-time polymerase chain reaction. Through miRNA target predictions based on psRNATarget, 2331 unique mRNAs were predicted to be targets of P. orientalis miRNAs that involved in 187 metabolic pathways in KEGG database. These targets included not only important transcription factors (e.g., class III homeodomain leucine zipper targeted by por-miR166d) but also indispensable nontranscriptional factor proteins (i.e., por-miR482a-3p regulated nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeat protein). Interestingly, six miRNAs (por-miR16, -miR44, -miR60-5p, -miR69–3p, -miR166b-5p, and -miR395c) were found in adaptation-related pathways (e.g., drought), indicating their possible involved in this species’ stress-tolerance characteristics. The present study provided essential information for understanding the regulatory role of miRNAs in P. orientalis and sheds light on their possible use in tree improvement for stress tolerance.

Open Access

Water is essential for crops and plays a vital role in olive (Olea europaea) growth. Three irrigation treatments, rain-fed (CK), flood irrigation (FI), and drip irrigation (DI), were applied from late November to late May in a 2-year study (Nov. 2015 to Oct. 2017) on two olive cultivars, Coratina and Koroneiki. Shoot growth, flower and fruit characteristics, and olive and oil yields were measured. Compared with CK, FI had significantly higher values of vegetative growth, olive and oil yields, moisture content, and oil content. Although the fruit weight, pulp rate, and oil content with DI were the lowest, our results support that DI had the greatest positive effects on olive vegetative growth, flowers, fruit set, and olive and oil yields. It is suggested that DI in winter and spring is the best irrigation strategy for olive productivity in southwest China.

Open Access