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  • Author or Editor: He Li x
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Kalmia latifolia L. (mountain laurel), a member of Ericaceae, is a beautiful ornamental shrub native to the eastern United States. The plant is not common in the southeastern United States landscapes because of the limited heat tolerance of most commercial cultivars. Breeding of heat-tolerant cultivars can be achieved by cross hybridization, but is often challenged by low germination percentage, long germination time, and potential abortion of cross-hybridized seeds. We used in vitro seed germination to enhance germination and shorten germination time and investigated the appropriate collecting time, optimal basal medium, and pH for this approach. Collecting time affected in vitro seed germination, with more mature hybrid seeds [collected 4–5 months after pollination (MAP)] having higher germination rate (90% in 4 weeks) than the less mature seeds collected in 2 MAP (20% in 7 weeks). Seedlings from the mature seeds also produced two true leaves on average after 8 weeks of culture, whereas seedlings from the less mature seeds had no true leaves. Woody Plant Medium (WPM) better enhanced in vitro seed germination compared with Murashige and Skoog (MS) or Gamborg’s B5 (B5) medium. WPM yielded higher germination (98%) than MS (90%) and significantly greater total leaf area per seedling (67 mm3) than MS (50 mm3) and B5 (52 mm3) for seeds of ‘Firecracker’ × ‘Snowdrift’. Similar effects had been observed on seeds from ‘Little Linda’ × ‘Starburst’ and ‘Pristine’ × ‘Peppermint’. The pH ranging from 4.2 to 5.4 did not affect seed germination and seedling development of mountain laurel hybrids. Our protocol enabled early collection of mountain laurel hybrid seeds 1 month before their full maturation and permitted seeds to germinate in 4 weeks on WPM, which shortened the period from crossing to the seedling stage from up to 15 to 6 months and enhanced germination percentage from 30% to more than 90% compared with traditional seed germination. This protocol should be applied to promote the breeding and selection of new mountain laurel cultivars for the southeastern United States landscapes.

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A nondestructive method for the determination of chlorophyll index for the tea plant based on reflectance spectral characteristics was investigated. Spectral data were collected from 184 samples with a spectroradiometer in a field experiment. Multivariate analysis techniques, including partial least squares (PLS) and multiple linear regression (MLR), were used for developing calibration models for the determination of chlorophyll index of the tea plant. The best calibration model was achieved using the PLS technique with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.95, a se of prediction of 3.40, and a bias of 1.9e−06. When the model was used for predicting the unknown samples, good performance was also obtained with r of 0.91, se of calibration of 4.77, and bias of 0.02. Sensitive wavelengths were selected through loading analysis of latent variables in the optimal PLS model, and the validity of these wavelengths was proved by MLR and statistical analysis. Three fingerprint wavelengths (488, 695, and 931 nm) were determined and could potentially be used for developing a simple, low-cost, and efficient instrument for the measurement of chlorophyll index. The results proved the feasibility of reflectance spectra for measurement of chlorophyll index of the tea plant.

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Cold hardiness evaluation is important for screening woody species in cold areas. We compared cold hardiness by estimating the 50% lethal temperature (LT50) using electrolyte leakage test (ELLT50) and triphenyltetrazolium chloride test (TTCLT50) for 26 woody species in the Bashang region of China. One-year-old shoots were collected in January and exposed to five subfreezing temperatures in a programmable temperature and humidity chamber. LT50 was estimated by fitting relative electrolyte leakage and percentage of dead tissue against test temperature. For all tested species, triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining of the pith was weak and the cambium TTCLT50 was lower than the extreme minimum temperature (−37 °C) recorded in the region. The cambium TTCLT50 and the sd were lower than that for the phloem and xylem. The phloem TTCLT50 was lower than the xylem TTCLT50, and the two sds were similar. The ELLT50 showed no significant correlation with any TTCLT50. For most species, the ELLT50 was higher than the cambium and phloem TTCLT50 and was not significant different with the xylem TTCLT50. The ELLT50 showed higher sd than any tissue TTCLT50. Based on results obtained in this study, when choosing cold hardiness of single stem tissue as an indicator for screening woody species, the xylem should be considered first, followed by the phloem; the cambium and pith were unsuitable. The cold hardiness estimated by ELLT50 was more suitable as indicator for screening woody species than that of stem tissue in winter estimated by TTCLT50.

Open Access
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We quantitatively assessed the effects of a six-session edible horticultural therapy (EHT) program on long-term-hospitalized (LTH) female patients with schizophrenia. A total of 60 patients were enrolled in the project and randomly divided into an experimental group (30 patients, received EHT) and a control group (30 patients, did not receive EHT). The two groups were evaluated before and after EHT using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Chinese version Scale of Social Functioning for Psychotic Inpatients (SSFPI), and the Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA). The clinical symptoms of patients with schizophrenia improved significantly and they recovered social function, but there was no significant change in life satisfaction. In the control group, clinical symptoms recovered but there was no improvement in social function and life satisfaction significantly decreased. In addition, patients in the EHT group expressed satisfaction with the program. In conclusion, EHT can improve the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia and promote recovery of social function; however, its impact on life satisfaction remains unclear.

Open Access

Walnut, a woody plant, is regarded as having difficulty rooting when propagated by vegetative methods, such as cutting and layering. A layering experiment was conducted in 2018 and 2022. In 2018, some Juglans species, including J. regia L. seedling (JR), J. regia cv. Liaoning 1 (JR LN1), J. hopeinesis Hu seedling (JH), J. mandshurica Maxim seedling (JM), and J. nigra L. seedling (JN), were the mother plants. The specific research hypotheses were that own-rooted walnut propagule could be obtained through layering. the rooting capacity of different Juglans species would be different, and the rooting ability of JN would be the highest among the samplings. The results indicated that all of these species in the experiment could be rooted by etiolation and indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) treatment and that root occurrence was found 6 to 7 weeks after IBA treatment. The layers (shoots from the mother plant) on the seedlings of JR, JH, and JM obtained rooting percentages (RP) of 75.55%, 84.45%, and 86.67%, respectively, and root numbers (RNs) of 21.8, 42.8, and 38.8, respectively, after 20 days of etiolation and 1% IBA treatment. JR LN1 had difficulty rooting in equal conditions and had a RP of 31.11%. In 2022, JR LN1 was the only mother plant and the IBA concentration was increased to obtain satisfactory RP and RN. With the 4% and 8% IBA treatments, RPs of 88.9% and 93.3% and RNs of 40.3 and 27.7, respectively, were achieved. During the experiment, the RP, RN, root length (RL), and root diameter (RD), as well as the layer height (LH) and layer diameter (LD), were investigated and evaluated. Layers with low vigor were more likely to root, as shown by a nonparametric test conducted for the height and diameter of the layers of the rooting and nonrooting groups. A significantly negative correlation (r = −0.548) was observed between RN and LH. Moreover, the quality of the best results of JR LN1 layering propagule and that with ‘liaoning 1’ 1-year-old seedling were compared. Our results provide more support for the possibility of vegetative propagation of walnut by layering and more information regarding the clonal cultivation of walnut trees and the own-rooted seedling establishment of walnut cultivars.

Open Access

Leaf stomata are the main channels for water loss of plants including cut flowers. In this study, we investigated the organographic distribution, morphological characteristics, light–dark response, and water loss contribution of stomata in cut carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus L. ‘Master’), which are prone to typical water deficits despite a few and small leaves. Stomata were observed in the upper and lower leaf epidermis, stem surface, abaxial bract epidermis, and abaxial sepal epidermis. Stomatal density (SD) on the stem surface was the highest and significantly greater than that on the upper and lower leaf and abaxial bract epidermis. The sepal epidermis had the lowest SD and the smallest stomata whereas the upper leaf epidermis had the largest stomata. Changes in the water loss rate increased in the light and decreased in the dark in both intact and leaves-removed cut carnations. The water loss rate of the former was greater than that of the latter. However, the water loss rate for the stem-only cut carnations had weak change rhythms and was much lower than that for the intact and leaves-removed cut carnations. These findings demonstrate the differential contributions of stomata in leaves, stems, and floral organs to water loss, and help to elucidate further the mechanism underlying postharvest water deficit in cut carnations.

Open Access

The addition of pulverized grape pruning wood to grape soils has a positive effect on fruit quality. However, its effects on the soil microecology of the root zone and the growth of the grape plants are not fully understood. To address this, ‘Shine Muscat’ grapes were cultivated in media consisting of garden soil and crushed grape pruning material at different mass ratios [100:1 (T1), 50:1 (T2), 30:1 (T3), 20:1 (T4), and 10:1 (T5)] and in garden soil without the pruning material, as a control. The changes in the plant fresh weight, leaf area, soil and plant analyzer development (SPAD) value, root development, soil organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, and soil enzyme activity were determined over time. High-throughput sequencing technology was used to determine the soil bacterial community structures. The pruning supplementation increased the grape plants fresh weight, leaf area, and SPAD values. The T2 and T3 treatments increased the grape root length, surface area, and the projected area and number of the root tips; the soil organic carbon content, microbial biomass carbon content, soil invertase activity, amylase activity, and β-glucosidase activity were also significantly increased. The addition of the grape pruning material was found to increase the bacterial diversity and richness 60 and 150 days after treatment. At the phylum level, Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria were the dominant groups, and the grape pruning material increased the relative abundance of the Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria after 60 and 150 days. The relative abundance of the Actinobacteria in the T2 treatment was 1.7, 1.3, 1.5, and 1.3 times that of the control, after 60, 90, 120, and 150 days, respectively. The T2 treatment was identified as the optimal treatment for grapes in the field because it improved the soil microecology and promoted root and tree development the most compared with the other treatments tested.

Open Access

Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo is a famous traditional Chinese medicinal plant. It produces various phytochemicals, particularly polysaccharides, which have nutraceutical and pharmaceutical values. To increase its biomass production and polysaccharide content, our breeding program has generated a series of polyploid cultivars through colchicine treatment of protocorm-like bodies (PLBs). The present study compared two tetraploid cultivars, 201-1-T1 and 201-1-T2, with their diploid parental cultivar, 201-1, in an established in vitro culture system. Tetraploid ‘201-1-T1’ and ‘201-1-T2’ had shorter leaves and shorter and thicker stems and roots, and they produced higher biomass compared with the diploid cultivar. The length and width of stomata significantly increased, but stomatal density decreased in tetraploid cultivars. The PLB induction rates from the stem node explants of the tetraploid cultivars were significantly higher than those of diploid. However, the PLB proliferation of tetraploids was lower than that of the diploid. The mean number of plantlets regenerated from tetraploid PLBs was also lower than that of the diploid after 4 months of culture. Polysaccharide contents in stems, leaves, and roots of 6-month-old tetraploid plantlets were significantly higher than those of diploids. The polysaccharide content in the stem of ‘201-1-T1’ was 12.70%, which was a 2-fold increase compared with the diploid cultivar. Our results showed that chromosome doubling could be a viable way of improving D. officinale in biomass and polysaccharide production.

Free access

The procedure for Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’ propagation was investigated, which involves shoot regeneration, rooting of regenerated shoots, and acclimation of regenerated plantlets. Petioles, as explants, were cultured on MS medium supplemented with 1-naphthylacetic acid (NAA), benzylaminopurine (BA), thidiazuron (TDZ) and callus formed on all media. Shoots were observed to proliferate from callus on media with BA and NAA, whereas no shoots regenerated on media with TDZ and NAA. On media containing 0.5 or 1.0 mg·L−1 BA in combination with NAA, the regenerated shoots showed severe hyperhydricity, whereas on media containing 0.1 mg·L−1 BA in combination with NAA, the regenerated shoots grew normally. The highest shoot induction rate, 90.6%, was obtained on media containing 0.1 mg·L−1 BA and 0.01 mg·L−1 NAA. The effects of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), and NAA on rooting of H. villosa ‘Caramel’ was explored. The highest rooting rate (95%) was obtained on 1/2 MS medium containing 0.2 mg·L−1 NAA. In the subsequent acclimation experiments, about 85% of rooted plantlets survived and grew normally.

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