Stomatal density of pods and leaves were determined for six commercial snap bean cultivars (Phaseolus vulgaris L. `Evergreen', `Hystyle', Labrador', `Tenderlake', `Top Crop', and `Venture') grown at three planting dates, in an attempt to find morphological traits that could be related to cultivar differences in pod Ca concentration. Snap beans were planted three times at ≈1-week intervals beginning 15 June 1995, and harvested 59 to 62 days after planting. Stomatal counts were performed using a microscope linked to a video camera, and Ca concentration determinations were made using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Calcium concentration and stomatal density of leaf tissue was higher than that of pods. Cultivar differences for pod Ca concentration (P = 0.001) and stomatal density (P = 0.001) were observed although cultivars with higher pod stomatal density did not necessarily result in higher pod Ca concentration. Calcium concentration and stomatal density for leaves did not differ among cultivars. Stomatal density and Ca concentration of pods were positively correlated (R2 = 0.37), while pod maturity was negatively associated to both pod Ca concentration (R2 = 0.93), and pod stomatal density (R2 = 0.99). The effect of planting dates was absent in pod Ca concentration and significant in pod stomatal density.
To understand the genetics that control pod Ca concentration in snap beans, two snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) populations consisting of 60 genotypes, plus 4 commercial cultivars used as checks, were evaluated during Summers 1995 and 1996 at Hancock, Wis. These populations were CA2 (`Evergreen' × `Top Crop') and CA3 (`Evergreen' × `Slimgreen'). The experimental design was an 8×8 double lattice repeated each year. No Ca was added to the plants grown in a sandy loam soil with 1% organic matter and an average of 540 ppm Ca. To ensure proper comparison for pod Ca concentration among cultivars, only commercial sieve size no. 4 pods (a premium grade, 8.3 to 9.5 mm in diameter) were sampled and used for Ca extractions. After Ca was extracted, readings for Ca concentration were done via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. In both populations, genotypes and years differed for pod Ca concentration (P = 0.001). Several snap bean genotypes showed pod Ca concentrations higher than the best of the checks. Overall mean pod Ca concentration ranged from a low of 3.82 to a high of 6.80 mg·g-1 dry weight. No differences were detected between the populations. Significant year×genotype interaction was observed in CA2 (P = 0.1), but was not present in CA3. Population variances proved to be homogeneous. Heritability for pod Ca concentration ranged from 0.48 (CA2) to 0.50 (CA3). Evidently enhancement of pod Ca concentration in beans can successfully be accomplished through plant breeding.
Two commercial snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars (Hystyle and Labrador) that differ in pod Ca concentration were grown aeroponically to assess physiological factors associated with these differences. Xylem flow rate, Ca absorbed, and Ca concentration in sieve sap and pods (all and commercial size no. 4) were measured. Flow rate, Ca absorption and pod Ca concentration, but not sap Ca concentration, differed between cultivars, and this suggests that genetic variability in pod Ca concentration is caused mainly by differences in flow rate, rather than differences in sap Ca concentration. `Hystyle' showed 1.6 times greater flow rate, 1.5 times greater pod Ca concentration, and 1.7 times greater Ca absorbed than `Labrador'. Flow rate correlated positively with Ca absorbed (R = 0.90), Ca concentration in pods of size no. 4 (R = 0.55), and total pods (R = 0.65). Plant maturity influenced sap Ca concentration and Ca translocated increased as plant matured. These results provide evidence that flow rate differences may cause variability for pod Ca concentration in snap beans.