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  • Author or Editor: John A. Juvik x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea ssp. italica) is a rich source of glucosinolates (GSs), phytochemicals that are hydrolyzed into isothiocyanates with known human anticarcinogenic bioactivity. Increasing dietary intake of the element selenium (Se) can also reduce the risk of cancer. Previous research reported that Se fertilization at high concentrations reduces the concentration of GSs in brassicaceous plants. This research was conducted to determine the effect of Se fertilization on accumulation of different types of GSs in broccoli floret tissues in five genotypes. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA), an elicitor known to stimulate biosynthesis of indolyl GSs, was used to analyze changes in biosynthetic capability of indolyl GSs in broccoli floret tissue under Se-enriched conditions. Five broccoli genotypes were subjected to root fertilization with low and high levels of Na2SeO4 solutions (0.17 and 5.2 mm), MeJA sprays to aerial portions of the plants (250 μM), and the combined treatment of 5.2 mm Se with 250 μM MeJA, respectively. The effect of Se fertilization on GS accumulation varied among genotypes and the level of Se fertilization. Variation in the level of Se fertilization resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in glucoraphanin concentrations with no significant effect on indolyl GS accumulation in broccoli florets across the five genotypes. MeJA treatment increased indolyl and aromatic GS accumulation in floret tissues. MeJA-mediated increases in these GSs were inhibited in the high Se fertilization treatment, but the increase in neoglucobrassicin concentrations was less affected than other GSs in florets across the five genotypes. An experiment conducted with 6-week-old broccoli plants under the high Se treatment demonstrated greater accumulation of Se with depressed accumulation of sulfur and complete inhibition of MeJA-mediated indolyl GS accumulation compared with those changes in florets of mature broccoli plants. These results suggest that GS accumulation under Se fertilization may be influenced by not only the level of Se fertilization, but also the differences in sizes of available pools of resources (sulfur and sulfur-containing amino acids) required for GS biosynthesis and accumulation in broccoli plants. Partitioning of the variance indicated that the existence of substantial variability in GS concentrations was primarily attributed to differences in genotype response across different treatments. Results suggest that cultivar selection and breeding of broccoli can be used to develop broccoli germplasm with enhanced capacity for Se uptake and stability of GS biosynthesis with varying Se fertilization.

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A single-kernel, sugar analysis technique was used to study the genetic relationship between morphological and metabolic traits previously associated with expression of the sugary enhancer (se) endosperm mutation in a su-1 sweet corn (Zea mays L.) background. Analysis of sucrose and total carotene content in su-1 kernel populations segregating for se showed that light-yellow kernel color was a reliable phenotypic indicator for kernels homozygous for the se gene. High levels of kernel maltose was not always indicative of su-1 se kernels in mature (55 days after pollination) kernel populations. Characteristic high levels of percent moisture in su-1 se kernels at 28 and 35 days post-pollination were identified as an expression of high sugar content. Kernels homozygous for su-1 se were also found to weigh less at maturity than su-1 Se kernels, and se was found to be partially expressed in a heterozygous condition.

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Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) has been identified as the compound responsible for the characteristic aroma of cooked sweet corn (Zea mays L.) and, along with sugar and water-soluble polysaccharides, is one of the main flavor components in the kernels. Because of the close relationship between DMS and its amino acid precursor S-methylmethionine, the premise was formulated that it might be possible to improve sweet corn aroma and overall eating quality through enhanced production of DMS from increased application of N and S to the crop in the field. Studies were conducted on a Plainfield sand and a Flanagan silt loam to evaluate the effects of N and S fertilization on kernel DMS production in several commercial sh2 hybrids; in the process, the effect of N and S fertilization on various yield and yield component parameters was also determined. Hybrid was the main factor affecting kernel DMS production, although in both soils kernel DMS levels were influenced by significant interactions between hybrid and fertilizer treatments. Kernel DMS content, in response to increasing N fertilization rates, increased by an average of 85% in three of six hybrids in the Plainfield sand and by 60% in two of three hybrids in the Flanagan silt loam. The effect of S fertilization on kernel DMS production was small, with only one hybrid on the sandy soil showing a positive response (38%) to S application, and then in combination with high N rates. Irrespective of N-S fertilization regime, kernel DMS concentrations decreased at both locations by an average of ≈8.5% per day as kernel maturity increased. The results showed that kernel DMS production may be enhanced by N nutrition, independent of N fertilization effects on ear and kernel yields.

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Ten cycles of simple mass selection for increased field emergence and kernel weight in a population of shrunken2 (sh2) maize affected various kernel and seedling traits. Ten of 29 variables measured were intercorrelated and were included in the first principal factor of a principal component, factor analysis. The eight variables in factor 1 that increased with cycles of selection were: emergence and kernel weight (the two selection criteria) plant height 41 days after planting (a measure of seedling vigor), uniformity of stand, total starch content per kernel total carbohydrate content per kernel, concentration of starch, and starch content per kernel. The two variables in factor 1 that decreased were: conductivity of electrolytes that leached from imbibing seeds and symptomatic infection of kernels by fungi. Factor 1 was a “seed and seedling quality” factor. The other 19 variables formed five principal factors that primarily were “sugar,” “pericarp,” and “asymptomatic fungal infection” factors. These five factors and the variables from which they were formed, were not affected by selection. These results suggest that seed and seedling quality factors can be improved by selection in a sh2 population without affecting sweetness or tenderness. These results also suggest that although selection for increased emergence and kernel weight lowered the incidence of symptomatic infection by fungi, the population was not improved specifically for resistance to Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon.

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Extensive variability was found among 24 currently available commercial sh2 hybrids of sweet corn (Zea mays L.) for yield and yield components, and for the chemical components of eating quality. The primary source of variation was explained by genotypic differences, with the environmental effects due to planting locations having a minor influence. Kernel sugar concentrations, however, had a highly significant level of genotype by environment interaction. The extensive genotypic variability among the sh2 hybrids indicated that allelic variation at other loci is profoundly influencing sucrose and total sugar levels in freshly harvested sweet corn. In each case, the kernel chemical components of quality decreased from 20 to 29 days after pollination (DAP). Mean performance of sh2 hybrids for yield, yield components, and kernel quality parameters was in all cases equal or better than the hybrids homozygous for the su1 endosperm mutation. In addition, there were no strong negative relationships between yield and some of the important chemical components of kernel quality, suggesting that it may be feasible to develop superior sh2 hybrids with acceptable yield potential and improved eating quality targeted for the different sweet corn markets.

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Metabolic characteristics of developing sugary-l maize (Zea mays L.) endosperms were investigated. In the later stages of development (>30 days postpollination), sugary-1 kernels maintained higher levels of many enzyme activities and retained more moisture than normal kernels. Higher enzyme activities were attributed to moisture retention and were not associated with any increase in dry weight accumulation. Of enzyme activities measured at 20 days postpollination, that of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase was higher in sugary-1 kernels than in normal, whereas total amylase, a-amylase, and pullulanase activities were lower. Experiments testing the effects of zero, one, two, and three doses of the sugary-1 gene in OH43 endosperms indicated that the sugary-1 phenotype was not expressed until three doses of the sugary-1 gene were present. Decreased activities of amylases, but not of pullulanase, were attributed to an interference in detection by phytoglycogen. Increased ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase activity is attributed to a response by the maize endosperm cells to increased sucrose concentrations.

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Ten broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Botrytis Group)] accessions were grown in several environments to estimate glucosinolate (GS) variability associated with genotype, environment, and genotype × environment interaction and to identify differences in the stability of GSs in broccoli florets. Significant differences in genetic variability were identified for aliphatic GSs but not for indolyl GSs. The percentage of GS variability attributable to genotype for individual aliphatic compounds ranged from 54.2% for glucoraphanin to 71.0% for progoitrin. For total indolyl GSs, the percentage of variability attributable to genotype was only 12%. Both qualitative and quantitative differences in GSs were detected among the genotypes. Ten-fold differences in progoitrin, glucoraphanin, and total aliphatic GS levels were observed between the highest and lowest genotypes. Only two lines, Eu8-1 and VI-158, produced aliphatic GSs other than glucoraphanin in appreciable amounts. Differences in stability of these compounds among the cultivars were also observed between fall and spring plantings. Results suggest that genetic factors necessary for altering the qualitative and quantitative aliphatic GS profiles are present within existing broccoli germplasm, which makes breeding for enhanced cancer chemoprotectant activity feasible.

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This study was conducted to identify the chromosomal location and magnitude of effect of quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling sweet corn (Zea mays L.) stand establishment and investigate the impact of dry kernel characteristics on seedling emergence under field conditions. Genetic and chemical analysis was performed on two F2:3 populations (one homozygous for su1 and segregating for se1, the other homozygous for sh2 endosperm carbohydrate mutations) derived from crosses between parental inbreds that differed in field emergence and kernel chemical composition. A series of restriction fragment-length polymorphism (RFLP) and phenotypic markers distributed throughout the sweet corn genome were used to construct a genetic linkage map for each population. F2:3 families from the two populations were evaluated for seedling emergence and growth rate at four locations. Mature dry kernels of each family were assayed for kernel chemical and physiological parameters. Composite interval analysis revealed significant QTL associations with emergence and kernel chemical and physiological variables. Improved emergence was positively correlated with lower seed leachate conductivity, greater embryo dry weight, and higher kernel starch content. QTL affecting both field emergence and kernel characteristics were detected in both populations. In the su1 se1 population genomic regions significantly influencing emergence across all four environments were found associated with the se1 gene on chromosome 2 and the RFLP loci php200020 on chromosome 7 and umc160 on chromosome 8. In the sh2 population the RFLP loci umc131 on chromosome 2 and bnl9.08 on chromosome 8 were linked to QTL significantly affecting emergence. Since seedling emergence and kernel sugar content have been shown to be negatively correlated, undesirable effects on sweet corn eating quality associated with each emergence QTL is discussed. Segregating QTL linked to RFLP loci in these populations that exert significant effects on the studied traits are candidates for molecular marker-assisted selection to improve sweet corn seed quality.

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