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  • Author or Editor: Madhulika Sagaram x
  • HortScience x
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Pecan is a riparian species distributed over an area of geographic and climatic variation; such a wide distribution produces exposure to varied environmental conditions, providing a potential for genetic adaptation within the cultivars. Genotypes can be screened in order to obtain more drought tolerant cultivars using indirect screening parameters (chlorophyll fluorescence, osmotic adjustment, and abscisic acid assay) based on physiological responses of plants to abiotic stress conditions. A study was established at Texas A&M University, College Station, using a mixture of fritted clay (Quick dry) and pure sand in 1:1 (by weight) ratio to study the effects of drought on pecan rootstocks. The experiment was set up with the three water potential levels as treatments (–0.033 MPa, –0.1 MPa, –0.3 MPa) in a randomized complete-block design with three blocks. Measurements will include leaf water relations (relative water content, leaf water potential, osmotic adjustments, etc.), gas exchange parameters [net carbon dioxide assimilation rate (A), transpiration rate (E), stomatal conductance (gs)], chlorophyll fluorescence measurements [minimum (Fo), maximum (Fm), and variable fluorescence (Fv), quantum efficiency], water use efficiency, and abscisic acid assay on roots. Statistical analysis systems (SAS) package will be used for analysis. PROC GLM of the SAS will be used for statistical analysis of study involving plant response to water potential levels.

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An assessment of anatomical traits of pecan cultivars (`Pawnee', `Mohawk', and `Starking hardy giant') collected from three locations (Tifton, Ga.; Chetopa, Kans.; and Stillwater, Okla.) was conducted at Texas A&M University. The objective of the study was to provide an understanding of patterns of geographic variation within the natural range for anatomical (stomatal density, stomatal index, and epidermal cell density) traits. Microscopy using acetate casts was used as the means to investigate the patterns of variation in the epidermal characteristics of pecan leaf. `Starking hardy giant' had the greatest number of stomates/cm2 (46,229, 47,807, and 45,990 at Tifton, Chetopa, and Stillwater, respectively) while `Mohawk' had the least (37,397, 36,217, and 35,305). `Pawnee' had the greatest number of epidermal cells/cm2 (251,806, 250,098 and 254,883 at Tifton, Chetopa, and Stillwater, respectively) while `Starking hardy giant' had the least (141,699, 138,405, and 142,155). Differences in stomatal index were observed between the three cultivars at Tifton and Stillwater. No differences in stomatal index were observed between `Pawnee' and `Mohawk' at Chetopa. The study showed that stomatal density as well as epidermal cell density of all the tested cultivars were significantly different (P < 0.05) at a particular location but no differences were observed in a given cultivar grown at different locations.

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