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  • Author or Editor: Mark Rieger x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Growth, gas exchange, root hydraulic conductivity, and drought response of seedling and rooted cuttings of Lovell and Nemaguard peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch], and Carrizo (Poncirus trifoliata × Citrus sinensis) and sour orange (C. aurantium L.) citrus rootstocks were compared to determine the influence of propagation method on these characteristics. Rooted peach cuttings had a higher proportion of root biomass in fibrous roots (≤ mm in diameter) and lower root: shoot ratios than seedlings, although this did not occur in citrus. Net CO2 assimilation (A) was higher for peach seedlings than for cuttings, but similar for `Redhaven' (RH) scions on either seedling- or cutting-propagated rootstocks, suggesting that leaf-associated factors were responsible for differences. As in peach, A was higher for Carrizo seedlings than for cuttings, but A was not affected by propagation method in sour orange. Peach seedlings maintained higher A than cuttings as water potentials declined during short-term soil drying, although in citrus this occurred only for Carrizo. RH scions on either root type exhibited similar declines in A as soil dried, indicating the lack of a rootstock effect. Root hydraulic conductivity (Lp) was similar between seedlings and cuttings of all cultivars when expressed on a length basis. Leaf conductance and osmotic adjustment were similar for RH scions on seedling- or cutting-propogated rootstocks during 45 days of drought stress, indicating the lack of a rootstock effect on long-term stress response.

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Rooted cuttings of Nemaguard peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] were grown in 0.18-, 0.36-, 0.90-, and 2.40-liter containers for 16 weeks to study the influence of root confinement on growth, gas exchange, water uptake, and leaf carbohydrate and nutrient content. An automatic nutrient-solution dispensing system was used to ensure uniform fertility among treatments and to prevent drought stress. Leaf area and stem length were reduced by root confinement 6 to 7 weeks after transplanting, and differences among treatments increased throughout the experiment. Final tree dry weights were reduced by 51% over a 13-fold reduction in rooting volume, but dry weight partitioning was largely unaffected. A temporary limitation to CO2 assimilation (A) and leaf conductance (g) was observed just after budbreak, but consistent reductions in A and g for confined trees did not occur until after week 11. Sorbitol and starch accumulated earlier in leaves of trees in smaller containers than larger containers. Despite similar fertility, concentrations of all nutrients except N and Cu were reduced ≈2-fold for trees in 0.18-liter containers compared to other treatments. However, characteristics of nutrient deficiency were not observed on any trees, and growth reduction with no change in leaf nutrient content was observed in other treatments. It was concluded that the initial mechanisms limiting growth were not gas exchange rates, levels of nonstructural carbohydrates, or drought stress, although nutrient deficiency may have contributed to growth limitation in trees with severely confined root systems.

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The peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)] fruit is a sink organ comprised of different types of tissue, which undergoes three distinct developmental stages during the growth season. The objective of this study was to characterize the activity and partitioning of sorbitol and sucrose catabolism within `Encore' peach fruit to determine whether the two forms of translocated carbon play different roles in the various fruit tissues and/or stages of development. Sorbitol catabolic activity was defined as the sum of NAD-dependent sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) and sorbitol oxidase (SOX) activities, whereas sucrose catabolic activity was defined as the sum of sucrose synthase (SS), soluble acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) activities. Partitioning of sorbitol and sucrose catabolism in each tissue was calculated as percentage of total sorbitol or sucrose catabolic activity in the entire fruit. At cell division, sorbitol catabolic activity was similar in the endocarp and mesocarp, but lower in the seed. However, sorbitol catabolism was mostly partitioned into the mesocarp, due to its large size compared to that of other tissues. SDH was more active in the mesocarp, while SOX was more active in the endocarp. Sucrose catabolism was most active and partitioned mainly into the endocarp. At endocarp hardening, both sorbitol and sucrose catabolic activities were highest in the seed, but despite this, sucrose catabolism was partitioned mostly in the mesocarp. At cell expansion, sorbitol and sucrose catabolic activities were still higher in the seed only when expressed on a weight basis and similar in mesocarp and seed when expressed on a protein basis. Both sorbitol and sucrose catabolism were partitioned mostly into the mesocarp. Sorbitol and sucrose contents were generally higher in the tissues that exhibited lower catabolic activities. All carbohydrates were always partitioned mostly into the mesocarp. Our results show that, at the cell division and endocarp hardening stages, sorbitol and sucrose catabolism are partitioned differently in the fruit and that SDH activity may play an important role in mesocarp cell division and final fruit size determination.

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In peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)], both sorbitol and sucrose are used for source to sink carbon (C) transport, yet their specific functions in fruit growth and development remain unclear. Growth rate (GR), respiration rate (R), carbohydrate content, and the activities of sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), sorbitol oxidase (SOX), sucrose synthase (SS), acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) were determined in `Encore' peaches to study the specific functions of sorbitol and sucrose in each phase of fruit development (an early period of rapid cell division, a relatively inactive intermediate stage where endocarp (pit) hardening occurs, and a final swelling due to cell expansion). Fruit growth and respiration rates (mol C/fruit per day) were always positively correlated, but the growth coefficient (gc) relating them was significantly higher at cell division, when maintenance respiration (Rm) was nearly absent. Sorbitol and sucrose appeared to participate equally in growth and maintenance respiration. Contents of sorbitol and sucrose both correlated positively to GR, and their rates of accumulation increased from early to late growth stages in similar fashion. SDH activity was always positively correlated with sink strength and GR, but with R only at endocarp hardening (r = 0.632). SOX activity was also correlated with sink strength and GR in the early (r = 0.514 and 0.553) and late (r = 0.503 and 0.495) growth phases, but not at endocarp hardening, and was correlated with R in two of three growth phases. Among sucrose cleavage enzymes, AI activity was positively correlated with sink strength, GR, and R more strongly than the others (r = 0.51 to 0.80), but only in the cell division and cell expansion periods. SS activity was correlated with sink strength and R only at endocarp hardening, and NI activity was generally not correlated to sink strength, GR, or R. We conclude that sorbitol and sucrose play similar roles in fruit development, and the enzymes associated with their metabolism work in concert to produce the observed changes in growth and respiration.

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Abstract

Leaf water relations and soil-to-leaf resistance were studied in 3-month-old pecan [Carya illinoenis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] seedlings as soil dried progressively to minimum water potentials of −0.3, −0.6, and −1.1 MPa in three separate tests. Leaf conductance, transpiration, and predawn leaf water potential declined with increasing soil water deficits, and only predawn leaf water potential fully returned to pre-stress levels after rewatering. Reduced levels of leaf conductance following water stress were apparently caused by internal factors other than leaf water potential. Leaf conductance of well-watered seedlings decreased logarithmically and with increasing leaf-to-air vapor pressure gradient. Soil-to-leaf resistance to water flow varied diurnally and generally increased following water stress at minimum soil water potentials of −0.6 and −1.1 MPa. Osmotic adjustment and changes in the distribution of water between the apoplast and symplast in leaves did not occur in response to soil water potentials of −0.6 MPa.

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Illiciums, or star-anises, have increased in popularity in the nursery and landscape industries. However, confusion exists as to which taxa are tolerant of high light intensities during production and subsequent establishment in the landscape. We investigated the effect of two light intensity treatments, 45% and 100% full sunlight, on gas-exchange parameters of five Illicium taxa: Illicium anisatum L., I. floridanum Ellis. `Pebblebrook', I. henryi Diels., I. lanceolatum A.C. Sm., and I. parviflorum Michx. Ex. Vent. `Forest Green'. Light-response curves were determined for individual leaves, and mean response parameters calculated. Chlorophyll and total carotenoids were analyzed after extraction in acetone, with total chlorophyll also estimated with a SPAD chlorophyll meter. In general, highest rates of CO2 assimilation (Amax) and lowest rates of dark respiration (Rd) were found in the 45% light treatment for all taxa. Both Illicium anisatum and I. floridanum `Pebblebrook' had substantial reductions in Amax in 100% light, 94% and 81% respectively, compared to plants grown in the 45% light treatment. Illicium henryi failed to survive the 100% light treatment. Illicium lanceolatum and I. parviflorum `Forest Green' were least affected by the 100% light treatment. Severe photooxidative bleaching was noted and confirmed by SPAD and pigment data, although SPAD readings were a poor predictor of total chlorophyll. For taxa of Illicium in our study, photosynthetic gas-exchange parameters and foliage pigment characteristics were improved in the low light treatment, suggesting optimal growth occurs in shaded conditions.

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Terminal portions of `Flordaguard' peach roots [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] were divided into six segments and the activities of NAD+-dependent sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), sorbitol oxidase (SOX), sucrose synthase (SS), soluble acid invertase (AI), and soluble neutral invertase (NI) were measured in each segment 10, 15, and 20 days after seed germination. The same type of experiment was conducted with terminal portions of `Flordaguard' and `Nemaguard' peach shoots except that one of the six segments consisted of the leaflets surrounding the apex. Independent of the age of individual roots, activities of SDH and AI were consistently highest in the meristematic portion and decreased with tissue maturation. In shoots, AI was the most active enzyme in the elongating portion subtending the apex, whereas SDH was primarily associated with meristematic tissues. A positive correlation between SDH and AI activities was found in various developmental zones of roots (r = 0.96) and shoots (r = 0.90). Sorbitol and sucrose contents were low in roots regardless of distance from tip, while sucrose showed a decreasing trend with distance and sorbitol, fructose, and glucose increased with distance from the meristem in shoots. Activity of SDH in internodes, but not apices, correlated with shoot elongation rate of both cultivars, whereas activities of other enzymes did not correlate with shoot elongation rate. We conclude that AI and SDH are the predominant enzymes of carbohydrate catabolism and the best indicators of sink growth and development in vegetative sinks of peach.

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Sorbitol is the major photosynthetic product in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.]. In sink tissues, sorbitol is converted to fructose via NAD+-dependent SDH. A new procedure is described that allows rapid, simple quantification of SDH activity in growing tissues. The procedure uses only 0.01 to 5 g of fresh tissue per sample, such that a single shoot tip, a single root tip, or ≈5 g of fruit flesh can be assayed for SDH activity. Storage of samples at 4 or -20 °C overnight resulted in significant loss of enzyme activity. Thus, freshly harvested tissues were ground with sand in buffer at 2 °C in a mortar and pestle, and the homogenate was centrifuged at 3000 g n to remove particulate matter and sand. The supernatant was desalted on a Sephadex G-25 column, and the eluent was assayed for SDH activity immediately. Activity was determined by measuring the production of NADH per minute in the assay mixture using a spectrophotometer (340 nm). Tris buffer at pH 9.0 was the best for extraction of peach SDH. Activity of SDH was strongly inhibited by dithiothreitol (DTT) in the extraction mixture and by DTT, L-cysteine, or SDI-158 in the assay mixture, similar to results reported for SDH from mammalian tissues. Peach SDH has a Km of 37.7 mm for sorbitol and a pH optimum of 9.5, similar to those reported for apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) SDH. Unlike older protocols for SDH activity in plant tissues, the new procedure features reduced sample size (1/10 to 1/100 of that which was previously used), smaller volumes of buffer, fewer buffer ingredients, greatly reduced time for sample preparation, yet comparable or higher values of SDH specific activity. Following the same procedure, SDH activity was also measured in Prunus fremontii Wats., Prunus ilicifolia (Nutt.) Walp., and Marianna 2624 plum (P. cerasifera Ehrh. × P. munsoniana Wight & Hedr.).

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Fruiting and nonfruiting `Washington' peach trees were grown in 2.4 (small) or 9-liter (large) containers to determine the influence of root confinement and fruiting on vegetative growth, fruit growth and quality, CO, assimilation (A), and carbohydrate content. Shoot length, fruit diameter, A, and leaf carbohydrates were measured weekly. Thirteen weeks after transplanting, trees were divided into roots, shoots, leaves, and fruit for dry weight measurement. The dry weight of all organs except fruit was reduced by root confinement, and only the weight of stems formed the previous season was not reduced by fruiting. Fruit dry weight was 30.0 g/tree for large- and small-container treatments, causing the yield efficiency (g fruit/g total dry wt) to be 50% higher for confined trees. Fruit red color, weight, and diameter were unaffected by root confinement, but higher flesh firmness and a more green ground color of the fruit surface from root-confined trees suggested that confinement delayed maturity. Vegetative growth was not reduced by lack of nonstructural carbohydrates in confined trees. A was reduced by root confinement on only the first of 11 measurement dates, whereas fruiting increased A on 5 of 8 measurement dates before fruit harvest. Fruit removal reduced A by 23% and 31% for nonconfined and confined trees, respectively, within 48 h of harvest. Leaf starch, sucrose, sorbitol, and total carbohydrate levels were negatively correlated with A when data were pooled, but inconsistent responses of A to carbohydrate content indicated that factors other than feedback inhibition were also responsible for the reduction in A on nonfruited trees. We hypothesized that a physiological signal originating in roots of confined trees reduced vegetativegrowth without reducing fruit growth.

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Container-grown Viburnum plicatum Thunb. var. tomentosum (Thunb.) Miq. `Mariesii' were planted in unamended planting holes, tilled plots, and tilled plots amended with aged pine bark. A 36-day drought was initiated 108 days after planting. Amending induced N deficiencies, reduced shoot growth, and increased root growth. Plants harvested from tilled and planting-hole plots at drought initiation had 63% and 68% more dry weight, respectively, than plants from amended plots. Between 8 and 19 days after drought (DAD) initiation, plants from tilled plots maintained higher relative leaf water content (RLWC) than plants from planting holes. Plants in amended plots maintained higher RLWC than both other treatments between 7 and 33 DAD. Amended and tilled treatments had higher relative leaf expansion rates (RLERs) than the planting-hole treatment 8, 11, 13, and 15 DAD. As the drought lengthened, plants in amended plots maintained higher RLERs than plants in tilled plots. While plants in pine bark-amended plots were more drought tolerant than those in tilled plots, it is unclear if increased drought tolerance was caused by the improved rooting environment or N deficiency.

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