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  • Author or Editor: Renée L. Eriksen x
  • HortScience x
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After a preliminary screening of over 3500 cultivars, we selected 200 butterhead, cos, crisphead, leaf, and stem lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and wild prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) varieties to test under high water (150% evapotranspiration [ET]) and low water (50% ET) conditions in the field, and tracked commercially relevant traits related to growth and marketability, maturity, and physiology. Plants typically reduced growth and appeared to reallocate developmental resources to achieve maturity quickly, as indicated by traits such as increased core length. This strategy may allow them to complete their life cycle before severe drought stress proves lethal. Although most cultivars experienced a reduction in growth under low water conditions relative to high water conditions, some cultivars had a significantly reduced yield penalty under stress conditions. Among the different types of lettuce, the fresh weight (FW) of cos cultivars was most affected by drought stress, and the FW of leaf lettuce was least affected. Cos cultivars tended to bolt early. Crisphead cultivars Cal-West 80, Heatmaster, and Marion produced large heads and did not bolt under low water treatments, and butterhead cultivars Buttercrunch and Bibb also produced relatively large heads with very little bolting and no signs of tipburn. The four green leaf cultivars Slobolt, Grand Rapids, Western Green, and Australian showed no statistically significant difference in FW among high and low water treatments in multiple trials, and may be good choices for growers who wish to minimize losses under reduced irrigation. The identification of potentially drought-tolerant varieties and the information from this study may be helpful for cultivar selection by growers under drought conditions, but this study also serves as a step forward in the genetic improvement of lettuce to drought stress.

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The Pacific Northwest grows the majority of hops in the United States; however, the region is experiencing an increase in the number of days with high heat. In addition, there is an increased interest in growing hops in other warmer regions of the United States. To understand how hop plants respond to high temperatures, we measured several physiological traits of six hop cultivars under a range of temperatures from 15 to 45 °C. We found that hop plants achieved maximal carbon assimilation at temperatures of 21 to 39 °C when given sufficient water. At temperatures of 41 °C and higher, all cultivars experienced declines in carbon assimilation. This was likely due to multiple effects on the cell, including damage to photosystem II (PSII), as reflected in declines in FV/FM, damage to membrane integrity as reflected in electrolyte leakage at high temperatures, and declines in Rubisco activity likely due to degradation of Rubisco activase, as reflected in declines in V c,max . ‘Cascade’, ‘Willamette’, and ‘Southern Brewer’ may be good candidates for growing in warm climates because all experience relatively high rates of carbon assimilation at high temperatures and did not experience significant declines in FV/FM or increases in electrolyte leakage. ‘Chinook’ appeared susceptible to extreme heat stress and exhibited evidence of irreparable damage to PSII and membrane integrity at 45 °C.

Open Access