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  • Author or Editor: Zhi Li x
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This study aimed to evaluate whether preharvest or postharvest application of glycine betaine (GB) has the potential to improve fruit quality [fruit firmness (FF), size, skin color, soluble solids content (SSC), and titratable acidity (TA)] and susceptibility to storage disorders (peduncle browning, pitting, and decay) in ‘Lapins’ or ‘Regina’ sweet cherries, and to determine whether factors such as application frequency or timing impacted the efficacy of GB spraying. Adding 2 or 4 g·L−1 GB to hydro-cooling water (0 °C) as postharvest treatment did not affect fruit size, skin color, SSC, TA, peduncle browning, or pitting development; however, it did result in fruit softening and a low incidence of decay. GB applied preharvest at 2 or 4 g·L−1 once at 1 week before harvest (1WBH) was more effective for retaining FF and less peduncle browning and pitting compared with postharvest treatment. Increasing the preharvest GB application frequency from one time (1WBH or pit hardening) to three times (pit hardening, straw color, and 1WBH) enhanced FF and TA levels and resulted in lower pitting. The reduction in fruit size was observed for ‘Regina’, but not for ‘Lapins’. Changes in the contents of phosphorous (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) were unaffected by GB at harvest, whereas three GB sprays increased the total nitrogen (N) content. Compared with ‘Lapins’, ‘Regina’ allowed more calcium (Ca) uptake by GB and ultimately had firmer flesh. In conclusion, three preharvest applications of 4 g·L−1 GB showed great potential to improve quality attributes, to reduce the susceptibility to storage disorders, and to increase the Ca content of ‘Regina’ cherries.

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Tree peony cultivars are usually classified according to flower characteristics (flower form and flower color) which are commonly affected by environmental influences and developmental levels. Judgment of flower forms may also depend on the observer. Precise and rapid cultivar identification methods are also required to manage cultivar collections as well as tree peony breeding programs. The objective of this paper is to analyze the discriminatory ability of leaf morphology and Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker systems for tree peony cultivars. As a result, although there exist large variations of leaf morphology of tree peony cultivars, the morphological characteristics of biternately compound leaves 3, 4, and 5 from the base of a shoot at the middle part of a plant are relatively stable with smaller variations within cultivars (2.7% to 27.1%, 16.8% on average) and with larger differentiations among cultivars (72.9% to 97.3%, 83.2% on average). Statistical and principal components analyses indicate that 12 leaf morphological characteristics are valuable for cultivar classification. ISSR markers present a precisely discriminatory power in tree peony cultivar classification without environmental influences. The cultivars with multiple flower forms, which makes it difficult to make judgment by means of a flower-form-based classification system, have been significantly characterized using leaf morphology or ISSR markers.

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Large natural genetic diversifications have occurred among Chinese tree peony cultivars under the natural and artificial selections on the flower for ornamental and medicinal uses in the past over 1500 years in China. Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Zi Mei You Chun’ X.Q. Zhao & J.P. Zhao & X.Z. Zhao & X.C. Zhao & Q.X. Gao & Z.Q. Zhao & J.X. Zhao & Z.L. Suo (Paeoniaceae) is a unique cultivar possessing side flowers and bicolored floral disc belonging to the Central Plains tree peony cultivar group of China. This natural mutant is not only an outstanding ornamental, but also a valuable material for scientific research on evolution of tree peony cultivars, metabolic pathways of pigments in the floral disc, origin of floral disc in Paeoniaceae, and other issues in plant evolutionary and developmental genetics.

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The procedure for Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’ propagation was investigated, which involves shoot regeneration, rooting of regenerated shoots, and acclimation of regenerated plantlets. Petioles, as explants, were cultured on MS medium supplemented with 1-naphthylacetic acid (NAA), benzylaminopurine (BA), thidiazuron (TDZ) and callus formed on all media. Shoots were observed to proliferate from callus on media with BA and NAA, whereas no shoots regenerated on media with TDZ and NAA. On media containing 0.5 or 1.0 mg·L−1 BA in combination with NAA, the regenerated shoots showed severe hyperhydricity, whereas on media containing 0.1 mg·L−1 BA in combination with NAA, the regenerated shoots grew normally. The highest shoot induction rate, 90.6%, was obtained on media containing 0.1 mg·L−1 BA and 0.01 mg·L−1 NAA. The effects of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), and NAA on rooting of H. villosa ‘Caramel’ was explored. The highest rooting rate (95%) was obtained on 1/2 MS medium containing 0.2 mg·L−1 NAA. In the subsequent acclimation experiments, about 85% of rooted plantlets survived and grew normally.

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To compare the effects of various zinc (Zn) foliar fertilizers on correcting citrus Zn deficiency and to explore an effective correcting method, three common Zn fertilizers, Zn sulfate heptahydrate (ZnSO4.7H2O), Zn chloride (ZnCl2), and Zn nitrate hexahydrate [Zn(NO3)2.6H2O], were selected to spray the Zn-deficient citrus leaves, tested at different concentrations, with or without organosilicone surfactant. Zn content, chlorophyll levels, and photosynthesis characteristics of leaves were analyzed. Leaf Zn content was significantly increased with increase of the sprayed Zn concentration of the three Zn fertilizers. However, when the sprayed Zn concentration of ZnSO4.7H2O exceeded 200 mg·L−1, and Zn concentration of ZnCl2 or Zn(NO3)2.6H2O exceeded 100 mg·L−1, obvious necrotic spots formed on leaves. This necrosis disappeared when 0.025% organosilicone was added to the three Zn fertilizer solutions, even at a Zn concentration of 250 mg·L−1. Meanwhile, the Zn contents of leaves increased one to four times for these treatments. Furthermore, foliar application of the three Zn fertilizers significantly improved chlorophyll levels and photosynthetic capacity of Zn-deficient leaves. The data of chlorophyll and photosynthesis characteristics indicate that the correcting effect of ZnCl2 and Zn(NO3)2.6H2O is better than that of ZnSO4.7H2O, and could be further improved via supplement of organosilicone. In conclusion, ZnCl2 or Zn(NO3)2.6H2O containing 250 mg·L−1 of Zn and supplemented with 0.025% organosilicone is a safe and effective formulation of Zn foliar fertilizer for correcting citrus Zn deficiency.

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There exist large accumulations of natural genetic diversifications under the natural and artificial selections on the flower among the Chinese tree peony cultivars incited by ornamental and medicinal uses in the past over 1500 years in China. Paeonia suffruticosa `Xiao Ci Wei' is a unique Chinese tree peony cultivar possessing special bicolored petals with tubular tip structure (Paeoniaceae). This natural mutant is not only a unique ornamental, but also a valuable material for scientific researches in Evodevotics.

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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is an important vegetable crop rich in vitamins and sulforaphane. However, the floral heads of broccoli experience rapid postharvest senescence. Here we found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) treatment alleviated dark-promoted senescence in broccoli florets. H2S delayed the symptoms of senescence and maintained higher levels of chlorophyll and Rubisco and lower protease activity compared with water control. Gene expression analysis showed that H2S down-regulated the expression of chlorophyll degradation-related genes BoSGR, BoNYC, BoCLH1, BoPPH, and BoRCCR. Expression of lipoxygenase gene BoLOX1 and the genes involved in the ethylene synthesis pathway, BoACS2 and BoACS3, were also down-regulated by H2S. The reduced expression level in cysteine protease gene BoCP3 and aspartic protease gene BoLSC807 suggested the role of H2S in alleviating protein degradation during broccoli senescence. H2S up-regulated the expression of sulfur metabolism genes BoSR and BoOASTL, and the antioxidant gene BoCAT. These results show that H2S plays a vital role in alleviating broccoli senescence through a broad regulation on gene expression of reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism genes, ethylene synthesis genes, and protease genes.

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Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a typical climacteric fruit, and its ripening is closely associated with ethylene. In this study, we present evidence that H2S alleviated ethylene-induced ripening and senescence of kiwifruit. Kiwifruit were fumigated with ethylene released from 0.4 g·L−1 ethephon solution or H2S with 1 mm sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) as the donor or in combination. Fumigation with ethylene was found to accelerate kiwifruit ripening and H2S treatment effectively alleviated ethylene-induced fruit softening in parallel with attenuated activity of polygalacturonase (PG) and amylase. Ethylene + H2S treatment also maintained higher levels of ascorbic acid, titratable acid, starch, soluble protein, and reducing sugar compared with ethylene group, whereas suppressed the increase in chlorophyll and carotenoid. Kiwifruit ripening and senescence under ethylene treatment was accompanied by elevation in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, including H2O2 and superoxide anion and malondialdehyde (MDA), but combined treatment of ethylene plus H2S alleviated oxidative stress in fruit. Furthermore, the activities of antioxidative enzymes catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) were increased by ethylene + H2S treatment in comparison with ethylene alone, whereas the activities of lipoxygenase (LOX) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) were attenuated by H2S treatment. Further investigations showed that H2S repressed the expression of ethylene synthesis-related genes AdSAM, AdACS1, AdACS2, AdACO2, and AdACO3 and cysteine protease genes, such as AdCP1 and AdCP3. Taken together, our findings suggest that H2S alleviates kiwifruit ripening and senescence by antagonizing the effect of ethylene through reduction of oxidative stress and inhibition of ethylene synthesis pathway.

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Dendrobium officinale Kimura et Migo is a famous traditional Chinese medicinal plant. It produces various phytochemicals, particularly polysaccharides, which have nutraceutical and pharmaceutical values. To increase its biomass production and polysaccharide content, our breeding program has generated a series of polyploid cultivars through colchicine treatment of protocorm-like bodies (PLBs). The present study compared two tetraploid cultivars, 201-1-T1 and 201-1-T2, with their diploid parental cultivar, 201-1, in an established in vitro culture system. Tetraploid ‘201-1-T1’ and ‘201-1-T2’ had shorter leaves and shorter and thicker stems and roots, and they produced higher biomass compared with the diploid cultivar. The length and width of stomata significantly increased, but stomatal density decreased in tetraploid cultivars. The PLB induction rates from the stem node explants of the tetraploid cultivars were significantly higher than those of diploid. However, the PLB proliferation of tetraploids was lower than that of the diploid. The mean number of plantlets regenerated from tetraploid PLBs was also lower than that of the diploid after 4 months of culture. Polysaccharide contents in stems, leaves, and roots of 6-month-old tetraploid plantlets were significantly higher than those of diploids. The polysaccharide content in the stem of ‘201-1-T1’ was 12.70%, which was a 2-fold increase compared with the diploid cultivar. Our results showed that chromosome doubling could be a viable way of improving D. officinale in biomass and polysaccharide production.

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