Leaf samples collected from field plots of nine lettuce varieties established in the Early (ES) and Late (LS) Summer of 2002 and 2003 in Celeryville, Ohio, were subjected to spectrophotometric measurement of anthocyanin concentrations and/or color analysis based on colorimeter and spectroradiometer readings and human panelist ratings. Interactions between year (Y), planting date (PD), and variety (V) main effects for anthocyanin concentration were significant due to shifts in response magnitude, but not direction. Anthocyanin levels were higher following LS than ES planting, regardless of Y and V, and PD effects were pronounced in 2002, when differences in average daily temperature between ES and LS plantings tended to be larger. Also, regardless of Y and PD, anthocyanin levels followed the pattern `Impuls' > `OOC 1441' > `Valeria' > `OOC1426' > `Lotto' > `SVR 9634' `OOC 1434' > `OOC 1310' > `Cireo'. Treatment-based color differences were also evident in colorimeter and spectroradiometer readings. And, panelists differentiated field-grown samples based on red color intensity. Strong correlations between analytical and instrumented and human panelist-based measures suggest that instrumented assessments of red color intensity may serve as reliable proxies for direct measures of anthocyanin levels or human panelist ratings, particularly if the aim is to establish color differences between major experimental groups and assign a quantitative, repeatable value to red color intensity.
Aparna Gazula, Matthew Kleinhenz, Peter Ling, and Joseph Scheerens
Aparna Gazula*, Matthew D. Kleinhenz, Joseph C. Scheerens, Peter P. Ling, and John G. Streeter
Anthocyanins (Antho) are the source of red color in plants and the intensity of redness is an important quality parameter in red leaf lettuce. Despite the importance of Antho in leaf lettuce, little information is available regarding the effects of major production-related factors, such as planting date, on their levels. To address this issue, field studies were conducted in 2002 and 2003 in which Antho levels were measured in nine lettuce varieties planted in early and late summer (ES and LS, respectively) using a RCB design. Leaf tissue was sampled 30 d after transplanting. Data for three strongly related Lolla Rossa-type varieties (`Lotto', `Valeria', `Impuls') are reported here. The planting date × variety interaction was significant; however, Antho concentrations were higher following planting in LS than ES, regardless of variety. Planting date effects were more pronounced in 2002, when differences in average daily temperature between ES and LS plantings tended to be larger. Regardless of planting date and year, Antho levels followed the pattern `Impuls' (three genes) > `Valeria' (two genes) > `Lotto' (one gene). Correlations between human visual and two types of instrumented assessments of color are being tested in samples from the same study.
Aparna Gazula*, Matthew D. Kleinhenz, Joseph C. Scheerens, Peter P. Ling, and John G. Streeter
In addition to their physiological and metabolic roles, anthocyanin (Antho) levels in lettuce contribute to visual and nutritional value-based assessments of crop quality. Although 7 genes are now thought to help regulate Antho synthesis, deposition and/or degradation in lettuce, the genetic and abiotic controls of Antho levels remain less well characterized in lettuce than other plants. Previous greenhouse studies demonstrated that Antho levels in diverse lettuce varieties are a function of temperature and lighting regimen. Here, three strongly related Lolla Rossa-type varieties (`Lotto', `Valeria', and `Impuls') varying in the number of genes controlling intensity of anthocyanins were subjected to differential temperature conditions in growth chambers to better discern the independent and interactive effects of temperature (T) and variety (V) on Antho levels. Fifteen day-old seedlings were placed into one of three chambers maintained at 20 °C day/night (D/N), 30 °C/20 °C D/N or 30 °C D/N. Antho levels were measured in leaf tissue collected 30 d after transplanting. The entire experiment was replicated twice. Although significant, the T x V interaction resulted from differences in the magnitude, not direction, of the change in Antho concentrations among varieties with changes in T. This suggests that T was a main driver of Antho levels in this study. Regardless of V, Antho concentrations were highest, moderate and lowest after growth at 20 °C D/N, 30 °C/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N, respectively. Likewise, regardless of T, Antho levels followed the pattern `Impuls' (three genes) > `Valeria' (two genes) > `Lotto' (one gene). Correlations among instrumented and human eye-based evaluations of color are also being tested in samples from both studies.
Aparna Gazula, Eric Simonne, Michael Dukes, George Hochmuth, Bob Hochmuth, and David Studstill
Collecting leachate from lysimeters installed in the field below vegetable fields may be used to quantify the amount of nitrogen released into the environment. Because limited information exists on the optimal design type and on the effect of design components on lysimeter performance, the objective of this study were to identify existing designs and their limits, assess cost of design, and test selected designs. Ideally, lysimeters should be wide enough to collect all the water draining, long enough to reflect the plant-to-plant variability, durable enough to resist degradation, deep enough to allow for cultural practices and prevent root intrusion, have a simple design, be made of widely available materials, and be cost-effective. Also, lysimeters should not restrict gravity flow thereby resulting in a perched water table. Previous study done with a group of free-drainage lysimeters (1-m-long, 45-cm-wide, installed 45-cm-deep) under a tomato-pumpkin-rye cropping sequence resulted in variable frequency of collection and volume of leachate collected (CV of load = 170%). Improving existing design may be done by increasing the length of collection, lining the lysimeter with gravel, limiting the depth of installation, and/or breaking water tension with a fiberglass wick. Individual lysimeter cost was estimated between $56 to $84 and required 9 to 14 manhours. for construction and installation. Costs on labor may be reduced when large numbers of lysimeters are built. Labor needed for sampling 24 lysimeters was 8 man-hr/sampling date. Because load may occur after a crop, lysimeter monitoring and sampling should be done year round.
Aparna Gazula, Matthew D. Kleinhenz, Joseph C. Scheerens, and Peter P. Ling
Leaf samples collected from field plots of nine lettuce cultivars established in the early (ES) and late (LS) summer of 2002 and 2003 in Celeryville, Ohio, were subjected to spectrophotometric measurement of anthocyanin concentrations or color analysis based on colorimeter and spectroradiometer readings and human panelist ratings. Interactions among year (Y), transplanting date (TD), and cultivar (C) main effects for anthocyanin concentration were significant as a result of shifts in response magnitude but not direction. Anthocyanin levels were higher after LS than ES transplanting regardless of Y and C. The effects of TD were pronounced in 2002, when differences in average daily temperature between ES and LS transplantings tended to be larger. Also, regardless of Y and TD, anthocyanin levels followed the pattern ‘Impuls’ > ‘OOC 1441’ > ‘Valeria’ > ‘OOC1426’ > ‘Lotto’ > ‘SVR 9634’ > ‘OOC 1434’ = ‘OOC 1310’ > ‘Cireo’. Treatment-based color differences were also evident in colorimeter and spectroradiometer readings. Also, panelists differentiated samples grown in 2003 based on red color intensity. Correlations between analytic and instrumented and human panelist-based measures suggest instrumented assessments of red coloration may serve as proxies for direct measures of anthocyanin levels or human panelist ratings, particularly if the aim is to establish color differences between major experimental groups and assign quantitative, repeatable values to red color intensity.
Matthew D. Kleinhenz, Aparna Gazula, Joseph C. Scheerens, and Darla G. French
Shading effects on chlorophyll a (ChlA), chlorophyll b (ChlB) and anthocyanin (Antho) concentrations were examined at three developmental stages in four varieties of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) grown under contrasting temperature regimens in the greenhouse. Seedlings were transplanted to pots and grown at 30 °C (86.0 °F) day/night (D/N) (Study 1) or 30/18 °C (86.0/64.4 °F) D/N (Study 2). One-half of all plants in each study were positioned under bottomless shade boxes which reduced incoming light intensity by 50%. Pigment concentrations were measured in leaf tissue 9, 16, and 23 days after transplanting. Each study was repeated twice. Regardless of temperature regimen, variety influenced all pigment concentrations, while shading affected, primarily, Antho concentrations. ChlA and ChlB concentrations were influenced by growth stage. In Study 1, chlorophyll concentrations were significantly greater in `Green Vision' than `New Red Fire' or `Rolina', but not `Galactic'. Also, Antho concentrations were significantly greater in `Galactic' than the other varieties. In Study 2, chlorophyll concentrations were greatest in `Green Vision', with similar concentrations among the remaining varieties. Antho concentrations were greatest in `Galactic', intermediate in `New Red Fire' and `Rolina', and lowest in `Green Vision'. Shading significantly reduced Antho concentrations in `Galactic' and `Rolina' under both temperature regimens and `New Red Fire' at 30/18 °C D/N, but increased Antho concentrations in `Green Vision'. Chlorophyll concentrations tended to decrease with plant age. Pigment concentration data clarified what was apparent to the unaided eye—namely, that the amount and intensity of green and red color varied among plants subjected to different shading and temperature treatments. Therefore, these data may aid in developing strategies to achieve targeted levels of pigmentation (especially red) in lettuce, an important criterion of crop quality and potential market value.
Bee Ling Poh, Aparna Gazula, Eric H. Simonne, Robert C. Hochmuth, and Michael R. Alligood
For shallow-rooted vegetables grown in sandy soils with low water-holding capacity (volumetric water content <10%), irrigation water application rate needs to provide sufficient water to meet plant needs, to avoid water movement below the root zone, and to reduce leaching risk. Because most current drip tapes have flow rates (FRs) greater than soil hydraulic conductivity, reducing irrigation operating pressure (OP) as a means to reduce drip emitter FR may allow management of irrigation water application rate. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of using a reduced system OP (6 and 12 psi) on the FRs, uniformity, and soil wetted depth and width by using three commercially available drip tapes differing in emitter FR at 12 psi (Tape A = 0.19 gal/h, Tape B = 0.22 gal/h, and Tape C = 0.25 gal/h). Reducing OP reduced FRs (Tape A = 0.13 gal/h, Tape B = 0.17 gal/h, and Tape C = 0.16 gal/h) without affecting uniformity of irrigation at 100 and 300 ft lateral runs. Flow rate was also reduced at 300-ft lateral length compared with 100 ft for all three tapes. Uniformity was reduced [“moderate” to “unacceptable” emitter flow variation (q var) and “moderate” coefficient of variation (cv)] at 300 ft for Tape B and C compared with “good” q var and “moderate” to “excellent” cv at 100 ft. Using soluble dye as a tracer, depth (D) of the waterfront response to irrigated volume (V) was quadratic, D = 4.42 + 0.21V − 0.001V 2 (P < 0.01, R 2 = 0.72), at 6 psi, with a similar response at 12 psi, suggesting that depth of the wetted zone was more affected by total volume applied rather than by OP itself. The depth of the wetted zone went below 12 inches when V was ≈45 gal/100 ft, which represented ≈3 h of irrigation at 6 psi and 1.8 h of irrigation at 12 psi for a typical drip tape with FR of 0.24 gal/h at 12 psi. These results show that, for the same volume of water applied, reduced OP allowed extended irrigation time without increasing the wetted depth. OP also did not affect the width (W) of the wetted front, which was quadratic, W = 6.97 + 0.25V − 0.002V 2 (P < 0.01, R 2 = 0.70), at 6 psi. As the maximum wetted width at reduced OP was 53% of the 28-inch-wide bed, reduced OP should be used for two-row planting or drip-injected fumigation only if two drip tapes were used to ensure good coverage and uniform application. Reducing OP offers growers a simple method to reduce FR and apply water at rates that match more closely the hourly evapotranspiration, minimizing the risk of leaching losses.
Aparna Gazula, Matthew D. Kleinhenz, John G. Streeter, and A. Raymond Miller
Pigment concentrations in leaf tissue affect the visual and nutritional value-based indices of lettuce crop quality. To better discern the independent and interactive effects of temperature and cultivar on anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations, three closely related Lolla Rosso lettuce cultivars (`Lotto', `Valeria', and `Impuls'), varying primarily in the number of genes controlling anthocyanin concentrations, were subjected to different air temperatures in controlled environments. Fifteen-day-old seedlings previously grown at 20 °C day/night (D/N) were transplanted into growth chambers maintained at 20 °C (D/N), 30/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N air temperatures. Twenty days later, leaf tissue was sampled for measures of pigment concentrations, calculated based on spectrophotometric absorbance readings taken at 530 nm (anthocyanin) and 660 nm (chlorophyll b) respectively. Although significant, the temperature × cultivar interaction resulted from differences in the magnitude (not direction) of the change in pigment concentrations among cultivars with changes in temperature. Regardless of cultivar, anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations were highest, moderate and lowest after growth at 20 °C D/N, 30/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N respectively. Likewise, irrespective of temperature, anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations followed the pattern `Impuls' (three genes) > `Valeria' (two genes) > `Lotto' (one gene). These data provide additional strong evidence that lettuce leaf pigment concentrations and growing temperatures are negatively related. The data also suggest that low temperatures during the dark phase may mitigate high temperature-driven reductions in lettuce leaf pigment levels.
Bee Ling Poh, Aparna Gazula, Eric H. Simonne, Francesco Di Gioia, Robert C. Hochmuth, and Michael R. Alligood
Increasing the length of irrigation time by reducing the operating pressure (OP) of drip irrigation systems may result in decreased deep percolation and may allow for reduced nitrogen (N) fertilizer application rates, thereby minimizing the environmental impact of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of irrigation OP (6 and 12 psi), N fertilizer rate (100%, 80%, and 60% of the recommended 200 lb/acre N), and irrigation rates [IRRs (100% and 75% of the target 1000–4000 gal/acre per day)] on fresh-market tomato plant nutritional status and yields. Nitrate (NO3 −)–N concentration in petiole sap of ‘Florida 47’ tomatoes grown in Spring 2008 and 2009 in a raised-bed plasticulture system was not significantly affected by treatments in both years and were within the sufficiency ranges at first-flower, 2-inch-diameter fruit, and first-harvest growth stages (420–1150, 450–770, and 260–450 mg·L−1, respectively). In 2008, marketable yields were greater at 6 psi than at 12 psi OP [753 vs. 598 25-lb cartons/acre (P < 0.01)] with no significant difference among N rate treatments. But in 2009, marketable yields were greater at 12 psi [1703 vs. 1563 25-lb cartons/acre at 6 psi (P = 0.05)] and 100% N rate [1761 vs. 1586 25-lb cartons/acre at 60% N rate (P = 0.04)]. Irrigation rate did not have any significant effect (P = 0.59) on tomato marketable yields in either year with no interaction between IRR and N rate or OP treatments. Hence, growing tomatoes at 12 psi OP, 100% of recommended N rate, and 75% of recommended IRR provided the highest marketable yields with least inputs in a drip-irrigated plasticulture system. In addition, these results suggest that smaller amounts of irrigation water and fertilizers (75% and 60% of the recommended IRR and N rate, respectively) could be applied when using a reduced irrigation OP of 6 psi for the early part of the tomato crop season. In the later part of the season, as water demand increased, the standard OP of 12 psi could be used. Changing the irrigation OP offers the grower some flexibility to alter the flow rates to suit the water demands of various growth stages of the crop. Furthermore, it allows irrigation to be applied over an extended period of time, which could better meet the crop's needs for water throughout the day. Such an irrigation strategy could improve water and nutrient use efficiencies and reduce the risks of nutrient leaching. The results also suggest that OP (and flow rate) should be included in production recommendations for drip-irrigated tomato.
Eric Simonne, Chad Hutchinson, Jim DeValerio, Robert Hochmuth, Danielle Treadwell, Allan Wright, Bielinski Santos, Alicia Whidden, Gene McAvoy, Xin Zhao, Teresa Olczyk, Aparna Gazula, and Monica Ozores-Hampton
The success of the best management practices (BMPs) program for vegetables in Florida is measured by the level of BMP implementation and the improvement of water quality. Both require keeping water and fertilizer in the root zone of vegetables. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Vegetable Group has identified the fundamental principles of 1) basing UF/IFAS production recommendations on the rigors of science and the reality of field production; 2) replacing the out-of-date paradigm “pollute less by reducing nutrient application rates” with “improve water management and adjust fertilizer programs accordingly”; 3) engaging growers, consultants, educators, and regulators in open-channel discussions; and 4) regularly updating current fertilization and irrigation recommendations for vegetables grown in Florida to reflect current varieties used by the industry. The group identified 1) developing ultralow-flow drip irrigation; 2) assisting conversion from seepage to drip irrigation; 3) using recycled water; 4) developing controlled-release fertilizers for vegetables; 5) developing real-time management tools for continuous monitoring of soil water and chemical parameters; 6) developing yield mapping tools for vegetable crops; 7) developing and testing drainage lysimeter designs suitable for in-field load assessment; and 8) using grafting and breeding to develop commercially acceptable varieties with improved nutrient use efficiency by improving morphological, biochemical, and chemical traits as new strategies to keep nutrients in the root zone. These strategies should become funding priorities for state agencies to help the vegetable industry successfully transition into the BMP era.