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Emily B. Merewitz, Thomas Gianfagna and Bingru Huang

Drought stress is a widespread abiotic stress that causes a decline in plant growth. Drought injury symptoms have been associated with an inhibition in cytokinin (CK) synthesis. The objectives of this study were to investigate whether expression of a gene (ipt) encoding the enzyme adenine isopentenyl phosphotransferase for CK synthesis ligated to a senescence-activated promoter (SAG12) or a heat shock promoter (HSP18.2) would improve drought tolerance in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and to examine shoot and root growth responses to drought stress associated with changes in endogenous production of CK, and the proportional change in CK and abscisic acid (ABA) due to ipt transformation. Most SAG12-ipt and HSP18.2-ipt transgenic lines exhibited significantly higher turf quality, photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll content, leaf relative water content, and root:shoot ratio under drought stress than the null transformant or the wild-type ‘Penncross’ plants. Transgenic lines that had better growth and turf performance generally had higher CK content and a higher CK-to-ABA ratio, although the direct correlation of CK and ABA content with individual physiological parameters in individual lines was not clear. Our results demonstrated that expressing ipt resulted in the improvement of turf performance under drought stress in creeping bentgrass in some of the transgenic plants with SAG12-ipt or HSP18.2-ipt, which could be associated with the suppression of leaf senescence and promoting root growth relative to shoot growth due to the maintenance of higher CK level and a higher ratio of CK to ABA.

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B. Huang, S. Kuo and R. Bembenek

Cadmium (Cd) concentrations in some phosphorus (P) fertilizers may be high enough to cause significant Cd accumulation in plants. A 2-year field experiment was conducted on a Sultan silt loam (Aquandic Xerochrept) to determine how the availability to cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) of Cd from a triple superphosphate (TSP) and a western phosphate rock (PR) was affected by rate of Cd input and liming. A water-soluble Cd salt, CdCl2, was included for comparison. Cucumber vine growth increased with increasing TSP application rates but was unaffected by the application of PR or CdCl2. Cucumber fruit yield, however, was unaffected by the application of either P fertilizer or CdCl2. Concentrations of Cd in cucumber vine or fruit responded to increased Cd inputs from PR, TSP, or CdCl2, and the vine was the primary sink for Cd that accumulated in the plant. Both vine and fruit Cd correlated better with soil total Cd than with labile Cd extractable by 0.05 m CaCl2 or DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid). A unique characteristic of cucumber vine- or fruit-Cd is that it was unaffected (P > 0.05) by lime rate and Cd source and not closely related to labile or exchangeable Cd as measured by 0.05 m CaCl2, in contrast to previous findings for other vegetable or grain crops. Root exudates could have controlled the solubility of Cd in the soil. The low availability of Cd from these sources to the plant was evidenced by the low uptake coefficient of Cd (0.461 to 1.059) from the soil to the cucumber fruit and low Cd recovery (0.43%) in both vine and fruit of Cd added.

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J.J. Ferguson, K.E. Koch and T.B. Huang

Fruit were removed 8, 16, and 24 weeks after peak bloom from 3- and 4-year-old, `Hamlin' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] trees on `Carrizo' citrange root-stock [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck ×Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], planted as bare root or containerized trees, to determine if fruit removal enhanced vegetative growth. Bare-root trees had a greater stem diameter and tree height than containerized trees at planting and after years 3 and 4. Fruit of bare-root trees had lower fresh and dry weights, refixed less of their respiratory CO2 during development, and lost water less rapidly after harvest. In addition, fruit removal treatments did not increase growth of either bare-root or containerized trees relative to trees from which no fruit had been removed. In fact, tree diameters were slightly higher when fruit were not harvested. Carbon cost of fruit production may have been countered by other factors under field conditions, such as known enhancement of photosynthetic rates by fruit load and/or diurnal contributions by fruit to leaf water demands.

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R.C. Grube, Y. Zhang, B. Huang and M.M. Kyle

Resistance to cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in Capsicum from two sources is being transferred into three commercial types (bell, jalapeno, and Anaheim) using a backcross breeding scheme. We have optimized our CMV seedling screening protocol, which involves multiple inoculations beginning at the cotyledon stage with a severe CMV serogroup I isolate. Both sources of resistance, C. annuum `French Perennial' and a C. frutescens accession (BG2814-6), exhibit oligogenic recessive inheritance and share some but not all resistance alleles. Selection for type in the BCF1 generation had no effect on the frequency of resistant individuals in the BCF2 generation. We have determined that it is necessary to self-pollinate every other backcross generation to screen for resistance. Occasionally disease symptoms appear in adult plants that were initially resistant to multiple inoculations at the seedling stage, and we are investigating the correlation between seedling resistance and adult plant resistance. We are also exploring the extent to which the different sources of resistance behave differently as a function of genetic background. Additionally, we are mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for CMV resistance in pepper with the goal of converting RFLP and/or RAPD markers into PCR-based markers to facilitate molecular marker-assisted selection for CMV resistance.

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W.J. Florkowski, B. Brückner, C.L. Huang and I. Schonhof

Chemicals used in fresh vegetable production leave residue. Although the typical residue amount is below allowable limits, producers must recognize consumer preference for less residue. Atlanta and Berlin consumer surveys showed difference in opinions about chemical residue in fresh vegetables, need for government testing, impact of residue on amount of consumed vegetables, and willingness to pay for vegetables with less residue. In general, Atlanta residents were more likely to agree about certifying vegetables as containing only allowable residue amount, while Berlin consumers were more willing to pay for government testing and vegetables with less residue. Two equations were estimated to identify factors influencing the preference for less residue. Respondents with higher incomes showed less preference for less chemical residue; similar preferences were demonstrated by older and single Berlin respondents. Growing vegetables with less chemical use offers opportunity to market fresh vegetables differentiating them from vegetables produced using traditional practices, especially given the willingness of overseas consumers to pay higher prices for vegetables with less residue.

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T-B Huang, R.L. Darnell and K.E. Koch

Water and carbon budgets of individual citrus fruit were determined throughout their growth to quantify the demand for sucrose and water relative to developmental changes. Fruit transpiration, water accumulation, photosynthesis, respiration, and C gain were measured during this period for grapefruit (Citrus paradisii Macf.) and calamondin (Citrus madurensis Lour.). On a whole-fruit basis, estimated rates of grapefruit transpiration and mean daily water inflow decreased after the first third of development, whereas water apparently was lost freely throughout growth of the smaller, thin-peeled calamondins. Estimates of daily fruit C import remained relatively similar during the majority of grapefruit growth, increasing rapidly only as fruit neared maturation. A similar trend was observed in calamondins, although rates were more variable. Overall, estimated mean daily water inflow into “developing grapefruit decreased relative to that of sucrose inflow, resulting in a progressively higher ratio of sucrose transport to net water inflow. Values for these ratios rose from ≈; 10 to >300 g sucrose/liter of water, reaching levels of net water and sngar transfer that could both be accommodated by citrus phloem alone. Any additional entry into grapefruit appears to have been offset by xylem back-flow, because no other net water influx was observed.

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Jianjun Chen, Dennis B. McConnell, Cynthia A. Robinson, Russell D. Caldwell and Yingfeng Huang

Three composts, derived from municipal solid waste with biosolids, yard trimmings, and yard trimmings with biosolids, were mixed by volume with sphagnum peat and pine bark to formulate 12 substrates. After characterizing physical and chemical properties, the substrates, along with a control, were used for rooting single eye cuttings of pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and terminal cuttings of maranta (Maranta leuconeura) and schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) in enclosed polyethylene tents. All cuttings initiated roots with no significant difference in root numbers per cutting 14 days after sticking, but root lengths 21 days and root-ball coverage ratings 45 days after sticking were significantly affected by substrates. Five of 12 compost-formulated substrates resulted in root lengths of cuttings equal to or longer than the control. In addition to desirable physical properties such as bulk density, total porosity, and air space, common chemical characteristics of the five substrates included low concentration of mineral elements, initial electrical conductivity ≤3.0 dS·m-1 based on the pour through extraction method, and pH between 3.8 to 5.0. The five substrates were formulated by combining composted municipal solid waste with biosolids or yard trimmings with biosolids volumetrically at 20% or less or composted yard trimmings at 50% or less with equal volumes of sphagnum peat and pine bark.

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G.E. Boyhan, B.R. Abrahams, J.D. Norton and Hongwen Huang

Detection of Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al. by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay indicated that plums (Prunus hybrids) had higher absorbance values than peaches [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]. The slip-budded trees had lower readings than those that were chip budded; however, the scion × method interaction was significant. Further comparison of slip vs. chip budding indicated that the lower absorbance value of slip budding occurred in plums only; there was no difference between budding methods in peach.

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H. Huang, F. Dane, J.D. Norton, D.B. Weaver and F.V. Hebard

Linkage relationships among eight isozyme genes (Acp-3, Est-1, Est-5, Prx-1, Prx-2, Prx-3, Me, and Adh) and two morphological markers (Inh and Twh) were investigated in one F2 and two BC1 families of interspecific crosses between the American chestnut (Castanea dentata Borkh.) and the Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima Blume). Inh was consistently linked with Prx-1 and Est-5 in all families. In addition, four other gene pairs, Acp-3Inh, Acp-3Prx-1, Me–Inh, and Twh–Inh, were linked in one of the three families investigated. The two isozyme genes and two morphological marker genes were tentatively integrated into one linkage group with the gene order TwhInhPrx-1Est-5.

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J. D. Norton, C. E. Boyhan, Hongwen Huang and B. R. Abrahams

On March 13-15, 1993 Alabama and much of the eastern United States experienced an unusually severe winter storm. This afforded the evaluation of plum cultivar production under cold stress. The highest yielding variety that bloomed before the storm was Bruce 12-4 with 28 kg/tree. Bruce 12-4 is noted for blooming over an extended period of time and producing very heavy yields. The average yield of the top five performers that bloomed after the storm was 51 kg/tree. The lowest temperature recorded at the test site, Shorter, AL was -5C.