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Bingru Huang, Jack Fry, and Bin Wang

Understanding factors associated with drought resistance and recovery from drought stress in tall fescue (Festuca arundinaces Schreb.) is important for developing resistant cultivars and effective management strategies. Our objective was to investigate water relations, photosynthetic efficiency, and canopy characteristics of tall fescue cultivars (forage-type `Kentucky-31', turf-type `Mustang', and dwarf-type `MIC18') in responses to drought stress and subsequent recovery in the field and greenhouse. During drought stress under field conditions, `MIC18' had lower turf quality, more severe leaf wilting, and higher canopy temperature than `Mustang' and `Kentucky-31', indicating that `MIC18' was more drought-sensitive. The greenhouse study comparing `K-31' and `MIC18' showed that leaf water status, chlorophyll fluorescence, canopy green leaf biomass, and lead area index of both cultivars declined as soil dried. Reductions in relative water content, leaf water potential, chlorophyll fluorescence, canopy green leaf biomass, and leaf area index were more severe and occurred sooner during dry down for `MIC18' than for `Kentucky-31'. After rewatering following 14 days of stress, leaf water deficit and turf growth recovered, to a greater degree for `Kentucky-31' than for `MIC18'. However, soil drying for 21 days caused long-term negative effects on leaf photosynthetic efficiency and canopy characteristics for both cultivars.

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Jing Ma, Zheng Li, Bin Wang, Shunzhao Sui, and Mingyang Li

Expansins are extracellular proteins that are involved in cell wall modifications such as cell wall disassembly, cell separation, and cell expansion. Little is known about expansin gene expression during flower development of wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox). In the present study, an expansin gene, CpEXP1, was isolated from the wintersweet flower cDNA library through random sequencing; this gene encodes a putative protein of 257 amino acids with the essential features conserved, like in other alpha expansins. The CpEXP1 gene exhibited different transcription levels in different tissues and had a significantly higher expression in flowers than other tissues. It is strongly correlated with the development of the flower. The expression of CpEXP1 increased in the flower buds or whole flowers from Stage 1 to 4 and decreased from Stage 5 to 6 during natural opening. Ethephon (an ethylene releaser) treatment promoted cut flower senescence, whereas 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) (an ethylene perception inhibitor) delayed the process of flower wilting. This result is associated with the concomitant lower transcript levels of CpEXP1 in the ethephon-treated samples as well as the steady expression in the 1-MCP-treated samples compared with that in control flowers. The studies show the interesting observation that the expression of an expansin gene CpEXP1 is correlated with the development of Chimonanthus praecox flowers, the upregulation during flower opening vs. the downregulation during senescence.

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Pan-Hui Huang, Wen-Bin Yu, Jun-Bo Yang, Hong Wang, and Lu Lu

Pedicularis rex C. B. Clarke ex Maxim., an endemic species with potential horticultural traits from Himalaya, has a unique cup-like petiole structure and highly infraspecific floral variation among members of the lousewort genus (Orobanchaceae). We developed 13 microsatellite markers from three microsatellite-enriched libraries (AG, AC, and AAG) of P. rex with a modified biotin–streptavidin capture technique. Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 22 individuals with representation of five populations of P. rex. Number of alleles per locus (A) ranged from two to seven with an average of 4.38. The observed and expected heterozygosities varied from 0.03 to 0.86 and 0.45 to 0.84, respectively. Additionally, among the 13 identified microsatellite markers, 11 of them were successfully amplified in species P. thamnophila, and five of them showed polymorphisms. This study may provide important information for further investigation on the population genetics, introduction, and acclimatization of P. rex and its congeners.

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Yiguang Wang, Chao Zhang, Bin Dong, Yaohui Huang, Zhiyi Bao, and Hongbo Zhao

Chinese flame tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata var. integrifoliola), a common ornamental tree in southern China, exhibits a variety of fruit colors among individual plants within the same cultivated field. In this study, 44 plants with different fruit colors were selected to investigate the impact of pigment composition on the coloration of fruit peels. The plants were divided into three groups based on the color phenotype of the fruit peel: red, pink, and green. The values of lightness (L*) were negatively correlated with redness (a*) and positively correlated with yellowness (b*). The correlations of chroma (C*) with the other color parameters differed among the three groups. In the pooled pink and red groups, C* was negatively correlated with both L* and b* and positively correlated with a*, whereas the opposite relationships were found in the green group. According to the pigment analysis, anthocyanins, chlorophylls, and carotenoids were detected in the fruit peels. Anthocyanins were found to be the main pigment responsible for the differences in fruit color among the various groups. The highest anthocyanin content of fruit peel was found in the red group, followed by the pink group; the lowest anthocyanin levels appeared in the green group. The major anthocyanin component in the fruit peels was identified as cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside. By classifying fruit peel color and determining pigment composition, this study provides a theoretical basis for further researching genetic control and regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes on pigment accumulation and peel coloration of chinese flame tree.

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Zhi Quan, Bin Huang, Caiyan Lu, Yi Shi, Yanhong Cao, Yongzhuang Wang, Chuanrui He, Guangyu Chi, Jian Ma, and Xin Chen

Much nitrogen (N) is lost in high-input protected cropping systems mainly via leaching of not only nitrate-N but also extractable organic N (EON), but the role of EON in this process is poorly appreciated. A consecutive 3-year plot experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of co-application of manures with chemical N fertilizer on N accumulation and loss in a greenhouse soil rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce. Application of manures significantly enhanced the average contents and stocks of NO3 -N, EON, and total N (TN) in 0- to 60-cm soil layer, although EON accumulated within growing season, while NO3 -N accumulated with fluctuation, and TN accumulated gradually throughout the 3-year experiment. With application rate at 120 or 180 t dry manures per hectare per 3 years, the corresponding apparent N surplus was 2710 or 3924 kg⋅ha−1 per 3 years. Due to little increase of biomass N uptakes during vegetable seasons, the accumulated N in soil profile would be a potential loss source, largely via leaching of both nitrate and EON. Application of manures slowed soil acidification but intensified secondary salinization of the greenhouse soil. Considering the manures-induced high soil N accumulation and loss, well-balanced evaluation of the role of manures in high-input agricultural ecosystems is needed.

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Ji-Yu Zhang, Zhong-Ren Guo, Rui Zhang, Yong-Rong Li, Lin Cao, You-Wang Liang, and Li-Bin Huang

This study examined the ability to vegetatively propagate 1-year-old pecan (Carya illinoinensis) through the rooting of hardwood cuttings. Cuttings were treated with varying concentrations of different auxins and different combinations of media and ambient temperatures. Under different temperature conditions, all auxin treatments induced the rooting of cuttings but did not promote sprouting. The effectiveness of the induction of adventitious roots was as follows: 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) > indole 3-butyric acid > indole 3-acetic acid. The base of the parent shoot treated by NAA at a concentration of 0.09%, planted in substrate with bottom heat was the most effective, with 82% rooting, 8.3 roots/cutting and root lengths of 7.3 cm. These findings suggested that auxin and substrate/air temperature differences are both indispensable in the process of adventitious roots formation in pecan. This study revealed that the propagation of hardwood cuttings derived from branches of 1-year-old pecan is possible.

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Ke-peng Che, Chun-yang Liang, Yue-guang Wang, De-min Jin, Bin Wang, Yong Xu, Guo-bing Kang, and Hai-ying Zhang

Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analyses were used to assess genetic diversity among 30 genotypes of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Mansf.] representing a broad genetic base, including breeding lines and commercial germplasm. Eight AFLP primer combinations selected from 64 primer combinations were polymophic. The polymorphism was 13.0% to 31.9% within the 28 cultivars examined, and 45.3% to 64.2% among all the genotypes. Each genotype could be successfully distinguished based on AFLP scoring. Cluster grouping of accessions based on the AFLP analysis was consistent with that from classification by pedigrees and ecotypes.