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A series of greenhouse experiments was conducted with `Shamrock' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) to gain insight into the flower abscission mechanism and to investigate methods to reduce reproductive structure abscission due to low light intensity. Foliar sprays of STS reduced stress-induced abscission. Application of the synthetic auxin NAA to the ovary substituted for pollination to effect fruit set under nonstress conditions, but did not improve fruit set compared to pollinated controls under low-light stress. Ovary treatment with GA3 and BA either alone or combined with NAA had similar results to NAA treatment alone. Foliar sprays of NAA or CPA also did not improve fruit set under low-light stress conditions. Application of NAA in an aqueous paste to the abscission zone prevented abscission but inhibited fruit growth. Taken together, the results indicate that stress-induced abscission is not prevented by auxin application to the ovary or foliage. The interaction of ethylene and auxin in reproductive structure abscission under stress conditions requires further investigation. Chemical names used: 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), p-chlorophenoxy acetic acid (CPA), gibberellic acid (GA,), silver thiosulfate (STS).

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Catfacing of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit describes the enlarged blossom-end scar and ridged, flattened or irregular fruit shape often found on plants subjected to low temperature during ovary development. Experiments were conducted to determine if GA3 foliar sprays could be used as a screening tool for catfacing. Concentrations of 5 to 50 μM of GA3, applied once at transplanting, significantly increased catfacing incidence on the susceptible `Revolution', whereas the resistant `Valerie' was less affected. Two applications 8 days apart extended symptoms to later clusters formed on branches and may be useful for screening cultivars of a wide range of earliness. Plant apex removal may also be possible as a fruit catfacing screening tool. Chemical name used: gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Monoecious cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) parents with high, medium, and low percentage of nodes with distillate flowers had a stronger effect on the percentage of gynoecious plants in F1 and F2 progenies than did degree of gynoecious expression in incompletely gynoecious parents. Highest percentages of gynoecious plants were obtained by using both gynoecious and monoecious parents with the highest level of distillate flowering tendency. According to our data, monoecious parents with a low percentage of distillate flowering nodes should be avoided when gynoeciousness is transferred to monoecious cultivars. Self-pollination of gynoecious F2 plants, requiring induction of staminate flowers by chemical treatment, was more effective in obtaining a high percentage of gynoecious plants in F3 progenies than selfing predominately gynoecious plants, or sibmating predominately gynoecious plants.

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A new sterile mutant designated pollen sterile (PS) found in pickling cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is characterized by normal corolla in staminate and pistillate flowers, normal fertility in the female, and absence of pollen in otherwise normal-appearing staminate flowers. All F1 plants from PS × male fertile (MF) sib-matings were MF, and F2 progeny segregated 3 MF: 1 PS. Sib-matings of PS segregates with sister MF segregates produced either 1 MF: 1 PS ratios or all normal plants. Thus, PS is controlled by a single recessive gene. The PS gene is not allelic to apetalous (ap), but was shown to be allelic to male sterile-2 (ms-2) and is designated ms-2 PS. It was not possible to determine possible allelic relationships between ms-2 PS and ms-1 because of strong male and female sterility of the available ms-1 material. F1 generations from gynoecious-PS and monoecious-PS crossed with monoecious, gynoecious (silver-ion treated), and hermaphroditic parents produced no PS plants and sex types did not influence PS levels in F2 progenies, indicating it is not possible to maintain the PS mutants through crosses with different cucumber sex types. It was not possible to change the expression of PS by applying cytokinin, IAA, or GA3, and there were no changes in response to temperature and fertilizer treatment. Unlike gynoecy, which is responsive to some external factors, PS is unresponsive. The results suggest that the use of PS in cucumber F1 hybrid seed production is not practical. Chemical names used: indole acetic acid (IAA), gibberellin (GA3).

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Twenty-day-old `Bush Blue Lake 47' common bean plants grown in a growth chamber at 25 days/22C night and a 12-hour photoperiod regime were foliar sprayed with 0.5% GLK-8903 including 0.05% Tween-20. After 24 hours of treatment, plants were chilled in a cold room (4C day/night, 12 hours of light). After 3 days of chilling, leaves of untreated controls were injured, as visually characterized by leaf wilting, whereas leaves of the GLK-8903-treated plants still retained turgor. During chilling, the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT) decreased. GLK-8903 treatment had no effect on SOD and POD activities; however, the CAT activity was reduced significantly after GLK-8903 treatment either at 25 or at 4C. During chilling, the content of malondialdehyde, a decomposition product of phospholipid peroxidation, increased in treated plants and untreated controls, with increased content significantly lower in the former compared with the latter. The GLK-8903 per se and total lipid extracted from GLK-8903-treated plants were able to reduce the linoleic acid oxidation in vitro. The mechanism by which GLK-8903 alleviates chilling injury in bean plants is discussed.

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Abstract

Nodal sections of actively growing apical shoots from greenhouse-grown plants of Euphorbia fulgens Karw. ex Klotsch initiated new shoots after 4 weeks on a modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 9.1 μm zeatin. When cultures from the initiation stage were transferred for proliferation to the same medium, up to 14 shoots 5 mm long or longer were obtained per culture 4 weeks later. Through subcultures, 40 transplantable shoots per explant could be produced within 12 weeks. Shoots were rooted in vitro in the greenhouse with satisfactory survival rates. Chemical names used: (E)-2-methyl-4-(1H-purin-6-ylamino)-2-buten-1-ol (zeatin).

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Authors: , , and

Phomopsis cucurbitae is a latent infecting pathogen that infects unripe muskmelon fruit, but causes decay after harvest. This fungus causes severe losses during muskmelon fruit storage and marketing in the U.S., Japan, and some Central American countries. Previous studies showed that the fungus produced the cell wall-degrading enzyme polygalacturonase (PG) in both culture and muskmelon fruit tissue. The role of P. cucurbitae PG in the fruit decay process and its relation to latent infection is not well-understood. A prominent PG isozyme produced by the fungus in decayed fruit was purified to homogeneity by a sequence of extraction, ultrafiltration, preparative isoelectric focusing, anion exchange, and gel filtration chromatography. This isozyme exhibited endo-activity, a molecular weight of 54 kDa according to SDS-PAGE, and a pI of 4.2 based on IEF-PAGE. Isozyme activity was optimal at 40–45°C and pH 5.0. It had a Km of 44.7 g/ml and a Vmax of 0.313. The purified isozyme also effectively macerated mature muskmelon fruit tissues. This isozyme was the most prominent of the PG isozymes produced by P. cucurbitae in decaying fruit, and may play an important role in postharvest decay.

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Detecting inter- and intra-varietal variation is essential for the management of a plant germplasm bank. The sensitivity and efficiency of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) for cultivar identification and somaclonal mutation in sweetpotato were evaluated. RAPD demonstrated a highly significant inter-varietal variation. Every one of the 23 tested cultivars can be identified with a RAPD profile generated by a single primer. Suspected duplicates that are morphologically indistinguishable can be unambiguously verified with a combination of three decamers. No intra-varietal variation was found using RAPD. Clones of `Jewel' and `Beauregard' collected from different sources all have the same RAPD profiles. Moreover, with 150 markers, the transgenic `Chogoku' sweetpotato cannot be differentiated from its untransformed counterparts, even though the transgenic plant shows significant morphological changes. These results demonstrate that RAPD is a sensitive and efficient tool for identifying cultivar duplicates, but it is not efficient for detecting intra-clonal variation or somaclonal mutation in sweetpotato.

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Genetic diversity and relatedness were assessed among 46 American cultivars of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus), and 12 U.S. Plant Introduction accessions (PIs) of Citrullus sp. using 25 randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers. These primers produced 288 distinct reproducible bands that could be scored with high confidence among cultivars and PIs. Based on the RAPD data, genetic similarity coefficients were calculated and a dendrogram was constructed using the unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA). The cultivars and C. lanatus var. lanatus PIs differentiated at the level of 92% to 99.6% and 88% to 95% genetic similarity, respectively. In contrast, the C. lanatus var. citroides, and C. colocynthis PIs were more divergent and differentiated at the level of 65% to 82.5% and 70.5% genetic similarity, respectively. The low genetic diversity among watermelon cultivars in this study emphasizes the need to expand the genetic base of cultivated watermelon.

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Authors: , , , and

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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