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Stephanie G. Harvey and Carl E. Sams

Isothiocyanates are volatile chemicals produced by damaged tissues of Brassica species. Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), the predominant isothiocyanate in Indian mustard (B. juncea), has been shown to control pest in laboratory and field experiments. We investigated the effectiveness of AITC against the germination of sclerotia of Sclerotium rolfsii Saccardo, a common soilborne pathogen of tomato. Sclerotium rolfsii was cultured on PDA from a field isolate. Mature sclerotia were collected and placed in polyester mesh bags. Culture tubes (16 × 150 mm) were packed with 18 g clay loam soil. A sclerotia-bag was placed in each tube and covered with an additional 5 g soil. Soil was maintained at 60% field capacity for the duration of the experiment. AITC was injected into each tube through a septum. Treatments consisted of 0, 5.6, 11.2, 22.4, and 44.8 μmol AITC/L of atmosphere and an ethanol control. AITC in each tube was sampled using SPME and analyzed on GC-MS. Tubes remained sealed for 42 h at 30 °C. Sclerotia were then removed from tubes and bags and plated on PDA to determine viability. Radial growth was measured to determine the effects of AITC. Mycelial growth was negatively correlated to AITC concentration (P < 0.01). The highest concentration of AITC resulted in a 40.3% reduction in mycelial growth. Although the AITC concentrations used in this study did not kill sclerotia of S. rolfsii, they did suppress mycelial growth from germinating sclerotia. At higher concentrations, or mixed with other chemicals, AITC may prove to be an affective control for this pathogen.

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Craig S. Charron and Carl E. Sams

There has been significant interest in the glucosinolate-myrosinase system in plants of the Brassicaceae due to accumulating evidence that some glucosinolate degradation products are anticarcinogenic and/or suppressive to plant pathogens. Because glucosinolate hydrolysis is catalyzed by endogenous myrosinase, characterization of myrosinase activity is important for elucidating the potential bioactivity of crop glucosinolates. We measured the specific activity in citrate-phosphate buffer extracts across the pH range 4.5–6.5 of two cultivars each of five Brassica groups grown during two fall and two spring seasons. Specific activity in two kale cultivars was highly variable, but tended to have highest activity from pH 5.0–6.0. In both cauliflower cultivars from Fall 2000, Fall 2001, and Spring 2002, optimal pH was around pH 6.0. In Spring 2000, however, specific activity was highest at pH 5.0. Maximum specific activity in both cabbage cultivars occurred in the pH range 5.5–6.0 in Fall 2000, Fall 2001, and Spring 2002. In Spring 2000, specific activity in `Red Acre' cabbage was uniform across the range pH 4.5–5.5 and maximum specific activity was at pH 5.0 for `Early Round Dutch' cabbage. Both brussels sprouts cultivars had pH maxima around pH 5.5–6.0 and significantly lower activity at pH 4.5. Specific activity in broccoli was much like that of cauliflower in that highest activity occurred around pH 5.5–6.0 in Fall 2000, Fall 2001, and Spring 2002, but in Spring 2000, maximum activity was at pH 5.0. These results indicate that in most cases, pH optima were in the range 5.5–6.0, but varied somewhat with season and genotype.

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Craig S. Charron and Carl E. Sams

The U.S. Clean Air Act bans the use of methyl bromide after 2005. Consequently, the development of alternative methods for control of soilborne pathogens is imperative. One alternative is to exploit the pesticidal properties of Brassica L. species. Macerated leaves (10 g) from `Premium Crop' broccoli [B. oleracea L. (Botrytis Group)], `Charmant' cabbage [B. oleracea L. (Capitata Group)], `Michihili Jade Pagoda' Chinese cabbage [B. rapa L. (Pekinensis Group)], `Blue Scotch Curled' kale [B. oleracea L. (Acephala Group)], Indian mustard [B. juncea (L.) Czerniak, unknown cultivar] or `Florida Broadleaf' mustard [B. juncea (L.) Czerniak] were placed in 500-mL glass jars. Petri dishes with either Pythium ultimum Trow or Rhizoctonia solani Kühn plugs on potato-dextrose agar were placed over the jar mouths. Radial growth of both fungi was suppressed most by Indian mustard. Volatiles were collected by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) comprised >90% of the volatiles measured from `Florida Broadleaf' mustard and Indian mustard whereas (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate was the predominant compound emitted by the other species. Isothiocyanates were not detected by SPME from `Premium Crop' broccoli and `Blue Scotch Curled' kale although glucosinolates were found in freeze-dried leaves of all species. When exposed to AITC standard, P. ultimum growth was partially suppressed by 1.1 μmol·L-1 (μmol AITC/headspace volume) and completely suppressed by 2.2 μmol·L-1 R. solani was partially suppressed by 1.1, 2.2, and 3.3 μmol·L-1 AITC. Use of Brassica species for control of fungal pathogens is promising; the presence of AITC in both lines of B. juncea suppressed P. ultimum and R. solani but some Brassicas were inhibitory even when isothiocyanates were not detected.

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Craig S. Charron and Carl E. Sams

Crops of the Brassicaceae contain glucosinolates(GSs), which when hydrolyzed by the enzyme myrosinase, generate products involved in cancer chemoprotection, plant defense, and plant-insect interactions. A rapid-cycling base population of B. oleracea L. was grown in a hydroponic system in a controlled environment to determine the roles of temperature, photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), and photoperiod in GS concentration and myrosinase activity. The concentration of total GSs in leaves was 44% and 114% higher at 12 and 32 °C respectively than at 22 °C under constant light of 300 μmol·m-2·s-1. The concentration of glucoraphanin, the precursor to sulforaphane, a compound with chemoprotective properties, was 5-fold higher at 32 than at 22 °C. Total GSs were ≈50% lower in roots at 12 °C and 32 than at 22 °C. Total GSs in leaves decreased 20% when PPF was increased from 200 to 400 μmol·m-2·s-1. Myrosinase activity on a fresh weight basis (activity-FW) was ≈30% higher in leaves and stems at 12 and 32 °C than at 22 °C, and ≈30% higher in leaves grown at 200 and 400 μmol·m-2·s-1 than at 300 μmol·m-2·s-1. Consideration of climatic factors that influence the glucosinolate-myrosinase system may be necessary to optimize the planting and cultivation of Brassica crops for maximum health benefits.

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Dean A. Kopsell and Carl E. Sams

Microgreens are specialty leafy crops harvested just above the roots after the first true leaves have emerged and are consumed fresh. Broccoli (Brassica oleacea var. italica) microgreens can accumulate significant concentrations of cancer-fighting glucosinolates as well as being a rich source of other antioxidant phytochemicals. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) now provide the ability to measure impacts of narrow-band wavelengths of light on seedling physiology. The carotenoid zeaxanthin has been hypothesized to be a blue light receptor in plant physiology. The objective of this study was to measure the impact of short-duration blue light on phytochemical compounds, which impart the nutritional quality of sprouting broccoli microgreens. Broccoli microgreens were grown in a controlled environment under LEDs using growing pads. Seeds were cultured on the pads submerged in deionized water and grown under a 24-hour photoperiod using red (627 nm)/blue (470 nm) LEDs (350 μmol·m−2·s−1) at an air temperature of 23 °C. On emergence of the first true leaf, a complete nutrient solution with 42 mg·L−1 of nitrogen (N) was used to submerge the growing pads. At 13 days after sowing, broccoli plantlets were grown under either: 1) red and blue LED light (350 μmol·m−2·s−1); or 2) blue LED light (41 μmol·m−2·s−1) treatments for 5 days before harvest. The experiment was repeated three times. Frozen shoot tissues were freeze-dried and measured for carotenoids, chlorophylls, glucosinolates, and mineral elements. Comparing the two LED light treatments revealed the short-duration blue LED treatment before harvest significantly increased shoot tissue β-carotene (P ≤ 0.05), violaxanthin (P ≤ 0.01), total xanthophyll cycle pigments (P ≤ 0.05), glucoraphanin (P ≤ 0.05), epiprogoitrin (P ≤ 0.05), aliphatic glucosinolates (P ≤ 0.05), essential micronutrients of copper (Cu) (P = 0.02), iron (Fe) (P ≤ 0.01), boron (B), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), sodium (Na), zinc (Zn) (P ≤ 0.001), and the essential macronutrients of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) (P ≤ 0.001). Results demonstrate management of LED lighting technology through preharvest, short-duration blue light acted to increase important phytochemical compounds influencing the nutritional value of broccoli microgreens.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Carl E. Sams and John C. Cummins

Treatments of single applications of 0%, 3%, 6%, 9%, or 12% dormant oil were sprayed on peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) trees on 6 Feb. 1990. A repeat application of 6% oil plus 6% oil applied 6 days later was also made. Internal CO 2 concentrations of oil-treated buds and twigs were higher than the control the day after treatment and continued to be higher for 6 days. The second application of 10% oil prolonged the elevated CO2 concentration. Applications of 9% or 12% oil delayed flower bud development and bloom. The repeated application of 6% oil delayed bud development and bloom more than a single application of 6% oil. Damage to fruit buds increased as oil concentration increased, but repeated application of 6% oil resulted in less damage than a single application of 12% oil.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Carl E. Sams and John C. Cummins

Foliar sprays of increasing concentrations (0, 75, 150, 300, 600, and 1200 mg·liter-1) of paclobutrazol were applied to `Cardinal' strawberry plants (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) 35 days after transplanting. The plants were established in August in cultivated plots for measurement of paclobutrazol effects on first year growth or in a double-row hill system on black polyethylene-covered raised beds for 2nd year measurements. Increasing the paclobutrazol concentration reduced the number of runners, decreased runner length, and limited biomass partitioned into daughter plants. By the end of the first growing season, paclobutrazol had increased lateral crown development but reduced leaf area per treated plant. Root growth was reduced by concentrations >600 mg·liter-1. Treatment with 75 to 300 mg·liter-1 increased total plant dry weight by 33% to 46%. The following spring, plant growth was decreased by ≥ 300 mg·liter-1. Yield was increased by all treatments, except 1200 mg·liter-1. Leaf net photosynthesis increased within 12 days after treatment with paclobutrazol and was higher than in the controls the next summer. Leaf stomata1 conductance also increased the first year and was significantly higher the 2nd year after treatment. The optimum concentration of paclobutrazol for strawberries appears to be between 150 and 300 mg·liter-1.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Carl E. Sams and Mark T. Windham

Field-grown dogwood trees in a commercial nursery were sprayed with 0%, 1%, or 2% soybean oil emulsified with Latron B-1956 at 2-week intervals from 10 June until 19 Aug. 1998. In 1999, dogwood trees were sprayed with 0%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, or 2.5% emulsified soybean oil at 2-week intervals from 22 June until 26 Aug. The trials had treatments arranged in randomized complete-block designs with eight trees per block and six and four replications in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Disease severity of powdery mildew was estimated using the following scale: 0 = healthy, 1 < 2%, 2 < 10%, 3 < 25%, 4 < 50%, 5 > 50%, and 6 = 100% of foliage with symptoms or signs of powdery mildew. In 1998, trees sprayed with soybean oil had higher net photosynthesis rates and more caliper and height growth than control trees. Untreated trees and ≈25% of foliage infected with powdery mildew on 8 July, while trees sprayed with 1% or 2% soybean oil had about 2% of leaves infected. In 1999, the powdery mildew was already present on foliage (wet spring) when the first application of oil was made. Repeated sprays of soybean oil did not reduce the incidence of powdery mildew. Thus, soybean oil appeared to provide protective control of powdery mildew but not curative control of a heavy infestation of the fungi. Photosynthesis was increased by soybean oil for the first month of spraying in 1999, but did not differ after that. Repeated applications of even the high rates of oil did not cause phytotoxicity.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Carl E. Sams and John C. Cummins

Treatments of dormant oil, at rates of 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 % (v/v), were sprayed until drip on four year old `Biscoe' peach trees on February 6, 1990. Another treatment was applied as a split application with 6 % applied on the previous application date and a second application of 6% solution applied on February 12. The internal atmosphere of bud and twig was modified by the oil treatment. The internal concentration of CO2 was elevated the morning following treatment and continued higher than the control for seven days. A second application Of 6% oil resulted in additional elevation of internal CO2. External evolution of CO2 of all oil treated twigs was 6 to 18% lower than the control 8 days after treatment. Bud phenology and bloom date of trees receiving higher rates of oil were slightly delayed.