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Chun-qiong Huang, Guo-dao Liu and Chang-jun Bai

Aluminum ion (Al3+) toxicity is a major factor limiting plant production on acid soils. Species of zoysiagrass (Zoysia Willd.) are grown for lawn, turf, and soil conservation, especially in temperate zones. Herein, 46 zoysiagrass accessions obtained from eight provinces in China were evaluated for Al resistance using small-scale liquid culture. Each accession was grown in triplicate in nutrient solutions with 1500 μm AlCl3·6H2O (experimental) or without exposure to Al (control). The mean dry weights of the roots, shoots, and total bodies of the accessions relative to those of the nontreated controls were calculated after 60 days, and showed considerable diversity. Overall, the cv for the shoot, root, and total weights of the Al-treated accessions relative to the nontreated controls were 45.78%, 56.67%, and 42.84%, respectively. A cluster analysis based on Al resistance and subordinate function values revealed that 12 of the 46 zoysiagrass accessions (26.09%) were resistant to Al, 9 (19.57%) were moderately resistant, and 25 (54.35%) were sensitive to Al stress. These 46 zoysiagrass accessions from China have great potential for horticultural breeding and development, and for research into mechanisms that underlie Al resistance.

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He Lisi, Su Jiale, Liu Xiaoqing, Li Chang and Chen Shangping

Soluble acid invertase [SAI (Enzyme Commission] plays an important role in catalyzing the hydrolysis of sucrose into hexoses and regulates floral development. Full-length cDNAs encoding RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 isoforms were cloned from Rhododendron hybrid ‘Yuqilin’ and they exhibited high amino acid sequence identity (89%) to each other. The protein sequences contain highly conserved motifs present in all SAIs, including the β-fructosidase motif N-D-P-(D/N), a putative active site W-E-C-(I/V)-D, and R-D-P. The expression of RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 genes was under spatial and temporal control. Expression of both RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 genes was most abundant in stems, and expression was lowest in roots and leaves, respectively. The expression of RhSAI2 was significantly lower than that of RhSAI1 in all organs. During floral development, RhSAI1 was highly expressed at the earliest stage (Stage I), decreased until Stage III, and increased again at the terminal stage. The pattern of RhSAI2 expression was distinctly different, showing a continuous increase during floral development. Consistent with the levels of RhSAI1 expression, SAI activity decreased during floral development and was inversely correlated with the soluble sugar content. Abundant expression of RhSAI1 at the transcriptional level in addition to high SAI activity during the initial stages of floral development may play a vital role in supplying the energy needed for rapid cell division and growth of flowers.

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Xiaoxu Yang, Chang Liu, Zhishan Yan, Youjun Fan, Guojun Feng and Dajun Liu

Flowering time influences pod yield and quality of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris); however, our knowledge of flowering time genes and flowering mechanisms in common bean remain limited. We performed RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses [long-day (LD) condition and short-day (SD) condition] to identify the flowering time genes and analyzed differentially expressed genes to examine their expression levels in relation to flowering time in ‘Hong Jin Gou’ common bean, a cultivar highly sensitive to photoperiod. The circadian patterns of related genes were identified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Flowering time in ‘Hong Jin Gou’ was influenced by day length: SD conditions promoted flowering. A total of eight flowering time–related genes were identified, which were classified into photoperiod pathways. Homologs of pseudo-response regulator 5, pseudo-response regulator 7, and gigantea were more highly expressed under SD conditions than under LD conditions. Homologs of late elongated hypocotyl and timing of cab expression 1 were differentially expressed under light and dark conditions. Early flowering 3 is a key regulator of the pathway, which coordinates light and circadian clock inputs in leaves to trigger the expression of downstream genes. The present study provides critical information that could facilitate further investigations on the genetic mechanism of flowering time in common bean.

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Panpan Meng, Ying Ge, Qianjin Cao, Jie Chang, Peng Pan, Chi Liu, Yijun Lu and Scott X. Chang

Lycoris species have appealing characteristics for potting plants, cut flowers, and landscaping decorations, including attractive foliage, which is very similar to that of cymbidium. Lycoris species have been extensively propagated and marketed in Asia. Understanding the response of Lycoris spp. to irradiance intensity will help the horticultural industry improve the production of potting plants of those species. We studied the responses of photosynthesis, growth, and biomass allocation of potted Lycoris spp. (L. chinensis, L. longituba, and L. sprengeri) bulbs grown under three levels of irradiance, i.e., 100%, 70%, and 30% full sunlight. We found that in terms of biomass production L. chinensis can be cultivated under all levels of irradiance studied from full to 30% sunlight. For L. longituba, high irradiance levels increased the rate of net photosynthesis. For both L. chinensis and L. longituba, the full sunlight treatment produced the most attractive plants characterized by shorter, wider, and darker green leaves, features that appeal to consumers. However, none of the growth traits of L. sprengeri were affected by the irradiance treatment over the entire experimental period. It can be concluded that potting plants of L. chinensis and L. longituba are best produced under full sunlight, whereas L. sprengeri can be produced under irradiance levels from 30% to full sunlight.

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Xiaojing Liu, Naiwei Li, Fengfeng Du, Xin Li, Yajun Chang, Ning Shi, Yuesheng Ding and Dongrui Yao

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L.X. Zhang, W.C. Chang, Y.J. Wei, L. Liu and Y.P. Wang

Cryopreservation of pollen from two ginseng species —Panax ginseng L. and P. quinquefolium L.—was studied. Freezing anthers that served as pollen carriers to –40C before liquid N storage affected pollen viability little after liquid N storage. Anther moisture content affected pollen viability significantly when stored in liquid N. The ideal anther moisture content to carry pollen for liquid N storage was 32% to 26% for P. ginseng and 27% to 17% for P. quinquefolium. Viability of pollen from P. quinquefolium anthers with 25.3% moisture content changed little after 11 months of liquid N storage.

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Ning Shi, Xiaojing Liu, Fengfeng Du, Yajun Chang, Naiwei Li, Yuesheng Ding and Dongrui Yao

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Yung-Liang Peng, Fang-Yin Liu, Rong-Show Shen and Yu-Sen Chang

Nitrogen (N) is a major element required for crop cultivation and an important factor affecting plant growth and development. Malabar chestnut (Pachira macrocarpa) is an important ornamental potted plant crop whose N requirement has been studied, and a rapid monitoring method to manage N fertilization during its commercial production is yet to be established. Malabar chestnut seedlings were fertilized weekly with 0, 4, 8, 16, or 24 mm N. After 12 weeks, 16 mm N was found to yield the greatest plant growth such as plant height, number of nodes, and total leaf area. Measurements of chlorophyll meter readings, leaf chlorophyll concentration, leaf N concentration, and leaf dry weight all indicated that the optimal level of N fertilization was 16 mm N. A chlorophyll meter can be used to monitor nondestructively whether sufficient N has been supplied to support optimal plant growth. In this study, a chlorophyll meter reading of 46.1 corresponded with a critical leaf N concentration of 2.65%, defined as the leaf N concentration when the leaf dry weight was at 90% of saturation point. Additional N supplied beyond this critical level increased foliar chlorophyll content and improved the rate of net photosynthesis. Therefore, chlorophyll meter readings, which are convenient and nondestructive can serve as a reliable reference for commercial production in monitoring N requirement for optimum growth of malabar chestnut. Weekly fertilization of malabar chestnut with 16 mm N and maintaining leaf chlorophyll meter readings between 46.1 and 58.4 are recommended.

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Ninghang Wang, Chao Zhang, Sainan Bian, Pengjie Chang, Lingjuan Xuan, Lijie Fan, Qin Yu, Zhigao Liu, Cuihua Gu, Shouzhou Zhang, Yaling Wang and Yamei Shen

Magnolia (Magnoliaceae) is widely cultivated for its beauty; however, despite this, the components of the different flower colors in Magnolia have not been elucidated. In this study, the color parameters of 10 Magnolia petals with different colors were measured by the Royal Horticultural Society Color Chart (RHSCC) and a color reader CR-10. The composition and content of the flavonoids in the petals were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection (HPLC-DAD) as well as HPLC with electrospray ionization and mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS2). All results showed that the 10 petals were divided into four color groups. Regarding the flavonoid composition, four types of anthocyanins, including Cyanidin-glucosyl-rhamnoside (Cy-GR), Cyanidin-glucosyl-rhamnosyl-glucoside (Cy-GRG), Peonidin-glucosyl-rhamnoside (Pn-GR), and Peonidin-glucosyl-rhamnosyl-glucoside (Pn-GRG), were identified, as well as 10 types of flavonols. The flavonols included isorhamnetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and their glycosides, which included rutinoside, rhamnose, and glucoside. Cyanidin and peonidin make Magnolia petals appear red-purple and purple, respectively, and the flavonols perform as evident auxiliary pigments, particularly quercetin. The Magnolia cultivar flower phenotypes sampled in this study differed by changes in their existing flavonoid content rather than by the appearance of new flavonoids. Consequently, this study provides a reference for further revealing the basis of Magnolia flower color and provides clues for color breeding.

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Choun-Sea Lin, Nien-Tzu Liu, De-Chih Liao, Jau-Song Yu, Chuang-Hwei Tsao, Chao-Hsiung Lin, Chih-Wen Sun, Wann-Neng Jane, Hsing Sheng Tsay, Jeremy Jian-Wei Chen, Erh-Min Lai, Na-Sheng Lin, Wei-Chin Chang and Chung-Chih Lin

The chloroplast genome of an albino mutant isolated from tissue culture of the bamboo Bambusa edulis Munro was examined to identify aberrations. A number of the chloroplast genes encoding ATP synthases, photosystem II subunits, NADH dehydrogenase, and ribosomal proteins had been deleted, at least partially, in the albino mutant. Comparison of the two-dimensional electrophoresis profiles of albino and green bamboos revealed three spots of reduced intensity, indicating repression of these proteins in the albino mutants. Mass spectroscopic analysis subsequently revealed that two of these proteins are 33-kDa subunits of the photosystem II oxygen-evolving protein complex (PsbO) and one is a 23-kDa subunit of photosystem II oxygen-evolving protein complex (PsbP). The genes encoding these two proteins were cloned from B. edulis, and were denoted BePsbO (accession no. EF669513) and BePsbP (accession no. EF669512). Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and two-dimensional gel analyses of BePsbO and BePsbP in green and albino bamboos grown in the light or dark revealed that the albino mutant, similar to its green counterpart, sensed the light signal, resulting in the induction of BePsbO and BePsbP transcription, but it did not accumulate the protein products. We conclude that the repression of protein-expressing BePsbO and BePsbP is because of a defect in post-transcriptional regulation in the albino mutant.