Tomato has been considered as a potential biological production platform for plant-made pharmaceuticals (PMPs). However, information is limited for protein productivity and dynamics in tomato fruit. As part of our PMP production project, total soluble protein (TSP) content of green and red fruits was analyzed for selected six greenhouse cultivars. The six cultivars consisted of various fruit types (including cluster, cherry, mini plum, and grape types) with sizes ranging from 10 to 150 and from 14 to 188 g fresh weight for green and red fruits, respectively. In fruit TSP content per unit dry weight (DW), approximately seven- to eightfold variation was observed among cultivars for both green and red fruits. There was no significant correlation between fruit TSP content per DW and fruit DW or fruit type over the cultivars irrespective of fruit ripening stage, indicating that fruit weight or fruit type of a cultivar cannot be an indicator of the TSP content per DW. There was also an inconsistent trend in differences in fruit TSP content per whole fruit between green and red fruit among cultivars. Our results suggest that a low-yielding cultivar can produce high TSP content per unit ground area resulting from high TSP content per DW in fruit. A background tomato cultivar or genotype candidate for commercial PMP production should thus be selected from among various fruit types considering both yield potential and fruit TSP content.
Increasing numbers of vegetable growers purchase their seedlings from specialized transplant producers. However, early yield reduction due to abnormal first fruit truss development was often observed after long-distance transportation of seedlings. 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), an inhibitor of ethylene-mediated reactions, is widely used for postharvest management. If ethylene accumulated in trailers causes such abnormal first truss fruit development, application of 1-MCP to seedlings may prevent such problems. To test this hypothesis, `Durinta' tomato seedlings with visible flower buds were placed in chambers for 4 days under one of the following conditions: 1) conventional transportation air temperature of 18 °C without 1-MCP, 2) 18 °C with 1-MCP, 3) 12 °C without 1-MCP, and 4) nonstored control. The target initial 1-MCP concentration was 1 μmol·mol-1 inside the chamber, and the concentration was estimated to reach 0.2 μmol·mol-1 after 96 h. Three weeks after transplanting, 81.3% of first trusses on the plants treated at 18 °C without 1-MCP exhibited an abnormal, delayed fruit development. Both 1-MCP application and 12 °C air temperature successfully reduced the symptom to 4.7% and 3.1%, respectively; not significantly different from the nonstored control (1.6%). The average first truss yield was the lowest for 18 °C without 1-MCP (223 g per truss), followed by 18 °C with 1-MCP (582 g), and was the greatest (609–637 g) for 12 °C without 1-MCP or the control. Ethylene accumulation was the primary cause of the delayed fruit development causing yield reduction. Application of 1-MCP during transportation was shown to prevent such undesirable yield loss, although lowering temperature was the most effective under the present experimental conditions.
Growth and net photosynthetic rate of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) `Benimaru' plantlet in vitro were studied under a conventional photomixotrophic condition [with 20 g sucrose/liter in the medium and under 70 μmol·m-2·s-1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)] with minimal ventilation (MV) and under photoautotrophic conditions (without sugar in the medium and under 190 μmol·m-2·s-l PPF) with enhanced natural ventilation using an air diffusive filter (DV) or with forced ventilation (FV). Fresh weight of the plantlets cultured in the FV and DV treatments was 2.4 times that of the plantlets cultured in the MV treatment. Net photosynthetic rate and dry weight per plantlet were the highest in FV followed by DV. For photoautotrophic micropropagation, FV was superior to DV.
Increasing numbers of vegetable growers purchase their transplants from specialized transplant producers. Possible deterioration of transplants during transportation limits the market size as well as the potential sources of high quality transplants. To determine best conditions for transportation of seedlings, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum; `Durinta') seedlings with visible flower buds were placed for 4 days under varied air temperature (6, 12, or the conventional transportation temperature of 18 °C) and light intensity 0 (conventional darkness) or dim light at 12 μmol·m-2·s-1 PAR). Plants were evaluated for visual quality, photosynthetic capacity, growth and ultimately fruit yield. Lower temperatures and illumination significantly maintained visual quality of the seedlings. Lower temperature maintained high photosynthetic capacity of the seedlings during transportation. Growth and development of the seedlings were significantly affected by higher temperature resulting in significantly delayed growth and development. Number of fruits set on the first truss was significantly reduced when seedlings were at 18 °C during transportation. Overall, simulated transport at 6 °C under light showed the best transportability without experiencing negative impact for the 4-day simulated transportation. Seedlings at 6 °C in darkness and at 12 °C under light and in darkness also showed satisfactory transportability. Seedlings at 18 °C exhibited serious quality deterioration of seedlings, delay in early growth and development, loss of flower buds on the first truss and yield reduction, which agrees with the fact that conventional transportation is currently able to be no longer than 3 days in duration.
In vitro culture of orchid plantlets within conventional photomixotrophic micropropagation (PMM) systems (sucrose containing media in a non-enriched CO2 environment) often induces vigorous growth and multiplication. However, transition to ex vitro conditions frequently results in significant plantlet loss during the acclimatization process. Recent studies investigating micropropagation within photoautotrophic (PAM) systems (sucrose-free media in enriched CO2 conditions) have demonstrated improved plantlet survival during the acclimatization period due to greater root growth and stomata adaptation. Laelia purpurata var. alba, an orchid with many endangered relatives, was chosen as a model orchid species to investigate if plantlet culture within PAM in vitro systems has the potential to improve propagation success and ex vitro survival of endangered Laelia species. Protocorm-like bodies with developed two fully extended leaves were transferred into PMM (photosynthetic photon flux 50 μmol·m-2·s-1 under non-enriched CO2 conditions) and PAM (photosynthetic photon flux 150 μmol·m-2·s-1, CO2 level enriched to 1500 μmol·mol-1) systems. After 6 weeks, plantlet rooting within the PMM system was variable and inconsistent, while all PAM plantlets produced healthy robust root systems. Average fresh weights and percent shoot development were not significantly different between treatments. Induction of improved root growth by PAM systems may improve orchid plantlet survival rates during acclimatization and advance our ability to increase endangered orchid populations.
Feasible protocols for organic hydroponic production of strawberry are necessary and this study compares the yield and fruit quality of organic and conventional inorganic hydroponic production. Some issues identified with organic hydroponic strawberry production are: 1) dominant ammonium nitrogen form; 2) solution alkalinity; and 3) dissolved oxygen level of nutrient solution. Eighty bare-rooted `Diamante' plantlets were planted in coconut fiber pots with a mixture of coconut coir (30%) and perlite (70%) and grown in a modified nutrient film technique system inside a polycarbonate greenhouse. The organic nutrient solution contains mostly ammonium nitrogen and little nitrate nitrogen. To enhance colonization and activities of nitrifying bacteria, coconut fiber mats were placed in the organic nutrient solution reservoir. A similar system was also introduced for stock solution pre-conditioning where nitrification and pH stabilization were achieved before application to the strawberry plantlets. The organic nutrient solution prior to pre-conditioning had only 1.53 mg·L-1 nitrate nitrogen, although the nitrate nitrogen level increased to 63.2 mg·L-1 after pre-conditioning. The organic nutrient solution pH was 4.5 initially, 8.5 after 24 hours of pre-conditioning, and finally, shifted to and stabilized at 5.7–5.9 after 3 days. Dissolved oxygen level is critical for both nitrifying bacteria activities and plantlet root growth; therefore, oxygen enrichment was achieved by constantly aerating the nutrient solution in the reservoir, which raised the oxygen level from 2.5 to 7.4 mg·L-1. Comparisons of yield and quality of strawberry fruits between organic and inorganic nutrient solutions will be presented and further improvements of hydroponic systems will be discussed.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Botrytis Group `Ryokurei') plantlets, cultured photoautotrophically (without sugar in the medium) in vitro for 3 weeks at 23C and 160 μmol·m–2·s–1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), were stored for 6 weeks at 5, 10, or 15C under 0 (darkness) or 2 μmol·m–2·s–1 PPF (continuous lighting) supplied by fluorescent lamps (white light). Dry weight of the plantlets stored for 6 weeks at 5 or 10C in light was not significantly different from that of the plantlets before storage. Dry weight of the plantlets decreased as temperature increased and was maintained at higher levels in light than in darkness. Chlorophyll concentrations of the plantlets were higher at the lower temperatures. Chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics indicated higher activities of chlorophyll of the plantlets stored in light than in darkness. Lighting at as low as 2 μmol·m–2·s–1 PPF was important to preserve photosynthetic and regrowth abilities and dry weight of the plantlets during low-temperature storage.
Manipulation of the electrical conductivity (EC) of the hydroponic nutrient solution has been studied as an effective method to enhance flavor and nutritional value of tomato fruit. The objective of this research was to quantitatively understand the accumulation of lycopene, soluble sugars, and the degradation of chlorophyll in fruits as affected by EC and EC application timing relative to fruit ripeness stages. `Durinta' tomato was grown hydroponically inside the greenhouse under two EC (2.3 and 4.5 dS·m-1). The high EC treatment began immediately after anthesis (HEC treatment) or 4 weeks later (DHEC treatment), when fruits had reached maximum size, but still were green. Fruits were harvested weekly beginning 2 weeks after anthesis, until they reached red ripe stage. The chlorophyll concentration in tomato fruits showed no difference between treatments when compared at the same ripeness stages. The lycopene concentration of red ripe tomato fruits in HEC and DHEC treatments was 29% greater than that in low EC control (LEC treatment). However, there was no significant difference in lycopene concentration between HEC and DHEC. Both DHEC and HEC increased total soluble solid concentration (TSS) of red ripe tomato fruits compared with those grown in LEC; while the DHEC showed an increase of fruit TSS of 12%, the HEC had a greater enhancement of TSS of 19%. In addition, the fruit ripeness was accelerated under high EC, regardless of the timing of treatment. High EC treatment at early and mature green fruit developmental stages enhanced both fruit TSS and lycopene concentration; however, the nutrient solution EC effect on lycopene concentration was not dependent on the time of application during fruit development.
A storage method of transplants in vitro was developed using light compensation points in conjunction with low temperatures. Broccoli (cv. Ryokurei) plantlets, aseptically germinated and cultured for three weeks in vitro, were used as model transplants. Culture conditions were: 23C air temperature, 160 μmol m-2s-1 PPF, and 3.6 air exchanges per hour of the vessel. Prior to storage, light compensation points were determined at 3, 5, 10, and 15C for the plantlets cultured with or without 20 g liter-1 sugar in the medium. Plantlets were stored for six weeks at 5, 10, and 15C under either 0 or 2 μmol m-2s-1 continuous PPF. The light compensation points varied with air temperature and with medium sugar level. Plantlet dry weight during storage was best maintained by keeping CO2 exchange rate of the plantlets close to zero throughout the storage period. High transplant qualities were successfully preserved at light compensation points: 2 μmol m-2s-1 PPF at 5-10C without sugar, and at 5C with sugar in the medium. This method may be applicable for storage of other crop transplants, plug seedlings and cuttings as well.