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J. Creighton Miller Jr. and Douglas C. Scheuring

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Douglas C. Scheuring, J. Creighton Miller Jr., and David W. Walker

Two cowpea cultivars, Pinkeye Purple Hull and Royal Blackeye, were evaluated for their ability to produce a ratoon crop. Dry weight and pod yield were measured following harvest from two different cutting heights (second and fourth node), and stages of pod maturity (green and dry). The cultivar Royal Blackeye produced more green manure or returned biomass following ratooning than did Pinkeye Purple Hull. Cutting height and sampling at different pod maturities influenced ratooning potential. These results suggest that cowpea ratooning appears to be economically feasible and that further screening of cowpea cultivars for ratooning ability is warranted.

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Armando Campos Cruz, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

The effect of Biozyme™, a commercial germination stimulant, on emergence of bean and sweet corn seeds, treated with four levels of Carbofuran and Chlorothalonil, and grown under suboptimal field temperatures, was evaluated. Half the seeds from each treatment were treated with Biozyme™ Two planting dates were selected to provide suboptimal temperatures during emergence. Pesticide overdoses caused significant detrimental effects to all emerging seedlings. These effects were magnified under the low temperatures of the first planting. Biozyme™ treatment significantly improved emergence rate, percent emergence, final stand and number of ears of sweet corn in the first planting, and the percent emergence final stand, plant dry weight, and number of ears in the second planting. In beans, however, Biozyme™ treatment significantly reduced emergence rate, percent emergence. and final stand in the first planting, while significantly increasing percent emergence, plant dry weight, and seed dry weight in the second planting. The beneficial effects of Biozyme™ appeared to be independent of the negative effects of pesticide overdoses.

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Tyann Blessington, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

Potatoes are stored to ensure a continuous supply; however, losses due to shrinkage and sprouting can be large. It is believed that ionizing irradiation will become more prominent for sprout inhibition due to the increasingly higher operating costs of low-temperature storage and possible phase-out of chemical sprout inhibitors. The effects of storage and ionizing irradiation (gamma and electron beam) on antioxidant activity (AOA), phenolic content, and carotenoid content were analyzed using the potato cultivar Atlantic. Tubers were subjected to 0, 75, and 200 Gy γ-irradiation doses, stored at 20 °C, and analyzed after 0, 10, 20, 75, and 110 days. Tubers from another harvest were subjected to a surface dose of 0 or 200 Gy e-beam irradiation, stored at 20 °C, and analyzed after 0, 10, 20, 75, and 110 days. AOA was measured via the DPPH method; phenolic content via the Folin-Ciocalteau method and individual phenolics via HPLC; and carotenoid content via absorbance at 445 nm and individual carotenoids via HPLC. During early storage, higher doses resulted in higher AOA, while, during longer storage, lower doses produced greater AOA. Phenolic content increased in storage during the γ-irradiation study, but decreased in the e-beam study, partly due to increases in chlorogenic acid in the former and decreases in caffeic acid in the latter. The e-beam dose of 200 Gy resulted in significantly greater total phenolics than 0 Gy. Total carotenoids and lutein decreased with storage, but were not affected by irradiation. Storage exerted a much greater influence on AOA, phenolic content, and carotenoid content than either irradiation treatment.

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M.N. Nzaramba, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

Antioxidants are important to human health, as they are responsible for reduced risk of diseases such as cancer, hence motivating researchers to examine crop plants for available antioxidant compounds. There is also increasing interest in the use of antioxidants from plants instead of synthetic products. In order to evaluate variability of antioxidant activity (AOA) in cowpea, 697 cowpea accessions from the U.S. Cowpea Core Collection obtained from the Regional Plant Introduction Station, Griffin, Ga., were analyzed for AOA expressed as μg trolox equivalents/gdw. Two grams of dry seed from each accession were ground, extracted in methanol and analyzed for AOA using the free radical, 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), method. A large variation in AOA within the core collection, ranging from 1859 μg·g–1 dw (PI 180355, pigmented seed coat) to 42.6 μg·g–1 dw (PI 583100, cream seed coat), was observed. A least significant difference of 131.5 (p =0.05) was obtained. Higher AOA was manifested by accessions with pigmented seed coats. Accessions that were speckled, striped or had a pigmented eye were moderate in AOA, while the cream types were generally low. Variability in AOA observed among cowpea accessions suggests that breeding for high AOA can be successfully conducted. Accessions with high AOA could also be used to extract antioxidants for industrial purposes. Some accessions were a mixture of various colors and patterns, making it difficult to classify them into a particular category. Therefore, there is need to ensure purity of these accessions by ascertaining whether the mixtures are physical, i.e., combination of different varieties, or are composed of segregating material.

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Lavanya Reddivari*, Anna L. Hale, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

In recent years, much emphasis has been placed on functional/antioxidant properties of various fruits and vegetables and their contribution to human health. Since average per capita consumption of potatoes in the United States is about 137 pounds, even moderate levels of antioxidants could be viewed as an important human health benefit. Variation in antioxidant activity has not been extensively investigated for colored potatoes (specialty selections). Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate antioxidant activity of specialty selections from the Texas Potato Variety Development Program and identify elite lines to use in breeding for improvement of this trait. Potato tubers were also assessed for their outer appearance, skin color, flesh color, spoilage and yield characteristics. Specialty potato selections (320 lines) were screened for total antioxidant activity using the 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. After an initial screening, the top 10 % of selections were reevaluated in the following year. Significant (P ≤ 0.01) differences were found among selections and, for some selections, differences were found between seasons. Total antioxidant activity ranged from 27 μg/gfw to 832 μg/gfw. The specialty selection CO112F2-2 (purple flesh) had the highest antioxidant activity (832 μg/gfw) irrespective of season. In most cases, purple flesh selections produced the highest antioxidant activity, probably due to the presence of anthocyanins, followed by yellow selections.

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Peter J. Mes, B. Gregory Cobb, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

The major markets for cowpea are seed sales and processing. During the storage period prior to sales, some seedcoats of `Mississippi Silver' darken from tan to varying shades of brown. This darkening is undesirable for the processing market, since it results in an unattractive product lacking uniformity. A series of studies was undertaken to investigate this problem. It was noted that darkening proceeded at a rapid rate when seed were left in the field after drying. Selection against darkening was unsuccessful, and attempts at extracting the colored compound with polar and nonpolar solvents were inconclusive. A method of screening for the darkening trait was devised. It was found that darkening could be induced by exposing seed to a high-oxygen environment, suggesting that oxidation is involved in the darkening process. In support of this, it was found that the lowest rate of darkening occurred when the seed were placed in an enriched nitrogen chamber after harvest.

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M. Ndambe Nzaramba, Anna L. Hale, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

The inheritance of antioxidant activity (AOA) and its association with seedcoat color was investigated in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]. Four advanced cowpea lines, ARK95-356 (black seedcoat) and ARK98-348 (red seedcoat), which were high (H) in AOA, and ARK96-918 (cream seedcoat) and LA92-180 (cream seedcoat), which were low (L) in AOA, were selected from the 2002 Regional Southernpea Cooperative Trials. They were crossed in a complete diallel mating design, generating F1, F1′ (1st generation and 1st generation reciprocal cross, respectively), F2, F2′ (2nd generations from F1, F1′), BC1, and BC2 (backcrosses to parents 1 and 2, respectively) populations. Individual seeds were ground and samples were extracted in methanol and analyzed for AOA using the free radical 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method. Combining ability tests using Griffing's Method I Model I indicated presence of highly significant general combining ability (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA), and reciprocal (RE) and maternal (MAT) effects, with pigmented lines exhibiting positive GCA and MAT, while nonpigmented lines exhibited negative GCA and MAT. AOA in the F1 was not significantly different from the maternal parent, with seedcoat color also resembling the maternal parent. Segregation for seedcoat color was observed in the F2 and F2′. Additive, dominance, and epistatic effects were significant. The broad sense heritability estimate was 0.87. Minimum number of genes responsible for AOA was estimated at five. Factors governing high AOA appeared to be the same as those responsible for seedcoat color, with apparent pleiotropic effects. In conclusion, breeding for high AOA in cowpea is possible using highly pigmented parental lines.

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Anna L. Hale, Douglas C. Scheuring, Thomas J. Gerik, Jeffrey D. Hart, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (FeDC) is a problem in cowpea because it affects the ability of the plant to produce chlorophyll. Earlier studies indicated that FeDC was conditioned by a single gene. Pinkeye Purple Hull (PEPH), a susceptible variety, and Texas Pinkeye Purple Hull (TXPE), a resistant variety, were crossed and allowed to self for one generation. The F1s were backcrossed to the parents. SPAD readings were taken on each population. SPAD measures the transmission of light through the leaves at a wavelength where chlorophyll absorbs and a wavelength where it does not. The SPAD reading is calculated based on a ratio of these two numbers. Thus, the SPAD value is unitless and is an indication of the relative amount of chlorophyll present in the leaf. Chlorophyll was extracted from leaves, and regressed on the SPAD readings from the same leaves. An R 2 of .9102 was obtained as well as a regression equation of y = 12.8x + 54.5. Thus, a SPAD value of 1 corresponds with a chlorophyll content of ≈67.3 μg chlorophyll/gfw. The data was analyzed using a bootstrap method, and indicated that FeDC is not controlled by a single gene. A P-value of .0004 showed a highly significant difference between the expected and observed segregation ratios in the F2 plants. Narrow sense heritibility (Mather) was estimated at 0.3.