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Fan Li, Shenchong Li and Qinli Shan

Temperature is one of the main factors that affects the growth pattern of Gerbera hybrida, which shows vast variation in morphology and stress adaptation among cultivars. However, little is known about temperature responses of plant growth among different cultivars. In this study, four cultivars were planted in different growth temperatures to investigate the effect of temperature on plant growth of Gerbera hybrida during their vegetative growth. Results showed that the optimum growth temperature of the four cultivars was 20 °C, of which plant height, root length, biomass accumulation, leaf area, and photosynthetic rate were enhanced significantly. Different cultivars showed diverse temperature adaptation ranges, which were related with their genetic background, and the temperature adaptability of cultivar Autumn was the best among the four cultivars. Temperature also had significant effects on photosynthetic rate, which was the main factor shaping plant growth. Our research provides the basic guidance for the growth temperature control in the cultivation of Gerbera hybrida.

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Jinhong Yuan, Man Xu, Wei Duan, Peige Fan and Shaohua Li

The responses of photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, and de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle pigments (DEPS) of micropropagated apple trees (Malus ×domestica) were investigated under whole-root water stress (WRS) and half-root water stress (HRS) induced by polyethylene glycol 6000 to simulate whole and partial root zone drying. Compared with control plants without water stress, plants under WRS and HRS exhibited reduced leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and stomatal conductance (g S) with a greater reduction in WRS than in HRS plants. However, intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) increased under WRS as water stress was prolonged, signifying a non-stomatal limitation of Pn. Regarding HRS, decreased Pn was mainly the result of a stomatal limitation explained by a relatively low Ci. Changes in photosynthesis and chlorophyll parameters indicate that severe and slight damage occurred to the photosynthetic apparatus of WRS and HRS leaves, respectively, starting at Day 3 after initiating water stress. This damage was not evident on the donor side but was expressed as a reduced capacity of the acceptor side of the photosystem II reaction centers. To prevent damage from excess light, the DEPS of WRS leaf increased. Decreased g S could explain reduced water use under an irrigation strategy of partial root zone drying in fruit trees.

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Jing-jing Zhao, Xun Chen, Li-juan Fan and Ling Wang

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Jun Ying Zhao, Li Jun Wang, Pei Ge Fan, Zhan Wu Dai and Shao Hua Li

Half or whole root systems of micropropagated `Gala' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) plants were subjected to drought stress by regulating the osmotic potential of the nutrient solution using polyethylene glycol (20% w/v) to investigate the effect of root drying on NO3- content and metabolism in roots and leaves and on leaf photosynthesis. No significant difference in predawn leaf water potential was found between half root stress (HRS) and control (CK), while predawn leaf water potential from both was significantly higher than for the whole root stress (WRS) treatment. However, diurnal leaf water potential of HRS was lower than CK and higher than WRS during most of the daytime. Neither HRS nor WRS influenced foliar NO3- concentration, but both significantly reduced NO3- concentration in drought-stressed roots as early as 4 hours after stress treatment started. This reduced NO3- concentration was maintained in HRS and WRS roots to the end of the experiment. However, there were no significant differences in NO3- concerntation between CK roots and unstressed roots of HRS. Similar to the effect on root NO3- concentration, both HRS and WRS reduced nitrate reductase activity in drought-stressed roots. Moreover, leaf net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate of HRS plants were reduced significantly throughout the experiment when compared with CK plants, but the values were higher than those of WRS plants in the first 7 days of stress treatment though not at later times. Net photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were correlated to root NO3- concentration. This correlation may simply reflect the fact that water stress affected both NO3- concentration in roots and leaf gas exchange in the same direction.

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Jieshan Cheng, Peige Fan, Zhenchang Liang, Yanqiu Wang, Ning Niu, Weidong Li and Shaohua Li

In ‘Beijing 24’ peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batch] trees, a series of source leaves with differing levels of end products were created by retaining fruit (“+fruit”), removing fruit (“−fruit”), or reducing the light period. To alter the light period, leaves were covered with a bag made of brown inner paper and outer silver paper, which was then removed at different times the next day. The highest level of end products were obtained by fruit removal, while reducing the light period resulted in a lower level than “+fruit.” Net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and stomatal conductance (g s) decreased, but leaf temperatures (Tleaf) increased, following an increase in end product levels in leaves. After the “−fruit” treatment, reduced Pn was correlated with lower g s, and Tleaf increase was concomitant with decreases in maximal quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), actual photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (ΦPSII), and photochemical quenching, and with an increase in nonphotochemical quenching. However, there were no significant differences in chlorophyll fluorescence between “+fruit” and the two treatments reducing the light period. The ΦPSII decreased following an increase in foliar sorbitol level, and it linearly decreased as sucrose and starch increased. Although fruit removal resulted in a significant accumulation of sucrose, sorbitol, and starch in leaves throughout the day, the extractable activities of several important enzymes involved in carbohydrate leaf storage and translocation did not decrease. Therefore, instead of feedback regulation by the accumulation of end products in source leaves, a high Tleaf induced by decreased stomatal aperture may play a key role in regulation of photosynthesis by limiting the photochemical efficiency of the PSII reaction centers under high levels of the end products in peach leaves.

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Rui Li, Lu Fan, Jingdong Lin, Mingyang Li, Daofeng Liu and Shunzhao Sui

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a common potted flower that is popular throughout the world. Brown spot (caused by Stemphylium lycopersici) is one of the common foliage diseases in kalanchoe. This disease tends to infect leaves of kalanchoe plants in hot and humid environments, reducing their aesthetic value. The current investigation aimed to generate mutations resistant to brown spot in ‘Mary’ kalanchoe through chemical mutagenesis followed by molecular marker identification. Putative mutants were developed by treating embryogenic calluses with ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) at median lethal doses (LD50)–either a 0.8% concentration for 2 hours or a 1.0% concentration for 0.5 hours. Brown spot crude toxin solution was used as the selection agent to identify disease-resistant calluses during tissue culture. The optimal crude concentration (60%) was determined by soaking calluses with different concentrations of crude pathogen: 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% (v/v). A total of 32 anti-brown spot lines were regenerated and tested for disease resistance with detached leaves. Three regenerated EMS mutant lines showed no obvious brown spot lesions on their leaves after the disease resistance assay and were subjected to polymorphism identification by start codon targeted (SCoT) molecular markers. Three (SCoT40, SCoT71, and SCoT72) of 45 selected primers were chosen to identify the mutants. This work may lay the foundation for further development of new disease-resistant cultivars of kalanchoe.

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Yong Zhang, Chunxia Fu, Yujing Yan, Xiaodan Fan, Yan’an Wang and Ming Li

Application of sugar alcohol zinc (SA-Zn) spray to apple trees at certain developmental stages can improve fruit quality. Increasing the Zn concentration of fruit can improve nutritional content and promote human health. We conducted foliar application of SA-Zn to 13-year-old ‘Fuji’ apple trees at different developmental stages. The effects of SA-Zn application on Zn concentration, reducing sugar content, and carbohydrate metabolism-related enzyme activity in fruit were investigated. The foliar treatment increased Zn and reducing sugar concentrations significantly in mature fruit. Sorbitol dehydrogenase activity was higher in the fruit of trees treated before budbreak and 3 weeks after flowering compared with the control at the early fruit stage and was higher during fruit expansion in plants treated after termination of spring shoot growth. Mature fruit of trees treated during the fruit expansion stage showed higher sorbitol dehydrogenase activity than the control. Foliar SA-Zn treatment did not have a significant effect on sorbitol oxidase activity in apple fruit. Treatment before budbreak and at 3 weeks after flowering led to a significant increase in the activity of sucrose synthase and acid invertase at the early fruit stage. Treatment during the fruit expansion stage significantly increased the activity of acid invertase at maturity but had no effect on the activity of neutral invertase. Our results indicate that foliar SA-Zn application resulted in biofortification of Zn in apples, which led to higher activity of carbohydrate metabolism-related enzymes and accumulation of sugars.

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Beibei Li, Jianfu Jiang, Xiucai Fan, Ying Zhang, Haisheng Sun, Guohai Zhang and Chonghuai Liu

In this study, we present the molecular characterization of 61 Chinese grape landraces and 33 foreign cultivars by using nine microsatellite DNA markers. A total of 115 distinct alleles were amplified, and the average allele number was 12.78. The average observed and expected heterozygosity values were 0.797 and 0.839, respectively. The effective allele numbers ranged from 5.011 to 8.575. The average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.816. Eighty distinct genotypes were detected, and new synonyms and homonyms were found. The clustering dendrogram indicated that 94 Vitis materials could be divided into five major groups, and the cluster analysis showed that part of the Chinese grape landraces had a close relationship with the foreign cultivars. Assessment of the true cultivar identity, and the identification of synonyms and homonyms will be a contribution to improve the grape germplasm management and protect breeders’ intellectual rights.

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Xiu Cai Fan, Hai Sheng Sun, Ying Zhang, Jian Fu Jiang, Min Li and Chong Huai Liu

In this study, simple sequence repeat (SSR) and sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers were used to analyze the genetic diversity of 48 wild Vitis davidii accessions. A total of 78 distinct alleles were amplified by 11 SSR primers, and the average allele number was 8.8. The average observed heterozygosity (Ho) and expected heterozygosity (He) values were 0.785 and 0.814, respectively. The effective allele numbers ranged from 3.92 to 9.61. The average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.798. Twelve of 169 SRAP primer combinations were selected for SRAP analysis. A total of 188 bands were produced, and the average was 15.7 bands per primer combination; the average percentage of polymorphic bands was 84.0%. The average PIC was 0.76. The results of the clustering analysis based on SSR markers showed that the 48 wild V. davidii accessions could be classified into five main clusters and had a genetic similarity coefficient level of 0.68. The dendrogram obtained from the SRAP data showed that 48 wild V. davidii accessions could be classified into five main clusters and had a genetic similarity coefficient of 0.72. SSR and SRAP markers differentiated all accessions studied including those with a similar pedigree. We speculated on the origin of Ciputao 0941♀, Ciputao 0940♂, and Fu’an-ci-01 using SSR markers and used both SSR and SRAP markers to resolve homonymy. The result will be valuable for further management and protection of V. davidii germplasm resources.

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Qiang Xiao, XiaoHui Fan, XiaoHui Ni, LiXia Li, GuoYuan Zou and Bing Cao

Increasing commercial use of controlled release fertilizer (CRF) has prompted the need to predict N release simply and viably in the greenhouse environment. Two CRFs were tested, i.e., P40d and P100d by incubating them for 40 or 100 days either in static water at 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 °C or in the soil of vegetable plots in a greenhouse lacking temperature controls. Cumulative nitrogen release (CNR) from a CRF was represented by a parabola curve and significantly affected by the incubation temperature. A method to calculate N m (the maximum N release percentage from CRF) was established using a first-order kinetic equation and the method of least squares. N m was 90.9% to 99.9% for P40d and 72.1% to 87.1% for P100d at 10–35 °C, respectively. A relationship function between the N release rate and naturally fluctuating greenhouse soil temperatures was established using the activation energy of the N release reaction. Then a model was constructed with field temperature as the variable to predict N release throughout the entire greenhouse crop production season. The value of ψ representing a property of the coating material of a CRF is 1.0 for the release period of the CRF of 35–55 days and 1.2 of 80–120 days. We validated the model using two seasons of greenhouse tomato, Solanum lycopersicum L., and cucumber, Cucumis sativus L., production data, and found that the error was less than 12% points. This indicated that the constructed model was sufficiently simple, practical, and accurate for use by growers, and fertilizer industry and regulatory personnel.