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H.C. Barrett

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H.C. Barrett

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G. Yelenosky, D. Hutchison, and H. Barrett

Ten-month-old seedlings, grown from seed extracted from 22 individual pummelo [Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck] × trifoliate orange [Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] citrus hybrid trees that survived -15C freezes near Monticello, Fla., were cold-acclimated in controlled-environment rooms and freeze-tested at -6.7C for 4 h. Freeze damage to open-pollinated progeny was ranked by the number of uninjured seedlings and percentage of leaves killed and wood dieback. Morphological segregation was not associated with differences in freeze survival, and the dominant trifoliate gene was readily evident. Progeny from one tree, identified as 98-71, are considered the most likely candidates for further study in developing cold-hardy citrus trees.

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G.H. Pemberton, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Senescence of gladiolus flowers, like many geophytes, does not involve a climacteric burst of ethylene. Eleven gladiolus cultivars were screened and all were non-climacteric (NC) for both respiration and ethylene production. Average ethylene levels for individual flowers were 0.5 μl C2H4/kg per h or less. As in other NC flowers, protein synthesis may be linked to senescence. Our goal was to identify specific proteins that were involved in the senescence process that could be used as indicators of postharvest longevity. SDS-PAGE protein profiles of cut gladiolus flowers were determined from a tight bud stage to senescence. Both increases and decreases were observed in major polypeptides that may be connected to postharvest flower longevity. Total protein content of gladiolus flower petals decreased by ≈70% during the profile period. This could explain the relatively short postharvest life of 3 to 5 days for individual gladiolus flowers. Total protein profiles were probed with an ACC synthase antibody to establish the relationship of this enzyme in NC senescence.

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Robert H. Stamps, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Leatherleaf fern [Rumohra adiantiformis (Forst.) Ching] fronds produced under a high-temperature regime (HTR, 30 day/25C night) grew faster and produced sori earlier than those in a low-temperature regime (LTR, 20 day/15C night). Abaxial diffusive conductance was lower for HTR-grown fronds. Light-saturated net CO2 assimilation rates (Pn) and dark respiration were lower for HTR fronds, but light-saturated Pn efficiencies (chlorophyll basis); light compensation points; and soluble sugars, starch, and nonstructural carbohydrate levels were similar for the two regimes. Transpiration and water-use efficiency (mass basis) at light saturation were similar for fronds from both temperature treatments. Comparison of physiological characteristics of fronds from the two temperature regimes revealed no differences that might account for reduced postharvest longevity of fronds produced at the higher temperatures.

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Michelle H. Williams, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

It is generally accepted that ethylene production is centrally located in petal senescence, however, non-climacteric flowers senesce irrespective of the presence of ethylene. The regulation of flower senescence may well be linked to protein synthesis. Our objective was to develop a simple tool which can be used in breeding programmes and\or the market place to determine potential longevity of a flower. Here, SDS-PAGE protein profiles of both potted and cut chrysanthemum flowers were determined from flowering to senescence. Generally, only minor changes in both protein content and the proportion of the major polypeptides were observed in the potted flowers. However, polypeptides at 40, 45 and 65 kDa increased during flower senescence and are of particular interest because they could be linked to flower longevity. The apparent stability of the proteins may contribute to the long postharvest life of the potted chrysanthemum.

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E.K. Gubrium, D.G. Clark, H.J. Klee, T.A. Nell, and J.E. Barrett

We are studying the horticultural performance of two model plant systems that carry a mutant gene that confers ethylene-insensitivity: Never Ripe tomatoes and petunia plants transformed with the mutant etr1-1 gene isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana. Having two model systems to compare side-by-side allows us to determine with greater certainty ethylene's role at different developmental stages. Presence of the mutant etr1-1 gene in transgenic petunias was determined using three techniques: PCR analysis, the seedling triple response assay (inhibition of stem elongation, radial swelling of stem and roots, and an exaggerated apical hook when grown in the dark and in the presence of ethylene), and the flower wilting response to pollination, which is known to be induced by ethylene. Flowers from ethylene-insensitive petunias took almost four times as long to wilt after pollination as wild-type plants. It is well known that fruit ripening in Never Ripe tomato is inhibited, and a similar delayed fruit ripening phenotype is observed in petunia plants transformed with etr1-1. In an effort to maintain ethylene-insensitive petunia plants by vegetative propagation, we observed that the rate of adventitious root formation was much lower with transgenic plants than in wild-type plants. In subsequent experiments on adventitious root formation in Never Ripe tomato, we observed the same result. Therefore, while ethylene-insensitive tomato and petunia plants appear phenotypically normal for many characters, other factors are altered by the presence of this mutation. The fact that these changes are present in two model systems helps to define the role of ethylene perception in plant growth and reproduction.

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G.H. Pemberton, Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, A.A. De Hertogh, Lena Gallitano, and James E. Barrett

Forced `Bumalda' and `Etna' Astilbe were evaluated for postproduction quality and longevity. Plants were sleeved, boxed and held at 9±2C for 3 days to simulate shipping at the following stages of floral development: tight bud (TB), 1-3 florets open, 25% florets open, 50% florets open, and 75% florets open. They were then placed at 21C and 14 μmol·m-2·s-1 (12h daylength) until flower senescence. Percent of inflorescences flowering increased from 34% at TB stage to 94% when shipped with 25 % of the florets open. `Etna' longevity increased from 3 days at TB stage to 12 days at 25% open stage. Optimum quality and longevity occurred when ≥ 25% of the florets were opened at shipping.

In a second experiment, `Bumalda' and `Etna' Astilbe were held at 18, 21 and 24C at irradiance levels of 7 or 14 μmol·m-2·s-1 when 25% of the florets were open. At 18C, longevity increased under 14 μmol·m-2·s-1 from 14 to 17 days. At 24C, longevity was only 10 days for both irradiance levels.

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B.I. Reisch, R.M. Pool, W.B. Robinson, T. Henick-Kling, B.K. Gavitt, J.P. Watson, M.H. Martens, R.S. Luce, and H.C. Barrett