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  • Author or Editor: H.H. Ratnayaka x
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H.H. Ratnayaka, B. Meurer-Grimes and D. Kincaid

Manual deflowering and leaf maturity were evaluated for effect on the yields of the bioactive sennosides A and B in Tinnevelly senna (Cassia angustifolia Vahl). Deflowering increased sennoside A and B concentration (percent dry weight) in leaves by 25%, the total leaf dry mass by 63%, and the harvest index by 22%, with the result that the sennoside A and B yield (grams) per plant doubled in response to deflowering. During the same time, net photosynthesis remained consistently lower in the deflowered plants. Youngest leaves had the greatest sennoside A and B concentration. A clone raised from cuttings of one seedling had lower sennoside A:B ratio than the plants raised from the seedlings. Although crop type and possibly environmental conditions influenced the sennoside A:B ratio, deflowering and leaf maturity had no effect. The sennoside A and B concentrations in the dried leaves of deflowered plants harvested in 1.5-hour intervals appeared to increase during the course of the day. Deflowering, harvesting of young leaves, and harvesting time of day constitute promising component technologies for field investigations.

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Alexis M. Barbarin, Frank J. Williams, Greg T. Bettmann, Donald P. Hauber and Harish H. Ratnayaka

'Knowledge of constitutive levels of gas exchange and antioxidant properties under unstressed conditions is critical for elucidating their potential roles in stress tolerance, planning cultural practices, and evaluating nutritional quality of vegetable crops. This greenhouse study reports gas exchange, photosystem II efficiency, and pigment and antioxidant profiles of two spinach cultivars [SpinaciaoleraceaL., cvs. Bloomsdale Long Standing (Bloomsdale) and Hybrid Tyee (Tyee)] with contrasting morphology. `Bloomsdale', the cultivar with more compact stature and larger leaves, had 47% greater photosynthesis (P net) than `Tyee'. Stomatal conductance (g s) and transpiration (E) were 94% and 46% greater in `Bloomsdale' than `Tyee', respectively. However, photosystem II efficiency (F v'/F m') was only 8% greater in `Bloomsdale' than `Tyee'. Instantaneous water use efficiency was similar in both cultivars. `Bloomsdale' had nonsignificantly greater concentrations of chlorophylls a and b, lutein, β-carotene and violaxanthin than `Tyee'. Both cultivars had similar, marginal α-tocopherol concentrations (<0.1 ng·g-1 FW). However, `Tyee' had a greater chlorophyll a:b ratio which, combined with lower g s and E, suggests a possible advantage for `Tyee' over `Bloomsdale' under relatively dry and high light conditions. Further studies must be conducted to compare nutritional quality of the two cultivars, based on constitutive levels of pigments and antioxidants. Greater gas exchange activity in `Bloomsdale' than `Tyee' appears to be due more to CO2 acquisition/metabolism than photosystem II efficiency or concentrations of pigments and antioxidants.