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Ting Zhou, Hao Jiang, Donglin Zhang, Junjun Fan, Long Zhang, Guibin Wang, Wangxiang Zhang and Fuliang Cao

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Ting Zhou, Hao Jiang, Wangxiang Zhang, Donglin Zhang, Junjun Fan, Quanquan Zhang, Guibin Wang and Fuliang Cao

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Tao Wang, Ruijie Hao, Huitang Pan, Tangren Cheng and Qixiang Zhang

Mei (Prunus mume) is widely cultivated in eastern Asia owing to its favored ornamental characteristics and its tolerance for low temperatures. Reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is a widely used method for gene expression analysis, requiring carefully selected reference genes to ensure data reliability. The aim of this study was to identify and evaluate reference genes for qRT-PCR in mei. Ten candidate reference genes were chosen, and their expression levels were assessed by qRT-PCR in four sample sets: 1) flowering mei; 2) mei undergoing abiotic stress; 3) different genotypes of Prunus species; and 4) all mei samples. The stability and suitability of the candidate reference genes were validated using commercially available software. We found that protein phosphatase 2A-1 (PP2A-1) and PP2A-2 were suitable reference genes for flowering with ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2 (UBC) also being suitable for different genotypes of Prunus species. UBC and actin (ACT) were most stably expressed under abiotic stress. Finally, the expression of an AGAMOUS homolog of Arabidopsis thaliana (PmAG) and a putative homolog of Group 2 late embryogenesis abundant protein gene in A. thaliana (PmLEA) were assessed to allow comparisons between selected candidate reference genes, highlighting the importance of careful reference gene selection.

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John Warner, Ray Cerkauskas, Tiequan Zhang and Xiuming Hao

Nine chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris ssp. pekinensis group var. cephalata) cultivars were evaluated for petiole spotting (gomasho) and bacterial soft rot (caused by Erwinia carotovora ssp. carotovora) in 1999 and fifteen in 2000 and 2001. The cultivars were arranged in a randomized complete block design in a Granby sandy loam soil with six replications in 1999 and three replications in 2000 and 2001, at the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre, Harrow, Ontario, Canada. Plants were harvested in the fall of each year during two harvest periods, one for early-maturing cultivars, and one for late-maturing cultivars. At harvest, the percent bacterial soft rot, percent marketable heads, plant size, uniformity of harvest maturity, and the mean head weight were determined for each cultivar. The number and weight of spotted leaves was determined by rating (0 to 5 scale) each leaf. Petiole spotting was also rated following storage at 2 °C (36 °F) and 89% ± 5% relative humidiyt for 3 to 4 weeks in 1999 and 2000. `Yuki', `Manoko', and `Summer Top' had lowest losses from bacterial soft rot while `Akala', `Ohken 75', `Spring Flavor', and `Yuki' had low levels of petiole spotting. Cold storage increased the incidence of the spotting disorder for most cultivars.

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Lu Zhang, Xiuming Hao, Yonggeng Li and Gaoming Jiang

Early production and high energy efficiency are important in greenhouse vegetable production in cold regions. A dynamic temperature integration strategy with low pre-night temperature (PNT) has been developed to reduce energy consumption and to improve early fruit yield and energy use efficiency. However, the application of this temperature control strategy is feasible only if there is no crop yield and quality loss. To determine the low PNT tolerance threshold and explore the mechanism of this temperature control strategy on plant growth and development, the effects of four PNT temperature integration treatments (PNT9, PNT11, PNT13, and PNT15, with an actual PNT of 9.4, 11.3, 13.3, and 15.1 °C, respectively) on greenhouse tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) were investigated. The PNT was applied at the beginning of the night for 3 h, whereas temperatures in other periods during a day (24 h) were adjusted accordingly to ensure the same 24-h average temperature (19.4 °C) for all PNT treatments. Four cultivars (Bigdena, Clarance, Quest, and Conchita), representing all three types (beefsteak, cluster, and cherry) of greenhouse tomatoes, were used in the study. The optimum PNT for fruit yield was 13.8 and 14.9 °C for ‘Bigdena’ and ‘Conchita’, respectively. Low PNT down to 11 °C did not compromise fruit yield and plant development in ‘Clarance’, and thus a PNT lower than 13 °C can be used for ‘Clarance’ if it does not have a negative effect on fruit quality. In ‘Bigdena’ and ‘Conchita’, the above-ground biomass increased with increasing PNT at the low range of PNT, peaked at ≈13 °C PNT (13.7 and 13 °C for ‘Bigdena’ and ‘Conchita’, respectively), then declined at high PNT. Leaf photosynthesis rates were increased by the highest PNT (PNT15), whereas respiration rates were reduced by the lowest PNT (PNT9). Therefore, PNT at ≈13 °C might have allowed for the proper balance between the high photosynthesis for photoassimilate generation and the low respiration for photoassimilate conservation and thus accumulated the highest photoassimilate and the highest fruit yield in ‘Bigdena’. Flower development rate in ‘Conchita’ decreased linearly with low PNT, which might have limited the response of its fruit yield to low PNT and raised the optimum PNT for fruit yield to 14.9 °C. Temperature integration with proper low PNT can be an effective climate control strategy for increasing early fruit yield and energy use efficiency in greenhouse tomato production.

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Xuewen Gong, Shunsheng Wang, Cundong Xu, Hao Zhang and Jiankun Ge

Studies on dual crop coefficient method in a greenhouse require accurate values of reference evapotranspiration (ETo). This study was conducted in a solar greenhouse at the experimental station of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences during 2015 and 2016. An automatic weather station was installed in the center of the same greenhouse to record weather parameters at 30-minute intervals. Five ETo models (Penman-Monteith, Penman, radiation, pan evaporation, and Priestley-Taylor) were employed, and their performance was evaluated using the dual crop coefficient method. The basal crop coefficient K cb and soil evaporation coefficient K e were adjusted according to the surrounding climate inside the greenhouse. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) was continuously measured using sap flow system combined with microlysimeter in 2015 and weighing lysimeters in 2016. Daily ETo was simulated from the five models and compared with the measurements. Results show that the adjusted K cb values were 0.15, 0.94, and 0.65 in 2015 and 0.15, 1.02, and 0.70 in 2016 at initial, midseason, and late-season, respectively. The K e varies between 0.10 and 0.45 during the whole growth period. The ETc was ≈345 mm for drip-irrigated tomato in solar greenhouse at the whole growth stage. The radiation and pan evaporation models tend to overestimate ETo values. Results of the Penman-Monteith, Penman, and Priestley-Taylor models show comparatively good performance in estimating ETo. Considering the robustness and simplicity, the Priestley-Taylor was recommended as the first choice to estimate ETo of tomato grown in a solar greenhouse. This work can help farmers to optimize the irrigation scheduling based on an ETo model for solar greenhouse vegetables in northern China.

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Xianqin Qiu, Hao Zhang, Hongying Jian, Qigang Wang, Ningning Zhou, Huijun Yan, Ting Zhang and Kaixue Tang

Roses are one of the economically most important groups of ornamental plants. The internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA and the chloroplast gene matK were used to investigate the genetic diversity and genetic relationships among Rosa germplasm including 39 wild species, 21 old garden roses, and 29 modern cultivars. Three dendrograms based on ITS and matK clustering data indicated that 1) 39 wild genotypes were consistent with their classification into botanical sections with only a few exceptions; 2) most of the wild genotypes were separated from rose cultivars. However, three sections, Synstylae, Chinenses, and Rosa, that contributed to the modern roses generally gathered together with almost all old garden and modern roses on the molecular level; and 3) the relationships between cultivated roses as inferred by ITS and matK sequences do not correlate with horticultural groups. Results demonstrated that both sequence techniques can contribute to clarifying the genetic relationships of rose accessions and germplasm conservation to enhance the ornamental and economic value of rose.

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Junjun Fan, Wangxiang Zhang, Donglin Zhang, Ting Zhou, Hao Jiang, Guibin Wang and Fuliang Cao

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Yi Zhang, Xiao-Hui Hu, Yu Shi, Zhi-Rong Zou, Fei Yan, Yan-Yan Zhao, Hao Zhang and Jiu-Zhou Zhao

We studied the effects of exogenous spermidine (Spd) on plant growth and nitrogen metabolism in two cultivars of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) that have differential sensitivity to mixed salinity-alkalinity stress: ‘Jinpeng Chaoguan’ (salt-tolerant) and ‘Zhongza No. 9’ (salt-sensitive). Seedling growth of both tomato cultivars was inhibited by salinity-alkalinity stress, but Spd treatment alleviated the growth reduction to some extent, especially in ‘Zhongza No. 9’. Exogenous Spd may help reduce stress-induced increases in free amino acids, ammonium (NH4 +) contents, and NADH-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase (NADH-GDH) activities; depress stress-induced decreases in soluble protein and nitrate content; and depress nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, glutamine synthetase (GS), NADH-dependent glutamate synthase (NADH-GOGAT), glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), and glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT) activities, especially for ‘Zhongza No. 9’. Based on our results, we suggest that exogenous Spd promotes the assimilation of excess toxic NH4 + by coordinating and strengthening the synergistic action of NADH-GDH, GS/NADH-GOGAT, and transamination pathways, all during saline-alkaline stress. Subsequently, NH4 + and its related enzymes (GDH, GS, GOGAT, GOT, and GPT), in vivo, are maintained in a proper and balanced state to enable mitigation of stress-resulted damages. These results suggest that exogenous Spd treatment can relieve nitrogen metabolic disturbances caused by salinity-alkalinity stress and eventually promote plant growth.

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Xuhong Zhou, Xijun Mo, Yalian Jiang, Hao Zhang, Rongpei Yu, Lihua Wang, Jihua Wang and Suping Qu

The omission of second division gene (OSD1) gene plays a fundamental role in meiosis and is associated with 2n gamete formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. The objective of this work was to unravel the mechanisms leading to 2n pollen production, and isolate and analyze the expression patterns of OSD-like (OSDL) genes in carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus). We found an absence of the second meiotic division caused the formation of 2n pollen. Three homoeologous genes were cloned and labeled as OSDLa, OSDLb, and OSDLc in a diploid carnation. The cDNAs were 1180 bp for OSDLa, 1288 bp for OSDLb, and 971 bp for OSDLc. A strong similarity was found between the amino sequences of OSDLb and OSDLc. An evident feature of OSDLs proteins is the presence of D-box and MR-tail domains; however, the GxEN/KEN-box domain, which is distinct among the other plant proteins was absent. Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that OSDL genes maintain continuous expression in buds and other tissues. OSDLa has the highest expression in buds of 1.1–1.2 cm long (stage 2), and OSDLb has a high level of expression in buds of 0.9–1.0 cm long (stage 1) and stage 2 buds and ovary tissues in three carnation cultivars. The expression level of OSDLc was highest in ovaries. These expression patterns strongly suggest that OSDLs in carnation involve male meiosis and ovary development. These findings can have potential applications in fundamental polyploidization research and plant breeding programs in carnation.