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Bo-Ling Liu, Zhi-Bin Fan, Ze-Qun Liu, Xun-Hong Qiu, and Yan-Hong Jiang

Salvia miltiorrhiza (commonly known in China as Danshen) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is applied in the treatment of many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. Commercial propagation of Danshen is carried out either through seed germination or in vitro regeneration (micropropagation). However, it is not clear if the different propagation methods affect the chemical properties of the derived plants. In the present study, we first established a highly efficient tissue culture system for Danshen propagation. The addition of 1.0 mg·L−1 6-benzyladenine (BA) and 0.1 mg·L−1 α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) to Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium was optimal for inducing adventitious shoots; the highest rate of rooting was recorded on MS medium with 0.2 mg·L−1 NAA, on which the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was 95%. Next, we assessed antioxidant properties in the different tissues of plants of the same age, derived from micropropagation or seed germination, and measured tanshinone, total phenol, and total flavonoid contents. Our results showed that tissues of micropropagated plantlets had higher antioxidant activities than tissues of seed-derived plantlets; the micropropagated plantlets also had higher tanshinone contents in their roots. Thus, a rapid and efficient micropropagation system was established for Danshen, and it can be used for cultivating this plant to obtain therapeutic compounds.

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Richard J. McAvoy*, Mariya V. Khodakovskaya, Hong Liu, and Yi Li

Cytokinins play an important role in regulating plant growth and development. The cytokinin gene, isopentenyl transferase (ipt), was placed under the control of the ACC oxidase promoter from the LEACO1 gene from Lycopersicon esculentum and introduced into Nicotiana tabacum (cv. Havana) and chrysanthemum (Dendranthema × grandiflorum `Iridon'). Transformants were confirmed by PCR reaction and Southern blot and analyzed for phenotypical changes under both greenhouse and growth chamber conditions. With both species, LEACO1-ipt transgenic plants displayed a wide range of vegetative and generative phenotypes. With plants growing in the vegetative state, some LEACO1-ipt transgenic lines appeared similar to the non-transgenic wild-type cultivars while other lines showed excessive lateral branch development and short internodes. With plants grown under generative conditions, several LEACO1-ipt transgenic lines showed a 2 to 10-fold increase in the number of flower buds relative to the wild-type cultivars. With chrysanthemum, dramatic increases in bud count were observed on transgenic lines that otherwise displayed a morphology similar to the non-transgenic lines. Analysis of ipt expression indicated a marked change in gene expression between the most extreme phenotypes observed in this study. LEACO1-ipt lines that express normal vegetative development but increased flower bud counts appear to have great potential for ornamental crop improvement.

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Liu Lian Sen, He Shan Wen, and Lin Mei Hong

Abstract results showed that many germplasms of P. Armeniaca. P. persica and a few germplasms of P. Salicina had immersed into those of P. mume. Some cultivars (strains) possessed species characteristics coming from 2 or 3 of the 3 species in a single plant. All of the plants tested were transition types of the related varieties such as var. bungo and so on. Some new characteristics of P. mume were found in a few strains. The resources were classified into highly, mediumly and lightly backcrossed types. The mean yield index and fruit weight of highly back-crossed type (HB) were significantly higher than those of the other 2 types. The setting rate of HB was higher and significantly higher than that of lightly and mediumly type, respectively. There were no significant differences in mean bitter index and flower index among them.

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Ling Yu, Hongwei Chen, Peipei Hong, Hongli Wang, and Kefeng Liu

Salvia splendens is a widely used ornamental bedding plant; however, the limited propagation method has decreased its quality and yield. Through years of selection, we have obtained a new variety of S. splendens with weak apical dominance and named it as ‘Cailinghong’. To establish an effective method for regeneration of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’, different explants, including leaves, receptacles, petioles, stem nodes, and stem segments were used for adventitious bud induction. Next, various combinations of plant growth regulators (PGRs) were selected for bud and root induction, which were assessed by adventitious bud initiation rate and proliferation rate, as well as root induction rate. Meanwhile, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was also calculated. As a result, stem nodes were found easy to be induced to form buds, and the optimum medium component was 1/2 Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 0.45 µM naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), 8.88 µM 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), and 2.46 µM 3-indolebutyric acid (IBA) for plantlets induction, whereas 1/4 MS medium supplemented with 2.23 µM NAA for root induction. Furthermore, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was up to 80%, and all regenerated plantlets were normal in phenotype. Therefore, cultured in 1/2 MS medium with combined PGRs, whole plantlet of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’ could be regenerated directly from stem node.

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Fengxia Shao, Sen Wang, Zhiming Liu, Rongyan Hong, and Tianjiao Zhao

To explore the reasons for seed abortion in southern China fresh-eating jujube, improve its reproductive biology, and provide a theoretical basis for the crossbreeding of jujube, we carried out self-pollination and cross-pollination experiments with Ziziphus jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ as the female parent. We observed the process of pollen tube growth in pistil and embryo development by fluorescence microscopy and paraffin section methods. The results show there were self- and cross-incompatibilities during pollination and fertilization, and there were no significant differences in pollen germination and pollen tube growth between self-pollination and cross-pollination. It took at least 4 hours for pollen and stigma to recognize each other, 6 hours for pollen to germinate on the stigma, and 12 hours for the pollen tube to penetrate the mastoid cells of the stigma. After 48 hours of pollination, the pollen tube reached one third of the style. The pollen tube remained stagnant 72 to 120 hours after pollination, and remained at one third of the stylar canal. Simultaneously, the pollen tubes on the stigma twisted and interacted with each other, and expanded into a spherical shape. A few pollen tubes reached the ovary and completed fertilization. However, some early globular embryos degenerated before forming into globular embryos and resulted in the formation of empty embryo sacs, which leads to seed abortion. In conclusion, the poor pollination and fertilization, and the blocked development of the embryo resulted in seed abortion in Z. jujuba ‘Zhongqiusucui’.

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Aerdake Kuwantai, Yu-jia Liu, Zong-zhe Wan, Hong-yan Liu, and Ling Wang

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Ben Hong Wu, Hai Qiang Huang, Pei Ge Fan, Shao Hua Li, and Guo Jie Liu

Five peach cultivars [Prunus persica (L.) Batch] with different maturity dates were subjected to sink–source manipulation by girdling to isolate 1-year-old fruit-bearing shoots. Four treatments were performed: fruit were removed (−fruit); one fruit (+1 fruit) and two fruit (+2 fruit) were kept inside two girdling cuts; and two fruit were kept outside two girdling cuts (−fruit*). Photosynthetic responses for the five cultivars were similar and did not show genotypic differences. Generally, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g s), and transpiration rate (E) were higher, and leaf temperature (Tl) was lower in +2 fruit than in +1 fruit, followed by −fruit and −fruit* which were not different. The results also indicated that water outflow from fruit into leaves did not influence photosynthesis, and lower photosynthesis in −fruit treatment was not due to water status of source leaves influenced by removing fruit. Pn tended to increase with Tl until Tl reached a critical level. Beyond the critical temperature level, Pn generally decreased. The critical Tl was roughly identified as 34–37 °C for the five cultivars. Both higher and lower substomatal CO2 (Ci) levels occurred in −fruit and −fruit* treatments than in +1 fruit and +2 fruit treatments, indicating that decreased Pn could be due to both nonstomatal and stomatal limitations. Further analysis of the relationship between Ci and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) showed that nonstomatal limitation under low sink demand took place mostly under high PAR. Thus, high light intensity, combined with Tl may play an important role in leaf photosynthetic regulation.

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Bing Liu, Hong Zhou, Sha Cao, Yi-ping Xia, and Rajeev Arora

Seasonal deacclimation was investigated during Jan. to Mar. 2014 in leaves of 10 azalea cultivars (Rhododendron section Tsutsusi) under natural conditions in eastern China. Based on the midwinter leaf freezing tolerance (LFT), these cultivars were grouped as “more-hardy” vs. “less-hardy.” Eight of the 10 cultivars first showed deacclimation when daily mean temperature over 2-week period preceding the LFT measurement was ≈9.5 °C. Deacclimation for other two cultivars was somewhat delayed and might have involved deacclimation–reacclimation cycling before eventual deacclimation. Our data indicate that the “more-hardy” group deacclimated slower than the “less-hardy” ones over the first half of the deacclimation period. This trend reversed during the second half of the deacclimation period. Accordingly, “more-hardy” and “less-hardy” cultivars depicted a “curvilinear” and “reverse curvilinear/linear” deacclimation kinetics. “More-hardy” cultivars generally had higher total soluble sugars (TSS) than “less-hardy” ones at acclimated state. TSS declined during deacclimation in all cultivars, and the loss was positively correlated with the loss in LFT. Leaf starch content generally followed opposite trend to that of TSS, i.e., it was at lowest during acclimated state and increased during deacclimation.

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Nicholas Menchyk, Douglas G. Bielenberg, Samuel Martin, Clint Waltz, Hong Luo, Frank Bethea Jr., and Haibo Liu

As a result of the increasing popularity of fine-leafed zoysiagrasses on golf courses, a 2-year field study was conducted to assess ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr.] putting green performance at The Cliff’s Communities Turfgrass Research Facility in Marietta, SC. Factors included four nitrogen (N) fertility rates and two trinexapac-ethyl (TE) regimes. Foliar applications of 0, 4.9, 9.8, and 14.7 kg·ha−1 N were made once weekly for 7 and 15 weeks in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Trinexapac-ethyl was tank-mixed and applied weekly for 7 weeks during July to August at 0 or 0.017 kg a.i./ha totaling 0.120 kg a.i./ha for both growing seasons. Putting green performance was measured by assessing turf quality (TQ), ball roll distance (BRD), surface firmness (SF), leaf tissue nutrient concentrations, and thatch accumulation. Turfgrasses receiving 4.9 kg N/ha weekly exhibited acceptable TQ and greater SF and BRD than plots receiving 14.7 kg N/ha weekly on all rating dates in 2010 before seasonal dormancy. Trinexapac-ethyl reduced clipping yield by 15% to 43% and influenced BRD, SF, and tissue nutrient concentration across the 2-year study. Surface firmness decreased as total N input increased during the 2010 growing season and is presumably the result of an increase in leaf tissue causing a cushioned putting surface. Linear regression of thatch accumulation and SF were analyzed and found to be significant at four rating dates in 2010 indicating that as thatch organic matter increased, SF decreased. Nitrogen input for ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass putting greens grown in the transition zone should begin at 73.5 kg·ha−1/year with supplemental N applications applied as needed.

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Jun Tang, Kang-Di Hu, Lan-Ying Hu, Yan-Hong Li, Yong-Sheng Liu, and Hua Zhang

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been shown to be a gaseous molecule in the regulation of many processes in plants such as abiotic stress tolerance, root organogenesis, stomatal movement, and postharvest fruit senescence. We studied the role of H2S in the regulation of senescence and fungal decay in fresh-cut sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L., cv. Xushu 18) roots. H2S donor sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) alleviated senescence in fresh-cut sweetpotato root tissue in a dose-dependent manner with the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS solution. At the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS, H2S fumigation maintained higher levels of reducing sugar in sweetpotato fresh-cut root. H2S treatment also significantly increased the activities of guaiacol peroxidase (POD) and decreased those of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in sweetpotato during storage. Further investigation showed that H2S treatment maintained a lower level of lipoxygenase (LOX) activity compared with water control. Consistently, the accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced in H2S-treated groups. Three fungal pathogens, Rhizopus nigricans, Mucor rouxianus, and Geotrichum candidum, were isolated from sweetpotato tissue infected with black rot or soft rot. H2S fumigation at 1 to 2.5 mmol·L−1 NaHS resulted in effective inhibition of the three fungi when grown on medium. When the three fungi were inoculated on the surface of sweetpotato slices, H2S fumigation greatly reduced the percentage of fungal infection. In conclusion, these data suggest that H2S effectively alleviated the senescence and decay in sweetpotato slices and might be developed into a novel fungicide for reduction of black rot or soft rot in sweetpotato.