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  • Author or Editor: Hui Chen x
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The irritant effect of Dieffenbachia sap is attributed to protelytic enxymes but calcium oxalate crystals are considered to puncture cells and allow enzyme entrance. To date, no detailed study of the location, type, or frequency of calcium oxalate crystals in Dieffenbachia species or cultivars has been undertaken. To do so, three uniform tissue culture plantlets of Dieffenbachia `Carina',`Rebecca' or `Star Bright' were transpanted into 15 cm pots, grown in a shaded greenhouse under 385 μmol·m-2·s-1 and fertigated with 20 N-8.7 P-16.6 K water-soluble fertilizer at N concentrations of 200 mg·L-1 twice weekly. Ten weeks later, samples of stem, root, and leaves were taken from 4 pots of each cultivar to determine the distribution and type of calcuium oxalate crystals in each plant organ via polarized light microscopy. Two types of calcium oxlate crystals, raphides and druses, were found in the stem, leaves and roots. Druse density increased as leaves andd stems matured while the number of raphide idioblasts remained relatively constant. Crystal density was highest at lateral initation sites of buds and roots. Significant differences were found in crystal density among cultivars even though `Carina' and `Star Bright' are sports selected from `Camille'. This suggests that reduction of calcium oxalate density of Dieffenbachia cultivars is possible through breeding.

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In floriculture design, “shaping” is the use of floral materials as media for expressing ideas. Common floriculture techniques include tying, pasting, winding, connecting, overlapping, and weaving. Shaping is also a key factor in the appeal of the final product. Therefore, this study recruited 149 university students to explore how their floriculture material-shaping skills are affected by factors such as creative personality traits, spatial abilities, and shaping creativity. Students were allowed to use three different leaf materials in their floriculture works: planar leaf, linear leaf, and amorphous leaf materials. Representative planar, linear, and amorphous floriculture materials used in the current study were yellow palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), veitch’s screw pine (Pandanus baptistii), and tree fern (Asparagus virgatus), respectively. The average score for creativity in shaping floriculture material was (±sd) 3.26 ± 0.84 (range, 1.33–4.67). Comparisons of the three leaf materials showed that the score for shaping creativity was highest for the planar leaf material (3.70 ± 1.23), followed by the amorphous leaf material (3.18 ± 0.99) and the linear leaf material (2.91 ± 0.94). The chi-square test results indicated that creative personality traits affected the number of shaping skills used, and that spatial abilities and floriculture material-shaping creativity further enhanced skills in floriculture material-shaping. Suggestions for floriculture educators and practitioners are provided accordingly.

Open Access

Tissue-culturedexplantsofDieffenbachiamaculate`Exotic Perfection', D.`Snow Flake', and D. × `Tropic Breeze' were grown on ebb-and-flow trays subirrigated with nitrogen (N) at 50, 200, or 800 mg·L-1 using a water-soluble fertilizer 17N–2.1P–15.7K for 10 weeks in a shaded greenhouse under a maximum photosynthetic photon flux density of 285 μmol·m-2·s-1. Plants were then transferred to interior rooms under a light level of 8 μmol·m-2·s-1. Samples of the midrib were taken from the first mature leaf of plants before being placed indoors and also from the first mature leaf of plants 8 months after growing indoors. Counts of calcium oxalate crystal idioblasts in cross-sections of the basal midrib using polarized light microscopy showed that the number of crystal idioblasts was higher in all three cultivars fertigated with 200 mg·L-1 N than those fertigated with either 50 or 800 mg·L-1 N. The number of crystal idioblasts in each cultivar grown under 8 μmol·m-2·s-1 was about 50% of the number detected when plants were grown under 285 μmol·m-2·s-1. `Snow Flake' had the highest number of crystal idioblasts with counts up to 60 per cross-section, whereas `Exotic Perfection' had the lowest with only 30 per cross-section. This study shows that in addition to cultivar differences, light intensity and N can significantly affect calcium crystal formation, and the highest number of crystal idioblasts occurred when Dieffenbachia cultivars were grown under optimum conditions.

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Chrysanthemums have beautiful flowers with high ornamental value and rich genetic diversity. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to detect the relationships among 12 wild accessions and 62 groundcover chrysanthemum cultivars. Nineteen EcoRI/MseI primer combinations revealed 452 informative polymorphic bands with a mean of 23.8 bands and 71.5% polymorphic rate per primer pair. Jaccard’s coefficient of similarity varied from 0.64 to 0.89, indicating much genetic variation in chrysanthemums. The 74 accessions were classified into two major groups by unweighted pair group method with the arithmetic averages (UPGMA). The dendrogram showed that AFLP variability was closely correlated with both geographic distribution and traditional classification of the wild accessions. Among all accessions, genetic relationship was the most relevant factor in AFLP-marker clustering, whereas petal type was also informative. AFLP technology could be very efficient for discriminating species of chrysanthemum and its related genera and reconstruct their genetic relatedness.

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The main purpose of this research was to explore individuals' attitudes toward horticultural activities. The research was conducted in two stages. First, open-ended interviews were used to conceptualize attitudes toward horticultural activities, and seven themes and several subthemes of attitudes were induced. Based on the results, a questionnaire was then designed and a quantitative survey was conducted to identify the dimensions of attitudes toward horticultural activities and their interrelationships. Five dimensions of attitudes toward horticultural activities were extracted: increasing positive mood, improving the environment, leisure belief, improving social relationships, and escaping. These dimensions of attitudes toward horticultural activities had activity-based attributes that differed to some extent from those of general leisure. The dimension of improving the environment was particularly salient for horticultural activities. Propositions and recommendations to stimulate future research about developing a valid measurement instrument are offered.

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Melon production in China is threatened by cucurbit powdery mildew incited by Podosphaera xanthii, which can cause severe yield losses. Disease reactions of 10 melon P. xanthii race differentials indicated the presence of a unique race of P. xanthii, denoted pxCh1, in the Shanghai area. Resistance to P. xanthii race pxCh1 in melon PI 134198, which originated from India, was controlled by a single, dominant gene, designated Pm-8, in a cross with susceptible melon inbred S717. A search for a molecular marker linked to Pm-8 was initiated using the same cross. Bulk segregant analysis of their F2 progeny revealed one sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) marker of 148 bp linked to Pm-8, at 3.9 cM. The SRAP segment was recovered, cloned, and sequenced and converted into a sequence-amplified characterized region marker for marker-assisted selection of Pm-8 in breeding programs to develop melon cultivars resistant to P. xanthii race pxCh1.

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Tobacco is traditionally an industrial crop that is used for manufacturing cigarettes. However, due to health concerns and global tobacco control movements, alternative uses of tobacco are urgently needed to support tobacco farmers and vendors. Tobacco is also an oilseed crop with an oil yield ranging from 30% to 40 of its dry weight. However, there is still no information on the effects of nitrogen application on tobacco seed yield and seed oil production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of N fertilization (90, 120, 150, and 180 kg·ha−1 N) on the seed yield, oil content, fatty acid composition, and seed germination characteristics of tobacco plants at two locations. The results showed that applying increasing amounts of N to tobacco plants significantly increased their total seed yields and oil content. Nitrogen application also modified the fatty acid composition of the seed oil, as more unsaturated fatty acids were produced under the increasing N application rate treatments than under the control. Moreover, increasing the N application rate generally significantly increased the yields of individual fatty acids as well. Nevertheless, the increased seed oil content and altered fatty acid composition did not affect seed germination traits, as the seed germination potential and rate showed no obvious change among treatments or the control. The height and size of the tobacco plants also increased with the increasing N application rate, which would be beneficial for increasing biomass production for bioenergy. This study shows for the first time the feasibility of increasing the seed and oil yields and modifying the fatty acid composition of tobacco plants by increasing N addition.

Open Access

Gummy stem blight incited by the fungus Didymella bryoniae is a major disease of melons worldwide. The objectives of the present study were to critically evaluate melon (Cucumis melo L.) germplasm for resistance to D. bryoniae and to characterize the genetics of resistance in the resistant accessions. Two hundred sources of germplasm (plant introduction accessions, cultivars, breeding lines, landraces, and wild relatives) were screened against a single highly virulent isolate (IS25) of D. bryoniae in a plastic tunnel. The genetics of resistance to D. bryoniae was studied in three crosses between plant introductions 157076, 420145, and 323498, resistant parents that were fairly adapted (flowering, fruiting, powdery mildew tolerance) to Nanjing conditions, and plant introductions 268227, 136170, and NSL 30032 susceptible parents, respectively. Six populations of each cross (susceptible parent, resistant parent, F1, F2, the two reciprocal backcrosses) were analyzed for their responses to D. bryoniae. Seedlings in both studies were inoculated with a spore suspension (5 × 105 spores/mL−1) of D. bryoniae at the four to six true-leaf stages and assessed for leaf and stem damage at 7, 14, and 21 d postinoculation. Results of germplasm screening indicated most germplasms reported as resistant elsewhere were confirmed resistant under our conditions. However, some plant introductions identified as highly resistant elsewhere were susceptible under our conditions, the most interesting being plant introduction 482399. This plant introduction that was considered resistant was highly susceptible in our study. We also identified other sources of resistance not reported previously, for example, JF1; a wild Cucumis from the highlands of Kenya was rated highly resistant. Analysis of segregation of F1, F2, and backcross generations of the three crosses indicated that each of the three plant introductions carry a single dominant gene for resistance to the D. bryoniae.

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Oil tea (Camellia oleifera) is an important edible oil tree. However, its growth and yield are strongly limited by drought. This study investigated the physiological and metabolic responses of two common oil tea cultivars, Huajin and Changlin53, to moderate and severe drought stress. Based on the photosynthetic and physiological indices, ‘Changlin53’ may be more tolerant to drought than ‘Huajin’. A total of 41 key metabolites induced by drought stress, including 12 amino acids, 12 organic acids, 10 carbohydrates, 3 fatty acids, and 4 phenols, have been identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Under moderate drought stress, the contents of carbohydrates, amino acids, and some organic acids in ‘Changlin53’ were significantly increased; however, under severe drought stress, the contents of soluble sugars were decreased and the synthesis ability of amino acids and organic acids were enhanced. The glutamic acid–mediated proline biosynthesis pathway and salicylic acid synthesis were continuously upregulated in ‘Changlin53’ under moderate and severe drought stress, which could regulate osmotic pressure and maintain intracellular environmental stability. Under moderate drought stress, the contents of monosaccharides, amino acids, and organic acids increased in ‘Huajin’ leaves. Furthermore, the shikimic acid–mediated secondary metabolite synthesis pathway was weakened. More secondary metabolites were used to increase glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid cycle to accelerate energy production and to enhance the glutamic acid–mediated proline biosynthesis pathway, which are necessary to increase osmotic regulation. Under severe drought stress, the contents of carbohydrates, organic acids, and some amino acids were significantly decreased in ‘Huajin’ leaves, indicating serious damage. These results deepened our understanding of the mechanisms involved in oil tea drought tolerance, which will help improve water management of oil tea seedlings.

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Potassium (K) is a critical plant nutrient that determines quality in a myriad of crops and increases production yields. However, excessive application of various types of K fertilizers can decrease both the food quality and yields, which translates as economic losses and food safety issues. The objectives of this study were to 1) elucidate the impacts of different application rates of various K fertilizers on garlic, with the aim to identify the optimal and most economical K fertilizer dosage and 2) compare the effects of applying two common K fertilizers (KCl and K2SO4) on garlic, to determine the optimal combination. From 2018 to 2020, we utilized two distinct K-fertilized fields to conduct our experiments. The results revealed optimal KCl fertilization increased the biomass and vegetation index in garlic, and promoted the transfer of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients from the stem and leaf to bulb, thereby increasing bulb production. The application of KCl fertilizer increased the number of cloves, the diameters of the cloves and bulbs, and reduced variations in bulb size. In addition, the application of KCl fertilizer improved the nutritional quality (Vitamin C, soluble sugar, soluble protein, and allicin) of the garlic and reduced the accumulation of nitrate. However, excessive KCl fertilizer cause decreased yields, appearance traits, and nutritional quality. Applying the same rate of K fertilizer in the form of K2SO4 in isolation increased the garlic yield by only 0.1% to 22.5% when compared with KCl fertilizer. However, the results were not always significant. In this study, the highest yields, appearance traits, and nutritional quality were achieved with the ratio of K2SO4: KCl = 3:1. Consequently, to ensure the highest economic value (considering the market prices of K fertilizer, garlic sprouts, and bulbs), the authors recommend a K fertilizer rate of 252.5 kg·ha−1 K2O, with K2SO4 accounting for 61.6% for garlic production in field.

Open Access