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Hui He, Yanwei Yu, Jiamin Li, Luyun Hu and Fan Zhou

We quantitatively assessed the effects of a six-session edible horticultural therapy (EHT) program on long-term-hospitalized (LTH) female patients with schizophrenia. A total of 60 patients were enrolled in the project and randomly divided into an experimental group (30 patients, received EHT) and a control group (30 patients, did not receive EHT). The two groups were evaluated before and after EHT using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Chinese version Scale of Social Functioning for Psychotic Inpatients (SSFPI), and the Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA). The clinical symptoms of patients with schizophrenia improved significantly and they recovered social function, but there was no significant change in life satisfaction. In the control group, clinical symptoms recovered but there was no improvement in social function and life satisfaction significantly decreased. In addition, patients in the EHT group expressed satisfaction with the program. In conclusion, EHT can improve the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia and promote recovery of social function; however, its impact on life satisfaction remains unclear.

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Shi-Lin Tian, Li Li, Yue-Qin Tian, S.N.M. Shah and Zhen-Hui Gong

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important plant hormone that plays an important role in stress responses. Previous studies have suggested that ABA can also accelerate ripening in climacteric and nonclimacteric fruit. Capsanthin is a carotenoid that confers red coloration to mature pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit. However, the effect of ABA on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit has not been thoroughly studied. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effects of ABA treatment on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit and on the expression of key genes involved in the capsanthin biosynthetic pathway. For this purpose, we treated pepper fruit with ABA at green mature stage. Our results indicate that ABA treatment increased capsanthin content in pepper fruit, with the best result obtained with 150 mg·L−1 ABA solution. Application of exogenous ABA also increased the expression levels of the capsanthin synthesis genes phytoene synthase (Psy), lycopene β-cyclase (Lcyb), β-carotene hydroxylase (Crtz), and capsanthin/capsorubin synthase (Ccs), likely explaining the significant capsanthin content increase in pepper fruit.

Open access

Hui-qing Li, Qing-he Li, Lei Xing, Gao-jie Sun and Xiu-lian Zhao

Cold hardiness evaluation is important for screening woody species in cold areas. We compared cold hardiness by estimating the 50% lethal temperature (LT50) using electrolyte leakage test (ELLT50) and triphenyltetrazolium chloride test (TTCLT50) for 26 woody species in the Bashang region of China. One-year-old shoots were collected in January and exposed to five subfreezing temperatures in a programmable temperature and humidity chamber. LT50 was estimated by fitting relative electrolyte leakage and percentage of dead tissue against test temperature. For all tested species, triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining of the pith was weak and the cambium TTCLT50 was lower than the extreme minimum temperature (−37 °C) recorded in the region. The cambium TTCLT50 and the sd were lower than that for the phloem and xylem. The phloem TTCLT50 was lower than the xylem TTCLT50, and the two sds were similar. The ELLT50 showed no significant correlation with any TTCLT50. For most species, the ELLT50 was higher than the cambium and phloem TTCLT50 and was not significant different with the xylem TTCLT50. The ELLT50 showed higher sd than any tissue TTCLT50. Based on results obtained in this study, when choosing cold hardiness of single stem tissue as an indicator for screening woody species, the xylem should be considered first, followed by the phloem; the cambium and pith were unsuitable. The cold hardiness estimated by ELLT50 was more suitable as indicator for screening woody species than that of stem tissue in winter estimated by TTCLT50.

Free access

Zhi-li Suo, Wen-ying Li, Juan Yao, Hui-jin Zhang, Zhi-ming Zhang and Di-xuan Zhao

Tree peony cultivars are usually classified according to flower characteristics (flower form and flower color) which are commonly affected by environmental influences and developmental levels. Judgment of flower forms may also depend on the observer. Precise and rapid cultivar identification methods are also required to manage cultivar collections as well as tree peony breeding programs. The objective of this paper is to analyze the discriminatory ability of leaf morphology and Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker systems for tree peony cultivars. As a result, although there exist large variations of leaf morphology of tree peony cultivars, the morphological characteristics of biternately compound leaves 3, 4, and 5 from the base of a shoot at the middle part of a plant are relatively stable with smaller variations within cultivars (2.7% to 27.1%, 16.8% on average) and with larger differentiations among cultivars (72.9% to 97.3%, 83.2% on average). Statistical and principal components analyses indicate that 12 leaf morphological characteristics are valuable for cultivar classification. ISSR markers present a precisely discriminatory power in tree peony cultivar classification without environmental influences. The cultivars with multiple flower forms, which makes it difficult to make judgment by means of a flower-form-based classification system, have been significantly characterized using leaf morphology or ISSR markers.

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Joseph N. Wolukau, Xiao-Hui Zhou, Ying Li, Yong-Bin Zhang and Jin-Feng Chen

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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Hui-juan Zhou, Zheng-wen Ye, Ming-shen Su, Ji-hong Du and Xiong-wei Li

Heat treatment induces resistance to low temperature in horticultural crops. Changes in soluble protein and heat-stable protein (HSP) contents, the total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), reducing sugar, weight loss and firmness of honey peach (cv. Hujingmilu) during heat treatment and refrigerated storage were investigated. Low-temperature storage alone led to decreasing of TA and reducing sugar and caused severe fresh mealiness. The hot-air treatment before low temperature combined with the use of a plastic bag (thickness of 0.03 mm) could counteract this effect. Heat treatment before refrigerated storage increased both soluble protein and HSP contents, and the ratio of heat-stable to soluble protein. The most favorable effect was obtained with 46 °C for 30 minutes. In addition, heat treatment before storage retarded the increase in fruit firmness, maintained the highest contents of the TSS and reducing sugar and inhibited the decline of TA during refrigerated storage. Treatment for 30 minutes at 46 °C before low-temperature storage in combination with a 0.03-mm plastic bag might be a useful technique to alleviate chilling injury (CI) and maintain honey peach fruit quality during cold storage.

Free access

Xue-Min Hou, Zi-Hua Wang, Xi-Min Deng and Guo-Hui Li

This experiment was carried out to obtain a pressure–volume (P-V) curve and Höfler diagram of the cortex tissue of fresh ‘Fuji’ apple fruit (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) with a novel centrifuge method. Based on the P-V curve and Höfler diagram, several water relation parameters of cortex tissue were determined and the interrelationship of these parameters was established. Turgor loss point (TLP) occurred at –1.74 MPa and 73.7% of relative water content (R*). At full hydration, osmotic potential (ψS) was –1.30 MPa and symplastic water accounted for 86.8% of R*. Bulk elastic modulus decreased linearly by 28% as pressure potential declined from 1.30 MPa at full hydration to zero at the TLP. This centrifuge technique can provide a simple and efficient way to determine water relation parameters of fleshy fruits.

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Gang-Yi Wu, Jun-Ai Hui, Zai-Hua Wang, Jie Li and Qing-Sheng Ye

Photosynthetic physiology of Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium pendulum, Dendrobium chrysotoxum, and Dendrobium densiflorum was studied. A bimodal diurnal variation of the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) was observed in the four Dendrobium species with the first peak [5.09 to 6.06 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] ≈1100 hr and the second peak [3.83 to 4.58 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] at 1500 hr. No CO2 fixation was observed at night. For all four Dendrobium species, the light compensation point (LCP) was 5 to 10 μmol·m−2·s−1, light saturation point (LSP) ranged from 800 to 1000 μmol·m−2·s−1, apparent quantum yield (AQY) was 0.02, and CO2 compensation points (CCP) and saturation point (CSP) were 60 to 85 μmol·mol−1 and 800 to 1000 μmol·mol−1, respectively. Carboxylation efficiency (CE) values ranged from 0.011 to 0.020. The optimum temperature for photosynthesis was between 26 and 30 °C. The measurement of Pn seasonal variation indicated that July to August had the higher Pn for Dendrobium species. Additionally, the chlorophyll a/b (Chl a/b) ratios of the leaves were 2.77 to 2.89. Measurement of key enzymes in the photosynthetic pathway indicated relatively high Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPCase) and glycolate oxidase (GO) activities but very low phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase) activities. It suggested that these four Dendrobium species are typical semishade C3 plants.

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Richard McAvoy, Mariya Khodakovskaya, William Smith, Degang Zhao, Hong Liu, Hui Duan and Yi Li

A 920 bp fragment of the ACC oxidase gene promoter from tomato (LEACO1) was used to drive GUS gene expression. The LEACO1 0.92kb fragment contained two stress-responsive short motifs; a 10 bp TCA motif (5'-TCATCTTCTT-3') twice (allowing two substitutions) and an 8 bp element (5'-AA/TTTCAAA-3') once. The TCA motif is found in over 30 stress- and pathogen-inducible genes while the 8 bp element is necessary for ethylene-response in the carnation GST1 and the tomato E4 gene promoters. Previously in chrysanthemum, cytokinin regulation with LEACO1 0.92kb produced dramatic increases in lateral branching and bud initiation. Tobacco plants carrying LEACO1 0.92kb –GUS were used to examine the response of the LEACO1 0.92kb promoter to various hormones and hormone inhibitors. GUS activity in LEACO1 0.92kb –GUS plants was detected in leaves and stems, but not roots. High expression was detected in shoots with the apical bud intact, but GUS activity decreased with the apical bud removed. Applying IAA to the shoot apex after removing the apical bud, restored GUS activity. However, the IAA transport inhibitor TIBA reduced GUS activity in shoots with intact apical buds, and in IAA-treated shoots with excised buds. In shoots with excised apical buds, GUS activity increased when the ethylene precursor ACC was applied, but decreased in intact shoots when the ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor AOA was applied. These data suggest that auxins produced in the apical meristem are capable of regulating LEACO1 0.92kb activity, probably through auxin-induced ethylene biosynthetic pathway activity.

Free access

Zhengke Zhang, Zhaoyin Gao, Min Li, Meijiao Hu, Hui Gao, Dongping Yang and Bo Yang

‘Tainong 1’ mango fruit were treated with hot water for 10 minutes at 55 °C and then stored at 5 °C for 3 weeks. After removal from low-temperature storage, the effects of hot water treatment (HWT) on chilling injury (CI), ripening and cell wall metabolism during storage (20 °C, 5 days) were investigated. HWT reduced the CI development of the fruit as manifested by firmer texture, external browning, and fungal lesions. A more rapid ripening process, as indicated by changes in firmness, respiration rate, and ethylene production, occurred in heated fruit after exposure to low temperature as compared with non-heated fruit. At the same time, the cell wall components in heated fruit contained more water-soluble pectin and less 1,2-cyclohexylenedinitrilotetraactic acid (CDTA)-soluble pectin than those in non-heated fruit. HWT also maintained higher polygalacturonase [enzyme classification (EC) 3.2.1.15] and β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23) activities as well as lower pectin methylesterase (EC 3.1.1.11) activity. In general, the changes of ripening and cell wall metabolism parameters in the heated fruit after low-temperature storage exhibited a comparable pattern to that of non-cold-stored fruit.