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  • Author or Editor: Hui Ma x
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‘Akizuki’ (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) is a dominant Asian pear cultivar with gradually increasing cultivation area in Shandong province. However, this cultivar is found susceptible to cork spot disorder in recent years. In this study, we explored the physiological-biochemical mechanism of cork spot disorder in pear fruit, and investigated the effectiveness of spraying calcium (Ca), boron (B) solution or prohexadione calcium (P-Ca) on cork spot incidence. Cork spotted fruit had the characteristics of significantly larger fruit size with shorter fruit pedicels. Compared with normal fruit, cork spotted fruit had lower content of total soluble solids, soluble and reducing sugar, and vitamin C. In addition, cork spotted fruit accumulated much higher levels of N and Mg, and lower levels of K and P. However, Ca deficiency was not observed in cork spotted fruit, on the contrary, we determined high concentrations of Ca and free Ca2+ in disordered fruit. At the same time, the ratios of K/Ca, Mg/Ca, and (K+Mg)/Ca were significantly lower in cork spotted fruit as compared with normal fruit. Among all treatments, spraying with 3500 times dilution of P-Ca at 15-day intervals from 30 to 90 days after full bloom showed promise for reducing cork spot incidence in ‘Akizuki’ pear without affecting fruit quality attributes. This research herein reveals the physiological-biochemical characteristic of cork spot disorder, and implicates P-Ca as a potential tool to reduce cork spot incidence in Asian pear cultivar Akizuki.

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The pollen morphology of 26 cultivars of herbaceous peony (Paeonia L.) was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Pollen grains of the cultivars were mostly subprolate to perprolate, tricolporate, or ellipsoidal in equatorial view, but rounded-trifid in polar view. The poles of pollen grains were mainly flat when viewed in cross-section and only a few appeared to have a circular or arc shape. In addition, the surface of the pollen grains was psilate, and the muri were partly or fully protuberant with a reticulate surface sculpture. However, the shapes and sizes of pollen grains as well as surface ornamentation varied significantly among cultivars with different chromosome numbers. The pollen grains from diploid cultivars were regular and full, and the reticulation holes were evenly distributed, while most of the pollen grains from triploid cultivars were empty flat shells with some heteromorphic pollen whose surface ornamentation was mostly rugulate-reticulate exine. The pollen grains from tetraploid cultivars were the largest although pollen morphology and surface ornamentation differed between Athena and Cream Delight. Six indices [polar axis length (P), equator axis length (E), P/E, pollen perforation diameter (D), ridge width (W), and D/W] were used in Q cluster analysis, which divided the 26 cultivars into three groups. Group I included eight diploid, four triploid, and one tetraploid cultivar. Group II included 12 triploid cultivars with complex genetic backgrounds. Group III included only one tetraploid cultivar Cream Delight. This work may provide an important palynological basis for studying taxonomy and hybrid breeding of herbaceous peony cultivars.

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Albino tea plants are mutants that grow albino young leaves owing to lack of chlorophylls under certain environmental conditions. There are two types of albino tea plants grown in production, i.e., light- and temperature-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The former grows albino leaves in yellow color under intensive sunlight conditions and the later grows albino leaves with white mesophyll and greenish vein as the environmental temperature is below 20 °C. Both albino teas attract great attention because of their high levels of amino acids and the “umami” taste. There have been many studies focusing on the temperature-sensitive albino tea plants, whereas little attention has been given to the light-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The characteristics of the albino tea cultivars and the mechanism underlying them were reviewed in the present article based on the published literatures, including chemical compositions, morphological characteristics, and molecular genetic mechanism.

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