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  • Author or Editor: J. Jiang x
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Breeding programs can be developed to produce turfgrass varieties that utilize N efficiently if metabolic traits leading to efficient N utilization are identified. To achieve this objective, we selected four turfgrass species that differ in N use efficiency and compared nitrate uptake rate (NUR) by roots and nitrate reductase activity (NRA) in shoots and roots. Grasses were grown in modified Hoagland's nutrient solutions. NUR was determined by monitoring nitrate depletion in the solutions. NRA was assayed using an in vivo method. NUR was significantly higher in 'Merit' Kentucky bluegrass, an inefficient N user, than in 'Cheyenne' bermudagrass, an efficient N user. 'Tribute' tall fescue and 'APM' perennial ryegrass, two grasses intermediate in N use, were in-between. Shoot NRA showed a similar pattern of variation, with 'Merit' significantly higher than 'Cheyenne'. Root NRA showed less variation. 'Cheyenne' had a significantly higher proportion of nitrate reduced in its roots (>60% of plant total) than did 'Merit' (<10%), suggesting that greater partitioning of nitrate reduction to roots might contribute to more efficient utilization of nitrate-N by bermudagrass. E-mail zjia8399@uriacc.uri.edu; phone (401) 874-5994.

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Production of tetraploid somatic hybrids that combine complementary diploid rootstock germplasm via protoplast fusion has become a practical strategy for citrus rootstock improvement, with the overall objective of packaging necessary disease and pest resistance into horticulturally desirable, widely adapted rootstocks. Citrus somatic hybridization techniques have been advanced to the point where numerous somatic hybrid rootstocks can now be produced and propagated for evaluation on a timely basis. Herein we report the production of 11 new somatic hybrid rootstock candidates from 12 different parents, including Milam lemon hybrid (Citrus jambhiri Lush.), Cleopatra mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco), sour orange (C. aurantium L.), `Succari' sweet orange [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck], `Redblush' grapefruit (C. paradisi Macf.), `Nova' tangelo [C. reticulata × (C. paradisi × C. reticulata)], `Kinkoji' (C. obovoidea Hort. Ex Takahashi), Swingle citrumelo [C. paradisi × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis × P. trifoliata), rough lemon 8166 (C. jambhiri), and Palestine sweet lime (C. limettoides Tan.). All hybrids were confirmed by cytological and VNTR-PCR analyses, and have been propagated, budded with a commercial scion, and field-planted for performance evaluation.

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Efficient utilization of fertilizer-nitrogen (N) by turfgrasses is probably related to N uptake efficiency of roots and metabolic efficiency of absorbed N in roots and shoots. This study evaluated Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars for potential differences in nitrate uptake rate (NUR), temporal variation in NUR, and the relationship between NUR and N use efficiency (NUE), defined as grams dry matter per gram N. Six cultivars were propagated from tillers of seeded plants, grown in silica sand, mowed weekly, and watered daily with a complete nutrient solution containing 1.0 mm nitrate. A nutrient depletion method from an initial nitrate concentration of 0.5 mm was used to determine NUR of 5-month-old plants. NUR (μmol·h-1 per plant) of the six cultivars ranked as follows: `Blacksburg' > `Conni' > `Dawn' > `Eclipse' = `Barzan' > `Gnome'. When NUR was based on root weight, `Conni' ranked highest; when NUR was based on root length, surface, or volume, `Eclipse' ranked highest. Averaged across cultivars, NUR on the second day was greater than NUR for the first day of nitrate exposure. Temporal variation was greatest in `Blacksburg', while none was noted in `Conni' or `Eclipse'. Cultivar differences in NUE were significant in fibrous roots, rhizomes, and leaf sheaths, but not in leaf blades and thatch. Total nitrate uptake was positively related to total N recovered and total plant dry matter, but NUR based on root weight was negatively correlated with NUE of the whole plant.

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Efficient use of nitrogen by turfgrasses depends on the ability of roots to absorb and assimilate nitrate. If a larger amount of nitrate is assimilated in the roots than in the shoots and organic N is transported to shoots as needed, nitrogen loss through clipping removal would be reduced. However, the ability of roots to assimilate nitrate depends on carbohydrate supply from the shoots. Our study examined the relationship between nitrate assimilation and photosynthate partitioning between shoots and roots of tall fescue grown in nutrient solution. To alter the pattern of nitrate reduction and photosynthate partitioning, we treated the plants as follows: 1) nutrient solution was aerated and nitrate was supplied to the roots, 2) nutrient solution was not aerated and nitrate was supplied to the roots, 3) nutrient solution was aerated and nitrogen was supplied to the leaves as nitrate, and 4) nutrient solution was aerated, and nitrogen was supplied to the leaves as urea. Photosynthate partitioning was assessed using carbon-14 as a tracer. Nitrate and nitrite reductase activities were determined by in vivo methods. Fortyeight hours after the grass leaves were exposed to carbon-14, >60% of the fixed carbon was translocated to stems and >15% to roots. Foliar application of urea resulted in less export of fixed carbon from leaves and lower leaf nitrite reductase activity than when nitrate was supplied to leaves. Less than 5% of the plant total nitrate reduction was attributed to root based activity. Root aeration decreased root nitrate reductase activity. Our results suggest that root-zone aeration and foliar N application could affect total nitrate assimilation and photosynthate partitioning to roots.

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Plant growth regulators (PGRs) can mediate plant response to salinity stress. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) cultivars of BrightStar SLT, Catalina, Inspire, and SR4660ST were exposed to 0, 100, or 200 mm NaCl for 14 d. 6-benzyladenine (6-BA, 10 µm), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA, 500 µm), nitric oxide (NO, 200 µm), and H2O were applied to the foliage every day for 3 days before stress and then every 2 days during salinity stress. Averaged across the four cultivars, a foliar spray of NO increased leaf fresh weight (FW) and dry weight (DW) at 0 mm NaCl, whereas application of 6-BA increased DW and GABA reduced Na+ concentration at 100 mm NaCl, compared with H2O application. Plants treated with 6-BA, GABA, and NO had less chlorotic and necrotic leaf tissue than plants treated with H2O at 200 mm NaCl. Spray of 6-BA and NO increased FW and DW, but application of all three PGRs maintained higher leaf photochemical efficiency and lower leaf Na+ concentration compared with H2O treatment at 200 mm NaCl. Across salinity and PGR treatments, ‘Catalina’ exhibited higher plant height than the ‘Inspire’ and SR4660ST, and SR4660ST had relatively higher Na+ concentration than ‘Catalina’ but not ‘BrightStar SLT’ and ‘Inspire’. The results demonstrate that 6-BA, GABA, and NO ameliorated salinity tolerance of perennial ryegrass by improving growth and photochemical efficiency or reducing Na+ accumulation.

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Intraspecific variation in nitrate absorption by turfgrasses has been studied, but differences in turfgrass root morphology, which may contribute to observed variation, have not been ascertained. This information may benefit breeding programs aimed at improving the ability of turfgrasses to absorb nitrate from low fertility soils. This study quantified root morphological traits of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars and their nitrate uptake rates (NUR). Tiller-generated plants were grown in silica sand, mowed weekly, and watered daily with half-strength modified Hoagland's nutrient solution containing 1 mM nitrate. When 5 months old, plants were excavated, and roots washed to remove sand. The plants were then transferred to 120-mL black bottles. After nitrate depletion of the nutrient solution was monitored for 8 consecutive days, the underground portion of each plant was separated into three parts: 1) adventitious roots, 2) fibrous roots, and 3) rhizomes. Measurements of total root length, total surface area, and average diameter were made by a scanning and image analysis system. NURs were calculated from nitrate depletion data and expressed as micromoles per plant per hour. Correlation analyses were performed on these morphological traits and NUR by the Minitab program. NUR was significantly and positively correlated with the total biomass, length, and area of the three underground parts. This was attributable mainly to fibrous roots as indicated by significant and positive correlations between NUR and the total biomass, length, area, and average diameter of fibrous roots. NUR was also positively correlated with the total biomass, length, and area of adventitious roots but negatively correlated with total biomass, area, and average diameter of rhizomes.

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Turfgrass cultivars that have superior nitrate uptake ability are needed for the protection of ground water from pollution by excess nitrate. Information on temporal variation of nitrate absorption is also needed to enhance the environmental safety of turfgrass N fertilization programs. Our objectives were to evaluate Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars for their differences in nitrate uptake rate (NUR) and temporal variation in NUR. Six cultivars (Barzan, Blacksburg, Connie, Dawn, Eclipse, and Gnome) were propagated from individual tillers and six plants of each cultivar were generated from one mother plant. Plants were grown in silica sand, mowed weekly, and watered daily with half-strength modified Hoagland's nutrient solution containing 1 mM nitrate. When 5 months old, the plants were excavated, the roots were washed to remove sand, and the plants were transferred to 120-mL black bottles. After 24 hours in tap water, the plants were supplied with half-strength nutrient solution containing 0.5 mM nitrate, and the solutions were replaced daily for 8 days. NURs expressed as micromoles per plant per hour were calculated from solution nitrate depletion data. Significant genotypic differences in NUR were found: `Blacksburg' > `Connie' > `Dawn' > `Barzan' = `Eclipse' > `Gnome'. Significant temporal variation in NUR was also found, with NUR on the second day more than the first day after tap water. A significant interaction was noted between genotype and time. Temporal variation was greatest in `Blacksburg', while none noted in `Connie' and `Eclipse'. In `Barzan' and `Gnome', NUR on the last day was higher than the first day.

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Seedlessness is an important breeding objective of most citrus scion improvement programs, but production of quality seedless triploid citrus via interploid crosses has historically been limited by the low quality of available tetraploid parents. Production of tetraploid hybrid parents from elite diploid scion cultivars via protoplast fusion is now a practical strategy, and numerous hybrids can be produced on a timely basis from a wide range of parents. Such hybrids can be used as pollen parents in interploid crosses to generate improved seedless triploid fresh fruit cultivars. Herein we report the production of 15 such hybrids from 17 different parents, including sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck], mandarin/tangerine (C. reticulata Blanco), grapefruit (C. paradisi Macf.), pummelo [C. grandis (L.) Osbeck], tangor (C. reticulata × C. sinensis), and tangelo (C. reticulata × C. paradisi) germplasm. All hybrids were confirmed by cytological and RAPD analyses, and have been budded to selected rootstocks to expedite flowering.

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Expansins are proteins that have been reported to contribute to fruit softening. In this study, an expansin gene, CDK-Exp3, was identified from persimmon fruit, and the mRNA accumulation of CDK-Exp3 during postharvest softening was examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sequence analysis showed that CDK-Exp3 contained a putative open reading frame of 765 bp encoding a polypeptide of 254 amino acid residues, which had all the characteristics of α-expansin. As fruit softened, the expression of CDK-Exp3 increased dramatically within the initial 8-day ripening at 20 °C followed by a gradual decline at the late stages of ripening. The expression of CDK-Exp3 was inhibited by gibberellic acid, and the maximum transcript abundance was delayed by 20 days compared with that of the control fruit. The results suggest that CDK-Exp3 might be closely related to softening of persimmon fruit during postharvest ripening.

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The reason for internal necrosis occurrences in sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) storage roots is not well understood. This disorder begins internally in the storage roots as small light brown spots near the proximal end of the root that eventually can become more enlarged as brown/black regions in the cortex. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of ethephon and flooding on the development of internal necrosis in the sweetpotato cultivars Beauregard, Carolina Ruby, and Covington over storage durations from 9 to 150 days after harvest (DAH) when roots had been cured. Soil moisture treatments were no-flooding, and simulated flooding that was created by applying 10 inches of overhead irrigation during 2 weeks before harvest. Ethephon was applied at 0, 0.75, and 0.98 lb/acre 2 weeks before harvest. Overall, ‘Covington’ and ‘Carolina Ruby’ had greater internal necrosis incidence (22% to 65% and 32% to 51%, respectively) followed by ‘Beauregard’ (9% to 22%) during storage duration from 9 to 150 DAH at both soil moistures. No significant change was observed for either internal necrosis incidence or severity for ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Carolina Ruby’ over the storage duration of 9–150 DAH. However, there was an increase of internal necrosis incidence and severity 9–30 DAH in ‘Covington’, with incidence and severity remaining similar 30–150 DAH. Storage roots in treatments sprayed with 0.75 or 0.98 lb/acre ethephon had higher internal necrosis incidence and severity compared with the nontreated, regardless of cultivars at both soil moistures. This research confirms that sweetpotato cultivars differ in their susceptibility to internal necrosis (incidence and severity), ethephon applied to foliage can contribute to internal necrosis development in storage roots, and internal necrosis incidence reaches a maximum by 30 DAH in ‘Covington’ and 9 DAH in ‘Carolina Ruby’ and ‘Beauregard’.

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