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Ying Ma, Xinduo Li, Zhanying Gu and Jian’an Li

Sedum rubrotinctum is widely grown as an ornamental because of its attractive leaf shape and color. Increasing the morphological diversity and color will greatly add to its ornamental value. Environmental conditions such as light and temperature can change the leaf color of succulent plants, but the mechanism is uncertain. To examine this mechanism, we tested the effects of two commercial chemical products Sowing Goodliness (Sg) and Aromatic Garden (Ag) on the morphology, pigment content, and growth performance of Sedum rubrotinctum seedlings. The Sg treatment did not change foliage color, but can accelerate plant growth and increase lateral bud number. The Ag treatment had marked changes on the relative proportions of pigments and leaf color, and plant growth was severely reduced with mortality observed in some plants. After Ag stress was discontinued, the surviving plants began to regrow and had good ornamental value but had the fewest number of lateral buds and leaves, and the smallest leaf length and thickness, canopy diameter, and plant height. Foliage color changes are caused directly by shifts in the relative proportions of pigments, particularly chlorophyll b and anthocyanin. In Ag-treated plants, chlorophyll b declined much faster than chlorophyll a, indicating that the transformation of chlorophyll b into chlorophyll a is an important step in the chlorophyll degradation pathway. Ag provides a way to learn more about the mechanism of chlorophyll degradation and should be investigated further. Ag enhanced anthocyanin production rapidly and improved the ornamental value of Sedum rubrotinctum. Different concentrations of Ag and Sg were not studied in this trial and might be tested to determine the ideal balance between leaf color and plant growth.

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Hailin Liu, Cunmeng Qian, Jian Zhou, Xiaoyan Zhang, Qiuyue Ma and Shuxian Li

Cornus florida seeds show strong dormancy. In this study, we investigated the causes of the dormancy by assessing the permeability of the stony endocarp, the germination of seeds after mechanical dissection, and the effect of endogenous inhibitors. Water uptake by intact and cracked seeds during imbibition showed that the endocarp formed a strong barrier for water absorption. Meanwhile, extracts from endocarp decreased the germination frequency of chinese cabbage seeds from 99.3% (control) to 2.7%. Therefore, the endocarp was the mechanical barrier and contained endogenous inhibitors for seed germination. However, the germination percentage of decoated seeds and dissected seeds with the exposed radicle were only 13.3% and 28.7%, respectively. It was found that the endosperm also played a role in seed dormancy. Extracts from endosperm decreased the germination frequency of chinese cabbage seeds from 99.3% (control) to 53.0%. By contrast, extracts from embryo did not affect the germination of chinese cabbage seeds. When tested with the excised embryos, germination percentage was up to 85.3% at the 16th day of incubation. Taking these results together, we concluded that the endocarp and endosperm were responsible for seed dormancy in C. florida. To break the seed dormancy of C. florida, stratification and soaking in sulfuric acid are the effective means. The highest germination frequency was achieved by immersing seeds in 98% sulfuric acid for 10 minutes, then soaking the seeds in 500 mg·L−1 gibberellic acid (GA3) for 72 hours before cold stratification at 5 °C for 60 days.

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Zhi Quan, Bin Huang, Caiyan Lu, Yi Shi, Yanhong Cao, Yongzhuang Wang, Chuanrui He, Guangyu Chi, Jian Ma and Xin Chen

Much nitrogen (N) is lost in high-input protected cropping systems mainly via leaching of not only nitrate-N but also extractable organic N (EON), but the role of EON in this process is poorly appreciated. A consecutive 3-year plot experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of co-application of manures with chemical N fertilizer on N accumulation and loss in a greenhouse soil rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce. Application of manures significantly enhanced the average contents and stocks of NO3 -N, EON, and total N (TN) in 0- to 60-cm soil layer, although EON accumulated within growing season, while NO3 -N accumulated with fluctuation, and TN accumulated gradually throughout the 3-year experiment. With application rate at 120 or 180 t dry manures per hectare per 3 years, the corresponding apparent N surplus was 2710 or 3924 kg⋅ha−1 per 3 years. Due to little increase of biomass N uptakes during vegetable seasons, the accumulated N in soil profile would be a potential loss source, largely via leaching of both nitrate and EON. Application of manures slowed soil acidification but intensified secondary salinization of the greenhouse soil. Considering the manures-induced high soil N accumulation and loss, well-balanced evaluation of the role of manures in high-input agricultural ecosystems is needed.

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Young-Hwan Shin, Rui Yang, Yun-Long Shi, Xu-Min Li, Qiu-Yue Fu, Jian-Liang Lu, Jian-Hui Ye, Kai-Rong Wang, Shi-Cheng Ma, Xin-Qiang Zheng and Yue-Rong Liang

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.