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John L. Maas and M.J. Line

We report the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging to detect differences in invasion and colonization of fruit by pathogens (Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum acutatum, and Phytophthora cactorum), and bruise wounds are sharply distinguishable from healthy fruit tissue by their T1 times. Digitized images from T1 images clearly show two or more zones of pathogen activity in fruit tissue. The innermost zone corresponds to the area of greatest invasive activity at the leading margin of the infection. A second zone corresponds to the area of tissue that has been killed and is being degraded by the pathogen. Sometimes, a third zone is present at the outer border of the lesion and this correspond to where aerial sporulation may occur. Images of bruises, however, are uniform with no apparent gradations in T1 characteristics. Detection of fruit deterioration and decay is important in understanding and controlling postharvest loss of fruit crops. The nondestructive nature of MRI provides a means to quantify the process of decay development and control measures applied to fruits.

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John L. Maas and Michael J. Line

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) can be used to examine tissue structure and developmental changes during growth and maturation of plant organs nondestructively. Spin-lattice, relaxation time (T1)-weighted, inversion recovery, spin-echo images of strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa Duch.) flower buds were acquired at 3 and 1 day before anthesis and receptacles at 4, 10, 15, and 25 days after anthesis (DAA). The central pith and ovules of flower buds imaged intensely with inversion echo times between 0.1 and 0.5 seconds. Achenes and the vascular cylinder, composed of vascular bundles surrounding the pith, were prominent in receptacles at 4 and 10 DAA. Vascular bundles leading to achene positions, cortex and pith tissues, and the vascular cylinder were evident in receptacles at all developmental stages. A general trend to homogeneity of structure was observed in images of receptacles nearing full maturity (25 DAA). Inversion recovery, spin-echo NMR microimaging may be useful for studying internal physicochemical changes in flower buds and fruit of strawberry and of other fruit crops.

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John L. Maas and Gene J. Galletta

Bacterial angular leafspot disease (BALD) of strawberry, caused by Xanthomonas fragariae, a slow-growing and often difficult pathogen to isolate from infected plants, is most commonly manifested as small discrete, angular, translucent lesions on leaves and sepals. As the bacteria infect systemically, plants may wilt and die. BALD has become increasingly important in North America and other strawberry-growing areas of the world. The systemic nature of the pathogen also is cause for concern with international shipment of strawberry plants, especially because there is no practical method for determining the presence of the bacteria in symptomless, infected plants, nor is there a practical method of chemical control. All cultivars of Fragaria × ananassa (8×) are susceptible to BALD, although a range of susceptibility is often apparent in plantings. Resistant genotypes have been reported among clones of F. virginiana (8×), F. moschata (6×), and F. vesca (2×). A program has been initiated to evaluate native octoploid and diploid strawberry germplasm for resistance to BALD.

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John L. Maas, Gene J. Galletta, and Gary D. Stoner

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John L. Maas, Shiow Y. Wang, and Gene J. Galletta

Ellagic acid in tissue extracts of green and red-ripe strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) was detected and quantified by HPLC. Ellagic acid content of green fruit pulp ranged from 1.32 to 8.43 mg·g-1 of tissue dry weight (mean 3.36 mg·g-l) and in achenes of green fruit from 1.32 to 20.73 mg·g-1 (mean 7.24). Ellagic acid content of red fruit pulp at one location for 35 cultivars and selections ranged from 0.43 to 4.64 mg·g-1 of dry weight (mean 1.55) and from 0.43 to 3.47 mg·g-l (mean 1.45) for 15 clones at another location. Achenes from red-ripe fruit ranged from 1.37 to 21.65 mg·g-1 (mean 8.46) for 34 clones at one location and from 2.81 to 18.37 mg·g-1 (mean 8.93) for 15 clones at another location. Leaf ellagic acid content ranged from 8.08 to 32.30 mg·g-1 of dry weight (mean 14.71) for 13 clones examined. Large differences in ellagic acid content were found among cultivars, but tissue values were not consistent within cultivars. Values from one tissue type did not correlate consistently with values of the other tissues. Sufficient variation was found among cultivars to suggest that increased ellagic acid levels may be achieved in progeny from crosses with selected parental material.

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John L. Maas, Gene J. Galletta, and Barbara J. Smith

We have determined in tests conducted both at Beltsville and Poplarville that several strawberry isolates of Colletotrichum acutatum, C. gloeosporioides and C. fragariae produce toxin-like compounds in culture. Crude culture filtrates (CFI elicited general and specific responses in tomato and strawberry plants. Tomato plants initially were used because they are highly responsive to toxins in general, whereas the reaction of strawberry plants apparently is greatly affected by environmental and nutritional growing conditions of the test plant. Toxin symptoms included leaf chlorosis and wilting, leaf midvein darkening, and plant death when CF was applied to leaves or if seedlings or petioles were immersed into CF. Juvenile tissues appear to be more susceptible to the effects of the toxins than mature tissue. No differences in response to culture filtrates were apparent among those from the Colletotrichum isolates. The putative toxins appear to act differentially with susceptible or resistant strawberry germplasm.

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Shiow Y. Wana, John L. Maas, and Gene J. Galletta

Ellagic acid, a putative anticarcinogenic compound, was detected in plants of mayhaw (Crataegus spp.), false strawberry (Duchesnea indica), strawberry (Fragaria spp.), black currant (Ribes nigrum), thornless blackberry (Rubus subgenus Eubatus), red raspberry (Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus), and cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon). Large differences in ellagic acid contents have been found among species and cultivars and also among tissues. Ellagic acid content in plant tissues is also affected by environmental factors and shows a seasonal variation in strawberry leaves. A decrease in ellagic acid content of leaves was associated with seasonal decreases in photoperiod and temperature from September to December. Ellagic acid content in the leaves of red raspberry infected with orange rust showed more than a 3-fold increase compared to healthy leaves.

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Shiow Y. Wang, Gene J. Galletta, and John L. Maas

Fruit quality of 24 selected strawberry cultivars and selections were evaluated. There were great variations in the contents of soluble solids, titratable acidity, carbohydrates, organic acids, and ascorbic acid among different cultivars, reflecting primary genetic differences. Fructose, glucose, and sucrose were found to be the three major sugars, comprising >65% of the total soluble solids in strawberry. Fruit contained lower sucrose compared to fructose and glucose, whereas leaves contained comparable amounts of fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Citric acid was the major organic acid in strawberries. Strawberries were also rich in ascorbic acid. Leaves were much higher in ascorbic acid than fruit. There appeared to be no correlation between fruit and leaves on carbohydrate, organic acid, and ascorbic acid contents.

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Edward F. Durner, E. Barclay Poling, and John L. Maas

Plugs are rapidly replacing fresh-dug bare-root and cold-stored frigo plants as transplants for strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) production worldwide. Plugs have many advantages over these other types of propagules. They are grown in controlled environments (greenhouses, tunnels) in less time than field produced bare-root transplants, and are not exposed to soilborne pathogens. Plugs afford greater grower control of transplanting dates, provide mechanical transplanting opportunities and allow improved water management for transplant establishment relative to fresh bare-root plants. New uses for plugs have been identified in recent years; for example, photoperiod and temperature conditioned plugs flower and fruit earlier than traditional transplants and plugs have been used for programmed greenhouse production. Tray plants have superior cold storage characteristics relative to bare-root, waiting-bed transplants. Both fresh and frozen plugs are used in a number of indoor and outdoor growing conditions and cultural systems.

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John L. Maas, John M. Enns, Stan C. Hokanson, and Richard L. Hellmich

Larvae of several insects injure and kill strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne) plants by burrowing into and hollowing out plant crowns. Occasionally, these infestations are serious enough to cause heavy economic losses to fruit producers and nursery plant growers. In 1997 in Beltsville, Md., we observed wilting and dying mature plants and unrooted runner plants in two experimental strawberry plantings. Injury by larvae was extensive; large cavities occurred in crowns, and the central pith tissues were removed from stolons and leaf petioles. Often, insect frass was seen at entrance holes. Larvae removed from hollowed-out parts of injured plants were identified as the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) in their fifth instar stage. Their presence in this instance also was associated with a cover crop of millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv., `German Strain R'] planted between the strawberry rows for weed suppression. This is the first published report of the European corn borer attacking strawberry. Although this insect may occur only sporadically in strawberry plantings, it may become important in the future. Growers and other professionals should become aware of this new strawberry pest and recognize that its management in strawberry will be different from management of other crown-boring insects.