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Joseph C. Scheerens

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption reduces risk factors for cancer, cardiovascular disease and a number of other diet-related chronic diseases. These foodstuffs contain relatively high levels of beneficial phytochemicals (plant-derived, biologically active compounds) among which the preventative activity of antioxidants are most well-known and well-documented. Since small fruit typically contain high levels of antioxidants, increasing their incorporation in the diet is a laudable goal. Media reports of medical studies pertaining to dietary intake and national education initiatives such as the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid and the 5 A Day—for Better Health program have successfully raised public awareness of the health benefits of increased fruit and vegetable consumption, but, as of yet, may not have altered dietary habits. The factors influencing food choice are complex and interrelated. They include: sensory preference, physiological factors (pre- and postingestion), age, gender, lifestyle, behavior, personality, education, income, social attitudes about diet and health, ethnicity and tradition, religious beliefs, social pressures, marketing pressures, available product information and knowledge (labeling, media coverage, etc.) or self-identity beliefs. Some of these factors offer opportunities for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption while others present challenges. With respect to small fruit, food choice factors that tend to increase consumption include public awareness of these products as being beneficial to health and longevity and their image as highly desirable, dessert-like commodities with exquisite flavors. The main factors that deter increased small fruit consumption include their relatively high price per serving and their relative perishability which affects cost, ease of transport and availability. Strategies to capitalize on small fruits' positive attributes and overcome negative attributes with respect to food choice include the application of innovative marketing strategies at all levels and the expansion of research efforts to optimize the health benefits and sensory quality of these products.

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Tina M. Rivera, Martin F. Quigley and Joseph C. Scheerens

The commercial and ornamental potential of three apple-berry polyculture systems was ascertained by monitoring the above-ground performance of component species in plots of `GoldRush' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) trees on M.7 rootstock cropped with either blackberry (Rubus spp. L. `Navaho'), edible honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L. `Blue Belle' and `Blue Velvet'), or jostaberry (Ribes nidigrolaria Bauer `Josta') as understory plants. Polyculture plots and corresponding monoculture controls were established in 1999, with berry plants at recommended (R) or close [(C), half-recommended] spacings. Blackberries and jostaberries planted in monoculture at recommended spacings [i.e., control (R) plots] amassed dry weights >1 kg/plant by Fall 2001; the dry weight of edible honeysuckle from comparable plots was slightly >0.3 kg/plant. In 2001, blackberry yield (3.1 kg/plant) and fruit weight (3.4 g) were typical of `Navaho' plantings of similar age, whereas jostaberry was only moderately productive (yield = 286 g/plant; fruit weight = 1.4 g). Edible honeysuckle productivity (yield = 13 g/plant, fruit weight = 0.5 g) was minimal, due to disparate flowering phenology between cultivars. `GoldRush' apple growth and productivity (yield = 25 kg/tree; fruit weight = 158 g) was consistent with values expected for trees of similar age. Blackberry plant dry weights were reduced by 20% to 33% when planted at close spacing, whereas blackberry yields were reduced 35% to 38% when grown in polyculture with apple. Both polyculture and plant spacing significantly reduced jostaberry dry weights (i.e., 12% and 24%, respectively) relative to the control, but neither significantly affected jostaberry yield. Conversely, both close-spaced planting and the presence of an apple tree improved the yield of edible honeysuckle. Apple performance was not affected by the presence of an edible honeysuckle understory, but apple growth factors were reduced in blackberry and jostaberry polycultures by as much as 65%. Apple bloom, fruit set, and yield were also significantly reduced in apple-blackberry and apple-jostaberry plots, with fruit numbers/tree averaging <5 in all except the apple-blackberry (C) treatment. None of the polyculture treatments studied were suitable for profitable fruit production. However, each of the polyculture constituents exhibited unique, beneficial attributes with respect to their use as components within an edible landscape.

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Steven B. Polter, Douglas Doohan and Joseph C. Scheerens

Field experiments were conducted in newly planted strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) with terbacil applied at rates of 0 to 6.4 oz/acre a.i. either 4 days after planting but before appearance of new growth, or at the three-leaf stage. Irrigation of 0.4 inch was applied to half of the plots immediately after application of terbacil. Injury was greater when terbacil was applied before new growth than when applied at the three-leaf stage. Injury symptoms increased linearly with terbacil rate. Irrigation immediately following terbacil application reduced injury relative to non-irrigated plots. Weed control was reduced when terbacil was applied at the three-leaf stage than when applied before new growth. Irrigation did not reduce weed control. Herbicide injury symptoms were not detected the spring following terbacil application. Fruit yield was not affected by herbicide and irrigation treatments applied the previous year. The combination of low rates of terbacil, 0.8–1.6 oz/acre a.i., followed by irrigation to remove the herbicide from foliage is a safe option that growers can use to improve weed control and reduce hand weeding costs in the planting year.

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Steven B. Polter, Douglas Doohan and Joseph C. Scheerens

Terbacil at 0, 0.8, 1.6, 3.2, and 6.4 oz/acre (0, 0.06, 0.11, 0.22, and 0.45 kg·ha-1) a.i. was applied immediately after planting, at the thee-leaf stage and at the six-leaf stage to greenhouse grown strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) cultivars Jewel, Mira, and Allstar. Strawberry was most tolerant of terbacil when the herbicide was applied before leaf emergence. `Mira' was more tolerant of terbacil than was `Jewel'. `Jewel' and `Allstar' exhibited similar levels of tolerance. In a second experiment terbacil at 4.8 oz/acre (0.34 kg·ha-1) was applied to the soil, to the foliage, and to the foliage followed by a water rinse. Injury was greatest when terbacil was applied directly to the strawberry foliage rather than to the soil, but was minimal when foliage was rinsed after application. In a final experiment terbacil at 4.8 oz/acre was applied to greenhouse-grown `Jewel' strawberries at the thee-leaf stage followed by a water rinse 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 hours after application. Rinsing the foliage of strawberry plants after application significantly reduced leaf injury. Delaying the rinse up to 4 hours did not lead to increased injury. Over all, the results from our study indicate the potential for using terbacil as an effective herbicide on newly established strawberries, especially if the compound is rinsed from leaves (if present) after treatment.

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Ann M. Chanon, Pablo S. Jourdan and Joseph C. Scheerens

As a prelude to interspecific hybridization, we compared the floral biology of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and red buckeye (A. pavia) by examining inflorescence morphology, pattern of floral anthesis, sex expression, and the effects of panicle decapitation on complete flower development. Inflorescences of both species (n = 1606) were randomly selected and analyzed for length, total number of flowers and complete flower number and location. The pattern of anthesis was observed in four genotypes using 10–30 inflorescences per plant. For each flower, its date of anthesis, position on both the rachis and cincinnus, and sex were recorded. For studies of panicle decapitation, sets of panicles were selected and one member was severed in half early in development in an attempt to increase the number of complete flowers. More than one-fourth of all panicles observed were completely staminate. For both species, the ratio of complete flowers to male flowers (C:M) within mixed panicles was about 5%. Complete flowers were observed in the basal portion of A. pavia inflorescences and in the apical portion of A. parviflora inflorescences. Anthesis progressed from base to tip over a period of 6–11 days. Complete flowers are present in A. pavia from the beginning of anthesis but do not appear in A. parviflora until the fifth day of anthesis. Staminate flowers are present throughout anthesis in both species. Severing panicles in half increased the potential for differentiating complete flowers. In conclusion, the frequency of complete flowers in both species was quite low, but could be increased by panicle decapitation to increase opportunities for controlled hybridization.

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Ellen A. McComb, A. Raymond Miller and Joseph C. Scheerens

Peroxidase activity in extracts from freeze-dried tissue of Fragaria × ananassa Duch. cv. Chandler was highest in tissue-cultured (TC) plants, followed by field-grown (FG) and lowest in greenhouse (GH) plants. Among tissue types, activity was highest in petioles, with leaves second highest. Fruit, root, and crown tissue all exhibited low or no activity. When subjected to isoelectric focusing (IEF), petiole tissue extracts exhibited more isozymes than extracts from other organs regardless of staining substrate. Using 4-chloro-1-naphthol and H2O2 as substrates, anionic and cationic isozymes were observed in TC petiole extract with nine isozyme bands ranging in pI from 3.9 to 9.5. In TC leaf extract an isozyme at pI 7.4 was observed that was not present in other organ extracts when H2O2 and benzidine, p-phenylenediamine or 3-amino-9-ethylcarbazole were used as substrates. Specific isozymes and number of isozymes varied according to plant organ and developmental stage. Mature leaves and over-ripe fruit appeared to exhibit more activity and a larger number of isozymes than developing tissues of those plant organs.

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Ann M. Chanon, Pablo S. Jourdan and Joseph C. Scheerens

The genus Aesculus (buckeyes and/or horsechestnuts) is composed of 13 species and a number of interspecific hybrids. Pollen from 11 genotypes from five Aesculus species and the hybrid Aesculus ×carnea were used to develop an in-vitro germination test to evaluate pollen viability under various storage treatments. This test was optimized using samples of both fresh pollen and pollen that had been stored up to 1 year. The most effective medium contained 20% sucrose, 100 mg·L-1 H2BO3, 150 mg·L-1 Ca(NO3)2, and 1% agar. The highest germination percentage was observed at 15 °C across all storage treatments. Fresh pollen germinated in excess of 80% over a wide range of germination temperatures. Based on this, all specimens studied would be good pollen parents. The differences in pollen germination between storage at -20 and -80 °C were nonsignificant, but the duration of the storage period was highly significant. At 3 months, viability remained above 60% for four of the six species/hybrid tested. However, at 12 months, all pollen tested dropped below the threshold for good fruit set based on in-vitro pollen germination. Based on these observations, short-term pollen storage may permit crosses between parents with temporally separate flowering phenologies. However, conventional storage procedures are inadequate to maintain pollen collected from a male parent for crosses in subsequent growing seasons.

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Rosa María Giménez Ferrer, Joseph C. Scheerens and W. Alan Erb

Leaf disk bioassays based on oviposition and damage accrued during 72 hours were used to screen 76 strawberry (Fragaria spp.) cultivars for resistance to the twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch). Oviposition rates (eggs/female per day) and damage scores were both highly variable, allowing cultivars to be classified, according to a combination of these two variables, into six categories of susceptibility or resistance: highly susceptible- `Canoga', `Ozark Beauty', `Scott', and `Tangi'; resistant—'Aiko', `Annapolis', `Apollo', `Bounty', `Cardinal', `Douglas', `Dover', `Fairfax', `Fern', `Floridabelle', `Glooscap', `Governor Simcoe', `Hecker', `Kent', `Pajaro', `Parker', `Rainier', `Redcoat', and `Vesper'; and highly resistant—`Profumata di Tortona' (F. moschata Duch.). Bioassay based on oviposition rates and damage scores was considered to be an efficient method to eliminate susceptible accessions from a breeding program, but authentication of putative resistance may require further testing in vivo.

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Mustafa Ozgen, Joseph Kovach, Lauren D. Harper, Simeon Wright and Joseph C. Scheerens

Six strawberry cultivars (`Earliglow', `Honeoye', `Idea', `Jewel', `Northeaster', and `Seneca') were grown organically on three different composts (yard waste, dairy barn waste, and vermicompost). Organic treatments were contrasted against a synthetic fertilizer standard, a conventional pesticide standard and an untreated control. Plots were rated for tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) damage during the growing season. At harvest, berries were examined for their ascorbic acid levels and total anthocyanin and phenolic contents. Ascorbic acid content of berries in different cultivars and treatments were similar. As expected, fruit anthocyanin and phenolic contents were significantly different among the cultivars, and ranged between 160–230 μg·gfw-1 and 1039–1333 μg·gfw-1, respectively. Among treatments, anthocyanin contents of strawberries were not significantly different, but berries grown on the conventional pesticide standard had 8% to 12% lower total phenolic content than the other treatments. In organic treatments, production of phenolic compounds may have been induced in response to increased tarnished plant bug feeding. This putative biotic stress defense mechanism was seen most dramatically on tarnished plant bugsusceptible cultivars. However, as differences in phenolic levels were greater among cultivars than among treatments, cultivar choice may be a more important consideration than growing system for optimizing antioxidant levels in commercially available fruit.