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  • Author or Editor: Juan Chen x
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Curcuma L. is an economically important genus in the family Zingiberaceae. Many species are grown as medicinal, culinary, and ornamental crops. As a result of their high morphological diversity and small chromosome sizes, chromosome numbers and species relationships of Chinese Curcumas remain debated. This study examined chromosome numbers of 15 populations representing 11 species of Curcuma from China. Results showed that only Curcuma flaviflora S. Q. Tong was diploid with 2n = 2x = 42 and C. kwangsiensis S. G. Lee & C. F. Liang was tetraploid with 2n = 4x = 84. The other species were triploid (2n = 3x = 63). The study indicated that the basic chromosome number of Curcuma from China could be x = 21. The diploid C. flaviflora produced viable seeds, which was the main means for propagation. The tetraploid and the triploids produced no seeds and relied on rhizomes for propagation. Chromosome sizes of all species were small, ranging from 0.5 to 2.1 μm, which prevented karyotype analysis. The fact that nine of 11 species studied were triploid indicates that triploidy may have some type of competitive advantage over the diploid and tetraploid. In addition, the triploids are popular commercially because of abundant rhizome production and this may contribute to their wide distributions.

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To investigate whether reproductive disorders exist in the sexual reproduction of Ziziphus jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ and to understand the reproductive biology of ‘Zhongqiusucui’ and genetic improvements in jujube trees, we used ‘Zhongqiusucui’ flowers at different developmental stages as materials and conducted field and microscopic observations on the developmental pattern of mega- and microsporogenesis, as well as on the development of male and female gametophytes. The results show the following. 1) From the inflorescence development stage to flowering, the grade 0 bud on the inflorescence exhibited an increase in horizontal diameter, longitudinal diameter, peduncle length, and bud weight, but the rates of increase were different. From day 1 to day 5 after the inflorescence had developed, floral buds mostly grew horizontally. Day 5 was the floral bud flattening stage. From day 6 to day 8 after the inflorescence had developed, floral buds mostly grew longitudinally, and day 8 was the floral bud enlarging stage. 2) The stamens of ‘Zhongqiusucui’ had five anthers, and there were four locules per anther. The anther wall consisted of epidermis, endothecium, one- to two-layered middle layer, and a secretory-type tapetum. In addition, the development of the anther wall belonged to the basic type. The cytokinesis of the microsporocytes was synchronous, the tetrads mostly arranged as a tetrahedron, and the mature pollen had three germ pores, three grooves, and was bicellular pollen. During meiosis, the microsporocytes in each locule were at the same phase and therefore exhibited synchrony. Among the different anthers in the same floral bud, as well as the four locules in the same anther, the microsporocytes had asynchronous meiosis. 3) The pistils in the ‘Zhongqiusucui’ had two ovaries, two anatropous ovules, inner and outer integument, crassinucellate tetrads formed by the meiosis of megasporocytes aligned linearly along the nucellus, megaspore at the chalazal end that developed into the functional megaspore, which underwent mitotic division three times and developed into the mature embryo sac containing seven cells and eight nuclei, and embryo sac development of the Polygonum type. 4) The external morphology of the ‘Zhongqiusucui’ floral buds correlated with the internal developmental stage of the male and female gametophyte. Therefore, the internal developmental progress of the stamen and pistil can be determined by the external morphological characteristics of the floral buds.

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The brown color development on the skin of three varieties of pears (Bartllet, Packham's T. and Anjou) was characterized between 200 and 300 nm from hexane extracts of pear peel discs, with and without the application of the antioxidant Ethoxyquin (2700ppm) during -1°C storage and 20°C ripening. All the varieties presented a main peak at 232nm (afarnesene), which decreased in the storage as scald increased.

Absorbance at 259, 269, and 280nm (conjugated trienes) were characteristic of Anjou and Packham's Triumph fruits susceptible to the disorder. Bartlett fruits had a major peak at 259nm without the other secondary peaks.

The application of ethoxyquin reduced the oxidation of a farnesene, the formation of the conjugated trienes and intensity of scald in Packham's Triumph and Anjou fruits. However in Bartlett fruits this antioxidant was not very effective to reduce the scald.

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The embryo abortion rate of Ziziphus jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ is high, which hinders cross-breeding. Research to identify the causes of embryo abortion is urgently required. To determine the embryo abortion pattern and create a foundation for further research, the embryo abortion characteristics of Z. jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ were observed during this study. The results indicated that Z. jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ was a cultivar with a high embryo abortion rate. Furthermore, there were some differences in the embryo abortion rates of jujube fruits in different batches. There was no significant difference between the first and second batches of jujube fruits. Large jujube fruits had a relatively low embryo abortion rate. Small jujube fruits had a relatively low kernel content rate and high embryo abortion rate. Most of the jujube fruits contained a single kernel, and some contained double kernels. The third batch of jujube fruits differed greatly from the first and second batches. The third batch had the highest degree of embryo abortion and all contained kernels were single. The embryo abortion degree of jujube fruits on the lignified bearing shoot was higher than that on the nonlignified bearing shoot, and the probability of jujube fruit with double kernels on the nonlignified bearing shoot was higher than that of the fruit on the lignified bearing shoot. The embryo abortion rates of jujube fruits with a smaller fruit shape index and larger fruit shape index were lower, and that of the medium (fruit shape index range, 1.30–1.60) was higher. The embryo abortion rates of globose, oblong globose, and long cylinder jujube fruits were lower, whereas that of cylindrical fruits was higher. Cracked jujube fruits did not contain normal seed kernels and their embryo abortion rate was 100%.

Open Access

Ploidy levels and genome sizes have significant implications in plant evolution and crop improvement. Species of Lonicera L. have long been cultivated as medicinal, ornamental crops, or both. However, chromosome numbers, karyotypes, and DNA contents have only been documented in a few species, of which some controversies regarding basic chromosome numbers and karyotypes remain. This study analyzed the chromosome numbers and karyomorphology of 11 cultivars across four species and also the DNA content of 10 cultivars representing six species of Lonicera. Among them, the chromosome numbers of nine cultivars are reported for the first time. Results showed that the basic chromosome number of x = 9 was constant, and chromosome numbers of 2n = 18, 27, 36, or 54 were observed, suggesting that polyploidy exists in the genus. Five cultivars are diploid with 2n = 18; one cultivar is triploid, four are tetraploid, and one is hexaploid. The karyotypes of all studied cultivars are 3B or 3A, except Lonicera sempervirens ‘Crimson Cascade’ that is 2B based on the Stebbins’ asymmetry classification of karyotypes. The asymmetry index (A1) values vary from 0.47 to 0.60. The chromosome lengths range from 0.77 to 4.09 μm. Total karyotype lengths differ from 33.55 to 78.71 μm. The 1C-value of 10 cultivars varies 3-fold, ranging from 1.158 to 3.664 pg. Information gathered from this study could be valuable for improving breeding efficiency in the development of new cultivars of Lonicera with enhanced medicinal, ornamental value, or both.

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