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Jun Yu*, Romeo Toledo, Rakesh Singh, Leonard Pike and Bhimanagouda Patil

Grapefruit seeds were studied for the extraction of limonoids using supercritical CO2 extraction (SC-CO2) technique. Limonin aglycone was successfully extracted with SC-CO2 directly from grapefruit seeds; and the limonin glycoside was extracted using SC-CO2 and ethanol as co-solvent from the spent seeds after the extraction of limonin aglycone. In an effort to optimize the extraction conditions of limonin aglycone, pressure, temperature, time effects were investigated. Various times of extraction, CO2 flow rate and the feeding modes of CO2 were also employed to obtain the highest yield of limonin aglycone. Optimal conditions to achieve the highest limonin aglycone (0.63 mg/g seeds) were 48.3 MPa, 50°C and 60 min with CO2 bottom feeding, flow rate about 5 L/min. The extraction conditions for limonin glycoside to achieve highest yield were further optimized. The highest extraction yield (0.62 mg limonin glycoside/g seeds) were at 48.3 MPa, 50°C, 30% molar fraction of ethanol (XEth =0.30) and 40 min with CO2 top feeding, flow rate about 5 L/min. The results demonstrated that supercritical CO2 extraction of limonoids from grapefruit seeds, a citrus juice industry byproduct, has practical significance for commercial production.

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Wen-ji Xu, Feng-yang Yu, Qing-xiang Jia, Gang-jun Luo and Xiao-ying Bi

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Pan-Hui Huang, Wen-Bin Yu, Jun-Bo Yang, Hong Wang and Lu Lu

Pedicularis rex C. B. Clarke ex Maxim., an endemic species with potential horticultural traits from Himalaya, has a unique cup-like petiole structure and highly infraspecific floral variation among members of the lousewort genus (Orobanchaceae). We developed 13 microsatellite markers from three microsatellite-enriched libraries (AG, AC, and AAG) of P. rex with a modified biotin–streptavidin capture technique. Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 22 individuals with representation of five populations of P. rex. Number of alleles per locus (A) ranged from two to seven with an average of 4.38. The observed and expected heterozygosities varied from 0.03 to 0.86 and 0.45 to 0.84, respectively. Additionally, among the 13 identified microsatellite markers, 11 of them were successfully amplified in species P. thamnophila, and five of them showed polymorphisms. This study may provide important information for further investigation on the population genetics, introduction, and acclimatization of P. rex and its congeners.

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Sung Kyeom Kim, Duk Jun Yu, Ro Na Bae, Hee Jae Lee and Changhoo Chun

Grafted transplants are widely used for watermelon culture in Korea mainly to reduce the yield and quality losses caused by soil-borne diseases. It is normal practice to cure the grafted transplants under high relative humidity (RH) and low photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) conditions for a few days after grafting to prevent the wilting of the transplants. Transpiration rate (TR) and net photosynthetic rate (NPR), however, could be suppressed under those environmental conditions. In the present study, TR and NPR of the grafted watermelon transplants were compared during graft union formation under 18 environmental conditions combining two air temperatures (20 and 28 °C), three RHs (60%, 80%, and 100%), and three PPF s (0, 100, and 200 μmol·m-2·s-1). Percentages of graft union formation and survival were also evaluated. TR and NPR dramatically decreased just after grafting but slowly recovered 2 to 3 days after grafting at 28 °C. The recovery was clearer at higher PPF and lower RH. On the other hand, the recovery of TR and NPR was not observed in 7 days after grafting at 20 °C. Differences in TR and NPR affected by RH were nonsignificant. Percentage of graft union formation was 98% when air temperature, RH, and PPF were 28 °C, 100%, and 100 μmol·m-2·s-1, respectively, which was the highest among all the treatments. Percentage of survival was over 90% when air temperature was 28 °C and RH was higher than 80% (when vapor pressure deficit was lower than 0.76 kPa). In addition, higher PPF enhanced TR and NPR and promoted rooting and subsequent growth of grafted transplants. Results suggest that the acclimation process for grafted watermelon transplants can be omitted by properly manipulating environmental factors during graft union formation.

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Lu Zhang, You-biao Hu, Hua-sen Wang, Sheng-jun Feng and Yu-ting Zhang

Plant growth and development are determined by complex exogenous and endogenous cues. A plant follows several temporally distinct developmental stages, including embryonic, vegetative, and reproductive. The vegetative stage, which is usually the longest stage, can be subdivided into juvenile and adult phases. The transition from the juvenile to the adult phase, also called the vegetative phase change, is characterized by anatomical, morphological, and physiological changes in the vegetative parts of the shoot. Recent studies in several systems have identified the genetic temporal mechanisms of this process, which is regulated by an endogenous age cue (i.e., microRNA156/157) and its targeted genes (i.e., Squamosa promoter binding protein-box transcription factors). This review summarizes the recent advances in the study of the underlying regulatory mechanisms of vegetative phase change. This review also describes the modes of miRNA action and the functions of their targeted genes in this highly conserved developmental process.

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Mingtao Zhu, Jun Yu, Sheng Wu, Meijun Wang and Guoshun Yang

Spine grape (Vitis davidii Foex) is an important wild plant species in South China. To provide economical and environmentally safe ways to promote the precocious maturation of spine grape berries, the effects of riboflavin were investigated. Riboflavin affected the reactive oxygen species metabolism in spine grape berries by increasing superoxide radical production and the hydrogen peroxide content, and it impaired the activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase. Riboflavin also induced the upregulated expression of maturation-related genes in advance, and the earlier accumulation of anthocyanin and total soluble solids. Phenological observations revealed that the treated grape berries underwent a color-turning stage 9 days earlier than the control, and the maturation stage occurred 7 days earlier than the control. Thus, riboflavin may significantly promote the precocious maturation of spine grape berries.

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Zhi-Hong Gao, Zhi-Jun Shen, Zhen-Hai Han, Jing-Gui Fang, Yu-Ming Zhang and Zhen Zhang

Sequencing amplification fragments produced using simple-sequence repeat (SSR) primer pairs pchgms2 and UDP96008 in `Dayezhugan' japanese apricot showed that SSRs obtained included a microsatellite locus originally identified in peach. The microsatellite sequence homogeneity between UDP96008 in japanese apricot in this study and UDP96008 in the peach in GenBank was 98%. Twenty-four japanese apricot genotypes originating in diverse geographic areas had been identified with 14 SSR primer pairs developed in different species of Prunus. In total, 129 alleles were obtained and per primer pairs detected 2.5 alleles on the average. The results from cluster analysis showed that the genetic distance between `Nanhong' and `Zhonghong' was the closest, and cultivars from China and from Japan could not be separated completely.

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Hua Gao, Zheng-yang Zhao, Yu-miao Lu, Yi-zhen Wan, Lei-cun Wang, Jing-jun Yuan and Peter M. Hirst

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Ahmad Hassan, Chen Qibing, Jiang Tao, Lv Bing-Yang, Li Nian, Shu Li, Li Yu Tng, Jun Zhuo Li, Shang Guan Ziyue and Muhammad Sohaib Tahir

Advancements in electronic devices have led to increases in mental stress in modern adults, and removing this stress is crucial for mental health. The purpose of this study is to examine the psychophysiological benefits of contact with indoor plants. The effects of transplanting plants (horticultural activity) and work on a mobile phone (control activity) were assessed by blood pressure measurement, electroencephalography (EEG), the semantic differential method (SDM), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The SDM data showed that the subjects felt more relaxed, comfortable and natural, and experienced lower anxiety after the transplantation of plants than the control group. Participant’s total alpha and beta wave mean values increased over time during the transplantation task but decreased at the end of the control task. The mean meditation score was significantly higher after transplanting plants. Our study results indicate that contact with plants may minimize mental stress.

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Cui-ping Hua, Zhong-kui Xie, Zhi-jiang Wu, Yu-bao Zhang, Zhi-hong Guo, Yang Qiu, Le Wang and Ya-jun Wang

The autotoxicity of root exudates and the change of rhizosphere soil microbes are two important factors that affect the quality and yield of Lanzhou lily (Lilium davidii var. unicolor). Phthalic acid (PA) is a major autotoxin of the root exudates in Lanzhou lily. In this study, we treated plants with different concentrations of PA from the Lanzhou lily root exudates and then analyzed the effects of autotoxins on fresh weight, shoot height, root length, and Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity in root. The diversity of soil fungi in Lanzhou lily soil was analyzed using MiSeq. The results showed that PA induced oxidative stress and oxidative damage of Lanzhou lily roots, improved the level of the membrane lipid peroxidation, reduced the content of antioxidant defense enzyme activity and the nonenzymatic antioxidant, and eventually inhibited the growth of the Lanzhou lily. We found that continuous cropping of Lanzhou lily resulted in an increase in fungal pathogens, such as Fusarium oxysporum in the soil, and reduced the size of plant-beneficial bacteria populations. The results in this study indicate that continuous cropping would damage the regular growth of Lanzhou lily.