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K.S. Ling, C.A. Clark, C. Kokkinos, J. R. Bohac, S.S. Hurtt, R. L. Jarret, and A. G. Gillaspie

Sweet potato virus disease (SPVD) is the most devastating virus disease on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] world wide, especially in East Africa. However, weather it is present in the U.S. is unknown. SPVD is caused by co-infection of sweetpotato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and sweetpotato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV). Presence of two other potyviruses, sweetpotato virus G (SPVG) and Ipomoea vein mosaic virus (IVMV) has also been confirmed in the U.S. Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV), a whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) transmitted Begomovirus, also has the potential to spread to commercial sweetpotato fields and poses a great threat to the sweetpotato industry. The U.S. collection of sweetpotato germplasm contains about 700 genotypes or breeding lines introduced from over 20 different countries. Newly introduced sweetpotato germplasm from foreign sources are routinely screened for major viruses with serology and graft-transmission onto indicator plants (Ipomoea setosa). However, a large portion of this collection including heirloom cultivars or old breeding materials has not been systemically screened for these major sweetpotato viruses. In this study, a total of 69 so-called heirloom sweetpotato PI accessions were evaluated for their virus status. We used Real-time PCR to detect five sweetpotato viruses, including four RNA viruses (SPCSV, SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV) and one DNA virus (SPLCV). A multiplex Real-time RT-PCR system was developed to detect three RNA viruses (SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV). Preliminary data indicated that about 15% of these heirloom sweetpotato germplasm carried at least one of these viruses tested. Details on virus infection status will be presented.

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Adam F. Newby, James E. Altland, Daniel K. Struve, Claudio C. Pasian, Peter P. Ling, Pablo S. Jourdan, J. Raymond Kessler, and Mark Carpenter

Greenhouse growers must use water more efficiently. One way to achieve this goal is to monitor substrate moisture content to decrease leaching. A systems approach to irrigation management would include knowledge of substrate matric potentials and air-filled pore space (AS) in addition to substrate moisture content. To study the relationship between substrate moisture and plant growth, annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.) was subject to a 2 × 2 factorial combination of two irrigation treatments and two substrates with differing moisture characteristic curves (MCCs). A gravimetric on-demand irrigation system was used to return substrate moisture content to matric potentials of −2 or −10 kPa at each irrigation via injected drippers inserted into each container. Moisture characteristic curves were used to determine gravimetric water content (GWC), volumetric water content (VWC), and AS at target substrate matric potential values for a potting mix consisting of sphagnum moss and perlite and a potting mix consisting of sphagnum moss, pine bark, perlite, and vermiculite. At each irrigation event, irrigation automatically shut off when the substrate-specific weight of the potted plants associated with the target matric potential was reached. Irrigation was triggered when the associated weight for a given treatment dropped 10% from the target weight. VWC and AS differed between substrates at similar matric potential values. Irrigating substrates to −2 kPa increased the irrigation volume applied, evapotranspiration, plant size, leaf area, shoot and root dry weight, and flower number per plant relative to irrigating to −10 kPa. Fafard 3B had less AS than Sunshine LB2 at target matric potential values. Plants grown in Fafard 3B had greater leaf area, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight. Leachate fraction ranged from 0.05 to 0.08 and was similar across all treatment combinations. Using data from an MCC in conjunction with gravimetric monitoring of the container–substrate–plant system allowed AS to be determined in real time based on the current weight of the substrate. Closely managing substrate matric potential and AS in addition to substrate water content can reduce irrigation and leachate volume while maintaining plant quality and reducing the environmental impacts of greenhouse crop production.