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  • Author or Editor: Kai Li x
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Seeds of most Pedicularis species do not germinate easily and uniformly, which hinders the process of seeking solutions for successful cultivation of these taxa. In an attempt to determine optimal conditions and effective methods for uniform, rapid, and high-percent germination, the effects of light, scarification, and gibberellic acid (GA3) were tested on seed germination of eight Pedicularis species from nine sites in the northwestern Yunnan Province of China. There were some differences in germination characteristics among the tested species. Seed germination of some species was promoted by light, but not in others. Wet-habitat species generally had positive photoblastic responses. For many species, scarification was effective to promote seed germination, but neither 100 nor 500 mg·L−1 GA3 had consistent promoting effects.

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Lithocarpus polystachyus is a unique medicinal tree species that is valued for its abundant flavonoids in leaves. Currently, genes and metabolites involved in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway remain largely unknown. To elucidate the flavonoid biosynthesis pathways, transcriptome and metabolome analyses of young, mature, and old leaves were conducted. A total of 86,927 unigenes were obtained, and 51.4% of them were annotated in eight public databases. The majority of the 44 candidate genes in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway were downregulated as leaves aged. Metabolome profiling revealed a set of 427 metabolites in leaves. Consistent with the transcriptome results, 15 of the 19 metabolites in the flavonoid pathway decreased during the development of leaves. The data indicate that young leaf is the optimal stage for tea harvest. This is the first report of integrated transcriptome and metabolome profiling of L. polystachyus. This study demonstrates the correlation of gene expression and metabolites related to flavonoid biosynthesis and reveals the key genes responsible for flavonoid accumulation in young leaf. The information can be applied to future studies performed to elucidate and manipulate flavonoid biosynthesis in L. polystachyus.

Open Access

GA20-oxidase (GA20-ox) is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of gibberellic acid (GA). To investigate its role in plant growth and development, we suppressed MdGA20-ox gene expression in apple (Malus domestica cv. Hanfu) plants by RNA interference (RNAi). After 20 weeks of growth in the greenhouse, significant phenotype differences were observed between transgenic lines and the nontransgenic control. Suppression of MdGA20-ox gene expression resulted in lower plant height, shorter internode length, and higher number of nodes compared with the nontransgenic control. The expression of MdGA20-ox in transgenic plants was significantly suppressed, and the active GA content in transgenic lines was lower than that in the nontransgenic control. These results demonstrated that the MdGA20-ox gene plays an important role in vegetative growth, and therefore it is possible to develop dwarfed or compact scion apple cultivars by MdGA20-ox gene silencing.

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The flowers of Camellia chrysantha, commonly named as golden camellia, are treasured for their unique yellow color and are popularly used for tea. Compared with common camellia flowers that are either red, purple, pink, or white, golden camellia flowers are rare and are in high market demand. Our study was aimed to induce flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants with urea and paclobutrazol (PBZ), a growth retardant. Generally, it takes 6–8 years for C. chrysantha seedlings and 5–6 years for grafted plants to set flower buds. With a 4 × 4 factorial design, four dosages of urea (1, 3, 5, or 8 g/plant) and four concentrations of PBZ (50, 150, 350, and 750 ppm) were tested on 4-year-old C. chrysantha grafted plants. Significant interaction between urea and PBZ was observed, and nine of the 16 combinations produced significantly more flower buds than the control, although not all flower buds could open because of abscission. High concentrations of PBZ and high dosages of urea were generally associated with severe defoliation and slow growth of basal stem diameter. When taking bud abscission into account, combinations of 150 ppm PBZ with 1 g urea and 350 ppm PBZ with 3 g urea resulted in significant flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants without negative effects on vegetative growth and flower bud size and severe defoliation. This is the first report on flowering induction in a golden camellia species using juvenile plants. Our results suggest that application of optimized PBZ and urea doses can be a potential means for manipulation of early flowering in golden camellia species.

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Camellia flowers are highly prized for their beauty worldwide and are strongly symbolic in many cultures. A new interspecific hybrid cultivar, Camellia ‘Maozi’, generated by crossing Camellia pubipetala with C. japonica ‘Dahong Mudan’, exhibits strong hybrid vigor and has small flowers with a rare light tone of purple. In southwest China with a subtropical monsoon climate, young Camellia ‘Maozi’ trees flush shoots three times in spring, summer, and autumn, with an average annual growth of 12.9 cm. Adult trees flush once a year. Floral bud formation occurs in late April and early May. Camellia ‘Maozi’ flowers are sterile with no fruits and seeds produced. While an individual flower wilts 4–8 days after opening, the blossom can last 1–3 months. Frost damage can be found in young leaves when temperature drops to 4–7 °C. Under direct sunlight with temperatures of 37–39 °C lasting for more than 2 days, young leaves can turn yellow on their edges. Its primary diseases include sooty mold, shoot tip blight, and peony leaf tip blight. Its primary insect pests are tea green leafhopper (Jacobiasca formosana) and tea aphid (Toxoptera aurantii). Rooting of stem cuttings occurs directly from stems, mostly without callus development. Two hours of treatment with 500 mg·L−1 indole-3-butyric acid and rooting in a mix of latosolic red soil and vermiculite (2:1 v/v) resulted in high rooting rate and quality of aboveground growth. Grafting can be carried out from May to September, while survival rate and new shoot length are highest in July. The most compatible rootstock is C. oleifera, followed by C. polyodonta. The results of this study are of value for understanding the reproductive biology of Camellia ‘Maozi’ and further disseminating it as a new cultivar for camellia collection.

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The addition of pulverized grape pruning wood to grape soils has a positive effect on fruit quality. However, its effects on the soil microecology of the root zone and the growth of the grape plants are not fully understood. To address this, ‘Shine Muscat’ grapes were cultivated in media consisting of garden soil and crushed grape pruning material at different mass ratios [100:1 (T1), 50:1 (T2), 30:1 (T3), 20:1 (T4), and 10:1 (T5)] and in garden soil without the pruning material, as a control. The changes in the plant fresh weight, leaf area, soil and plant analyzer development (SPAD) value, root development, soil organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, and soil enzyme activity were determined over time. High-throughput sequencing technology was used to determine the soil bacterial community structures. The pruning supplementation increased the grape plants fresh weight, leaf area, and SPAD values. The T2 and T3 treatments increased the grape root length, surface area, and the projected area and number of the root tips; the soil organic carbon content, microbial biomass carbon content, soil invertase activity, amylase activity, and β-glucosidase activity were also significantly increased. The addition of the grape pruning material was found to increase the bacterial diversity and richness 60 and 150 days after treatment. At the phylum level, Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria were the dominant groups, and the grape pruning material increased the relative abundance of the Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria after 60 and 150 days. The relative abundance of the Actinobacteria in the T2 treatment was 1.7, 1.3, 1.5, and 1.3 times that of the control, after 60, 90, 120, and 150 days, respectively. The T2 treatment was identified as the optimal treatment for grapes in the field because it improved the soil microecology and promoted root and tree development the most compared with the other treatments tested.

Open Access

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was recently recognized as an endogenous gaseous molecule involved in seed germination, root organogenesis, abiotic stress tolerance, guard cell movement, and delay of senescence in plants. In the present study, we show that H2S participates in the regulation of postharvest ripening and senescence in fresh-cut kiwifruit, Actinidia deliciosa. Fumigation of fresh-cut kiwifruit with the H2S donor sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) solution prolonged kiwifruit storage time and alleviated senescence and tissue softening in a dose-dependent manner at an optimal concentration of 1.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS. H2S treatment maintained higher levels of reducing sugars, soluble proteins, free amino acids, ascorbate, and chlorophyll and lowered carotenoid levels. H2S treatment also significantly decreased the contents of malondialdehyde (MDA), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide anion (O2 ) during fruit storage compared with water controls. Furthermore, the activities of guaiacol peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and glutathione reductase (GR) were increased by H2S treatment, whereas the activity of lipoxygenase (LOX) was decreased compared with untreated controls. Taken together, these results suggest that H2S is involved in prolonging postharvest shelf life and plays an antioxidative role in fresh-cut kiwifruit.

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Camellia chrysantha flowers are in great market demand as a result of their high ornamental and medicinal values. To induce early flowering in 4-year-old juvenile C. chrysantha seedlings, three levels of paclobutrazol (PBZ) concentration (100, 200, and 300 ppm) were applied to the roots. PBZ is a triazole-type cytochrome P450 inhibitor that was found successful in inducing flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants in a prior report. The current study shows that all three PBZ concentrations were equally effective in induction of floral buds, resulting in an average of 20 floral buds per treated plant. In comparison, none of the untreated plants flowered. Although the induced flowers were smaller than the ones from mature trees, PBZ treatment did not affect C. chrysantha flowers’ medical values, because there was no significant change in the content of pharmacologically active compounds (polysaccharide, polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins). None of the PBZ treatments had a negative effect on the current year’s growth in height and basal diameter, photosynthesis, and levels of water-soluble sugars and nutrients [phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and carbon (C)]. It is concluded that PBZ is an effective flowering inducer for juvenile C. chrysantha plants. It was also found that PBZ-treated plants experienced defoliation, and there existed a strong correlation between severity of defoliation and PBZ concentration. This might be attributed by the stress induced by PBZ, as demonstrated by the increased activities of some of the stress-related enzymes [ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD)], and the level of malondialdehyde (MAD). Considering that severe defoliation can cause stunted or malformed plants and reduce aesthetic value, 100 ppm is the optimal PBZ concentration for flowering induction in C. chrysantha seedlings.

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This study aimed to clarify the relationship between grape (Vitis vinifera L.) quality and environmental factors (climate and soil), and to elucidate the theoretical basis and provide technical guidance for the rational planning of the cultivation area and the precise regulation of the cultivation mode in the future. The fruits of three different grape cultivars, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Vidal, as well as soil samples and meteorological data were collected from three wine grape growing areas (Wuwei, Zhangye, and Jiayuguan) in the Hexi Corridor, Northwest China. Principal-component analysis (PCA) and correlation analysis were conducted to understand the relationship of grape quality with weather conditions and soil properties. The results showed that the titratable acid content of grape berries was significantly negatively correlated with average temperature from August to September, average minimum temperatures from August to September, and from April to October, mean annual minimum temperature, growing degree days from August to September, and soil total nitrogen content, and significantly positively correlated with average rainfall from April to October, annual mean rainfall, and soil available potassium content. In addition, the pH of grape juice was significantly negatively correlated with annual mean rainfall and soil available potassium content. However, it was significantly positively correlated with average temperature and average minimum temperature from August to September, average minimum temperature from April to October, growing degree days from August to September, as well as soil total nitrogen content. In addition, the results of PCA showed that the fruit quality scores of ‘Vidal’ in Jiayuguan, ‘Merlot’ in Zhangye, and ‘Pinot Noir’ in Wuwei were the highest, respectively. In conclusion, the contents of titratable acid, pH, and Brix° are greatly affected by climate and soil factors. ‘Vidal’, ‘Merlot’, and ‘Pinot Noir’ were suitable for planting in Jiayuguan, Zhangye, and Wuwei, respectively. Nowadays, few reports focus on the relationship between grape quality and soil and climate conditions. Based on the investigation and analysis of the differences of climate, soil, and grape berries quality in the three production areas of Hexi Corridor, the relationship among climate, soil, and grape quality by using statistical methods was studied, which could provide references for clarifying the reasons why environmental factors affect grape quality and select the suitable area for wine grape cultivation.

Open Access

Solanum lycopersicoides is a valuable genetic resource for tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) genetic improvement. However, there are few reports on its agronomic traits such as disease resistance and cold tolerance. In this paper, the resistance to cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and leaf mold (Cladosporium fulvum Cooke) and cold tolerance of five lines of S. lycopersicoides were studied through investigation of disease inoculation and electrolyte leakage analysis. The results showed that S. lycopersicoides was highly resistant or immune to CMV and leaf mold and more tolerant to low temperature than L. esculentum. This study is helpful for the genetic improvement of tomato by using S. lycopersicoides as breeding materials.

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