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  • Author or Editor: Kang Li x
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Iris (Iris sp.) is a popular and widely planted herbaceous perennial. However, most iris species go dormant without any aesthetic quality for 5–6 months in the transition zone between the temperate and subtropical climates. To investigate the effects of species/cultivars, leaf shape, and air temperature conditions on the ability to stay green, 12 popular species and cultivars in the transition zone were evaluated. Iris tested included the following species: roof iris (I. tectorum), japanese iris (I. japonica), long leafed flag (I. halophila), yellow flag (I. pseudacorus), blood iris (I. sanguinea), japanese water iris (I. ensata), and small-flower iris (I. speculatrix) and the following cultivars: ‘Chinensis’ milky iris (I. lactea var. chinensis), ‘Bryce Leigh’ louisiana iris (I. hexagonae), ‘Black Swan’ german iris (I. germanica), ‘Careless Sally’ siberian iris (I. sibirica), and ‘Loyalty’ japanese water iris (I. ensata). We conducted a 2-year field study on mature iris populations and evaluated the percentage of green leaves during winter retention and spring recovery using a digital image analysis (DIA). Green period during this study was calculated using predicted sigmoid curves based on the percentage of green leaves. The present study revealed that iris species/cultivars and air temperatures had considerable influence on the duration of the green period. Both evergreen and deciduous iris phenotypes exist with three different leaf shapes, among which the average green period of fan-shaped leaf iris species and cultivars was the longest. Because there was no significant (P = 0.205) relationship between green period during this period and leaf lethal temperature (LT50), new cultivars with long green periods may be achieved without a simultaneous loss of cold tolerance in iris.

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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is an important vegetable crop rich in vitamins and sulforaphane. However, the floral heads of broccoli experience rapid postharvest senescence. Here we found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) treatment alleviated dark-promoted senescence in broccoli florets. H2S delayed the symptoms of senescence and maintained higher levels of chlorophyll and Rubisco and lower protease activity compared with water control. Gene expression analysis showed that H2S down-regulated the expression of chlorophyll degradation-related genes BoSGR, BoNYC, BoCLH1, BoPPH, and BoRCCR. Expression of lipoxygenase gene BoLOX1 and the genes involved in the ethylene synthesis pathway, BoACS2 and BoACS3, were also down-regulated by H2S. The reduced expression level in cysteine protease gene BoCP3 and aspartic protease gene BoLSC807 suggested the role of H2S in alleviating protein degradation during broccoli senescence. H2S up-regulated the expression of sulfur metabolism genes BoSR and BoOASTL, and the antioxidant gene BoCAT. These results show that H2S plays a vital role in alleviating broccoli senescence through a broad regulation on gene expression of reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism genes, ethylene synthesis genes, and protease genes.

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Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a typical climacteric fruit, and its ripening is closely associated with ethylene. In this study, we present evidence that H2S alleviated ethylene-induced ripening and senescence of kiwifruit. Kiwifruit were fumigated with ethylene released from 0.4 g·L−1 ethephon solution or H2S with 1 mm sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) as the donor or in combination. Fumigation with ethylene was found to accelerate kiwifruit ripening and H2S treatment effectively alleviated ethylene-induced fruit softening in parallel with attenuated activity of polygalacturonase (PG) and amylase. Ethylene + H2S treatment also maintained higher levels of ascorbic acid, titratable acid, starch, soluble protein, and reducing sugar compared with ethylene group, whereas suppressed the increase in chlorophyll and carotenoid. Kiwifruit ripening and senescence under ethylene treatment was accompanied by elevation in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, including H2O2 and superoxide anion and malondialdehyde (MDA), but combined treatment of ethylene plus H2S alleviated oxidative stress in fruit. Furthermore, the activities of antioxidative enzymes catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) were increased by ethylene + H2S treatment in comparison with ethylene alone, whereas the activities of lipoxygenase (LOX) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) were attenuated by H2S treatment. Further investigations showed that H2S repressed the expression of ethylene synthesis-related genes AdSAM, AdACS1, AdACS2, AdACO2, and AdACO3 and cysteine protease genes, such as AdCP1 and AdCP3. Taken together, our findings suggest that H2S alleviates kiwifruit ripening and senescence by antagonizing the effect of ethylene through reduction of oxidative stress and inhibition of ethylene synthesis pathway.

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The present study aims to reveal the karyotypic characteristics and genetic relationships of apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) accessions from different ecological groups. Fourteen, 9, and 30 accessions from the Central Asian ecological group, North China ecological group, and Dzhungar-Ili ecological group, respectively, were analyzed according to the conventional pressing plate method. The results showed that all the apricot accessions from the different ecological groups were diploid (2n = 2x = 16). The total haploid length of the chromosome set of the selected accessions ranged from 8.11 to 12.75 μm, which was a small chromosome, and no satellite chromosomes were detected. All accessions had different numbers of median-centromere chromosomes or sub-median-centromere chromosomes. The karyotypes of the selected accessions were classified as 1A or 2A. Principal component analysis revealed that the long-arm/short-arm ratio (0.968) and the karyotype symmetry index (−0.979) were the most valuable parameters, and cluster analysis revealed that the accessions from the Central Asian ecological group and Dzhungar-Ili ecological group clustered together. In terms of karyotypic characteristics, the accessions from the Dzhungar-Ili ecological group and Central Asian ecological group were closely related.

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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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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

Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) is the main component of UV radiation in nature. However, its role on plant growth, to a large extent, remains unknown. In this study, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Beijing Cherry Tomato’) seedlings were cultivated in an controlled environment in which UV-A radiation was provided by UV-A fluorescent lamps (λmax = 369 nm) with a fluence rate of 2.28 W·m−2. The photoperiod of UV-A radiation was 0, 4, 8, and 16 hours, which corresponds to control, UV-A4, UV-A8, and UV-A16 treatments, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was 220 μmol·m−2·s−1, which was provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a blue/red light ratio of 1:9, the photoperiod of PPFD was 16 hours. We showed that supplementing 8 and 16 hours of UV-A to visible radiation (400–700 nm) stimulated plant biomass production by 29% and 33%, respectively, compared with that of control. This resulted mainly from larger leaves (i.e., 22% and 31% in 8 and 16 hours UV-A, respectively), which facilitated light capture. Supplemental UV-A also enhanced photosynthetic capacity, as indicated by greater net photosynthesis rates in response to CO2 under saturating PPFD. Furthermore, the greatest stomatal conductance (g S) value was observed in UV-A16, followed by UV-A8, which correlated with the greater stomatal density in the corresponding treatments. Moreover, supplemental UV-A did not induce any stress, as the maximum quantum efficiency of photosynthetic system II (PSII) (F v/F m) remained ≈0.82 in all treatments. Similarly, chlorophyll content and leaf mass area (LMA) were also unaffected by UV-A radiation. Taken together, we conclude that supplementing reasonable levels of UV-A to visible radiation stimulates growth of indoor cultivated tomato seedlings.

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Leyland cypress [×Hesperotropsis leylandii (A.B. Jacks. & Dallim.) Garland & G. Moore, Cupressaceae] is a well-known horticultural evergreen conifer in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. As demonstrated by previous studies, this taxon is a hybrid between alaska (nootka) cypress [Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little] and monterey cypress [Hesperocyparis macrocarpa (Hartw. ex Gordon) Bartel]. However, the genetic background of leyland cypress cultivars is unclear. Are they F1 or F2 hybrids or backcrosses? In this study, six individuals that represent major leyland cypress cultivars and two individuals each of its two putative parental species were collected, and three nuclear DNA regions (internal transcribed spacer, leafy and needly), three mitochondrial (mt) DNA regions (coxI, atpA, and rps3), and two chloroplast (cp) DNA regions (matK and rbcL) were sequenced and analyzed. Sequencing results of nuclear DNA regions revealed that leyland cypress cultivars consist of putative F1 and F2 hybrids as well as backcrosses. Analysis of the cp and mt DNA from six cultivars of leyland cypress revealed that their cytoplasmic (cp and mt) genomes came from alaska cypress. Our findings will provide important instructions and background knowledge on the management of these major leyland cypress cultivars as well as future studies. Meanwhile, alaska cypress and monterey cypress may have diverged with each other ≈46 million years ago. The fact that they can produce fertile hybrids indicates that hybridization events may have played an important role in the evolutionary history of the cypress family (Cupressaceae).

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Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been shown to be a gaseous molecule in the regulation of many processes in plants such as abiotic stress tolerance, root organogenesis, stomatal movement, and postharvest fruit senescence. We studied the role of H2S in the regulation of senescence and fungal decay in fresh-cut sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L., cv. Xushu 18) roots. H2S donor sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) alleviated senescence in fresh-cut sweetpotato root tissue in a dose-dependent manner with the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS solution. At the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS, H2S fumigation maintained higher levels of reducing sugar in sweetpotato fresh-cut root. H2S treatment also significantly increased the activities of guaiacol peroxidase (POD) and decreased those of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in sweetpotato during storage. Further investigation showed that H2S treatment maintained a lower level of lipoxygenase (LOX) activity compared with water control. Consistently, the accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced in H2S-treated groups. Three fungal pathogens, Rhizopus nigricans, Mucor rouxianus, and Geotrichum candidum, were isolated from sweetpotato tissue infected with black rot or soft rot. H2S fumigation at 1 to 2.5 mmol·L−1 NaHS resulted in effective inhibition of the three fungi when grown on medium. When the three fungi were inoculated on the surface of sweetpotato slices, H2S fumigation greatly reduced the percentage of fungal infection. In conclusion, these data suggest that H2S effectively alleviated the senescence and decay in sweetpotato slices and might be developed into a novel fungicide for reduction of black rot or soft rot in sweetpotato.

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