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Kemin Su, Dale J. Bremer, Richard Jeannotte, Ruth Welti and Celeste Yang

Cool-season turfgrasses may experience heat stress during summer. Hybrid bluegrasses (HBGs), crosses between kentucky bluegrass [KBG (Poa pratensis L.)] and native texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera Torr.), have improved heat tolerance but the mechanisms of heat tolerance are poorly understood. Our objectives were to quantitatively profile membrane lipid molecular species in three cool-season turfgrasses exposed to optimal (22/15 °C, 14/10 h light/dark) and supra-optimal temperatures (35/25 °C and 40/30 °C, 14/10 h light/dark). Grasses included a low heat-tolerant tall fescue [TF (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. ‘Dynasty’)], a mid-heat–tolerant KBG (‘Apollo’), and a heat-tolerant HBG (‘Thermal Blue’). At high temperature, glycolipid digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG) in HBG was 12% and 16% greater than in KBG and TF, respectively, and the ratio DGDG to monogalactosyldiacylglycerol was 19% and 44% greater in HBG than in KBG and TF, respectively. Greater heat tolerance in HBG and KBG was associated with higher contents of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylglycerol, and with reduced overall unsaturation compared with TF. Overall, 20 lipid molecular species were present in greater amounts and another 20 species in lesser amounts in HBG and KBG than in TF. Results suggest 40 membrane lipid molecules are potential biomarkers for heat tolerance and that compositional changes in membrane lipids in response to heat contribute to differences in heat tolerance among cool-season grasses.

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Kemin Su, Justin Q. Moss, Guolong Zhang, Dennis L. Martin and Yanqi Wu

Drought stress is a major limiting factor for warm-season turfgrass growth during the summer in the U.S. transition zone. Genotypic variation in drought resistance exists among bermudagrasses (Cynodon sp.), but the mechanisms of drought resistance are poorly understood. Our objectives were to investigate physiological changes in three bermudagrass cultivars under a well-watered condition and drought stress. to determine expression differences in soluble protein and dehydrin of the three cultivars under well-watered and drought stress conditions, and to identify the association between dehydrin proteins and drought tolerance. Grasses included a high drought-resistant cultivar, Celebration, a low drought-resistant cultivar, Premier, and a newly released cultivar, Latitude 36. In both well-watered and drought treatments, ‘Latitude 36’ had the highest visual quality and lower or medium electrolyte leakage among three cultivars. In the drought treatment, 16- and 23-kDa dehydrin proteins were observed in ‘Latitude 36’ but not in ‘Celebration’ or ‘Premier’. Our results indicate that the 16- and 23-kDa dehydrin expressions could be associated with drought tolerance and contribute to drought tolerance in bermudagrass.

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Mingying Xiang, Justin Q. Moss, Dennis L. Martin, Kemin Su, Bruce L. Dunn and Yanqi Wu

Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is a highly productive, warm-season, perennial grass that has been grown in the United States for turfgrass, forage, pasture, rangeland, and roadside use. At the same time, many bermudagrass production and reclamation sites across the United States are affected by soil salinity issues. Therefore, identifying bermudagrass with improved salinity tolerance is important for successfully producing bermudagrass and for reclaiming salt-affected sites with saline irrigated water. In this project, the relative salinity tolerance of seven clonal-type bermudagrass was determined, including industry standards and an Oklahoma State University (OSU) experimental line. The experiment was conducted under a controlled environment with six replications of each treatment. Seven bermudagrass entries were exposed to four salinity levels (1.5, 15, 30, and 45 dS·m−1) consecutively via subirrigation systems. The relative salinity tolerance among entries was determined by normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), digital image analysis (DIA), leaf firing (LF), turf quality (TQ), shoot dry weight (SW), visual rating (VR), and dark green color index (DGCI). Results indicated that there were variable responses to salinity stress among the entries studied. As salinity levels of the irrigation water increased, all evaluation criterion decreased, except LF. All entries had acceptable TQ when exposed to 15 dS·m−1. When exposed to 30 dS·m−1, experimental entry OKC1302 had less LF than all other entries except ‘Tifway’, while ‘Midlawn’ showed more LF than all the entries. Leaf firing ranged from 1.0 to 2.7 at 45 dS·m−1, where ‘Tifway’ outperformed all other entries. At 45 dS·m−1, the live green cover as measured using DIA ranged from 3.07% to 24.72%. The parameters LF, TQ, NDVI, DGCI, SW, and DIA were all highly correlated with one another, indicating their usefulness as relative salinity tolerance measurements.

Open access

Charles Fontanier, Justin Quetone Moss, Lakshmy Gopinath, Carla Goad, Kemin Su and Yanqi Wu

Cell and plastid membranes play a critical role in plant response to chilling stress. Fall color retention (chilling tolerance) of bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is known to vary with cultivar and management practices. A growth chamber study was conducted to characterize the lipid composition of three bermudagrasses in response to chilling stress. The grasses selected were ‘Tahoma 31’ (chilling-sensitive) and ‘Tifway’ (chilling-tolerant) interspecific hybrid bermudagrass (C. dactylon × C. transvaalensis) and ‘Celebration’ common bermudagrass (C. dactylon), which served as an internal standard. Plants were subjected to simulated fall conditions defined as an 8/2 °C (day/night) temperature regime with 10-hour photoperiod and evaluated for chilling response for 42 days before allowing plants to enter an apparent dormancy. Plant leaves were sampled for lipidomics analysis at 0, 14, and 42 days of chilling treatment (DOT) and again after 40 days of recovery from dormancy (during which temperatures were adjusted to mimic average spring conditions for Oklahoma). ‘Tifway’ demonstrated the lowest electrolyte leakage (EL) and visual discoloration at 42 DOT, while ‘Tahoma 31’ had the greatest EL and discoloration on the same date, and ‘Celebration’ was intermediate of the two. Prolonged exposure to chilling stress generally increased digalactosyldiacylglycerol and phosphatidylcholine (PC) content and decreased monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) content, with ‘Tahoma 31’ showing the greatest increase in PC and decrease in MGDG. The double bond index, an indicator of fatty acid unsaturation, was greatest in ‘Tifway’ at 42 DOT. Each cultivar increased in fatty acid unsaturation, with Tifway demonstrating the greatest increase in MGDG unsaturation. Multivariate discriminant analysis identified six individual lipid species that contributed most to the cultivar response to chilling. These findings suggest unsaturation level of plastid lipids, particularly MGDG, is important for chilling tolerance and therefore fall color retention of bermudagrass. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that chilling tolerance can be negatively associated with freezing tolerance in bermudagrass.