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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Janet E. Schroeder

According to brain-based learning theory, learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. Effective learning occurs when students are immersed in the educational experience, challenged yet not threatened, and encouraged to actively process information. All of these components are part of simulation or role-play games. With these basic concepts in mind, we approached the challenge of enhancing student learning in a plant identification course taught in a large class setting. Considering that plant identification requires some basic detective skills, and the popularity of criminal investigation television programming, we designed a role-play exercise involving case files, investigation zones, and detective teams. As a spin-off from the television shows “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “CSI: Miami,” the exercise was coined “CSI: Manhattan, Conifer Site Investigation in Manhattan, Kansas.” It was designed to fit into a 50-minute class period. Throughout the exercise, detective teams (students) needed to collectively locate and identify plants based on previous knowledge and clues within the case files and at the sites. Upon completion, plant specimens were checked in and identification logs discussed in order to provide immediate feedback and reinforcement of learning. Students enjoyed the exercise, offering positive feedback and conversations about the exercise throughout the balance of the semester. Six months later, while walking past one of the investigation sites, students remembered the site, exercises performed, and the plant name. The exercise includes both interactive and experiential learning components. This session will discuss the “CSI” exercise and its value in linking action to information.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

Evaluation of leaf stomatal numbers and postharvest water loss indicate these are important factors in Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon) cut flower postharvest longevity (PHL). Cut flowers with 9 days longer PHL had 53% fewer leaf stomata. Long PHL is associated with an early reduction in transpiration followed by low steady transpiration. Short-lived genotypes had a linear transpiration pattern over the period of PHL indicating poor stomatal control of water loss. Short-lived genotypes had 22% to 33% reductions in fourth quarter transpiration while long-lived genotypes had 2% to 8% reductions. In addition, short-lived genotypes had higher average fourth quarter cut flower weight losses compared to long-lived genotypes. Further investigation of stomatal numbers and functioning relative to PHL may provide breeders a rapid and nondestructive indirect selection method for PHL.

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Dennis P. Stimart and Kenneth R. Schroeder

Efforts to improve postharvest longevity of fresh-cut flowers has only recently turned toward selection and breeding. Conventional methods to extend keeping longevity of cut flowers depend on use of chemical treatment placed in holding solutions. Postharvest longevity studies were initiated with Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) to determine: if natural genetic variation existed for cut-flower longevity, the inheritance of the trait, heritability, and associated physiology. Evaluation of commercial inbreds held in deionized water revealed a range in cut-flower longevity from a couple of days to 2.5 weeks. The shortest- and longestlived inbreds were used as parents in crosses to study the aforementioned areas of interest. Information will be presented on inheritance of cut flower longevity based on populations evaluated from matings for generation means analysis and inbred backcross method. Also presented will be information on stomata, transpiration, carbohydrate, fresh-weight change, and forcing temperature relative to postharvest longevity.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

Leaf explants of Nicotiana alata Link and Otto. were surface disinfested and cultured on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing 2.66 μm N6-benzyladenine (BA) to promote shoot proliferation. After 5 weeks, proliferated shoots were removed and remaining callus saved. Callus was inoculated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens encoding a senescence-specific promoter SAG12 cloned from Arabidopsis thaliana fused to a Agrobacterium tumefaciens gene encoding isopentenyl transferase which catalyzes cytokinin synthesis. Following inoculation, the callus was cocultivated for 6 days on BA medium. Selection for transgenics was done on BA medium plus 100 mg Kanamycin and 400 mg Ticarcillin (antibiotics) per liter. Proliferating shoots were rooted on MS medium containing antibiotics. Rooted cuttings were transplanted to soil, acclimated and flowered in the greenhouse. Transgenics were outcrossed to a commercial N. alata hybrid. Seed was germinated in vitro on half-strength MS medium plus antibiotics. Segregation of transgenics to nontransgenics was 1:1. Evaluation of leaf senescence on 5-month-old plants showed 2 to 14 times fewer senesced leaves on the transgenic than the nontransgenic plants.

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Dennis P. Stimart and Kenneth R. Schroeder

Cut flowers of a short (S)-lived (3-day) inbred, a long (L)-lived (15-day) inbred and their hybrid (F1, 7.3 days) of Antirrhinum majus L. were evaluated for fresh weight and ethylene evolution change postharvest when held in deionized water. Fresh weight change of all accessions increased 1 day postharvest then declined over the remainder of postharvest life. The loss of fresh weight was most rapid for S and less rapid for F1 and least rapid for L. Ethylene release postharvest for S and F1 started on day 1, but for L ethylene release started on day 9. Once ethylene evolution began it continued through postharvest life. On the last day of postharvest life, ethylene release from S and F1 were similar, but L was twice the level as S and F1. It appears that a slower decline in fresh weight, a delay in outset of ethylene release and higher final amount of ethylene release at senescence are heritable and associated with longer keeping time of A. majus.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

An inbred backcrossing approach was taken to transfer long postharvest keeping time of cut flowers from a white inbred line of Antirrhinum majus L. into a yellow short-lived inbred line. Three backcrosses to the short-lived recurrent parent were done followed by three generations of selfing by single-seed descent. Plants from 56 accessions of BC1S3 through BC3S3 were grown twice (June and August 1995) in a greenhouse and flower stems harvested for postharvest longevity evaluation. Postharvest evaluation was done in deionized water under continuous fluorescent light. Longevity was determined as the number of days from cutting to discard when 50% of the open florets on a flower stem wilted or turned brown. One yellow accession was retrieved that was not significantly different in postharvest longevity from the white long-lived parent. Environment substantially influenced postharvest longevity over harvest dates. Possible causes for variation of postharvest keeping time will be presented.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

One-centimeter hypocotyl explants from 2-week-old Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) seedlings germinated and grown in vitro under 12-h cool-white fluorescent light and 12 h dark or 24 h dark were placed on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing 0, 0.44, 2.22, 4.44, 8.88, or 44.4 μM N6-benzyladenine (BA). Cultures were maintained under the light/dark regime at 25°C. After 2 weeks, adventitious shoots were counted. A shoot was considered adventitious and counted if a stem and leaf developed. Shoots developed along the entire length of the hypocotyl sections. Mean shoot production per hypocotyl explant ranged from 2.4 to 6.1 shoots when seedlings were germinated and grown in 24 h darkness and 2.2 to 10.9 shoots when started in the light/dark regime. Highest shoot counts were attained /from hypocotyl explants when seedlings were germinated and grown under the light/dark regime for 2 weeks and transferred to 2.22, 4.44, or 8.88 μM BA. Shoot development appeared normal at the 2.22 and 4.44 μM level, while at 8.88 μM BA, development was slightly abnormal along with slightly more callus production.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

Three percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was diluted with deionized water (dH2O) to 0.75%, 0.38%, 0.19%, 0.09%, or 0.05% H2O2 plus 1.5% sucrose for use in evaluation of Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) cut flowers. Other vase solutions used as controls included; 300 ppm 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate (8-HQC) plus 1.5% sucrose; dH2O plus 1.5% sucrose; and dH2O. A completely random design with 7 replicationss was used. Flowering stems of three commercial inbreds and one F1 hybrid of snapdragon were cut when the first five basal florets opened. Each stem was placed in an individual glass bottle containing one of the eight different treatments. Flowering stems were discarded when 50% of the open florets wilted, turned brown, or dried. Postharvest life was determined as the number of days from stem cutting to discard. Addition of H2O2 to vase solutions at rates of 0.19 and 0.09% resulted in postharvest life not different from that obtained with 8-HQC plus sucrose. Hydrogen peroxide plus sucrose extended postharvest life of snapdragon cut flowers 6 to 8 days over dH2O and 5 to 7 days over dH2O plus 1.5% sucrose.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

A phenol-sulfuric acid assay was used to quantify non-specific neutral carbohydrates in Antirrhinum majus L. flowering stems of three inbreds and their hybrids. Flowering stems 40 cm long were harvested with five to six florets open and flower, leaf, and stem tissue separated, freeze-dried, and finely ground. Carbohydrates were extracted from the tissue with 95% ethanol in a 70 °C water bath and combined with a 5% w/v phenol solution and concentrated sulfuric acid. Glucose equivalents were determined with a spectrophotometer at absorbance of 490 nm. Averaged over tissue type, results were genotype dependent, ranging from 213 to 291 μg glucose equivalent per mg dry tissue with a LSD0.05 = 13. Flowers had the highest concentration of 340 μg/mg dry tissue, followed by stems, then leaves with 36% and 38% lower concentrations, respectively. Carbohydrate concentrations in two inbreds were compared when grown under cool (16 °C) and warm (29 °C) conditions. A genotype x environment interaction exists with inbred 3 exhibiting no reduction, 6% increase, and a 45% reduction in carbohydrate concentration when grown in warm conditions, while inbred 2 exhibited 15%, 23%, and 37 % reductions for flowers, leaves, and stems, respectively. Overall, there were 10% and 21% reductions in carbohydrate concentration for inbreds 2 and 3, respectively, when plants were grown under warm conditions.

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Kenneth R. Schroeder and Dennis P. Stimart

Leaf impressions were made from two short-lived (4 and 5 d) inbreds, a long-lived (11 d) inbred, and their hybrids (8 and 9 d) of Antirrhinum majus L. using Super Glue and glass microscope slides. Leaves were taken from mid stem, pressed on glass slides (under side down), spread with a small amount of Super Glue, set for 3 to 4 s. Then, the leaf was peeled off leaving a permanent impression in the glue. Slides were placed under a microscope equipped with a video imaging system and computer images were taken to facilitate counting of stomatal complexes. Number of stomata ranged from 10,400 to 21,300 per cm2 of leaf. A LI-COR LI-3100 area meter (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, Neb.) was used to measure total leaf area of 40-cm cut flower stems of each accession. Stomata per flowering stem ranged from 1,074,000 to 2,282,000, with the long-lived inbred having the fewest stomata, the hybrids intermediate with 11% to 21% more, and the short-lived inbreds having 40% to 113% more stomata per stem. It appears long postharvest life of A. majus is associated with flowering stems with fewer stomata per cut stem.