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Sanjun Gu and Kirk W. Pomper

Kentucky has a rich history in viticulture. The Kentucky Vineyard Society was founded in 1798 and Kentucky was the third largest grape and wine producer by 1860. During Prohibition, however, vines were either uprooted or left unattended, and the grape industry essentially disappeared in Kentucky. Since 1990, the grape and wine industry has shown a resurgence; however, there are limited educational opportunities in viticulture in Kentucky. Kentucky State University (KSU) emphasizes the development of alternative high-value crops for sustainable agriculture production. In 2000, a viticulture program was initiated at KSU to develop cultivar, vine management, and pest and disease control recommendations. Aware of the fact that grape growers in Kentucky are mostly new to grape culture, KSU has developed a viticulture website (http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/viticulture/index.htm) to disseminate viticulture information. The website provides information that includes setting up a new vineyard, managing a “mature” vineyard (Vitis, Kentucky weather and climate, site selection, cultivars, rootstocks, trellising, care of young vines, canopy management, irrigation and nutrition, pest, and disease management), grape growers' corner (questions and answers, buy and sale, resources), and selected links. A monthly viticulture calendar is also available. In the future, the site will be updated with research results in viticulture from KSU and other southeastern institutions, growers' feedback, and information on wine making. The viticulture website will aid in the promotion of the grape and wine industry in Kentucky and states with a similar climate, and benefit grape growers from this profitable and expanding market.

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Sanjun Gu and Kirk W. Pomper

The Japanese beetle is a major insect pest of grapes in the eastern United States. An examination of Japanese beetle preference for currently grown grape cultivars would be useful to growers in developing pest control strategies with reduced chemical inputs. The objective of this study was to examine grape cultivar preference of Japanese beetles for commercially available grape cultivars in both cage choice and field experiments. Outdoor cage choice screening studies included 32 grape cultivars from various Vitis species and were conducted at the Kentucky State University Research Farm in Frankfort, KY. Feeding preference was determined by examining incidence of damage (percent of leaves damaged per vine) and leaf area loss, which was rated as 0 pt, 0%; 1 pt, 1% to 10%; 2 pt, 11% to 20%; 3 pt, 21% to 30%; 4 pt, 31% to 40%; 5 pt, 41% to 50%; 6 pt, 51% to 60%; and 7 pt, more than 60%, by leaf position from the first (shoot tip) to 10th leaves. Analysis of variance indicated that there were significant differences in Japanese beetle leaf damage for cultivar and leaf position main effects. Leaf damage by Japanese beetles varied by leaf position on the shoot, with the fourth through sixth leaves from the tip with the most severe damage. Generally, cultivars showing an incidence of damage greater than 70% were either European or French hybrid cultivars, and those with less than 70% incidence of damage were either American cultivars or American cultivars with a V. labrusca background. The grape cultivars Marquis, Reliance, Catawba, Concord Seedless, Concord, Edelweiss, and Einset showed promise as selections for growers interested in reduced chemical inputs for control of Japanese beetles.

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Jeremiah D. Lowe and Kirk W. Pomper

Pawpaw [Asiminatriloba (L.) Dunal] is a tree fruit native to areas in the Midwest and Southeast United States. Since 1994, Kentucky State University (KSU) has served as the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository, or gene bank, for pawpaw; therefore, the assessment of genetic diversity in pawpaw is an important research priority for the KSU program. There are over 1800 pawpaw accessions (trees) from 16 different states and over 40 cultivars that are planted on 8 acres at the KSU farm. The objectives of this study were to develop microsatellite markers for pawpaw, and to then use those markers to evaluate 19 cultivars in the repository collection. Leaves of the pawpaw cultivar Sunflower were sent to Genetic Information Systems (Chatsworth, Calif.) for simple sequence repeat (SSR) primer and marker development. A total of 34 microsatellite primers were developed for pawpaw. These primers were then used in a preliminary screening with five pawpaw cultivars (`Sunflower', `Mitchell', `Sweet Alice', `Overleese', and `Prolific'). Results from this preliminary screening indicate that four of the primers failed to amplify any product, 12 primers were monomorphic, and 18 primers were polymorphic. Eleven additional cultivars were then screened, which produced numerous polymorphic products. For example, Primers B3 and B118 produced products ranging in size from 490 to 350 bp. Polymorphic products will be used to examine genetic variation among the pawpaw cultivars screened.

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Snake C. Jones and Kirk W. Pomper

Kentucky State Univ. (KYSU) emphasizes research on developing alternative, high-value crops and sustainable agriculture methods for use by limited-resource farmers. Since 1990, KYSU has maintained a research program to develop pawpaw into a new high-value tree fruit crop. With its high tolerance for many native pests and diseases, pawpaw shows great potential as a crop for organic and sustainable production. The objectives of KYSU's pawpaw research program include: 1) variety trials; 2) development of new or improved methods of propagation; 3) collection, evaluation, preservation, and dissemination of germplasm; and 4) sharing of information on pawpaw with scientists, commercial growers and marketers, and the general public. To aid in dissemination of information on pawpaw, a web site has been developed (http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu) that includes information on current and past pawpaw research at KYSU and information on the PawPaw Foundation. On this site, there are a selected bibliography of publications on pawpaw and related species; pawpaw recipes and nutritional information; a guide to buying and growing pawpaws; photos of pawpaw trees, flowers and fruit; and links to other web sites with pawpaw information. In the future, the site will include results from the pawpaw regional variety trials and the database for the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Asimina spp., located at KYSU. The pawpaw information web site will be an increasingly useful aid in the introduction of pawpaw as a new, potentially high-value, tree fruit crop.

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Kirk W. Pomper and Robert J. Barney

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Kirk W. Pomper and Sheri B. Crabtree

The propagation of clonal rootstocks for the pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] has been unsuccessful; therefore, nurseries currently graft cultivars onto rootstock derived from locally available seed of diverse genetic origin. Great variation in pawpaw scion growth and suckering is observed with this seedling rootstock and grafted trees are also slow to come into production, often producing fruit 5 to 6 years after planting. In an effort to develop superior seedling rootstocks for pawpaw cultivars, seedstock was evaluated from the cultivars PA-Golden (#1), Sunflower, Susquehanna, NC-1, K8-2, and commercially available seed (RVT). The objectives of the experiment were to determine if: 1) genotype and seed size influenced vigor of greenhouse-grown container seedlings; 2) graft compatibility and growth rate of scions would vary by rootstock; and 3) scion precocity was influenced by various seedling rootstocks in the field. Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and each year all seedstocks had a high germination percentage (95%) and uniform size within each seedstock. Seed size was an important factor in determining vigor in container production. Seed of `Sunflower' was large (1.65 g/seed) and consistently produced vigorous seedlings that were able to be chipbudded within 6 months. Seed of the selection K8-2 was smallest (0.94 g/seed) and showed the least vigor. Bud take was similar for the scions `Sunflower' and `Susquehanna' on all rootstocks. Twenty-one weeks after budding, scions of `Sunflower' were about 30% larger than scions of `Susquehanna'; however, source of seedling rootstock did not affect growth of either cultivar. Field evaluations have begun with the two cultivars budded onto the six rootstocks.

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Hideka Kobayashi, Changzheng Wang and Kirk W. Pomper

Pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal], a native species of the eastern United States, bears the largest edible fruit of all indigenous trees. Chemoprotective properties of fruits have been partly attributed to phenolics such as gallic acid and chlorogenic acid, and the phenolic content generally correlates with antioxidant capacity for various kinds of fruits. Despite many reports of commonly available fruits, little information is available on phenolic content or antioxidant capacity for currently underused fruits. The objectives of this study were to determine the phenolic content (PC) and antioxidant capacity (AC) in fruit of two pawpaw cultivars at different stages of ripening. Sample extraction of pawpaw was achieved by adding acetone (2 mL/1g of sample) to the pulp of ‘PA-Golden (#1)’ and advanced selection 1-23, and then vortexing (30 s) and sonicating (15 min.) the sample and solvent before centrifuging it (15 min) twice at 2987 g. Folin-Ciocalteu assay and ferric reducing/antioxidant power assay were used for the estimation of PC and AC, respectively. PC and AC tended to decrease with ripening of fruit. The highest AC was found in the semiripe ‘PA-Golden (#1)’ puree (22.06 μmol TE/g fresh weight), whereas the puree of ripe fruit contained the lowest AC (17.04 μmol TE/g fresh weight), about a 23% decrease. In contrast, the greatest PC and AC were observed in intermediate fruits for 1-23. A positive correlation was found between PC and AC of fruit of ‘PA-Golden (#1)’ (r = 0.62) and 1–23 (r = 0.82). These results suggest that phenolic components of pawpaw pulp have a major effect on AC, as reported for other fruits and vegetables. The relatively high AC found in pawpaw pulp may motivate more health-conscientious people to consume pawpaw fruit. The diversity in PC and AC between pawpaw cultivars emphasizes the need for additional screening to identify cultivars with high AC and health-promoting potential.

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Michael A. Grusak and Kirk W. Pomper

Understanding the mechanisms that regulate xylem transport of calcium (Ca) to snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) pods could allow approaches to enhance pod Ca levels, and thereby improve the value of this food source for humans. Pods of greenhouse-grown plants of `Hystyle', `Labrador', `Tendergreen', `Green Crop', `BBL94', and `Gold Crop' were examined for stomatal density and rates of pod transpiration throughout pod development. Among pods ranging from 6 to 14 mm in diameter, Ca concentration and pod stomatal density varied inversely with increasing diameter in all cultivars; Ca concentration for pods of a given diameter also varied among cultivars. To assess the influence of pod stomatal density on pod transpiration, water loss was measured from detached pods of `Hystyle' and `Labrador', which have high and low pod stomatal densities, respectively. Pod transpiration rates were similar for the two cultivars, being ≈15% the rate measured in leaves under equivalent conditions, and comparable to rates of cuticular transpiration measured in leaves with closed stomates. These results suggest that pod stomates have no role, or have only a limited role, in pod transpiration. Pods of `Hystyle' and `Labrador' were placed in enclosures that maintained constant high- or low-humidity environments throughout pod development. For each cultivar, the high-humidity environment led to lower pod Ca concentrations, demonstrating that pod transpiration does have a significant impact on pod Ca accretion. However, `Hystyle' consistently exhibited higher pod Ca concentrations, relative to `Labrador', suggesting that differences in xylem sap Ca concentration may have been responsible for cultivar differences in pod Ca concentration.

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Kirk W. Pomper and Michael A. Grusak

Understanding the mechanisms that regulate xylem transport of calcium (Ca) to snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) pods could allow approaches to increase pod Ca concentration and enhance the nutritional value of edible pods. Using the snap bean cultivars Hystyle and Labrador, which exhibit high and low pod Ca levels, respectively, we wished to determine whether there were differences between the two cultivars in stem xylem-sap Ca concentration and whether any differences in sap Ca concentration were related to differences in whole-plant water uptake or Ca import between the cultivars. Well-watered greenhouse-grown plants were placed in a growth chamber at a constant light intensity for an equilibration period. Pot weight loss was measured to determine whole-plant water use and stem xylem exudate was subsequently collected from the severed base of the shoot at flowering and at two stages of pod development. `Hystyle' displayed an exudate Ca concentration that was 50% higher than `Labrador' during pod development. `Labrador' showed 35% greater total water transport through the stem than `Hystyle'. `Labrador' plants also showed a significantly larger leaf area than `Hystyle' plants. Additional plants were used to determine total, long-term Ca influx. No difference was observed between cultivars in total Ca influx into the aerial portion of the plant. With whole-shoot Ca influx being equivalent and pod transpiration rate identical in the two cultivars, our results suggest that the higher whole-plant water uptake in `Labrador' led to a dilution of Ca concentration in the xylem stream and thus less total Ca was transported to developing pods, relative to that in `Hystyle'. Increased transpiration efficiency, enhanced root uptake of Ca, or reduced Ca sequestration in the xylem pathway of the stem could lead to an enhancement in pod Ca concentration in future cultivars of snap bean.

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Kirk W. Pomper and Patrick J. Breen

Expansion of green-white and red fruit in control (watered) and water-stressed greenhouse-grown strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch. `Brighton') plants was monitored with pressure transducers. Expansion of green-white fruit in control plants was rapid, showing little diurnal variation; whereas in water-stressed plants, fruit expansion occurred only during dark periods and shrinkage during the day. Red fruit were mature and failed to show net expansion. The apoplastic water potential (ψaw), measured with in situ psychrometers in control plants was always higher in leaves than in green-white fruit. In stressed plants, ψaw of leaves was higher than that of green-white fruit only in the dark, corresponding to the period when these fruit expanded. To determine the ability of fruit to osmotically adjust, fruit were removed from control and water-stressed plants, and hydrated for 12 hours; then, solute potential at full turgor (ψs 100) was measured. Water-stressed green-white fruit showed osmotic adjustment with a ψs 100 that was 0.28 MPa lower than that of control fruit. Mature leaves of water-stressed plants showed a similar level of osmotic adjustment, whereas water stress did not have a significant effect on the ψs 100 of red fruit. Fruit also were severed to permit rapid dehydration, and fruit solute potential (ψs) was plotted against relative water content [RWC = (fresh mass - dry mass ÷ fully turgid mass - dry mass) × 100]. Water-stressed, green-white fruit had a lower ψs for a given RWC than control fruit, further confirming the occurrence of osmotic adjustment in the stressed fruit tissue. The lack of a linear relationship between turgor pressure and RWC prevented the calculation of cell elasticity or volumetric elastic modulus. Osmotic adjustment resulted in about a 2.5-fold increase in glucose and sucrose levels in water-stressed green-white fruit. Although green-white fruit on water-stressed plants showed osmotic adjustment, it was not sufficient to maintain fruit expansion during the day.