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  • Author or Editor: Lei Zhang x
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Spine grape (Vitis davidii Foëx), an important wild grape species in South China, has gained attention because of its health-promoting effects and use in the wine industry. Fruit quality plays an important role in determining the quality of wine; however, a suitable evaluation system to monitor its fruit quality has not been established. The fruit quality characteristics (phenolics and aromas) of 15 spine grapes grown in China were evaluated using a combination of principal component and cluster analyses. The total sugar, organic acid, and phenolic content ranged from 81.80 to 154.89 mg·g−1, 8.02 to 15.48 mg·g−1, and 5.58 to 20.12 mg·g−1, respectively. The comprehensive assessment by principal component analysis revealed that ‘Red xiangzhenzhu’ had the highest quality and ‘Hongjiangci10’ and ‘Ziluolan’ the lowest quality. Cluster analysis using k-means grouped the cultivars into three clusters based on their quality: Cluster 1 grouped those with inferior quality (‘Hongjiangci09’, ‘Hongjiangci10’, ‘Hongjiangci11’, and ‘Hongjiangci07’, etc.), Cluster2 grouped those with average quality (‘Ciputao3#,’ ‘Ziluolan’, and ‘Xiangci4#’), and Cluster3 grouped those with superior quality (‘Red xiangzhenzhu’ and ‘Green xiangzhenzhu’). A combination of principal component analysis and cluster analysis provides a comprehensive and objective evaluation system for determining the quality of grape cultivars. This study is important for the systematic evaluation and utilization of spine grape resources.

Open Access

Calcium (Ca) is necessary for plant growth and stress resistance, which are essential for the successful cultivation of Panax quinquefolium L. (American ginseng). However, information about the physiology of Ca nutrition in this species is limited. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of Ca on the growth and physiological performance of American ginseng. Two-year-old American ginseng plants were supplemented with the following Ca concentrations [Ca2+] in a hydroponic system: 0, 160.17, 320.34, 640.68, and 961.02 mg⋅L−1. Measurements included growth biomass accumulation, chlorophyll (Chl) content and fluorescence, photosynthetic parameters, antioxidant enzyme activity, root activity, and malondialdehyde content. Biomass, stem height, leaf area, maximum photochemical efficiency, and superoxide dismutase activity peaked at [Ca2+] of 640.68 mg⋅L−1. Actual photochemical efficiency, minimum saturating irradiance, photosynthetic rate, catalase and peroxidase activities, and root activity reached their maximum at [Ca2+] of 320.34 mg⋅L−1. Stem diameter and regulated thermal energy dissipation increased with [Ca2+]. The sum of nonregulated heat dissipation and fluorescence emission and malondialdehyde content decreased to a minimum at [Ca2+] of 320.34 mg⋅L−1. The Chl content reached a maximum at [Ca2+] of 160.17 mg⋅L−1, but the Chl a/b ratio increased with [Ca2+]; the actual photochemical efficiency and photosynthetic rate reached their maximum level at Chl a/b ratios of 2.04 and [Ca2+] of 320.34 mg⋅L−1. Therefore, the optimal [Ca2+] for American ginseng growth was 320.34 mg⋅L−1. Furthermore, an appropriate increase [Ca2+] in the growth medium may improve biomass accumulation, light energy utilization efficiency, and stress resistance in American ginseng.

Open Access

Big fruit size and nice red pigmentation combined with good flavor should be the major target for red-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) breeding programs. Genetic diversity and plant characteristics were evaluated on a set of kiwifruit accessions with predominantly red flesh to identify the superior individuals for further breeding or study of commercial application. The leading phenotypic characters varied widely among the accessions. Accession R reached average fruit weight ≈100 g, whereas it ranged from 43.15 to 84.71 g for the other accessions. Fruits of L and Q were flatter in shape than the others. The core volume accounted for fruit proportions ranging from 2.33% to 11.42%. ‘Chuhong’, ‘Honghua’, and K exhibited a round fruit apex, whereas most others showed a depressed apex. R, L, and Q had the highest a* values in the inner pericarp and also the most appealing visual coloration. Results revealed significantly higher soluble solid content (SSC), total sugar, and sugar/acid ratio in Q, R, and L. The 12 pairs of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were successfully used to characterize the genetic variability and confirm true-to-type identity for four accessions. However, the limited number of markers had no ability to discriminate among the other 11 accessions. Based on additional 28 SSRs, six of the indistinguishable accessions were confirmed to be genetically different, and three seemed to belong to the same clone vine. The results demonstrated that application of SSR data could improve the efficiency of identifying red-fleshed kiwifruit germplasm.

Free access

Different pollinators exhibit different adaptability to plants. Here, we compared the performance in visiting frequency and pollination efficiency among three bee pollinators (Bombus terrestris, Apis cerana, and Apis mellifera) on greenhouse-grown northern highbush ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry plants and evaluate their effects on yield and fruit quality. Our results indicated that the duration of daily flower-visiting of B. terrestris was 24 and 64 minutes longer than that of A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively, and the visiting time of a single flower for B. terrestris was substantially shorter than the other two bee species, and pollen deposition on the stigma from single visit by B. terrestris was twice and three times that of A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively. The yield of individual plants pollinated by B. terrestris showed an increase of 11.4% and 20.0% compared with the plants pollinated by A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively, with the rate of Grade I fruit (>18 mm diameter) reaching 50.8%, compared with 32.9% and 22.5% for A. cerana and A. mellifera groups, respectively. Moreover, the early-to-midseason yield of plants pollinated by B. terrestris was higher, and the ripening time was 3 to 4 days earlier. An artificial pollination experiment demonstrated that seed set of high (≈300), medium (90–110), and low (20–30) pollination amounts were 43.0%, 42.5%, and 10.5%, respectively, and the corresponding mean weights of single fruits (related to the seed number inside) were 2.8, 2.7, and 1.2 g, respectively. The highly efficient pollination of B. terrestris was attributed to its behavior of buzz-pollination. Therefore, it is preferential for pollination of ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry in the greenhouse.

Open Access

Ventilation and soil moisture influence greenhouse cultivation. Experiments were conducted at Xinxiang Irrigation Research Base of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Henan Province, China, to identify how ventilation and irrigation affected the greenhouse microenvironment. To develop ventilation and irrigation protocols that increase crop yield and improve the quality of drip-irrigated tomatoes grown in the greenhouse, three ventilation modes (T1, T2, and T3) were developed by opening vents in different locations in a completely randomized pattern. T1 had open vents on the north wall and roof of the greenhouse. T2 had open vents on the north and south walls and the roof. T3 had open vents on the north and south walls. Three irrigation treatments (W1, W2, and W3) were designed based on the accumulated water surface evaporation (Ep ) of a standard 20-cm evaporation pan. The irrigation quantities were 0.9×Ep (W1), 0.7×Ep (W2), and 0.5×Ep (W3). The spatial and temporal distributions of temperature and humidity were analyzed for different combinations of ventilation and irrigation to identify their effects on tomato yield and fruit quality. Major results were as follows: 1) In addition to solar radiation, ventilation had an important influence on Ep and, on a daily scale, ventilation had a significant effect on Ep (P < 0.05). 2) Ventilation had a significant effect on indoor wind speed, but the effect varied during different growth stages. During the flowering and fruit setting stage, wind speed for T2 significantly differed from those of T1 and T3 (P < 0.01). During the harvest stage, the three ventilation treatments had significantly different effects (P < 0.01). A correlation analysis showed high correlation between T2 wind speed and T3 wind speed (R = 0.831), but low correlation between T2 wind speed and T1 wind speed (R = 0.467). 3) The effect of ventilation on greenhouse humidity and temperature was greater than the effect of irrigation. The differences in air temperature among various combined treatments of ventilation and irrigation were significant for the flowering and fruiting stages (P < 0.05), but they were not significant for the late harvest stage (P > 0.05). There were significant differences in humidity on sunny days (P < 0.01), but no significant differences on cloudy or rainy days (P > 0.05). Air temperature at 2 m was greater than canopy temperature, but humidity at 2 m was less than that at canopy level. 4) Irrigation water quantity was positively correlated with tomato yield and negatively correlated with the fruit quality indicators total soluble solids, vitamin C content, organic acid content, and soluble sugars content. Ventilation had an effect primarily during the harvest period; it had no significant effect on yield (P > 0.05). However, it had a significant effect on vitamin C content and the sugar:acid ratio (P < 0.01). The combination treatment of T2W2 is recommended as the optimal treatment for greenhouse tomatoes using drip irrigation to produce an optimal combination of crop yield and fruit quality. This study provides theoretical and technical support for the improvement of greenhouse climate control by optimizing greenhouse ventilation and irrigation techniques to promote tomato yield and improve fruit quality.

Open Access

‘Suzhouqing’ is a unique landrace of nonheading Chinese cabbage [Brassica rapa var. chinensis (Linnaeus) Kitamura] with a long history of cultivation in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, China. However, transitional and overlapped morphologic traits make it difficult to authenticate this accession from other nonheading Chinese cabbages. Genetic relationship between ‘Suzhouqing’ and the related 10 popular accessions in the Yangtze River Delta were analyzed using two well-studied single-copy nuclear genes—ARGONAUTES 7 (AGO7) and BcMF15; the molecular identification of ‘Suzhouqing’ was determined based on the intersimple sequence repeat–sequence-characterized amplified region (ISSR-SCAR) marker. The results indicated that ‘Suzhouqing’ could be identified specifically from the other 10 accessions based on 21 specific nucleotide variations of the AGO7 gene. Sequence variations show a strong correlation with leaf morphology, suggestive of partial causal links between the two. Genetic relationship analysis showed that five accessions with close geographic locations had a very close genetic relationship, whereas the genetic relationship of the other five accessions was related to their morphologic similarity. One exception, ‘AJH’, might undergo a special evolutionary process. Furthermore, ISSR-880 was screened as the specific primer to identify accession ‘Suzhouqing’, and a specific discrimination ISSR-SCAR marker was explored, which amplified no target band in any other accessions. The development of molecular markers for the specific identification of ‘Suzhouqing’ in 11 popular accessions in the Yangtze River Delta could provide a theoretical basis for the protective identification of other agricultural crops.

Free access

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

Single-slope, energy-efficient solar greenhouses in China use solar energy as the sole source of light and heat for winter crop production in the region between latitudes 32°N and 43°N. The use of solar greenhouses has greatly reduced energy demand and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Solar greenhouses are the best structure for growing winter horticultural crops in China, and have been adopted by countries such as Japan, Korea, and Russia. Increased proliferation of efficient solar greenhouses in China may contribute to solving worldwide problems such as the energy crisis and global climate change. This article summarizes the structure, function, application, and ecological benefits of energy-efficient, single-slope solar greenhouses in China, based on 20 years of systematic studies. We hope this technology can be applied to regions of similar climate to help reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

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