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Xiao-li Li and Yong He

A nondestructive method for the determination of chlorophyll index for the tea plant based on reflectance spectral characteristics was investigated. Spectral data were collected from 184 samples with a spectroradiometer in a field experiment. Multivariate analysis techniques, including partial least squares (PLS) and multiple linear regression (MLR), were used for developing calibration models for the determination of chlorophyll index of the tea plant. The best calibration model was achieved using the PLS technique with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.95, a se of prediction of 3.40, and a bias of 1.9e−06. When the model was used for predicting the unknown samples, good performance was also obtained with r of 0.91, se of calibration of 4.77, and bias of 0.02. Sensitive wavelengths were selected through loading analysis of latent variables in the optimal PLS model, and the validity of these wavelengths was proved by MLR and statistical analysis. Three fingerprint wavelengths (488, 695, and 931 nm) were determined and could potentially be used for developing a simple, low-cost, and efficient instrument for the measurement of chlorophyll index. The results proved the feasibility of reflectance spectra for measurement of chlorophyll index of the tea plant.

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Fan Li, Shenchong Li, and Qinli Shan

Temperature is one of the main factors that affects the growth pattern of Gerbera hybrida, which shows vast variation in morphology and stress adaptation among cultivars. However, little is known about temperature responses of plant growth among different cultivars. In this study, four cultivars were planted in different growth temperatures to investigate the effect of temperature on plant growth of Gerbera hybrida during their vegetative growth. Results showed that the optimum growth temperature of the four cultivars was 20 °C, of which plant height, root length, biomass accumulation, leaf area, and photosynthetic rate were enhanced significantly. Different cultivars showed diverse temperature adaptation ranges, which were related with their genetic background, and the temperature adaptability of cultivar Autumn was the best among the four cultivars. Temperature also had significant effects on photosynthetic rate, which was the main factor shaping plant growth. Our research provides the basic guidance for the growth temperature control in the cultivation of Gerbera hybrida.

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Li-Chun Huang and Li-Chun Chen

Social media marketing has been widely adopted by florists with the use of the Facebook brand page. However, many florists fail to achieve their expected success in that realm because of not being fully conversant in posting on social media. To address this deficiency, this study aims to 1) develop a taxonomy of florists’ Facebook posts to clarify florists’ message strategies on Facebook brand page and 2) investigate the effect of posted messages and media formats on the marketing performance of florists’ Facebook brand pages by evaluating users’ engagement based on the number of likes, comments, and shares from users for each post. Using data derived from 1646 empirical Facebook posts initiated by florists, it was found that florists’ Facebook posts could be classified into four broad message types covering 12 categories. The statistical results for analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests revealed that the posted message and media format had significant effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. Compared with other message categories, posts in the message categories of product information, gratitude to customers, and holiday greetings had more favorable effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. As for the effect of media format, it was the posts in the photo media format that attracted more likes, comments, and shares from users compared with those in other media formats. Florists who operate brand pages on Facebook can be guided by our research when making decisions regarding the post characteristics in message orientations and media formats for attracting favorable responses from users.

Open access

Li-Chun Huang

As social media penetration has reached more than half of the eligible populations for most of the countries in the world, many florists are thinking of ways of converting their social media fan base into a virtual brand community that can bring numerous benefits to the florists. As relevant topics are rarely investigated in the academic domain of floriculture, this study seeks to address this deficiency. The objectives of this study were 1) to examine the possibility of converting the florists’ social media fan base into a virtual brand community, and 2) to investigate the influence of users’ knowledge of and personal experience with the florist on the formation of the florists’ social media–based brand communities, as well as the subsequent influence on the florists’ brand equity. The statistical results of the descriptive statistical analysis and structural equation modeling (SEM) indicate that the florists’ social media fan base has revealed the markers of brand communities, demonstrating the potential that exists for building the florists’ virtual brand communities from their social media fan base. These statistical results also show that the users’ knowledge of the florist is one of the key elements assisting in the conversion of the florist’s fan base into a virtual brand community for the florist, and subsequently enhances the users’ commitment toward the florist’s brand. Even though the influence of the users’ personal experience with the florist on the formation of the florist’s social media–based brand community is not proved, it is found to be highly correlated with the users’ knowledge of the florist. Based on the study’s findings, strategies for driving the formation of florists’ social media–based brand communities are also provided.

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Paul H. Li

The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is a heat-sensitive plant species in which excessive abscission of reproductive organs occurs during hot weather. This results in yield reductions, and, in extreme heat stress, plants produce few or no pods. We evaluated 74 bean genotypes in terms of leaf heat tolerance (HT) and leaf heat acclimation potential (HAP), as expressed by heat killing time (HKT), the time in minutes needed to cause a 50% electrolyte leakage from leaf tissue heated at 50°C Leaf HT is defined as the leaf HKT of plants without prior conditioning at 37°C day/night temperature and leaf HAP as the change in leaf HT following exposure of the plant to 37°C day/night for 24-h. Among 74 bean genotypes examined leaf HT ranged from 5 to 30 min HKT, whereas leaf HAP ranged from 35 to 130 min HKT. Positive significant correlations were observed between leaf HAP and post-stress performance in photosynthetic activities, plant dry weight, pod set, pod weight and yield among bean genotypes. Correlations, however, were not significant between leaf HT and post-stress performance.

A relationship between heat resistance, consisting of the combination of HT and HAP, and heat injury is proposed. Interpretation of the differential amounts of heat injury among genotypes having different HAP, is discussed. We view leaf HT and leaf HAP as two distinguishable phenomena. We suggest that in breeding programs HAP may be the more important of the two, and should he evaluated as a selection criterion for improving crop performance in high temperature environments.

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Li-Chun Huang

Product behavior represents how consumers perceive and use a product. Its importance in predicting consumer buying behavior is well documented in marketing research. There are, however, no data available investigating the role of product behavior in the floral market. This study addressed this deficiency. Data were first analyzed using factor analysis to extract the principal determinants of product behavior in the floral market. As a result, six primary behavioral factors were identified and named as: “using flowers as daily essentials,” “perceived product value,” “negative attitude toward flowers,” “using flowers as gifts,” “eventbased usage,” and “experience in receiving flowers.” The effects of these extracted behavioral factors on consumer flower purchase frequency were then further investigated with multinomial logistic regression analysis. Analytical results revealed that behaviors “using flowers as daily essentials” and “using flowers as gifts” forced consumers to become heavy users in the floral market. Conversely, “negative attitude toward flowers” negatively affected the floral purchase frequency. Experimental results in this study also suggest that promoting a positive attitude toward flowers is essential in encouraging consumers to become flower users. The intended use of flower product purchase, whether for personal use or as gifts, was the main factor affecting the frequent purchasing of flowers.

Open access

Yang Li, Juanqi Li, Guoxiu Wu, Yanman Li, Aimin Shen, Deli Ma, and Shengli Li

In recent years, air circulation has been used in protected cultivation to improve the microenvironment around seedlings, which in turn enhances photosynthesis and seedling growth. However, a practical and precise air circulation device has not yet been reported, especially one for growing seedlings in a greenhouse. Considering the use of a seedbed in seedling cultivation, a blower that can move back and forth on the seedbed and accurately control the air velocity is designed. In this experiment, we take the nonblowing treatment as the control (CK); three air velocities (0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 m/s) were selected to investigate the effect of interval blowing on the microenvironment of the canopy, physiology of seedling growth, stomatal characteristics of leaves, and stem mechanics of tomato seedlings. The three air velocities were found to significantly reduce the canopy temperature by 0.44, 0.78, and 1.48 °C lower than the CK, respectively, and leaf temperature by 0.83, 1.57, and 2.27 °C lower than the CK, respectively, in cultivated seedlings during summer. The relative humidity of the tomato seedling canopy decreased by 2.7% to 7.0%. Compared with the CK, the plant height of tomato seedlings decreased by 13.54% and root dry mass, root-shoot ratio, and seedling quality index (SQI) increased by 34.63%, 21.43%, and 14.29%, respectively, at 0.6 m/s. In addition, mechanical indexes such as hardness and elasticity of the tomato seedling stem were higher under air disturbance than those of the CK. The best effect was seen in the treatment with the air velocity of 0.6 m/s, in which the hardness and elasticity of the stem base and the first node were significantly higher than that of the CK. In conclusion, air disturbance generated by the air blowing device we designed effectively improved the microenvironment around the plants, enhanced the physiological activity of the seedlings, and thereby promoted seedling growth.

Free access

Ming-yin Li

In Pelargonium, the plastid mutation in three independent cell layers L1, L2, and L3, can produce plastid chimeras with visible shoot colour difference such as GWG (green-white-green) and GGW (green-green-white). Chimera can be used to trace the relationship between the cell layers of different genotypes during shoot development and the effect of the mutated genes on shoot development. In this study, we have obtained different adventitious shoots with GGG, GWG, GGW, and WWW combinations of cell layers through tissue culture of petioles and internodes from GGW and GWG chimeras of Pelargonium zonale `Mrs Pollock'. Much higher percentage (14.9%) of chimeral adventitious shoots was obtained from GGW tissues than from GWG tissues (4.2%). Of the 10.8% chimeral adventitious shoots regenerated in this experiment, 8.6% are different from the original type of explants. This result indicated that cells at least in both L2 and L3 of the explants were involved in the regeneration of the adventitious shoots. The number of shoot types regenerated is likely dependent on the number and the type of cells that were in direct contact with the culture medium. It is suggested that the mixed cells can be used to produce the chimera by tissue culture. Three possible ways to form the chimeras in vitro culture were discussed. Chemical names used: TDZ =1-phenyl-3-(1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-yl)urea (Thidiazuron); IAA = Indole-3-acetic acid; PVP = polyvinylpyrrolidone.

Free access

He Li and Donglin Zhang

Kalmia latifolia L. (mountain laurel), a member of Ericaceae, is a beautiful ornamental shrub native to the eastern United States. The plant is not common in the southeastern United States landscapes because of the limited heat tolerance of most commercial cultivars. Breeding of heat-tolerant cultivars can be achieved by cross hybridization, but is often challenged by low germination percentage, long germination time, and potential abortion of cross-hybridized seeds. We used in vitro seed germination to enhance germination and shorten germination time and investigated the appropriate collecting time, optimal basal medium, and pH for this approach. Collecting time affected in vitro seed germination, with more mature hybrid seeds [collected 4–5 months after pollination (MAP)] having higher germination rate (90% in 4 weeks) than the less mature seeds collected in 2 MAP (20% in 7 weeks). Seedlings from the mature seeds also produced two true leaves on average after 8 weeks of culture, whereas seedlings from the less mature seeds had no true leaves. Woody Plant Medium (WPM) better enhanced in vitro seed germination compared with Murashige and Skoog (MS) or Gamborg’s B5 (B5) medium. WPM yielded higher germination (98%) than MS (90%) and significantly greater total leaf area per seedling (67 mm3) than MS (50 mm3) and B5 (52 mm3) for seeds of ‘Firecracker’ × ‘Snowdrift’. Similar effects had been observed on seeds from ‘Little Linda’ × ‘Starburst’ and ‘Pristine’ × ‘Peppermint’. The pH ranging from 4.2 to 5.4 did not affect seed germination and seedling development of mountain laurel hybrids. Our protocol enabled early collection of mountain laurel hybrid seeds 1 month before their full maturation and permitted seeds to germinate in 4 weeks on WPM, which shortened the period from crossing to the seedling stage from up to 15 to 6 months and enhanced germination percentage from 30% to more than 90% compared with traditional seed germination. This protocol should be applied to promote the breeding and selection of new mountain laurel cultivars for the southeastern United States landscapes.

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Ruiqin Bai and Deying Li

Petroleum-based spills on turfgrass often occur during lawn care maintenance. The damages caused by hydrocarbons to turfgrass can be long lasting and difficult to correct because of the stable and toxic nature of hydrocarbons. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of using detergent, nitrate nutrient, humic substance, and activated charcoal to enhance bioremediation and turf recover after gasoline, diesel, and hydraulic fluid spills. The turfgrass quality and reestablishment of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) reseeded at 0, 1, and 2 weeks after spills were evaluated. The results showed that using a liquid humic substance to remediate soil and reseed immediately after a gasoline spill was a practical method to reestablish acceptable turfgrass quality in 5 weeks. The most significant injury to perennial ryegrass caused by gasoline was bleaching of green tissues. Gasoline caused negligible residual herbicidal effects under the remediation regime in this study. However, diesel or hydraulic fluid showed phytotoxicity and residual effects in the contaminated soil for more than 2 months. Seeds applied immediately after diesel and hydraulic fluid spills lost viability as a result of the herbicidal effect of these hydrocarbons. As a result, reseeding was only successful 4 months after diesel and hydraulic fluid spills. Therefore, the time span for reestablishing perennial ryegrass turf may be too long for practical purposes in the lawn care industry.