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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.

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Hailin Shen, Zhendong Liu, Ke Yan, Liren Zou, Jinghui Wen, Yinshan Guo, Kun Li and Xiuwu Guo

Amur grape (Vitis amurensis) is a dioecious species. To elucidate the time of and reason for pistil abortion in male amur grape from the perspective of cytology, we observed the sections of pistil of a male line during its development using optical and transmission electron microscopes. The abnormity in the morphology of nucellar cell and the development of various organelles appeared before the abnormity of functional megaspore mitosis. Programmed cell death (PCD) of the nucellar cells might be an important reason for mitosis disorder, leading to the abortion of pistil in male flower. However, the abortion can be eliminated by forchlorfenuron treatment, resulting in the recovery of functional pistil in male amur grape. This study provides cytological information on the gender conversion mechanism in male amur grape, which can promote gender determination studies in Vitis species.

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Mengyang Liu, Yin Lu, Shan Wang, Fang Wu, Jingrui Li, Yanhua Wang, Jianjun Zhao and Shuxing Shen

Leaf color mutants play an important role in our understanding of chlorophyll biosynthesis and catabolism. In this study, we obtained a yellow-green leaf mutant hy in an ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenized population of chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis). The hy phenotype was controlled by a recessive allele at a single locus. The intrinsic photochemical activity of photosystem II (PSII) is impaired in hy, suggesting that absorbed light energy is not efficiently transferred from the light-harvesting complexes antenna to the PSII reaction centers and dissipated as heat or fluorescence. We measured chlorophyll content and chlorophyll precursors and analyzed the expression of key genes in the chlorophyll synthetic pathway in hy and wild type. The mutation phenotype was consistent with inhibited expression of chlorophyll a oxygenase (CAO) gene in the chlorophyll synthetic pathway. In mutant hy, CAO cDNA was cloned so that a C to T mutation at 1099 bp caused a conserved proline (Pro) to serine (Ser) mutation at the 367th amino acid in C-domain, which changed the secondary structure of CAO protein. We speculate that the mutation amino acid changed in the C-domain may affect the catalytic function in mutant CAO.

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Gregory E. Welbaum, Zhen-Xing Shen, Jonathan I. Watkinson, Chun-Li Wang and Jerzy Nowak

Priming commercial growing media and soils with dilute sugar solutions was investigated as a means of stimulating beneficial microflora to improve transplant productivity. Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) seedlings were grown in soilless growing medium primed with equal volumes of 50 mm sucrose or trehalose. After priming, the time when 50% of plants showed wilting symptoms was delayed 45 hours and the mean time that seedling xylem tension reached –1.0 MPa was delayed 70 hours compared with watered controls. Sucrose or trehalose priming improved water retention in the presence and absence of plants grown in sphagnum-based medium after an incubation period of ≈24 h, but no improvement occurred when autoclaved medium or acid-washed sand were primed. Light micrographs of primed medium revealed positive staining of opaque material between organic-matter particles with alcian blue, a polysaccharide-specific stain. Sixteen bacterial colonies were cultured in liquid medium from leachate of positive-stained, primed, growing-medium samples and identified via 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Identified colonies were Curtobacterium pussillum, Paenibacillus lautus, Brevundimonas, and 13 Bacillus spp., including well-characterized biofilm producers. Increased soil-moisture retention was the result of a complex, glucose-based, hydrophilic, polysaccharide polymer of bacterial origin that was produced in liquid culture from extracts of primed medium.

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Hui-juan Zhou, Zheng-wen Ye, Ming-shen Su, Ji-hong Du and Xiong-wei Li

Heat treatment induces resistance to low temperature in horticultural crops. Changes in soluble protein and heat-stable protein (HSP) contents, the total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), reducing sugar, weight loss and firmness of honey peach (cv. Hujingmilu) during heat treatment and refrigerated storage were investigated. Low-temperature storage alone led to decreasing of TA and reducing sugar and caused severe fresh mealiness. The hot-air treatment before low temperature combined with the use of a plastic bag (thickness of 0.03 mm) could counteract this effect. Heat treatment before refrigerated storage increased both soluble protein and HSP contents, and the ratio of heat-stable to soluble protein. The most favorable effect was obtained with 46 °C for 30 minutes. In addition, heat treatment before storage retarded the increase in fruit firmness, maintained the highest contents of the TSS and reducing sugar and inhibited the decline of TA during refrigerated storage. Treatment for 30 minutes at 46 °C before low-temperature storage in combination with a 0.03-mm plastic bag might be a useful technique to alleviate chilling injury (CI) and maintain honey peach fruit quality during cold storage.

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Lanqing Wang, Yinfeng Li, Dehai Liu, Chaohui Zhang, Yuancheng Qi, Yuqian Gao, Jinwen Shen and Liyou Qiu

We investigated a practical method for immobilizing liquid spawn of oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) to prolong the storage time and provide convenient transportation of liquid spawn of edible mushrooms. The method was based on the mycelial pellets of liquid spawn adsorbed in carriers. Selected carriers were similar to cultivation substrates, and the best carrier was a mixture of cottonseed hull, corn core, and wheat bran with a ratio of 4.5:4.5:1 by weight. Immobilized spawn were prepared by mixing the pellets from liquid spawn with carriers using a ratio of 1:8 by weight. Within the first 15 days of storage at 20–25 °C, the immobilized spawn grew strongly, respiration intensity and cellulase activities rose rapidly, and the count and brightness of the isozyme bands of esterase, peroxidase, and polyphenol oxidase increased remarkably as well. From days 30 to 60, the cellulase activities fell and the brightness of the peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase bands gradually decreased, whereas the respiration intensity and the band count of esterase and peroxidase remained constant. After 60 days, the cultivated characteristics of the immobilized spawn were same as the fresh conventional solid cottonseed hull spawn. The results showed that immobilized spawn on the basis of the mycelial pellets of liquid spawn adsorbed in carrier can be used to extend the storage time and simplify transportation of liquid spawn of edible mushroom.

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Li-Qiang Tan, Xin-Yu Wang, Hui Li, Guan-Qun Liu, Yao Zou, Shen-Xiang Chen, Ping-Wu Li and Qian Tang

Landrace tea populations are important recourses for germplasm conservation and selection of elite tea clone cultivars. To understand their genetic diversity and use them effectively for breeding, two traditional landrace tea populations, Beichuan Taizicha (BCTZ) and Nanjiang Dayecha (NJDY), localized to northern Sichuan, were evaluated for morphological characters, simple sequence repeat (SSR)–based DNA markers and the contents of biochemical components. A wide range of morphological variation and a moderately high level of DNA polymorphism were observed from both BCTZ and NJDY. NJDY had on average, bigger leaves, larger flowers, higher total catechins (TCs), and greater gene diversity (GD) than BCTZ. Interestingly, samples from BCTZ had a wide range in the ratio of galloylated catechins to nongalloylated catechins (G/NG) (1.83–8.12, cv = 48.8%), whereas samples from NJDY were more variable in total amino acid (TAA) content (25.3–50.8 mg·g−1 dry weight) than those from BCTZ. We concluded that the two Camellia sinensis landrace populations are of great interest for both individual selection breeding and scientific studies.

Free access

Yanbin Su, Yumei Liu, Huolin Shen, Xingguo Xiao, Zhansheng Li, Zhiyuan Fang, Limei Yang, Mu Zhuang and Yangyong Zhang

Head splitting resistance (HSR) in cabbage is an important trait closely related to appearance, yield, storability, and mechanical harvestability. In this study, a doubled haploid (DH) population derived from a cross between head splitting-susceptible inbred cabbage line 79-156 and resistant line 96-100 was used to analyze inheritance and detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for HSR during 2011–12 in Beijing, China. The analysis was performed using a mixed major gene/polygene inheritance method and QTL mapping. This approach, which uncovered no cytoplasmic effect, indicated that HSR can be attributed to additive-epistatic effects of three major gene pairs combined with those of polygenes. Major gene and polygene heritabilities were estimated to be 88.03% to 88.22% and 5.65% to 7.60%, respectively. Using the DH population, a genetic map was constructed with simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers anchored on nine linkage groups spanning 906.62 cM. Eight QTLs for HSR were located on chromosomes C4, C5, C7, and C9 based on 2 years of phenotypic data using both multiple-QTL mapping and inclusive composite interval mapping. The identified QTLs collectively explained 37.6% to 46.7% of phenotypic variation. Three or four major QTLs (Hsr 4.2, 7.2, 9.3, and/or 9.1) showing a relatively larger effect were robustly detected in different years or with different mapping methods. The HSR trait was shown to have a complex genetic basis. Results from QTL mapping and classical genetic analysis were consistent. Our results provide a foundation for further research on HSR genetic regulation and molecular marker-assisted selection (MAS) for HSR in cabbage.

Open access

Hui-juan Zhou, Xia-nan Zhang, Ming-shen Su, Ji-hong Du, Xiong-wei Li and Zheng-wen Ye

To investigate the influence of ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation pretreatment on the sugar metabolism of yellow peaches (cv. Beinong2 × 60–24–7) during storage, the concentrations of soluble sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, and sorbitol), and related gene expression were determined. During UVC pretreatment, peaches were subjected to a dose of 4 kJ·m−2 when they were placed at 15 cm under a UVC lamp tube for 10 minutes at 25 °C. Then, they remained at 15 ± 2 °C for 10 days. Peaches stored at 15 ± 2 °C immediately after picking were used as the control group (CG). UVC pretreatment reduced the ethylene production rate and resulted in a significant increase in the accumulation of sucrose during days 2 to 8 of the storage period, followed by a lower concentration of fructose and glucose and the upregulation of PpaSS1. The expression levels of PpaSPS2, PpaSS1, and PpaST3 were significantly correlated with fructose concentration, and those of PpaSPS2 and PpaST2 were significantly correlated with glucose concentration. The enzyme activity of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) was positively correlated with PpaSPS2, PpaSS2, and PpaST2. The enzyme activities of sucrose synthase (SS), acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) were positively correlated with PpaSS1, PpaST1, and Ppani, respectively. Expressions of PpSPS1 and PpSPS2 in UVC-pretreated peaches were upregulated on storage days 8 and 2, and there was a UVC-induced peak in SPS activity on storage days 4 and 8, which resulted in the rapid accumulation of sucrose. UVC pretreatment could upregulate the gene expression of PpaSS1 on day 2, which could improve and maintain the quality of peaches for consumption.

Open access

Qing Shen, Hua Bian, Hai-yan Wei, Li Liao, Zhi-yong Wang, Xiao-yan Luo, Xi-peng Ding, Zhenbang Chen and Paul Raymer

Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) is an important warm-season turfgrass distributed in tropical and coastal areas. It has excellent resistance to abiotic stresses, such as salinity, drought, and low temperature. However, the research on genetic diversity of local P. vaginatum collections from China is limited. In this study, the genetic diversity among 58 P. vaginatum accessions from four different provinces in China and four cultivars were assessed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The results indicated that a total of 45 alleles were detected by 19 polymorphic markers, with a range of 2 to 4 and an average of 2.4 alleles per marker. The genetic similarity coefficients between each pair of the 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars ranged from 0.51 to 1.00, with an average of 0.77. The range of variation of Shannon diversity index of each SSR marker was 0.047 to 1.075, with an average of 0.486. The polymorphic information content of each SSR marker varies from 0.016 to 0.577, with an average of 0.249. The results of cluster analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars were divided into four groups. These results provide the theoretical basis for the genetic diversity assessments and molecular marker–assisted breeding of P. vaginatum species.