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Open access

Yingchao Lin, Dejun Kong, Zhihong Wang, Yi Chen, Zhixiao Yang, Chun Wu, Hui Yang, and Lili Chen

Tobacco is traditionally an industrial crop that is used for manufacturing cigarettes. However, due to health concerns and global tobacco control movements, alternative uses of tobacco are urgently needed to support tobacco farmers and vendors. Tobacco is also an oilseed crop with an oil yield ranging from 30% to 40 of its dry weight. However, there is still no information on the effects of nitrogen application on tobacco seed yield and seed oil production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of N fertilization (90, 120, 150, and 180 kg·ha−1 N) on the seed yield, oil content, fatty acid composition, and seed germination characteristics of tobacco plants at two locations. The results showed that applying increasing amounts of N to tobacco plants significantly increased their total seed yields and oil content. Nitrogen application also modified the fatty acid composition of the seed oil, as more unsaturated fatty acids were produced under the increasing N application rate treatments than under the control. Moreover, increasing the N application rate generally significantly increased the yields of individual fatty acids as well. Nevertheless, the increased seed oil content and altered fatty acid composition did not affect seed germination traits, as the seed germination potential and rate showed no obvious change among treatments or the control. The height and size of the tobacco plants also increased with the increasing N application rate, which would be beneficial for increasing biomass production for bioenergy. This study shows for the first time the feasibility of increasing the seed and oil yields and modifying the fatty acid composition of tobacco plants by increasing N addition.

Free access

Xiaofeng Yang, Gang Li, Weihong Luo, Lili Chen, Shaopeng Li, Ming Cao, and Xuebin Zhang

The aim of this study was to quantitatively investigate the impacts of nitrogen on growth dynamics and yield, so as to facilitate the optimization of nitrogen management for muskmelon crop in plastic greenhouse. For this purpose, four experiments with different levels of nitrogen treatment and planting dates on muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’) were conducted in plastic greenhouse located at Sanya from Nov. 2012 to Sept. 2014. The quantitative relationship between leaf nitrogen content and growth dynamics and yield of muskmelon was determined and incorporated into a photosynthesis-driven crop growth model (SUCROS). Independent experimental data were used to validate the model. The critical leaf nitrogen content at flowering stage for muskmelon ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’ were 19.8 and 21.0 mg·g−1. The coefficient of determination (r 2) and the relative root-mean-squared error (rRMSE) between the predicted and measured value of growth dynamics and yield were, respectively, 0.91 and 10.8% for leaf area index (LAI), 0.90 and 19.6% for dry weight of shoot (DWSH), 0.76 and 30.3%, 0.82 and 21.1%, and 0.92 and 11.9% for dry weight of leaf (DWL), stem (DWST), and fruit (DWF), 0.91 and 17.3%, 0.89 and 13.9%, 0.86 and 27.8%, and 0.88 and 20.6% for soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C content (VC), and soluble solids content (SO) of fruit, and 0.90 and 10.1% for fresh weight of fruit (FWF). The model could be used for the optimization of nitrogen management for muskmelon production in plastic greenhouse. Further calibration and test would be needed during the application of the model in wider range of conditions and muskmelon cultivars.

Free access

Lili Zhou, Ching-Cheng Chen, Ray Ming, David A. Christopher, and Robert E. Paull

An invertase gene was isolated and its mRNA activity and protein levels were determined during papaya (Carica papaya L.) fruit development. A complete invertase cDNA (AF420223) and a partial sucrose synthase cDNA (AF420224) were isolated from papaya fruit cDNA libraries. The invertase cDNA encoded a predicted polypeptide of 582 residues (MW 65,537 Da), and was 68% and 45% identical with carrot apoplastic and vacuolar invertases, respectively. Key amino acids indicative of an apoplastic invertase were conserved. A full-length gene corresponding to the putative apoplastic invertase cDNA was isolated and was organized into seven exons and six introns. Exon 2 (9 bp long) encoded part of a highly conserved region (NDPNG/A). Invertase mRNA and activity levels increased during fruit maturation and sugar accumulation just before ripening. In contrast, sucrose synthase mRNA levels were high during early fruit growth and low during the fruit sugar accumulation stage. A 73-kDa cell wall extractable protein that cross-reacted with carrot apoplastic invertase antisera substantially increased during papaya fruit maturation and declined in full ripe fruit. The increase in invertase protein levels occurred 2 to 4 weeks before maturity and was markedly higher than the overall increase in enzyme activity at this stage. Subsequently, the increase in enzyme activity was higher than the increase in protein levels between 2 weeks before maturity and fully ripe. The results suggested that mRNA level and invertase activity were related to maturity. The data suggested that the invertase was apoplastic, and that post-translational control of enzyme activity occurred, in which a significant accumulation of invertase occurred before the peak of enzymes activity.