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  • Author or Editor: Lin Wang x
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Off-season production of several tropical and subtropical fruits has been successfully practiced commercially in Taiwan. By combining pruning, removal of leaves, and application of growth regulators, it is possible to have two to three crops of grapes per year. By grafting the chilled scions of temperate Asian pear onto the water shoots of low-chilling native pear varieties, it is possible to produce high-quality Asian pears (temperate-origin) in a subtropical environment. By using techniques such as root-pruning, flooding, and application of growth inhibitors, it is possible to induce flower bud formation and hasten the production of wax apples. The production periods of other fruit crops such as jujubes and sugar apples, can also be modified by pruning and other techniques.

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Fruit and leaves from different cultivars of thornless blackberry (Rubus sp.), red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.), black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis L.), and strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa D.) plants were analyzed for total antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, ORAC) and total phenolic content. In addition, fruit were analyzed for total anthocyanin content. Compared to fruit, leaves were found to have higher ORAC values. In fruit, ORAC values ranged from 7.8 to 33.7 μmol Trolox equivalents (TE)/g of fresh berries, while in leaves, ORAC values ranged from 20.8 to 45.6 μmol TE/g of fresh leaves. Fruit harvested at different stages of maturity were analyzed in blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Blackberries and strawberries had their highest ORAC values during the green stages, while raspberries generally had the highest ORAC activity at the ripe stage (with exception of cv. Jewel, a black raspberry). Total anthocyanin content increased with maturity for all three fruit. There was a linear correlation existed between total phenolic content and ORAC activity for fruit and leaves. For ripe berries, there was also a linear relationship between ORAC values and anthocyanin content. Of the ripe fruit and leaves tested, raspberry plants appeared to be the richest source for antioxidants.

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Paeonia delavayi is a species endemic to Southwest China and an important genetic resource for flower color breeding of tree peonies. The mechanisms underlying the flower coloration of this plant have not been fully elucidated. In this article, the petals of yellow-colored individual (Pl) and purple–red-colored individual (Pd) of P. delavayi were studied. And anatomical observations revealed that a large amount of yellow protoplasts and a small amount of colorless protoplasts were located in the yellow-colored Pl petals, whereas a mixture of purple, red, and pink protoplasts were observed in the purple–red-colored Pd petals. The Pl cells were subrotund and flat, whereas the Pd cells were irregularly polygon-shaped and bulging. Chemical analyses were performed, and the results indicated that significant differences occurred between the cell sap pH of the Pl and Pd flowers and large differences occurred in the contents of Fe and Al between Pl and Pd. Cyanidin- and peonidin-based anthocyanins with flavones and flavonols as copigments determined the Pd flower color, whereas chalcone 2 ′G with apigenin 7-O-neohesperidoside and chrysoeriol 7-O-glucoside as copigments determined the yellow color of Pl. Correspondingly, the genes dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) were significantly highly expressed in Pd, whereas chalcone isomerase (CHI), flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H), flavone synthase (FNS), flavonol synthase (FLS), flavonoid 7-O-glycosyltransferase (7GT), and 2′4′6′4-tetrahydroxychalcone 2′-glucosyltransferase (THC) had high transcript levels in Pl relative to Pd. The results indicate that the color variation of P. delavayi petals may be related to a delicately controlled balance of the aforementioned factors.

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Abstract

In China, research on tissue culture applications to fruit crop improvement has expanded greatly in the past 10 years. Tissue culture is considered to be an effective method for a) virus elimination from vegetatively propagated plants; b) rapid clonal multiplication of superior cultivars; c) the isolation and avoidance of chimeras that appear in mutation breeding, d) the establishment of haploid and polyploid lines; e) overcoming sterility in breeding through embryo rescue; and f) germplasm maintenance and storage. Tissue culture technology has been used for most of the important fruit crops in China, including a few fruit crops introduced from foreign countries (Table 1). Plants can be regenerated from various explants such as a) shoot-tips and meristems, b) cotyledons, c) anthers, d) immature and mature embryos, and e) endosperm. Plants can also be regenerated from protoplasts via organogenesis, somatic embryogenesis, or axillary bud proliferation. Procedures for the mass production in vitro of plants for commercial purposes have been established in grape (Vitis vinifera L.), hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida Bunge), strawberry (Fragaria spp.), and currant (Ribes nigrum L.). An overview of the various tissue culture technologies that are being used to improve fruit crops in China is presented here.

Open Access

Rhododendron decorum is a common species in southwest China and northeast Myanmar, in which the flowers have been eaten as a favorite vegetable. We isolated and characterized 24 microsatellite primer pairs from this species. The number of alleles ranged from two to seven. The observed and expected heterozygosities (HO and HE ) were 0.3830 to 0.7855 and 0 to 0.7917, respectively. Eleven loci were significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium as a result of the heterozygote deficiency. Cross-species amplification in another eight Rhododendron species showed their potential use for evolutionary and conservation studied in this genus. These markers will be useful to reveal the genetic population structure and genetic diversity of R. decorum.

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To assess cross-species amplification, we tested 38 microsatellite loci previously developed for Rhododendron delavayi Franch. and R. decorum Franch. in eight species representative of the genus Rhododendron. Sixteen pairs can be amplified successfully in all species, whereas two failed amplification in all species. Nine loci were polymorphic across six examined species with one to 11 alleles per locus. The observed and expected heterozygosity per locus varied from 0.07 to 0.65 and 0.44 to 0.81, respectively. Cross-application of these microsatellite loci will provide a potentially useful tool to investigate the genetic structure, gene flow, and evolutionary relationships in genus Rhododendron.

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Crabapples (Malus sp.) are ornamental woody plants that belong to the Rosaceae family. Flooding has severely hampered the growth and development of crabapple, and little is known about the molecular responses of crabapple to waterlogging tolerance. Cuttings of waterlogging-tolerant Malus hupehensis and waterlogging-intolerant Malus halliana received flooding treatment of 30 days and regular planting, respectively. Using transcriptome sequencing, we isolated 5703 and 2735 waterlogging-responsive genes from waterlogging-treated M. hupehensis and M. halliana leaves. Among these differentially expressed genes (DEGs), only 746 were shared by both. Several variables may explain the greater waterlogging tolerance of M. hupehensis: there were more waterlogging response genes related to carbohydrate and energy metabolism; signal transduction; antioxidation; lipid metabolism; protein and amino acid metabolism; and polysaccharide, cell wall, and cytoskeleton metabolism pathway in the waterlogged leaves of M. hupehensis than in M. halliana. In particular, the number of DEGs related to anaerobic metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, γ-aminobutyric acid metabolism and cellulase, pectinase metabolism pathway in the flooded leaves of M. hupehensis was more than that in M. halliana. The alterations in gene expression patterns of the two crabapple species induced by waterlogging varied substantially. These outcomes pave the way for further studies into the functions of genes that may be involved in waterlogging tolerance in crabapples.

Open Access

The flowering time and flower quality of three hybrid Dendrobium nobile cultivars in relation to light intensity during cooling and duration of vernalization were studied in the first experiment. Mature Dendrobium Red Emperor ‘Prince’, Den. Sea Mary ‘Snow King’, and Den. Love Memory ‘Fizz’ plants were vernalized at 10 °C under 300 to 350 μmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) (12-h photoperiod) or darkness, each with four cooling durations (2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks). Plants were forced in a greenhouse after vernalization. At least 4 weeks of 10 °C cooling in light was needed for complete flower initiation of Den. Red Emperor ‘Prince’, whereas Den. Sea Mary ‘Snow King’ and Den. Love Memory ‘Fizz’ only needed 2 weeks of 10 °C cooling regardless of light. For all three cultivars, darkness during vernalization slightly delayed flowering and resulted in fewer but larger flowers. Longer cooling duration delayed flowering, decreased flower longevity, and produced more and larger flowers. In a second experiment, Den. Love Memory ‘Fizz’ plants were vernalized at 15 °C for 4 weeks under a 12-h photoperiod and PPF of 0, 50, 100, or 200 μmol·m−2·s−1. Compared with 200 μmol·m−2·s−1, low PPF at 50 or 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 did not affect flowering time or flower qualities; however, darkness delayed flowering and reduced flower qualities except flower diameter.

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Pistacia chinensis Bunge is a pioneer tree for afforestation, and of high value as an ornament and for timber and medicine. It has also become the preferred biofuel tree in northern China in current years, with a broader development prospect. However, this development is seriously limited due to its dioecious character (separate sexes), because the male (nonfruit) trees are indispensable for pollination, and this leads to a waste of field and low yields. Fortunately, this bottleneck can be broken with the emergence of rare monoecious (having both female and male flowers, and even bisexual flowers) resources in Hebei Province, China. To determine their cultivation characteristics, the variation characteristics and blooming phenophase of local Pistacia were recorded with text, data, and images, by germplasm resources survey, telephone interviews, and field visits. Results showed that 1) 23 monoecious Pistacia were found, with very complex morphological features. 2) The branches of different gender types, ordered by inflorescence length were female > female on monoecious trees > bisexual flowers > inflorescence with male and female > male on monoecious trees > male. Ordered by inflorescence width: female > bisexual flower > female on monoecious trees > inflorescence with male and female > male on monoecious trees > male. Among these, the inflorescence length, inflorescence width, floret diameter, and floret spacing of bisexual flowers were significantly greater than that of male flowers, providing a basis to judge gender type without destructive sampling. 3) Gender types were unstable in successive years—female, male, mixed, or bisexual flowers could convert to another gender within 1 year, except that no female became male, and the overall trend was from male to mixed or bisexual gender in recent years. 4) The blooming phenophase changed a lot among different strains and sex types, which could enlarge the blooming period.

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