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Yan-Ling Zheng and Huan-Cheng Ma

Mumian (Bombax ceiba) is a deciduous tree that can grow in the dry-hot valley of southwestern China. However, natural regeneration of mumian is significantly inhibited by some factors such as high temperature that can accelerate seed deterioration. The objective of this study was to identify the change of seedling growth component(s) in response to seed aging at 45 °C either at low relative humidity (15%) or at high relative humidity (100%) for 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 days. Germination assay results at 30 °C in darkness showed an interaction between relative humidity and aging duration. At high temperature and low relative humidity seedling growth, weight of used seed reserve and fraction of seed reserve depletion significantly decreased with increasing of aging duration. But the conversion efficiency of mobilized reserve to seedling tissues did not change significantly. In contrast, at high temperature and high relative humidity, seedling growth and conversion efficiency of seed reserve utilization decreased significantly, but weight of used seed reserve and fraction of seed reserve depletion did not change significantly until seeds were dead. It was concluded that there existed a different pattern of seed reserve utilization for seeds aged at low and high relative humidity, and humidification of seeds at 45 °C for 1 day is a possible way to increase germination of mumian.

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Ling Ma, Xingquan Rao and Xiaoyang Chen

Plans for hydroponic experiments, as well as the flooding of watersheds for ecological restoration, require abundant evaluation information regarding plant species adapted to waterlogged environments. In this study, we observed the growth rate and phenotypes of 57 plant species, including nine provenances of four species grown hydroponically. The 57 species were from 22 families and 33 genera, and their waterlogging tolerance (WT) was classified into five categories according to the results of the evaluation: excellent, good, ordinary, poor, and very poor. We found that 60% of these plant species were able to survive in hydroculture for more than 10 weeks. They showed new shoot growth and had a survival rate of more than 60%. Species with excellent or good WT developed new leaves rapidly under waterlogging stress, whereas species with ordinary or poor WT exhibited old leaves dropping from the stem soon after waterlogging stress. In addition, phenotypic divergence occurred among provenances of the same species under waterlogging stress.

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Bao-Cheng Ma, Wan-Li Tang, Li-Yan Ma, Ling-Ling Li, Lu-Bin Zhang, Shi-Jiang Zhu, Chuxiong Zhuang and Donald Irving

The pathogenic fungus Colletotrichum musae infects developing green bananas (Musa spp. AAA group), but remains latent until the fruit ripens. The aim of this research was to determine whether the appearance of disease symptoms is regulated by chitinase gene expression following treatment of fruit with benzothiadiazole (BTH) and methyl jasmonate (MeJA), and with physical (heat) and chemical (H2O2 and Ca2+-related) treatments. In bananas inoculated with C. musae, BTH and MeJA lowered disease severity and stimulated higher gene expression compared with the untreated controls during ripening. However, in naturally infected bananas, BTH and MeJA treatments slightly reduced transcription of the chitinase gene in green bananas, but they prolonged gene expression in ripe bananas and significantly reduced disease severity. The combination of H2O2 and the NADPH oxidase inhibitor, diphenylene iodonium, down-regulated chitinase gene expression and compromised disease resistance compared with H2O2 alone. Heat treatment (HT) or the combination of HT followed by CaCl2 reduced disease, but only the latter significantly upregulated chitinase gene expression. The combination of HT and a calcium ionophore (A23187) resulted in different disease indicies and different levels of gene expression depending upon the order of application: HT followed by A23187 induced higher gene expression and lower disease. The results suggest that disease resistance of green bananas could be related to high and prolonged levels of chitinase gene expression, and chitinase could be involved in harvested banana's anthracnose resistance activated by different defense pathway signals, such as BTH, MeJA, H2O2, and Ca2+.