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Wan-Wei Yu, Der-Lin Ling and Yu-Sen Chang

Research on the restorative benefits of nature primarily has focused on the spiritual benefits of wilderness areas, but other areas, such as cities, have not been studied. Horticultural activities have the potential to promote spiritual health, but most participants are not aware of this benefit. To improve this situation and to increase evidence of the benefits of therapeutic horticulture, this study suggests treating plant parables as trigger cues, which would allow an approach to interaction with plants through metaphysical imagination, resulting in an improvement in spiritual health from horticultural activities. The purpose of this study was to understand participants' beliefs of the spiritual benefits of horticultural activities, and to see if these beliefs were enhanced after reading plant parables. This study surveyed subjects with different horticultural backgrounds, and measured their opinions regarding belief in the spiritual benefits of horticultural activities, before and after reading the parables. The results indicated that before reading the plant parables, neither group of subjects with different horticultural backgrounds agreed with the spiritual benefits of horticultural activities; however, after reading the plant parables, the belief of participants with formal horticultural education backgrounds increased significantly (P ≤ 0.001). The increase was not significant in subjects without formal horticultural education backgrounds.

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Ling Yu, Hongwei Chen, Peipei Hong, Hongli Wang and Kefeng Liu

Salvia splendens is a widely used ornamental bedding plant; however, the limited propagation method has decreased its quality and yield. Through years of selection, we have obtained a new variety of S. splendens with weak apical dominance and named it as ‘Cailinghong’. To establish an effective method for regeneration of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’, different explants, including leaves, receptacles, petioles, stem nodes, and stem segments were used for adventitious bud induction. Next, various combinations of plant growth regulators (PGRs) were selected for bud and root induction, which were assessed by adventitious bud initiation rate and proliferation rate, as well as root induction rate. Meanwhile, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was also calculated. As a result, stem nodes were found easy to be induced to form buds, and the optimum medium component was 1/2 Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 0.45 µM naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), 8.88 µM 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), and 2.46 µM 3-indolebutyric acid (IBA) for plantlets induction, whereas 1/4 MS medium supplemented with 2.23 µM NAA for root induction. Furthermore, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was up to 80%, and all regenerated plantlets were normal in phenotype. Therefore, cultured in 1/2 MS medium with combined PGRs, whole plantlet of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’ could be regenerated directly from stem node.

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Aerdake Kuwantai, Yu-jia Liu, Zong-zhe Wan, Hong-yan Liu and Ling Wang

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I-Ling Lai, Chih-Wan Lin, Tsai-Yu Chen and Wei-Hsin Hu

Begonia montaniformis × Begonia ningmingensis var. bella hybrids have high ornamental potential. Hence, the aim of this study was to determine the optimal conditions for the micropropagation of a Begonia montaniformis × Begonia ningmingensis var. bella F1 progeny by using various concentrations of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and varying light spectra in half-strength Murashige and Skoog (1/2 MS) medium. The results showed that the explant regeneration was optimal when the lamina was incubated in a medium supplemented with 2.0 μM N6-benzylaminopurine and 0.8 μM α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). Under such conditions, 98% of the explants regenerated adventitious shoots after 8 weeks, and 41 buds were produced per explant on average. The mean shoot length was 9.6 mm, and on average, 4.5 shoots per explant were more than 2 mm long. Subsequently, the induced adventitious shoots were transferred into rooting medium consisting of 1/2 MS and various NAA concentrations. After 4 weeks, the shoots subcultured in this medium showed ≈93% root induction and an average of 3.5 adventitious roots per explant. Furthermore, the applied light spectrum significantly influenced shoot regeneration, and optimal results were achieved under an equal distribution of blue, red, and infrared light. The histological sections of shoots regenerated from direct organogenesis were observed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Afterward, the rooting adventitious shoots were subcultured in PGR-free medium for 8 weeks. The seedlings were successfully acclimated 4 weeks after being transferred to soil and bloomed after 11 months in a greenhouse. Thus, the PGR composition in micropropagation efficiently shortened the time to blooming from 25 to 16 months.

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Han-Ling Yu, Claude Willemot, Serge Yelle, Yves Castonguay and Paul Nadeau

Translatable mRNAs from two tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars differing in chilling tolerance were compared after 16 days of chilling at 4C and after return to 20C for 1 and 5 days. Before chilling, the translation products, resolved by 2D NEPHGE, showed significant differences between more tolerant `New York 280' (NY) and less tolerant `Early Cherry' (EC). In NY, chilling reduced the level of five to 10 mRNAs and enhanced or induced that of several other mRNAs. After transfer to 20C, the trend was progressively reversed. Changes in the levels of two low-molecular-weight basic peptides were most noticeable. One, absent in NY before chilling, was strongly expressed after chilling and 24 h after transfer to 20C, but disappeared 5 days after transfer. The level of this peptide increased slightly in EC at low temperature and was maintained after transfer to 20C. The level of the other, high in NY before chilling, was sharply reduced after chilling. In contrast, the level of this polypeptide was low in EC under all treatments.

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Zong-zhe Wan, Ya-nan Li, Xin-yu Qi, Dan Wang and Ling Wang

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Yu-Xiong Zhong, Jian-Ye Chen, Hai-Ling Feng, Jian-Fei Kuang, Ruo Xiao, Min Ou, Hui Xie, Wang-Jin Lu, Yue-Ming Jiang and He-Tong Lin

Fresh fruit of longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) are susceptible to pericarp browning and aril breakdown. Aril breakdown in longan fruit is regarded as one of the most important factors reducing quality and shortening storage life of the fruit. To better understand the molecular mechanism of aril breakdown, the expression patterns of three expansin (EXP) and three xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) genes in relation to the aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at room temperature (25 °C) or low temperature (4 °C) were investigated. The results showed that aril breakdown index increased progressively during storage at 25 and at 4 °C. Northern blotting analysis revealed that the accumulations of three EXP and three XET genes exhibited differential characteristics with the occurrence of aril breakdown. During storage at 25 °C, the accumulations of Dl-XET3 increased after 1 day, suggesting that Dl-XET3 correlated well with the early aril breakdown, while Dl-EXP3 together with Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 was involved in later aril breakdown. However, expression of Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 could be mainly involved in aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at 4 °C. In addition, Dl-EXP2, whose accumulation increased sharply when longan fruit were transferred from low temperature to room temperature within 12 hours, was related to the aril breakdown in this storage period. These data indicated that Dl-EXPs and Dl-XETs were closely related to aril breakdown in longan fruit.

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Aditi D. Satpute, Chunxian Chen, Fredrick G. Gmitter Jr., Peng Ling, Qibin Yu, Melinda R. Grosser, Jude W. Grosser and Christine D. Chase

In cybridization, new combinations of nuclear and cytoplasmic genes result in a unique genotype that may bring cellular, physical, physiological, and biochemical changes to the plant. This has been demonstrated in the unexpected cybrids generated from the fusion of citrus (Citrus sp.) protoplasts in two independent experiments. The first experiment was conducted to generate potentially seedless triploids by fusing diploid protoplasts of embryogenic ‘Dancy’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata) suspension culture cells with haploid ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit (C. paradisi) protoplasts derived from tetrad-stage microspores. After multiple attempts, only one triploid was recovered, but several diploid plants with typical grapefruit morphology were also regenerated. In the second experiment, protoplasts derived from embryogenic ‘Dancy’ mandarin suspension culture were fused with nonembryogenic protoplasts from ‘Duncan’ grapefruit leaves in an effort to produce an allotetraploid somatic hybrid. The fruit from the resulting trees resembled grapefruit in morphology and type, and maintained excellent quality throughout the summer, when commercial grapefruit rapidly loses quality. Fruit on these trees remained firm with exceptional sweetness and good flavor into August, and without seed germination. The regenerants obtained in the protoplast fusion experiments were confirmed as cybrids by genetic marker analyses. The test grapefruit were identical to commercial ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit at six nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker loci, but identical to ‘Dancy’ with respect to a mitochondrial intron marker. The plastid genomes of individual trees originated from either fusion partner. In the first experiment, haploid ‘Ruby Red’ protoplast preparations must have also contained contaminant diploid protoplasts. Apart from the value of altered fruit quality attributes in the marketplace, these plants provide an opportunity to understand the contributions of cytoplasmic organelle genetics to important citrus fruit-breeding objectives.

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Ling Wang, Yu-jia Liu, Nai-xin Liu, Yue Gong, Ya-nan Li and Jing-hong Wang