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Lawford Baxter and Luther Waters Jr.

Asparagus spears (Asparagus officinalis L.) stored 28 days at 2C in air, a flow-through controlled-atmosphere (CA) system, or 14 days in polymeric film consumer packages were evaluated in respect to compositional and quality changes. CA-stored spears retained more sugars, organic acids, and soluble proteins than spears stored in air. Spears stored in vented consumer packages had a useful life of 14 days, whereas those in nonvented packages started to break down after 8 days. Spears from vented packages lost more weight but retained more sugars and organic acids than those from nonvented packages.

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Lawford Baxter and Luther Waters Jr.

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L. Moench) pods stored In a controlled atmosphere (CA) of 5% O2 and 10% CO2 at 11 ± 1C and in air at the same temperature (RA) were compared to determine the effects of the two storage environments on changes in sugars, organic acids, proteins and amino acids, and ascorbic acid contents within the tissue. Pods were sampled at 3-day intervals for 12 days. CA-stored pods generally had greater retention of sugars, soluble proteins, and amino acids than RA-stored pods. Citric, malic, and ascorbic acids contents of CA pods also declined more slowly than those of RA pods.

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Lawford Baxter and Luther Waters Jr.

Pods of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L. Moench) stored in an atmosphere of 5% O2 and 10% CO2 at 10 ± 1C were compared with pods stored in air at the same temperature to determine the effects of storage environment on physical characteristics and ethylene evolution of the pods. Controlled-atmosphere-(CA) stored pods lost less weight, retained total solids and chlorophyll better, and had a higher mucilage viscosity than air-stored pods. Toughness, fibrousness, and incidence of microbial decay were lower in CA-stored pods than in air-stored pods. No differences were seen in the levels of alcohol-insoluble solids or discoloration of the cut surface between pods from the two storage environments. Ethylene evolution was lower in CA- than air-stored pods.

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Rhoda Burrows, F.L. Pfleger, and Luther Waters Jr.

Asparagus offcinalis L. `Mary Washington' seedlings inoculated with Glomus fasciculatum (Thaxter) Gerd. and Trappe emend. Walker and Koske showed increased growth after 9 weeks, compared with noninoculated plants. Phosphorus supplementation (25 g·m-3) increased seedling growth of inoculated and noninoculated plants throughout the 26 weeks of the experiment. However, after 9 weeks, there were no differences in growth of inoculated, non-P-supplemented plants and noninoculated, P-supplemented plants. Fern height, fern and crown weight, and bud numbers correlated positively to the percentage of G. fasciculatum root infection.

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Alicia M. Borowski, Vincent A. Fritz, and Luther Waters Jr.

This study was conducted to determine if changes in the raffinose: sucrose ratio in embryos of shrunken-2 sweet corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids were related to differences in seed leachate conductivity between two hybrids harvested at four maturities and artificially dried to 0.10 g H2O/g fresh weight. The ratio of raffinose: sucrose differed for `Crisp N' Sweet 710' (CNS) and `How Sweet It Is' (HSII). The mass ratio of raffinose: sucrose in CNS was >0.3 in seed harvested between 0.44 to 0.64 g H2O/g fresh weight and increased as seed dried from the initial harvest moisture to 0.10 g H2O/g fresh weight. Raffinose: sucrose ratios of HSII were <0.3 at all harvests between 0.55 to 0.72 g H2O/g fresh weight, but changes during desiccation were not as pronounced. Leachate conductivity of whole seeds of CNS and HSII decreased as seeds were harvested at progressively lower moisture contents. We suggest that a higher raffinose: sucrose ratio may be indicative of increased seed vigor in shrunken-2 hybrids.

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Patricia E. Hung, Vincent A. Fritz, and Luther Waters Jr.

Sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf.) seed carrying the mutant endosperm gene shrunken-2 (sh2) are very susceptible to seed rot and pre- and post-emergence damping off. Experiments were conducted to determine if selected organic solvents were suitable carriers for fungicide infusion of sh2 sweet corn seed for improved germination and stand establishment. Seed of `Florida Staysweet' and `Crisp-n-Sweet 710' were immersed in acetone, cyclohexane, decahydronaphthalene (Decalin), dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), ethanol, or xylene for 5 seconds, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 8.0 hours, air-dried, and subjected to a cold-stress test. Total germination and percentage of normal seedlings in both cultivars were significantly decreased after 8 hours of immersion in acetone. Average seedling dry weight, however, did not decrease. DMSO was highly toxic to both cultivars. Ethanol increased seed mortality with increasing immersion times. Cyclohexane, Decalin, and xylene caused erratic responses in all measured variables as immersion time increased. In a second experiment, the effects of immersion time up to 4 hours in acetone on germination and vigor of 11 sh2 cultivars were compared. There was no correlation between cultivar germination or vigor and immersion in acetone. Results indicate acetone could be used to infuse fungicides into the seed of some sh2 cultivars without compromising seed germination or vigor. However, each sh2 cultivar must be screened individually to determine if it is a suitable candidate for organic solvent infusion of fungicides.

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Alicia M. Borowski, Vincent A. Fritz, and Luther Waters Jr.

The objective of this study was to examine seed maturity at harvest as it relates to seed vigor in two commercial shrunken-2 (sh2 J sweet corn hybrids (Zea mays L. var rugosa Bonaf., cvs. Florida Staysweet, Crisp N' `Sweet 710). Seed harvest began at 0.76 g H2O/g fresh weight in 1987 and at 0.70 g H2O/g fresh weight in 1988 and 1989, and was continued at gradually declining moisture levels until frost. In five different tests of seed performance, seed of `Florida Staysweet' (FLASS) harvested between 0.23 to 0.57 g H2O/g fresh weight in 1987 possessed the highest seedling vigor. In 1988 and 1989, maximum vigor was achieved by FLASS seed harvested from 0.40 to 0.60 g H2O/g fresh weight and `Crisp N' Sweet 710' (CNS) seed harvested from 0.45 to 0.65 g H2O/g fresh weight. Standard germination test, seedling growth cold test (SGCT), and seed leachate conductivity provided the most consistent results to `determine optimum seed maturity. Seed weight was not as reliable an indicator of seed vigor in 1988 and 1989 as it was in 1987, and endosperm and embryo weights did not correlate with seedling vigor in any year.

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Luther Waters Jr., Bonnie L. Blanchette, Rhoda L. Burrows, and David Bedford

High levels of sphagnum peat in the growing medium promoted growth of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L. cv. Viking 2K) in a greenhouse study. Application of NH4NO3 > 1 g/pot (84 kg·ha-1 equivalent) was detrimental to root growth. High N rates and high organic matter levels decreased fibrous root development. Shoot dry weight was highly correlated with fleshy root number, root dry weight, and shoot vigor.

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Patricia E. Hung, Vincent A. Fritz, Thor Kommedahl, Albert H. Markhart III, and Luther Waters Jr.

Experiments were conducted to determine if the fungicide imazalil infused into shrunken-2 sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf.) seed via acetone could protect against soil- and seedborne fungi enough to improve germination and vigor. `Florida Staysweet' and `Crisp-n-Sweet 710' seeds were infused for 0.25 hours with 1% or 2% (w/w) imazalil-acetone (LA) solutions, air-dried, and subjected to a modified laboratory seedling growth cold test using sterile soil or soil inoculated with Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon. Both IA concentrations significantly reduced the incidence of diseased seedlings in soil inoculated with F. moniliforme when compared to nontreated controls. Neither treatment significantly reduced the incidence of seedborne fungi. Chemical name used: 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-2-(2-propenyloxy)ethyl-H-imidazole (imazalil).