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E.R. Champaco, R.D. Martyn and M.E. Miller

Rotting muskmelon fruits commonly are associated with commercial fields that are affected by the root rot/vine decline disease syndrome found in southern Texas. Four isolates of Fusarium solani previously shown to be either weakly pathogenic or nonpathogenic to muskmelon seedlings caused extensive rot on mechanically wounded muskmelon fruits. Two of these isolates caused more extensive fruit rot than either F. solani (Mart.) Sacc. f. sp. cucurbitae W.C. Snyder & H.N. Hans. or F. oxysporum Schlechtend.:Fr. melonis (Leach & Currence) W.C. Snyder & H.N. Hans., causal agents of fusarium crown and foot rot of cucurbits and fusarium wilt of muskmelon, respectively. In other tests, root-dip inoculation of seedlings showed that all muskmelon cultigens included in this study and the breeding line MR-1 were susceptible to a California and an Arkansas strain of F. s. f. sp. cucurbitae race 1.

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E. Echeverria, J.K. Burns and W.M. Miller

The effect of fruit temperature and fruit maturity on the development of blossom end clearing (BEC) in Florida grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf. vars. Ruby Red and Marsh) was investigated. Field and storage temperature studies indicated that development of BEC was directly associated with temperature; BEC increased when fruit temperature rose above 21 °C. Cooling fruit prior to packingline operations reduced BEC significantly. Older fruit were more susceptible to BEC than were younger fruit.

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L.M. Pike, R.V. Maxwell, R.S. Horn, B.A. Rogers and M.E. Miller

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R.O. Miller, S.E. Newman, K.L. Panter and M.J. Roll

Our objective was to determine the feasibility of using waste tire rubber and fiber from the processing of waste tires as a root-zone medium for greenhouse crops. Two cultivars of zonal geraniums, `Danielle' and `Kim' were grown in media containing three grind sizes of rubber (10, 6, and 2.4 mm) and fiber from the fabric belting processed from waste tires in three proportions (1 rubber: 1 peat moss, 1 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peat moss, and 2 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss, by volume). Two control media were also included: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss and 1 rock wool: 1 peat moss, by volume. The largest plants were grown in the 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss medium, whereas the smallest plants were grown in the media containing the rubber grinds 2.4 mm and 6 mm making up 50% of the media. The media 1 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peatmoss, regardless of grind or fiber, produced plants equal to the 1 rock wool: 1 peatmoss medium. All plants grown in media containing rubber by products had elevated levels of Zn and Cu in the foliage, but was greatest in media containing 50% rubber. Foliar P: Zn ratio was less for plants grown in media where rubber was 50% of the volume. The P: Zn ratio also was lower in plants grown in media with smaller grind sizes of rubber. Geranium plants can be successfully grown in media containing up to 25% rubber waste products without reducing plant quality.

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B.D. Bruton, T.W. Popham, J. García-Jiménez, J. Armengol and M.E. Miller

Thirty-seven species within Cucurbitaceae representing the genera Citrullus, Cucumis, Cucurbita, Lagenaria, and Luffa were evaluated for disease reaction to an Acremonium cucurbitacearum A. Alfaro-Garcia, W. Gams, and Garcia-Jimenez, isolate (TX 941022) from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. After 28 days in the greenhouse, seedling disease ratings were made on the hypocotyl, stem-root junction, primary root, and secondary roots. An additional disease measure was derived by averaging the four root disease ratings to establish a disease severity index (DSI). Vine and root dry weight were poor measures of plant damage caused by A. cucurbitacearum. According to the DSI, all species within Cucurbita, Lagenaria, Luffa, and three Cucumis sativus L. cultigens were rated as highly resistant to A. cucurbitacearum. Cucumis melo L. and Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai cultigens were the only cucurbits receiving DSI ratings of moderately resistant to susceptible.

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Ray D. Martyn, J. C. Mertely, M. E. Miller and B. D. Bruton

A disease of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) characterized by a vine decline and a cortical root rot was first observed in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1986. In 1990, isolations from diseased plants collected from four commercial production fields yielded the fungus Monosporascus cannonballus. Pathogenicity tests with eight isolates confirmed Koch's postulates; however, there were differences in aggressiveness observed among isolates. M. cannonballus is an ascomycete fungus that typically produces only one (rarely two), round, jet-black ascospore per ascus. There is no known asexual stage. Temperature optimum of one isolate was 35 C. The optimum pH for growth was 6-7, but it grew well up to pH 9. M. cannonballus was first reported on muskmelon in 1970 from Arizona and recently was found in Japan under glass house culture. The presence of this fungus in Texas marks only the third report of this species worldwide, although a similar species (M. eutypoides) is the cause of a collapse of melon plants in Israel.

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Carlos A. Lazcano, Frank J. Dainello, Leonard M. Pike, Marvin E. Miller, Lynn Brandenberger and Larry R. Baker

Carrot (Daucus carota Mill. cv. Caropak) was studied under four population densities, and three numbers of seed lines per bed, and was harvested under three root size harvest parameters. Four phases (cutting, grading, peeling, and marketable yield) in the cut-and-peel baby carrot process were evaluated. Root length was most desirable when plots were harvested when 25% to 35% of the roots measured > 2 cm in diameter. Roots were longest (14.7 cm) in the treatments containing six seed lines per bed. The harvest criteria of 25% to 35% root diameter >2 cm also produced the highest fresh mass (48.1 t·ha-1), and the highest cut and graded mass (37.7 and 32.3 t·ha-1, respectively). A population density of 321 plants/m2 produced the highest fresh and cut mass. Percent cut waste (21.6% crowns and tips) was not affected by root size at harvest, but percent graded waste was lowest (14.2%) when plants were harvested at the greatest root size. Four seed lines per bed produced the highest graded (18.4%), and total waste (61.2%), but not cut waste. The lowest total waste, estimated at 59.7% and the highest projeced marketable yield (19.4 t·ha-1) occurred when roots were harvested using the 25% to 35% root diameter >2-cm parameter. Total waste and marketable yield were obtained using a fixed waste value of 40% in the peeling phase (peeling, polishing, and grading before packing). This percentage could vary depending on the equipment specifications and quality control of a given processing facility. Root size at harvest proved to be the main factor affecting projected marketable yield of cut-and-peel baby carrots at the population densities used in this study.

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Carlos A. Lazcano, Frank J. Dainello, Leonard M. Pike, Marvin E. Miller, Lynn Brandenberger and Larry R. Baker

Baby-style carrot Daucus carota Mill. cv. Caropak was studied under four population densities, three different numbers of lines per bed, and harvested under three root size harvest parameters in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Four phases in the baby-style carrot process were evaluated. Length of the roots at harvest and projected values for total waste and marketable yield were estimated. Length was affected by root size at harvest, the most desirable root length occurred when harvested at 25%-35% roots diameter >2 cm. The longer roots (16.55 cm) were in the treatments with 6 seed lines per bed and 197 plants/m2. Population density affected the fresh and cut weight in the baby-style carrots process with the highest weight at 321 plants/m2. Percent of cut waste was the same at the three-root size at harvest with 21.65% of crowns and tips cut. The percent of graded waste was lowest when harvested at the biggest root size, 14.23% and four seed lines per bed produced the highest waste with 18.14. Seed lines per bed affected the quality of the roots in the graded step. Based on a 40% peeling waste projection the lowest total waste was estimated at 59.69% and the highest projected marketable yield of 19.4 t/ha of final product when roots were harvested using the 25%-35% root diameter parameter. Root size at harvest is the main factor affecting projected marketable yield of baby-style carrots in South Texas.

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Carlos A. Lazcano, Frank J. Dainello, Leonard M. Pike, Marvin E. Miller, Lynn Brandenberger and Larry R. Baker

Carrot (Daucus carota Mill. cv. Caropak) was studied under four population densities, and three numbers of seed lines per bed, and was harvested under three root size harvest parameters. Four phases (cutting, grading, peeling, and marketable yield) in the cut-and-peel baby carrot process were evaluated. Root length was most desirable when plots were harvested when 25% to 35% of the roots measured >2 cm in diameter. Roots were longest (14.7 cm) in the treatments containing six seed lines per bed. The harvest criteria of 25% to 35% root diameter >2 cm also produced the highest fresh mass (48.1 t·ha-1), and the highest cut and graded mass (37.7 and 32.3 t·ha-1, respectively). A population density of 321 plants/m2 produced the highest fresh and cut mass. Percent cut waste (21.6% crowns and tips) was not affected by root size at harvest, but percent graded waste was lowest (14.2%) when plants were harvested at the greatest root size. Four seed lines per bed produced the highest graded (18.4%), and total waste (61.2%), but not cut waste. The lowest total waste, estimated at 59.7% and the highest projected marketable yield (19.4 t·ha-1) occurred when roots were harvested using the 25% to 35% root diameter >2-cm parameter. Total waste and marketable yield were obtained using a fixed waste value of 40% in the peeling phase (peeling, polishing, and grading before packing). This percentage could vary depending on the equipment specifications and quality control of a given processing facility. Root size at harvest proved to be the main factor affecting projected marketable yield of cut-and-peel baby carrots at the population densities used in this study.

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp and E. Stover

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.