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Gary R. Bachman and Margaret J. McMahon

`Celebrity White' hybrid petunia plants (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm-Andr.) were grown either in chambers constructed of CuSO4-filled panels acting as spectral filters removing the far-red light (-FR) or in environmental control chambers under temperature treatments of 24 °C day/18 °C night (+DIF) or 18 °C day/24 °C night (-DIF). Growth responses for plants grown under CuSO4 filter (-FR) or -DIF temperatures were similar in that both treatments resulted in decreased internode length, increased stem diameter, and decreased cell length and cell diameter in epidermal, cortical, and pith tissues. Reduced cortical cell length contributed the largest percentage to internode length reductions compared to epidermal and pith tissue for the -FR treatment while reductions in cell length of all three tissues contributed to internode reduction of -DIF-treated plants. Chlorophyll a increased for plants grown under -FR, but decreased for plants grown in -DIF when compared to the appropriate controls.

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Jeff S. Kuehny and Margaret J. McMahon

This decision case concerns production and marketing problems that many ornamental growers incur. At the retail level, popular ornamental crops are often used as loss leaders to draw the public into stores to make other purchases. As a result, retail buyers are concerned not with quality but with price and volume. To meet the needs of price-conscious buyers, growers may attempt to reduce their production costs by reducing the level of production inputs, with some sacrifice in product quality. The owners of Two Sisters Greenhouses must decide whether they are going to produce lower-quality plants, change marketing strategies, or grow alternative crops to retain their current profit margins. This case study was intended for use in greenhouse management, nursery management, and floriculture courses where students assume the role of a decisionmaker in poinsettia production and marketing.

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Margaret J. McMahon and John W. Kelly

`Spears' chrysanthemums were grown in chambers fitted with double-walled exolite filled with spectral filtering solutions: a blue textile dye that absorbed red light, CuSO4·5H2O that absorbed far-red light, and H2O that was spectrally non-selective (control).

Leaves of `Spears' grown under CuSO4-filters had increased chlorophyll a (23%), chlorophyll b (26%), xanthophyll (22%), and β-carotene (24%) compared to plants grown under H2O or blue-dye filters. Ratios of total carotenoid: chlorophyll and chlorophyll a: chlorophyll b were not affected by filter.

Individual leaf area was reduced 25% under CuSO4 filters compared to other filters. Stomates per unit area were not affected by filters, however stomates per leaf were reduced 25% under CuSO4 filters because of leaf size reduction. Stomate length and width were not affected by filter. Leaves from plants grown under CuSO4-filters had an internal structure resembling that of sun-type leaves. Other filters induced a shade-type leaf.

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Margaret J McMahon and John W. Kelly

The growth of Rosa × hybrida and Exacum affine under different spectral filters was evaluated. Three filters that altered light quality were developed. One, a red textile dye, filtered out much of the blue/green portion of the light spectrum but did not change far-red to red (FR/R) light ratio. Another, a blue textile dye, raised FR/R by filtering out a portion of red light. The third, a salt (copper sulfate) lowered FR/R by filtering out a greater portion of far-red than red light. Two controls were used that did not alter light quality. The filters were installed in specally built growth chambers. Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) was adjusted to equal values in each chamber.

Plants of both species were significantly shorter and had higher leaf chlorophyll, when grown under the low FR/R filter.

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Gary R. Bachman and Margaret J. McMahon

It is theorized that photomorphogenic reductions in stem elongation are similar to thermomorphogenic plant response, i.e. increased red:far-red light response is similar to –DIF (day temperature < night temperature). The long hypocotyl (hy) mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana Landsberg are phytochrome mutants that are less responsive to light quality than wild type. These include mutants of phytochrome chromophore biosynthesis (hy 1, hy2, hy6), phytochrome B (hy3), blue-light receptor (hy4), and signal transduction (hy5). These mutants were grown in growth chambers with temperatures of 18C day/24C night (–DIF) and 24°C day/18°C night with a 14-h photoperiod. Lighting consisted of both incandescent and fluorescent lamps. Growth measurements of five of the mutants were consistent with reported effects of DIF. The height of these plants were significantly greater in the +DIF regime when compared to –DIF. The hy5 mutant showed little difference in the height measurements of plants grown in either -DIF or +DIF. This mutant has a phytochrome signal transduction deficiency. This result indicates that a functional photoreceptor is required, even in reduced quantities as in the phytochrome chromophore biosynthesis mutants, to signal perception of DIF temperature conditions.

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Gary R. Bachman and Margaret J. McMahon

Using spectral filters to reduce the amount of far-red (FR) light perceived by plants has been shown to effectively reduce internode elongation of many floriculture crops. It is theorized that gibberellin (GA) function is inhibited in some way by the increase in the red: far-red light ratio. Sex expression of flowers are effected by exogenous applications of gibberellin and cause a shift in flower sex expression towards maleness. The use of growth regulators (GA inhibitors) have demonstrated a shift towards femaleness. Flowering of spinach, a dioecious species, and cucumber (staminate and pistillate lines), a monoecious species, were surveyed for shifts in flower sex expression, indicating a suppression of GA. Male: female flower ratio decreased from 7.6:1 to 4.06:1 when comparing the controls and –FR for the staminate cucumber line and 1:13 to 1:40 for the gynecious cucumber line. The decrease in male flowers on plants grown in a –FR environment are an indication that the function of GA is inhibited. There was no significant effect on the male: female flower ratios of the spinach.

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Margaret J. McMahon, A.J. Pertuit Jr., and James E. Arnold

Leaves of chilled `Moss-Agate' Episcia (Mart.) plants exhibited direct chilling injury (i.e., watersoaked browning of leaf blade interveinal areas within 24 h of exposure to low temperature) immediately following exposure in darkness to 10C for 0.5 or 1.0 h. Chlorophyll fluorescence peak: initial ratios and terminal: peak ratios of chilled Episcia were -reduced 20% and 25%, respectively, 3 h after chilling, a result suggesting possible photosystem II damage. Total leaf chlorophyll content was reduced by 17% within 3 h of chilling and CO2uptake also was reduced at this time. Leaves of chilled `Rudolph Roehrs' Dieffenbachia maculata (Lodd.) (D. Roehrsii Hort.) plants expressed no visible injury within 24 h of 1.2C chilling in darkness for 36,48, or 60 h, but CO2uptake was reduced by 70% compared to the control 3 h after chilling. Visible injury began to appear 27 h after chilling, and the older leaf blades of all chilled plants exhibited a watersoaked appearance 75 h after chilling. Chlorophyll fluorescence peak: initial ratios of chilled Dieffenbachia did not vary, and terminal: peak ratios were not reduced until 147 h after chilling, when the injured tissue was extremely flaccid and translucent. Chilling reduced the chlorophyll content of Dieffenbachia by 10% in some plants 27 h after chilling and by 35%. in all plants 75 h after chilling. Transpiration rate was reduced and stomata] diffusive resistance increased 27 h after chilling.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse, Margaret J. McMahon, and John W. Kelly

The response of `Bright Golden Anne' and `Spears' chrysanthemum plants to EOD-R or FR light was evaluated to determine the involvement of phytochrome in regulation of plant morphology under CuSO4 filters. Light transmitted through the CuSO4 filter significantly reduced height, internode length and stem dry weight of `BGA' and `Spears' chrysanthemum plants. However, the degree of response varied with the cultivar. Exposure to EOD-FR reversed the reduction of plant height, internode length and the stem dry weight caused by the light transmitted through CuSO4 filters to a level comparable with control plants. Exposure to EOD-FR did not significantly alter height and stem dry weight under control filter Exposure to EOD-R light reduced the height and stem dry weight of `BGA' plants grown under control filter but EOD-R had no effect under CuSO4 filters. In `Spears' plants, EOD-R caused stem dry weight reduction under control filters, but did not reduce stem or internode elongation. The results suggest phytochrome may be involved in controlling plant response under CuSO4 filters. However, there are evidence to indicate that an additional mechanism may be acting on stem/internode elongation.

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Robert Pollock, Margaret J. McMahon, and John W. Kelly

Description of the light environment used in photomorphogenic research varies greatly among research teams. The environment is often described as the ratio of red (R) to far-red (FR) light, particulary when involvement of the phytochrome system is suspected. There is disagreement in the appropriate center and range of values for each ratio component. Often the center for R is reported as 660 nm. However, in chlorophyll-containing tissue 645 nm may be more appropriate because of the absorption of chlorophyll at 660. Band widths around a selected peak also vary. The widths generally are 10 or 100 nm. Comparison of experiments that describe different peaks or ranges is difficult. Much of the variation in description results from the behavior of phytochrome. Phytochrome has absorption and action spectral peaks, however wavelengths that cause absorption and/or action to a lesser extent may extend more than 50 nm from the peak. Integration formulas such as Pfr/P consider the effects of all wavelengths. However, even the integration formulas do not explain all photomorphogenic responses. A description of the entire photomorphogenic spectrum may be the most appropriate means of communication.

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Sandra L. Barbour, Margaret J. McMahon, John J. Frett, and Dennis R. Decoteau

Similarities exist between the effects of phytochrome and cytokinins on plant growth and development (e.g., chloroplast development, amaranthin synthesis. seed germination, photomorphogenesis). It is unclear, however, if and how these two systems interact.

As a beginning step to determine cytokinin-phytochrome interactions, we developed a strategy utilizing ipt -transgenic tobacco in phytochrome/light treatment investigations. The sour-cc of the ipt gene was Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid 15955. This gene encodes for isopentenyl transferase which is an enzyme active in cytokinin biosynthesis.

Ipt -transgenic tobacco cultures (grown on MS medium supplemented with kanamycin but no plant growth regulators) were treated with end-of-day red or far-red light for 15 minutes. After 30 days of treatment, the plant tissue was harvested and either homogenized for SDS-PAGE or fixed for transmission electron microscopic analysis.

Results from immuno-gold labelling using polyclonal antibodies specific to iptase will he used to Indicate the influence of phytochrome on cytokinin activity. Also, structural changes at the ultra-cellular level will be determined.