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Ming-yin Li

In Pelargonium, the plastid mutation in three independent cell layers L1, L2, and L3, can produce plastid chimeras with visible shoot colour difference such as GWG (green-white-green) and GGW (green-green-white). Chimera can be used to trace the relationship between the cell layers of different genotypes during shoot development and the effect of the mutated genes on shoot development. In this study, we have obtained different adventitious shoots with GGG, GWG, GGW, and WWW combinations of cell layers through tissue culture of petioles and internodes from GGW and GWG chimeras of Pelargonium zonale `Mrs Pollock'. Much higher percentage (14.9%) of chimeral adventitious shoots was obtained from GGW tissues than from GWG tissues (4.2%). Of the 10.8% chimeral adventitious shoots regenerated in this experiment, 8.6% are different from the original type of explants. This result indicated that cells at least in both L2 and L3 of the explants were involved in the regeneration of the adventitious shoots. The number of shoot types regenerated is likely dependent on the number and the type of cells that were in direct contact with the culture medium. It is suggested that the mixed cells can be used to produce the chimera by tissue culture. Three possible ways to form the chimeras in vitro culture were discussed. Chemical names used: TDZ =1-phenyl-3-(1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-yl)urea (Thidiazuron); IAA = Indole-3-acetic acid; PVP = polyvinylpyrrolidone.

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Ming Li and Wei-tang Song

Long-term exposure to an elevated ambient carbon dioxide (eCO2) concentration could weaken or diminish the enhancement of plant photosynthesis and growth. To monitor this response and offer references for growth management, the whole-plant photosynthetic rate (P n,w) and dark respiration rate (R d,w) of Angelica acutiloba Kitagawa transplants were monitored with a growth chamber. The results showed that eCO2 increased both the P n,w and R d,w by (79 ± 42) % and (126 ± 51) %. The dry weight of transplants under eCO2 was 33.6% greater than that under aCO2. However, the photosynthetic acclimation to eCO2 occurred. The increase in the P n,w was maintained until the end of the experiment due to increased leaf area. Moreover, the increase in plant dry weight mainly occurred in the first 15 days of treatment. Furthermore, the dry weight estimated based on the P n,w and R d,w agreed well with the measured dry weight. The relative growth rate (RGR) calculated with the estimated dry weight demonstrated the response of transplant growth to eCO2. These results indicated that the proposed method can be used to monitor the response of plant growth to eCO2.

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Yin-ming Li and W.H. Gabelman

Sixty highly homozygous tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) strains, some selected from previous studies and some collected from known low-Ca regions, were screened under a low-Ca culture system (10 mg of Ca per plant). Four strains were selected to represent the extremes for Ca efficiency and used as parents to create a series of F1, F2, and backcross generations for inheritance studies of Ca use under low-Ca stress. Based on total plant dry weight, additive and dominance gene effects were most important for the efficiency of Ca use. Maternal control of efficiency in Ca use was not observed. Estimates of broad-sense heritability ranged from 63% to 79% for total play dry weight. Narrow sense heritabilities, determined in only two of the families, were 47% to 49$ and 68% to 75%.

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Chao Dong, Xue Li, Yue Xi and Zong-Ming Cheng

Pyracantha coccinea is a thorny evergreen shrub native to southeast Europe to southeast Asia. It is a popular ornamental plant because of its showy bright red fruits and small white flowers. However, in vitro vegetative propagation of P. coccinea has not been studied. Nodal segments with one or two axillary buds (1 to 1.5 cm in length) were cut and disinfected in a solution of 0.1% (v/v) mercuric chloride (HgCl2) for 5 minutes, and proliferated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with various concentrations 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). After 4 weeks, newly formed shoots were transferred to proliferation and rooting media containing various concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Establishment of axillary buds was significantly better with an establishing rate of 67% on basal MS medium augmented with 6.6 µm 6-BA. The best medium for proliferation of shoots was three-fourth basal MS supplemented with 1.5 µm IBA, with a proliferation rate of 3.4 axillary bud. The optimum rooting medium was one-fourth MS basal medium containing 93 µm IBA. Rooting of shoots was as much as 77%. Rooted plantlets were transferred to pots containing vermiculite:perlite:peat (6:1:2) and acclimatized to ambient greenhouse conditions with a 95% survival rate. This protocol can be used for in vitro propagation of P. coccinea.

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Xiaofeng Yang, Gang Li, Weihong Luo, Lili Chen, Shaopeng Li, Ming Cao and Xuebin Zhang

The aim of this study was to quantitatively investigate the impacts of nitrogen on growth dynamics and yield, so as to facilitate the optimization of nitrogen management for muskmelon crop in plastic greenhouse. For this purpose, four experiments with different levels of nitrogen treatment and planting dates on muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’) were conducted in plastic greenhouse located at Sanya from Nov. 2012 to Sept. 2014. The quantitative relationship between leaf nitrogen content and growth dynamics and yield of muskmelon was determined and incorporated into a photosynthesis-driven crop growth model (SUCROS). Independent experimental data were used to validate the model. The critical leaf nitrogen content at flowering stage for muskmelon ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’ were 19.8 and 21.0 mg·g−1. The coefficient of determination (r 2) and the relative root-mean-squared error (rRMSE) between the predicted and measured value of growth dynamics and yield were, respectively, 0.91 and 10.8% for leaf area index (LAI), 0.90 and 19.6% for dry weight of shoot (DWSH), 0.76 and 30.3%, 0.82 and 21.1%, and 0.92 and 11.9% for dry weight of leaf (DWL), stem (DWST), and fruit (DWF), 0.91 and 17.3%, 0.89 and 13.9%, 0.86 and 27.8%, and 0.88 and 20.6% for soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C content (VC), and soluble solids content (SO) of fruit, and 0.90 and 10.1% for fresh weight of fruit (FWF). The model could be used for the optimization of nitrogen management for muskmelon production in plastic greenhouse. Further calibration and test would be needed during the application of the model in wider range of conditions and muskmelon cultivars.

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Xiaobai Li, Weirui Li, Chenlu Di, Ming Xie, Liang Jin, Cheng Huang and Dianxing Wu

Chinese cymbidiums (Cymbidium sp.) are important ornamental plants because of their foliage, flower shape, and fragrance. Well-known Chinese cymbidiums mainly include Cymbidium goeringii, Cymbidium faberi, Cymbidium ensifolium, Cymbidium kanran, and Cymbidium sinense. The population genetics of Chinese cymbidiums can be efficiently analyzed using small-scale marker panels with high discriminatory power. In this study, we tested several genic simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and built six genic SSR panels. The panels included several robust markers, which can rapidly assign Chinese cymbidium accessions to their source species. Fifty-three accessions of Chinese cymbidiums were analyzed using 25 markers, which exhibited polymorphism among five species. These markers were ranked according to their discriminatory scores (D scores). The program selected six markers to build an “overall” panel for all Cymbidium classifications and yielded 95.16% population assignment accuracy. Considering one species as the “critical” population and the four other species as one population, we built five genic SSR panels: C. ensifolium panel (four markers, 98.05% accuracy), C. faberi panel (six markers, 95.90% accuracy), C. goeringii panel (six markers, 95.15% accuracy), C. sinense panel (six markers, 96.35% accuracy), and C. kanran panel (five markers, 96.10% accuracy). Genetic distance matrices calculated using the “overall” panels and those derived with the 25 markers were compared. Results showed a high correlation (R = 0.807) with statistical significance (P = 0.042). Moreover, “all panels” revealed higher genetic variations among populations than “all markers.” Hence, the developed panels are suitable for efficient population classification of Chinese cymbidiums.

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Ling-cheng Jian, Jiang-ming Deng, Ji-hong Li and Paul H. Li

Seasonal alteration of the cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations of spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry) and brome grass (Bromus inermis Leyss) was investigated by the antimonate precipitation cytochemical technique. Electron microscopic (EM) observations revealed that electron-dense Ca2+ antimonate deposits, an indication of Ca2+ localization, were seen mainly in the vacuole, the cell wall and the intercellular space in samples of both species, collected on 14 July 1997. Few deposits were found in the cytosol and nuclei, showing a low resting level during summer months. On 8 Aug. 1997 following a decrease in daylength of 1 hour and 12 minutes, Ca2+ accumulation was initiated in spruce with increased cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits, but not in brome grass. On 8 Sept. 1997, Ca2+ accumulation occurred in the cytosol of brome grass. This followed a drop in ambient temperature to 12 °C. Cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits continued to increase in spruce. Controlled experiments confirmed that it was the low temperature, not shortening daylength, that triggered Ca2+ accumulation in brome grass. High cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations lasted about three months in spruce from early August to early November. However, the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations in brome grass lasted only about 20 days from early September to the end of the month. During winter and spring, both species had low resting cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations. The relationship between the duration of the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations and the status of the developed dormancy/cold hardiness is discussed in light of current findings.

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Jun-Bo Yang, Hong-Tao Li, De-Zhu Li, Jie Liu, Lian-Ming Gao, De-Zhu Li, Lian-Ming Gao and Jie Liu

The Himalayan yew, Taxus wallichiana Zucc., is an endangered species with a scatted distribution in the Eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In the present study, 10 microsatellite markers from the genome of T. wallichiana were developed using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats (FIASCO). Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 28 samples from four wild populations of the Himalayan yew. The allele number of the microsatellites ranged from two to five with an average of 2.9 per allele. The observed and expected heterozygosity varied from 0.00 to 1.00 and from 0.3818 to 0.7552, respectively. Cross-species amplification in another two yew species showed eight of them holding promise for sister species. Two of the 10 loci (TG126 and TC49) significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected between the comparisons of these loci. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for population genetics studies and assessing genetic variations to establish conservation strategy of this endangered species.

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Zhi-li Suo, Wen-ying Li, Juan Yao, Hui-jin Zhang, Zhi-ming Zhang and Di-xuan Zhao

Tree peony cultivars are usually classified according to flower characteristics (flower form and flower color) which are commonly affected by environmental influences and developmental levels. Judgment of flower forms may also depend on the observer. Precise and rapid cultivar identification methods are also required to manage cultivar collections as well as tree peony breeding programs. The objective of this paper is to analyze the discriminatory ability of leaf morphology and Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker systems for tree peony cultivars. As a result, although there exist large variations of leaf morphology of tree peony cultivars, the morphological characteristics of biternately compound leaves 3, 4, and 5 from the base of a shoot at the middle part of a plant are relatively stable with smaller variations within cultivars (2.7% to 27.1%, 16.8% on average) and with larger differentiations among cultivars (72.9% to 97.3%, 83.2% on average). Statistical and principal components analyses indicate that 12 leaf morphological characteristics are valuable for cultivar classification. ISSR markers present a precisely discriminatory power in tree peony cultivar classification without environmental influences. The cultivars with multiple flower forms, which makes it difficult to make judgment by means of a flower-form-based classification system, have been significantly characterized using leaf morphology or ISSR markers.

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Yong Zhang, Chunxia Fu, Yujing Yan, Xiaodan Fan, Yan’an Wang and Ming Li

Application of sugar alcohol zinc (SA-Zn) spray to apple trees at certain developmental stages can improve fruit quality. Increasing the Zn concentration of fruit can improve nutritional content and promote human health. We conducted foliar application of SA-Zn to 13-year-old ‘Fuji’ apple trees at different developmental stages. The effects of SA-Zn application on Zn concentration, reducing sugar content, and carbohydrate metabolism-related enzyme activity in fruit were investigated. The foliar treatment increased Zn and reducing sugar concentrations significantly in mature fruit. Sorbitol dehydrogenase activity was higher in the fruit of trees treated before budbreak and 3 weeks after flowering compared with the control at the early fruit stage and was higher during fruit expansion in plants treated after termination of spring shoot growth. Mature fruit of trees treated during the fruit expansion stage showed higher sorbitol dehydrogenase activity than the control. Foliar SA-Zn treatment did not have a significant effect on sorbitol oxidase activity in apple fruit. Treatment before budbreak and at 3 weeks after flowering led to a significant increase in the activity of sucrose synthase and acid invertase at the early fruit stage. Treatment during the fruit expansion stage significantly increased the activity of acid invertase at maturity but had no effect on the activity of neutral invertase. Our results indicate that foliar SA-Zn application resulted in biofortification of Zn in apples, which led to higher activity of carbohydrate metabolism-related enzymes and accumulation of sugars.