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Nan Wang and Barbara M. Reed

Roots of greenhouse-grown mint plants and in-vitro-grown shoot cultures were inoculated with Verticillium dahliae Kleb. conidial suspensions to study wilt symptom development and detection and elimination of the fungus. There were significant differences in the symptom expression between control and infected shoot cultures at all conidia concentrations for the four mints tested. Disease-symptom ratings were proportional to the V. dahliae inoculum density. Infected shoot cultures were stunted when inoculated with ≥ 103 conidia/mL. Verticillium dahliae was re-isolated from infected shoot cultures at all levels of inoculum, but not from any control cultures. Verticillium infections were easily detected by plating mint stems on potato dextrose agar. Shoot tips (0.5 to 15 mm) from infected in-vitro- and greenhouse-grown plants were isolated and screened for fungus. The most effective shoot length for fungus elimination was 3-5 mm. Shoot tips isolated from in vitro spearmint cultivars infected at 102 and 103 conidia/mL were 100% Verticillium free, but only 42% of `Black Mitcham' and 54% of `Todd's Mitcham' peppermints were free of the disease. Shoot tips from infected greenhouse plants produced Verticillium-free cultures from 79% of `Black Mitcham' and 90% of `Todd's Mitcham' plants. These results indicate the utility of testing for Verticillium and the safety of micropropagated mint shoots for certified planting stock programs.

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Yifan Jiang, Nan Zhao, Fei Wang and Feng Chen

Volatile chemicals emitted from the flowers of globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) were collected using a dynamic headspace technique and analyzed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Among the four globe amaranth cultivars analyzed, Fireworks was the highest producer of floral volatiles. The flowers of the other three cultivars, Las Vegas White, Las Vegas Pink, and Las Vegas Purple, emit less volatiles, both qualitatively and quantitatively, than ‘Fireworks’. ‘Fireworks’ was chosen for detailed characterization of regulation of floral volatile emission. A diurnal pattern of emission of floral volatiles was observed from the flowers of ‘Fireworks’. In addition, the emission pattern was not significantly affected by light, suggesting that the circadian clock plays a major role in the regulation of volatile emission. The emission of floral volatiles from ‘Fireworks’ flowers that were treated with several chemicals was also analyzed. The treatment with silver thiosulphate, an ethylene inhibitor, led to enhanced emission of total volatiles. In contrast, the treatments with salicylic acid and jasmonic acid led to enhanced emission of total floral volatiles at 4 h but reduced emission at 24 h after the treatment. Biochemical pathways leading to the production of the major floral volatiles of globe amaranth are proposed and partly validated by cluster analysis of floral volatiles emitted from ‘Fireworks’ flowers under various conditions. The implications of the results of this study to the understanding of the reproductive biology of globe amaranth and the breeding of novel globe amaranth cultivars are discussed.

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Nan Wang, Shi Liu, Peng Gao, Feishi Luan and Angela R. Davis

Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) is an excellent daily source of dietary lycopene and β-carotene. To investigate the transcriptional regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis genes relative to lycopene and β-carotene accumulation in watermelon fruit, six watermelon accessions with different flesh colors were examined in this study: white-fleshed PI 459074, pale-yellow-fleshed ‘Cream of Saskatchewan’, light-pink-fleshed PI 482255, orange-yellow-fleshed ‘WM-Clr-1’, and red-fleshed ‘LSW177’ and ‘MSW28’. The expression patterns of eight genes (PSY1, PSY2, PDS, ZDS, CRTISO, LCYB, NCED1, and NCED7) involved in lycopene and β-carotene biosynthesis and biodegradation were analyzed. The results confirmed the accumulation of large quantities of lycopene in red-fleshed ‘LSW177’ and ‘MSW28’, reflecting the elevated expression of PSY1 and the low transcriptional expression of NCED1. The relative expression levels of NCED1 likely play an important role in the color development of the light-pink-fleshed PI 482255, whereas the reduced transcriptional expression of PSY1 and the increased expression of NCED1 appear to be the main factors contributing to the formation of white flesh in the fruit of PI 459074. Low transcriptional expression of PSY1 results in the pale-yellow flesh of the ‘Cream of Saskatchewan’ fruit.

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Yihui Cui, Peng Zhao, Hongqiang An, Nan Lv, Zifeng Zhang, Wei Pei and Wanjun Wang

To find the characteristics of somatic embryogenesis of orchids and elucidate the mechanism, we had previously established an efficient plant regeneration system via somatic embryogenesis in Dendrobium candidum Wall ex Lindl. In this study, a detailed cytological investigation was carried out on the initiation and developmental process of somatic embryogenesis. Based on our observations, the somatic embryogenesis in D. candidum originated from the transition of an embryonic callus cell to the initial somatic embryo cell, and the somatic embryos initiated from those cells. During the transition process, condensation and devacuolation successively occurred in the cytoplasm of the embryonic callus cells, giving rise to the formation of a typical initial somatic embryo cell with dense cytoplasm and a clear nucleus. One of the two pathways in somatic embryogenesis is the single-cell-derived somatic embryo which is generated from an inner initial somatic embryo cell in embryonic callus and develops into a globular somatic embryo in a way similar to zygotic embryogenesis and then keeps developing into a protocorm-like body (PLB). The other is a multiple-cell-derived somatic embryo which is generated from peripheral grouped initial somatic cells in embryonic calli and directly forms globular embryo or multicellular somatic proembryo, lacking the typical early stages of embryogenesis. Both pathways were observed in the somatic embryogenesis system, indicating that the culture system in D. candidum can be a useful tool for investigating the mechanisms underlying orchid embryogenesis.

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

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Jie Zhang, Hong-yan Liu, Xin-yu Qi, Ya-nan Li and Ling Wang

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Quanen Guo, Tianwen Guo, Zhongming Ma, Zongxian Che, Lili Nan, Yiquan Wang, Jairo A. Palta and Youcai Xiong

The relationship between spatial and temporal dynamics of major salt ions and their toxicology is still unclear, particularly in perennial orchard fields. A seasonal soil sampling was conducted from Apr. to Oct. 2011 in a salinized orchard soil in semiarid northwest China. Soil moisture content and concentrations of total soluble salt and eight salt ions were measured every 2 weeks in the soil at 0 to 2, 2 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 15, 15 to 20, 20 to 25, 25 to 40, 40 to 60, 60 to 80, and 80 to 120 cm during the growing period of apple trees. Soil moisture content decreased early in the growth season (Period 1) but with increasing rainfall in the middle of growing season (Period 2 and Period 3) and reached a maximum at late season (Period 4) at all depths. Soil salt concentration increased along with soil profile, particularly in the 60- to 120-cm soil layer at all periods. The highest soil salt level was observed in Period 4. The contents of HCO3 , Ca2+, and Mg2+ were almost uniform in all soil layers, but the contents of Cl, SO4 2–, and Na+ increased with soil layer. The content of K+ decreased from the upper to the deeper layers of soil profile. The distribution of CO3 2– had a high temporal and spatial heterogeneity with soil depths and season. Analysis of the charge balance on positive and negative salt ions indicated that the horizontal movement of ions and the transfer of soil water were likely the driving factors affecting soil salinization. The movement of Na+ and Mg2+ ions in the top soil may be responsible for rhizospheric ions composition and toxin effect to restrain apple tree growth in the early growth period.

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