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Pai-Tsang Chang and William M. Randle

Onion is classified as a salt-sensitive crop, though it is found in production on saline soils around the world. While onion flavor intensity has been studied in response to various growing conditions, little is known about its response to salt stress. To understand if NaCl affects growth, flavor development, and mineral content in onion, `Granex 33' plants were grown to maturity with six different concentrations of NaCl ranging from 0 (control) to 125 mm in nutrient solutions. NaCl affected onion fresh weight and altered onion flavor intensity and quality. Plants did not survive the 125 mm NaCl treatments and are not included in the results. As bulb Na+ and Cl- content increased in response to increasing NaCl concentrations, leaf and bulb fresh weight of mature plants decreased. Total bulb S content also decreased with increasing NaCl solution concentrations, while bulb SO4 2- content increasing linearly, indicating that less S was entering the S metabolic stream. Though bulb soluble solids content was not influenced by NaCl concentrations, pungency increased, but only at the highest NaCl concentration. Total flavor precursors and methyl cysteine sulfoxide content increased in response to NaCl, but only at the 100 mm treatment. 1-Propenyl cysteine sulfoxide was generally unresponsive to the salt treatment. Propyl cysteine sulfoxide content decreased then increased in responses to increasing NaCl levels, but was found as a minor flavor precursor. Peptide intermediates measured in the pathway leading to 1-propenyl cysteine sulfoxide and propyl cysteine sulfoxide decreased linearly with increasing NaCl exposure. While NaCl affected onion flavor in this study, severe reductions in growth would prevent onion production under similar saline conditions. For practical purposes, the effects of NaCl on flavor are, therefore, minimal.

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Meng-Shiun Tsai, Tan-Cha Lee, and Pai-Tsang Chang

‘Murcott’ tangor (Citrus reticulata × Citrus sinensis) is susceptible to sunscald injury due to high temperatures during summer in Chiayi, Taiwan. The average rate of sunscald damage in ‘Murcott’ tangor fruit is 13.6% when no protective measures are used. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of covering developing fruit with white paper bags, calcium carbonate, or shade nets to reduce the effects of sunscald. A significant reduction in sunscald was realized when using white paper bags, calcium carbonate spray, or white, green, and black shading nets. Calcium carbonate spraying was the most rapid method, but was less effective in controlling sunscald, and resulted in the lowest photosynthetic rate. Compared with trees under shade nets, those under black netting had larger and heavier fruit. There were no significant differences in peel color, titratable acid (TA), total soluble solids/titratable acid (TSS/TA) ratio, or respiration rate for the evaluated treatments. Although all shading materials reduced sunscald, the use of shade net was the most effective in controlling damage related to this, and thus can have significant benefits for commercial citrus (Citrus sp.) orchard operations.

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Pai-Tsang Chang, Marc W. van Iersel, William M. Randle, and Carl E. Sams

Dietary sources of selenium (Se) are associated with human health benefits, and Brassica species are good sources of Se in human diets. Selenium and S compete for absorption and accumulation in plant tissues; therefore, the ratios of Se to S in the growing environment determine the accumulation of selenium in plants. To determine responses for Brassica oleracea L., two levels of Na2SeO4 (96 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) were added to nutrient solutions with or without MgSO4·7H2O (96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). The highest plant fresh weight and S and SO4 2– accumulation were found when plants were grown in the medium with a SeO4 2– to SO4 2– ratio of 1 : 250 (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2– and 96 mg·L−1 SO4 2–). However, the highest accumulation of Se was found when a low level of selenate (0.384 mg·L−1 SeO4 2–) was added to nutrient solutions without S. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) was regulated by Se status; the highest GPx activity was measured when a high level of SeO4 2– (96 mg·L−1) was supplied to nutrient solutions without S supplementation. The lowest concentration of total glucosinolates was found when adding SeO4 2– to nutrient solutions without S. We saw no difference in plant growth and mineral accumulation when plants were grown with K2SeO4 versus Na2SeO4, suggesting that the growth-inhibiting effect of Na2SeO4 was the result of the SeO4 2– rather than potentially toxic effects of Na+.