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  • Author or Editor: Peter M. Neumann x
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Hylocereus undatus [(Haworth) Britton and Rose] is a vine cactus from central America that has been established as a new fruit crop (pitaya) in many tropical and subtropical countries. In order to develop improved irrigation practices, the relationships between water parameters and growth were studied in rooted stem cuttings growing in pots with sandy soil under well-watered and drought-stressed conditions, in a controlled environment. Soil water potential rapidly decreased from -0.02 to -1.5 MPa during the first 5 days of drought. However, growth of new stems emerging from the succulent mature stems only decreased significantly after 3 weeks of drought. After 3 weeks of drought, the water content of growing stems decreased by 2% (P < 0.05) and their water potentials by 0.05 MPa (P > 0.05), as compared with the irrigated controls. At the same time, water content in drought-treated mature stems decreased by 4% (P < 0.05) and water potentials by 0.25 MPa (P < 0.05). Several lines of evidence indicated that active phloem supply of assimilates and associated water reserves from mature stems was the mechanism that allowed developing stems of H. undatus to maintain growth under well-watered and drought conditions: 1) Girdling the phloem of growing stems rapidly inhibited stem elongation. 2) Secretion of sucrose-containing nectar by growing stems was maintained during drought. 3) The water potential gradient was in the wrong direction for xylem transport from mature to young growing stems and axial hydraulic conductivity in young stems was either zero or comparatively low.

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15N-labeled potassium nitrate was applied in a foliar spray to French prune/Marianna 2624 trees (Prunus domestica L.), and the nitrogen absorbed by the leaves was quantified. Nitrogen derived from a single foliar spray averaged 3% of total leaf nitrogen. L77, a non-ionic organosilicone surfactant which lowers surface tensions of aqueous solutions sufficiently for stomatal penetration, significantly enhanced the rate of NO3 absorption and increased incorporation of foliar-derived nitrogen into alcohol insoluble macromolecules. This enhancement was not apparent when labeled NO3 was applied with Regulaid, a carbohydrate-based non-ionic surfactant. About 25% of the foliar-derived N was apparently transported from leaves within 3 days when the stomatal penetrant was employed. No transport was evident in the absence of the penetrant.

Open Access