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Yong Zhang, Chunxia Fu, Yujing Yan, Yan’an Wang, Ming Li, Meixiang Chen, Jianping Qian, Xinting Yang and Shuhan Cheng

This research was initiated to determine the response of apple (Malus ×domestica) fruit quality to sprays of zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) and sugar alcohol zinc. Two apple cultivars Fuji and Gala were evaluated, the leaf zinc (Zn) concentration of which were about 14.3 mg·kg−1 dry weight without Zn deficiency symptoms. The trees were sprayed with ZnSO4 and sugar alcohol zinc separately during four different developmental stages: 2 weeks before budbreak (P1), 3 weeks after bloom (P2), the termination of spring shoot growth (P3), and 4 weeks before harvest (P4). The fruit was harvested at maturity and analyzed for fruit quality and fruit Zn concentration. Zinc sprays during the four different developmental stages increased Zn concentration of peeled and washed fruit at harvest, without phytotoxicity. The treatments at stages P2 and P4 increased average fruit weight of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’, respectively. The treatments at stages P1 and P4 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Gala’, while the treatments at stages P1 and P2 increased the fruit firmness of ‘Fuji’. The treatments at stages P1, P2, and P4 increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Gala’ fruit, while the treatments at all the stages increased the soluble sugar and vitamin C of ‘Fuji’. And the effects of sugar alcohol zinc were equal and more pronounced than those of ZnSO4. Thus, Zn sprays at critical periods can improve fruit quality of apple trees, which show no Zn deficiency symptoms with leaf Zn concentration less than 15 mg·kg−1 dry weight.

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Jiefang Wu, Danwen Fu, Jiezhen Chen, Changhe Cai, Qian Yan and Liangxi Ou

The characteristics of litchi pollen have drawn increasing attention in recent years. Previous studies indicated that there are significant differences in the quantity and viability of litchi pollen grains among different varieties and flowering stages. Moreover, the same variety may show a different quantity of pollen grains and viability in different years. There is still a lack of systematic studies on the change of pollen germination rate and pollen amount in different varieties and at different flowering stages. In this study, the changes in the germination rate of pollen at different development stages were studied. It was primarily revealed that the pollen germination rate already approached its peak upon the filament extends fully, but the anther does not dehisce the developmental stage. In 2009 and 2010, the viability and number of pollen grains per anther were investigated in 65 litchi cultivars, and a difference was observed among cultivars. The pollen germination rate ranged between 20.14% (‘Wuchali’) and 54.69% (‘Donlongmili’). The number of pollen grains per anther ranged between 1555 (‘Zhongshanzhuangyuanhong’) and 7455 (‘Houye’). Sixty-five litchi cultivars were classified into six clusters based on the pollen quantity and germination rate. Most litchi cultivars can produce large amounts of viable and compatible pollen grains during the flowering period. Thus, our results indicate that the pollen amount and germination rate might not be the only factors restricting the successful pollination of litchi.

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Yan Cheng, Qian Wang, Qingyu Ban, Jianfeng Geng, Xiao Wei Zhang, Ying Yi and Xilin Hou

Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) identified so far in Brassica were mainly generated in the final stage of plant development, which did not apply to the exploitation of genetic effects that were expressed during a specific developmental stage. Thus, the objective of this study was to simultaneously identify unconditional and conditional QTL associated with plant height at various stages of nonheading Chinese cabbage. One hundred twelve doubled haploid (DH) lines developed from the cross between nonheading Chinese cabbage lines ‘SW-13’ and ‘SU-124’ were used for QTL analysis of plant height by the composite interval mapping method combined with mixed genetic model. The map we used for QTL analysis was an updated version of the first genetic map of nonheading Chinese cabbage with 48 additional markers to the same DH population. With data from 2 years, a total of 11 unconditional QTLs in six linkage groups and 23 conditional QTLs in eight linkage groups were identified for plant height. The results indicated that the number and type of QTLs and their genetic effects for plant height were different in a series of measuring stages. Each QTL can explain 7.92% to 28.25% of the total phenotypic variation. Two QTLs (ph8-4 and ph8-5) were identified to be associated with plant height using both unconditional and conditional mapping methods simultaneously in 2 years. These results demonstrated that it is highly effective for mapping QTL of developmental traits using the unconditional and conditional analysis methodology.

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Yan Li, Peter M. Hirst, Yizhen Wan, Yingjiao Liu, Qian Zhou, Hua Gao, Yunzhong Guo, Zhengyang Zhao, Leicun Wang and Mingyu Han

A comparison of field tolerance of 25 apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars and 39 apple rootstocks to the pathogens Marssonina coronaria and Alternaria alternata apple pathotype was performed. Although most apple cultivars grown in China were susceptible or highly susceptible to both pathogens causing two diseases, considerable variation in the level of resistance to both pathogens was observed. Only three cultivars, Qinguan, Jiguan, and Xiangyanghong, exhibited resistance to both pathogens. Among the rootstocks tested, 30 of 39 (77%) were susceptible or highly susceptible to M. coronaria and 32 (82%) were susceptible to the A. alternata apple pathotype. Four rootstocks, ‘P.22’, ‘SH12’, ‘Za’ai 76’, and ‘Qingdao598’, were resistant to both pathogens. The correlation between resistance to both pathogens was highly significant in the 74 apple cultivars and rootstocks tested suggesting common genetic resistance factors to these two pathogens. Data represented horizontal resistance in the germplasm. The resistant local germplasm should be used in disease resistance breeding programs.