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Qiang Zhang, Minji Li, Beibei Zhou, Junke Zhang, and Qinping Wei

This study aimed to understand the effects of meteorological factors on the ‘Fuji’ apple quality in the Circum-Bohai and Loess Plateau apple production regions of China and to guide apple production based on local climate. Fruit samples of the ‘Fuji’ apple and meteorological data were investigated from 132 commercial ‘Fuji’ apple orchards covering 44 counties in the two aforementioned production regions (22 counties per region). The partial least-squares regression (PLSR) method was first used to screen major meteorological factors that greatly affected fruit quality; these were subsequently used to establish the regression equation of fruit quality attributes and major meteorological factors. Linear programming was used to estimate optimum meteorological factors for good apple quality. The results showed that in the Circum-Bohai production region, many meteorological factors (total annual precipitation, total precipitation from April to October, lowest temperature from April to October, sunshine percentage from April to October) were significantly higher than those in the Loess Plateau production region; however, the temperature difference between day and night from April to October was significantly smaller than that in the Loess Plateau production region. The soluble solids content and skin color area of apples from the Loess Plateau production region were significantly greater than those from the Circum-Bohai production region. The same fruit quality factor of ‘Fuji’ apple was affected by different meteorological factors in the two production regions. The monthly mean temperature and monthly highest temperature from April to October of the Circum-Bohai production region had relatively larger positive effect weights on fruit quality, whereas the total annual precipitation, monthly mean relative humidity from April to October, and total precipitation from April to October of the Loess Plateau production region had relatively larger positive effect weights on fruit quality. The major influencing meteorological factors of the fruit soluble solids content were total precipitation from April to October (X 7), mean annual temperature (X 1), and the monthly highest temperature from April to October (X 5) in the Circum-Bohai production region; however, it included the monthly mean temperature difference between day and night from April to October (X 6), total annual precipitation (X 2), and total precipitation from April to October (X 7) in the Loess Plateau production region. In the Circum-Bohai production region, the optimum meteorological factors for ‘Fuji’ fruit quality of vigorous apple orchards were the mean annual temperature (13.4 °C), total annual precipitation (981 mm), monthly mean temperature (16.8 to 22.4 °C), lowest temperature (11.9 °C), highest temperature (19.5 to 26.8 °C), temperature difference between day and night (12.3 °C), total precipitation (336–793 mm), relative humidity (55.7% to 70.7%), and sunshine percentage (42.3% to 46.1%) during the growing period (April–October). In the Loess Plateau production region, the optimum meteorological factors for ‘Fuji’ fruit quality of vigorous apple orchards were the mean annual temperature (5.5 to 11.6 °C), total annual precipitation (714 mm), monthly mean temperature (13.3 to 19.9 °C), lowest temperature (7.9 to 9.3 °C), highest temperature (19.6 to 27.3 °C), temperature difference between day and night (7.1 to 12.4 °C), total precipitation (338–511 mm), relative humidity (56.1% to 82.4%), and sunshine percentage (37.3% to 55.9%) during the growing period (April–October). The restrictive factors for high-quality ‘Fuji’ apples of the Circum-Bohai production region were the smaller monthly mean temperature difference between day and night, higher monthly mean lowest temperature, and larger monthly mean relative humidity during the growing period; however, those of the Loess Plateau production region were drought or less precipitation from November to March, lower monthly mean temperature, and higher monthly mean highest temperature during the growing period.

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Wei Qiang Yang, Barbara L. Goulart, K. Demchak, and Yadong Li

The ability of mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal `Elliott' highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) plants to acquire soil N under different preplant organic soil amendment regimes (forest litter, rotted sawdust, or no amendment) was investigated in a field experiment using 15N labeled (NH4)2SO4. Plants inoculated with an ericoid mycorrhizal isolate, Oidiodendron maius Dalpé (UAMH 9263), had lower leaf 15N enrichment and higher leaf N contents than noninoculated plants but similar leaf N concentrations, indicating mycorrhizal plants absorbed more nonlabeled soil N than nonmycorrhizal plants. Mycorrhizal plants produced more plant dry weight (DW) and larger canopy volumes. The effect of preplant organic amendments on the growth of highbush blueberry plants was clearly demonstrated. Plants grown in soil amended with forest litter produced higher DW than those in either the rotted sawdust amendment or no amendment. Plants grown in soils amended preplant with sawdust, the current commercial recommendation, were the smallest. Differences in the carbon to nitrogen ratio were likely responsible for growth differences among plants treated with different soil amendments.

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Qiang Xiao, XiaoHui Fan, XiaoHui Ni, LiXia Li, GuoYuan Zou, and Bing Cao

Increasing commercial use of controlled release fertilizer (CRF) has prompted the need to predict N release simply and viably in the greenhouse environment. Two CRFs were tested, i.e., P40d and P100d by incubating them for 40 or 100 days either in static water at 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 °C or in the soil of vegetable plots in a greenhouse lacking temperature controls. Cumulative nitrogen release (CNR) from a CRF was represented by a parabola curve and significantly affected by the incubation temperature. A method to calculate N m (the maximum N release percentage from CRF) was established using a first-order kinetic equation and the method of least squares. N m was 90.9% to 99.9% for P40d and 72.1% to 87.1% for P100d at 10–35 °C, respectively. A relationship function between the N release rate and naturally fluctuating greenhouse soil temperatures was established using the activation energy of the N release reaction. Then a model was constructed with field temperature as the variable to predict N release throughout the entire greenhouse crop production season. The value of ψ representing a property of the coating material of a CRF is 1.0 for the release period of the CRF of 35–55 days and 1.2 of 80–120 days. We validated the model using two seasons of greenhouse tomato, Solanum lycopersicum L., and cucumber, Cucumis sativus L., production data, and found that the error was less than 12% points. This indicated that the constructed model was sufficiently simple, practical, and accurate for use by growers, and fertilizer industry and regulatory personnel.

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Qiang Zhu, Yuncong C. Li, Rao S. Mylavarapu, Kelly Morgan, and Mingjian Geng

Preplant soil testing is essential for optimizing phosphorus (P) fertilization and minimizing the potential for soil P losses. Currently, there is no effective soil P extractant for calcareous soils in Florida. This study was conducted to compare Mehlich-3, ammonium bicarbonate–diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (AB-DTPA), and Olsen for evaluating P availability, estimating soil-test P (STP) critical levels, and calibrating P application rates for fresh-market tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) production in a calcareous soil. Tomatoes were grown during Winter 2014 and 2015 with P application rates of 0, 29, 49, 78, 98, and 118 kg·ha‒1 P. Water-extractable P (water-P) and dissolved reactive P (DRP) in leachate were used to determine the STP change point of leaching potential. Results showed the greatest correlation occurred between Mehlich-3 and Olsen of the three STP extractants. For Mehlich-3-P, the medium STP level (producing 75% to 90% relative yield) was predicted from 76 to 89 mg·kg‒1 and the change point was predicted at 88 or 104 mg·kg‒1 by split-line models. The P requirement was calculated from 52 to 112 kg·ha‒1 when Mehlich-3-P was rated as low level (producing 50% to 75% relative yield), which was from 42 to 76 mg·kg‒1. The multiple regression models using AB-DTPA-P and Olsen-P could not predict either the medium STP level or the practical P application rates for the low level. Consequently, based on 2 years of data, Mehlich-3 was the most effective extractant for estimating soil P availability and calibrating P rates in calcareous soils with an extremely high calcium carbonate (CaCO3) content.

Free access

Qiang Zhu, Monica Ozores-Hampton, Yuncong Li, Kelly Morgan, Guodong Liu, and Rao S. Mylavarapu

Florida produces the most vegetables in the United States during the winter season with favorable weather conditions. However, vegetables grown on calcareous soils in Florida have no potassium (K) fertilizer recommendation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of K rates on leaf tissue K concentration (LTKC), plant biomass, fruit yield, and postharvest quality of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) grown on a calcareous soil. The experiment was conducted during the winter seasons of 2014 and 2015 in Homestead, FL. Potassium fertilizers were applied at rates of 0, 56, 93, 149, 186, and 223 kg·ha−1 of K and divided into preplant dry fertilizer and fertigation during the season. No deficiency of LTKC was found at 30 days after transplanting (DAT) in both years. Potassium rates lower than 149 kg·ha−1 resulted in deficient LTKC at 95 DAT in 2014. No significant responses to K rates were observed in plant (leaf, stem, and root combined) dry weight biomass at all the sampling dates in both years. However, at 95 DAT, fruit dry weight biomass increased with increasing K rates to 130 and 147 kg·ha−1, reaching a plateau thereafter indicated by the linear-plateau models in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Predicted from quadratic and linear-plateau models, K rates of 173 and 178 kg·ha−1 were considered as the optimum rates for total season marketable yields in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Postharvest qualities, including fruit firmness, pH, and total soluble solids (TSS) content, were not significantly affected by K rates in both years. Overall, K rate of 178 kg·ha−1 was sufficient to grow tomato during the winter season in calcareous soils with 78 to 82 mg·kg−1 of ammonium bicarbonate-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (AB-DTPA)-extracted K in Florida.

Free access

Qiang Zhu, Monica Ozores-Hampton, Yuncong Li, Kelly Morgan, Guodong Liu, and Rao S. Mylavarapu

Phosphorous (P) has a significant role in root growth, fruit and seed development, and plant disease resistance. Currently, no P fertilizer recommendations are available for vegetables grown on calcareous soils in Florida. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of different P rates on leaf tissue P concentration (LTPC), plant growth, biomass accumulation, fruit yield, and postharvest quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) grown on a calcareous soil. The experiment was conducted with soils containing 13 to 15 mg·kg−1 of P extracted by ammonium bicarbonate-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (AB-DTPA). Phosphorus fertilizers were applied at rates of 0, 29, 49, 78, 98, and 118 kg·ha−1 of P before laying polyethylene mulch. Tomatoes were grown using drip irrigation during the winter seasons of 2014 and 2015. No significant responses to P rates were found in LTPC during both growing seasons. Plant height, stem diameter, and leaf chlorophyll content at 30 days after transplanting (DAT) were significantly affected by P rates in 2015, but not in 2014. The responses of plant biomass were predicted by linear models at 60 DAT in 2014 and at 30 DAT in 2015. There were no significant differences in plant biomass at 95 DAT in both years. At the first and second combined harvest, the extralarge fruit yield was unaffected in 2014, but predicted by a quadratic-plateau model with a critical rate of 75 kg·ha−1 in 2015. The total season marketable yields (TSMY) and postharvest qualities were not significantly affected by P rates in either year. Phosphorous rate of 75 kg·ha−1 was sufficient to grow a tomato crop during the winter season in calcareous soils with 13–15 mg·kg−1 of AB-DTPA-extractable P.

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Ben Hong Wu, Hai Qiang Huang, Pei Ge Fan, Shao Hua Li, and Guo Jie Liu

Five peach cultivars [Prunus persica (L.) Batch] with different maturity dates were subjected to sink–source manipulation by girdling to isolate 1-year-old fruit-bearing shoots. Four treatments were performed: fruit were removed (−fruit); one fruit (+1 fruit) and two fruit (+2 fruit) were kept inside two girdling cuts; and two fruit were kept outside two girdling cuts (−fruit*). Photosynthetic responses for the five cultivars were similar and did not show genotypic differences. Generally, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g s), and transpiration rate (E) were higher, and leaf temperature (Tl) was lower in +2 fruit than in +1 fruit, followed by −fruit and −fruit* which were not different. The results also indicated that water outflow from fruit into leaves did not influence photosynthesis, and lower photosynthesis in −fruit treatment was not due to water status of source leaves influenced by removing fruit. Pn tended to increase with Tl until Tl reached a critical level. Beyond the critical temperature level, Pn generally decreased. The critical Tl was roughly identified as 34–37 °C for the five cultivars. Both higher and lower substomatal CO2 (Ci) levels occurred in −fruit and −fruit* treatments than in +1 fruit and +2 fruit treatments, indicating that decreased Pn could be due to both nonstomatal and stomatal limitations. Further analysis of the relationship between Ci and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) showed that nonstomatal limitation under low sink demand took place mostly under high PAR. Thus, high light intensity, combined with Tl may play an important role in leaf photosynthetic regulation.

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Qiang Zhang, Wenting Dai, Hui Yang, Wenting Jia, Xuefei Ning, and Jixin Li

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Li-Qiang Tan, Xin-Yu Wang, Hui Li, Guan-Qun Liu, Yao Zou, Shen-Xiang Chen, Ping-Wu Li, and Qian Tang

Landrace tea populations are important recourses for germplasm conservation and selection of elite tea clone cultivars. To understand their genetic diversity and use them effectively for breeding, two traditional landrace tea populations, Beichuan Taizicha (BCTZ) and Nanjiang Dayecha (NJDY), localized to northern Sichuan, were evaluated for morphological characters, simple sequence repeat (SSR)–based DNA markers and the contents of biochemical components. A wide range of morphological variation and a moderately high level of DNA polymorphism were observed from both BCTZ and NJDY. NJDY had on average, bigger leaves, larger flowers, higher total catechins (TCs), and greater gene diversity (GD) than BCTZ. Interestingly, samples from BCTZ had a wide range in the ratio of galloylated catechins to nongalloylated catechins (G/NG) (1.83–8.12, cv = 48.8%), whereas samples from NJDY were more variable in total amino acid (TAA) content (25.3–50.8 mg·g−1 dry weight) than those from BCTZ. We concluded that the two Camellia sinensis landrace populations are of great interest for both individual selection breeding and scientific studies.

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Li-Xiao Yao, Yong-Rui He, Hai-Fang Fan, Lan-Zhen Xu, Tian-Gang Lei, Xiu-Ping Zou, Ai-Hong Peng, Qiang Li, and Shan-Chun Chen

Ferric chelate reductase (FRO) is a critical enzyme for iron absorption in strategy I plants, reducing Fe3+ to Fe2+. To identify FRO family genes in the local Citrus junos cultivar Ziyang Xiangcheng and to reveal their expression model, the citrus (Citrus sp.) genome was searched for homologies of the published sequence CjFRO1. Five FROs were found, including CjFRO1; these were named CjFRO2, CjFRO3, CjFRO4, and CjFRO5, respectively, and cloned via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR. The deduced amino acid sequences of five CjFROs contained flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-binding motifs, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-binding motifs, and 6–10 transmembrane domains, with isoelectric points between 6.73 and 9.46, and molecular weights between 67.2 and 79.9 kD. CjFRO1 and CjFRO2 were predominantly found in the aboveground parts of C. junos, with CjFRO1 highly expressed in leaves, and CjFRO2 largely expressed in stems and leaves. CjFRO3 was less expressed in roots, stems, and leaves. CjFRO4 and CjFRO5 were predominately found in roots. Under iron-deficient conditions, CjFRO4 was significantly and specifically increased in the roots of C. junos, whereas CjFRO1 was upregulated in the roots and leaves.