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  • Author or Editor: Robert W. McMahon x
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Methods of chloroplast pigment extraction and sample preparation previously established for leaves do not apply for fruits and other organs of several horticultural crops. Methods presented in this report overcome these difficulties, and results presented show this procedure can be used for several diverse horticultural crops. A high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) run time of 25 minutes in the isocratic mode gave baseline separation of chlorophyll a (chl a), chlorophyll b (chl b), and β-carotene while neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lutein eluted as partially resolved peaks. A run time of 48 minutes in the linear gradient mode gives baseline separation of all 6 major chloroplast pigments.

Open Access

Description of the light environment used in photomorphogenic research varies greatly among research teams. The environment is often described as the ratio of red (R) to far-red (FR) light, particulary when involvement of the phytochrome system is suspected. There is disagreement in the appropriate center and range of values for each ratio component. Often the center for R is reported as 660 nm. However, in chlorophyll-containing tissue 645 nm may be more appropriate because of the absorption of chlorophyll at 660. Band widths around a selected peak also vary. The widths generally are 10 or 100 nm. Comparison of experiments that describe different peaks or ranges is difficult. Much of the variation in description results from the behavior of phytochrome. Phytochrome has absorption and action spectral peaks, however wavelengths that cause absorption and/or action to a lesser extent may extend more than 50 nm from the peak. Integration formulas such as Pfr/P consider the effects of all wavelengths. However, even the integration formulas do not explain all photomorphogenic responses. A description of the entire photomorphogenic spectrum may be the most appropriate means of communication.

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Chlorophyll a and b contents were determined in developing tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Heinz 1350') at 5-day increments from 10 or 15 days past anthesis to fulIy ripe (55 to 60 days). When presented on a whole-fruit basis, chlorophyll a and b contents increased from 15 days past anthesis to 35 days and then decreased to zero at 55 days. Porphobilinogen (EC; PBG) deaminase activity was measured in extracts from the fruit, and changes in PBG deaminase activity correlated with changes in chlorophyll and protein contents with respect to fruit age. Partial characterization of tomato PBG deaminase enzyme showed similarities to PBG deaminase enzymes isolated from other sources.

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Student involvement in two research projects at a 2-year agricultural college is described. The students assisted in the process of data collection, tabulation, and the preparation of publications. From participating in these research projects, the students earned academic credit and learned the concepts and processes of scientific methodology. Several student shills, including observation, making judgements, and cooperation among peers, were enhanced through hands-on experience. The research proved to be a very enjoyable learning experience for all of the participants.

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Experiments were conducted to correlate the response of chrysanthemum [Dendrathema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] plants to light environment based on various quantitative light quality parameters by growing plants under 6% or 40% CuSO4 and water spectral filters. Using a narrow band width (R = 655-665 and FR = 725-735 nm) or a broad band width (R = 600-700 and FR = 700-800 nm) for R: FR ratio calculation, 6% CuSO4 filter transmitted light with a higher R: FR ratio than 40% CuSO4 or water filters. Light transmitted through 40% CuSO4 and water filters had similar narrow band R: FR ratios (≈1.2), but the broad band R: FR ratio (2.0) of 40% CuSO4 filter was higher than that of water filters. The estimated phytochrome photoequilibrium (ϕ) value varied considerably with the photochemical properties of phytochrome used for estimations. Final height and internode length of plants grown in 6% or 40% CuSO4 chambers was ≈30% less than of plants in corresponding control chambers. Leaf and stem dry weights were reduced by light transmitted through CuSO4 filters. The results suggest that broad band R: FR ratio correlated more closely to above plant responses than the narrow band R: FR ratio. Blue (B): R and B: FR ratios (not absolute amount of blue wavelengths) correlated well with plant response, suggesting that involvement of blue light should not be ignored in expressing plant response to light transmitted through CuSO4 filters. At present, the presentation of complete spectral data would be the most useful in explaining plant response to light environment.

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