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Hua Wang, Dong Pei, Rui-sheng Gu and Bao-qing Wang

Molecular markers were used to study the genetic diversity, structure, and relationship of Juglans L. with nine populations (five from Juglans regia L. and four from Juglans sigillata Dode) in central and southwestern China. A moderate level of genetic diversity was observed at the population level with the number of effect alleles per locus (A E) ranging from 1.75 to 3.35 (average 2.39) and the proportion of polymorphic loci (P) equaling 100.0%. The expected heterozygosity (H E) within populations ranged from 0.389 to 0.687, and the average was 0.525. The proportion of genetic variation presented among populations accounted for 18.6% of the total genetic diversity. The overall gene flow (N m) among populations equaled 1.10. The unweighted pair-group method using arithmetic averages (UPGMA) clustering and the Mantel test showed that genetic distances among the nine populations are in a good agreement with their geographic distribution, supporting the viewpoint that J. regia and J. sigillata belong to one species. We suggest that the central area of the southwestern mountain regions of China could be considered as a priority for walnut genetic resource conservation.

Open access

Xuelian Jiang, Yueling Zhao, Ling Tong, Rui Wang and Sheng Zhao

To investigate the quantitative response of tomato yield and fruit quality to deficit irrigation applied at different growth stages, greenhouse experiments were conducted in 2017 and 2018. Three irrigation treatments (full irrigation and two-thirds or one-third of full irrigation) were applied to greenhouse-grown tomato plants at flowering and fruit development (stage 2) and at fruit maturation stage (stage 3). Grey relational analysis (GRA), the technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS), and principal components analysis (PCA) were used to calculate the comprehensive fruit quality indexes, and combinatorial evaluation method was determined. The results showed that deficit irrigation significantly reduced evapotranspiration (ET) and tomato yield and that relative yield had a negative linear correlation with relative seasonal water deficit (1−ETi/ETc). However, deficit irrigation improved fruit quality, especially at stage 2. Total soluble solids, the total soluble sugar concentration, the sugar-to-acid ratio, and vitamin C in the tomatoes all increased significantly in plants that were deficit irrigated compared with fully irrigated plants, while organic acids and lycopene decreased in both years. There were linear correlations between fruit quality parameters and 1−ETi/ETc. The comprehensive quality index derived from GRA and PCA is reliable, and the comprehensive quality indexes given by GRA, PCA, and a combination of GRA and PCA showed positive linear correlation with 1−ETi/ETc. The comprehensive quality ranking showed that in both years, F2/3M1 (two-thirds full irrigation at stage 2) gave a better result and CK (full irrigation) the worst. An appropriate water deficit at the flowering and fruit development stage, which results in a trade-off between acceptable yield and improved fruit quality, is recommended. Our results provide a sound basis for tomato production that has a desirable balance between high yield and high fruit quality.

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Yan-Chang Wang, Lei Zhang, Yu-Ping Man, Zuo-Zhou Li and Rui Qin

Big fruit size and nice red pigmentation combined with good flavor should be the major target for red-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) breeding programs. Genetic diversity and plant characteristics were evaluated on a set of kiwifruit accessions with predominantly red flesh to identify the superior individuals for further breeding or study of commercial application. The leading phenotypic characters varied widely among the accessions. Accession R reached average fruit weight ≈100 g, whereas it ranged from 43.15 to 84.71 g for the other accessions. Fruits of L and Q were flatter in shape than the others. The core volume accounted for fruit proportions ranging from 2.33% to 11.42%. ‘Chuhong’, ‘Honghua’, and K exhibited a round fruit apex, whereas most others showed a depressed apex. R, L, and Q had the highest a* values in the inner pericarp and also the most appealing visual coloration. Results revealed significantly higher soluble solid content (SSC), total sugar, and sugar/acid ratio in Q, R, and L. The 12 pairs of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were successfully used to characterize the genetic variability and confirm true-to-type identity for four accessions. However, the limited number of markers had no ability to discriminate among the other 11 accessions. Based on additional 28 SSRs, six of the indistinguishable accessions were confirmed to be genetically different, and three seemed to belong to the same clone vine. The results demonstrated that application of SSR data could improve the efficiency of identifying red-fleshed kiwifruit germplasm.

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Qi Wang, Rui Zhao, Qihang Chen, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Liqi Chen and Xiaonan Yu

Herbaceous peony is a perennial flowering plant with strong environmental adaptability and may be a good candidate for culture in arid areas. In this study, the physiological and biochemical responses of two herbaceous peony cultivars to different soil moisture gradients in pots were assessed by analyzing changes in 13 stress-related indices. The drought damage index (DDI) and the contents of malondialdehyde (MDA), soluble sugar, proline, and abscisic acid (ABA) generally increased as drought stress intensified, whereas leaf relative water content (LRWC) decreased, and the contents of soluble protein, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), the ratio of IAA and ABA, and the activities of four antioxidant enzymes fluctuated. For the leaves, a positive correlation was found between DDI and superoxide dismutase (SOD), MDA, soluble sugar, proline, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and ABA, but it was negatively correlated with LRWC, peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT). In fibrous roots, DDI was positively correlated with MDA, soluble sugar, proline, soluble protein, and ABA but was negatively correlated with SOD, CAT, APX, and IAA/ABA. Principal component analysis and subordinate functions were used to evaluate drought resistance of the two cultivars, with ‘Karl Rosenfield’ showing greater resistance to drought than ‘Da Fu Gui’.

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Zhong-Hua Bian, Rui-Feng Cheng, Qi-Chang Yang, Jun Wang and Chungui Lu

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have shown great potential for plant growth and development, with higher luminous efficiency and more flexible and feasible spectral control compared with other artificial lighting. The combined effects of red and blue (RB) LED with or without green (G) LED light and white LED light on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) growth and physiology, including nitrate content, chlorophyll fluorescence, and phytochemical concentration before harvest, were investigated. Continuous light exposure at preharvest can effectively reduce nitrate accumulation and increase phytochemical concentrations in lettuce plants. Nitrate accumulation is dependent on the spectral composition and duration of treatment: lettuce exposed to continuous RB (with or without G) LED light with a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 200 µmol·m−2·s−1 exhibited a remarkable decrease in nitrate content at 24 hour compared with white LED light treatment at the same PPF. In addition, RB LED light (R:B = 4:1) was more effective than white LED light at the same PPF in facilitating lettuce growth. Moreover, continuous LED light for 24 hours significantly enhanced free-radical scavenging activity and increased phenolic compound concentrations. We suggest that 24 hours continuous RB LED with G light exposure can be used to decrease nitrate content and enhance lettuce quality.

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Ying Qu, Xue Bai, Yajun Zhu, Rui Qi, Geng Tian, Yang Wang, Yonghua Li and Kaiming Zhang

Leaves of Begonia semperflorens accumulate anthocyanins and turn red under low temperature (LT). In the present work, LT increased H2O2 content and superoxide anions production rate, causing significant increases in the activities of enzymes and contents of reduced components involved in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle (AsA-GSH cycle). As a result, LT-exposed seedlings increased the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, and accumulated anthocyanin. Based on LT condition, application of N,N'-dimethylthiourea (DMTU) decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) content, and unbalanced the AsA-GSH-controlled redox homeostasis. As a result, seedlings in the LT + DMTU group did not accumulate anthocyanin. Our results suggest that ROS may act as an important inducer in LT-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis.

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Ji-Yu Zhang, Zhong-Ren Guo, Rui Zhang, Yong-Rong Li, Lin Cao, You-Wang Liang and Li-Bin Huang

This study examined the ability to vegetatively propagate 1-year-old pecan (Carya illinoinensis) through the rooting of hardwood cuttings. Cuttings were treated with varying concentrations of different auxins and different combinations of media and ambient temperatures. Under different temperature conditions, all auxin treatments induced the rooting of cuttings but did not promote sprouting. The effectiveness of the induction of adventitious roots was as follows: 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) > indole 3-butyric acid > indole 3-acetic acid. The base of the parent shoot treated by NAA at a concentration of 0.09%, planted in substrate with bottom heat was the most effective, with 82% rooting, 8.3 roots/cutting and root lengths of 7.3 cm. These findings suggested that auxin and substrate/air temperature differences are both indispensable in the process of adventitious roots formation in pecan. This study revealed that the propagation of hardwood cuttings derived from branches of 1-year-old pecan is possible.

Free access

Rui Sun, Hui Li, Qiong Zhang, Dongmei Chen, Fengqiu Yang, Yongbo Zhao, Yi Wang, Yuepeng Han, Xinzhong Zhang and Zhenhai Han

Flesh browning is an important negative trait for quality preservation of fresh-cut fruits. To obtain a better understanding of the inheritance and genetic control of flesh browning in apple, the phenotype of a hybrid population derived from ‘Jonathan’ × ‘Golden Delicious’ was studied for 2 successive years. The inheritance of the flesh browning trait was analyzed by the frequency distribution of the phenotypes. Flesh browning-associated major genes were then mapped by screening genome-wide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Flesh browning is inherited quantitatively and showed a clear bimodal frequency distribution, indicating that the segregation of major genes is involved in the variation. The segregation ratio of light and heavy browning was 7:1 in 2010, 2011, and 2010 + 2011, suggesting that the inheritance of the trait in apple involves three segregated loci of major genes. The heritability of the major gene effect was 72.14% and 72.76% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. SSR markers were screened from 600 pairs of SSR primers located on 17 apple linkage groups (LGs). The three major genes were mapped on LG10, 15, and 17 on the apple genome, respectively, by linkage analysis of flesh browning phenotypes and the genotypes of SSR markers. Two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flesh browning were mapped on LG15 of ‘Jonathan’ and LG17 of ‘Golden Delicious’, respectively, which are the same linkage groups that two major genes mapped on.

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Rui Zhang, Fang-Ren Peng, Dong-Liang Le, Zhuang-Zhuang Liu, Hai-Yang He, You-Wang Liang, Peng-Peng Tan, Ming-Zhuo Hao and Yong-Rong Li

Scion wood of ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’ pecan (Carya illinoinensis) was grafted onto the epicotyl of 1-month-old, open-pollinated ‘Shaoxing’ pecan seedlings for evaluation as a grafting technique to reduce the time to produce grafted trees. The results showed that seedlings grafted with “base scions” had higher survival than those grafted with “terminal scions” for both ‘Caddo’ and ‘Desirable’. Also, grafting with paraffinic tape could achieve greater success rate than that with medical tape. The most ideal time to perform this grafting was late April in Nanjing, China, when pecan seedlings were about 35 days old. This study demonstrated that the technique yielded successful epicotyl grafting of >70%, and it could thus be applied in practice.

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Zhuang-Zhuang Liu, Tao Chen, Fang-Ren Peng, You-Wang Liang, Peng-Peng Tan, Zheng-Hai Mo, Fan Cao, Yang-Juan Shang, Rui Zhang and Yong-Rong Li

Cytosine methylation plays important roles in regulating gene expression and modulating agronomic traits. In this study, the fluorescence-labeled methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (F-MSAP) technique was used to study variation in cytosine methylation among seven pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars at four developmental stages. In addition, phenotypic variations in the leaves of these seven cultivars were investigated. Using eight primer sets, 22,796 bands and 950 sites were detected in the pecan cultivars at four stages. Variation in cytosine methylation was observed among the pecan cultivars, with total methylation levels ranging from 51.18% to 56.58% and polymorphism rates of 82.29%, 81.73%, 78.64%, and 79.09% being recorded at the four stages. Sufficiently accompanying the polymorphism data, significant differences in phenotypic traits were also observed among the pecan cultivars, suggesting that cytosine methylation may be an important factor underlying phenotypic variation. Hypermethylation was the dominant type of methylation among the four types observed, and full methylation occurred at higher levels than did hemimethylation in the pecan genomes. Cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) identified Dice coefficients ranging from 0.698 to 0.778, with an average coefficient of 0.735, and the variance contribution rates of the previous three principal coordinates were 19.6%, 19.0%, and 18.2%, respectively. Among the seven pecan cultivars, four groups were clearly classified based on a Dice coefficient of 0.75 and the previous three principal coordinates. Tracing dynamic changes in methylation status across stages revealed that methylation patterns changed at a larger proportion of CCGG sites from the 30% of final fruit-size (30%-FFS) stage to the 70%-FFS stage, with general decreases in the total methylation level, the rate of polymorphism, and specific sites being observed in each cultivar. These results demonstrated that the F-MSAP technique is a powerful tool for quantitatively detecting cytosine methylation in pecan genomes and provide a new perspective for studying many important life processes in pecan.