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Russell T. Nagata and Gregg Nuessly

Damage due to leaf mining by Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) is a major problem in many leafy vegetables, especially lettuce. A hierarchy of feeding preference of leafminer on lettuce, Lactuca sativa L. cultivars 'Valmaine', `Parris Island Cos', `Floricos 83', and `Tall Guzmaine' was determined. Leafminers were given a choice of two plants. Observations on the number of times that leafminers probed the leaf surface to feed or oviposit in each plant was counted. `Tall Guzmaine' was significantly preferred in all combinations. Probe ratio of `Tall Guzmaine' verses the other cos lines ranged from 4:1 to 90:1. There were no significant difference between the other three lines, although `Valmaine' had the lowest count in most cases. Based on the pedigrees of the cultivars tested, the observed preferences appears to be under genetic control.

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Russell Nagata*, Gregg Nuessly and Heather McAuslane

Host plant resistance is a key element in a viable integrated pest management plan. Resistance to plant feeding was observed on Valmaine cos lettuce, Lactuca sativa L. to the banded cucumber beetle (BCB), Diabotica balteata (LeConte). In no-choice feeding evaluations, adult BCB contained on three week old Valmaine plants gained less weight, died and fed less than individuals contained on susceptible Tall Guzmaine cos lettuce. Individual female BCB held on Valmaine plants also did not have egg development as in those individual held on Tall Guzmaine. Based on weight gain and feeding damage F1, F2, and F3 segregation data indicates that the resistance factor is recessive in inheritance and controlled by more that one gene.

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Laurie E. Trenholm and Russell T. Nagata

The objectives of this research were to rank the relative shade tolerance of some new st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) cultivars and to determine what levels of shade the various cultivars can tolerate. Two consecutive studies were conducted in a glasshouse at the University of Florida Turfgrass Research Envirotron. Cultivars tested were `Bitter Blue', `Floratam', `Palmetto', `Seville', and `1997-6'. Grasses were grown in full sun or under shade structures that provided 30%, 50%, or 70% shade. In trial 1, `Seville' and `1997-6' generally provided best performance under increasing shade, with worst responses seen in `Floratam'. `Seville' and `1997-6' were predicted to maintain an acceptable quality rating of 6 at all shade levels. In trial 2, `Floratam' again had lowest visual quality scores. At 30% shade, `Seville', `Palmetto', and `Bitter Blue' ranked in the highest category, while only `Seville' and `Bitter Blue' had highest rankings at 50% shade. Reduced density was a major factor in turf decline as shade increased. Most of the cultivars performed best under some degree of shade. With the exception of `Floratam', acceptable visual scores were maintained at shade levels exceeding 60% in trial 1 and up to 61% in trial 2.

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Yu Sung, Daniel J. Cantliffe and Russell Nagata

Temperature is an important environmental factor that affects lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) germination. The present research was conducted to determine the role of seed coverings on lettuce seed germination at high temperature. Five lettuce genotypes were primed in order to bypass thermoinhibitional effects on germination. During germination of primed and nonprimed seeds, imbibition followed a normal triphasic pattern. Primed seeds had higher final water content, a decreased imbibitional phase II, and germinated at 36 °C compared to nonprimed seeds of thermosensitive genotypes, which did not germinate at 36 °C. Puncture tests were conducted to determine the force required to penetrate the whole seed or endosperm of the five genotypes at 24 and 33 °C. `Dark Green Boston', a thermosensitive genotype, had the highest mean resistance (0.207 N) and PI 251245, a thermotolerant genotype, had the lowest (0.139 N). Resistance to penetration of the endopserm of the five genotypes was different at both temperatures. However, three thermotolerant genotypes had lower endosperm resistance than two thermosensitive types. At 36 °C, the penetration force for primed and nonprimed seeds was compared after the first hour of imbibition and 1 hour before radicle protrusion. The force required to penetrate the seed was affected by genotype, seed priming, and duration of imbibition. Puncture force decreased as imbibition time at 36 °C increased in primed and nonprimed seed of each thermotolerant genotype but not in the thermosensitive genotypes. Priming reduced the initial force necessary to penetrate the seed and endosperm in all genotypes. Thus, for radicle protrusion to occur, there must first be a decrease in the resistance of the endosperm layer as evidenced by priming or thermotolerant genotype. Then, the pericarp and integument are sufficiently weakened so that tissue resistance is lower than the turgor pressure of the expanding embryo, allowing germination to be completed.

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Jennifer A. Gargiulo, Russell T. Nagata and Thomas A. Bewick

An-assay was developed to determine the level of resistance to the herbicide glyphosate in trangenic seedlings of lettuce. Results of the seedling assay were correlated to results of a similar assay using callus lines of the identical transgenic plants. Transgenic plants were found to be a 32-fold increase in tolerance to glyphosate when compared to wild type plants. This was similar to the response of these transgenic lines in the callus line assay.

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Laurie E. Trenholm, Lawrence E. Datnoff and Russell T. Nagata

The objectives of these studies were to evaluate the effects of silicon on drought and shade tolerance of st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Studies were conducted during 2001 in a glasshouse at the University of Florida Turfgrass Research Envirotron in Gainesville. For both drought and shade evaluations, calcium silicate slag (CaSiO3) was pre-incorporated into pots with commercial potting soil at the rate of 3.36 kg·ha-1 (0.069 lb/1000 ft2). `FX-10' and `FHSA-115' st. augustinegrass were planted into 15.2-cm-diameter × 30.5-cm-deep (6 × 12 inches) plastic pots for the drought study and subjected to minimal irrigation. Under severe drought stress, silicon-amended plants had better responses than non-amended plants. Little improvement was seen under moderate drought stress. `Floratam' and genotype 1997-6 were placed under full sunlight or 50% to 70% shade. There was no benefit from use of silicon under shaded conditions. These findings suggest that silicon might provide improved tolerance to st. augustinegrass under severe drought stress.

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Darrin Parmenter, Russell Nagata, Kent Cushman and Nancy Roe

Recently, an increasing number of restaurants in Palm Beach County, Florida, have been requesting squash (Cucurbita pepo) flowers from local vegetable growers. Typically, current field-grown squash cultivars produce a higher ratio of female to male flowers, with the emphasis on fruit production. However, a market for squash blossoms indicates a need for cultivars that produce higher numbers of consistently developing male flowers throughout the growing season. In order to evaluate male squash blossom production, 10 squash cultivars, including yellow-summer, zucchini, round, and scallop-types, and one compact-type pumpkin, were field-grown during the 2005–06 growing season. The average number of male flowers per plant by week was recorded for 7 weeks, starting when the first male flowers were identified within the entire trial. In addition to blossom counts, flower traits, such as bell height, depth, volume, and weight were also recorded. Preliminary results from the 2005 season indicate that the commercial yellow-summer squash cultivars, Mulitpik and Early Prolific Straightneck, and the zucchini cultivars, Jaguar and Raven, produced fewer male flowers on a week-by-week and total basis. The cultivar, White Bush Scallop, produced significantly more male flowers then any other entry, with an average of 9.8 male flowers per plant per week. Little or no difference was seen in bell height and depth among the 11 cultivars; however, two cultivars, Costa Romanesque and Hybrid Pam (compact pumpkin type) had significantly greater bell volumes and weights, indicating a much larger blossom size.

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Yu Sung, Daniel J. Cantliffe and Russell T. Nagata

Thermotolerance in lettuce seed at high temperature was investigated using primed and nonprimed seed or seeds matured at 20/10°C and 30/20°C. During seed germination at 36°C, the structural changes of the seed coverings in front of the radicle tip were observed in an anatomical study. In all seeds during imbibition, regardless of seed maturation temperature or priming, a crack appeared on one side of the cap tissue and the endosperm separated from the integument in front of the radicle tip. Additional changes took place during imbibition: the protein bodies in the vacuoles enlarged and were gradually depleted, large empty vacuoles formed, the cytoplasm condensed, the endosperm shrank, the endosperm cell wall dissolved and ruptured, then the radicle elongated toward this ruptured area. The findings suggested that the papery endosperm layer presented mechanical resistance to lettuce seed germination and the weakening of this layer was a prerequisite to radicle protrusion at high temperature. Seeds of `Dark Green Boston', `Everglades', and PI 251245 matured at 30/20°C had greater thermotolerance than those matured at 20/10°C. Results of the anatomical study indicated that the endosperm cell walls in front of the radicle of seeds matured at 30/20°C were more easily disrupted and ruptured during early imbibition than seeds matured at 20/10°C, suggesting that these seeds could germinate quickly at supra-optimal temperatures. From anatomical studies conducted to identify and characterize thermotolerance in lettuce seed germination, it was observed that genotype thermotolerance had the ability to reduce physical resistance of the endosperm by weakening the cell wall and by depleting stored reserves.

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Yu Sung, Daniel J. Cantliffe and Russell T. Nagata

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds can fail to germinate at temperatures above 24 °C. The degree of thermotolerance is thought to be at least partly related to the environment under which the seed developed. In order to study the effects of temperature during seed development on subsequent germination, various lettuce genotypes were screened for their ability to germinate at temperatures ranging from 20 to 38 °C. Seeds of the selected genotypes `Dark Green Boston' and `Valmaine' (thermosensitive), `Floricos 83', `Everglades', and PI 251245 (thermotolerant) were produced at 20/10, 25/15, 30/20, and 35/25 °C day/night temperature regimes in plant growth chambers. Seeds were germinated on a thermogradient bar from 24 to 36 °C under 12 h light/dark cycles. As germination temperature increased, the number of seeds that failed to germinate increased. Above 27 °C, seeds matured at 20/10 or 25/15 °C exhibited a lower percent germination than seeds that matured at 30/20 or 35/25 °C. Seeds of `Dark Green Boston' and `Everglades' that matured at 30/20 °C exhibited improved thermotolerance over those that matured at lower temperatures. Seeds of `Valmaine' produced at 20/10 °C exhibited 40% germination at 30 °C, but seeds that matured at higher temperatures exhibited over 95% germination. Germination of `Valmaine' at temperatures above 30 °C was not affected by seed maturation temperature. The upper temperature limit for germination of lettuce seed could thus be modified by manipulating the temperature during seed production. The potential thermotolerance of seed thereby increased, wherein thermosensitive genotypes became thermotolerant and thermotolerant genotypes (e.g., PI251245) germinated fully at 36 °C. This information is useful for improving lettuce seed germination during periods of high soil temperature, and can be used to study the biology of thermotolerance in lettuce.

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Iwanka Kozarewa, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Russell T. Nagata and Peter J. Stoffella

Ethylene synthesis and sensitivity, and their relation to germination at supraoptimal temperatures, were investigated in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds matured at 30/20 °C [12-h day/night, high temperature matured (HTM)] or 20/10 °C [12-h day/night, low temperature matured (LTM)]. HTM seeds of both thermosensitive `Dark Green Boston' (DGB) and thermotolerant `Everglades' (EVE) had greater germination at a supraoptimal temperature (36 °C), in both light or dark, than LTM seeds of DGB and EVE. HTM seeds of DGB and EVE produced more ethylene during germination than LTM seeds, regardless of imbibition conditions. The ethylene action inhibitor, silver thiosulfate, led to reduced germination in both cultivars. The ethylene precursor, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid at 10 mm increased germination of both cultivars at supraoptimal temperatures, whereas germination of HTM seeds was greater than that of LTM seeds. No differences in ethylene perception were detected between HTM and LTM germinating seeds using a triple response bioassay. This study demonstrated that at least one method through which seed maturation temperature influences lettuce germination is by affecting ethylene production.