David M. Francis and Sally Miller
Salvador Vitanza, Celeste Welty, Mark Bennett, Sally Miller, and Richard Derksen
The impact of pesticide application technology and crop stand density on bell pepper production was evaluated in a series of field trials, during 2004 and 2005, at the North Central Agricultural Research Station, Fremont, Ohio. In 2004, one trial tested three sprayers, at a speed of 8 and 4 mph, using insecticides at half the recommended rate and one treatment at full rate. Sprayers evaluated included an air-assisted electrostatic sprayer, a Cagle sprayer equipped with AI-11005 or AI-110025 nozzles, and an air-blast sprayer with XR-1003-VS or XR-110015-VS nozzles. In 2005, one experiment tested the interaction of two application technologies, three planting distances within row, and single vs. twin rows. Another experiment compared the Cagle sprayer (with TJ60-11003 or AI-110025 nozzles) and the airblast sprayer (with XR-110015-VS nozzles), at a speed of 4 mph, and insecticides at half the recommended rate. In 2004, the Cagle sprayer with air-induction nozzle, half rate, at 8 mph obtained the highest fruit yield. There was not significant improvement in European corn borer control by applying insecticides at full rate with the Cagle sprayer and all treatments achieved significantly better bacterial soft rot control than the untreated control. In 2005, the trials were terminated early due to crop destruction by Phytophthora capsici. Red fruit weighed less at high than at medium or low plant stand densities. Clean yield of red fruit was significantly greater in single rows than in twin rows. Marketable yield of green fruit was greater using the TJ60-11003 than using the AI-110025 nozzles.
Daniel P. Gillespie, Chieri Kubota, and Sally A. Miller
Rootzone pH affects nutrient availability for plants. Hydroponic leafy greens are grown in nutrient solutions with pH 5.5 to 6.5. Lower pH may inhibit plant growth, whereas pathogenic oomycete growth and reproduction may be mitigated. General understanding of pH effects on nutrient availability suggests likely toxicity and deficiency of specific micronutrients. We hypothesized that if adjustments are made to the micronutrient concentrations in solution, plants will grow in lower-than-conventional pH without nutrient disorders, while oomycete disease incidence and severity may be reduced. To develop a new nutrient solution management strategy, we examined pH of 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, and 5.5 with or without micronutrient adjustments for growing two cultivars of basil plants Dolce Fresca and Nufar in a greenhouse hydroponic deep-water culture (DWC) system. Micronutrient adjustments included reduced concentrations of copper, zinc, manganese, and boron by one-half and doubled molybdenum concentration. Plants harvested 20 to 28 days after transplanting did not show significant effects of pH or the micronutrient adjustment. Phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, manganese, and zinc concentrations in leaves significantly declined, while potassium and aluminum concentrations increased with decreasing pH. However, these changes and therefore micronutrient adjustments did not affect basil plant growth significantly. ‘Nufar’ basil plants were then grown in a growth chamber DWC system at pH 4.0 or a conventional 5.5 with and without inoculation of Pythium aphanidermatum zoospores. Fourteen days after inoculation, P. aphanidermatum oospore production was confirmed only for the inoculated plants in pH 5.5 solution, where a significant reduction of plant growth was observed. The results of the present study indicate that maintaining nutrient solution pH at 4.0 can effectively suppress the severity of root rot caused by P. aphanidermatum initiated by zoospore inoculation without influencing basil growth.
L. Mark Lagrimini, Jill Vaughn, W. Alan Erb, and Sally A. Miller
Lignin composition in leaf, fruit, and fruit outer epidermis of transgenic tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants that overproduce the enzyme tobacco anionic peroxidase (TobAnPOD) was analyzed. This enzyme may catalyze the polymerization of cinnamyl alcohols into lignin in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.); therefore, we predicted that its presence in the transformed tissue would increase lignin levels in healthy and wounded tissue. Lignin levels in healthy plants increased by 20% in leaf, 49% in fruit, and 106% in fruit outer epidermal tissue. Mature-green fruit were aseptically wounded and incubated in darkness for up to 7 days. Soluble phenols in wounded transgenic fruit increased by more than 300% hut changed little in control fruit. As with soluble phenols, lignin content in wounded transformed fruit increased by more than 20-fold hut increased less than two-fold in control fruit. Transgenic seedlings overproducing TobAnPOD were screened for susceptibility to several pathogens, but resistance did not increase. Possible TobAnPOD roles in lignin biosynthesis, phenol metabolism, stress response, and disease resistance are discussed.
Annette Wszelaki, Sally Miller, Douglas Doohan, Karen Amisi, Brian McSpadden-Gardener, and Matthew Kleinhenz
The influence of organic soil amendments (unamended control, composted dairy manure, or raw dairy manure) and weed treatments [critical period (CP) or no seed threshold (NST)] on diseases, growth parameters, yield, and postharvest quality was evaluated over 3 years in a transitional organic crop rotation of tomato, cabbage, clover, and wheat. More growth, yield, and postharvest quality parameters were affected by amendment treatments in cabbage than in tomato. Significant differences in yield among amendment treatments were found in 2001 and 2003 in cabbage, with higher marketable and total yields in amended vs. control plots. Soil management effects on cabbage varied annually, though amendments were required to maximize crop growth, as head weight, size, and volume and core volume of treatment plots exceeded the control plots in 2002 and 2003. Few differences were found between weed treatments, although in 2001 cabbage heads from the NST treatment were larger than heads from the CP treatment. Similar results were found in tomato in 2003. Also, the CP treatment had a higher Area Under the Disease Progress Curve than the NST treatment in tomato in 2003. Overall, disease pressure was highest in tomato in 2001. But disease levels within years were mostly unaffected by amendment treatments. In cabbage, disease was more common in 2002 than in 2003, although head rot was more prevalent in compost-amended plots in 2003 than in manure-amended or control plots. Tomato postharvest quality parameters were similar among amendment and weed treatments within each year. Soil amendment may enhance crop yield and quality in a transitional-organic system. Also, weed management strategy can alter weed populations and perhaps disease levels.
Annette Wszelaki, Jeannine Delwiche, Sonia Walker, Rachel Liggett, Sally Miller, and Matthew Kleinhenz
Consumer testing and descriptive analysis were conducted on six commercial varieties of organically grown edamame-type soybean. In the affective tests, 54 panelists rated pods and beans for appearance, and beans for aroma, taste, texture, aftertaste, and overall acceptability on a 9-point hedonic scale and willingness to buy on a 9-point category scale. `Sayamusume' was liked significantly better than all varieties except `Kenko' and `Sapporo Midori' for taste. `Kenko' was also rated higher than `Sapporo Midori', `Misono Green', and `Early Hakucho' for pod appearance. `Misono Green' texture was liked less than that of all other varieties except `White Lion'. In the descriptive analysis, 10 trained panelists rated the beaniness, sweetness, nuttiness, and chewiness of the same six varieties. `Kenko' rated significantly sweeter than all other varieties except `Sapporo Midori'. `White Lion' rated as significantly lower in chewiness than all other varieties. Beaniness and nuttiness could not be consistently differentiated among varieties. The data suggest that consumer liking of bean taste varies, though subtly, among the six edamame varieties tested here and that preferences may differ with gender. Results from descriptive analysis also suggest that panelists relied on texture (i.e., chewiness) and sweetness to differentiate between varieties. These results are particularly important in overall product quality management strategies as chewiness and sweetness may be influenced by production practices and harvest timing.
Anna L. Testen, Delphina P. Mamiro, Hosea D. Mtui, Jackson Nahson, Ernest R. Mbega, David M. Francis, and Sally A. Miller
Tomato is an important cash crop in many developing countries. However, smallholder farmers often lack access to improved cultivars and breeding programs to develop locally adapted cultivars are limited. Participatory crop improvement (PCI) approaches can be used to increase farmer access to improved cultivars. In this project, we used the mother and baby trial (MBT) design to introduce and evaluate tomato cultivars in three villages in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania. Mother trials were conducted in seven environments within the three villages, and variance partitioning revealed significant genetic effects for all traits measured with h 2 ranging from 0.74 to 0.90 for yield and disease reaction, respectively. In baby trials, farmers provided qualitative rankings of cultivars for 16 characteristics, including vigor, yield, harvest period, diseases, insect damage, fruit quality, and salability. Results from baby trials indicated that introduced cultivars were locally acceptable to farmers, except for traits related to marketability. Outcome Mapping was used to evaluate progress in each of the three villages and results suggested that high stakeholder participation levels could predict future adoption of introduced cultivars. Our findings provide a framework for evaluating, selecting, and breeding tomato and other horticultural crops in developing countries using the MBT design for PCI.
Matthew D. Kleinhenz, Sonia Walker, John Cardina, Marvin Batte, Parwinder Grewal, Brian McSpadden-Gardener, Sally Miller, and Deborah Stinner
The risk: reward for a transition to organic vegetable farming near urban areas and changes in soil, crop, and economic parameters during transition are poorly understood. A 4-year study was initiated in 2003 at the Ohio State Univ.–OARDC to document the relative advantages of four transition strategies and their effects on major cropping system variables. Soil previously in a vegetable-agronomic crop rotation has been maintained fallow, planted to a mixed-species hay, used in open field vegetable production, or used in vegetable production under high tunnels, transition strategies with a range of management intensity and expected financial return. Each strategy was replicated four times within the overall experimental area. Half of the soil in each strategy unit was amended with composted dairy manure while the remaining soil was unamended. Field vegetable plots have been planted to potato, butternut squash, and green bean. High tunnels have been planted to potato, zucchini, and a fall–spring rotation of beet, swiss chard, mixed lettuce, radish, and spinach. Data describing the outcomes of the strategies in terms of farm economics, crop yield and quality, weed ecology, plant pest and disease levels, and soil characteristics (physical, chemical, biological) have been recorded. Inputs in the high tunnels have exceeded inputs in all other strategies; however, high tunnel production has widened planting and harvesting windows and increased potato yield, relative to open field production. To date, compost application has increased crop yield 30% to 230% and influenced crop quality, based on analytical and human panelist measures. Weed (emerged seedlings, seedbank) and nematode populations also continue to vary among the transition strategies.