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  • Author or Editor: Sheng Shu x
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We investigated the effects of exogenous spermidine (Spd) on the carbohydrate, nitrogen (N), and endogenous polyamine status of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) seedlings exposed to high-temperature stress [38/28 °C (day/night)]. High-temperature stress reduced the contents of pyruvate and succinate and inhibited plant growth. The application of exogenous Spd alleviated the inhibition of plant growth induced by high temperature, and also led to an increase in pyruvate, citrate, and succinate levels. High temperature markedly increased the NH4 +-N content and reduced the activities of nitrate reductase (NR), glutamine synthetase (GS), and glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). Spd significantly alleviated the negative effects on NH4 +-N assimilation induced by high-temperature stress. Moreover, Spd significantly increased the activities of NR and GDH in the high-temperature-stressed tomato leaves. In contrast, Spd application to high-temperature-stressed plant leaves counteracted high-temperature-induced mRNA expression changes in N metabolism. Spd significantly upregulated the transcriptional levels of NR, nitrite reductase, GS, GDH, and glutamate synthase (GOGAT). In addition, exogenous Spd significantly increased endogenous polyamines. These results suggest that Spd could improve carbohydrate and N status through regulating the gene expression and activity of key enzymes for N metabolism, thus confers the tolerance to high temperature on tomato seedlings.

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The use of grafted seedlings in vegetable crops has increased in recent years to enhance the resistance to biological and abiotic stresses, and improve yields. However, incompatibility restricts the wide application of grafting. In this study, two pumpkin (Cucurbita) cultivars, with great differences in grafting affinity and symbiotic affinity, were used as rootstocks and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings were used as the scion. The effects of compatibility or incompatibility on histological aspects, antioxidant enzyme activities, phenylpropanoid contents, and chlorophyll fluorescence were studied. The results showed that compatible graft combinations present a stronger resistance to the oxidative damage resulting from grafting and had relatively weak phenylpropanoid metabolisms. The results also indicated that the chlorophyll fluorescence levels of incompatible combinations were lower, except compared with the original fluorescence. Finally, a necrotic layer existed earlier in compatible graft combinations. These differences at the morphological, physiological, and cellular levels may govern compatibility and incompatibility, and may provide valuable information for determining the symbiotic affinity of grafted seedlings at an early stage.

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Soil sickness from the continuous cropping of cucumbers has become a major limiting factor for protected cucumber cultivation. The use of reasonable cropping systems and the employment of allelopathy between different crops are considered to be the major safe and effective measures for alleviating soil sickness. The objective of this study assessed the effects of garlic (Allium sativum L. cv. Yusuan No. 1)/cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinchun No. 4) relay intercropping on soil enzyme activities and the microbial environment in a continuous cropping regime. Cucumbers and garlic were selected and planted in plastic barrels. The following four treatments were included in the experiment: continuous cropping without crops (Cont), monoculture cucumbers (C), monoculture garlic (G), and the relay intercropping of garlic with cucumbers (CG). The results showed that relay intercropping with garlic promoted cucumber plant growth and attenuated damage caused by soil sickness. In comparison with the Cont treatment, the C treatment decreased soil urease, catalase, invertase, and phosphatase activities; by contrast, the CG treatment enhanced all soil enzyme activities. The C treatment resulted in lower numbers of soil bacteria and actinomycetes and a lower bacteria/fungi ratio, but there were a higher number of soil fungi than there were in the Cont treatment. However, the CG treatment increased the numbers of soil bacteria and actinomycetes as well as the bacteria/fungi ratio, and it decreased the number of soil fungi. In comparison with the Cont treatment, the C treatment reduced the microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and soil basal respiration (BSR) without affecting the metabolic quotient (qCO2), whereas the CG treatment increased all three variables. A polymerase chain reaction denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis revealed decreased bacterial community diversity and increased fungal community diversity in soil with the C treatment; the opposite trend was observed in the CG treatment. The results indicated that the relay intercropping of garlic with cucumbers improved soil enzyme activities and promoted the conversion of continuous cropping soil from a “fungal” type to a “bacterial” type. Additionally, relay intercropping altered the soil bacterial community structure, increased the bacterial diversity indices, and enriched the dominant bacterial populations in the soil. These mechanisms improved the soil microbial environment and effectively alleviated damage caused by soil sickness, thus promoting cucumber plant growth.

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The genus Dendrobium is important in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and the precise identification of Dendrobium species is critical for the treatment and for pharmacological research. In the present study, a ribosomal DNA (rDNA) internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region-based analysis was used to ascertain the phylogenetic relationship among 20 Dendrobium species. The lengths of the ITS regions among the 20 species ranged from 636 to 653 bp, and the identities of the rDNA regions among the different species ranged from 75.7% to 99.1%. The results also showed that the ITS1 and ITS2 regions exhibit more variation than the 5.8S rDNA. A phylogenetic tree derived from the ITS sequence indicated that six medicinal Dendrobium species, of which five are common medicinal plants in the Taiwan market, were closely related and shared a common clade. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was successfully performed to identify the six medicinal Dendrobium species, and amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) PCR was used to distinguish D. tosaense specifically from the 19 other Dendrobium species. The established PCR-based (multiplex and ARMS) analyses can be used for the authentication of the raw materials of medicinal Dendrobium from other species.

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Petal anthocyanins were systematically identified and characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)–electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (MS) coupled with diode array detection among nine wild herbaceous peony (Paeonia L.) species (15 accessions). Individual anthocyanins were identified according to the HPLC retention time, elution order, MS fragmentation patterns, and by comparison with authentic standards and published data. Six main anthocyanins, including peonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-arabinoside (Pn3G5Ara), peonidin-3-O-glucoside, pelargonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (Cy3G), were detected. In addition to the well-known major anthocyanins, some minor anthocyanins were identified in herbaceous peony species for the first time. Detection of the unique anthocyanins cyanidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside and pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside in both Paeonia anomala L. and P. anomala ssp. veitchii (Lynch) D.Y. Hong & K.Y. Pan indicated these two species should belong to the same taxon. Pn3G5Ara was found only in European wild species and subspecies suggesting different metabolic pathways between European and Chinese accessions. Anthocyanins conjugated with galactose and arabinose were observed in the genus Paeonia for the first time. The North American species, Paeonia tenuifolia L., had high Cy3G content in flower petals. This anthocyanin composition is distinct from the anthocyanin composition in Asian and European species and possibly is responsible for the vivid red coloration in flowers.

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