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Mou Zong-min, Yan Ning, Li Shu-yun and Hu Hong

Paphiopedilum armeniacum S. C. Chen et F. Y. Liu is endemic to China and has great ornamental value. Little is known about its nutrient requirement for growth and reproduction after deflasking (transplantation of seedlings from culture vessels to pots). We studied the effects of adding nitrogen (N) (0, 105, 210, and 420 mg·L−1) on the vegetative growth and reproduction of P. armeniacum. N enrichment improved leaf area and lengthened the leaf lifespan during the vegetative stage. The effects of N application on flower size were minor. The intermediate N level of 210 mg·L−1 (MN) increased the seed capsule weight, seed germination rate, and improved the growth of seedlings that developed from seeds of MN-treated plants. N fertilizer exerted little influence on ramet emergence and ramet number per plant, but a low N concentration of 105 mg·L−1 promoted the leaf number and leaf area of ramets. Appropriate N levels for P. armeniacum in production and cultivation should be determined according to different production objectives.

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Shu’an Wang, Rutong Yang, Peng Wang, Qing Wang, Linfang Li, Ya Li and Zengfang Yin

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Ahmad Hassan, Chen Qibing, Jiang Tao, Lv Bing-Yang, Li Nian, Shu Li, Li Yu Tng, Jun Zhuo Li, Shang Guan Ziyue and Muhammad Sohaib Tahir

Advancements in electronic devices have led to increases in mental stress in modern adults, and removing this stress is crucial for mental health. The purpose of this study is to examine the psychophysiological benefits of contact with indoor plants. The effects of transplanting plants (horticultural activity) and work on a mobile phone (control activity) were assessed by blood pressure measurement, electroencephalography (EEG), the semantic differential method (SDM), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The SDM data showed that the subjects felt more relaxed, comfortable and natural, and experienced lower anxiety after the transplantation of plants than the control group. Participant’s total alpha and beta wave mean values increased over time during the transplantation task but decreased at the end of the control task. The mean meditation score was significantly higher after transplanting plants. Our study results indicate that contact with plants may minimize mental stress.

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Qing Xu, Shi-Rong Guo, He Li, Nan-Shan Du, Sheng Shu and Jin Sun

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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Li Huang, Wan-zhi Ye, Ting-ting Liu and Jia-shu Cao

Cytological features of ‘Aijiaohuang’ chinese cabbage-pak-choi (Brassica campestris ssp. chinensis) Bcajh97-01A/B genic male-sterile AB line were examined to determine phenotypic reasons for male sterility. The sterile line Bcajh97-01A was found to undergo aberrant cytokinesis during male meiosis. Transcriptional profiling of the flower buds of both fertile and sterile plants was performed at the periods preceding meiosis, at the tetrad to uninucleate pollen period, and at the binucleate to mature pollen period. Transcript-derived fragments (TDFs) from corresponding genes that were expressed in flower buds at these three different stages could be divided into nine classes. We sequenced a total of 14 new TDFs that were differentially displayed at particular pollen developmental stages, including eight genes with unknown or hypothetical functions and six genes showing significant homology with known genes. This characterization of the Bcajh97-01A genic male-sterile line allowed the identification of candidate genes underlying genic male sterility.