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Lina Fu, Lijun Chai, Dekuan Ding, Zhiyong Pan and Shu’ang Peng

Iron (Fe) deficiency caused by calcareous soil is a serious problem in the cultivation of citrus (Citrus L.) trees. In this study, we report that ‘Zhique’ (Citrus wilsonii Tanaka) citrus rootstock from Chenggu county of Shaanxi province, China, shows tolerance to Fe deficiency under calcareous soil conditions. In the same calcareous field conditions, ‘Miyagawa Wase’ Satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.) grafted on trifoliate orange [Poncirus trifoliate (L.) Raf.] rootstock, the most commonly used rootstock, showed obvious interveinal chlorosis in young leaves, though some leaves or branches are asymptomatic, whereas no symptoms were found on those grafted on ‘Zhique’ rootstock. This was further evidenced by the fact that the chlorophyll concentration in chlorotic leaves of ‘Miyagawa Wase’ grafted on trifoliate orange was significantly lower than in those grafted on ‘Zhique’. In addition, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis revealed a significant reduction of grana and stroma thylakoid of chloroplasts in chlorotic leaves. Measurement of Fe concentrations revealed that the total Fe and cell wall Fe showed no difference between ‘Zhique’ and trifoliate orange roots, whereas the ferrous Fe was significantly higher in ‘Zhique’ than trifoliate orange roots. Interestingly, both total Fe and ferrous Fe concentrations in chlorotic leaves were significantly lower than in green leaves of ‘Miyagawa Wase’ grafted on either ‘Zhique’ or trifoliate orange, whereas the cell wall Fe concentration of ‘Miyagawa Wase’ leaves only showed significant difference between the ‘Zhique’ and trifoliate orange samples. Further transcript assessment found that the Fe acquisition–related genes FIT, HA, FRO, and NRAMP were upregulated in roots of ‘Zhique’ compared with trifoliate orange, thus suggesting ‘Zhique’ might be more capable of Fe uptake under calcareous soil conditions. The novel citrus rootstock reported here could be used as an ideal material for Fe-uptake research, and as a Fe-deficiency-tolerant rootstock for citrus cultivation in calcareous soils.

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Qin Yang, Er Liu, Yan Fu, Fuqiang Yuan, Tingting Zhang and Shu Peng

After nearly a decade of development, the scale of blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) cultivation has increased, particularly in south China; however, this region is becoming increasingly challenged by temperature changes during the flowering phenophase. Understanding the effects of temperature on pollen germination and pollen tube growth in blueberry is thus important. Using the rabbiteye blueberry (V. ashei) ‘Brightwell’, different temperature treatments were carried out during open pollination and cross-pollination with the pollen from rabbiteye blueberry ‘Gardenblue’ in field, greenhouse, and controlled temperature experiments over two consecutive years. The differences in pollen germination, pollen tube dynamics, and ovule viability following different treatments were analyzed, and the critical temperatures were calculated using quadratic and modified bilinear equations to quantify the developmental responses to temperature. The results showed that the fruit set of the artificially pollinated plants inside the greenhouse was significantly higher than that outside the greenhouse. Furthermore, pollen germination and pollen tube growth gradually accelerated under the appropriate high-temperature range, resulting in reduced pollen tube travel time to the ovule. However, the percentage of the style traversed by the pollen tube did not increase at temperatures greater than 30 °C, and a high-temperature range could accelerate ovule degeneration. Therefore, impairment of pollen tube growth in the upper half of the style following pollen germination and ovule degeneration constituted important factors leading to reduced fruit setting under short periods of high temperature during the flowering phenophase in rabbiteye blueberry. This work advances our understanding of the effect of temperature on pollen germination, pollen tube growth, ovule longevity, and fruit setting in rabbiteye blueberry, and provides a foundation for continued cultivation and breeding enhancement. The findings propose that the tolerance of rabbiteye blueberry to a certain high-temperature range in the flowering phenophase should inform breeding strategies for temperature resistance and that temperature range is also an important indicator of suitable environments for cultivation to mitigate potential temperature stress.

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Ya-Long Qin, Xiao-Chun Shu, Wei-Bing Zhuang, Feng Peng and Zhong Wang

Callus induction and plant regeneration play a key role in transgenic technology. Although much progress has been made with respect to eggplant, this type of research is insufficiently developed in Solanum torvum (a wild relative of eggplant), which contains a large number of resistance genes. Here, a high-efficiency regeneration system of S. torvum was established. Stem segments and leaves were cultured on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 0.5–3.0 mg·L−1 6-benzyladenine (6-BA) and 0.1–0.6 mg·L−1 α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). The highest callus induction ratio (100%) was produced on MS + 1.0 mg·L−1 6-BA + 0.5 mg·L−1 NAA. The combination of 0.5 mg·L−1 BA and 1.0 mg·L−1 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in MS medium (double microelement) was the best for plant regeneration. Well-developed shoots rooted on half-strength MS medium supplemented with 0.1 mg·L−1 indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). These results will be helpful for functional verification of resistance genes from S. torvum and may be useful to those working in the field of eggplant breeding.

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

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Qin Yang, Yan Fu, Yalan Liu, Tingting Zhang, Shu Peng and Jie Deng

The xenia effect refers to the phenomenon whereby the pollen genotype directly affects seed and fruit development during the period from fertilization to seed germination, which leads to different characteristics in phenotypic traits. The xenia effect can create differences in the endosperm and embryo formed after double fertilization and can also alter various fruit parameters, such as the fruit-ripening period; the fruit shape, size, and color; the flavor quality, such as sugars and acids; as well as the nutrient quality, such as anthocyanins. The xenia effect manifests in various ways, playing an important role in increasing the yield of fruit trees, improving fruit appearance and internal quality, as well as in directional breeding. Compared with other pomology research areas, our understanding of the xenia effect is still in its infancy. Currently, xenia is classified into two types: xenia and metaxenia. In the former, the direct effects of the pollen genotype are exhibited in the syngamous parts of the ovules; that is, the embryo and endosperm only. In the latter, the effects of the pollen genotype are demonstrated in structures other than the embryo and endosperm; that is, in tissues derived wholly from the mother plant material, in seed parts such as the nucellus and testa, as well as in the carpels and accessory tissues. However, the current classification has various shortcomings. In the present study, we propose a novel classification based on whether the appearance of xenia results from the tissue formed by double fertilization. Three xenia types are proposed: double-fertilization xenia, non–double-fertilization xenia, and combined xenia. The new classification has great theoretical and practical significance for future studies on the xenia effect and its mechanisms and also provides a more effective, broader application of xenia in improving the yield and quality of fruit trees.

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Chu-Hui Chiang, Tsong-Ann Yu, Shu-Fang Lo, Chao-Lin Kuo, Wen-Huang Peng and Hsin-Sheng Tsay

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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Tsung-Dao Liou, Kan-Shu Chen, Shough-Peng Lee, Jaw-Neng Lin, Shing-Jy Tsao and Yau-Wen Yang