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Sylvie Jenni

Rib discoloration in crisphead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) has been successfully induced by applying heat stress. Two studies were conducted to determine the effect of short periods (3 and 5 days) of high temperatures (35/25 °C and 35/15 °C day/night temperatures) at various developmental stages (at heading, and at 1, 2, and 3 weeks after heading) on rib discoloration incidence and severity. Lettuce (cv. Ithaca) was most sensitive to heat stress 2 weeks after heading: applying 35/25 °C or 35/15 °C day/night temperatures for 3 or 5 days resulted on average in 46% of mature heads with rib discoloration symptoms. Stressing plants at earlier or later stages resulted in significantly lower incidences of the disorder, with only 4% to 17% plants showing symptoms. More leaves were affected by the disorder when heat stress was applied 2 weeks after heading than when the stress was applied earlier or later. Night temperature and stress duration had no effect on the incidence and severity of rib discoloration. Up to eight leaves, located between the first and fifteenth leaves acropetal to the cap leaf, showed symptoms. This report establishes a direct relationship between rib discoloration and heat stress, proposes a new method to help lettuce breeders screen germplasm for rib discoloration tolerance, and supports the development of tools for predicting the occurrence of rib discoloration in the field according to meteorological data.

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Sylvie Jenni and Gaetan Bourgeois

The Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt und Chemische Industrie (BBCH) identification key was adapted for crisphead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) to facilitate identification of phenological stages and decisions regarding field operations from seeding to harvest maturity. The original system described leaf development based on leaf count from stage 11 (1 leaf) to stage 19 (9 leaf), and head development based on percentage of expected head size reached at maturity from stage 41 to 49. The new coding leaf development stages range from 11 to 29, corresponding to the 1-leaf to 19-leaf stages. The head development stages also ranged from 41 to 49, but phenological stages near commercial maturity from 43 to 49 are now described as a function of head firmness. The important maturity traits of crisphead lettuce include head size and density. Head volume can be estimated from three diameters by using Currence's equation, which takes into account head geometry. The firmness index obtained by hand compression gave a more precise estimate of head density than the density estimate derived from Currence's equation or the sphere equation. Crisphead lettuce development stages and maturity traits can be easily quantified in the field for use in planning field operations and for experimental purposes.

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Sylvie Jenni and Katrine A. Stewart

Quebec vegetable growers are increasingly using agricultural plastics (plasticulture) not only for gains in crop yield, earliness, and quality, but also for weed control and water and fertilizer conservation. Curcubitaceae include heat-loving crops that respond well to plasticulture. Melons are among the most responsive of all crops because they are sensitive to both low soil and air temperatures and to wind, but are very tolerant of high temperatures. The objective of this project was to develop a bioeconomic model that will predict the yield and timing of a melon crop under a number of mulch/tunnel combinations, evaluate the profitability of each production regime, and establish the optimal combinations that will maximize profit and continuity of supply over an extended growing season. A compartment model representing state, rate, and driving variables will be presented.

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Sylvie Jenni, David de Koeyer, and George Emery

Rib discoloration is a physiological disorder associated with heat stress in crisphead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Rib discoloration resistance was studied in a 2-year field experiment using parental and F2 plant populations from a cross of ‘Emperor’, a resistant cultivar, and ‘Eldorado’, a susceptible cultivar. Rib discoloration was evaluated in terms of incidence (percentage of plants with symptoms) and severity (on a 1–5 scale) and was correlated with maturity traits. The rib discoloration severity ratings for the two reciprocal F2 populations were intermediate between the two parents and were not significantly different, indicating the lack of cytoplasmic inheritance for rib discoloration in ‘Emperor’ and ‘Eldorado’. In both parents and F2 progenies, rib discoloration severity was strongly correlated with stem length, head height, head diameter, and head weight, but not with head density. In the resistant parent, more severe rib discoloration was associated with denser heads, whereas in the susceptible parent, the expression of the disorder was independent of head density. The chi-square tests rejected the hypothesis for monogenic segregation in some plantings but not in others. Resistance to rib discoloration is likely to be controlled by more than one gene with a high heritability (h2 = 0.57, P < 0.0001).

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Fahrurrozi Aziz, Katrine A. Stewart, and Sylvie Jenni

Temperature modification is the most investigated environmental factor considered to affect muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. Reticulatus Group) growth in a mulched minitunnel production system. Until now, effects on CO2 concentrations within the tunnel have been ignored. Experiments on production of `Earligold' netted muskmelon were conducted in 1997, 1998, and 1999 to determine daily CO2 concentrations for 10 mulched minitunnel and thermal water tube combinations. Carbon dioxide concentrations under nonperforated (clear or infrared-blocking polyethylene) tunnels were significantly higher (three to four times) than that of ambient air. Soil respiration under the plastic mulch was primarily responsible for increased CO2 levels in the tunnel. Daily CO2 concentrations in the tunnels varied little during early muskmelon growth, but fluctuated widely as the plants developed. Ventilation significantly decreased CO2 concentrations in the tunnels but levels remained significantly above the control and perforated tunnel treatments. When using mulched minitunnels for muskmelon production, daily CO2 concentrations should be recognized as a significant factor influencing growth.

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Fahrurrozi Aziz, Katrine A. Stewart, and Sylvie Jenni

Field experiments were conducted during 1997, 1998, and 1999 to determine effects of 10 combinations of mulched minitunnel and thermal water tube on air, soil, and water-tube temperatures and on vegetative growth of `Earligold' netted muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. Reticulatus Group) within the tunnels. Use of mulched minitunnels significantly increased air, soil and water temperatures during the preanthesis phase in all years compared with control treatments. Inclusion of water tubes and venting the tunnels decreased air temperature fluctuations in the tunnels. During the first 10 to 15 days after transplanting, plants grown in nonperforated tunnels had higher relative growth rates (RGRs), net assimilation rates (NARs), and dry weights (DWs) than those grown under perforated tunnels and control plots. Plants in tunnels containing thermal water tubes generally had higher RGRs, NARs, and DWs than those without tubes. During the later part of the experiment, from 11 to 16 days after transplanting until anthesis, however, there were no consistent effects of mulched minitunnels on RGR, NAR, and plant DW. Tunneled muskmelons had significantly higher RGRs, but generally lower NARs than those grown without tunnel. Use of mulched minitunnels significantly increased plant DW at anthesis in 1997, but not in 1998 and 1999. Plants grown in the minitunnels containing a thermal water tube generally had higher RGRs, NARs, and DWs than those without water tubes. Ventilating nonperforated tunnels generally increased RGR, NAR, and plant DW. Plants grown in the tunnels reached anthesis 10 days earlier than those without tunnels.

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Sylvie Jenni, Katrine A. Stewart, Gaétan Bourgeois, and Daniel C. Cloutier

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Sylvie Jenni, Pierre Dutilleul, Stephen Yamasaki, and Nicolas Tremblay

In order to investigate their relationships with brown bead, a data set composed of 48 variables characterizing the developmental rate, climate, and nutrients in the soil and in the tissues of heads of broccoli (Brassica oleracea L., Italica group) was collected from 328 plots (41 experimental fields over 3 year× 4 N fertilization level× 2 blocks). The four N treatments were 85-0-0, 85-54-0, 85-54-54, and 85-54-108, the first number indicating the N level (kg·ha-1) applied before planting; the second, N level applied 5 weeks after planting; and the last, N level applied 7 weeks after planting. Broccoli plants were either direct-seeded (26 experimental fields) or transplanted (15 experimental fields). Whether direct-seeded or transplanted, fast-developing broccoli plants showed a lower incidence of brown bead. More particularly, heads of transplanted broccoli plants experiencing warmer temperatures had a lower brown bead incidence and severity. A regular supply of water decreased the incidence and severity of the physiological disorder in both direct-seeded and transplanted broccoli plants. Low levels of Ca and high levels of Mg and K in mature broccoli head tissues were associated with a higher incidence of brown bead. Multiple-regression models were developed to predict the percentage of broccoli heads with brown bead for direct-seeded plants (R 2 = 0.76; n = 104), and for transplanted plants (R 2 = 0.69; n = 44). For direct-seeded broccoli, solar radiation between the button stage (head diameter of 2.5 cm) and maturity (head diameter of 10 cm), as well as soil and tissue Mg content, were among the first variables to enter the regression models. In general, more solar radiation and less precipitation translated into more heads showing brown bead symptoms. For transplanted broccoli plants, the minimum temperature from the button stage to maturity was a key variable in the prediction of the percentage of heads with brown bead and the corresponding index of severity.

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Sylvie Jenni, Katrine A. Stewart, Gaétan Bourgeois, and Daniel C. Cloutier

A simple method to predict time from anthesis of perfect flowers to fruit maturity (full slip) and yield is presented here for muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) grown in a northern climate. Developmental time for individual muskmelons from anthesis to full slip could be predicted from several heat unit formulas, depending on the temperature data set used. When temperature at 7.5 cm above soil level was used, the heat unit formula resulting in the lowest coefficient of variation (cv=6.9%) accumulated daily average temperatures with a base temperature of 11 °C and an upper threshold of 25 °C. With temperatures recorded at a meteorological station located 2 km from the experimental field, the method showing the lowest cv (8.9%) accumulated daily maximum temperatures with a base temperature of 15 °C. This latter method was improved by including a 60-degree-day lag for second cycle fruit. The proportion of fruit volume at full slip of 22 fruit from the first cycle could be described by a common Richards function (R 2=0.99). Although 65% of the plants produced two fruit cycles, fruit from the first cycle represented 72% of total yield in terms of number and mass. The blooming period of productive flowers lasted 34 days, each cycle overlapping and covering an equal period of 19 days. Counting the number of developing fruit >4 cm after 225 degree days from the start of anthesis (when 90% of the plants have at least one blooming perfect flower) could rapidly estimate the number of fruit that will reach maturity.

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Sylvie Jenni, Gaétan Bourgeois, Hélène Laurence, Geneviève Roy, and Nicolas Tremblay

Four snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars, Goldrush, Teseo, Labrador, and Flevoro, were grown in irrigated fields of southern Quebec between 1985 and 1998. Data on phenology collected from these fields were used to determine which base temperature would best predict time from sowing to maturity. The optimal base temperature was 0 °C for `Goldrush', `Teseo', and `Labrador' and 6.7 °C for `Flevoro'. Adjusting different base temperatures for intermediate developmental stages (emergence, flowering) did not improve the prediction model. All years for a given cultivar were then used to determine the base temperature with the lowest coefficient of variation (CV) for predicting the time from sowing to maturity. A common base temperature of 0 °C was selected for all cultivars, since `Flevoro' was not very sensitive to changes in base temperature. This method improved the prediction of maturity compared with the conventional computation growing-degree days (GDD) with a base of 10 °C. For the years and cultivars used in this study, calculating GDD with a base of 0 °C gave an overall prediction of maturity of 1.7, 1.5, 2.0, and 1.4 days based on average absolute differences, for `Flevoro', `Goldrush', `Teseo', and `Labrador', respectively.