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Huiying Li, Hongji Luo, Deying Li, Tao Hu and Jinmin Fu

Lead pollution is an important issue in the world. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), as one of the widely used turfgrass and forage species, has a potential for bioremediation. The objective of this study was to investigate how antioxidant enzymes and their gene transcripts respond to Pb stress in perennial ryegrass. Ryegrass seedlings were subjected to 0, 0.5, and 3.2 mm of Pb(NO3)2 for 7 days in a hydroponic system maintained in a greenhouse. Both root and shoot growths were inhibited by Pb compared with the control. However, contents of chlorophyll (Chl) a and total Chl were unaffected by Pb treatment. Results from this study showed a substantial increase of malondialdehyde (MDA) content in leaf tissues when perennial ryegrass was exposed to Pb at 3.2 mm. The MDA content from plants in the 0.5 mm Pb treatment was lower than the control, indicating that an effective defense mechanism existed. Circumstantial evidence came also from the content of soluble protein in 0.5 mm Pb treatment, which was not different from the control. Furthermore, the activity of catalase (CAT) increased at 0.5 mm Pb compared with the control, indicating that CAT might play an important role in scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). The expression profiles of eight genes encoding antioxidative enzymes were upregulated within 24 hours of Pb treatment. In conclusion, antioxidant enzymes responded to Pb at an early stage of exposure and their gene expression profiles provided more details in time courses of the activation of those systems.

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Li Yingzhi, Cheng Yunjiang, Tao Nengguo and Deng Xiuxin

Nucleotide sequences of the second intron of the nuclear LEAFY gene (FLint2) and trnL-trnF region of the chloroplast genome were used to analyze the phylogenetic relationships among eight wild mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco), 19 mandarin landraces, and 19 related species of Citrus L. Forty-six trnL-trnF sequences and 111 FLint2 sequences were obtained from 46 ingroup accessions, with an average length of 1059.7 and 776.7 bp respectively. Phylogeny reconstructions were conducted separately for these two data sets using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood criteria. Monophyly of mandarins was supported by both of these data sets, and in this clade, most mandarin landraces formed an unresolved polytomy, whereas ‘Jiangyong 1’, ‘Chongyi A2’, ‘Chongyi A1’ (or ‘Jiangyong 4’ in FLint2 data), and ‘Daoxian 1’ wild mandarins formed a subclade. ‘Mangshan A1’ and ‘Daoxian 5’ wild mandarins were sisters to this mandarin clade. A hybrid origin of five mandarin landraces and several mandarin-related species was suggested as a plausible hypothesis to explain the incongruence between the FLint2 and trnL-trnF data sets.

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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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Soohyun Kang, Yating Zhang, Yuqi Zhang, Jie Zou, Qichang Yang and Tao Li

Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) is the main component of UV radiation in nature. However, its role on plant growth, to a large extent, remains unknown. In this study, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Beijing Cherry Tomato’) seedlings were cultivated in an controlled environment in which UV-A radiation was provided by UV-A fluorescent lamps (λmax = 369 nm) with a fluence rate of 2.28 W·m−2. The photoperiod of UV-A radiation was 0, 4, 8, and 16 hours, which corresponds to control, UV-A4, UV-A8, and UV-A16 treatments, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was 220 μmol·m−2·s−1, which was provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a blue/red light ratio of 1:9, the photoperiod of PPFD was 16 hours. We showed that supplementing 8 and 16 hours of UV-A to visible radiation (400–700 nm) stimulated plant biomass production by 29% and 33%, respectively, compared with that of control. This resulted mainly from larger leaves (i.e., 22% and 31% in 8 and 16 hours UV-A, respectively), which facilitated light capture. Supplemental UV-A also enhanced photosynthetic capacity, as indicated by greater net photosynthesis rates in response to CO2 under saturating PPFD. Furthermore, the greatest stomatal conductance (g S) value was observed in UV-A16, followed by UV-A8, which correlated with the greater stomatal density in the corresponding treatments. Moreover, supplemental UV-A did not induce any stress, as the maximum quantum efficiency of photosynthetic system II (PSII) (F v/F m) remained ≈0.82 in all treatments. Similarly, chlorophyll content and leaf mass area (LMA) were also unaffected by UV-A radiation. Taken together, we conclude that supplementing reasonable levels of UV-A to visible radiation stimulates growth of indoor cultivated tomato seedlings.

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Qingrong Sun, Meijuan Sun, Hongyan Sun, Richard L. Bell, Linguang Li, Wei Zhang and Jihan Tao

The organogenesis potential is different among cultivars and must be optimized for individual genotype. Shoot organogenesis capacity from in vitro leaves and root organogenesis capacity of in vitro shoots in six clonal apple rootstock cultivars were compared. The shoot organogenesis capacity was highly genotype dependent. ‘GM256’ was found to be the most responsive genotype for shoot regeneration from leaf explants among the cultivars, showing high regeneration percentage on all tested media. The effects of basal medium composition and cytokinins on shoot regeneration were different depending on rootstock genotype. Optimum regeneration occurred on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium for ‘71-3-150’, and optimum regeneration occurred on Quoirin and Lepoivre (QL) basal medium for ‘60-160’ and ‘ПБ’. Thidiazuron (TDZ) was more effective than 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) for Malus prunifolia (Y), whereas TDZ and BA were not significantly different for the other cultivars. All rootstock cultivars showed high root organogenic capacity. The percentage of rooting reached more than 90% and the mean root number per plantlet ranged from three to five. The optimum rooting medium was different for different rootstock cultivars. Optimum root organogenesis occurred on half-strength QL medium for ‘GM256’ and ‘Y’, and for ‘ПБ’ and ‘JM7’ on one-quarter-strength MS medium.

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Jun-Bo Yang, Hong-Tao Li, De-Zhu Li, Jie Liu, Lian-Ming Gao, De-Zhu Li, Lian-Ming Gao and Jie Liu

The Himalayan yew, Taxus wallichiana Zucc., is an endangered species with a scatted distribution in the Eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In the present study, 10 microsatellite markers from the genome of T. wallichiana were developed using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats (FIASCO). Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 28 samples from four wild populations of the Himalayan yew. The allele number of the microsatellites ranged from two to five with an average of 2.9 per allele. The observed and expected heterozygosity varied from 0.00 to 1.00 and from 0.3818 to 0.7552, respectively. Cross-species amplification in another two yew species showed eight of them holding promise for sister species. Two of the 10 loci (TG126 and TC49) significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected between the comparisons of these loci. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for population genetics studies and assessing genetic variations to establish conservation strategy of this endangered species.

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Zhuang-Zhuang Liu, Tao Chen, Fang-Ren Peng, You-Wang Liang, Peng-Peng Tan, Zheng-Hai Mo, Fan Cao, Yang-Juan Shang, Rui Zhang and Yong-Rong Li

Cytosine methylation plays important roles in regulating gene expression and modulating agronomic traits. In this study, the fluorescence-labeled methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (F-MSAP) technique was used to study variation in cytosine methylation among seven pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars at four developmental stages. In addition, phenotypic variations in the leaves of these seven cultivars were investigated. Using eight primer sets, 22,796 bands and 950 sites were detected in the pecan cultivars at four stages. Variation in cytosine methylation was observed among the pecan cultivars, with total methylation levels ranging from 51.18% to 56.58% and polymorphism rates of 82.29%, 81.73%, 78.64%, and 79.09% being recorded at the four stages. Sufficiently accompanying the polymorphism data, significant differences in phenotypic traits were also observed among the pecan cultivars, suggesting that cytosine methylation may be an important factor underlying phenotypic variation. Hypermethylation was the dominant type of methylation among the four types observed, and full methylation occurred at higher levels than did hemimethylation in the pecan genomes. Cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) identified Dice coefficients ranging from 0.698 to 0.778, with an average coefficient of 0.735, and the variance contribution rates of the previous three principal coordinates were 19.6%, 19.0%, and 18.2%, respectively. Among the seven pecan cultivars, four groups were clearly classified based on a Dice coefficient of 0.75 and the previous three principal coordinates. Tracing dynamic changes in methylation status across stages revealed that methylation patterns changed at a larger proportion of CCGG sites from the 30% of final fruit-size (30%-FFS) stage to the 70%-FFS stage, with general decreases in the total methylation level, the rate of polymorphism, and specific sites being observed in each cultivar. These results demonstrated that the F-MSAP technique is a powerful tool for quantitatively detecting cytosine methylation in pecan genomes and provide a new perspective for studying many important life processes in pecan.