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Theodore J.K. Radovich and Matthew D. Kleinhenz

Volume measurements are useful in crop quality management because they offer three-dimensional estimates of commodity size, which is often closely related to commodity weight and density. The objective of this study was to compare volume estimates calculated with the sphere and spherical ellipsoid volume formulae with direct measures of volume via water displacement across a population of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Capitata Group) heads varying widely in shape. A total of 157 heads with polar (P): equatorial (E) diameter ratios ranging between 0.5 (flat) to 2.1 (tall) were harvested at horticultural maturity from plants grown in 2002 and 2003 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio. The sphere formula underestimated volume in heads with P:E ratios <1 and overestimated volume in heads with P:E ratios >1. Use of the spherical ellipsoid formula reduced the shapedependency of volume estimates and was determined to be a valuable tool for the accurate, precise, and rapid measurement of head volume.

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Theodore J.K. Radovich, Matthew D. Kleinhenz and John G. Streeter

To better understand the influence of environmental factors on components of crop productivity and nutritional and sensory quality parameters, the fresh-market cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata Group) `Bravo' was irrigated at different periods relative to head development in 2002 and 2003 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. Irrigation was provided to plots either: 1) from planting to maturity, 2) during frame development only, or 3) during head development only. Control plants received no irrigation after plant establishment. Irrigation timing relative to crop stage significantly affected all head characteristics with the greatest differences between cabbage receiving irrigation during head development and cabbage not irrigated during head development. On average, heads from cabbage irrigated during head development were heavier, larger, less pointed, and had less volume occupied by the core than heads from cabbage not irrigated during head development. A positive, linear relationship (r 2 = 0.89) was found between head volume and head weight. Across years, combined head fructose and glucose concentrations were significantly greater and sucrose concentrations significantly lower in cabbage receiving irrigation during head development than in cabbage not irrigated during head development. Total and individual glucosinolate levels were greater in cabbage not irrigated during head development relative to cabbage receiving irrigation during head development. Head weight, fructose and glucose were positively related to the proportion of estimated crop evapotranspiration replaced by irrigation during head development, while the opposite response was observed in head sucrose and total and indole glucosinolate concentrations.

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Kent D. Kobayashi, Theodore J.K. Radovich and Brooke E. Moreno

Curricula in the Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa were created and modified in the last few years to educate students on topics related to environmental sustainability. New programs included an Organic Food Crop Production course and the Sustainable and Organic Farm Training program. The courses Tropical Production Systems, Vegetable Crop Production, and Weed Science were modified to incorporate concepts of environmental sustainability. The new curricula and modified courses were designed to actively engage students and to promote self-learning through in-depth coverage of sustainable horticultural theory, a hands-on practicum, farm visits, and cocurricular activities. Students were exposed to a broad range of topics, including agroecology, urban agriculture, organic food production, marketing, aquaponics, and landscape ecology from a unique tropical perspective.

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Chandrappa Gangaiah, Amjad Ahmad, Hue V. Nguyen, Koon-Hui Wang and Theodore J.K. Radovich

The application of locally available invasive algae biomass as a fertilizer for crop production in Hawaii is being investigated as a substitute for imported chemical fertilizers. Three closely related greenhouse trials were conducted to determine if the algae served as a source of potassium (K) on growth, yield, and K mineral nutrition in pak choi (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group). In the first trial, three algal species (Gracilaria salicornia, Kappaphycus alvarezii, and Eucheuma denticulatum) were applied at five rates of K, each to evaluate their effects on growth and K nutrition of pak choi plants. The pak choi was direct seeded into 0.0027-m3 pots containing peatmoss-based growth media. In trial 2, pak choi was grown in peat media at six rates of K provided by algae (E. denticulatum) or by potassium nitrate (KNO3). In trial 3, the six rates of K were provided through algae (K. alvarezii), KNO3, and potassium chloride (KCl) and were compared for growth and K nutrition. Results from the first greenhouse trial showed no significant differences among the three algal species in yield or tissue K content of pak choi. However, plant yield and tissue K concentration were increased with application rates. The maximum yield and tissue K were observed when K was provided within the range of 250–300 kg·ha−1. Similarly, in Expts. 2 and 3, there were no significant differences between commercial K fertilizers and algal K species for yield. Only K rates were significant for yields and tissue K concentrations. It was concluded that K in the invasive algae was similarly available as K in commercial synthetic fertilizers for pak choi growth in terms of yield and tissue K content under our experimental conditions.

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Archana P. Pant, Theodore J.K. Radovich, Nguyen V. Hue and Susan C. Miyasaka

Previous work has demonstrated the potential of compost tea to enhance plant growth and nutritional status. One factor thought to contribute to variability in the efficacy of compost tea is the amount of compost per unit volume of water. To address these gaps in our understanding, two greenhouse trials and two field trials were conducted to investigate the effects of various extraction ratios on the growth, mineral nitrogen (N), and phytonutrient content of pak choi (Brassica rapa, Chinensis) and on soil biological properties. In greenhouse experiments, plants were fertilized with a single rate of chicken manure-based thermophilic compost. In field trials, three fertilizer treatments: 1) rendered meat byproduct or Tankage (Island Commodities, Honolulu, HI); 2) soluble fertilizer (16:16:16); and 3) chicken manure-based thermophilic compost were applied. Aerated vermicompost teas were prepared using chicken manure-based vermicompost and water at various ratios. Pak choi plants were treated weekly for 4 weeks with 10%, 5%, 3%, and 1% vermicompost teas in the greenhouse experiments and 10% and 5% teas in the field trials. Applications of vermicompost tea significantly increased plant growth, N content, total carotenoids, and total glucosinolates in plant tissue; this response was greatest in chicken manure-fertilized treatments. Increases in yield and phytonutrient content were associated with increased N uptake. Vermicompost tea also increased soil respiration and dehydrogenase activity over the control (water). Plant growth, phytonutrient content, and microbial activities in soil increased with increasing concentrations of vermicompost tea. Within the range of concentrations evaluated (1%–10%), greatest plant growth response was observed with 5% and 10% vermicompost tea, indicating that the optimal water-to-vermicompost ratio for extraction is lower than 50:1 and is likely in the range of 10:1 to 20:1. The findings suggest that vermicompost tea could be used to improve plant nutrient status and enhance soil biological properties in vegetable production.

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Theodore J.K. Radovich, Matthew D. Kleinhenz, John G. Streeter, A. Raymond Miller and Joseph C. Scheerens

Glucosinolates are secondary plant metabolites derived from amino acids and they influence human health, pest populations and crop flavor. Our primary objective was to determine the independent and interactive effects of planting date (PD) and cultivar (C) on total glucosinolate concentrations in cabbage, in part to help develop management systems that optimize them. A second objective was to explore the reported link between total glucosinolate concentrations and pungency in fresh cabbage. Six commercial fresh market cabbage cultivars were planted in May and June 2001 and 2002 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Vegetable Crops Research Branch in Fremont, Ohio. Total glucosinolate concentrations in horticulturally mature heads were determined using a glucose evolution procedure. In 2001, 12 to 14 experienced panelists also scored sample pungency. Total glucosinolate concentrations were significantly affected by PD and C, but the PD × C interaction was not significant. Mean glucosinolate concentrations were greater in Maythan June-planted cabbage in both years. Cultivar ranking with regard to glucosinolate concentrations was similar between planting dates in both years. `Cheers' had the highest mean glucosinolate concentrations (23.1 and 29.5 mmol·kg-1 dry weight in 2001 and 2002, respectively) and `Solid Blue 790' the lowest (17.1 and 19.7 mmol·kg-1 dry weight in 2001 and 2002, respectively). In 2001, panelists generally scored cultivars highest in glucosinolates as more pungent than cultivars lowest in glucosinolates. These data suggest that planting date and cultivar effects on total glucosinolate concentrations in cabbage are largely independent. Climatic data suggest that higher air temperatures during head development of May-compared to June-planted cabbage induced plant stress and resulted in higher glucosinolate concentrations in May-planted cabbage.

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Theodore J.K. Radovich, Archana Pant, Ian Gurr, Ngyuen V. Hue, Jari Sugano, Brent Sipes, Norman Arancon, Clyde Tamaru, Bradley K. Fox, Kent D. Kobayashi and Robert Paull

Reducing grower reliance on off-island inputs to promote plant nutrition was identified by industry as a high priority in efforts to improve agricultural sustainability in Hawai’i. A variety of knowledge gaps exist that prevent producers from using locally produced amendments in the fertility program. This study will focus on recent transdisciplinary efforts at the University of Hawai’i to improve understanding of factors that affect variability in the quality, application, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of locally produced composts, vermicomposts, rendered animal products, and algae in Hawai’i. A series of greenhouse, experiment station, and on-farm trials have supported several conclusions, including 1) aqueous extracts of vermicomposts and high-quality, farmer-produced thermophilic composts can effectively improve crop growth and reduce costs associated with the use of these inputs; 2) replacement of peat and other imports with local materials in vegetable seedling production have the potential to improve seedling vigor and reduce costs in the long term; 3) commercially produced rendered meat products, alone and in combination with commercial composts, are a valuable local source of nitrogen (N); and 4) invasive algae from coral reef remediation may provide a significant source of potassium (K) in the near term, but K content of algae is highly dependent on species and location of growth.