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  • Author or Editor: Wei Liu x
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Hydroponic systems in plant factories can be categorized into recirculating or noncirculating systems. In this study, the effects of various commercially available circulation pumps, including a centrifugal magnetic drive pump, a regenerative self-priming pump, and a submersible pump, were experimentally explored. In addition, the effects of an ultraviolet sterilization system on the ion concentrations in nutrient solutions were examined. The concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, nitrate, sulfate, and ferric (Fe3+) ions in the nutrient solution were measured. For all three types of pumps, the results indicated that there was no significant effect on the concentrations of ions in the nutrient solution. However, the concentration of Fe3+ ions decreased significantly after the nutrient solution was treated by a ultraviolet sterilization system for 48 hours. In addition, the effects of the three types of pumps on the growth of butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were examined. The temperature records during the pump circulation tests showed that the nutrient solution temperature of the regenerative self-priming pump increased by 15.5 °C (from 20.5 to 36 °C), which caused yellow seedling, scorching on the leaves, and browning of the roots. The ion concentration in the nutrient solutions and total fresh weight of butterhead lettuce did not show any noticeable difference between the centrifugal magnetic drive pump and the submersible pump. In this paper, we clarify the cause of the decreasing iron concentration and provide a guideline for selecting the pump for circulating hydroponic systems in plant factories.

Open Access
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Potassium deficiency is a major problem limiting tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) growth, and grafting has the potential to alleviate it. To compare the photosynthetic performance of grafted tobacco under different potassium levels, tobacco Yunyan 87 (main cultivar) and Wufeng No. 2 (potassium high-efficiency cultivar) were selected to conduct mutual grafting trials in the form of hydroculture with two potassium supply levels (5 mmol·L−1 K and 0.5 mmol·L−1 K). The plant growth, gas exchange parameters, chlorophyll a fluorescence, and the initial ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (RuBisCO) activity were measured. The results showed that potassium deficiency could significantly decrease the net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate in the tobacco leaves, resulting in nonstomatal restriction. Grafting could effectively alleviate this problem. The actual quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII) photochemicals in ‘Yunyan 87’ increased 29.4% and 20.3% by grafting, respectively, under normal and low potassium levels. Compared with nongrafted ‘Yunyan 87’, grafting also effectively improved the electron transfer efficiency of PSII in the tobacco leaves under low potassium stress by reducing nonradiation energy dissipation and enhancing the initial activity of RuBisCO. From this study, it can be known that grafted tobacco plants can improve their photosynthesis by alleviating the nonstomata restriction of leaves under potassium stress and improving the electron transfer efficiency of PSII.

Open Access

Paeonia ostii is recognized as an important oilseed tree peony species with potential as a raw material source for cosmetic and health care products, strong seed setting capacity, high seed oil yield, and abundant omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. P. ostii, commonly called Fengdan, is widely cultivated in China. The cultivation method difference has an important influence on the oil-use feature, which is a key index for evaluating the quality of oilseed crops. This study aimed to select an optimal cultivation method to provide the first reference data for high-yield and high-quality seed oil harvesting and to facilitate the understanding of the quality difference in the formation mechanism of seed oil in cultivated P. ostii. This study selected five representative cultivation methods, open field cultivation, sunny slope cultivation, shady slope cultivation, understory intercropping cultivation, and high-altitude cultivation, and investigated the influence of cultivation method differences on the oil-use feature based on the three aspects of seed yield traits, oil yield, and fatty acid compositions. Six seed yield traits (fruit pod length, fruit pod width, fruit pod thickness, number of fruit pods per plant, 1000-grain weight, and seed yield per plant) and oil yield reached the maximum values of 7.75 cm, 6.99 cm, 1.57 cm, 11.33, 290.45 g, 85.8 g, and 30.41%, respectively, using the understory intercropping cultivation method. Fatty acid compositions were mainly identified as α-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid, with significant content differences among different cultivation methods (P < 0.05). Functional component α-linolenic acid and total amounts of unsaturated fatty acids reached the maximum values of 46.85% and 65.23%, respectively, with high-altitude cultivation and understory intercropping cultivation. The seed yield traits, oil yield, and total amounts of unsaturated fatty acids were optimal with the understory intercropping cultivation method, whereas high-altitude cultivation was conducive to the accumulation of α-linolenic acid. Understory intercropping cultivation with appropriate altitude increases is recommended as a preponderant cultivation method for high-yield and high-quality seed oil harvesting for this crop.

Open Access

This study investigated the effects of illumination time and soil moisture on seed germination and seedling establishment of Magnolia sprengeri Pamp. to improve the seed germination percentage and seedling survival percentage of M. sprengeri. It is of great significance for rapid propagation, seedling regeneration, field management, and artificial high-efficiency cultivation of M. sprengeri. In this study, the seeds of natural M. sprengeri populations from original habitat were used as test materials. Seed germination and seedling establishment of M. sprengeri were performed under different illumination time and soil moisture treatments in artificial climate incubator. The study found that there were significant differences among various key parameters related to seed germination and seedling establishment under different treatments (P < 0.05). Germination percentage, germination potential, germination index, vigor index, germination rate, plant height, number of leaves, base diameter, taproot length, number of lateral roots, maximum lateral root length, single plant leaf area, fresh weight, and seedling survival rate reached the maximum at continuous illumination and 13% of soil moisture, respectively. By the integrative evaluation for the influence of these two factors on seed germination and seedling establishment, soil moisture is a dominant factor affecting seed germination and seedling establishment, whereas illumination is an important promoting factor for seedling establishment of M. sprengeri. Continuous illumination and 13% of soil moisture content is suitable for seed germination and seedling establishment of M. sprengeri.

Open Access

Paeonia ostii T. Hong & J. X. Zhang is a perennial oil and medicinal plant with great importance as well as landscaping. P. ostii is being extensively planted in China, but the soil fertility limits the yield and quality. There is little information available on the effects of phosphorus fertilization on productivity, physiological characteristics, and seed yield and quality. This study investigated the influence of different phosphorus levels, 0 kg·hm−2 (CK), 90 c−2 (P1), 135 kg·hm−2 (P2), 180 kg·hm−2 (P3), 225 kg·hm−2 (P4), and 270 kg·hm−2 (P5), on the photosynthesis, morphology, physiological parameters, and yield of P. ostii. The results indicated that the net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate of P. ostii increased significantly with the application of P4, which increased by 34.77%, 65.72%, and 21.00% compared with CK, respectively. Simultaneously, the contents of soluble sugar, soluble protein, and photosynthetic pigment in P4 were the highest compared with other treatments. In addition, thousand-grain weight (326.4 g) and seed yield per plant (37.33 g) of P4 were significantly higher than the control. However, the total amount of unsaturated fatty acids in P4 was lower compared with other treatments. The indexes of high correlation coefficients with Dim 1 and Dim 2 were g S and superoxide dismutase (SOD), respectively. The results showed that phosphorus levels improved plant photosynthetic capacity and increased antioxidant capacity as well as seed yield. Furthermore, phosphate fertilizer had significant effects on the oil composition. Moreover, the effect of phosphorus application rate on the growth index of P. ostii was greater than that of the physiological index.

Open Access

Mechanical ventilation systems are applied in greenhouses for temperature adjustment, but they consume a large amount of energy. This research aims to optimize the energy consumption of a variable air volume (VAV) fan-pad evaporative cooling system via experimentation. We discuss the effects of adjusting the VAV fan-pad evaporative cooling system on temperature and humidity, and we provide an estimate of the corresponding energy consumption under different highest stable temperature conditions. The test results demonstrate that a higher fan frequency is typically accompanied by greater ventilation quantity, faster cooling speed, more pronounced effects of the fan-pad evaporative cooling system fan, and more intensive energy consumption during the cooling process compared with a low fan frequency. When the temperature increased for 71 seconds or 60 seconds in a specific temperature zone (34 to 35 °C), the indoor temperature could be reduced to the optimum for crops with a fan frequency of 20 Hz, saving more than 87% of the energy output. When the warm-up time for a specific temperature zone (34 to 35 °C) was 41 seconds, the indoor temperature could be reduced to the optimum temperature for crops only when the fan frequency was 50 Hz. The VAV fan-pad evaporative cooling system increased the relative humidity in the greenhouse to satisfy crop production demands. The temperature of crops shared the same variation trend as temperatures inside the greenhouse. Our research results theoretically benefit cooling control and energy-saving design of greenhouses in the subtropics.

Open Access

Triploid loquat (2n = 3x = 51) has stronger growth vigor and larger leaves, flowers, and fruit compared with its diploid parental plant (2n = 2x = 34), but the effects of triploidization on the contents of flavonoids and phenolics in leaves and flowers, which are the most important antioxidant compounds for pharmacological applications, have not been reported. In this report, 58 triploid loquat genotypes and seven corresponding diploid parental cultivars were used to evaluate the effects of triploidization on the contents of total flavonoids and phenolics and the antioxidant activities of leaves and flower buds. The results showed that the contents of total flavonoids and phenolics and their corresponding antioxidant activities were higher in most of the triploid loquat genotypes than their diploid parents. The antioxidant activities of leaves and flower buds were significantly correlated with the total flavonoids and phenolics contents in both diploid loquat and triploid loquat. It could be inferred that triploidization could increase the contents of flavonoids and phenolics in leaves and flower buds of loquat. Notably, the contents of total flavonoids and phenolics of leaves in triploid genotype ‘H3/24’ were the highest, reaching 212.00 mg rutin equivalent (RE)/g DW and 93.06 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/g DW, respectively, which were significantly higher than those previously reported. Such a valuable trait may be stacked with other triploid traits that are already established, such as larger vegetative organs and better tolerance to various stresses, as a feasible strategy for breeding loquat cultivars with high pharmaceutical potency.

Free access

The MADS-box gene family encodes a type of transcription factor, and plays a key role in the growth and development of plants. Here, we identified 62 MADS-box genes in the melon (Cucumis melo) genome using bioinformatics methods. These genes were divided into type I Mα, Mγ, and Mδ subfamilies (26 members) and type II MIKCC subfamilies (36 members) by phylogenetic analysis. There were no genes in type II AGL12, BS, TM8, and MIKC* subfamilies, and type I Mβ subfamilies. Conserved motif analysis showed that all motifs had a subfamily-specific distribution except the M domain. The expression analysis of the MADS-box genes showed different expression characteristics. In summary, this study is the first to identify melon MADS-box genes and analyze their gene structures, subfamily distribution, and expression characteristics. These results provide a foundation for investigating the functions of the melon MADS-box genes.

Free access