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Yan Xu and Yuejin Wang

Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) constitute a rapid and informative strategy for studying gene-expression profiles of specific stages of annual and perennial plant species. Compared with annual plants, the NCBI database has very little sequence information from perennial plant species. To date, only ∼145 ESTs of Vitis pseudoreticulata W.T. Wang have been deposited in databases. This is insufficient to understand the biology and development of this species. In this report, a cDNA library constructed from young leaf inoculated with powdery mildew pathogen [Uncinula necator (Schw.) Burr.] of Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata. Leaf was harvested at various times after inoculation for total RNA extraction, which was used to generate ESTs. In our study, 107 cDNA clones were sequenced either from 5' or 3' end of the cDNAs. Among them, 60 unigenes (56%) were functionally characterized by the BLASTX matches to known function proteins, and 20 unigenes (18.6 %) matched significantly with those having unknown function in the public databases. The remaining 27 unigenes (25.2%) failed to show significant homology to any proteins in the public databases, suggesting that they represent novel sequences. Some functional genes identified from the cDNA library to be potentially associated with plant defence-related responses are discussed.

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Kun Xu*, Xiufeng Wang, and Fang Wang

Mulching with straw increase soil water content, air relative humidity and air temperature, but decreased soil temperature. Though mulching with straw didn't change light intensity, ginger growth and yield were the same as shading. The growth and yield under shading and mulching with straw were both higher than that of naked soil.

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Kun Xu*, Xiufeng Wang, and Fang Wang

The rate of fertilizer-N utilization by ginger was quite different in different applying stages. The results indicated that the rate of fertilizer-N utilization increased with the delay of application. The highest utilization rate was the fertilizer dressed at middle period of vigorous growth, which was 45.24%; while the basal manure utilization rate was only 27.67%. It was also shown that the nitrogen uptake from basal manure was distributed in highest level in main shoots and leaves, the nitrogen derived from fertilizer dressed at middle period of vigorous growth was mostly distributed into rhizomes, and nitrogen absorbed from fertilizer dressed at early period of vigorous growth was distributed evenly into all organs. The reclamation rate from fertilizer dressed at middle period of growth was the highest and lowest reclamation rate was the basal manure. The content of fertilizer-N and soil-N in ginger plant was determined, it was shown 56.57% plant-N was derived from soil-N, the remaining 43.43% was from fertilizer-N. The nitrogen from soil played a very important role in ginger production, therefore the problem of how to maintain high soil fertilizer must be paid more attention.

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Qingzhang Xu, Bingru Huang, and Zhaolong Wang

High air and soil temperatures are major factors limiting growth of cool-season grasses. A previous study by the authors reported that a soil temperature reduction of only 3 °C when air temperature was maintained at 35 °C significantly improved shoot and root growth of creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.) Farw. (syn. A. palustris Huds.)]. This study was designed to investigate the responses of photosynthetic activities of creeping bentgrass to lowered root-zone temperatures from the supraoptimal level when shoots were exposed to high air temperature. Two cultivars of creeping bentgrass, `L-93' and `Penncross', were exposed to the following air/root-zone temperature regimes in growth chambers and water baths: 1) optimal air and soil temperatures (20/20 °C, control); 2) lowering soil temperature by 3, 6, and 11 °C from 35 °C at high air temperatures (35/32, 35/29, and 35/24 °C); and 3) high air and soil temperatures (35/35 °C). Soil temperature was reduced from 35 °C by circulating cool water (18 °C) in water baths at variable flow rates. Both cultivars had similar responses to high or low root-zone temperatures with high air temperature. High air and root-zone temperatures caused significant reductions in canopy photosynthetic rate (Pcanopy), single-leaf photosynthetic rate (Pleaf), leaf chlorophyll content, photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity, beginning on day 1 of high air and soil temperature stress for Pcanopy and Pleaf, and day 7 for chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. The 3 °C reduction in root-zone temperature at high air temperature had no effect on those photosynthetic parameters, except chlorophyll content. Reducing root-zone temperature by 6 °C or 11 °C while maintaining air temperature at 35 °C significantly improved Pcanopy, Poleaf, leaf chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, and Rubisco activity. Single leaf photosynthetic rate at 35/24 °C was not different from the control level, but Pcanopy at 35/24 °C was lower than the control level. A reduction in root-zone temperature enhanced canopy and single-leaf photosynthetic capacity even though shoots were exposed to supraoptimal air temperature, which could contribute to improved turfgrass growth.

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Qingzhang Xu, Bingru Huang, and Zhaolong Wang

Turf quality of creeping bentgrass (Agrotis palustris L.) often declines during summer months. Reducing soil temperature alleviates bentgrass quality decline at supraoptimal air temperatures. The objective of this study was to investigate whether reducing soil temperature during the night is more effective than during the day in improving shoot and root growth when air temperature was supraoptimal for creeping bentgrass. The experiment was conducted in growth chambers using water baths to manipulate soil temperatures. Plants were exposed to the following temperature treatments: 1) optimal air and soil temperature during the day and night (20/20 °C, day/night, control); 2) high air and soil temperature during the day and night (35/35 °C, day/night); 3) lower soil temperatures during the day (20/35, 25/35, and 30/35 °C, day/night); and 4) lower soil temperature during the night (35/20, 35/25, and 35/30 °C) while air temperature was maintained at 35 °C during the day and night. Turf quality (on 1-9 scale) increased to the level of 6.5, 3.0, and 2.5 by reducing day soil temperature to 20, 25, or 30 °C, respectively, at 28 days of treatment, compared to the quality of 2.0 at 35/35 °C. Turf quality increased from 2.0 at 35/35 °C to 7.0, 6.0, and 4.5, respectively, by 28 days of exposure to night temperatures of 20, 25, and 30 °C. Chlorophyll content, root number, and root weight also were increased by reducing day or night soil temperature, and the increases were more pronounced for reduced night temperatures than day temperatures. These results demonstrated that reduced night soil temperature was more effective than reduced day soil temperature in improving shoot and root growth in creeping bentgrass under high air temperature conditions.

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Zhaolong Wang, Bingru Huang, and Qingzhang Xu

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important hormone regulating plant response to drought stress. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of exogenous ABA application on turf performance and physiological activities of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) in response to drought stress. Plants of two kentucky bluegrass cultivars, `Brilliant' (drought susceptible) and `Midnight' (drought tolerant), were treated with ABA (100 μm) or water by foliar application and then grown under drought stress (no irrigation) or well-watered (irrigation on alternate days) conditions in a growth chamber. The two cultivars responded similarly to ABA application under both watering regimes. Foliar application of ABA had no effects on turf quality or physiological parameters under well-watered conditions. ABA application, however, helped maintain higher turf quality and delayed the quality decline during drought stress, compared to the untreated control. ABA-treated plants exposed to drought stress had higher cell membrane stability, as indicated by less electrolyte leakage of leaves, and higher photochemical efficiency, expressed as Fv/Fm, compared to untreated plants. Leaf water potential was not significantly affected, whereas leaf turgor pressure increased with ABA application after 9 and 12 d of drought. Osmotic adjustment increased with ABA application, and was sustained for a longer period of drought in `Midnight' than in `Brilliant'. The results suggested that exogenous ABA application improved turf performance during drought in both drought-sensitive and tolerant cultivars of kentucky bluegrass. This positive effect of ABA could be related to increased osmotic adjustment, cell turgor maintenance, and reduced damage to cell membranes and the photosynthetic system.

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Qingzhang Xu, Bingru Huang, and Zhaolong Wang

Heat injury in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera var. palustris Huds) has been associated with decreases in carbohydrate availability. Extending light duration may increase carbohydrate availability and thus improve growth of creeping bentgrass under heat stress. The objective of this study was to investigate whether turf performance and carbohydrate status could be improved by extending daily light duration for creeping bentgrass exposed to supraoptimal temperature conditions. `Penncross' plants were initially grown in growth chambers set at a day/night temperature of 20/15 °C and 14-hour photoperiod and then exposed to a day/night temperature of 33/28 °C (heat stress) and three different light durations: 14 (control), 18, and 22 hours (extended light duration) for 30 days. Turf quality and tiller density decreased with the duration of heat stress, as compared to the initial level at 20 °C, regardless of the light duration. However, both parameters increased with extended light duration from 14 to 18 or 22 hours. Extended light duration, particularly to 22 hours, also improved canopy net photosynthetic rate from -1.26 to 0.39 μmol·m-2·s-1 and daily total amount of carbon assimilation from -6.4 to 31.0 mmol·m-2·d-1, but reduced daily total amount of carbon loss or consumption to 50% through dark respiration compared to 14 hours treatment by the end of experiment. In addition, extending light duration from 14 to 22 hours increased water-soluble carbohydrate content in leaves both at the end of light duration and the dark period. These results demonstrated that extending light duration improved turf performance of creeping bentgrass under heat stress, as manifested by the increased tiller density and turf quality. This could be related to the increased carbohydrate production and accumulation. Supplemental lighting could be used to improve performance if creeping bentgrass is suffering from heat stress.

Open access

Guohui Xu, Lei Lei, and Hexin Wang

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Aoxue Wang, Fanjuan Meng, Xiangyang Xu, Yong Wang, and Jingfu Li

Leaf mold, caused by the fungus Cladosporium fulvum, is a serious disease of tomato. In the current study, the main physiological races of C. fulvum collected from three northeastern provinces of China were identified using a set of identification hosts. The results showed that the prevalent pathogenic physiological races were 1.2.3, 1.3, 3, 1.2.3.4, and 1.2.4. F1, F2, and BC1 tomato plants were obtained by crossing C. fulvum-resistant cultivar 03748 carrying the Cf-6 gene and susceptible cultivar 03036. Three 10-mer oligonucleotide random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers and two simple sequence repeat (SSR) primers were selected for the further molecular marking analysis after 210 RAPD primers and 50 SSR primers were screened using the bulked segregate analysis method. The polymorphic DNA bands were amplified among parents, 10 F1 plants, 184 F2 plants including 145 resistant plants and 39 sensitive plants using three RAPD primers and two SSR primers so that three RAPD molecular markers and two SSR molecular markers linked to the Cf-6 loci were identified. Three RAPD markers were linked to the Cf-6 resistant locus separated with 8.7 cM, 20.3 cM, and 33.4 cM. Also, one RAPD codominant marker S374619/559 was found. The locations of the two SSR markers were 12.6 cM and 9.7 cM away from the Cf-6 locus. After cloning and sequencing two specific DNA fragments closely connected to the Cf-6 resistant and susceptible alleles respectively, in the RAPD codominant marker S374619/559 and one codominant sequence characterized amplified region marker S674619/559 was converted from RAPD marker S374619/559. In the RAPD marker S374619/559, the length difference of two specific fragments, 619-bp fragment and 559-bp fragment, is the result of one insertion (60 bp) in the 619-bp fragment. These markers will facilitate the selection of resistant tomato germplasm containing the Cf-6 gene and cloning of Cf-6 to breed new C. fulvum resistant tomato cultivars.

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Huiling Wang, Wei Wang, Weidong Huang, and Haiying Xu

Salicylic acid (SA) as a plant signal molecule plays an important regulatory role in stimulating the accumulation of plants’ defensive compounds. Numerous studies have shown its regulating effects on the biosynthesis of flavonoids. However, the controlling mechanism needs to be made clear further. Here, Vitis vinifera L. ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ cell suspension cultures were treated with SA and its synthesis inhibitor paclobutrazol (Pac) to investigate their effects on flavonoid biosynthesis. The accumulation of gene transcripts and proteins of flavonoid biosynthesis pathway enzymes, including chalcone synthase (VvCHS), chalcone isomerase (VvCHI), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (VvDFR), and anthocyanidin synthase (VvANS), were detected using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and western-blotting techniques. The results showed that treatment with exogenous SA at the proper concentration enhanced the production of flavonoids such as anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins (PAs) inside the suspension-cultured cells. The induction of anthocyanins and PAs was found to be time course-dependent. The mRNA and protein accumulation of VvCHS, VvCHI, VvDFR, and VvANS in the treatment system were enhanced too, and the changes were observed concomitantly. Treatment of Pac inhibited the induction of the accumulation of gene transcripts and proteins in accordance with the decreased accumulation of flavonoids. These results suggest that exogenous SA could induce both transcript and protein accumulation of flavonoid biosynthesis-related enzymes and in turn enhance the accumulation of flavonoid compounds such as anthocyanins and PAs in suspension-cultured grape cells.