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  • Author or Editor: Xuesen Chen x
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The objective of this study was to investigate ascorbic acid (AsA) accumulation, mRNA expression of genes involved in AsA biosynthesis as well as recycling, activity of key enzymes, and the relationship of them to AsA levels during the development of apple fruit (Malus ×domestica cv. Gala). AsA concentration, which mainly depends on biosynthesis, was the highest in young fruit post-anthesis and then decreased steadily toward maturation. However, AsA continued to accumulate over time because of the increase in fruit mass. Transcript levels of guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-L-galactose phosphorylase, GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase, D-galacturonate reductase, and the post-transcriptionally regulated L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase were not correlated with AsA accumulation in apple. In contrast, patterns of expression for L-galactose dehydrogenase, L-galactose-1-phosphate phosphatase, and GDP-mannose-3′,5′-epimerase showed a pattern of change similar to that of AsA accumulation. Although activities and expression levels of monodehydroascorbate reductase and dehydroascorbate reductase in fruit, which had less capacity for AsA recycling, were much lower than in leaves, they were not clearly correlated with AsA level during fruit development.

Free access

Volatile compounds have a tremendous impact on fruit quality. We evaluated the volatile compound profiles of ripening wild apple fruit (10 Malus baccata accessions and three Malus prunifolia accessions) in the National Field Genebank for Hardy Fruits at Gongzhuling, China. Alcohols, esters, aldehydes, terpenes, hydrocarbons, ethers, heterocycles, carboxylic acids, and ketones were detected in the M. baccata and M. prunifolia fruit, with the first four being the main volatile compounds present. Of the 92 volatiles detected, esters were the most diverse (49 compounds). This wide range of abundant volatile compounds suggests that M. prunifolia is a good resource for breeding apple cultivars with novel and interesting flavors. The M. baccata accession ‘Zhaai Shandingzi’ and the M. prunifolia accession ‘Bai Haitang’ had the widest range of volatile compounds and the highest volatile compound contents of the accessions examined, and will therefore be good breeding materials for developing commercial lines with enhanced flavor and for widening the genetic diversity. The number of different ester compounds present was significantly positively correlated (r = 0.877) with the cube root of the weight of an individual ripe fruit. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the contents of ester compounds could be used to distinguish between M. baccata and M. prunifolia species. Therefore, ester compounds could be used as a reference of parental choice in apple breeding.

Free access

A pot experiment was performed to investigate the effects of Trichoderma harzianum on the root morphology of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings and their soil environment under replant conditions. The experiment consisted of four treatments: continuously cropped soil (CK1), methyl bromide fumigation (CK2), carrier substrate control (T1), and T. harzianum fertilizer (T2). Plant growth parameters, soil phenolic acid content, abundance of soil microorganisms, and root respiration rate were measured. Compared with CK1, plant height, basal diameter, and fresh weight were 34.58%, 27.55%, and 32.91% greater in T2; 11.35%, 12.10%, and 18.33% greater in T1; and 54.34%, 57.64%, and 45.74% greater in CK2. These metrics were significantly higher in the CK2 treatment than in the other treatments. The second highest values were recorded in the T2 treatment. Differences in root architecture were consistent with differences in biomass. Application of T. harzianum fertilizer was associated with increases of 45.45%, 120.06%, 86.44%, and 268.29% in the activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), respectively, and there was little difference between T2 and CK2. The contents of phlorizin and phloretin were 39.39% and 51.70% less in T2, respectively, and 17.85% and 18.14% less in T1, respectively, compared with CK1. Trichoderma harzianum fertilizer increased the abundance of bacteria and actinomycetes while decreasing that of fungi. The gene copy numbers of Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium moniliforme were 64.30% and 49.35% less, respectively, in the T2 treatment. The fungus population and the gene copy number of Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium moniliforme was the least in CK2 because of the good sterilization effect. The T. harzianum fertilizer showed satisfactory effects in promoting the root growth of M. hupehensis, increasing the root resistance, decreasing the soil phenolic acid content, and significantly reducing the gene copy number of F. oxysporum and F. moniliforme. In summary, T. harzianum fertilizer is an effective and green alternative for the prevention and control of apple replant disease (ARD).

Open Access

Apple replant disease (ARD) causes enormous economic loss and threatens the survival of apple industry worldwide. Fusarium solani is one of the pathogens that has been proven to cause ARD. Samples were collected at different time periods to investigate the mechanism of defense responses of apple to F. solani infection by monitoring the biomass, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and antioxidant enzyme activities of the apple rootstock ‘M.9T337’. In addition, the abundance of transcription of four pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins involved in antifungal defense was monitored. The results showed that the apple root system was normal and had small brown areas. However, there is a rapid burst of ROS during the early infection stage, and the activities of antioxidant enzymes and transcription of PRs increased during this period. With the extension in infection time, the infected root tissues displayed dark brown necrosis, and the activities of antioxidant enzymes and abundance of transcription of PRs decreased gradually after reaching their peak. Eventually, the plant biomass decreased, and the plant died. In conclusion, the levels of ROS and activities of antioxidant enzymes played an active role during the early stage of resistance of ‘M.9T337’ apples to infection by F. solani. Infection by F. solani can destroy the ROS scavenging system, causing oxidative damage and inhibiting the growth of apple rootstocks.

Open Access

The study here aimed to investigate the effects of pre-winter ditching and freezing-thawing on soil microbial structure in different soil layers of old apple orchards. A total of 30 samples were obtained from 3 Nov. 2016 to 9 Mar. 2017. The relative abundance, alpha diversity, community structure of fungi, and the relationship between environmental factors and microbial community structure were analyzed, and the greenhouse experiments were used for further verification. Results showed that the number of actinomycete and total bacterial colonies decreased, whereas the number of fungi sustained decreased, resulting in a higher bacteria/fungi ratio. The percentage of Fusarium initially decreased, then later increased by 11.38%, 3.469%, 2.35%, 2.29%, and 3.09%. However, Fusarium levels were still 9% lower on 9 Mar. 2017 that on 3 Nov. 2016. Both the abundance and diversity of the community were higher in the upper soil than in the lower. The main environmental factor contributing to the percentage of Fusarium change was average temperature (AT), although highest temperature (HT) and water content (WC) also had an impact. The Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings growing in lower soil were more vigorous than that in upper soil. In sum, pre-winter ditching and freezing-thawing in old apple orchards can reduce the abundance percentage of harmful Fusarium and promote the growth of M. hupehensis Rehd. seedlings.

Open Access

Apple replant disease (ARD) has been reported in all major fruit-growing regions of the world and is often caused by biotic factors (pathogen fungi) and abiotic factors (phenolic compounds). Soil chemical fumigation can kill soil pathogenic fungi; however, the traditionally used fumigant methyl bromide has been banned because of its ozone-depleting effects. There is thus a need to identify greener fumigant candidates. We characterized the effects of different fumigants on the replanted soil environment and the growth characteristics of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings. All five experimental treatments [treatment 1 (T1), metham-sodium; treatment 2 (T2), dazomet; treatment 3 (T3), calcium cyanamide; treatment 4 (T4), 1,3-dichloropropene; and treatment 5 (T5), methyl bromide] promoted significantly the biomass, root growth, and root respiration rate of M. hupehensis seedlings and the ammonium nitrogen (NH4 +-N) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3 -N) contents of replanted soil. Metham sodium (T1) and dazomet (T2) had stronger effects compared with 1,3-dichloropropene (T4) and calcium cyanamide (T3). At 172 days after T1, the height, root length, and root respiration rate of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings, and the NH4 +-N and NO3 -N contents of replanted soil increased by 91.64%, 97.67%, 69.78%, 81.98%, and 27.44%, respectively, compared with the control. Thus, dazomet and metham sodium were determined to be the optimal fumigants for use in practical applications.

Open Access

The relationship between soil texture and the degree of apple replant disease (ARD) was analyzed from the perspective of the microbial community structure and diversity within the rhizosphere soil of Malus hupehensis Rehd. seedlings. Three different textured soils were taken from different apple orchards in Laizhou, Yantai. The soils were divided into two parts, one was kept in replanted conditions, and the other was fumigated with methyl bromide to act as a high standard control. The strength of ARD occurrence was examined by measuring fresh and dry weight suppression (%) of the M. hupehensis seedlings. Differences in the fungal community structure (especially in Fusarium) among the three soil texture types were analyzed using high-throughput sequencing. The results showed that replanted loam clay soil had the highest fungal diversity, followed by sandy loam soil and finally loam soil. The richness of fungi between soil textures, however, was not significantly different. At the genus level, the relative abundance of Fusarium was 1.96%, 0.78%, and 10.89% in replanted sandy loam, replanted loam soil, and replanted loam clay soil, respectively. Moreover, the gene copy number of Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium solani, and the inhibition rate of fresh weight of M. hupehensis seedlings were the same in the three soil textures. The plant height, photosynthesis (net) (Pn), and stomatal conductance (g S) of the M. hupehensis seedlings were significantly less in the replanted soil compared with the control treatments, with the overall difference being greatest in replanted loam clay soil, followed by replanted sandy loam and then replanted loam soil.

Open Access