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Y. Zhang and D. Donnelly

The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is considered moderately sensitive to salinity stress. Yields can be adversely affected by salinity at EC levels of 2 to 3 dS·m–1. In vitro screening and selection for salinity tolerance may be faster and more reliable than traditional field assessment. A modified nodal cutting bioassay was developed based on that of Morpurgo (1991) and used to rank the salinity tolerance of several potato cultivars, wild Solanum species, and their hybrids. Nodal cuttings were cultured in Murashige and Skoog (1962) basal medium which included NaCl at 0, 40, 80, and 120 mM. After 4 weeks at 25C and 16/8 h day/night period, vegetative growth parameters were assessed. Hybrids derived from S. chacoense outperformed hybrids of other wild species, their wild parents, and S. tuberosum cultivars. `Russet Burbank' and `Kennebec' were more salinity-tolerant than the three other cultivars tested.

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Y. Zhang and D. Donnelly

In vitro bioassays for screening and selection of salinity (NaCl)-tolerant potato have primarily focused on nodal cuttings. However, the relative tolerance of the microtuberization stage to salinized medium may be more relevant. A two-step microtuberization protocol was used in which in vitro layering was followed by microtuber induction in salinized media. `Norland', `Russet Burbank', and `Superior' shoots were layered in liquid Murashige and Skoog (1962) basal salt medium with 20 g sucrose/liter and incubated for 4 weeks at 25C with 50 μmolm–2·s–1 photosynthetic photon flux density and 16-h day/8-h night period. Medium was replaced with liquid medium containing 80 g sucrose/liter and NaCl at 0, 80, or 160 mM. Cultures were incubated for 4 weeks at 15C with 50 μmolm–2–s–1 photosynthetic photon flux density and 8-h day/16-h night period. Relative salinity tolerance of cultivars differed during the microtuberization stage. Low salinity (80 mM) stimulated, but high salinity (160 mM) depressed, microtuber yields compared with controls.

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Y. Zhang and D. Donnelly

The relative salinity tolerance of three potato cultivars, including `Russet Burbank', `Kennebec', and `Norland', were compared using three in vitro bioassays (single node cuttings, root tip segments, and microtuberization) and yield data from field lysimeters irrigated with salinized water. The single-node cutting bioassay was simpler to perform than the root tip segment and microtuberization bioassays. The single-node cutting bioassay can be recommended as a substitute for more laborintensive and costly field assessments of salinity effects on yield.

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Y. Zhang and J.L. Shipp

This study investigated greenhouse and plant surface microclimate for cucumber crops (Cucumis sativus) under high pressure overhead fogging. Overhead fogging maintained greenhouse humidity above its set point and avoided excessively low humidity conditions on sunny days. Fogging caused minimal to moderate changes in greenhouse air temperature in the fall depending on whether or not the leaves were sunlit or shaded. The temperature of sunlit leaves decreased by 1 to 1.5 °C (1.8 to 2.7 °F) under occasional fogging in the morning and by 3 °C (5.4 °F) under extensive fogging during noon hours. The temperature of fogged shaded leaves did not significantly change (<1 °C) when compared to nonfogged shaded leaves. Leaf wetness duration (LWD) was extended when overhead fogging was used. The length of extended daytime wetness duration (LWDday) from 0800 to 1700 HR in the fogged greenhouse depended primarily on global radiation at the leaf level. A simulation model was developed to predict LWDday using daily integrated global radiation (Rsum) as the input.

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H.C. Wien and Y. Zhang

Catfacing of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit describes the enlarged blossom-end scar and ridged, flattened or irregular fruit shape often found on plants subjected to low temperature during ovary development. Experiments were conducted to determine if GA3 foliar sprays could be used as a screening tool for catfacing. Concentrations of 5 to 50 μM of GA3, applied once at transplanting, significantly increased catfacing incidence on the susceptible `Revolution', whereas the resistant `Valerie' was less affected. Two applications 8 days apart extended symptoms to later clusters formed on branches and may be useful for screening cultivars of a wide range of earliness. Plant apex removal may also be possible as a fruit catfacing screening tool. Chemical name used: gibberellic acid (GA3).

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B. Dansereau, Y. Zhang, S. Gagnon and H.L. Xu

We examined effects of single-layer glass and double-layer antifog polyethylene films on growth and flowering of stock (Matthiola incana L.) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majalis L.) in a 3-year period. Stock produced more buds/spike with shorter but thicker stems under single-layer glass and under antifog 3-year polyethylene, and showed higher photosynthetic capacity (P c) under single-layer glass than under other covers regardless of light regimes. Similarly, growth and flowering of snapdragon were significantly better under single-layer glass than in polyethylene houses. A supplemental light of 60 μmol·m-2·s-1 accelerated flowering by 20 to 25 days, improved flower quality, and eliminated differences in plant growth and quality of snapdragon between covering treatments. The P c of stock was lower under all polyethylene covers than under single-layer glass. Among the three antifog polyethylene films, a slightly higher P c was measured for plants under antifog 3-year polyethylene. However, there was no difference among covering treatments in the net photosynthetic rate (P N) at low light level (canopy level). Supplemental lighting reduced P c of stock leaves, especially under single-layer glass, and diminished differences in P c among covering treatments. Dry mass was more influenced by larger leaf area caused by higher leaf temperature than by P N. Overall, antifog 3-year polyethylene was a good covering material when both plant quality and energy saving were considered.

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L. Zhang, J.R. Livingstone, Y. Tarui and E. Hirasawa

Potted young hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Italian Red’) plants were placed in a postharvest environment under low-illumination conditions in a room from 22 July to 31 Dec. 2003. On treatment with a mineral nutrition (MN) solution, 19% of their leaves remained intact after 8 weeks, but all the leaves were lost after 12 weeks from the time of placement. Incorporation of citric acid (CA) into the MN solution at a final concentration of 5 mm considerably suppressed the defoliation so that 57% of the leaves remained intact after 8 weeks and 53% did so after 12 weeks from the time of placement. Furthermore, treatment with 3% sucrose (SUC) instead of CA also considerably suppressed the defoliation, with 26% of the leaves remaining intact for more than 8 weeks and 20% remaining intact for more than 12 weeks. Neither the CA nor the SUC solution was effective in maintaining the hibiscus plants for more than 20 weeks under low illumination. However, treatment with MN solution containing CA and SUC was highly effective in suppressing defoliation. About 60% of the leaves on the plants that were treated with the solution were retained for the entire 24-week period. The proton concentration of the organic solution was found to be a critical factor that affected plant maintenance. The plants survived only on treatment with a solution of pH 5.0, but not with one with a pH of 6.0 or 7.0.

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Hazel Y. Wetzstein, Zibin Zhang, Nadav Ravid and Michael E. Wetzstein

Pomegranate fruit is valued for its juice-containing arils and is consumed and marketed as whole fresh fruit, extracted arils, juice, syrup (grenadine), wine, teas, seed oil, and other products. Recent consumption has rapidly increased attributable in part to reported health benefits that include efficacy against coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, hypertension, and infectious diseases. Within commercial orchards, the size of fruits produced can be quite variable even with trees of the same genotype grown under similar cultivation practices. Although pomegranates have been cultivated since antiquity, fruit attributes, particularly those related to size, are poorly defined. In this study, compositional changes in pomegranate fruits of the Wonderful cultivar, including volume and weight, aril weight and number, pericarp weight, seed weight, and juice/pulp content, were evaluated in fruits of variable sizes. Correlations between fruit characteristics were determined, and factor analysis established fruit and aril indices. Results indicated that because fruit volume, fruit weight, and total aril weight are closely correlated, any of these characteristics can be used as an indicator of fruit size. The number of arils per fruit was highly correlated with fruit size with larger fruit containing greater numbers of arils. This is in contrast to individual average aril weight, which showed no significant relationship to fruit size. Crop production strategies aimed at increasing aril numbers may be a means for obtaining larger fruit in pomegranate.

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R.C. Grube, Y. Zhang, B. Huang and M.M. Kyle

Resistance to cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in Capsicum from two sources is being transferred into three commercial types (bell, jalapeno, and Anaheim) using a backcross breeding scheme. We have optimized our CMV seedling screening protocol, which involves multiple inoculations beginning at the cotyledon stage with a severe CMV serogroup I isolate. Both sources of resistance, C. annuum `French Perennial' and a C. frutescens accession (BG2814-6), exhibit oligogenic recessive inheritance and share some but not all resistance alleles. Selection for type in the BCF1 generation had no effect on the frequency of resistant individuals in the BCF2 generation. We have determined that it is necessary to self-pollinate every other backcross generation to screen for resistance. Occasionally disease symptoms appear in adult plants that were initially resistant to multiple inoculations at the seedling stage, and we are investigating the correlation between seedling resistance and adult plant resistance. We are also exploring the extent to which the different sources of resistance behave differently as a function of genetic background. Additionally, we are mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for CMV resistance in pepper with the goal of converting RFLP and/or RAPD markers into PCR-based markers to facilitate molecular marker-assisted selection for CMV resistance.

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J. Fang, Y. Qiao, Z. Zhang and C.T. Chao

We used amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to analyze 14 fruiting mei cultivars from China and Japan. The levels of polymorphism and genetic relationship among cultivars were studied using two types of AFLP primer combinations [EcoR I + Mse I (E+M) and EcoR I + Taq I (E+T)] and the combined data from both types of primer combinations (E+M+T). The polymorphism among the cultivars was 57.92% based on E+M primers and 63.04% based on E+T primers. All three dendrograms generated by the three sets of data showed similar relationships among the fruiting mei cultivars. The corresponding main clusters contained the same cultivars and the subgroups correlated closely with the known geographic origins of the cultivars.