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  • Author or Editor: Yan Feng x
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A simple field Pythium inoculation technique is needed to be able to assess cultivars for disease resistance and effectiveness of cultural practices or fungicides in the management of Pythium blight. We assessed two mixtures as inocula [i.e., an infested tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) seed plus wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) bran and an infested rye (Secale cereale L.) plus barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) grain mix], and three covers (black and clear plastic, and a geothermal blanket) for their ease of use and consistency in producing Pythium blight epidemics in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) field plots. Both the fescue seed-wheat bran and rye-barley grain inocula provided good media on which to culture Pythium aphanidermatum (Edson) Fitzp. In general, the fescue-wheat bran mix applied at the high level (100 mL/0.9-m2 plots) produced greater blight ratings in perennial ryegrass than did the low level (50 mL/0.9-m2 plot). The fescue-wheat bran also was generally more effective than either rate of the rye-barley mix in blighting turf. All covers enhanced blighting, when compared to the uncovered control, by raising the relative humidity. Covering plots with black plastic following inoculation resulted in greater blight ratings than did covering with either clear plastic or the geothermal blanket.

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Large-fruit bud mutations are important factors in fruit tree breeding. However, little is known about the differences between varieties and bud mutations. The ploidy identification of Korla fragrant pear (Pyrus sinkiangensis Yu) and its large bud mutation Zaomeixiang pear showed that the large-fruit characteristic was not caused by chromosome doubling. By counting mesocarp cells at different stages, we found that the number of cells increased continuously after pollination, and the difference was the greatest at 28 days after full bloom (DAFB), and was about 9.4 × 106. After 28 days, the difference in cell volume became bigger and bigger, so both the cell volume and cell number caused the difference in fruit size between Korla fragrant pear and Zaomeixiang pear. To obtain more insights into the differences in fruit size driven by cell division, we analyzed the endogenous hormones [indole ascetic acid (IAA), zeatin riboside (ZR), gibberellic acid (GA), and abscisic acid (ABA)], and the main sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose, and sorbitol). The ZR content of Zaomeixiang pear was always greater than that of Korla fragrant pear at all stages. The ABA content was the opposite except for at 7 DAFB during cell division; the greatest difference was 30.87 ng/g, which appeared at 28 DAFB. ABA and ZR correlated negatively with cell number. After 7 DAFB, the ratio of IAA/ABA, ZR/ABA, and GA/ABA in Zaomeixiang pear was always greater than that for Korla fragrant pear at 28 DAFB. The difference in glucose content at 21 DAFB was the greatest, at 4.80 ng/g. Large amounts of sorbitol accumulated during whole-cell division. Glucose and sorbitol correlated positively with cell numbers. In summary, the data suggest that the different contents of glucose, sorbitol, ZR, and ABA, and the ratio of endogenous hormones might be related to cell division in Korla fragrant pear and Zaomeixiang pear. The result provides a theoretical basis for the large-size fruit’s high-quality production and genetic breeding of Korla fragrant pear and its bud mutation.

Open Access

Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a typical climacteric fruit, and its ripening is closely associated with ethylene. In this study, we present evidence that H2S alleviated ethylene-induced ripening and senescence of kiwifruit. Kiwifruit were fumigated with ethylene released from 0.4 g·L−1 ethephon solution or H2S with 1 mm sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) as the donor or in combination. Fumigation with ethylene was found to accelerate kiwifruit ripening and H2S treatment effectively alleviated ethylene-induced fruit softening in parallel with attenuated activity of polygalacturonase (PG) and amylase. Ethylene + H2S treatment also maintained higher levels of ascorbic acid, titratable acid, starch, soluble protein, and reducing sugar compared with ethylene group, whereas suppressed the increase in chlorophyll and carotenoid. Kiwifruit ripening and senescence under ethylene treatment was accompanied by elevation in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, including H2O2 and superoxide anion and malondialdehyde (MDA), but combined treatment of ethylene plus H2S alleviated oxidative stress in fruit. Furthermore, the activities of antioxidative enzymes catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) were increased by ethylene + H2S treatment in comparison with ethylene alone, whereas the activities of lipoxygenase (LOX) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) were attenuated by H2S treatment. Further investigations showed that H2S repressed the expression of ethylene synthesis-related genes AdSAM, AdACS1, AdACS2, AdACO2, and AdACO3 and cysteine protease genes, such as AdCP1 and AdCP3. Taken together, our findings suggest that H2S alleviates kiwifruit ripening and senescence by antagonizing the effect of ethylene through reduction of oxidative stress and inhibition of ethylene synthesis pathway.

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The structure and chemical properties of strontium and calcium are similar. To study the interplay between calcium and strontium in plants, different concentrations of SrCl2 (0, 1, 4, and 10 mmol·L−1) were added to the Hoagland nutrient solution with 4 mmol·L−1 Ca2+ (normal level Ca2+) or 0.4 mmol·L−1 Ca2+ (low-level Ca2+), which were used to cultivate Chinese cabbage seedlings. Under the low-level calcium condition, strontium not only did not promote the growth of Chinese cabbage but showed more severe toxicity compared with that under the normal calcium condition. Under normal calcium condition, although the growth of Chinese cabbage was significantly inhibited by 4 mmol·L−1 strontium, strontium did not show significant toxicity. However, under the low-level calcium condition, 1 mmol·L−1 strontium caused a significant decline of plant biomass and photosynthetic activity. Sr2+ showed a competitive inhibitory effect on the absorption of Ca2+, and strontium was more easily absorbed by Chinese cabbage. Under the low-level calcium condition, strontium aggravated the inhibition of calcium absorption. The inhibitory effect of strontium on plant growth was significantly related to the calcium content in Chinese cabbage. Strontium cannot replace the function of calcium in plants under calcium-deficient conditions.

Open Access

Aspergillus niger is a common pathogenic fungus causing postharvest rot of fruit and vegetable, whereas the knowledge on virulence factors is very limited. Superoxide dismutase [SOD (EC 1.15.1.10)] is an important metal enzyme in fungal defense against oxidative damage. Thus, we try to study whether Cu/Zn-SOD is a virulence factor in A. niger. Cu/Zn-SOD encoding gene sodC was deleted in A. niger [MA70.15 (wild type)] by homologous recombination. The deletion of sodC led to decreased SOD activity in A. niger, suggesting that sodC did contribute to full enzyme activity. ΔsodC strain showed normal mycelia growth and sporulation compared with wild type. However, sodC deletion markedly increased the cell’s sensitivity to intracellular superoxide anion generator menadione. Besides, spore germination under menadione and H2O2 stresses were significantly retarded in ΔsodC mutant compared with wild type. Further results showed that sodC deletion induced higher superoxide anion production and higher content of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA) compared with wild type, supporting the role of SOD in metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, ΔsodC mutant had a reduced virulence on chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) as lesion development by ΔsodC was significantly less than wild type. The determination of superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA in A. niger-infected pear showed that chinese white pear infected with ΔsodC accumulated less superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA compared with that of wild type A. niger, implying that ΔsodC induced an attenuated response in chinese white pear during fruit–pathogen interaction. Our results indicate that sodC gene contributes to the full virulence of A. niger during infection on fruit. Aspergillus niger is one of the most common species found in fungal communities. It is an important fermentation industrial strain and is also known to cause the most severe symptoms in fruit during long-term storage (). Meanwhile, plants activate their signaling pathways to trigger defense responses to limit pathogen expansion. One of the earliest host responses after pathogen attack is oxidative burst, during which large quantities of ROS are generated by different host enzyme systems, such as glucose oxidase (). ROS such as singlet oxygen, superoxide anion, hydroxyl (OH), and H2O2 are released to hinder the advance of pathogens (). ROS can react with and damage cellular molecules, such as DNA, protein, and lipids, which will limit fungal propagation in the host plant ().

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Chinese bayberry (Morella rubra) is an economically important subtropical evergreen fruit crop native to China and other Asian countries. For facilitating cultivar discrimination and genetic diversity analysis, a total of 38 high-quality and highly polymorphic expressed sequence tags-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers, with little or no polymerase chain reaction (PCR) stutter bands, including 21 screened from those obtained previously and 17 newly developed markers, were developed. The average number of alleles (N a ) per locus was 5.6, and polymorphism information content varied from 0.34 to 0.86, with a mean value of 0.57. With these markers, all 42 Chinese bayberry accessions analyzed were successfully discriminated and the phylogenetic relationship between accessions was revealed. The accessions can be separated into two groups with six subgroups. The grouping of four main cultivars in three subgroups and 12 white-fruited accessions, each with little or no anthocyanin accumulation in ripe fruit, into five subgroups suggested the preservation of broad diversity among cultivated populations. These EST-SSR markers and the findings obtained in this study can assist the discrimination of cultivars and lines and contribute to genetic and breeding studies in Chinese bayberry.

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Flowering time influences pod yield and quality of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris); however, our knowledge of flowering time genes and flowering mechanisms in common bean remain limited. We performed RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses [long-day (LD) condition and short-day (SD) condition] to identify the flowering time genes and analyzed differentially expressed genes to examine their expression levels in relation to flowering time in ‘Hong Jin Gou’ common bean, a cultivar highly sensitive to photoperiod. The circadian patterns of related genes were identified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Flowering time in ‘Hong Jin Gou’ was influenced by day length: SD conditions promoted flowering. A total of eight flowering time–related genes were identified, which were classified into photoperiod pathways. Homologs of pseudo-response regulator 5, pseudo-response regulator 7, and gigantea were more highly expressed under SD conditions than under LD conditions. Homologs of late elongated hypocotyl and timing of cab expression 1 were differentially expressed under light and dark conditions. Early flowering 3 is a key regulator of the pathway, which coordinates light and circadian clock inputs in leaves to trigger the expression of downstream genes. The present study provides critical information that could facilitate further investigations on the genetic mechanism of flowering time in common bean.

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Jinyan (Actinidia eriantha × A. chinensis) is one of the gold-fleshed kiwifruit cultivars currently being promoted in south China. However, its fruit dry matter is usually less than 16%, which seriously affects fruit quality including taste and flavor. This causes a financial loss to growers: not only are the prices paid for the fruit low because of their bad reputation for quality, but some orchards have been removed. Improvement of fruit quality is essential. In this study, a method is described for squeezing and twisting flowering shoots before flowering and removing the distal vegetative parts of flowering shoots after fruit set. The effects on fruit quality were determined. The dry matter of fruit was increased by 6.6%. Fruit size also increased as did the chlorophyll a content and the chlorophyll:carotenoid ratio. The significantly increased fruit dry matter, resulting in significant increases in fruit soluble solids concentrations (P < 0.01), thereby possibly improving fruit taste. Fruit weight, fruit length, and carotenoid and ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly enhanced in comparison with controls (P < 0.01), increasing by 20%, 7%, 12%, and 19%, respectively. However, there was no significant difference in soluble sugar concentrations, titratable acid concentrations, and the reduced chlorophyll b concentrations. This research provides a practical method to increase fruit dry matter, and hence a way to allow fruit quality to reach commercial requirements for cultivars such as Jinyan, which under previous management systems had significant shortcomings in fruit flavor and taste.

Open Access

Water is essential for crops and plays a vital role in olive (Olea europaea) growth. Three irrigation treatments, rain-fed (CK), flood irrigation (FI), and drip irrigation (DI), were applied from late November to late May in a 2-year study (Nov. 2015 to Oct. 2017) on two olive cultivars, Coratina and Koroneiki. Shoot growth, flower and fruit characteristics, and olive and oil yields were measured. Compared with CK, FI had significantly higher values of vegetative growth, olive and oil yields, moisture content, and oil content. Although the fruit weight, pulp rate, and oil content with DI were the lowest, our results support that DI had the greatest positive effects on olive vegetative growth, flowers, fruit set, and olive and oil yields. It is suggested that DI in winter and spring is the best irrigation strategy for olive productivity in southwest China.

Open Access

Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis (L.) Hanelt, known as nonheading chinese cabbage in China, is an important vegetable in eastern Asia and its genetic improvement requires a genetic linkage map. The first genetic linkage map of nonheading chinese cabbage using 112 doubled haploid lines derived from a released F1 hybrid cultivar Shulü between two lines SW-3 and Su-124 was constructed in this paper. One hundred thirty-eight molecular markers were mapped into 14 linkage groups. Among these markers, there were 77 sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers, 27 simple sequence repeat markers, 21 random amplification polymorphic DNA markers, and 13 intersimple sequence repeat markers. Chi-square tests showed that 54 markers are distorted from Mendelian segregation ratios, and the direction of the distortion is mainly toward the maternal parent SW-3. The distortion affects not only the estimation of genetic distance, but also the order of distorted markers on a same linkage group. Given a specific marker order, the authors proposed a multipoint approach to correct the linkage map in an unbiased manner in an F2 population while considering distorted, dominant, and missing markers. A new method was used to correct the linkage map in the doubled haploid population mentioned earlier considering new, distorted, and missing markers. The total length of the corrected linkage map was 1923.75 cM, with an average marker spacing of 15.52 cM. The map will facilitate selective breeding and mapping of quantitative trait loci.

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