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  • Author or Editor: Yan Xu x
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Leaf senescence can be induced by many environmental stresses, including supraoptimal temperatures. The objectives of this study were to evaluate leaf senescence induced by heat stress for two Agrostis species contrasting in heat tolerance and to examine whether heat-induced leaf senescence in both species was associated with changes in three major senescence-related hormones: ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), and cytokinins. Plants of heat-tolerant rough bentgrass (Agrostis scabra Willd.) and heat-sensitive creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) were exposed to 35/30 °C (day/night) (high temperature) or 20/15 °C (control) for 35 d in growth chambers. Turf quality, photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), and the contents of two pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoid) for both species decreased under high temperature; however, heat-tolerant A. scabra exhibited delayed and less severe decline in all parameters compared with heat-sensitive A. stolonifera. Ethylene production rate increased in both species at 35 °C, but the increase was observed 21 days later in A. scabra compared with that in A. stolonifera. ABA content increased at the initiation of heat stress and then declined in both species after prolonged heat stress. However, the timing of the increase was delayed for 7 days and the highest level of ABA content was less in A. scabra (4.0 times that of the control) than that in A. stolonifera (5.9 times that of the control). Decreases in both forms of cytokinins (transzeatin/zeatin riboside and isopentenyl adenosine) were also delayed for 14 days and less pronounced in A. scabra. Correlation analysis revealed that leaf senescence induced by heat stress was negatively correlated to ethylene and ABA accumulation and positively correlated to cytokinin production. Delayed leaf senescence in A. scabra under heat stress could be related to slower and less magnitude of changes in ethylene, ABA, and cytokinins.

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Summer decline in turf quality and growth of cool-season grass species is a major concern in turfgrass management. The objectives of this study were to investigate whether foliar application of trinexapac-ethyl (TE) and two biostimulants (TurfVigor and CPR) containing seaweed extracts would alleviate the decline in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) growth during summer months and to examine effects of TE and the biostimulants on leaf senescence and root growth. The study was performed on a ‘Penncross’ putting green built on a sandy loam soil at Hort Farm II, North Brunswick, NJ, in 2007 and 2008. Turf was foliar-sprayed with water (control), TE (0.05 kg a.i./ha), TurfVigor (47.75 L·ha−1), or CPR (19.10 L·ha−1) from late June to early September in a 2-week interval in both years. Turf quality, density, chlorophyll content, canopy photosynthetic rate (Pn), and root growth exhibited significant decline during July and August in both 2007 and 2008, to a greater extent in each parameter for the control treatment. Foliar application of TE resulted in significant improvement in turf quality, density, chlorophyll content, and Pn on certain sampling dates from July to September in both years compared with the control. Both TurfVigor and CPR significantly improved visual quality during July and August in both years by promoting both shoot and root growth. This study suggests that proper application of TE and selected biostimulants could be effective to improve summer performance of creeping bentgrass.

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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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The objective of the study was to determine whether the expression of a cytokinin (CK) biosynthesis gene encoding adenine isopentenyl transferase (ipt) would delay or suppress leaf senescence induced by nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) deficiency in a C3 grass species, creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). The ipt gene was ligated to a senescence-associated promoter, SAG12, and was transferred into creeping bentgrass using an agrobacterium (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)-mediated transformation technique. Plants from an SAG12-ipt transgenic line (S41) and a null transformant (NT) control line were grown in nutrient solutions with all essential elements or without N (−N) or P (−P) for 21 days. Significant declines in leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) and chlorophyll content of mature leaves were detected in NT and SAG12-ipt plants exposed to N or P deficiency. Compared to the NT control line, SAG12-ipt plants had higher levels of Fv/Fm, chlorophyll, and CK contents in leaves, and these differences between the NT control and SAG12-ipt line became more pronounced with treatment duration. The ipt expression was detected in the −P-treated and the −N-treated plants after 21 days, although the level of expression decreased under N or P deficiency. Under −P treatment, root acid phosphatase activity was greater in SAG12-ipt line than in the NT control line. No significant differences in nitrate reductase activity were detected in leaves or roots between the SAG12-ipt and the NT control lines. Our results demonstrated that SAG12-ipt expression suppressed leaf senescence induced by N or P deficiency in a perennial grass species. The suppressing effects on leaf senescence under P deficiency may be related to CK regulation of more efficient use of P in roots of the SAG12-ipt plants.

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The effects of CaCl2, GA3, and H2O2 priming on Isatis indigotica Fort. seed germination characteristics, seedling growth parameters, and antioxidant enzyme activities under salt stress were investigated. NaCl had an adverse effect on the germination and seedling performance of I. indigotica. However, these three priming agents alleviated salt stress by increasing the germination percentage, improving seed vigor, accelerating germination velocity, and establishing strong seedlings. The optimal concentrations were 15 g/L for CaCl2, 0.2 g/L for GA3, and 40 mm for H2O2. Seed priming treatments enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes in seedlings, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT), under a salt environment, which reduced the oxidative injury caused by salt. Seed priming is a promising technique that can enhance the ability of I. indigotica seed germination when salt is present.

Open Access

Cytokinins have been associated with delaying or suppressing leaf senescence in plants. The objectives of this study were to determine whether the expression of the ipt gene that encodes adenine isopentenyltransferase would delay leaf senescence induced by shade or heat stress in a perennial grass species. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera cv. Penncross) was transformed with ipt isolated from agrobacterium (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) using two gene constructs (SAG12-ipt and HSP18-ipt) designed to activate cytokinin synthesis during shade or heat stress. Whole plants of nine SAG12-ipt transgenic lines and the nontransgenic control plants were incubated in darkness at 20 °C for 20 days. Chlorophyll content of all transgenic lines and the control line decreased after dark treatment, but the decline was less pronounced in transgenic lines. All transgenic lines had higher isopentenyladenine (iP/iPA) content than the control line after 20 days of treatment. In six of the transgenic lines, iP/iPA content remained the same or higher after dark treatment. Whole plants of nine HSP18-ipt transgenic lines and the control plants were incubated at 35 °C for 7 days. Chlorophyll and iP/iPA content declined in the control plants, but the nine transgenic lines had a significantly higher concentration of iP/iPA and were able to maintain chlorophyll content at the prestress level. Our results suggest that expression of SAG12-ipt or HSP18-ipt in creeping bentgrass resulted in increases in cytokinin production, which may have led to the delay and suppression of leaf senescence induced by shade or heat stress.

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‘Akizuki’ (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) is a dominant Asian pear cultivar with gradually increasing cultivation area in Shandong province. However, this cultivar is found susceptible to cork spot disorder in recent years. In this study, we explored the physiological-biochemical mechanism of cork spot disorder in pear fruit, and investigated the effectiveness of spraying calcium (Ca), boron (B) solution or prohexadione calcium (P-Ca) on cork spot incidence. Cork spotted fruit had the characteristics of significantly larger fruit size with shorter fruit pedicels. Compared with normal fruit, cork spotted fruit had lower content of total soluble solids, soluble and reducing sugar, and vitamin C. In addition, cork spotted fruit accumulated much higher levels of N and Mg, and lower levels of K and P. However, Ca deficiency was not observed in cork spotted fruit, on the contrary, we determined high concentrations of Ca and free Ca2+ in disordered fruit. At the same time, the ratios of K/Ca, Mg/Ca, and (K+Mg)/Ca were significantly lower in cork spotted fruit as compared with normal fruit. Among all treatments, spraying with 3500 times dilution of P-Ca at 15-day intervals from 30 to 90 days after full bloom showed promise for reducing cork spot incidence in ‘Akizuki’ pear without affecting fruit quality attributes. This research herein reveals the physiological-biochemical characteristic of cork spot disorder, and implicates P-Ca as a potential tool to reduce cork spot incidence in Asian pear cultivar Akizuki.

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Petal anthocyanins were systematically identified and characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)–electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (MS) coupled with diode array detection among nine wild herbaceous peony (Paeonia L.) species (15 accessions). Individual anthocyanins were identified according to the HPLC retention time, elution order, MS fragmentation patterns, and by comparison with authentic standards and published data. Six main anthocyanins, including peonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-arabinoside (Pn3G5Ara), peonidin-3-O-glucoside, pelargonidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3,5-di-O-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (Cy3G), were detected. In addition to the well-known major anthocyanins, some minor anthocyanins were identified in herbaceous peony species for the first time. Detection of the unique anthocyanins cyanidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside and pelargonidin-3-O-glucoside-5-O-galactoside in both Paeonia anomala L. and P. anomala ssp. veitchii (Lynch) D.Y. Hong & K.Y. Pan indicated these two species should belong to the same taxon. Pn3G5Ara was found only in European wild species and subspecies suggesting different metabolic pathways between European and Chinese accessions. Anthocyanins conjugated with galactose and arabinose were observed in the genus Paeonia for the first time. The North American species, Paeonia tenuifolia L., had high Cy3G content in flower petals. This anthocyanin composition is distinct from the anthocyanin composition in Asian and European species and possibly is responsible for the vivid red coloration in flowers.

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One challenge of conducting research regarding agricultural production systems is that field trials are time consuming and expensive, limiting their scale and scope. Thus, policymakers and producers benefit from researchers extracting as much information as possible from each trial. We used the Monte Carlo techniques and the sensitivity analyses to enhance our analysis of the competitiveness of steam as an alternative to fumigation for preplant soil disinfestation in California strawberry production. Chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene 59.6:39 (CP + 1,3-D) resulted in higher mean net returns than did steam. However, the Monte Carlo analysis showed that in one field trial there was a high probability that steam would be more profitable, whereas in the other it was quite unlikely. We also assessed the change in economic performance of steam when it was applied combined with soil amendments of mustard seed meal (MSM). Switching from steam to steam + MSM would have reduced mean net returns. The Monte Carlo results showed that steam + MSM performed at least as well as steam alone around half the time. We evaluated factors that were likely to affect the net returns, defined as total returns minus treatment, weeding, and harvest labor costs, of using steam in the near future. Reductions in application time increased net returns. A decrease in the price of propane increased net returns.

Free access

Tetrastigma hemsleyanum is a traditional Chinese medicine herb, commonly used for its anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. Flavonoids are the main functional constituents of T. hemsleyanum, and their production in the herb is affected by light quality. T. hemsleyanum is a shade-loving plant and is usually covered by black shade nets during cultivation. However, there are only a few studies on the effects of using color films on growth and flavonoid synthesis in T. hemsleyanum. In this study, we measured the influence of five different color films on growth indexes—sugar, soluble amino acid, soluble protein, and flavonoid content—and flavonoid-synthesizing enzyme activities in T. hemsleyanum. The films used were colorless plastic film as the control group (CK-W), red film (RF), yellow film (YF), green film (GF), and blue film (BF). BF promoted plant growth and increased yield, as evidenced by the highest growth indexes, soluble amino acid content, and chalcone isomerase (CHI) enzyme activity. RF increased the content of secondary metabolites, thereby enhancing herb quality, as evidenced by the highest phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) activity and increased flavonoid content.

Open Access