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Yi Zhang, Xiao-Hui Hu, Yu Shi, Zhi-Rong Zou, Fei Yan, Yan-Yan Zhao, Hao Zhang, and Jiu-Zhou Zhao

We studied the effects of exogenous spermidine (Spd) on plant growth and nitrogen metabolism in two cultivars of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) that have differential sensitivity to mixed salinity-alkalinity stress: ‘Jinpeng Chaoguan’ (salt-tolerant) and ‘Zhongza No. 9’ (salt-sensitive). Seedling growth of both tomato cultivars was inhibited by salinity-alkalinity stress, but Spd treatment alleviated the growth reduction to some extent, especially in ‘Zhongza No. 9’. Exogenous Spd may help reduce stress-induced increases in free amino acids, ammonium (NH4 +) contents, and NADH-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase (NADH-GDH) activities; depress stress-induced decreases in soluble protein and nitrate content; and depress nitrate reductase, nitrite reductase, glutamine synthetase (GS), NADH-dependent glutamate synthase (NADH-GOGAT), glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), and glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT) activities, especially for ‘Zhongza No. 9’. Based on our results, we suggest that exogenous Spd promotes the assimilation of excess toxic NH4 + by coordinating and strengthening the synergistic action of NADH-GDH, GS/NADH-GOGAT, and transamination pathways, all during saline-alkaline stress. Subsequently, NH4 + and its related enzymes (GDH, GS, GOGAT, GOT, and GPT), in vivo, are maintained in a proper and balanced state to enable mitigation of stress-resulted damages. These results suggest that exogenous Spd treatment can relieve nitrogen metabolic disturbances caused by salinity-alkalinity stress and eventually promote plant growth.

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Li-ping Chen, Yan-ju Wang, and Man Zhao

In this study, in vitro induction of tetraploid Lychnis senno Siebold et Zucc. and its cytological and morphological characterization were conducted. For polyploid induction, nodal segments with axillary buds from in vitro grown plants were kept for 3 days in MS (Murashige and Skoog, 1962) liquid or solid media added with a series of concentrations of colchicine. Out of total 588 recovered plants, 15 tetraploids and 6 mixoploids determined by flow cytometry analysis were obtained. The tetraploid contained 48 chromosomes, twice the normal diploid number of 24, as observed under light microscope. The tetraploid plants exhibited much larger but less stomata than diploid plants. Moreover, significant differences in stem height and leaf size between the diploid and tetraploid plants were noted. The tetraploid plants were more compact than diploids.

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Xiaobo Zhang, Derong Su, Luyi Ma, and Yan Zhao

Buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] is a warm-season grass for low-maintenance lawns. The objective of our study was to assess the genetic variation in 10 accessions of buffalograss obtained from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Fourteen of the 60 primers screened generated 72 highly repeatable polymorphic bands. A dendrogram constructed on the basis of the unweighted pair group method arithmetic average clustering algorithm revealed that nine of 10 accessions formed two distinct clusters. Genetic similarity coefficients calculated from the RAPD data ranged from 0.30 to 0.89 with the lowest value of 0.30 measured between No. 4 and No. 7 from Japan and the United States, respectively. The highest value of 0.89 was measured between No. 6 and No. 8 from the United States and Mexico, respectively. The cophenetic correlation coefficient (r) was 0.92, indicative of a very good fit between the data matrix and the resulting cluster analysis. Principal coordinate analysis (PCO) clearly grouped nine accessions on the two axes with a single accession from the United States that did not cluster with others. The PCO clustering pattern corresponded well with the dendrogram. No. 7 from the United States did not cluster with any other accessions either in the dendrogram or on the basis of the PCO.

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Zhuangjun Zhao, Margaret Mukami Gitau, Tao Hu, Yan Xie, Longxing Hu, and Jinmin Fu

Plants growing in salt-affected soils may have retarded growth and inhibited or altered metabolic processes. This study aims at investigating the impact of subsurface soil salinity on root growth and metabolic processes in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). The seeds of perennial ryegrass (cv. Quick Start II) were planted in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes (10 cm diameter × 42 cm long) for 2 months. The experiment consisted of three treatments: 1) control, 40 cm filled with sand–peat mixture (7 sand : 3 peat wt/wt); 2) T20, a 20-cm-deep layer of saline soil covered with a 20-cm-deep layer of sand–peat mixture; and 3) T30, a 30-cm-deep layer of saline soil covered with a 10-cm-deep layer of sand–peat mixture. Our study showed that soil salinity at the subsurface inhibited the growth of perennial ryegrass roots. Compared with the control, the root activity in saline soil layer decreased, whereas it remained high in the mixture-soil zone. The content of amino acids in the roots obtained from the surface soil (0–10 cm) in T30 was greater than that in both the T20 and the control regimes. The content of soluble sugars in the roots went up with the decrease of the depth of sand–peat mixture. The increased root activity and free amino acids content in the roots sampled from the upper soil layers coupled with the increased soluble sugars in the roots subjected to soil salinity stress in the bottom soil layer represents some adaptive responses and regulative mechanisms in perennial ryegrass.

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Yan Li, Peter M. Hirst, Yizhen Wan, Yingjiao Liu, Qian Zhou, Hua Gao, Yunzhong Guo, Zhengyang Zhao, Leicun Wang, and Mingyu Han

A comparison of field tolerance of 25 apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars and 39 apple rootstocks to the pathogens Marssonina coronaria and Alternaria alternata apple pathotype was performed. Although most apple cultivars grown in China were susceptible or highly susceptible to both pathogens causing two diseases, considerable variation in the level of resistance to both pathogens was observed. Only three cultivars, Qinguan, Jiguan, and Xiangyanghong, exhibited resistance to both pathogens. Among the rootstocks tested, 30 of 39 (77%) were susceptible or highly susceptible to M. coronaria and 32 (82%) were susceptible to the A. alternata apple pathotype. Four rootstocks, ‘P.22’, ‘SH12’, ‘Za’ai 76’, and ‘Qingdao598’, were resistant to both pathogens. The correlation between resistance to both pathogens was highly significant in the 74 apple cultivars and rootstocks tested suggesting common genetic resistance factors to these two pathogens. Data represented horizontal resistance in the germplasm. The resistant local germplasm should be used in disease resistance breeding programs.