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Jianhua Liu, Yuzhen Yang and Xuexiao Zou

990 Capsicum annuum varieties were assessed at the seedling stage in greenhouse for their resistance to TMV(T), CMV(C) and anthracnose(A), and their mature (purple-red) fruits were analyzed for the content of dry matter(DM), vitamin C(VC) and capsaicin(CA). The data were eventually analyzed by means of correlation and path coefficient analysis. The result was as follows: the content of DM had little positive effect but significantly (P=O.O1) negative effect on the resistance to TWV, CMV and anthracnose, i.e. Pdt=0.0066, Pdc=(-0 .1364**), Pda=(-0.1881**); whereas the content of VC or CA respectively exerted positive effect, even significantly (P=0.01) positive effect, on the resistance to TMV, CMV and anthracnose, i.e. Pvt=0.0756**, Pvc=0.0093, Pva=0.2069** and Pct=0.2003**, Pcc=0.2300**, Pca=0.0091.

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Xinyi Zhang, Li Liao, Yang Liu, Zhiyong Wang and Jianxiu Liu

Chrysopogon aciculatus (Retz.) Trin. is a perennial turfgrass for its low management and resistance. To develop simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers for C. aciculatus, we used four Roche 454 pyrosequencing, combined with the magnetic bead enrichment method FIASCO (fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats) to isolate from the C. aciculatus. A total of 66,198 raw sequencing reads were obtained with 4289 sequences (6.48%) were fit for primer pair design. One hundred microsatellite loci were selected to test the primer amplification efficiency in 20 accessions, and out of these, 11 loci were polymorphic. The amount of observed alleles ranged from three to six, with an average of 3.64. Nei’s genetic diversity values ranged from 0.085 to 0.493, with an average of 0.293. Shannon’s information index values ranged from 0.141 to 0.686, with an average of 0.428. Twenty accessions were clustered into three groups by unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA). These SSR markers will provide an ideal marker system to assist with gene targeting, cultivar variety or species identification, and marker-assisted selection in C. aciculatus species.

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Min-Li Liu, Ching-Hsiang Hsieh and Yun-Yang Chao

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Liping Kou, Tianbao Yang, Xianjin Liu and Yaguang Luo

We reported previously that the preharvest treatment of broccoli microgreens with 10 mmol·L−1 calcium chloride (CaCl2) increased the yield and postharvest quality. The objective of this study was to investigate whether other calcium forms have the similar effect, in particular, after postharvest dip in calcium solution. Our results are as follows: 1) Preharvest spray without postharvest dip: Both 20 mmol·L−1 calcium lactate (Ca lactate) and calcium amino acid (Ca AA) chelate significantly improved broccoli microgreens quality and inhibited microbial populations as compared with the water-only control during storage at 5 °C for 21 days. However, they were less effective than 10 mmol·L−1 CaCl2. 2) Postharvest dip without preharvest spray: The microgreens sprayed with water-only control were dipped in 0, 25, 50, or 100 mmol·L−1 Ca lactate solution containing 100 μL·L−1 chlorine immediately after harvest. During storage at 5 °C for 14 days, 50 mmol·L−1 Ca lactate dip showed the highest overall quality and lowest tissue electrolyte leakage. 3) Preharvest spray and postharvest dip: Combined preharvest 10 mmol·L−1 CaCl2 spray and postharvest 50 mmol·L−1 Ca lactate dip resulted in better postharvest quality than individual pre- or postharvest calcium treatments. However, the preharvest 10 mmol·L−1 CaCl2 spray without postharvest dip displayed a best overall visual quality and longest storage life. Our data indicate that pre- and postharvest calcium treatments have positive effect on maintaining the microgreens quality and extending shelf life. However, current postharvest dip/spinning/drying method profoundly reduces the shelf life due to mechanical damages. Technologies to optimize microgreens wash are needed to provide ready-to-eat product. Alternatively, the wash step can be avoided when the microgreens are grown under controlled settings.

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June Liu, Zhimin Yang, Weiling Li, Jingjin Yu and Bingru Huang

Cold stress is a major factor limiting the growth of warm-season turfgrass species. Cold tolerance in warm-season turfgrass species could be improved through in vitro selection for somaclonal variations. The objectives of this study were to establish an effective in vitro culture protocol for generating plants from calli using mature seeds of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) and to determine whether in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variations would lead to improved cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The optimal concentrations of supplemental compounds in the culture medium for callus induction, embryogenic callus formation, and plant regeneration were determined. The supplemental compounds included 2,4–dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D), 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), kinetin (KT), naphthalene-1-acetic acid (NAA), CuSO4, and acidic hydrolysis casein (AHC). The highest rates of callus induction (97.50%), embryogenic callus formation (66.88%), and regeneration (55.94%) were obtained with the supplemental compounds of 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D and 10.0 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for callus induction; with 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D, 15 mg·L−1 CuSO4, and 1.0 g·L−1 AHC for embryogenic callus formation; and with 8.0 mg·L−1 6-BA, 0.2 mg·L−1 KT, 0.5 mg·L−1 NAA, and 10 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for plant regeneration. Embryogenic calli were subjected to 2 or 6 °C treatment for 90 days for in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variation. Plants regenerated from calli surviving cold treatment (cold-selected) for 45 or 60 days were then exposed to low temperatures [15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night)]. Plant variants derived from cold-selected calli exhibited significant improvement in their tolerance to low temperature of either 15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night), as manifested by higher turf quality, leaf chlorophyll content, and membrane stability as well as lower levels of lipid peroxidation compared with the control plants. This study demonstrated the feasibility of in vitro selection for cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The cold-tolerant variants could be useful germplasm for breeding programs and further molecular characterization of cold tolerance mechanisms.

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Jianfeng Liu, Bowen Yang, Yuetong Ming, Yuchu Zhang and Yunqing Cheng

Rubus idaeus has remarkable economic and cultural value. Developing efficient simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers is necessary for the molecular breeding of red raspberry. In this study, SSR mining was performed using the de novo transcriptome sequence of R. idaeus. In total, 14,210 SSR sequences were identified from 11,158 SSR-containing unigenes. In all the SSR sequences, mononucleotide, dinucleotide, and trinucleotide repeats were the most common, and their number and percentage were 1323 (9.31%), 6752 (47.52%), and 4897 (34.46%), respectively. Of the mononucleotide and dinucleotide repeats, A/T, AG/CT, AT/AT, and AC/GT were more abundant and accounted for 9.09%, 37.82%, 6.51%, and 3.14% of the total repeat number, respectively. In the trinucleotide, tetranucleotide, pentanucleotide, and hexanucleotide repeats, the nucleotide (NT) patterns AAG/CTT, AAAG/CTTT, AAAAG/CTTTT, and AAGAGG/CCTCTT were the most frequent, and accounted for 14.11%, 0.38%, 0.57%, and 0.23% of the total SSRs, respectively. Of the 480 SSR-containing unigenes with gene ontology (GO) annotation, the classification results showed that they were mainly involved in binding, catalytic, and transporter molecular functions. Most of the 3441 SSR-containing unigenes with the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) annotation were involved in the following top five pathways: metabolic, RNA transport, spliceosome, protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum, and mRNA surveillance. Thirty pairs of primers derived from the red raspberry transcriptome were randomly selected to assess their polymorphism by using 15 red raspberry germplasms, in which the polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.50 to 0.86, with a mean of 0.73, thereby indicating a high level of polymorphism. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean clustering results indicated that the thirty pairs of primers could precisely distinguish the germplasms. This study reveals the SSR distribution characteristics of red raspberry and provides a scientific basis for further genetic diversity studies and genetic linkage map construction for this species.

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Yang Fang, Jeffrey Williamson, Rebecca Darnell, Yuncong Li and Guodong Liu

Southern highbush blueberry (SHB, Vaccinium corymbosum L. interspecific hybrid) is the major species planted in Florida because of the low-chilling requirement and early ripening. The growth pattern and nitrogen (N) demand of SHB may differ from those of northern highbush blueberry (NHB, V. corymbosum L.). Thus, the effect of plant growth stage on N uptake and allocation was studied with containerized 1-year-old SHB grown in pine-bark amended soil. Five ‘Emerald’ plants were each treated with 6 g 10% 15N labeled (NH4)2SO4 at each of 12 dates over 2 years. In the first year, plants were treated once in late winter, four times during the growing season, and once in the fall. In the second year, treatment dates were based on phenological stages. After a 14-day chase period following each 15N treatment, plants were destructively harvested for dry weight (DW) measurements, atom% of 15N, and N content of each of the plant tissues. Total DW increased continuously from mid-May 2015 to Oct. 2015 and from Mar. 2016 to late Sept. 2016. From August to October of both years, external N demand was the greatest and plants absorbed more N during the 2-week chase period, about 0.53 g/plant in year 1 and 0.67 g/plant in year 2, than in chase periods earlier in the season. During March and April, N uptake was as low as 0.03 g/plant/2 weeks in year 1 and 0.21 g/plant/2 weeks in year 2. Nitrogen allocation to each of the tissues varied throughout the season. About half of the N derived from the applied fertilizer was allocated to leaves at all labeling times except the early bloom stage in 2016. These results suggest that young SHB plants absorb greater amounts of N during summer and early fall than in spring.

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Rangjian Qiu, Yuanshu Jing, Chunwei Liu, Zaiqiang Yang and Zhenchang Wang

It has been proved that irrigation with high saline water and leaching fraction (LF) affect crop yield, but the effects of irrigation water salinity (ECiw) and LF on fruit quality remain largely elusive. We therefore investigated the effects of ECiw and LF on the yield, fruit quality, and ion content of hot peppers. An experiment using irrigation water with five levels of salinity (ECiw of 0.9, 1.6, 2.7, 4.7, and 7.0 dS·m−1) and two LFs (0.17 and 0.29) was conducted in a rain shelter. The experiment took the form of a completely randomized block design, and each treatment was replicated four times. We increased the salinity of the irrigation water by adding 1:1 milliequivalent concentrations of NaCl and CaCl2 to a half-strength Hoagland solution. The plants were irrigated for 120% and 140% evapotranspiration, corresponding to an LF of 0.17 and 0.29. Results showed that the total fruit yield decreased significantly with an increase in the ECiw as a result of reduction both in the fresh weight of fruit and the number of fruit per plant. An increase in the ECiw also led to a decrease in the total dry biomass of fruit and plant, as well as decreasing water use efficiency (WUEF). Salinity reduced the appearance of the fruit by both decreasing the length (FL) and maximum width (FMW) of the fruit. However, increased ECiw also improved the taste of the hot peppers by increasing the total soluble solid (TSS) content, as well as adding to their nutritional quality with a higher content of Vitamin C (VC). Their storage quality was also improved because of an improvement in the firmness of the fruit (Fn) as well as a reduction in the fruit water content (FWC). An increase in the LF led to an increase in the total fruit yield, total dry biomass of fruit and plant, and WUEF; it also increased the FWC and VC content, and decreased the FMW and fruit shape index (FSI). The threshold-slope linear response and sigmoidal-sharp models were both a good fit for the measured total fruit yield, and the LF had no significant effect on the model parameters. The relative TSS and Fn increased linearly as the electrical conductivity (EC) of soil-saturated paste extract (ECe) increased, whereas they decreased linearly as the relative seasonal evapotranspiration (ETr) increased regardless of the LFs. The relative FW, FL, and FMW decreased linearly with the increased ECe, and increased linearly with the increased ETr regardless of the LFs. The relative fruit Na+ concentration increased linearly as the ECe increased. The regression correlations between the total fruit yield, fruit quality parameters, ion contents, and ECe or ETr could provide important information for salinity and irrigation water management with a compromise between the hot pepper yield and fruit quality.

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Junne-Jih Chen, Ming-Chung Liu and Yang-Hsiu Ho

Tuber production of calla lily (Zantedeschia elliottiana Spreng cv. Super Gold) was investigated using three size ranges (7-10, 4-7, and <4 mm shoot diameter) of in vitro plantlets acclimated in either pots or soil beds in a protected house. The shoots and tubers of large plantlets exhibited higher rates of dry-matter accumulation than did those of small plantlets. The diameter of tubers harvested from pots ranged from 0.67 to 4.1 cm with median values of 2.7, 2.1, and 1.9 cm for the plants derived from large, medium, and small plantlets, respectively. Plants grown in soil beds, regardless of size, produced larger tubers than did those grown in pots. Tubers >3 cm in diameter developed on 25% and 52% of plants grown in pots and soil beds, respectively. Our results suggest that improved calla lily production could be realized by using larger in vitro plantlets as the source material and growing them in soil beds in a protected house.

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Weijie Jiang, Jie Bai, Xueyong Yang, Hongjun Yu and Yanpeng Liu

The application of plant growth regulators (PGRs), such as abscisic acid (ABA), putrescine (Put), and 2,4-epibrassinolide (EBR), has been shown to enhance a plant's resistance to various abiotic stresses. However, the protective effects of these PGRs on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) seedlings under suboptimal temperature stress have not yet been evaluated. We also do not know the most effective method of application of PGRs for various tomato cultivars. We studied the effects of three rates of exogenous ABA, Put, or EBR in limiting damage from suboptimal temperature stress on two tomato cultivars, Zhongshu6 (considered sensitive to suboptimal temperatures) and SANTIAM (considered tolerant to suboptimal temperatures). Results showed that application of these PGRs at appropriate concentrations could effectively reduce the decline in the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and the chlorophyll (Chl) content in leaves caused by suboptimal temperature stress in both ‘Zhongshu6’ and ‘SANTIAM’ and could promote an increase in organic osmolyte (proline and soluble sugar) contents and root 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC)-reducing activity for ‘Zhongshu6’. However, these effects were inferior on ‘SANTIAM’. For both cultivars, the best treatment concentrations are 1 mm ABA, 0.1 mm Put, or 0.02 μM EBR. Results indicate that in tomato production, exogenous application of ABA, Put, or EBR at appropriate concentrations can effectively limit damage from suboptimal temperature stress.