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Yuanli Wu, Ganjun Yi, Hu Yang, Birong Zhou, and Jiwu Zeng

MS is the most commonly used basal medium for the micropropagation of banana (Musa spp.), in which inorganic N source consists of NH4 +-N and NO3 --N, and NH4 +:NO3 - = 1:2. In the present study, basal medium for rooting culture was modified by supplying NO3 --N as the sole N source at the concentration of 17.80 to 19.78 mmol·L-1. Not only was the percentage of qualified plantlets higher than that of MS or ½ MS, but the cost for medium preparation (per liter) was about $0.6 lower than that of MS based on local retail price, for the concentration of N decreased from about 60 mmol·L-1 to nearly 20 mmol·L-1. The effects of four factors: sucrose (25 to 35 g·L-1), NAA (0.2 to 1.0 mg·L-1), IBA (0.2 to 1.0 mg·L-1), and basal medium with modified N source on the percentage of qualified plantlets were studied by using orthogonal design. The variance analysis of data showed that all the four factors significantly affected the process of rooting culture. Among them, sucrose was the most important factor, followed by revised basal medium, IBA, and NAA. The optimal medium for rooting culture was BM II supplemented with 30 g·L-1 sucrose, 0.5 mg·L-1 NAA, and 0.5 mg·L-1 IBA. During the following acclimation phase, >90% of plantlets survived. Chemical name used: 6-benzylaminopurine (BA); indole-3-butyric acid (IBA); α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).

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Ting Min, Jun Xie, Yang Yi, Wenfu Hou, Youwei Ai, and Hongxun Wang

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been characterized in numerous plants in which they are involved in responses to biotic and abiotic stress, including cold and heat stress. Cool temperatures is one of the most effective storage methods for delaying browning of fresh-cut lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) root. In model plants, ERF genes have been identified as being responsive to cold and heat stress. Whether ERF is associated with lotus root browning in cooler temperatures has not been studied. In this research, low-temperature storage (4 °C) effectively delayed browning of fresh-cut lotus root. Using RNA sequencing, seven Nelumbo nucifera ERF (NnERF) genes were isolated and studied. Transcriptional analysis indicated NnERF genes responded differently to temperature. NnERF3/4/5 were reduced continuously by a low temperature (4 °C) and NnERF5 was the most strongly downregulated. In contrast, transcripts of NnERF1/2/7 were increased at a low temperature (4 °C). The expression of NnERF6 showed no obvious difference between the two different temperatures. It is proposed that NnERF3/4/5 could be important candidates as regulators of fresh-cut lotus root browning. The roles of other members are also discussed.

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Kai Zhao, Feng Zhang, Yi Yang, Yue Ma, Yuexue Liu, He Li, Hongyan Dai, and Zhihong Zhang

GA20-oxidase (GA20-ox) is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of gibberellic acid (GA). To investigate its role in plant growth and development, we suppressed MdGA20-ox gene expression in apple (Malus domestica cv. Hanfu) plants by RNA interference (RNAi). After 20 weeks of growth in the greenhouse, significant phenotype differences were observed between transgenic lines and the nontransgenic control. Suppression of MdGA20-ox gene expression resulted in lower plant height, shorter internode length, and higher number of nodes compared with the nontransgenic control. The expression of MdGA20-ox in transgenic plants was significantly suppressed, and the active GA content in transgenic lines was lower than that in the nontransgenic control. These results demonstrated that the MdGA20-ox gene plays an important role in vegetative growth, and therefore it is possible to develop dwarfed or compact scion apple cultivars by MdGA20-ox gene silencing.

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Shanshan Seng, Jian Wu, Jiahui Liang, Fengqin Zhang, Qiuyan Yang, Junna He, and Mingfang Yi

Starch accumulation is important during com development. ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is the rate-limiting enzyme in starch synthesis. AGPL is the large subunit of AGPase. Here, we isolated and characterized the large subunit of AGPase gene GhAGPL1 in gladiolus (Gladiolus hybridus). GhAGPL1 was highly expressed in sink organs (cormels and corms). The expression of GhAGPL1 was induced by glucose, sucrose, and mannitol, and it was repressed by abscisic acid (ABA). Overexpression of GhAGPL1 in the arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) apl1 mutant resulted in complementation of AGPase activity and thus starch synthesis. Silencing GhAGPL1 in gladiolus decreased the transcript level of GhAGPL1 and GhSus, and resulted in the reduction of AGPase activity and starch content in gladiolus corm and cormel. Meanwhile, sucrose content was higher in GhAGPL1-silenced corm. Surprisingly, silencing GhAGPL1 in gladiolus produced smaller corms and fewer number of cormels. Overall, GhAGPL1 contributed to the quality and quantity of gladiolus corms and cormels.

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Yi Kai, Yang Bin, Zhang Min, Gao Ainong, Zhang Jinger, Liu Zhi, Sha Shoufeng, and Xie Chongxin

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Yi-Lu Jiang, Tzong-Shyan Lin, Ching-Lung Lee, Chung-Ruey Yen, and Wen-Ju Yang

Yellow pitaya, Selenicereus megalanthus (Schum. ex. Vaupel) Moran, is a potential new fruit in Taiwan. It sprouts mostly in winter and flowers in late spring and fall. In this study, an average of 60% shoots within canopies flowered. Shoots sprouted in the current winter flowered in fall and produced winter fruits, and shoots sprouted earlier than the current winter flowered in late spring and produced summer fruits. Floral buds on most shoots appeared at the distal end. The weight, pulp percentage, and total soluble solids of winter fruits were significantly higher than those of summer fruits. The number of black seeds was positively correlated with pulp weight (R 2 = 0.87). The total soluble solids in the core region of winter fruits reached 22.7 °Brix, higher than that in other regions. Future efforts to improve yellow pitaya production in Taiwan include increasing winter fruit production by enhancing growth of the current year's new shoots through proper canopy management and increasing the size of summer fruit by artificial pollination, fruit thinning, and other means.

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Yi-Lu Jiang, Yuan-Yin Liao, Meng-Tzu Lin, and Wen-Ju Yang

Off-season flowering in red pitaya (Hylocereus sp.), a long-day plant, can be achieved using night-breaking (NB) treatment. Among the stages of bud development, stage 0 referred to induced but not yet differentiate any bracteole and stage 3 was the stage right before emerging floral buds and the bracteole differentiation was completed. Unlike floral bud emergence, bracteole differentiation was independent of the daylength and strongly influenced by the environmental temperature. The buds of higher stages were more effective in response to NB treatment and more sensitive to chilling injury (CI). Consequently, off-season flowers in autumn and winter trials were derived mainly from stage 2 and 3 buds and from stage 0 and 1 buds, respectively. In southern Taiwan, low night temperature between 10 Jan. and 7 Feb. 2011 may be the major factor, which delay bud development in off-season production. Therefore, we conducted a heating experiment in winter off-season production to proof our hypothesis and concluded that NB treatment should be applied along with night temperature elevation or after mid-February when the minimum night temperature is increasing.

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Ting Min, En-chao Liu, Jun Xie, Yang Yi, Li-mei Wang, You-wei Ai, and Hong-xun Wang

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been involved in responses to biotic and abiotic stress, including hypoxia and anaerobic stress. Vacuum packaging (a typical anaerobic stress) is an effective storage method used to delay browning of fresh-cut lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera). In model plants, ERF genes have been identified as responsive to hypoxia. Whether ERF is associated with browning of vacuum-packaged lotus root has not been studied. The effects of vacuum packaging on browning, phenolic content, the enzyme activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD), and PPO, PAL, POD, and ERF genes expression in fresh-cut lotus root were studied. Downregulation of NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 attributable to vacuum packaging coincided with increased related enzyme activities and the degree of browning of fresh-cut lotus root. The expression patterns of NnERF4/5 were consistent with the changes in NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 gene expression. It has been proposed that NnERF4/5 could have be important regulators of fresh-cut lotus root browning, and that the relationships of NnERF4/5 and NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 should to be studied further.

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Rui Sun, Hui Li, Qiong Zhang, Dongmei Chen, Fengqiu Yang, Yongbo Zhao, Yi Wang, Yuepeng Han, Xinzhong Zhang, and Zhenhai Han

Flesh browning is an important negative trait for quality preservation of fresh-cut fruits. To obtain a better understanding of the inheritance and genetic control of flesh browning in apple, the phenotype of a hybrid population derived from ‘Jonathan’ × ‘Golden Delicious’ was studied for 2 successive years. The inheritance of the flesh browning trait was analyzed by the frequency distribution of the phenotypes. Flesh browning-associated major genes were then mapped by screening genome-wide simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Flesh browning is inherited quantitatively and showed a clear bimodal frequency distribution, indicating that the segregation of major genes is involved in the variation. The segregation ratio of light and heavy browning was 7:1 in 2010, 2011, and 2010 + 2011, suggesting that the inheritance of the trait in apple involves three segregated loci of major genes. The heritability of the major gene effect was 72.14% and 72.76% in 2010 and 2011, respectively. SSR markers were screened from 600 pairs of SSR primers located on 17 apple linkage groups (LGs). The three major genes were mapped on LG10, 15, and 17 on the apple genome, respectively, by linkage analysis of flesh browning phenotypes and the genotypes of SSR markers. Two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flesh browning were mapped on LG15 of ‘Jonathan’ and LG17 of ‘Golden Delicious’, respectively, which are the same linkage groups that two major genes mapped on.

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Yi-Lu Jiang, Yuan-Yin Liao, Tzong-Shyan Lin, Ching-Lung Lee, Chung-Ruey Yen, and Wen-Ju Yang

Red pitaya (Hylocereus sp.), which flowers between May and October and sprouts between November and May in Taiwan, has been confirmed to be a long-day plant. The areoles on the old shoots may be induced to flower after the March equinox naturally, and the floral bud formation occurs in two to three waves from May to October. We conducted experiments on photoperiodic regulation of floral bud formation from June to Dec. 2009 and tested the feasibility of off-season production in 2011. Shortening summer daylength to 8 h inhibited the areoles at the distal end of the shoots to develop into floral buds and promoted sprouting at the proximal ends of the shoots. Night-breaking treatment between the September equinox and the winter solstice led to floral bud formation. The critical daylength seemed to be ≈12 h, and night-breaking treatment would be applicable between the September and the next March equinoxes to produce off-season crops. The duration of night-breaking required for flower differentiation was longer in the cooler than in the warmer season. Four weeks of night-breaking treatment was sufficient to promote flowering in late fall (mid-October to mid-November), but 3 months were required to generate similar result in the winter and early spring (January to March) in southern Taiwan.