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Ying Liu, Huawei Song, Juming Zhang, and Michael D. Richardson

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is widely used for slope protection and water and soil conservation in southern China. The plants develop an extensive root system that plays a crucial role in the protection of both soil and water. However, little is currently known about the factors that influence early root growth in bahiagrass. Here, the effects of boron (B), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), salicylic acid (SA), and melatonin (MLT) on root growth characteristics were examined. Bahiagrass seedlings were grown in 1/25 strength modified Hoagland nutrient solution supplemented with boric acid, calcium chloride, ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (Fe-EDTA), lanthanum chloride, cerium chloride, SA, or MLT. Root lengths, root surface areas, and the number of root tips were analyzed using a root scanning system after 2, 4, and 6 days of treatment. We found significant effects on root growth after some treatments. Thus, 0.270 or 0.360 mm B for 2 days enhanced root tip number, whereas 0.15 mm Fe for 6 days increased root surface area. Although 3 or 5 mm Ca caused an increase in root tip numbers, the root length was reduced. The addition of La to the nutrient solution significantly increased root length and surface area, and addition of Ce increased root surface area and root tip numbers. Root growth characteristics were optimal after 0.3 μm La for 6 days or 1.0 μm La for 4 days. For Ce treatment, optimal root characteristics were observed at 0.5 μm Ce for 6 days. Root tip numbers increased after 0.1 or 1.0 μm MLT for 6 days, whereas SA treatment reduced the root length, surface area, and root tip numbers. Overall, the analyses indicate that treatment with B, Fe, La, Ce, and MLT benefited root growth in bahiagrass seedlings.

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Ying Kong, Ming Sun, Hui-tang Pan, and Qi-xiang Zhang

Floral scents emitted from eight cultivars of cut lily flowers (Lilium) were analyzed. Floral volatiles were collected by headspace adsorption on sorbent tubes and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS) using a direct thermal desorption. Fifty volatile compounds were identified. Nine compounds were detected in all lilies, whereas 20 compounds were detected in all scented lilies. The results revealed that non-scented lilies emitted trace amounts of volatile compounds, whereas scented lilies emitted high levels of volatile compounds. Monoterpenoids and benzenoids were the dominant compound classes of volatiles emitted from scented lilies. Myrcene, (E)-β-ocimene, linalool, methyl benzoate, and ethyl benzoate were the major compounds of the aroma of scented lilies; 1,8-cineole was also a major compound in the two scented oriental × trumpet hybrid lilies. Scent emissions occurred in a circadian rhythm with higher levels of volatiles emitted during the night. Lilium ‘Siberia’ was selected as a model to investigate the source of the emissions. GC/MS analysis of four flower parts and neutral red staining revealed that tepals were the source of floral scent.

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Hongwen Huang, Ying Wang, Zhonghui Zhang, Zhengwang Jiang, and Shengmei Wang

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Beibei Li, Xiucai Fan, Ying Zhang, Chonghuai Liu, and Jianfu Jiang

Chinese wild Vitis is a useful gene source for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, although there is little research on its genetic diversity and structure. In this study, nine simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to assess the genetic diversity and genetic structure among 100 Vitis materials. These materials included 77 indigenous accessions representing 23 of 38 wild Vitis species/cultivars in China, 18 V. vinifera cultivars, and the five North American species V. aestivalis, V. girdiana, V. monticola, V. acerifolia, and V. riparia. The SSR loci used in this study for establishing an international database (Vitis International Variety Catalogue) revealed a total of 186 alleles in 100 Vitis accessions. The mean values for the gene diversity (GD) and polymorphism information content (PIC) per locus were 0.91 and 0.90, respectively, which indicates that the discriminatory power of the markers is high. Based on the genetic distance data, the 100 Vitis accessions were divided into five primary clusters by cluster analysis, and five populations by structure analysis; these results indicate these Chinese wild grapes were more genetically close to European grapes than to North American species. In addition, the clustering patterns of most accessions correlated with the geographic distribution. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed that 3.28%, 3.27%, and 93.46% of the variance occurred between populations, between individuals within populations, and between individuals within the entire population, respectively. In addition, we identified three previously undescribed accessions (Wuzhi-1, MZL-5, and MZL-6) by cluster analysis. Our results reveal a high level of genetic diversity and variability in Vitis from China, which will be helpful in the use of genetic resources in future breeding programs. In addition, our study demonstrates that SSR markers are highly suitable for further genetic diversity analyses of Chinese wild grapes.

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Chun-hui Shi, Xiao-qing Wang, Xue-ying Zhang, Lian-ying Shen, Jun Luo, and Yu-xing Zhang

This study explored the effects of different colored bags (blue, green, white, yellow, orange, and red) on russet deposition on the peel of semi-russet ‘Cuiguan’ pears 10 days after full bloom (DAFB). The process of russeting of the peel and structure of the cork layer were characterized by microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), followed by the detection of lignin and the activity of enzymes involved in lignin synthesis. The expression of cinnamate-4-hydroxylase, 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase, cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, cinnamoyl-CoA reductase, and peroxidase, which were related to phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, was determined via real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Russeting of the outer peel of ‘Cuiguan’ pear accumulated rapidly at 80 DAFB, and a positive relationship between the russet index and lignin content was observed. Red and infrared (IR) ray, partial far-IR light (600–800 nm), and ultraviolet-A light (350–400 nm) promoted russeting in ‘Cuiguan’ pear peel, whereas green light decreased russeting, the russet index, enzymatic activities, and the expression levels of enzymes involved in lignin synthesis. Values of all these factors were higher for ‘Cuiguan’ pears in red bags than for those in bags of other colors. These findings suggested that spectral components affected the synthesis of lignin and the formation of fruit russet. Storage in green bags reduced russeting and improved fruit appearance.

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Beibei Li, Jianfu Jiang, Xiucai Fan, Ying Zhang, Haisheng Sun, Guohai Zhang, and Chonghuai Liu

In this study, we present the molecular characterization of 61 Chinese grape landraces and 33 foreign cultivars by using nine microsatellite DNA markers. A total of 115 distinct alleles were amplified, and the average allele number was 12.78. The average observed and expected heterozygosity values were 0.797 and 0.839, respectively. The effective allele numbers ranged from 5.011 to 8.575. The average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.816. Eighty distinct genotypes were detected, and new synonyms and homonyms were found. The clustering dendrogram indicated that 94 Vitis materials could be divided into five major groups, and the cluster analysis showed that part of the Chinese grape landraces had a close relationship with the foreign cultivars. Assessment of the true cultivar identity, and the identification of synonyms and homonyms will be a contribution to improve the grape germplasm management and protect breeders’ intellectual rights.

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Ying Li, Liyi Zhang, Zhen Zhang, Peihua Cong, and Zong-Ming Cheng

Alternaria alternata apple pathotype (previously A. mali) causes alternaria blotch disease of apple (Malus ×domestica), which may result in leaf spots and up to 70% premature leaf drop in serious cases. This disease is of worldwide importance but is most serious in eastern Asia (Japan, Korea, and China) and in parts of the United States. The excessive use of fungicides not only adds cost to apple growers, but also pollutes the environment. In this study, we characterized a 5-year F1 population from a cross of a resistant cultivar (Huacui) and a susceptible cultivar (Golden Delicious) consisting of 110 individuals along with 14-year-old parent trees (10 each). A field evaluation of disease severity was conducted in 2008 and 2009 under the natural conditions in Liaoning, China (lat. 40°37′ N, long. 120°44′ E). Based on the field data, 110 F1 plants were divided into five groups. Artificial inoculation was carried out both on the living trees and on the detached leaves in 2009 to ensure that A. alternata apple pathotype was the causative agent. Eighty primer pairs of simple sequence repeat (SSR) were screened against the four genomic DNA pools, respectively, from six highly susceptible F1 plants, six most resistant F1 plants, one tree of the seed parent, and the one tree of the pollen parent. One pair of primers (CH05g07) was shown to be linked to the DNA pools of susceptible F1 and the parent tree, but not to the DNA pools of resistant F1 and parent trees. This primer pair was then used to screen all individual 110 F1 progenies and two parent trees. The differentiation of 103 individuals (97.3%) with the marker matched the field disease resistance rating. This marker was further screened with 20 cultivars with known susceptibility or resistance to A. alternata apple pathotype and its linkage to susceptibility was validated. These results suggest that this marker can be used in marker-assisted selection for resistance/susceptibility to alternaria blotch disease in apple.

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Zhi-li Suo, Wen-ying Li, Juan Yao, Hui-jin Zhang, Zhi-ming Zhang, and Di-xuan Zhao

Tree peony cultivars are usually classified according to flower characteristics (flower form and flower color) which are commonly affected by environmental influences and developmental levels. Judgment of flower forms may also depend on the observer. Precise and rapid cultivar identification methods are also required to manage cultivar collections as well as tree peony breeding programs. The objective of this paper is to analyze the discriminatory ability of leaf morphology and Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) marker systems for tree peony cultivars. As a result, although there exist large variations of leaf morphology of tree peony cultivars, the morphological characteristics of biternately compound leaves 3, 4, and 5 from the base of a shoot at the middle part of a plant are relatively stable with smaller variations within cultivars (2.7% to 27.1%, 16.8% on average) and with larger differentiations among cultivars (72.9% to 97.3%, 83.2% on average). Statistical and principal components analyses indicate that 12 leaf morphological characteristics are valuable for cultivar classification. ISSR markers present a precisely discriminatory power in tree peony cultivar classification without environmental influences. The cultivars with multiple flower forms, which makes it difficult to make judgment by means of a flower-form-based classification system, have been significantly characterized using leaf morphology or ISSR markers.

Open access

Ying Wang, Tingting Xue, Xing Han, Lingxiao Guan, Liang Zhang, Hua Wang, and Hua Li

Kaolin particle film (KPF) is an aqueous formulation of chemically inert mineral particles that can be sprayed on the surface of crops to form a protective film, resulting in increased fruit yield and quality. In this work, the effects of kaolin-based, foliar reflectant particle film on grape composition and volatile compounds in ‘Meili’ (Vitis vinifera L.) grapes were investigated under different growth stages over two growing seasons. The 100-berry weight and titratable acid content were decreased, and the sugar and soluble solid contents were increased in grapes of plants treated with kaolin over 2 years. Compared with grapes from plants not sprayed with kaolin, the levels of total phenol, flavonoid, flavanol, tannin, and anthocyanins of grapes from plants treated with kaolin for 2 years were mostly increased. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis also revealed an increased content of monomeric anthocyanin and changed anthocyanin composition. However, there was little effect on the volatile compounds in the grapes. These results demonstrate that KPF can facilitate the accumulation of sugar and phenolics, thereby improving grape quality even in a humid climate.

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Jun Tang, Kang-Di Hu, Lan-Ying Hu, Yan-Hong Li, Yong-Sheng Liu, and Hua Zhang

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been shown to be a gaseous molecule in the regulation of many processes in plants such as abiotic stress tolerance, root organogenesis, stomatal movement, and postharvest fruit senescence. We studied the role of H2S in the regulation of senescence and fungal decay in fresh-cut sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L., cv. Xushu 18) roots. H2S donor sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) alleviated senescence in fresh-cut sweetpotato root tissue in a dose-dependent manner with the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS solution. At the optimal concentration of 2.0 mmol·L−1 NaHS, H2S fumigation maintained higher levels of reducing sugar in sweetpotato fresh-cut root. H2S treatment also significantly increased the activities of guaiacol peroxidase (POD) and decreased those of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in sweetpotato during storage. Further investigation showed that H2S treatment maintained a lower level of lipoxygenase (LOX) activity compared with water control. Consistently, the accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced in H2S-treated groups. Three fungal pathogens, Rhizopus nigricans, Mucor rouxianus, and Geotrichum candidum, were isolated from sweetpotato tissue infected with black rot or soft rot. H2S fumigation at 1 to 2.5 mmol·L−1 NaHS resulted in effective inhibition of the three fungi when grown on medium. When the three fungi were inoculated on the surface of sweetpotato slices, H2S fumigation greatly reduced the percentage of fungal infection. In conclusion, these data suggest that H2S effectively alleviated the senescence and decay in sweetpotato slices and might be developed into a novel fungicide for reduction of black rot or soft rot in sweetpotato.