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Yu-Sen Chang and Chen-Yu Lin

The effect of copper hydroxide [Cu(OH)2] applied to interior container surfaces on shoot and root responses was evaluated on palimara alstonia (Alstonia scholaris). The seedlings grown in Cu(OH)2-treated containers had greater plant height than those in untreated containers, and had no observable copper toxicity symptoms. Cu(OH)2-treated containers effectively reduced root circling on the surface of rootballs compared with untreated containers. The Cu(OH)2 treatment significantly increased the dry weight of fine roots (those with a diameter 0-2 mm) and small roots (>2-5 mm) but did not influence the dry weight of medium roots (>5-10 mm), large roots (>10 mm), or total roots. The Cu(OH)2 treatment also significantly increased total root length and surface, which was due principally to the increasing length and surface of the fine roots. The results indicated that the Cu(OH)2 treatment, which can improve the root quality of palimara alstonia seedlings and thereby increase the root-length-to-leaf-area ratio and the root-surface-to-leaf-area ratio, has the potential to produce high-quality plants.

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Junne-Jih Chen and Yu-Ju Liao

The effect of N source on `Kennebec' potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tuberization was investigated using single-node segments originated from in vitro virus-free plantlets and inoculated on media with two nitrate: ammonia ratios (low, 2:1; high, 5:1). Cell count and size and sugar-use characteristics were measured at intervals of tuber development. Tubers grown on high nitrate-ammonia medium exhibited higher rates of sucrose use and higher dry-matter accumulation than tubers grown on low nitrate-ammonia medium. The median value of tuber fresh weight increased from 0.66 to 1.23 g as a result of increasing nitrate-ammonia. Significant differences in cell size and growth rate were observed between the two N treatments. There was also a high correlation between tuber cell size and dry matter (r = 0.82, P ≤ 0.05). These data demonstrate the importance of the nitrate: ammonium ratio in determining C use, tuber cell size, and tuber weight. Chemical names used: α-naphtylacetic acid (NAA); 6-benzylaminopurine (BA).

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Yu-Wei Liu and Chen-Kang Huang

Hydroponic systems in plant factories can be categorized into recirculating or noncirculating systems. In this study, the effects of various commercially available circulation pumps, including a centrifugal magnetic drive pump, a regenerative self-priming pump, and a submersible pump, were experimentally explored. In addition, the effects of an ultraviolet sterilization system on the ion concentrations in nutrient solutions were examined. The concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, nitrate, sulfate, and ferric (Fe3+) ions in the nutrient solution were measured. For all three types of pumps, the results indicated that there was no significant effect on the concentrations of ions in the nutrient solution. However, the concentration of Fe3+ ions decreased significantly after the nutrient solution was treated by a ultraviolet sterilization system for 48 hours. In addition, the effects of the three types of pumps on the growth of butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were examined. The temperature records during the pump circulation tests showed that the nutrient solution temperature of the regenerative self-priming pump increased by 15.5 °C (from 20.5 to 36 °C), which caused yellow seedling, scorching on the leaves, and browning of the roots. The ion concentration in the nutrient solutions and total fresh weight of butterhead lettuce did not show any noticeable difference between the centrifugal magnetic drive pump and the submersible pump. In this paper, we clarify the cause of the decreasing iron concentration and provide a guideline for selecting the pump for circulating hydroponic systems in plant factories.

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Yajun Chen, Jingjin Yu and Bingru Huang

Water availability for plant growth is becoming increasingly limited, whereas rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration may have interactive effects with drought stress. The objectives of this study were to determine whether elevated CO2 would mitigate drought-induced water deficit and photosynthesis inhibition and enhance recovery from drought damages on rewatering and to determine whether the mitigating effects during drought stress and the recovery in photosynthesis during rewatering by elevated CO2 were the result of the regulation of stomatal movement or carboxylation activities in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. cv. Rembrandt). Plants were grown in controlled-environment chambers with ambient CO2 concentration (400 μmol·mol−1) or elevated CO2 concentration (800 μmol·mol−1) and maintained well watered (control) or subjected to drought stress and subsequently rewatered. Elevated CO2 reduced stomatal conductance (g S) and transpiration rate of leaves during both drought stress and rewatering. Osmotic adjustment and soluble sugar content were enhanced by elevated CO2. Elevated CO2 enhanced net photosynthetic rate with lower g S but higher Rubisco and Rubisco activase activities during both drought and rewatering. The results demonstrated that elevated CO2 could improve leaf hydration status and photosynthesis during both drought stress and rewatering, and the recovery in photosynthesis from drought damages on rewatering was mainly the result of the elimination of metabolic limitation from drought damages associated with carboxylation enzyme activities.

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Yu-Kuang Chen, John B. Bamberg and Jiwan P. Palta

Tetraploid somatic hybrids between S. tuberosum (tbr) and S. commersonii (cmm) have been produced to incorporate desirable traits such as cold hardiness from cmm into cultivated potatoes. While nonacclimated freezing tolerance (NA) of these somatic hybrids were as low as tbr fusion parent, their acclimation capacity (ACC) approximated that of the parental mean. In order to further explore the potential of using these somatic hybrids in breeding programs and to examine the segregation of genes conferring NA and ACC in somatic hybrids, progenies have been developed from either selfing somatic hybrids or crossing them with a tuberosum breeding line, Wis 231. In total, 48 selfed and 6 backcross progenies were characterized for the expression of NA and ACC. The NA derived from cmm was still poorly recovered in both sets of progenies. However, ACC did show some variation ranging from the level of sensitive fusion parent to that of the selfed parent, HA 26-5. None of the progeny had ACC as high as their cmm parent. Our results suggest that the expression of NA was suppressed by the cold sensitive genome of tbr. Thus, ACC is the form of cold tolerance from cmm, which appears to be most easily accessed though these somatic hybrids.

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Yongfeng Yang, Zhixiao Yang, Shizhou Yu and Hongli Chen

Organic acid secretion from higher plant roots into the rhizosphere soil plays an important role in nutrient acquisition and metal detoxification; however, their precise functions and the related mechanisms in abiotic stress tolerance remain poorly understood. Tobacco is an important crop plant, so thoroughly elucidating these factors in tobacco is of high priority. In the present study, the activation effect on soil potassium (K), contents of exuded organic acids, and physiological changes in the roots of various tobacco varieties under both normal K supply and K-deficiency stress were investigated. Our results showed that one high-K variety (ND202) exhibited a significantly higher total content of organic acids in the root exudates and the highest available K content in the rhizosphere soil, compared with two common ones (K326 and NC89). Moreover, the high-K tobacco variety was less affected in terms of root vigor under K-deficiency stress, and displayed greater increases in the activities of the stress-resistant enzymes consisting of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT). Taken together, these results provide evidence that tobacco roots exude large amounts of organic acids to increase the available K content in the rhizosphere soil and improve the utilization rate of soil K.

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Ling Yu, Hongwei Chen, Peipei Hong, Hongli Wang and Kefeng Liu

Salvia splendens is a widely used ornamental bedding plant; however, the limited propagation method has decreased its quality and yield. Through years of selection, we have obtained a new variety of S. splendens with weak apical dominance and named it as ‘Cailinghong’. To establish an effective method for regeneration of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’, different explants, including leaves, receptacles, petioles, stem nodes, and stem segments were used for adventitious bud induction. Next, various combinations of plant growth regulators (PGRs) were selected for bud and root induction, which were assessed by adventitious bud initiation rate and proliferation rate, as well as root induction rate. Meanwhile, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was also calculated. As a result, stem nodes were found easy to be induced to form buds, and the optimum medium component was 1/2 Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 0.45 µM naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), 8.88 µM 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), and 2.46 µM 3-indolebutyric acid (IBA) for plantlets induction, whereas 1/4 MS medium supplemented with 2.23 µM NAA for root induction. Furthermore, the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was up to 80%, and all regenerated plantlets were normal in phenotype. Therefore, cultured in 1/2 MS medium with combined PGRs, whole plantlet of S. splendens ‘Cailinghong’ could be regenerated directly from stem node.

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Huai-Fu Fan, Wen Chen, Zhou Yu and Chang-Xia Du

Salt stress reduces the fresh weight, dry weight, and relative growth rate of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings and results in serious quality loss in cucumber production. Our previous study indicated that the netting-associated peroxidase (CsaNAPOD) protein in cucumber seedling roots was induced by salt stress. Here, we amplified the coding sequence of CsaNAPOD from a cDNA isolated from the roots of cucumber seedlings. Sequence analysis indicated that the coding sequence of CsaNAPOD is 1035 bp, encoding a deduced protein of 344 amino acids, with a predicated molecular weight of 37.2 kD and theoretical isoelectric point of 5.64. The deduced amino acid sequence of CsaNAPOD showed high sequence similarity to peroxidases (PODs) from other plant species. Moreover, CsaNAPOD possesses the typical sequence structures of class III PODs and indicated that CsaNAPOD belongs to this subfamily. CsaNAPOD was highly expressed in the roots and was weakly expressed in the stems and leaves of cucumber seedlings. Salt stress significantly increased the expression of CsaNAPOD in the leaves during the entire experimental period compared with the control, and the expression of CsaNAPOD in roots was reduced at 6 hours and induced at 48 and 72 hours by salt treatment. In stems, the expression of CsaNAPOD declined at 48 and 72 hours as a result of the salt treatment compared with the control. These results indicate that the expression of CsaNAPOD responded to salt stress in cucumber seedlings, and the expression patterns under salt stress in different tissues were not identical. Our research suggests that CsaNAPOD may have potential function during the plant response to salt stress.

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Qi Wang, Rui Zhao, Qihang Chen, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Liqi Chen and Xiaonan Yu

Herbaceous peony is a perennial flowering plant with strong environmental adaptability and may be a good candidate for culture in arid areas. In this study, the physiological and biochemical responses of two herbaceous peony cultivars to different soil moisture gradients in pots were assessed by analyzing changes in 13 stress-related indices. The drought damage index (DDI) and the contents of malondialdehyde (MDA), soluble sugar, proline, and abscisic acid (ABA) generally increased as drought stress intensified, whereas leaf relative water content (LRWC) decreased, and the contents of soluble protein, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), the ratio of IAA and ABA, and the activities of four antioxidant enzymes fluctuated. For the leaves, a positive correlation was found between DDI and superoxide dismutase (SOD), MDA, soluble sugar, proline, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and ABA, but it was negatively correlated with LRWC, peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT). In fibrous roots, DDI was positively correlated with MDA, soluble sugar, proline, soluble protein, and ABA but was negatively correlated with SOD, CAT, APX, and IAA/ABA. Principal component analysis and subordinate functions were used to evaluate drought resistance of the two cultivars, with ‘Karl Rosenfield’ showing greater resistance to drought than ‘Da Fu Gui’.

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Yuan Yu, Chunxian Chen, Ming Huang, Qibin Yu, Dongliang Du, Matthew R. Mattia and Frederick G. Gmitter Jr.

Citrus (Citrus sp.) germplasm collections are a valuable resource for citrus genetic breeding studies, and further utilization of the resource requires knowledge of their genotypic and phylogenetic relationships. Diverse citrus accessions, including citron (Citrus medica), mandarin (Citrus reticulata), pummelo (Citrus maxima), papeda (Papeda sp.), trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), kumquat (Fortunella sp.), and related species, have been housed at the Florida Citrus Arboretum, Winter Haven, FL, but the accessions in the collection have not been genotyped. In this study, a collection of 80 citrus accessions were genotyped using 1536 sweet orange–derived single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, to determine their SNP fingerprints and to assess genetic diversity, population structure, and phylogenetic relationships, and thereby to test the efficiency of using the single genotype-derived SNP chip with relatively low cost for these analyses. Phylogenetic relationships among the 80 accessions were determined by multivariate analysis. A model-based clustering program detected five basic groups and revealed that C. maxima introgressions varied among mandarin cultivars and segregated in mandarin F1 progeny. In addition, reciprocal differences in C. maxima contributions were observed among citranges (Citrus sinensis × P. trifoliata vs. P. trifoliata × C. sinensis) and may be caused by the influence of cytoplasmic DNA and its effect on selection of cultivars. Inferred admixture structures of many secondary citrus species and important cultivars were confirmed or revealed, including ‘Bergamot’ sour orange (Citrus aurantium), ‘Kinkoji’ (C. reticulata × Citrus paradisi), ‘Hyuganatsu’ orange (Citrus tamurana), and palestine sweet lime (Citrus aurantifolia). The relatively inexpensive SNP array used in this study generated informative genotyping data and led to good consensus and correlations with previously published observations based on whole genome sequencing (WGS) data. The genotyping data and the phylogenetic results may facilitate further exploitation of interesting genotypes in the collection and additional understanding of phylogenetic relationships in citrus.