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.
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 (gS) 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 gS 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.
Microbial fertilizers can activate and promote nutrient absorption and help inflorescence elongation. To understand the molecular mechanisms governing grape (Vitis vinifera) inflorescence elongation after microbial fertilizer application, we comprehensively analyzed the transcriptome dynamics of ‘Summer Black’ grape inflorescence at different leaf stages. With the development of ‘Summer Black’ grape inflorescence, gibberellic acid content gradually increased and was clearly higher in the microbial fertilizer group than in the corresponding control group. In addition, the microbial fertilizer and control groups had 291, 487, 490, 287, and 323 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at the 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-leaf stages, respectively. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway annotation revealed that most upregulated DEGs were enriched in starch and sucrose metabolism pathways at the 6-, 8-, and 10-leaf stages. Weighted gene coexpression network analysis identified stage-specific expression of most DEGs. In addition, multiple transcription factors and phytohormone signaling-related genes were found at different leaf stages, including basic helix-loop-helix proteins, CCCH zinc finger proteins, gibberellin receptor GID1A, 2-glycosyl hydrolases family 16, protein TIFY, MYB transcription factors, WRKY transcription factors, and ethylene response factor, suggesting that many transcription factors play important roles in inflorescence elongation at different developmental stages. These results provide valuable insights into the dynamic transcriptomic changes of inflorescence elongation at different leaf stages.
The accumulation of different types of metabolites may reflect variations in plant adaptation to different severities or durations of drought stress. The objectives of this project are to examine changes in metabolomic profiles and determine predominant metabolites in response to short-term (6 days) and long-term (18 days) drought stress with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis in a C4 perennial grass species. Plants of hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis cv. Tifdwarf) were unirrigated for 18 days to induce drought stress in growth chambers. Physiological responses to drought stress were evaluated by visual rating of grass quality, relative water content, photochemical efficiency, and electrolyte leakage (EL). All parameters decreased significantly at 6 and 18 days of drought stress, except EL, which increased with the duration of drought stress. Under short-term drought stress (6 days), the content did not change significantly for most metabolites, except methionine, serine, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), isoleucine, and mannose. Most metabolites showed higher accumulation under long-term drought stress compared with that under the well-watered conditions, including three organic acids (malic acid, galacturonic acid, and succinic acid), 10 amino acids (proline, asparagine, phenylalanine, methionine, serine, 5-hydroxynorvaline, GABA, glycine, theorine, valine), seven sugars (sucrose, glucose, galactose, fructose, mannose, maltose, xylose), one nitrogen compound (ethanolamine), and two-sugar alcohol (myo-inositol). The accumulation of those metabolites, especially malic acid, proline, and sucrose, could be associated with drought adaptation of C4 hybrid bermudagrass to long-term or severe drought stress.
Heat is a major factor limiting growth of C3 grass species. Elevated CO2 may mitigate the adverse effects of heat stress or enhance heat tolerance. The objective of this study was to determine metabolic changes associated with improvement of heat tolerance by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). Plants (cv. Rembrandt) were exposed to ambient day/night temperature (25/20 °C) or heat stress (35/30 °C) and ambient CO2 concentration (400 ± 10 μmol·mol−1) or double ambient CO2 concentration (800 ± 10 μmol·mol−1) in growth chambers. Turf quality (TQ), shoot growth rate, and leaf electrolyte leakage results demonstrated that heat stress at ambient CO2 concentration inhibits turf growth and reduces cell membrane stability, whereas heat-stressed plants under elevated CO2 concentration exhibit improved TQ, shoot growth rate, and membrane stability. Plants exposed to heat stress under elevated CO2 exhibited a significantly greater amount of several organic acids (shikimic acid, malonic acid, threonic acid, glyceric acid, galactaric acid, and citric acid), amino acids (serine, valine, and 5-oxoproline), and carbohydrates (sucrose and maltose) compared with heat-stressed plants at ambient CO2. The increased production or maintenance of metabolites with important biological functions such as those involved in photosynthesis, respiration, and protein metabolism could play a role in elevated CO2 mitigation of heat stress damage. Therefore, elevated CO2 conditions may contribute to improved heat stress tolerance as exhibited by better TQ and shoot growth of heat-stressed plants. Practices to harness the power of CO2 may be incorporated into turfgrass management for plant adaptation to increasing temperatures, particularly during summer months.
Drought stress is one of the most important abiotic stresses limiting plant growth, while high recuperative capacity of plants from drought damages is critical for plant survival in periods of drought stress and rewatering. The objective of our study was to determine physiological and growth factors in association with drought tolerance and recuperative capacity of cool-season kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis cv. Excursion II) and warm-season zoysigrass (Zoysia matrella cv. Diomand), which were grown in controlled environment chambers and maintained well watered (control) or subjected to drought stress and subsequently rewatering. Compared with kentucky bluegrass, zoysiagrass maintained higher leaf hydration level during drought stress, as shown by greater relative water content (RWC), improved osmotic adjustment (OA), increased leaf thickness, and more extensive root system at deeper soil layers. Turf quality (TQ) and photosynthesis recovered to a greater level and sooner in response to rewatering for zoysiagrass, compared with kentucky bluegrass, which could be due to more rapid reopening of stomata [higher stomatal conductance (gS)] and leaf rehydration (higher RWC). The aforementioned physiological factors associated with leaf dehydration tolerance during drought and rapid resumption in turf growth and photosynthesis in zoysiagrass could be useful traits for improving drought tolerance in turfgrasses.
Abscisic acid (ABA) and glycine betaine (GB) may regulate plant responses to drought or salinity stress. The objectives of this controlled-environment study were to determine whether foliar application of ABA or GB improves turf quality under drought or salinity and whether improved stress responses were associated changes in antioxidant metabolism in two C3 turfgrass species, creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). Physiological parameters evaluated included turf quality, leaf relative water content, membrane electrolyte leakage (EL), membrane lipid peroxidation [expressed as malondialdehyde (MDA) content], and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Abscisic acid and GB were both effective in mitigating physiological damage resulting from drought or salinity for both grass species, but effects were more pronounced on kentucky bluegrass. The most notable effects of ABA or GB application were the suppression of EL and MDA accumulation and an increase in APX, POD, and SOD activities after prolonged periods of drought (21 days) or salinity stress (35 days). These results suggest foliar application of ABA or GB may alleviate physiological damage by drought or salinity stress in turfgrass and the maintenance of membrane stability and active antioxidant metabolism could contribute to the positive effects in the stress mitigation effects.
Dollar spot, caused by Sclerotinia homoeocarpa F.T. Bennett, is an important disease of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) on golf courses in the northern United States. Canopy moisture in the form of dew plays an important role in the development of dollar spot and routine displacement has been shown to reduce disease severity. The use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) is a common management practice for maintaining creeping bentgrass fairways, but their influence on dollar spot is unclear. The objective of this field study was to elucidate the influence of dew removal at the time of fungicide application on dollar spot control in creeping bentgrass regulated by trinexapac-ethyl (TE). Main factors in the study included three dew removal strategies (non-treated, dew removed–mowed, and dew removed–not mowed) before the application of four fungicide treatments (non-treated, chlorothalonil, propiconazole, and iprodione). All fungicide treatments were applied once to turfgrass previously treated with TE or not treated. The presence or absence of dew at the time of fungicide application generally had no influence on fungicide performance with respect to dollar spot control. Based on the results of this study, dew removal before the application of fungicides targeting dollar spot is unnecessary. Applications of TE before fungicides reduced dollar spot severity in some cases, but reductions in symptom expression were limited and did not result in markedly improved dollar spot control.
In Taiwan, the major yield constraint in pineapple cultivation is natural flowering, which occurs when daylengths are shorter and nights are cooler. This natural (precocious) flowering increases the cost of cultivation and reduces the percentage of fruits of marketable size. Two field experiments were conducted to evaluate the inhibitory potential of aviglycine [(S)-trans-2-amino-4-(2 aminoethoxy)-3-butenoic acid hydrochloride, AVG] on natural flowering of ‘Tainon 17’ pineapple plants during the 2003 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005 cropping seasons. In the 2003 to 2004 season, bolting in the control exceeded 80% on 2 Mar. 2004, whereas no bolting was observed in the treatments. Inhibition of bolting by aviglycine (AVG) was dependent on the concentration and frequency of application. Bolting was less than 40% when plants were treated in Nov. and Dec. 2003 with 500 mg·L−1 of AVG four times at 15-day intervals or with five applications made at 10-day intervals. For the 2004 to 2005 season, bolting of plants treated with 250 or 375 mg·L−1 AVG was delayed 4 weeks relative to the control, whereas bolting was delayed 7 weeks by four or five applications of 500 mg·L−1 of AVG applied at 10- or 15-day intervals. Both experiments showed that four to five applications of 500 mg·L−1 of AVG at 10- or 15-day intervals delayed inflorescence emergence relative to the control for the duration of the treatments. We assume control was maintained for 1 to 2 weeks after treatments stopped. Based on these results, the date AVG treatments stop can be used to estimate the duration of delay in flowering. AVG inhibits ethylene biosynthesis and has the potential to be effectively used to delay or completely control the problem of precocious flowering and associated crop losses in pineapple.
Changes in leaf length, width, area, weight, chlorophyll and carotenoids contents, and photosynthetic variables with different leaf positions were investigated in fruit cucumber. Plants were grown on rockwool slabs in an environmentally controlled greenhouse and irrigated by drip fertigation. Leaf measurements were conducted from the first to the 15th leaf (the oldest to the youngest). The results showed that fresh weight per unit leaf area decreased from the second to the 15th leaf. Changes in cucumber leaf length, width, and area followed quadratic models from the first to the 15th leaf. The quadratic models of leaf length, width, and area fit the measurements well, with R2 values of 0.925, 0.951, and 0.955, respectively. The leaf chlorophyll a and b and carotenoid contents increased from the oldest leaf (first leaf) to the youngest leaf and decreased after reaching the highest values. Changes in the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) also followed the quadratic model from the first to the 15th leaf, with R2 values of 0.975. The leaf transpiration rate (Tr) increased from the first to the 14th leaf. Our results revealed patterns in leaf growth and photosynthetic changes at different leaf positions in fruit cucumber and improved our understanding of the growth and development of fruit cucumber in the greenhouse production system.