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Gerald G. Dull, Richard G. Leffler and Gerald S. Birth

An instrument based on near infrared (NIR) reflectance techniques is described which is capable of determining nondestructively the percent soluble solids in whole honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon samples. It utilizes a tilting interference filter technology for wavelength scanning and a silicon detector/amplifier for the detection of radiation which has penetrated through inner melon flesh. The standard error of prediction is of the order of 1.2 percent soluble solids for honeydew melons when compared with a standard refractometer analysis.

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Bruce Bugbee

Although the principle of mass balance is well-understood, few people understand how Hoagland and Arnon used it to develop their famous nutrient solution recipes. Here I review: 1) the application of mass balance in deriving unique hydroponic solution recipes, 2) the dangers of dumping and replacing hydroponic solutions, 3) the need to alter the silicon and chloride concentrations in Hoagland's solution based on recent advances in our understanding of plant nutrient requirements.

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A.M. Shirazi and F.D. Miller

Research on silicon nutrition has shown an increase in plant disease resistance to powdery mildew and pythium in some species, such as roses and cucumbers. However, the role of silicon for protecting plants from other stresses e.g., heat, drought, insects, etc., are not known. Two-year-old Sargent Crabapple Malus sargentii seedlings were subjected to 4 continuous days of 100 ml root application of potassium silicate at the rate of 0, 100, 200, and 400 ppm in Aug. 1998. After 3 days post-treatment, three detached leaves were placed in each of three petri dishes along with one adult female Japanese beetle (n = 3/concentrations) for 7 days. Potassium silicate at 100 ppm concentration significantly reduced percent leaf tissue eaten by adult Japanese beetles. There was not any statistical difference between control, 200, and 400 ppm application. The ion leakage of stem tissues of 100 and 200 ppm-treated plants were significantly lower than the control and 400 ppm. These lower ion leakage effects were also observed with red-osier dogwood stem tissues at 100 ppm. In a companion study fall webworm larvae were also exposed to the same above concentrations and treatments. There was not a significant effect of potassium pilicate on percent leaf tissue eaten by fall webworm larvae, suggesting that there may be differences between major groups of leaf-feeding insects. Leaf and root tissue analysis for Ca, K, Mg, Na, and Si will be reported.

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Martha Maletta, Melvin Henninger and Kristian Holmstrom

Control tactics for potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) in certified organic potato (Solanum tuberosum) production were evaluated in 2003 and 2004. The 2004 split plot trial also compared silver plastic mulch culture with bare ground culture. The trials were conducted at the Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm's certified organic fields, and production practices conformed to the standards of the National Organic Program (NOP). `Superior' potato was grown both years. Potato leafhopper (PLH) controls evaluated were: kaolin, pyrethrin, pyrethrin plus kaolin (2003), pyrethrin with silicon dioxide (2004), and silver plastic mulch (2003). Pyrethrin, pyrethrin plus kaolin, and pyrethrin with silicon dioxide reduced PLH nymph counts and PLH damage (hopperburn) ratings compared with the untreated check (UTC). Kaolin did not reduce nymph counts or hopperburn ratings. In 2003, nymph counts and hopperburn ratings were higher in the mulch treatment than in the UTC, yet the mulch treatment produced higher yield than the UTC. In 2004, mulch culture increased total and marketable yield compared with bare ground culture when PLH was controlled. Nymph counts and hopperburn ratings were higher until mid-July in the mulch plots than bare ground plots with the UTC and kaolin treatments. Controlling PLH and using plastic mulch culture significantly increased organic potato yields and tuber size. Marketable yields from the UTC were less than the New Jersey average of 275 cwt/acre for conventionally grown potato: yield was 38% of average on bare ground and 68% of average on mulch in 2003; 33% of average on bare ground and 38% of average on mulch in 2004. Reducing hopperburn with pyrethrin on plants grown on mulch (2004) resulted in marketable yield that was 75% of the New Jersey average.

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David L. Bubenheim, Raman Sargis and David Wilson

Electronic dimming of high intensity discharge lamps offers control of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) but is often characterized as causing significant spectral changes. Growth chambers with 400 W metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps were equipped with a dimmer system using silicon controlled rectifiers (SCR) as high speed switches. Phase control operation turned the line power off for some period of the AC cycle. At full power the electrical input to HPS and MH lamps was 480 W (RMS) and could be decreased to 267 W and 428 W, respectively, before the arc was extinguished. Concomitant with this decrease in input power, PPF decreased by 60% in HPS and 50% in MH. The HPS lamp has characteristic spectral peaks at 589 and 595 nm. As power to the HPS lamps was decreased the 589 nm peak remained constant while the 595 nm peak decreased, equalling the 589 nm peak at 345 W input, and was almost absent at 270 W input. The MH lamp has a broader spectral output but also has a peak at 589 nm and another, smaller peak, at 545 nm. As input power to the MH lamps decreased the 589 nm peak diminished to equal the 545 nm peak. As input power approached 428 W the 589 nm peak shifted to 570 nm. While a spectral change was observed as input power was decreased in both MH and HPS lamps, the phytochrome equilibrium ratio (Pfr/Ptot) remain unchanged for both lamp types.

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David L. Bubenheim, Raman Sargis and David Wilson

Electronic dimming of high-intensity discharge lamps offers control of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) but is often characterized as causing significant spectral changes. Growth chambers with 400-W metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps were equipped with a dimmer system using silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCR) as high-speed switches. Phase control operation turned the line power off for some period of the alternating current cycle. At full power, the electrical input to HPS and MH lamps was 480 W (root mean squared) and could be decreased to 267 W and 428 W, respectively, before the arc was extinguished. Concomitant with this decrease in input power, PPF decreased by 60% in HPS and 50% in MH. The HPS lamp has characteristic spectral peaks at 589 and 595 nm. As power to the HPS lamps was decreased, the 589-nm peak remained constant while the 595-nm peak decreased, equaling the 589-nm peak at 345-W input, and the 589-nm peak was almost absent at 270-W input. The MH lamp has a broader spectral output but also has a peak at 589 nm and another smaller peak at 545 nm. As input power to the MH lamps decreased, the peak at 589 diminished to equal the 545-nm peak. As input power approached 428 W, the 589-nm peak shifted to 570 nm. While the spectrum changed as input power was decreased in the MH and HPS lamps, the phytochrome equilibrium ratio (Pfr: Ptot) remains unchanged for both lamp types.

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Michael Wisniewski

Frost-sensitive plant species have a limited ability to tolerate ice formation in their tissues. Most plants can supercool below 0°C and avoid ice formation. Discrepancies exist about the role of intrinsic and extrinsic ice-nucleating agents in initiating ice formation in plants. Previous research has demonstrated the ability of infrared video thermography to directly observe and record the freezing process in plants (Wisniewski et al., 1997. Plant Physiol. 113:4378–4397). In the present study, the ability of droplets of a suspension of the ice-nucleating-active (Ice+) bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae, and droplets of deionized water, to induce ice formation in bean plants was compared. The activity of these agents were also compared to intrinsic ice formation in dry plants. Results indicated that the presence of the Ice+ bacteria in droplets ranging from 0.5–4.0 μL always induced freezing at a warmer temperature than droplets of deionized water alone (no bacteria) or intrinsic nucleators in dry plants. When droplets of Ice+ bacteria were allowed to dry, they were no longer effective but were active again upon rewetting. Droplets of water would often supercool below temperatures at which ice formation was initiated by intrinsic agents. When a silicon grease barrier was placed between the droplets of Ice+ bacteria and the leaf surface, the bacteria were no longer capable of inducing ice formation in the plant, despite the droplets being frozen on the plant surface. This indicates that ice crystals must penetrate the cuticle in order to induce freezing of the plant.

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R.E. Byers, D.H. Carbaugh and L.D. Combs

Technical grade prohexadione-calcium (93.2% a.i. P-Ca) applied to `Fuji'/M.9 trees in three applications in deionized water reduced shoot growth by 25%, but the addition of (NH4)2SO4 to P-Ca suppressed shoot growth by 47%. If P-Ca was mixed in well water (high in calcium salts), P-Ca did not suppress shoot growth at all. The commercially formulated prohexadione-calcium [Apogee: 27.5% P-Ca + 56.1% (NH4)2SO4 + 16.4% other proprietary additives] + Regulaid in well water (high calcium) was not as effective (reduced growth by 30%) as when additional (NH4)2SO4 was added (reduced growth by 53%), and if CaCl2 (used to control corking) was tank mixed with Apogee + Regulaid, the Ca++ interfered with the growth suppression of P-Ca. If (NH4)2SO4 was added at the same rate as CaCl2 (w/w), the Apogee growth suppression was completely restored (reduced growth by 50%). Choice (a commercial water conditioner that has (NH4)2SO4 in the formulation, among other ingredients) + Li-700, or (NH4)2SO4 + Silwet L-77, or (NH4)2SO4 + Silwet L-77 + Oil were among the most effective adjuvant combinations with Apogee. The addition of ethephon at 270 mg·L-1 improved the growth suppression of Apogee + (NH4)2SO4 + Regulaid. Solubor compromised the effectiveness of Apogee + Regulaid. Adjusting the pH of the Apogee + (NH4)2SO4+ Regulaid spray to either pH = 4 or pH = 9 did not affect efficacy. The combination of Apogee + (NH4)2SO4 + Regulaid caused increased fruit cracking of `Empire' fruit as compared to the control (7%), presumably due to increased absorption of P-Ca. Chemical names used: Prohexadione-calcium (P-Ca, 3-oxido-4-propionyl-5-oxo-3cyclohexenecarboxylate) formulated as BAS-125 (10% P-Ca); Apogee (27.5% P-Ca), or Technical 93.5% P-Ca); Regulaid (polyoxyethylenepolypropoxy-propanol, alkyl 2-ethoxethanol, and dihydroxy propane); Silwet L-77 (polyalkyleneoxide modified heptametyltrisiloxane, silicon surfactant), LI-700 (80%, phosphatidylcholine, methylacetic acid and alkyl polyoxyethylene ether); Superior Oil (Drexel Damoil 70-second delayed dormant spray oil); ethephon (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid); Solubor (20.5%, Boron equivalent); captan (N-Trichloromethylthio-4-cyclohenene-1,2-dicarboximide).

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Allen V. Barker

chapter gives a good outline of the metabolic and structural functions of all nutrients in plants. Forms in which nutrients (plus silicon) are absorbed by plants, pathways for assimilation of the nutrients, and compounds for which the nutrients are

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Using Silicon Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) currently is the most important pest of citrus worldwide. Chemical insecticides have been the primary tool used to protect groves, but other alternatives are being explored to manage ACP. Silicon has been