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C. Kubota, N. Abe, T. Kozai, K. Kasahara, and J. Nemoto

`HanaQueen' tomato plantlets were cultured under conditions with different levels of sugar, photosynthetic photon flux, CO2 concentration, and number of air exchanges of the vessel. Effects of medium substrates (Gelrite or vermiculite) and explant preparation (with or without leaves) on growth of the plantlets were also examined. After 20 days in culture, photoautotrophically cultured plantlets with leafy explants, under increased PPF, CO2, and ventilation rate of the vessel had twice as much dry weight as those cultured conventionally with non-leafy explants under low PPF, CO2, and ventilation rate of the vessel. Dry weight of the plantlets was significantly greater when cultured with leafy than non-leafy explants. Net photosynthetic rate of the plantlets increased linearly as culture period when cultured without sugar, and remained almost zero when cultured with sugar, regardless of other culture conditions. Results obtained in this experiment have shown that tomato plantlets can be grown photoautotrophically, and the net photosynthetic rate was greater under photoautotrophic than under conventional photomixotrophic conditions.

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Toshio Shibuya, Yoshiaki Kitaya, Toyoki Kozai, and Masaichi Nakahara

Net photosynthetic and evapotranspiration rates of tomato (LAI = 2.3) and lettuce (LAI = 6.6) plug sheets were estimated based on measurements of the weight of plug sheets and vertical profiles of CO2 concentration above the plug sheets. The measurements were continued in situ for several days in a greenhouse when plugs were at transplant stage. The maximum net photosynthetic rates of tomato and lettuce plug sheets were 0.8 and 2.0 mg CO2/m2 per sec on a plug sheet area basis, respectively. The maximum evapotranspiration rates of those sheets were 100 mg·m–2·s–1. Net photosynthetic and evapotranspiration rates of tomato and lettuce plug sheets increased linearly with an increase in solar radiation flux, with a correlation coefficient of 0.9.

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Mark Rieger and Giancarlo Scalabrelli

Paclobutrazol (PBZ) was supplied in nutrient solution culture to `Nemaguard' peach rootstock [Prunus persica × P. davidiana] at concentrations of 0, 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, and 1.0 mg·liter-1. PBZ increased root: shoot ratio and decreased root length by ≈ 5-fold over the range of PBZ concentrations tested. Root tip diameter, stele diameter, and width of the root cortex were not significantly affected by PBZ. Root hydraulic conductivity decreased log-linearly with increasing PBZ concentration; however, this decrease did not affect midday leaf conductance or net photosynthetic rate. Foliar levels of N, P, K, Fe, and Mo were reduced, whereas levels of Ca, Mg, B, and Mn were increased by PBZ. The magnitude of changes in foliar nutrition were proportional to the degree of growth suppression. Chemical name used: (2RS,3RS)-l-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)pentan-3-ol (paclobutrazol).

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Genhua Niu, Denise S. Rodriguez, and Yin-Tung Wang

The effect of drought on the growth and gas exchange of six bedding plant species—agastache [Agastache urticifolia (Benth.) O. Kuntze `Honeybee Blue'], dusty miller (Cineraria maritima L. `Silverdusty'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Wave Purple'), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata Lam. `Escapade'), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum L. `Black Pearl'), and vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don `Titan']—was quantified under greenhouse conditions. Seeds were sown in January and seedlings were grown in the greenhouse until 18 Apr., when two irrigation treatments—drought (D, ≈18% volumetric moisture content at reirrigation) and control (C, ≈25% volumetric moisture content at reirrigation)—were initiated. Leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), and transpiration (E) were determined in response to a range of substrate moisture content (from ≈5% to 30% by volume) and temperature (from 20 °C to 40 °C). Dry weight of agastache, ornamental pepper, and vinca was unaffected by drought, whereas that of other species was reduced. Leaf area of plumbago and height of plumbago and vinca were reduced by drought. As substrate moisture content decreased from 25% to 10%, Pn, E, and gs decreased linearly in all species except petunia and plumbago. Leaf net photosynthetic rate of all species declined as leaf temperature increased from 20 °C to 40 °C. In contrast, E of all species, except petunia, increased as temperature increased. Transpiration rate of petunia increased as temperature increased from 20 °C to 30 °C, and then decreased between 30 °C and 40 °C. Although petunia had the highest Pn among the tested species, its Pn and gs declined more rapidly compared with the other species as temperature increased from 20 °C to 40 °C or as substrate moisture content decreased, indicating that petunia was most sensitive to high temperature and drought.

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Letizia Tozzini, Paolo Sabbatini, and G. Stanley Howell

Viticulture in Michigan is often limited by cool and humid climate conditions that impact vine growth and the achievement of adequate fruit quality at harvest. Sugars, pH, acids, and yeast available nitrogen (YAN) are indices of quality and, as such, of suitability for wine production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of foliar nitrogen (N) fertilization applied as a 1% w/v urea solution at veraison as a method to increase canopy N availability during the fruit ripening stage. To test the effect on different source sink conditions, we imposed three levels of defoliation (0%, 33%, and 66% of leaves removed per vine) and measured net photosynthetic rate (Pn), leaf efficiency parameters, yield components, and fruit quality parameters. Apical leaf Pn was increased by the 33% defoliation (+12% from the undefoliated control) and by the urea application (+6%) 2 weeks after veraison. In basal leaves we observed a reduction in chlorophyll content (SPAD) and maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm) as a result of the defoliation treatment and secondarily by the N application, which resulted in a reduction in Pn. Therefore, mean shoot Pn was unaffected by the treatments. Although neither main nor lateral shoot growth was increased by any defoliation treatment, both percent soluble solids (%SS) and berry weight were significantly reduced by the 66% defoliation treatment. Application of urea increased yeast available amino acids by 20% but did not impact %SS or other chemical parameters indicating a different accumulation pathway for sugars and amino acids in the berry.

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Youping Sun, Joseph Masabni, and Genhua Niu

Excessive salinity in soil and irrigation water in combination with waterlogging in coastal regions can significantly reduce the productivity of many agricultural crops. To evaluate the plant growth responses to simulated seawater (SSW) flooding, seedlings of 10 vegetables (broccoli, chinese cabbage, chinese greens, cucumber, eggplant, kale, radish, ‘Red Crunchy’ radish, spinach, and tomato) were flooded with SSW at electrical conductivity (EC) of 44.0 ± 1.3 dS·m−1 or tap water at EC of 0.8 ± 0.1 dS·m−1 for 24 hours and grown subsequently for 2 weeks in a greenhouse. Chinese greens and cucumber plants died shortly after flooding with SSW, whereas other vegetables exhibited various degrees of visible salt damage. Chinese cabbage suffered the strongest reduction, whereas spinach, tomato, and eggplant exhibited the least decrease in dry weight (DW) due to SSW flooding in comparison with their perspective control. Two weeks after flooding treatment with SSW, net photosynthetic rate of broccoli, kale, spinach, and tomato was reduced by 43% to 67%, transpiration rate by 35% to 66%, and stomatal conductance (g S) by 51% to 82%. In summary, spinach, eggplant, and tomato were the most tolerant, whereas chinese cabbage, chinese greens, and cucumber were the least tolerant to SSW flooding.

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Xiaozhong Liu and Bingru Huang

Summer decline in turf quality of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Hud.) is a major problem in golf course green management. The objective of this study was to examine whether seasonal changes and cultivar variations in turf performance are associated with changes in photosynthesis and respiration rates for creeping bentgrass. The study was conducted on a USGA-specification putting green in Manhattan, Kans., during 1997 and 1998. Four creeping bentgrass cultivars, `L-93', `Crenshaw', `Penncross', and `Providence', were examined. Grasses were mowed daily at 4 mm and irrigated on alternate days to replace 100% of daily water loss. In both years, turf quality, canopy net photosynthetic rate (Pn), and leaf photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) were high in May and June and decreased to the lowest levels in July through September. Whole-plant respiration rate (R) and canopy minus air temperature (▵T) increased during summer months. In October, turf quality and Pn increased, whereas R and T decreased. During summer months, turf quality was highest for `L-93', lowest for `Penncross', and intermediate for `Providence' and `Crenshaw'. Seasonal changes and cultivar variations in turf quality were associated with the decreasing photosynthetic rate and increasing respiration rate.

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Thomas G. Ranney and Mary M. Peet

Leaf gas-exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements were used as indexes for evaluating heat tolerance among five taxa of birch: paper (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), European (B. pendula Roth.), Japanese (B. platyphylla var. japonica Hara. cv. Whitespire), Himalayan (B. jacquemontii Spach.), and river (B. nigra L. cv. Heritage). Gas-exchange measurements were conducted on individual leaves at temperatures ranging from 25 to 40C. River birch maintained the highest net photosynthetic rates (Pn) at high temperatures, while Pn of paper birch was reduced the most. Further study of river and paper birch indicated that the reduced Pn at high temperatures and the differential sensitivity between taxa resulted from several factors. Inhibition of Pn at higher temperatures was due largely to nonstomatal limitations for both taxa. Increases in respiration rates, decreases in maximal photochemical efficiency of photosystem (PS) II (F V/F M), and possible reductions in light energy directed to PS II (F 0 quenching) were apparent for both taxa. The capacity of river birch to maintain greater Pn at higher temperatures seemed to result from a lower Q10 for dark respiration and possibly greater thermotolerance of the Calvin cycle as indicated by a lack of nonphotochemical fluorescence quenching with increasing temperatures. Thermal injury, as indicated by a rapid increase in minimal, dark-acclimated (F 0) fluorescence, was not evident for either paper or river birch until temperatures reached ≈49C and was similar for both taxa.

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B. Dansereau, Y. Zhang, S. Gagnon, and H.L. Xu

We examined effects of single-layer glass and double-layer antifog polyethylene films on growth and flowering of stock (Matthiola incana L.) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majalis L.) in a 3-year period. Stock produced more buds/spike with shorter but thicker stems under single-layer glass and under antifog 3-year polyethylene, and showed higher photosynthetic capacity (P c) under single-layer glass than under other covers regardless of light regimes. Similarly, growth and flowering of snapdragon were significantly better under single-layer glass than in polyethylene houses. A supplemental light of 60 μmol·m-2·s-1 accelerated flowering by 20 to 25 days, improved flower quality, and eliminated differences in plant growth and quality of snapdragon between covering treatments. The P c of stock was lower under all polyethylene covers than under single-layer glass. Among the three antifog polyethylene films, a slightly higher P c was measured for plants under antifog 3-year polyethylene. However, there was no difference among covering treatments in the net photosynthetic rate (P N) at low light level (canopy level). Supplemental lighting reduced P c of stock leaves, especially under single-layer glass, and diminished differences in P c among covering treatments. Dry mass was more influenced by larger leaf area caused by higher leaf temperature than by P N. Overall, antifog 3-year polyethylene was a good covering material when both plant quality and energy saving were considered.

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C. Chun and C.A. Mitchell

For biomass production in a space-deployed Controlled Ecological Life-Support System (CELSS), efficient usage of limited resources such as light, CO2, growth area, and labor is more consequential than for biomass production on Earth. Light will be one of the most energy-consuming environmental factors to provide in CELSS. Therefore, development of an energy-efficient lighting-control strategy would make a great contribution to the sustainability of CELSS. Lettuce (Latuca sativa L.) was used as a model salad crop for the development of new control methods due to its rapid growth rate and high harvest index (≥80%). Lettuce seeds were sown and plants were cultured hydroponically in the Minitron II plant growth/canopy gas-exchange system. Canopy net photosynthetic rates (μmol CO2/m2 per s) were measured under a specific photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) and analyzed to decide the PPF of the next 1-h interval. Appropriate PPFs were provided on the initial day and during the first 1-h interval of each 20-h photoperiod. Plant-growth indices, crop yield rates (g/m2 per day), and power consumption rates were determined for different lighting strategies to identify the best compromise between energy cost and yield. Day/night temperature and CO2 concentration were maintained at 25/25C and 1100/400 μl·liter–1, respectively. This research is supported by NASA grant NAGW-2329.