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Keith A. Funnell, Errol W. Hewett, Julie A. Plummer and Ian J. Warrington

Photosynthetic activity of individual leaves of Zantedeschia Spreng. `Best Gold' aff. Z. pentlandii (Wats.) Wittm. [syn. Richardia pentlandii Wats.] (`Best Gold'), were quantified with leaf expansion and diurnally, under a range of temperature and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) regimes. Predictive models incorporating PPF, day temperature, and percentage leaf area expansion accounted for 78% and 81% of variation in net photosynthetic rate (Pn) before, and postattainment of, 75% maximum leaf area, respectively. Minimal changes in Pn occurred during the photoperiod when environmental conditions were stable. Maximum Pn (10.9μmol·m-2·s-1 or 13.3 μmol·g-1·s-1) occurred for plants grown under high PPF (694 μmol·m-2·s-1) and day temperature (28 °C). Acclimation of Pn was less than complete, with any gain through a greater light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Pmax) at high PPF also resulting in a reduction in quantum yield. Similarly, any gain in acclimation through increased quantum yield under low PPF occurred concurrently with reduced Pmax. It was concluded that Zantedeschia `Best Gold' is a shade tolerant selection, adapted to optimize photosynthetic rate under the climate of its natural habitat, by not having obligate adaptation to sun or shade habitats.

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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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Fang Xiao, Zaiqiang Yang, Haijing Huang, Fei Yang, Liyun Zhu and Dong Han

To study the effects of soil nitrogen (N) fertilization on tea growth, quality and yield, a controlled experiment with green tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Ktze] was conducted. Five N fertilization treatments in soil were designed: 0, 0.97, 1.94, 3.88, and 5.82 g/kg/pot, which were subsequently recorded as N0, N1, N2, N3, and N4. The changes to young shoot biomass, total N and carbon (C), Soil and Plant Analyzer Development (SPAD) value, photosynthetic parameters, senescent characteristics, endogenous hormones, and the quality of green tea leaves were investigated. The results showed that with the increase in N fertilization level, the young shoot biomass, total N and C, SPAD value, net photosynthetic rate (P N), transpiration rate (T r), stomatal conductance (g S), superoxide dismutase activity, indoleacetic acid, gibberellin, zeatin (ZT), caffeine, and amino acids increased at first and then decreased, the maximums appeared at 3.88 g/kg/pot; whereas the intercellular CO2 concentration (C i), malondialdehvde contents, abscisic acid (ABA), polyphenol contents, and the ratio of polyphenols (PP) to free amino acid decreased at first and then increased, the minimums appeared at 3.88 g/kg/pot. The immediately significant change in all parameters appeared after 1 month of N treatments. The experiment showed that 3.88 g/kg/pot N fertilization level was the best for growth, quality, and yield of tea, which could provide a theoretical basis for short-term N fertilization management in tea tree.

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K. Stanciel, D.G. Mortley, D.R. Hileman, P.A. Loretan, C.K. Bonsi and W.A. Hill

The effects of elevated CO2 on growth, pod, and seed yield, and gas exchange of `Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were evaluated under controlled environmental conditions. Plants were exposed to concentrations of 400 (ambient), 800, and 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2 in reach-in growth chambers. Foliage fresh and dry weights increased with increased CO2 up to 800 μmol·mol–1, but declined at 1200 μmol·mol–1. The number and the fresh and dry weights of pods also increased with increasing CO2 concentration. However, the yield of immature pods was not significantly influenced by increased CO2. Total seed yield increased 33% from ambient to 800 μmol·mol–1 CO2, and 4% from 800 to 1200 μmol·mol–1 CO2. Harvest index increased with increasing CO2. Branch length increased while specific leaf area decreased linearly as CO2 increased from ambient to 1200 μmol·mol–1. Net photosynthetic rate was highest among plants grown at 800 μmol·mol–1. Stomatal conductance decreased with increased CO2. Carboxylation efficiency was similar among plants grown at 400 and 800 μmol·mol–1 and decreased at 1200 μmol·mol–1CO2. These results suggest that CO2 enrichment from 400 to 800 μmol·mol–1 had positive effects on peanut growth and yield, but above 800 μmol·mol–1 enrichment seed yield increased only marginally.

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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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Xuan Huang and Liangjun Zhao*

As well as investigating physiological characteristics of the new yellow cultivar of Celtis julianae—`Golden Phoenix' (Julian hackberry, which originally distributed in south of China, is important environmental plant, because there are numerous hairs on surfaces of the leaf, which can absorb dust and clean the air. Julian hackberry is deciduous big tree, more than 25 meters in high, with deep green leaf, red flower and orange fruit, blossoming in April.), differences in leaf color between the new cultivar and the normal Celtis julianae were evaluated. The new cultivar is a natural seed mutant from some cultivated seedlings of Celtis julianae found in 2001. It has golden yellow leaf, average color is Yellow-Green150A mensurating by English Color Card, is significantly more different than those of the normal. It can normally growing but slowly, with smaller plant-size and shorter internode than common plant. The new cultivar's leaf contains less chlorophyll than the normal, but same carotenoid. Its net photosynthetic rate is lower than that of Julian hackberry common cultivates in full sunlight. Shading of leaf to 50% sunlight decreases chlorophyll content and photosynthetic rate compared with full sunlight and sharper in photosynthetic, resulting in deepen green color. Leaves of the new cultivar show higher values of lightness and yellow-green as compared with other normal. Shoot multiplication frequency was highest on woody plant medium containing 1.5 mg 6-BA(benzyladenine)/ml, producing 6 shoots from a single explant, but these are some troubles to root.

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Ian R. Rodriguez, Lambert B. McCarty, Joe E. Toler and Roy B. Dodd

Use of creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stoloniferous L. var. palustris (Huds.)] on golf greens has expanded into the hotter, more humid regions of the United States where its quality is often low during summer months. The summer decline in bentgrass quality may be partially attributed to respiration rates exceeding photosynthesis during periods of supraoptimal temperatures and adverse soil conditions, such as excessive CO2 and inadequate O2 levels. The objectives of this study were to examine the effects of high temperature, high soil CO2, and irrigation scheduling on creeping bentgrass growth. A growth chamber study was conducted using `A-1' creeping bentgrass. Treatments included all combinations of three day/night temperature regimes (26.5/21 °C, 29.5/24 °C, and 32/26.5 °C), three irrigation schedules (field capacity daily, field capacity every two d, and half field capacity daily), and four soil CO2 injection levels (10%, 5%, 0.03%, and a noinjection control). Creeping bentgrass shoot and root dry weights and net photosynthetic rates were greater for day/night temperatures <32/26.5 °C. High temperatures (32/26.5 °C) and 10% CO2 reduced bentgrass net photosynthesis by 37.5 μmol CO2/m2/s. Shoot and root total nonstructural carbohydrates also were lowest for highest temperature regime. Respiration exceeded gross photosynthesis at 32/26.5 °C when 5% and 10% CO2 injection levels were used, indicating a carbon deficit occurred for these conditions. Irrigation volume and frequency did not affect bentgrass growth. High temperatures combined with high soil CO2 levels produced poorest turf quality.

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Diana R. Cochran, Richard L. Harkess, Patricia R. Knight, Maria Tomaso-Peterson, Eugene K. Blythe and Charles H. Gilliam

Regalia®, a commercial extract of giant knotweed [Fallopia sachalinensis F. Schmidt (synonyms: Reynoutria sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Nakai, Polygonum sachalinense F. Schmidt, Tiniaria sachalinesis (F. Schmidt) Janch.)], was evaluated for its potential to enhance drought tolerance of container-grown impatiens (Impatiens walleriana Hook. f. ‘Super Elfin XP White’). In two separate experiments, Regalia® was foliar-applied once a week for 4 weeks at four different rates (0, 5, 10, or 15 mL·L−1). In Expt. 1, Regalia® was applied to impatiens grown under three target substrate volumetric water contents (TVWCs): 85%, 55%, or 25%. In Expt. 2, Regalia® was applied to impatiens watered with 1, 3, or 6 days between waterings (DBW). In Expt. 1, root dry weight (RDW) of impatiens receiving applications of Regalia® at the 0.5× rate was greater compared with the 0.0× rate across all TVWCs. Additionally, soluble protein content was greater after Regalia® application at the 0.5×, 1.0×, or 1.5× rates compared with the 0.0× rate for plants grown at 55% TVWC. In Expt. 2, leaf greenness (SPAD) and leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn) were greater with Regalia® applied at the 0.5× and 1.0× rates compared with the 0.0× rate, respectively. Soluble protein content was greater in impatiens treated with Regalia® at the 1.5× rate and 1 DBW and the 0.5× rate with 3 DBW compared with the 0.0× rate with 1 or 3 DBW. However, there was no indication that impatiens grown under different moisture levels had increased drought tolerance after application of Regalia®.

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V.M. Glass, D.C. Percival and J.T.A. Proctor

Drought is the most limiting factor of crops worldwide. Sound management of any crop is based on a knowledge of its physiology as well as response to drought. Therefore, water use management has become an agricultural priority, with increased research focusing on plant growth and yield under limited water conditions. The lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) is the most important horticultural crop in Nova Scotia in acreage, export sales, and value to the economy. A study initiated at the Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry Inst., Debert (45°26′N, 63°27′W), N.S., during the 1998 growing season investigated the effects of water availability on the growth and development of the lowbush blueberry. Treatments consisting of supplemental irrigation (i), drought stress (d), and a control (c) were applied to plants in their cropping phase of production. Net photosynthetic rates (Pn) were highest during bloom (i: 11.9, d: 9.7, c: 9.8 μmol·m-2·s-1) and then declined throughout the season. No significant (P = 0.05) treatment effect on Pn was observed. Stem sample analysis before harvest showed no significant differences (P = 0.05) between stem length, node number, flowering node number, flowering zone length, or number of fruit per stem. Samples from 1-m2 quadrats indicated the drought-stressed plots produced the lowest yield (378 g·m-2) compared with the supplemental irrigation (449 g·m-2) or control (512 g·m-2) plots. Results from this study suggest drought stress on the lowbush blueberry does not produce significant differences in the number of fruit set; it does result in smaller fruit.

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Paolo Sabbatini and James A. Flore

The naturally occurring carbon isotope composition (or 13C: 12C ratio, expressed with the notation d13C) of plant tissue may be used as an indicator of water use efficiency during plant growth. d13C has been shown to be an effective tool to study physiological response of plant to environmental conditions, especially water stress. The objective of this work was to test if d13C could be an indicator of carbon limitations or a low source: sink ratio. Trees of `Imperial Gala'/Bud 9 (n = 12), 6-years-old, field grown at the Clarksville Horticultural Research Station (Clarksville, Miss.), were assessed with different crop load (LCL = Low Crop Load, 0.76 ± 0.44 fruit per trunk sectional area (TCA); NCL = Normal Crop Load, 7.25 ± 1.83 fruit/TCA; HCL = High Crop Load, 15.83 ± 1.76 fruit/TCA) and leaf: fruit ratio (LCL: 52.78 ± 8.55, NCL: 13.33 ± 3.06, HCL; 4.31 ± 0.68) immediately following June drop. Net photosynthetic rate of leaves were monitored during the season and elevated rates were observed in NCL and HCL and correlated with the fruiting process. Photosynthesis was inhibited in LCL more in the afternoon (from 20% to 42% in relation to NCL) than in the morning (from 5% to 20%) and this was positively correlated with crop sink strength. Variations of the stable carbon isotope composition of roots (fine and coarse), fruit, leaves, and current-year stems were examined. The d13C varied by tissue (fruit > shoot and leaf > root) and in relation to the level of crop load (d13C‰ in fruit: LCL –23.513 ± 0.248, NCL –24.891 ± 0.594; and HCL –24.935 ± 0.375). These results may have implications for analysis of isotopic signals in carbohydrate stress and fractionation steps will be discussed.