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Mario Valenzuela-Vazquez and Geno A. Picchioni

Lupinus havardii (Big Bend bluebonnet) is a winter annual plant indigenous to the semiarid southwestern U.S. with potential to become a new cut flower commodity. Nothing is presently known about the mineral nutrition of bluebonnet in greenhouse conditions, either in the whole plant or its short-lived cut racemes, and its possible relationship with vase life longevity. At first appearance of floral buds, supplemental Ca treatments (0, 2.5, 5.0, and 10.0 mm Ca using CaCl2) were added to the nutrient solution over a 2-month growing period, to evaluate the influence of Ca on plant nutrient allocation patterns, nutrient uptake and utilization, and raceme physiology after cutting. Ca supplementation increased net Ca uptake per plant by 40%, 77%, and 95% over the control (2.5, 5.0, and 10.0 mm Ca, respectively; P < 0.05). The increased Ca uptake per plant increased Ca concentration in racemes (a weak Ca sink), which resulted in marginal increases in vase life duration (1 day). This positive influence on vase life duration was not significant due to limited number of raceme replicates. When plants were supplemented with 5 mm Ca, the net accumulation of Ca, P, K, and Mg in roots increased by 4 to 5 times over the control roots. These increases occurred in parallel to an increase in root dry matter production. Similar patterns were observed in the net accumulation of Ca, P, K, and Mg per plant. In our conditions, Ca supplementation (5 mm) enriched raceme Ca concentration as well as whole-plant consumption of Ca, P, K, and Mg in bluebonnet plants. These data will be useful in developing fertilization strategies for this new and promising greenhouse floral crop.

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Yan Wang and S.J. Kays

Breeding sweetpotatoes [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] for improved flavor would be greatly facilitated by understanding the flavor chemistry of the crop. To ascertain the chemical composition of the aroma, an aroma extract of baked `Jewel' sweetpotatoes was obtained using a cold solvent trap system and analyzed by gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography olfactometry (GCO) using aroma extract dilution analysis (AEDA). GC with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID) revealed ≈60 compounds presented in the aroma extract, of which 48 were identified. Olfactory evaluation of the eluted compounds using GC with a thermal conductivity detector (GC-TCD) indicated the presence of 37 odor-active peaks in the aroma extract. Three compounds, phenylacetaldehyde (perfume), maltol (caramel), and methyl geranate (2,6-octadienoic acid, 3,7-dimethyl-, methyl ester) (sweet candy) possessed the highest flavor dilution (FD) values (1500) via AEDA. 2-Acetyl furan (baked potato), 2-pentyl furan (floral), 2-acetyl pyrrole (sweet, caramel), geraniol (sweet floral), and β-ionone (violet) had FD values of 1000. These compounds are thought to be the most potent odorants in baked `Jewel' sweetpotatoes. Additionally, 1,2,4-trimethyl benzene, 2-furmethanol, benzaldehyde, 5-methyl-2-furfural, linalool, isopulegone, n-decanal, 2,4-decadienal, octyl ketone, α-copaene, 4-decanolide, and one unidentified compound were also contributors to the aroma. There was not a character impact compound that comprised the basic baked sweetpotato aroma. The aroma appeared to be made up of a relatively complex mixture of compounds. Maillard and/or caramelization reactions, Strecker degradation of phenylalanine, lipid and carotenoid degradation, and the thermal release of glycosidically bound terpenes appear to be involved in the formation of the characteristic aroma of baked `Jewel' sweetpotatoes.

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Agnes M.S. Nyomora, Patrick H. Brown and M. Freeman

Fruit set is the major determinant of productivity in almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill D.A. Webb)] where seed is the commercial product. Boron influences flowering and fruit set in a number of crops, but little has been reported on this subject in almond. Here, we investigated the effect of a fall foliar application of B on fruit set and tissue B concentration in open pollinated `Butte' and `Mono' almond over a 2-year period. Early fall B application significantly increased the vegetative, floral, and fruit tissue B concentration in the subsequent year. The greatest increase in organ B concentration was observed in flower buds, flowers, and hulls. Recent work has demonstrated that B forms a B-sorbitol complex in Prunus species. This B-sorbitol complex is phloem mobile and is transported to sink organs. Here we demonstrate that fall-applied B is absorbed by the leaf and is subsequently transported (presumably as the B-sorbitol complex) to floral buds where it is available to flowers and, hence, influences fruit set and yield. It is concluded that fall foliar-applied B is a useful fertilization strategy that can be used to optimize tissue B concentration in species in which B is phloem mobile. Boron applied at 245 and/or 490 ppm significantly increased fruit set in `Butte' and `Mono' and increased yield of `Butte' in 1994 on open-pollinated trees (yield was not determined in 1993). The highest initial and second fruit set was associated with either the 245 or 490 ppm B treatments in both cultivars and both years. This increased fruit set resulted in yield increases of 53% and 4%, respectively, for `Butte' and `Mono'. Of the two cultivars, `Butte', which had lower tissue B concentration before B application, responded more significantly in yield to B application. Application of 735 ppm B was less effective than either 245 and 490 ppm B; however, no visual symptoms of excess B were observed.

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Matthew D. Whiting and Gregory A. Lang

Canopy fruit to leaf area ratios (fruit no./m2 leaf area, F:LA) of 7- and 8-year-old `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) on the dwarfing rootstock `Gisela 5' (P. cerasus L. × P. canescens L.) were manipulated by thinning dormant fruit buds. F:LA influenced yield, fruit quality, and vegetative growth, but there were no consistent effects on whole canopy net CO2 exchange rate (NCERcanopy). Trees thinned to 20 fruit/m2 LA had yield reduced by 68% but had increased fruit weight (+25%), firmness (+25%), soluble solids (+20%), and fruit diameter (+14%), compared to unthinned trees (84 fruit/m2). Fruit quality declined when canopy LA was ≈200 cm2/fruit, suggesting that photoassimilate capacity becomes limiting to fruit growth below this ratio. NCERcanopy and net assimilation varied seasonally, being highest during stage III of fruit development (64 days after full bloom, DAFB), and falling more than 50% by 90 DAFB. Final shoot length, LA/spur, and trunk expansion were related negatively to F:LA. F:LA did not affect subsequent floral bud induction per se, but the number of flowers initiated per bud was negatively and linearly related to F:LA. Although all trees were thinned to equal floral bud levels per spur for the year following initial treatment (2001), fruit yields were highest on the trees that previously had no fruit, reflecting the increased number of flowers initiated per floral bud. Nonfruiting trees exhibited a sigmoidal pattern of shoot growth and trunk expansion, whereas fruiting trees exhibited a double sigmoidal pattern due to a growth lag during Stage III of fruit development. Vegetative growth in the second year was not related to current or previous season F:LA. We estimate that the LA on a typical spur is only sufficient to support the full growth potential of a single fruit; more heavily-set spurs require supplemental LA from nonfruiting shoots. From these studies there appears to be a hierarchy of developmental sensitivity to high F:LA for above-ground organs in `Bing'/`Gisela 5' sweet cherry trees: trunk expansion > fruit soluble solids (Stage III) > fruit growth (Stage III) > LA/spur > shoot elongation > fruit growth (Stages I and II) > LA/shoot. Current season F:LA had a greater influence on fruit quality than prior cropping history, underscoring the importance of imposing annual strategies to balance fruit number with LA.

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Richard O. Kelly and Brent K. Harbaugh

Annual bedding plants comprised 50% of the $4.6 billion wholesale value of United States floricultural crops in 2000. Florida is one of the top wholesale producers of bedding plants in this industry, and in 2000 was number one in the production of potted marigolds. Evaluation of marigold cultivars is vital for continued growth of the industry. We evaluated 84 cultivars of african marigold (Tagetes erecta) and french marigold (T. patula) in replicated class tests at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Bradenton, Fla. (lat. 27°4' N, long. 82°5' W; AHS Heat Zone 10; USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 9b) in Fall 1999. In this report, we provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics as well as six weekly subjective ratings. Subjective ratings were on a 1 to 7 scale with the highest rating of 7 for excellent. In general, cultivars with vegetative and floral ratings ≥5 were considered outstanding, 4 to 4.9 as good performers, and ≤3.9 as fair to poor. These ratings permit readers to evaluate foliage and floral characteristics at different times during the season, and to evaluate performance over time. Cultivars were grouped into classes based on species, plant height, flower type, and flower color. Outstanding cultivars (those cultivars with an overall rating ≥5) and their class were: `Inca Gold' and `Royal Gold' [african marigold (African)—gold class]; `Mesa Orange' and `Royal Orange' (African— orange class); `Inca Yellow', `Mesa Yellow', and `Perfection Yellow' (African—yellow class); `Disco Granada' [french marigold (French) dwarf—single gold/red class], `Disco Flame' (French dwarf—single red/gold class); `Golden Boy' and `Hero Gold' (French dwarf—double gold class); `Bonanza Orange', `Orange Boy', `Girl Orange', `Jacket Orange' (French dwarf—double orange class); `Yellow Boy', `Girl Primrose', and `Jacket Yellow' (French dwarf—double yellow class); `Harmony Boy' (French dwarf— double orange/red class); `Hero Flame' (French dwarf—double red/orange class); `Bonanza Flame Improved' (French dwarf—double red/yellow class); `Legend Gold' (French double— gold class); `Legend Orange Improved' (French—double orange class); `Spry Boy' (French double—yellow/red class); `Durango Bee', `Durango Red', and `Hyper Red/Yellow' (French— double red/yellow class). We believe these cultivars would perform well in the southern U.S. or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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Sven Verlinden and William R. Woodson

High-temperature treatments can be used for disinfestation of a variety of horticultural crops. Carnation flowers were subjected to a heat treatment in order to determine if it is a viable option for disinfestation of this crop. Flowers were exposed to 45°C for 24 hr in the dark, while control flowers were held at RT for 24 hr in the dark. Subsequently, the flowers were held at RT in the light and monitored for ethylene production, an indicator of imminent floral senescence. In the heat-treated flowers, the ethylene climacteric occurred at 96 hr after the heat treatment, a delay of 12 hr when compared to the control. Peak ethylene production was decreased by 25% to 30% in heat-treated flowers. Northern blot analysis of the ethylene biosynthetic pathway genes, ACC synthase, and ACC oxidase, showed that the expression of these genes is delayed by 8 to 16 hr in heat-treated flowers. This indicates that the delay and decrease in ethylene production is at least, in part, due to a delay or reduction in the expression of these genes. Further investigation revealed a decreased responsiveness of the petals to ethylene. Petals from heat-treated and control flowers were exposed to 1 ppm ethylene for 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, and 32 hr. The heat-treated petals again showed a delay and a decrease in maximum ethylene production after exposure to ethylene. A delay in expression of ACC synthase and ACC oxidase was also observed. The beneficial effects of exposing carnation flowers to high temperatures, a delay in ethylene production, and reduced responsiveness to ethylene, suggest that heat treatments could be used for disinfestation of this crop.

Open access

Rui Wang, Yuqing Gui, Tiejun Zhao, Masahisa Ishii, Masatake Eguchi, Hui Xu, Tianlai Li and Yasunaga Iwasaki

–sink relationship between photosynthetic organs and floral organs is an essential step toward crop production (Marcelies et al., 1998; Pincovici et al., 2018 ; Roberson et al., 2002 ). With this perspective, the greenhouse experiment was conceptualized to

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Olivia M. Lenahan, Matthew D. Whiting and Donald C. Elfving

This paper reports on the potential of gibberellic acid (GA3 and GA4+7) to reduce sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) floral bud induction and balance fruit number and improve fruit quality in the season following application. In 2003, GA3 was applied to `Bing'/`Gisela 1' trees at 50 and 100 mg·L-1 at the end of stage I of fruit development, end of stage II, and on both dates. These treatments were compared to the industry standard application of 30 mg·L–1 applied at the end of stage II and an untreated control. Fruit quality was evaluated in the year of application (i.e., nontarget crop) and return bloom, fruit yield and quality were assessed in the subsequent season (2004). In 2003, GA3 delayed fruit maturity proportional to rate. In 2004, bloom density and fruit yield were related negatively and linearly to GA3 concentration. GA3 reduced the number of reproductive buds per spur and did not affect the number of flowers per reproductive bud. Nonspur flowering at the base of 1-year-old shoots was more inhibited by GA3 than flowering on spurs. Double applications significantly reduced bloom density and yield versus single applications. Trees treated with two applications of 50 and 100 mg·L–1 yielded fruit with 7% and 12% higher soluble solids, 15% and 20% higher firmness, and 7% and 14% greater weight, respectively. However, no treatment improved crop value per tree. In a separate isomer trial, GA3 and GA4+7 were applied to `Bing'/`Gisela 1' trees at 100 and 200 mg·L–1 at both the end of stage I and II in 2004. GA3 and GA4+7 applied at 100 mg·L–1 reduced bloom density similarly by 65%. GA3was more inhibiting than GA4+7at 200 mg·L–1, reducing bloom density by 92% versus 68%. We observed a 4- to 5-day delay in flowering from both GA formulations at 200 mg·L–1. At both concentrations, GA3 reduced yield by 71% and 95% versus 34% and 37% reduction by GA4+7. Fruit weight and soluble solids were unaffected but fruit firmness was increased by all treatments (6% to 17%). However, crop value per tree was highest from untreated control because improvements in fruit quality were insufficient to offset reductions in yield. GA3 shows potential as a novel crop load management tool in productive `Bing' sweet cherry orchard systems.

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John R. Stommel* and Robert J. Griesbach

Anthocyanins contribute to color development in economically important vegetables, fruits and floral crops. Their expression is critical to product sensory quality attributes, potential nutritive value, and stress response. Anthocyanins are synthesized in response to numerous environmental factors including temperature and light stress and pathogen attack. We have developed several Capsicum lines, including `02C27', expressing anthocyanin pigmentation differentially in various tissues (leaf, stem, fruit and flower). HPLC analysis demonstrated that the anthocyanins within the fruit, flower and leaves of Capsicum `02C27' were identical and that the major anthocyanidin was a delphinidin glycoside. Line `02C27' exhibits anthocyanin foliar pigmentation that is accumulated differentially in response to temperature stress. Under unfavorable low temperature (20 °C day/18 °C night), mature Capsicum leaves contained 4.6 times less anthocyanin per gram fresh weight than under high (30 °C day/28 °C; day/night) temperatures. Besides containing less anthocyanin in mature leaves, young immature leaves did not develop color as quickly under the lower temperature. Utilizing cloned and sequenced gene fragments of pepper chalcone synthase (CHS), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS), we evaluated the role of transcription in regulation of flavonol biosynthesis. Analysis of anthocyanin composition and gene expression data indicated that the block in anthocyanin formation in less pigmented leaves occurred at anthocyanin synthase. In contrast to wild tupe plants, this mutant also exhibited reduced flowering and failed to set fruit under high temperature, long day conditions.

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Michael A. Arnold, Bruce Lesikar, Ann Kenimer, Don C. Wilkerson and Mitchell W. Goyne

The nursery/greenhouse industry is the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture. Consumer demand for excellent product quality requires luxury applications of water and agricultural chemicals. These cultural practices tend to yield significant volumes of runoff rich in nutrients and pesticides. A capture and recycle system at the Nursery/Floral Crops Research and Education Center at Texas A&M University was fitted with 12 subsurface flow (SSF) and 12 free-surface flow (FSF) wetland cells. Constructed wetland cells provided substantial reduction of runoff nutrient concentrations without increasing electrical conductivity, an indicator of salinity. Growth of Iris pseudacorus L. and Canna ×generalis L.H. Bailey during spring growth was greater in the FSF wetland cells, while that of Colocasia sp. Fabr. was greater in the SSF wetland cells. Equisetum hyemale L. grew equally well in both cell types. Direct reuse of nursery runoff reduced the number of Ilex vomitoria Ait. `Nana' reaching marketable size in 2.3-L containers. Interactions among irrigation water sources and container media types for growth indices occurred for Juniperus procumbens `Green Mound' and I. vomitoria `Nana', but not for Raphiolepis indica L. `Carmelita'.