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Eric L. Zeldin, Thomas P. Jury, Rodney A. Serres, and Brent H. McCown

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) was genetically transformed with the bar gene, conferring tolerance to the phosphinothricin-based herbicide glufosinate. Plants of one `Pilgrim' transclone grown under greenhouse conditions were significantly injured by foliar treatments of 100 mg·L-1 glufosinate, although the injury was less severe when compared to untransformed plants. However, the same transclone grown outdoors in coldframes survived foliar sprays of 500 mg·L-1 glufosinate and higher, while untransformed plants were killed at 300 mg·L-1. Actively growing shoot tips were the most sensitive part of the plants and at higher dosages of glufosinate, shoot-tip injury was evident on the transclone. Injured transgenic plants quickly regrew new shoots. Shoots of goldenrod (Solidago sp.) and creeping sedge (Carex chordorrhizia), two weeds common to cranberry production areas, were seriously injured or killed at 400 mg·L-1 glufosinate when grown in either the greenhouse or coldframe environment. Stable transmission and expression of herbicide tolerance was observed in both inbred and outcrossed progeny of the above cranberry transclone. Expected segregation ratios were observed in the outcrossed progeny and some outcrossed individuals demonstrated significantly enhanced tolerance over the original transclone, with no tip death at levels up to 8000 mg·L-1. Southern analysis of the original transclone and two progeny selections with enhanced tolerance showed an identical banding pattern, indicating that the difference in tolerance levels was not due to rearrangement of the transgene. The enhanced tolerance of these first generation progeny was retained when second generation selfed progeny were tested.

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Luping Qu, James Polashock, and Nicholi Vorsa

Putative transgenic cranberry plants have been achieved via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Leaf explants were transformed with a supervirulent Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA 105, harboring the binary vector P35SGUSint and nptII selectable marker genes. Inoculation of precultured explants (≈10 days on regeneration medium) coupled with sonicasion improved transformation efficiency significantly. Adventitious shoots were directly regenerated from explants. Putative transformed shoots were identified by being kanamycin-resistant and GUS-positive. Stable GUS gene expression (turning blue) could be detected within 1 h of incubation at 37 °C. Confirmation of transformation by molecular analysis is in progress. Eight putative transgenic cranberry plants were obtained. All appeared morphologically normal. This appears to be the first success in achieving cranberry transformed plants by Agrobacterium-mediated method. Optimizing the transformation system is ongoing.

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Teryl R. Roper, John Klueh, and Marianna Hagidimitriou

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) vines were shaded with either 72% or 93% shadecloth (28% or 7% of full sun) for 1 month before flowering, after flowering, or before harvest. Fruit set was reduced by heavy shade (93%) before flowering in 1991 but not in 1992 or 1993. Heavy shade following flowering reduced fruit set in 1991 and 1992 but not 1993. The number of flowers per upright was generally not affected by shading but was reduced by prebloom shading at either level in 1993. Mean berry weight was usually conserved. Yield was reduced by shading at either level following flowering in 1991 and 1992. Shading just before harvest had no effect on the characteristics measured. Total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration was reduced to about half relative to the controls by either shading level at all treatment dates. Carbohydrate concentrations recovered to control levels by 4 to 8 weeks following removal of shading. Shading always reduced carbohydrate concentrations but did not always reduce fruit set or yield.

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Ricardo Cesped-Ruiz* and Bingru Huang

The American cranberry often undergoes drought stress during the summer. However, the physiological response of this species to drought is not well understood. This study was designed to determine the effects of drought on two commercial cranberry cultivars of high potential yield, `Ben Lear' and `Stevens', during a vegetative stage. The plants were subjected to drought for 15 days in a greenhouse. Soil water content, leaf water content, leaf photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration, differential leaf-air temperature, photochemical efficiency (Fv'/Fm') and the actual PSII efficiency (deltaF/Fm') decreased in those plants subjected to drought. Drought reduced differential leaf-air temperature at day 6 of treatment and stomatal conductance and transpiration starting at day 9 and photosynthetic rate at day 13. Drought decreased leaf water content at day 14 and Fv'/Fm' and PSII efficiency at day 15. Our results indicated that cranberry plants in vegetative stage were sensitive to drought for both cultivars and stomatal conductance was the most sensitive parameter among those examined for both cultivars.

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Richard G. Novy and Nicholi Vorsa

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) has few qualitative, morphological characteristics that can be used to reliably distinguish among cultivars. Fifty-two silver-stained random amplified polymorphic DNAs (ssRAPDs) were used to assess genetic heterogeneity and relatedness within accessions of four major cranberry cultivars (`Early Black', `Howes', `McFarlin', and `Searles'). Rather than being represented by one genotype, as might be expected in an asexually propagated crop, each cultivar was represented by multiple genotypes, which in many cases did not appear to be closely related to one another. The intracultivar heterogeneity was often so extreme that clonal representatives of a cultivar would group with representatives of other cultivars following cluster analysis. Of the total ssRAPD variation, 9.7% could be attributed to variation among the four cultivar groups and 90.3% to variation within the cultivars. `Howes' was the only cultivar in which a consensus DNA fingerprint among regional representatives could be identified.

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Carolyn DeMoranville and Joan Davenport

The relationship between yield and applied N in cranberry has been investigated. Cultivar was important in determining optimum seasonal N rate. Sustained production for the hybrid `Stevens' required an annual seasonal total of N at up to 67 kg·ha–1, higher than was optimal for native selections `Early Black' and `Howes'. High N rates were associated with increased fruit rot and vine overgrowth. Optimum N rate varied within cultivar, likely due to variation in soil conditions, but soil N test results have not correlated well with subsequent yield in cranberry. Soil organic matter content can predict potential N release, but plant response must also be taken into account. To refine N rate recommendations, plant characteristics that might predict N requirements/status of cranberry were investigated. A standard of 0.9% to 1.1% N in August tissue has been established for cranberry. To find characteristics that could be used earlier, we surveyed 30 sites for percentage of N in tissue, length of new growth, SPAD chlorophyll meter ratings, fertilizer N use, and yield. Length of new growth could be used as an indicator of cranberry N status from June until bloom, being positively correlated with subsequent yield. The SPAD meter proved to be a viable alternative to in-season monitoring of tissue N during June and July. Readings below proposed standard values indicated the need for N fertilizer if vegetative growth was in the standard range. Thus, the easily determined factors of upright length and SPAD rating could be used to refine fertilizer rates during the active growing season, while tissue testing for percentage of N could be used as a “report card” on the fertilizer program at the end of the season.

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T.R. Roper, A.R. Krueger, C.J. DeMoranville, N. Vorsa, J. Hart, and A.P. Poole

Nitrogen fertilizer application is a universal practice among cranberry growers. Cranberries only use ammonium nitrogen sources. This study was undertaken to discover how quickly cranberries in the field would take up fertilizer-derived ammonium nitrogen. Ammonium sulfate labeled with 15N was applied in field locations in Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Samples of current season growth were collected daily for 7 days beginning 24 hours after fertilizer application. In all cases 15N was detectable in the plants from treated plots by 24 hours following application. Additional nitrogen was taken up for the next 3 to 5 days depending on the location. With the exception of Oregon, the maximum concentration of 15N was found by day 7. Oregon was the coolest of the sites in this research. To determine a temperature response curve for N uptake in cranberry, cranberry roots were exposed to various temperatures in aeroponics chambers while vines were at ambient greenhouse temperatures. The optimum temperature for N uptake by cranberry vines was 18 to 24 °C. This research suggests that ammonium fertilizers applied by growers and irrigated into the soil (solubilized) are taken up by the plant within 1 day following application. Soil and root temperature is involved in the rate of N uptake.

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Kevin R. Kosola and Beth Ann A. Workmaster

, K. Mitchell, D.T. 2004 Responses of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal Erica cinerea and Vaccinium macrocarpon to Glomus mosseae Mycorrhiza 14 31 36 Caruso, F.L. Ramsdell, D.C. 1995