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D. Waterer, S. Lee, G. Scoles and W. Keller

This study examined the field performance and herbicide resistance of lines of broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica Group) generated from plants transformed for resistance to the herbicide glufosinate by Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer. Seedling vigor and vegetative growth characteristics of the first recombinant generation (R1) produced by selfing the transformed lines were comparable to those of the F1 parent (cv. Cruiser) and an equivalent nontransformed F2 line. In hand-weeded trials, marketable yields of the R1-transformed lines were comparable to the parental line or the corresponding nontransformed F2 line. A single application of the recommended rate of the nonselective herbicide glufosinate slowed the growth and reduced yields of nontransformed broccoli, but had little effect on head quality or yields of most transformed lines. Inheritance of herbicide resistance in the R1 progeny of the R0 transgenic plants followed standard Mendelian ratios for a completely dominant trait controlled by a single gene. The results confirm the potential for improvement of broccoli through the incorporation of herbicide resistance by gene transfer technology. Chemical name used: 2-amino-(4-hydroxymethylphosphinyl)butanoic acid (glufosinate, phosphinothricine).

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Mark W. Farnham and Dean A. Kopsell

Carotenoids are secondary plant metabolites in vegetables known to be essential in the human diet and reported to confer various positive health-promoting effects when consumed. Brassica oleracea L. vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are recognized as excellent sources of dietary carotenoids. Broccoli has emerged as the most important B. oleracea crop in the United States and it likely supplies more carotenoids to the U.S. diet than the other crops of this species. However, very little is known about the general carotenoid profile of this important vegetable or the levels of specific carotenoids and how they might vary among genotypes. Thus, the objectives of this study were to assess carotenoid profiles of different inbred broccoli heads; to assess chlorophyll concentrations measured simultaneously during carotenoid assays; to determine the relative effects of genotype versus environment in influencing head carotenoid levels; and to examine phenotypic correlations between carotenoid levels and other traits. Results show lutein to be the most abundant carotenoid in broccoli heads ranging from 65.3 to 139.6 μg·g−1 dry mass (DM) among nine inbreds tested in three environments. Genotype had a highly significant effect on lutein levels in broccoli heads and the ratio of σ2 g2 p for this carotenoid was 0.84. Violaxanthin also exhibited a significant genotype effect, but it was found at lower levels (17.9 to 35.4 μg·g−1 DM) than lutein. β-carotene and neoxanthin were detected at levels similar to violaxanthin, but genotypic differences were not detected when all environments were compared. This was also true for antheraxanthin, which was detectable in all genotypes at lower levels (mean of 13.3 μg·g−1 DM) than the other carotenoids. Significant genotypic differences were observed for both chlorophyll a and b among the studied inbreds; however, no environment or genotype-by-environment effects were observed with these compounds. Results indicated that most carotenoids measured were positively and significantly correlated with one another, indicating that higher levels of one carotenoid were typically associated with higher levels of others. This study emphasizes the relative importance of lutein in broccoli heads and the key role that genotype plays with this compound, ultimately indicating that breeding cultivars with increased levels of this particular carotenoid may be feasible.

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Eric B. Brennan

Many important herbs [e.g., mint (Mentha sp.), thyme (Thymus sp.)], underused and nutritious vegetables [e.g., purslane (Portulaca oleracea), amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor)], and important biological control plants [e.g., sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)] have small seeds (≤ 1.5-mm long) that are difficult to plant with raw (i.e., nonpelleted) seed using existing seeders. A novel tool known as the slide hammer (SH) seeder was developed for the precise seeding of raw seeds of small-seeded plants. The SH seeder is a jab-type planter made primarily from electrical conduit tubing and other materials that are inexpensive and readily available in a hardware store or on the Internet. The interchangeable seed hopper is made from a plastic snap cap vial that has one or more holes of varying diameter depending on the desired seeding rate and seed size. Seed forms a “bridge” above the hole in the vial until they are dislodged from the force of the SH that discharges seeds to fall to the soil. Detailed plans are provided for how to make and use the SH seeder. The fabrication time is 2 to 4 hours with a material cost of ≈$32. I determined the seed vial hole specifications for the precise seeding of a variety of small-seeded plants, including chives (Allium schoenoprasum), chinese chives (Allium tuberosum), basil (Ocimum basilicum), grain amaranth (Amaranthus sp.), sweet alyssum, purslane, creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), and spearmint (Mentha spicata) that ranged in size from ≈200 to 11,000 seeds per gram. The diameter of the hole that was suitable for discharging the seed from the vial was always larger than the average seed length, and the ratio of hole diameter to seed length ranged from 1.07 to 1.62. Seeding rate uniformity evaluations were conducted for these species using vials with one vs. two holes and showed that the seeding rate was higher by an average of 58% to 173% from a vial with two holes compared with one hole. For most plant species evaluated, the SH seeder was able to dispense as few as one to three seeds consistently. Seed discharge increased somewhat with increasing SH weight for all species evaluated. The SH seeder can be useful for interplanting sweet alyssum as an insectary plant for aphid (Aphidoidea) control between existing plants of organic lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and for intercropping cultivars of purslane as a novel vegetable in between transplanted organic broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica group) plants. This novel seeding tool has many potential uses for direct, hand seeding in vegetable and herb production systems and in weed research trials. The seeder could be automated and made with a variety of alternative materials.

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George E. Boyhan, Julia W. Gaskin, Elizabeth L. Little, Esendugue G. Fonsah and Suzanne P. Stone

Certified organic production is challenging in the southeastern United States due to high weed, insect, and disease pressure. Maintaining and building soil organic carbon in midscale organic production systems can also be difficult due to the warm, moist conditions that promote decomposition. Focusing on cool-season cash crops paired with warm-season cover crops may help alleviate these production problems. This 3-year study (2011–13) evaluated two vegetable rotations of cool-season crops with cover crops for their productivity, disease management, and soil building potential in Watkinsville, GA. In the first rotation, cool-season cash crops included onion (Allium cepa), strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa), and potato (Solanum tuberosum). These crops were rotated with green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), oats/austrian winter pea (Avena sativa/Pisum sativum ssp. arvense), southernpea (Vigna unguiculata), and sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea). In the second rotation, cool-season cash crops included onion, broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica group), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and carrot (Daucus carota ssp. sativus). These were rotated with millet (Urochloa ramosa), sunn hemp, egyptian wheat/iron clay pea (Sorghum sp./Vigna unguiculata), and sorghum × sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor × S. bicolor var. sudanese)/iron clay pea. Onion yields in both rotations were at least 80% of average yields in Georgia. Lettuce yields were at least double the average yields in Georgia and were comparable to national averages in the 2nd and 3rd years of the study. Strawberry yields in these rotations were lower than Georgia averages in all 3 years with a trend of lower yields over the course of the study. By contrast, potato, although lower than average yields in Georgia increased each year of the study. Broccoli yields in the first year were substantially lower than average Georgia yields, but were comparable to average yields in the 2nd year. Carrot remained less than half of average Georgia yields. Green bean were half of average Georgia yields in the 2nd year and were comparable to average yields in the 3rd year. As expected from what is observed in cool-season organic vegetable production in Georgia, disease pressure was low. Cover crops maintained soil organic carbon (C) with a small increase in active C; however, there was a net loss of potentially mineralizable nitrogen (PMN). Active C averaged across both rotations at the beginning of the study at 464 mg·kg−1 and averaged 572 mg·kg−1 at the end of the study. On the basis of this study, using cover crops can maintain soil carbon without the addition of carbon sources such as compost. Finally, longer term work needs to be done to assess soil management strategies.

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Mark W. Farnham and Thomas Bjorkman

formation of the inflorescence of Brassica oleracea L. var. italica , Plenck, cv. ‘Coastal’ J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 94 275 280 Gray, A.R. 1993 Broccoli: Brassica oleracea (Italica Group) Kalloo G. Bergh B.O. Genetic improvement of vegetable crops

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Timothy Coolong, Derek M. Law, John C. Snyder, Brent Rowell and Mark A. Williams

broccoli ( Brassica oleracea italica group), sweet corn ( Zea mays ), tomato [ Solanum lycopersicum (synonym Lycopersicon esculentum )], bell pepper ( Capsicum annuum ), winter squash ( Cucurbita sp.), and snap pea ( Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon

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Rita L. Hummel, Craig Cogger, Andy Bary and Robert Riley

vegetable transplants in market packs using a substrate of equal parts by volume sewage sludge compost, peatmoss, and perlite and found that broccoli ( Brassica oleracea Italica Group) and cabbage ( B. oleracea Capitata Group) could be grown to transplant