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Young-Hwan Shin, Rui Yang, Yun-Long Shi, Xu-Min Li, Qiu-Yue Fu, Jian-Liang Lu, Jian-Hui Ye, Kai-Rong Wang, Shi-Cheng Ma, Xin-Qiang Zheng, and Yue-Rong Liang

There is great genetic variation in tea germplasm, among which albino tea plants are mutants that grow albino young leaves owing to lack of chlorophylls under certain environmental conditions ( Du et al., 2006 ). The albino tea cultivars attract a

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Choun-Sea Lin, Nien-Tzu Liu, De-Chih Liao, Jau-Song Yu, Chuang-Hwei Tsao, Chao-Hsiung Lin, Chih-Wen Sun, Wann-Neng Jane, Hsing Sheng Tsay, Jeremy Jian-Wei Chen, Erh-Min Lai, Na-Sheng Lin, Wei-Chin Chang, and Chung-Chih Lin

the cell cycle, and when errors occur during replication, resulting in chloroplast genomic aberration(s), one of the consequences may be the formation of albino plants ( Day and Ellis, 1984 ; Dunford and Walden, 1991 ; Harada et al., 1991 , 1992

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Keith Wharton and Alejandro Ching

The albino genetic characteristic is a lethal condition in the post-seedling stage in plants. Although, it is an undesirable genetic characteristic, it is however an interesting genetic condition that can be utilized as a good practical genetic exercise for plant genetic and breeding courses. In this study, four commercial hybrid varieties of Hemerocallis were crossed as followed: A) “Stella D'ora” (with light orange flower) × “Happy Return” (with yellow flower); B) “Dark-eyed Magic” (purple with pink/cream variegated flower) × “Stella D'ora” (yellow flower). The seeds from these crosses were harvested and germinated in a plastic flat containing metromix 500 soil medium and placed under greenhouse condition. The germination of the seeds from each of the crosses resulted in the expression of green and albino seedlings in the F2; showing the typical Mendelian segregation of a dihybrid cross. Green was found to be dominant to albino. All the albino seedlings withered and died 2 weeks after germination. All four commercial hybrid varieties are carrier of the albino recessive gene.

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X. Zhang, B.B. Rhodes, W.V. Baird, H.T. Skorupska, and W.C. Bridges

juvenile albino (ja) is a spontaneous mutant, first observed in 1992. Hypocotyls, new young leaves, shoot tips, tendrils, and flowers on the main shoot of the ja mutant are all albino during early spring and late fall. The interior of the albino leaves gradually become green, while the margins remain albino. Fruit rind color of the mutant is variegated. Growth of the ja mutant is severely impaired in the early spring and late fall. However, the mutant grows almost normal in the summer, and produces fruits of almost normal size. Genetic analysis of F1, F2, and BC1 populations derived from the ja mutant showed that ja mutant is inherited as a single, recessive, nuclear gene. The segregation ratios in the F2 and BC1 progenies derived from the cross between the previously reported dg virescent mutant and the ja mutant indicated that both are inherited independently. Experiments with temperature (3–5C vs. 20–22C at night), day length (8 vs. 15 h), and red and/or far-red light (15 vs. 0 min) at the end of an 8-h day were performed to investigate the regulation of ja trait expression. Temperature and red/far-red light had no differential effect on mutant and wild-type plants. However, significantly increased fresh weight and chlorophyll content were observed in the ja mutant over the wild-type when grown under long-day conditions. In addition, chlorophyll synthesis or accumulation in the mutant is severely impaired under short-day conditions. To our knowledge, this is the only virescent mutant in Cucurbitaceae whose expression is regulated by day length.

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X.P. Zhang, B.B. Rhodes, W.V. Baird, W.C. Bridges, and H.T. Skorupska

This research was conducted to develop genic male-sterile lines of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Matsum & Nakai) homozygous for the juvenile albino (ja) seedling marker. Male-sterile plants (msms) of the genic male-sterile line G17AB were crossed with a Dixielee plant that was heterozygous for the ja locus. Male-fertile, juvenile albino recombinants of the F2 progeny were self-pollinated, resulting in F3 progeny. The male-sterile normal green recombinants of the F2 progeny were crossed with an F1 hybrid plant with genotype MsmsJaja, and three populations (93JMSB-1, -2, and -3) were obtained from these crosses. Juvenile albino recombinants were confined to 93JMSB-1. Of the juvenile albino plants of 93JMSB-1, male-sterile plants were sib-crossed with male-fertile plants, resulting in 93JMSB-1-1. Progeny of 93JMSB-1-1 was homozygous for ja and segregated for ms in a 127 male-sterile: 128 male-fertile ratio, fitting a 1:1 ratio. The male-sterile juvenile albino plants of F3 were crossed with male-fertile juvenile albino plants of 93JMSB-1, resulting in 93JMSF3-1 and -2. Plants 93JMSF3-1 and -2 were homozygous for ja but segregated for ms at 10 male-sterile: 13 male-fertile and 15 male-sterile: 19 male-fertile for 93JMSF3-1 and 93JMSF3-2, respectively, fitting the 1:1 ratio. These three genic male-sterile lines with the ja seedling marker provide valuable germplasm for introducing ms and ja genes into diverse genetic backgrounds and for studying cross-pollination and gene flow in watermelon populations.

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X.P. Zhang, B.B. Rhodes, W.V. Baird, H.T. Skorupska, and W.C. Bridges

Juvenile albino, gene symbol ja, is a spontaneous virescent mutant, first observed in `Dixielee' and an F2 population of `G17AB' (msms) × `Dixielee' in 1992. Hypocotyls, new young leaves, shoot tips, tendrils and flowers on the main shoot of the ja mutant are all albino during early spring. The interior portions of albino leaves gradually become green, while the margins remain albino. Fruit rind color of the mutant is variegated. Growth of the ja mutant is severely impaired in the early spring. However, the mutant grows at a rate comparable to wild-type in the summer, and produces fruit of almost normal size. Genetic analysis of F1, F2, and BC1 populations derived from the ja mutant showed that the gene for the ja mutant is inherited as a single, recessive, nuclear gene. Segregation ratios in the F2 and BC1 progenies derived from the cross between the previously reported delayed green virescent mutant and the ja mutant indicate independent inheritance of the genes dg and ja. Temperature and red/far-red light had no differential effect on mutant and the wild-type plants. An increase of daylength from 8 to 15 hours increased fresh weight and chlorophyll content more in the ja mutant than in the wild-type. The mutant had a higher chlorophyll a: b ratio than the wild-type under long days. Chlorophyll synthesis or accumulation in the mutant is severely impaired under short days. This is the only virescent mutant in the family Cucurbitaceae whose expression is regulated by daylength.

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Mark K. Ehlenfeldt, Filmore I. Meredith, and James R. Ballington

The fruit of six highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) cultivars and eight rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) cultivars and selections were evaluated by high-performance liquid chromatography for levels of the commonly found organic acids, citric, malic, succinic, and quinic. The two cultivar groups possessed distinctive patterns of relative organic acid proportions that could unambiguously separate pure rabbiteye and highbush clones in a principal component analysis. Highbush clones were characterized by high citric acid content, with percentages averaging 75% (range 38% to 90%). Succinic acid was the second most plentiful acid, averaging 17%. In contrast, rabbiteye cultivars and selections contained 10% citric acid, and no clone had >22%. Succinic acid and malic acid were found in greater quantities than in highbush, averaging 50% and 34%, respectively. Analysis of the fruit of seven albino-fruited highbush selections exhibited a profile similar to standard highbush cultivars, but with a citric acid average of <50%, and proportionally greater amounts of succinic and quinic acids. Given the differences in sensory quality of these four acids, it is likely that acid partitioning patterns can largely account for some of the perceived flavor differences between rabbiteye and highbush blueberries. Because several current breeding efforts involve hybridization between highbush and rabbiteye blueberries, a consideration of acid composition of breeding parents maybe worthwhile.

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Stefania De Pascale, Albino Maggio, Celestino Ruggiero, and Giancarlo Barbieri

We irrigated field-grown celery (Apium graveolens L. var. dulce [Mill.] Pers. 'Tall Utah') with four concentrations of saline water, NSC (nonstressed control), SW1, SW2, and SW3, corresponding to EC of 0.5, 4.4, 8.5, and 15.7 dS·m-1, respectively, plus a nonirrigated control (NIC) and investigated the effects of the treatments on water relations, yield and ion content. In addition, we compared simultaneously plant response to both salt and drought stress by using a modified version of the threshold-slope model. Increasing salinity of the irrigation water reduced fresh and dry weights of the shoots, but increased the dry matter percentage in shoots. The marketable yield was moderately affected by salinity (25% reduction at EC 8.5 dS·m-1). In contrast, a severe water stress dramatically decreased the marketable yield from 23 t·ha-1 (average of the irrigated treatments) to <7 t·ha-1 (nonirrigated control). Na+ and Cl- concentrations increased in salinized plants whereas nitrogen content, K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ concentrations decreased upon salinization. Midday leaf water potentials (Ψt) decreased from -1.48 MPa (0.5 dS·m-1) to -2.05 MPa (15.7 dS·m-1) and - 2.17 MPa (nonirrigated control), though the reduction in leaf cellular turgor was less severe. The maintenance of high leaf cellular turgor was positively correlated to a decrease in osmotic potential and to an increased bulk modulus of elasticity. These results indicate that it is possible to irrigate celery with saline water (up to 8.5 dS·m-1) with acceptable losses in marketable yield and confirmed that in the field, this species has the ability to efficiently regulate water and ion homeostasis. In the absence of irrigation, celery plants were unable to cope with the drought stress experienced, although this was comparable, in terms of soil water potential, to the one caused by saline irrigation.

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Stefania De Pascale, Celestino Ruggiero, Giancarlo Barbieri, and Albino Maggio

Production of vegetable crops can be limited by saline irrigation water. The variability of crop salt tolerance under different environmental conditions requires species-specific and environment-specific field evaluations of salt tolerance. Data on field performances of vegetable crops grown on soils that have been irrigated with saline water for many years are lacking. In this study we analyzed the long-term effect of irrigation with saline water on soil properties and on responses of field-grown pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants in these soils. Yield, gas exchanges, water relations, and solute accumulation were measured in plants grown under three different irrigation treatments: a nonsalinized control (ECw = 0.5 dS·m-1) and two concentrations of commercial sea salt, corresponding to ECw of 4.4 and 8.5 dS·m-1, respectively. In addition, a nonwatered drought stress treatment was included. Irrigation water with an EC of 4.4 dS·m-1 resulted in 46% reduction in plant dry weight (leaves plus stem) and 25% reduction in marketable yield. Increasing the electrical conductivity of the irrigation water to 8.5 dS·m-1 caused a 34% reduction in plant dry weight and a 58% reduction in marketable yield. Leaf and root cellular turgor and net CO2 assimilation rates of leaves in salt-stressed plants decreased along with a reduction in leaf area and dry matter accumulation. High concentrations of Na+ and Cl- in the irrigation water did not significantly alter the level of K+ in leaves and fruit. In contrast, drought stressed plants had higher concentrations of leaf K+ compared to well watered control plants. These results indicate that Na+ and K+ may play similar roles in maintaining cellular turgor under salinity and drought stress, respectively. The regulation of ion loading to the shoots was most likely functionally associated with physiological modifications of the root/shoot ratio that was substantially smaller in salinized vs. drought stressed plants. From an agronomic perspective, irrigation with moderately saline water (4.4 dS·m-1) it is recommendable, compared to no irrigation, to obtain an acceptable marketable yield in the specific environment considered.

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Stefania De Pascale, Luisa Dalla Costa, Simona Vallone, Giancarlo Barbieri, and Albino Maggio

Irrigation is a vital component of the world agriculture. It is practiced worldwide on ≈270 million hectares and it consents to produce 40% of our total food. Agricultural water consumption accounts for 70% of total freshwater use. The competition for this precious resource is increasing tremendously. Therefore, it is becoming critically important to optimize agricultural water use efficiency (WUE) defined as the ratio of crop yield over the applied water. This requires a shift from maximizing productivity per unit of land area to maximizing productivity per unit of water consumed. To maximize WUE it is necessary to conserve water and to promote maximal crop growth. The former requires minimizing losses through runoff, seepage, evaporation, and transpiration by weeds. The latter objective may be accomplished by planting high-yielding crops/cultivars well adapted to local soil and climatic conditions. Optimizing growing conditions by proper timing of planting and harvesting, tillage, fertilization, and pest control also contribute to improve crop growth. Most of these techniques refer to proven technology, whose implementation and/or fine-tuning in current farming systems may tremendously improve water management efficiency. In this paper, after discussing the importance of irrigation in agriculture, we will introduce basic concepts that define crop WUE and will finally review the means to improve irrigation efficiency in field vegetable crop production.