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Barbara L. Goulart and Kathleen Demchak

While the Pennsylvania wine industry was established early in the history of the European settlement in the state, the current industry was spawned relatively recently by virtue of the Pennsylvania Winery Act in 1968. The industry is widely distributed, with wineries and wine grape production throughout the state, however the primary center of production is in southeastern Pennsylvania, where climatic conditions allow for the production of some of the hardier European wine grapes. A second, much smaller cluster of production is along Lake Erie, within the zone of more temperate weather induced by the lake. A third region is scattered throughout the harsher environments of the rest of the state. These regions are characterized not only by climatic differences, but by differences in producer demographics, clientele, pest complexes, cultivar preferences and obstacles to production. The industry is built primarily on French-American hybrid production, however European grapes are being produced, are in demand, and as such, are commanding relatively high prices.

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W. Kalt

Fruit extract of the European blueberry, or bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), is a major component of a great number of pharmaceutical and food supplement products. Compared to most small fruits, bilberry has a high concentration of anthocyanin pigments. Anthocyanins are of biomedical interest due to their properties as antioxidants and protein cross linkers. The major clinical applications for anthocyanins are in ophthalmology, blood vessel and connective tissue disorders, and diabetes. Bilberries are harvested from wild stands throughout Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and at higher altitudes in southeastern France. Because they are wild, a wide array of genotypes make up the commercial product. As part of an investigation of the nutraceutical components of North American wild lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), we are comparing the anthocyanins and other phenolic components from fruit of commercially available Vaccinium species. We are particularly interested in the variation in composition among Vaccinium clones and species.

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Unaroj Boonprakob, David H. Byrne, Charles J. Graham, W.R. Okie, Thomas Beckman, and Brian R. Smith

Diploid plums (Prunus L. sp.) and their progenitor species were characterized for randomly amplified polymorphic DNA polymorphisms. Bootstrap analysis indicated the variance of genetic similarities differed little when the sample size was >80 markers. Two species from China (Prunus salicina Lindl. and P. simonii Carr.) and one species from Europe (P. cerasifera Ehrh.) contributed the bulk (72% to 90%) of the genetic background to the cultivated diploid plum. The southeastern plum gene pool was more diverse than those from California, Florida, or South Africa because of the greater contribution of P. cerasifera and P. angustifolia Marsh. to its genetic background.

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Margaret R. Pooler* and Thomas S. Elias

The neotropical shrub Hamelia patens Jacq. has been cultivated as an ornamental in the United States, Great Britain, and South Africa for many years, although only in limited numbers and as a minor element in the trade. In recent years, other taxa of Hamelia have been grown and evaluated as new flowering shrubs. The relatively recent introduction of a superior ornamental species of Hamelia called the “African firebush” has propelled this genus to greater prominence as an excellent small flowering shrub or container plant, especially throughout the southeastern United States and in other countries such as South Africa. Initially, this firebush was sold as an African plant. Data from field studies, herbarium specimens, and from DNA analysis of several taxa and populations of Hamelia show that the African firebush in southern Florida may have originated from populations of Hamelia patens var. glabra native to southern Mexico. The original plants were taken to Europe, southern Africa, and southeastern Asia probably in the mid to late 1800s and then recently re-introduced to New World markets as a new African ornamental plant.

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Thomas S. Elias and Margaret R. Pooler

The neotropical shrub Hamelia patens Jacq. has been cultivated as an ornamental in the United States, Great Britain, and South Africa for many years, although only in limited numbers and as a minor element in the trade. Recently, other taxa of Hamelia have been grown and evaluated as new flowering shrubs. The relatively recent introduction of a superior ornamental taxon of Hamelia, called the african firebush, has propelled this genus to greater prominence as an excellent small flowering shrub or container plant, especially throughout the southeastern United States and in other countries such as South Africa. Initially, this firebush was sold as an African plant. Data from field studies, herbarium specimens, and from DNA analysis of several taxa and populations of Hamelia show that the african firebush in southern Florida may have originated from populations of H. patens var. glabra native to southern Mexico. The original plants were taken to Europe, southern Africa, and southeastern Asia probably in the middle to late 1800s and then recently reintroduced to New World markets as a new African ornamental plant.

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Erin James and Marc van Iersel

The negative effects of nutrient runoff on the environment has come more to the forefront of greenhouse issues in the past few years. Alternative irrigation systems that reduce or eliminate runoff that are widely used in Europe have not yet gained much popularity in the southeastern United States, in part due to a lack of available information on their use. One such system is ebb-and-fl ow, which is a completely closed recirculating system, having no runoff whatsoever. In order to learn more about optimum growing practices using the ebb-and-fl ow system for bedding plants, marigolds and sunflowers were grown under a variety of conditions. After a 6-week period, pH of growing media of both marigolds and sunflowers decreased by 1, while EC increased by ≈1 dS/m. There were also significant differences in EC due to the different media types. The soilless medium with the highest percentage of vermiculite and lowest percentage of pine bark had the highest EC. Different types of fertilizer and fertilizer rates will be discussed, as well as interactions between fertilizer and media.

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Nicole L. Shaw, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Julio Funes, and Cecil Shine III

Beit Alpha cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is an exciting new greenhouse crop for production in the southeastern U.S. and Florida. Beit Alpha cucumbers are short, seedless fruit with dark-green skin and an excellent sweet flavor. Beit Alpha-types are the leading cucumber types in the Middle Eastern market and have gained recent popularity in Europe. Beit Alpha cucumbers grown hydroponically under a protected structure have prolific fruit set, yielding more than 60 high-quality fruit per plant during one season. U.S. hydroponic vegetable production is generally associated with structure and irrigation investments which are costly as well as other inputs, such as the media, which must be replaced annually or with each crop. Beit Alpha cucumber `Alexander' was grown in Spring 2001 and 2002 in a passive-ventilated high-roof greenhouse in Gainesville, Fla. Three media types, coarse-grade perlite, medium-grade perlite, and pine bark, were compared for efficiency of growing cucumbers (production and potential costs). During both seasons, fruit yield was the same among media treatments [average of 6 kg (13.2 lb) per plant]. Irrigation requirements were the same for each type of media; however, leachate volume was sometimes greater from pots with pine bark compared to either grade of perlite suggesting a reduced need for irrigation volume when using pine bark. Pine bark is five times less expensive than perlite and was a suitable replacement for perlite in a hydroponic Beit Alpha cucumber production system.

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Jiang Lu and Lloyd Schell

Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine grapes), a native species characterized with multiple resistance to grape diseases and insects, are cultivated throughout the southeastern U.S. for fresh fruit and processing. However, the species falls short of consumer's expectation as fresh fruit due to its seediness and thick skin. However, Vitis vinifera, a predominant Vitis species grown worldwide possesses good fruit characteristics such as seedlessness and edible skin but is susceptible to many diseases. Attempts to produce rotundifolia-vinifera hybrids to combine good fruit quality and disease resistance of both into F1 hybrids have been made by grape breeders for many years. Limited success was only reported when the V. vinifera was used as seed parents. Pollinating seedless vinifera pollen onV. rotundifolia stigma was made in 1993 and 1994. More than 20,000 flowers from 34 cross combinations were pollinated. These crosses were made to see if there is any chance to produce hybrids when muscadine grapes were used as female parent and specifically to introgress the seedlessness from European grapes into muscadine grapes. A few hundred seeds were collected from these crosses and germinated in a greenhouse. Two seedlings were clearly distinguished from the others with morphology intermediate between muscadine and the vinifera grapes, while the rest looked straight muscadine grapes derived from possible contaminated pollination. This conclusion was further confirmed by isozyme and DNA markers. One of the seedlings produced from the cross of `Jumbo' × `Thompson Seedless' grew vigorously and has been setting fruit since 1996. Fruit are mixture of stenospermocarpic and pathonocarpic seedlessness. Fruit setting and pollen viability test indicated that this hybrid is at least partly self-fertile. Many other characteristics of the hybrid, such as leaves, stems, tendrils, time of budbreak, bloom date, and ripen date are intermediate between muscadine and bunch grapes. The hybrid is resistant to Pierce's disease, anthracnose disease, and downy mildew, which are the limited factor to growing V. vinifera in the hot and humid southeastern U.S. This is the first report of a seedless hybrid from V. rotundifolia × V. vinifera.

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Salih Kafkas, Hakan Ozkan, Bekir Erol Ak, Izzet Acar, Halit Seyfettin Atli, and Sonay Koyuncu

There are limited numbers of pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) cultivars in the world and their phenotypic appearance and productivity are variable. Understanding such variation would facilitate their use in cultivar breeding programs. Therefore, in this study, 69 pistachio cultivars and genotypes originating from seven countries were characterized by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR), and amplified fragment-length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. The results showed that all three marker systems were able to reveal variability between pistachio cultivars and genotypes. The correlation coefficients for genetic distances were statistically significant among all three molecular marker types. The correlation between RAPD and AFLP data was the highest (r = 0.73) and the value between RAPD and ISSR data was the lowest (r = 0.58). AFLP proved to be the best technique among them. ISSR and AFLP assays were reliable and produced reproducible bands. ISSR was preferred over RAPD, especially when financial investment and technical knowledge are limited. The constructed unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) dendrogram obtained from combined data separated the genotypes into two main clusters: one cluster (“Iranian”) included genotypes originating from Iran and the second cluster (“Mediterranean”) contained most other genotypes. The “Mediterranean” cluster further divided into three subclusters: one (“Siirt”) consisted of the cultivars Siirt and Hacireso with a few other selections; the second subcluster (“Turkish”) included Turkish cultivars; and the third subcluster contained Syrian, Italian, and the remaining cultivars. The closeness of the clusters was “Iranian” - “Siirt” - “Turkish”/“Syrian.” These findings reveal a new understanding in the diffusion of pistachio cultivation from its center of origin, the Iranian-Caspian region, via southeastern Turkey to Syria, the Mediterranean region of Europe, and northern Africa.

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Natasha Kovatcheva, Valtcho D. Zheljazkov, and Tess Astatkie

agricultural protocol developed by the researchers at the Research Institute for Roses and Medicinal Plants for industrial rose plantations was used ( Kovatcheva et al., 2004 ; Nedkov and Attanassova, 2004 ). Soil was deluvial-meadow sandy (European Digital