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Plants, Volume 12, Issue 18 (September-2 2023) – 170 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The development of a perennial grain crop based on common wheat could address the need for improved crop sustainability. Hybridization between annual Triticum crop species and perennial relatives provides an avenue to combine their polycarpic habits (post-sexual cycle regrowth) with grain quality in a new crop. Here, we report the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis to characterize the genomic constitution of three T. aestivum × Thinopyrum spp. breeding lines that successfully regrew in field conditions in Washington, USA. Two lines presented as 56 chromosome-stable partial amphiploids while a third had a variable karyotype. This work presents information on breeding lines for the development of a novel perennial grain staple crop. View this paper
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34 pages, 7881 KiB  
Review
Amazonian Plants: A Global Bibliometric Approach to Petiveria alliacea L. Pharmacological and Toxicological Properties
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3343; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183343 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 773
Abstract
Petiveria alliacea L. (Phytolaccaceae) holds significant importance in the Amazon region, where it has been traditionally utilized in folk medicine. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive bibliometric analysis using conventional metrics, combined with a critical content review of its pharmacological and toxicological [...] Read more.
Petiveria alliacea L. (Phytolaccaceae) holds significant importance in the Amazon region, where it has been traditionally utilized in folk medicine. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive bibliometric analysis using conventional metrics, combined with a critical content review of its pharmacological and toxicological properties, to identify gaps in the existing literature that require further investigation. Our investigation identified a total of 55 articles that met the inclusion criteria for this study. Remarkably, Brazil emerged as the primary contributor within the scope of this review, indicating a strong presence of research from this country. Furthermore, professional scientific societies have played a pivotal role in facilitating the dissemination of scientific findings through specialist journals, fostering the sharing of research work within the community. Analysis of keyword co-occurrence revealed that “Petiveria alliacea”, “plant extract”, and “guatemala” were the most frequently encountered terms, indicating their significance within the literature. In terms of study designs, in vivo and in vitro were the predominant types observed, highlighting their prevalence in this field of study. Our study also identified a lack in knowledge yet to be investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on the Medicinal Value of Plants)
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37 pages, 5578 KiB  
Review
Multicellularity and the Need for Communication—A Systematic Overview on (Algal) Plasmodesmata and Other Types of Symplasmic Cell Connections
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3342; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183342 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 751
Abstract
In the evolution of eukaryotes, the transition from unicellular to simple multicellular organisms has happened multiple times. For the development of complex multicellularity, characterized by sophisticated body plans and division of labor between specialized cells, symplasmic intercellular communication is supposed to be indispensable. [...] Read more.
In the evolution of eukaryotes, the transition from unicellular to simple multicellular organisms has happened multiple times. For the development of complex multicellularity, characterized by sophisticated body plans and division of labor between specialized cells, symplasmic intercellular communication is supposed to be indispensable. We review the diversity of symplasmic connectivity among the eukaryotes and distinguish between distinct types of non-plasmodesmatal connections, plasmodesmata-like structures, and ‘canonical’ plasmodesmata on the basis of developmental, structural, and functional criteria. Focusing on the occurrence of plasmodesmata (-like) structures in extant taxa of fungi, brown algae (Phaeophyceae), green algae (Chlorophyta), and streptophyte algae, we present a detailed critical update on the available literature which is adapted to the present classification of these taxa and may serve as a tool for future work. From the data, we conclude that, actually, development of complex multicellularity correlates with symplasmic connectivity in many algal taxa, but there might be alternative routes. Furthermore, we deduce a four-step process towards the evolution of canonical plasmodesmata and demonstrate similarity of plasmodesmata in streptophyte algae and land plants with respect to the occurrence of an ER component. Finally, we discuss the urgent need for functional investigations and molecular work on cell connections in algal organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmodesmata)
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14 pages, 5969 KiB  
Article
A SUPERMAN-like Gene Controls the Locule Number of Tomato Fruit
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3341; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183341 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 633
Abstract
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits are derived from fertilized ovaries formed during flower development. Thus, fruit morphology is tightly linked to carpel number and identity. The SUPERMAN (SUP) gene is a key transcription repressor to define the stamen–carpel boundary and [...] Read more.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits are derived from fertilized ovaries formed during flower development. Thus, fruit morphology is tightly linked to carpel number and identity. The SUPERMAN (SUP) gene is a key transcription repressor to define the stamen–carpel boundary and to control floral meristem determinacy. Despite SUP functions having been characterized in a few plant species, its functions have not yet been explored in tomato. In this study, we identified and characterized a fascinated and multi-locule fruit (fmf) mutant in Solanum pimpinellifolium background harboring a nonsense mutation in the coding sequence of a zinc finger gene orthologous to SUP. The fmf mutant produces supersex flowers containing increased numbers of stamens and carpels and sets malformed seedless fruits with complete flowers frequently formed on the distal end. fmf alleles in cultivated tomato background created by CRISPR-Cas9 showed similar floral and fruit phenotypes. Our results provide insight into the functional conservation and diversification of SUP members in different species. We also speculate the FMF gene may be a potential target for yield improvement in tomato by genetic engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology)
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15 pages, 4595 KiB  
Article
Fine Mapping and Identification of a Candidate Gene for the Glossy Green Trait in Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3340; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183340 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 558
Abstract
In higher plants, cuticular wax deposited on the surface of epidermal cells plays an important role in protecting the plant from biotic and abiotic stresses; however, the molecular mechanism of cuticular wax production is not completely understood. In this study, we identified a [...] Read more.
In higher plants, cuticular wax deposited on the surface of epidermal cells plays an important role in protecting the plant from biotic and abiotic stresses; however, the molecular mechanism of cuticular wax production is not completely understood. In this study, we identified a glossy green mutant (98-1030gl) from the glaucous cabbage inbred line 98-1030. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that the amount of leaf cuticular wax significantly decreased in 98-1030gl. Genetic analysis showed that the glossy green trait was controlled by a single recessive gene. Bulked segregant analysis coupled with whole genome sequencing revealed that the candidate gene for the glossy green trait was located at 13,860,000–25,070,000 bp (11.21 Mb) on Chromosome 5. Based on the resequencing data of two parents and the F2 population, insertion-deletion markers were developed and used to reduce the candidate mapping region. The candidate gene (Bol026949) was then mapped in a 50.97 kb interval. Bol026949 belongs to the Agenet/Tudor domain protein family, whose members are predicted to be involved in chromatin remodeling and RNA transcription. Sequence analysis showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism mutation (C → G) in the second exon of Bol026949 could result in the premature termination of its protein translation in 98-1030gl. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Bol026949 is relatively conserved in cruciferous plants. Transcriptome profiling indicated that Bol026949 might participate in cuticular wax production by regulating the transcript levels of genes involved in the post-translational cellular process and phytohormone signaling. Our findings provide an important clue for dissecting the regulatory mechanisms of cuticular wax production in cruciferous crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology)
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13 pages, 2678 KiB  
Article
Regulation of Tomato Fruit Autophagic Flux and Promotion of Fruit Ripening by the Autophagy-Related Gene SlATG8f
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3339; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183339 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Autophagy is a highly conserved self-degradation process that involves the degradation and recycling of cellular components and organelles. Although the involvement of autophagy in metabolic changes during fruit ripening has been preliminarily demonstrated, the variations in autophagic flux and specific functional roles in [...] Read more.
Autophagy is a highly conserved self-degradation process that involves the degradation and recycling of cellular components and organelles. Although the involvement of autophagy in metabolic changes during fruit ripening has been preliminarily demonstrated, the variations in autophagic flux and specific functional roles in tomato fruit ripening remain to be elucidated. In this study, we analyzed the variations in autophagic flux during tomato fruit ripening. The results revealed differential expression of the SlATG8 family members during tomato fruit ripening. Transmission electron microscopy observations and dansylcadaverine (MDC) staining confirmed the presence of autophagy at the cellular level in tomato fruits. Furthermore, the overexpression of SlATG8f induced the formation of autophagosomes, increased autophagic flux within tomato fruits, and effectively enhanced the expression of ATG8 proteins during the color-transition phase of fruit ripening, thus promoting tomato fruit maturation. SlATG8f overexpression also led to the accumulation of vitamin C (VC) and soluble solids while reducing acidity in the fruit. Collectively, our findings highlight the pivotal role of SlATG8f in enhancing tomato fruit ripening, providing insights into the mechanistic involvement of autophagy in this process. This research contributes to a better understanding of the key factors that regulate tomato fruit quality and offers a theoretical basis for tomato variety improvement. Full article
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15 pages, 3759 KiB  
Article
OsWRKY97, an Abiotic Stress-Induced Gene of Rice, Plays a Key Role in Drought Tolerance
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3338; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183338 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 580
Abstract
Drought stress is one of the major causes of crop losses. The WRKY families play important roles in the regulation of many plant processes, including drought stress response. However, the function of individual WRKY genes in plants is still under investigation. Here, we [...] Read more.
Drought stress is one of the major causes of crop losses. The WRKY families play important roles in the regulation of many plant processes, including drought stress response. However, the function of individual WRKY genes in plants is still under investigation. Here, we identified a new member of the WRKY families, OsWRKY97, and analyzed its role in stress resistance by using a series of transgenic plant lines. OsWRKY97 positively regulates drought tolerance in rice. OsWRKY97 was expressed in all examined tissues and could be induced by various abiotic stresses and abscisic acid (ABA). OsWRKY97-GFP was localized to the nucleus. Various abiotic stress-related cis-acting elements were observed in the promoters of OsWRKY97. The results of OsWRKY97-overexpressing plant analyses revealed that OsWRKY97 plays a positive role in drought stress tolerance. In addition, physiological analyses revealed that OsWRKY97 improves drought stress tolerance by improving the osmotic adjustment ability, oxidative stress tolerance, and water retention capacity of the plant. Furthermore, OsWRKY97-overexpressing plants also showed higher sensitivity to exogenous ABA compared with that of wild-type rice (WT). Overexpression of OsWRKY97 also affected the transcript levels of ABA-responsive genes and the accumulation of ABA. These results indicate that OsWRKY97 plays a crucial role in the response to drought stress and may possess high potential value in improving drought tolerance in rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Rice and Rice Breeding)
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18 pages, 2996 KiB  
Article
Effects of Light Intensity on Growth and Quality of Lettuce and Spinach Cultivars in a Plant Factory
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3337; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183337 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 834
Abstract
The decreased quality of leafy vegetables and tipburn caused by inappropriate light intensity are serious problems faced in plant factories, greatly reducing the economic benefits. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively understand the impact of light intensity on the growth and [...] Read more.
The decreased quality of leafy vegetables and tipburn caused by inappropriate light intensity are serious problems faced in plant factories, greatly reducing the economic benefits. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively understand the impact of light intensity on the growth and quality of different crops and to develop precise lighting schemes for specific cultivars. Two lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) cultivars—Crunchy and Deangelia—and one spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) cultivar—Shawen—were grown in a plant factory using a light-emitting diode (LED) under intensities of 300, 240, 180, and 120 μmol m−2 s−1, respectively. Cultivation in a solar greenhouse using only natural light (NL) served as the control. The plant height, number of leaves, and leaf width exhibited the highest values under a light intensity of 300 μmol m−2 s−1 for Crunchy. The plant width and leaf length of Deangelia exhibited the smallest values under a light intensity of 300 μmol m−2 s−1. The fresh weight of shoot and root, soluble sugar, soluble protein, and ascorbic acid contents in the three cultivars increased with the increasing light intensity. However, tipburn was observed in Crunchy under 300 μmol m−2 s−1 light intensity, and in Deangelia under both 300 and 240 μmol m−2 s−1 light intensities. Shawen spinach exhibited leaf curling under all four light intensities. The light intensities of 240 and 180 μmol m−2 s−1 were observed to be the most optimum for Crunchy and Deangelia (semi-heading lettuce variety), respectively, which would exhibit relative balance growth and morphogenesis. The lack of healthy leaves in Shawen spinach under all light intensities indicated the need to comprehensively optimize cultivation for Shawen in plant factories to achieve successful cultivation. The results indicated that light intensity is an important factor and should be optimized for specific crop species and cultivars to achieve healthy growth in plant factories. Full article
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12 pages, 3144 KiB  
Article
A Structure Variation in qPH8.2 Detrimentally Affects Plant Architecture and Yield in Rice
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3336; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183336 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Plant height is an important agronomic trait associated with plant architecture and grain yield in rice (Oryza sativa L.). In this study, we report the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for plant height using a chromosomal segment substitution line (CSSL) population [...] Read more.
Plant height is an important agronomic trait associated with plant architecture and grain yield in rice (Oryza sativa L.). In this study, we report the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for plant height using a chromosomal segment substitution line (CSSL) population with substituted segments from japonica variety Nipponbare (NIP) in the background of the indica variety 9311. Eight stable QTLs for plant height were identified in three environments. Among them, six loci were co-localized with known genes such as semidwarf-1 (sd1) and Grain Number per Panicle1 (GNP1) involved in gibberellin biosynthesis. A minor QTL qPH8.2 on chromosome 8 was verified and fine-mapped to a 74 kb region. Sequence comparison of the genomic region revealed the presence/absence of a 42 kb insertion between NIP and 9311. This insertion occurred predominantly in temperate japonica rice. Comparisons on the near-isogenic lines showed that the qPH8.2 allele from NIP exhibits pleiotropic effects on plant growth, including reduced plant height, leaf length, photosynthetic capacity, delayed heading date, decreased yield, and increased tiller angle. These results indicate that qPH8.2 from temperate japonica triggers adverse effects on plant growth and yield when introduced into the indica rice, highlighting the importance of the inter-subspecies crossing breeding programs. Full article
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17 pages, 8085 KiB  
Article
Lead Toxicity-Mediated Growth and Metabolic Alterations at Early Seedling Stages of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3335; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183335 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 558
Abstract
To investigate the toxic effects of lead (Pb) on key metabolic activities essential for proper germination and seedling growth of maize seeds, experiments were carried out with different levels of Pb (0 to 120 mg of Pb L−1 as PbCl2) [...] Read more.
To investigate the toxic effects of lead (Pb) on key metabolic activities essential for proper germination and seedling growth of maize seeds, experiments were carried out with different levels of Pb (0 to 120 mg of Pb L−1 as PbCl2) applied through growth medium to two maize hybrids H-3310S and H-6724. The research findings indicated that growth and metabolic activities were adversely affected by increased Pb contamination in growth medium; however, a slow increase in these parameters was recorded with increasing time from 0 to 120 h. Protease activity decreased with an increase in the level of Pb contamination but increased with time; consequently, a reduction in seed proteins and an increase in total free amino acids were observed with time. Similarly, α-amylase activity decreased with an increase in Pb concentration in growth medium while it increased with increasing time from 0 to 120 h; consequently, reducing and non-reducing sugars increased with time but decreased with exposure to lead. The roots of both maize hybrids had higher Pb contents than those of the shoot, which decreased the uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. All these nutrients are essential for optimal plant growth; therefore, the reduction in growth and biomass of maize seedlings could be due to Pb toxicity that altered metabolic processes, as sugar and amino acids are necessary for the synthesis of metabolic compounds, rapid cell division, and proper functioning of enzymes in the growing embryo, but all were dramatically reduced due to suppression of protease and α-amylase by toxicity of Pb. In general, hybrid H-3310S performed better in Pb-contaminated growth medium than H-6724. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Metal Stress on Crops)
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13 pages, 4673 KiB  
Article
Identification and Expression of the MADS-box Gene Family in Different Versions of the Ginkgo biloba Genome
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3334; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183334 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 550
Abstract
MADS-box transcription factors play important roles in many organisms. These transcription factors are involved in processes such as the formation of the flower organ structure and the seed development of plants. Ginkgo biloba has two genome versions (version 2019 and version 2021), and [...] Read more.
MADS-box transcription factors play important roles in many organisms. These transcription factors are involved in processes such as the formation of the flower organ structure and the seed development of plants. Ginkgo biloba has two genome versions (version 2019 and version 2021), and there is no analysis or comparison of the MADS-box gene family in these two genomes. In this study, 26 and 20 MADS-box genes were identified from the two genomes of Ginkgo, of which 12 pairs of genes reached more than 80% similarity. According to our phylogenetic analysis results, we divided these genes into type I (Mα and Mγ subfamilies) and type II (MIKC and Mδ subfamilies) members. We found that both sets of genomes lacked the Mβ gene, while the MIKC gene was the most numerous. Further analysis of the gene structure showed that the MIKC genes in the two genomes had extralong introns (≥20 kb); these introns had different splicing patterns, and their expression might be more abundant. The gene expression analysis proved that GbMADS genes were expressed to varying degrees in eight Ginkgo biological tissues. Type II GbMADS genes not only were found to be related to female flower bud differentiation and development but also are important in seed development. Therefore, MADS-box genes may play important roles in the development of Ginkgo reproductive organs, which may suggest a genetic role in sexual differentiation. This study further contributes to the research on MADS-box genes and provides new insights into sex determination in Ginkgo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Molecular Biology)
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23 pages, 8565 KiB  
Article
Integrative Analysis of Metabolome and Transcriptome Revealed Lutein Metabolism Contributed to Yellow Flower Formation in Prunus mume
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3333; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183333 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 698
Abstract
Prunus mume is a famous ornamental woody tree with colorful flowers. P. mume with yellow flowers is one of the most precious varieties. Regretfully, metabolites and regulatory mechanisms of yellow flowers in P. mume are still unclear. This hinders innovation of flower color [...] Read more.
Prunus mume is a famous ornamental woody tree with colorful flowers. P. mume with yellow flowers is one of the most precious varieties. Regretfully, metabolites and regulatory mechanisms of yellow flowers in P. mume are still unclear. This hinders innovation of flower color breeding in P. mume. To elucidate the metabolic components and molecular mechanisms of yellow flowers, we analyzed transcriptome and metabolome between ‘HJH’ with yellow flowers and ‘ZLE’ with white flowers. Comparing the metabolome of the two varieties, we determined that carotenoids made contributions to the yellow flowers rather than flavonoids. Lutein was the key differential metabolite to cause yellow coloration of ‘HJH’. Transcriptome analysis revealed significant differences in the expression of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CCD) between the two varieties. Specifically, the expression level of PmCCD4 was higher in ‘ZLE’ than that in ‘HJH’. Moreover, we identified six major transcription factors that probably regulated PmCCD4 to affect lutein accumulation. We speculated that carotenoid cleavage genes might be closely related to the yellow flower phenotype in P. mume. Further, the coding sequence of PmCCD4 has been cloned from the ‘HJH’ petals, and bioinformatics analysis revealed that PmCCD4 possessed conserved histidine residues, ensuring its enzymatic activity. PmCCD4 was closely related to PpCCD4, with a homology of 98.16%. Instantaneous transformation analysis in petal protoplasts of P. mume revealed PmCCD4 localization in the plastid. The overexpression of PmCCD4 significantly reduced the carotenoid content in tobacco plants, especially the lutein content, indicating that lutein might be the primary substrate for PmCCD4. We speculated that PmCCD4 might be involved in the cleavage of lutein in plastids, thereby affecting the formation of yellow flowers in P. mume. This work could establish a material and molecular basis of molecular breeding in P. mume for improving the flower color. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flower Germplasm Resource and Genetic Breeding)
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15 pages, 3994 KiB  
Article
Quantification and Qualification of Floral Patterns of Coffea arabica L. in Colombia
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3332; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183332 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 614
Abstract
The phenological patterns of coffee flowering in Colombia have typically been studied in a descriptive way, with knowledge from an inferential perspective being scarce. The present study evaluated the effect of geographic location and accession on the floral patterns and phenological descriptors of [...] Read more.
The phenological patterns of coffee flowering in Colombia have typically been studied in a descriptive way, with knowledge from an inferential perspective being scarce. The present study evaluated the effect of geographic location and accession on the floral patterns and phenological descriptors of Coffea arabica L. Fifteen accessions from the Colombian coffee collection (four tall and eleven short) were planted in the departments of Cesar, Caldas, Quindío and Cauca (Colombia). The number of flower buds per branch per plant per evaluated accession was recorded weekly during four flowering semesters. Subsequently, the phenological flowering descriptors, namely synchrony among individuals, intraindividual temporal variability and number of events were calculated. The data were analyzed descriptively, and then the inferential component was conducted using analysis of variance for a two-factor additive model and randomization restriction. The results showed that there are two flowering patterns according to the expression of flowering in the floral cycles, the “annual” class in the department of Cesar and the “continual” class in the departments of Caldas, Quindío and Cauca. The phenological descriptors show differences between the departments according to the coffee zone to which it belongs (northern, central or southern). In turn, the floral pattern of each area can be linked to the latitudinal change in daily sunshine, as well as to the distribution of rainfall and temperature, in a very broad sense and based on the literature. The data did not provide statistical evidence to suggest differences among the accessions or between the tree sizes evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Floral Biology 2.0)
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11 pages, 3025 KiB  
Article
A New Essential Oil from the Native Andean Species Nectandra laurel Klotzsch ex Nees of Southern Ecuador: Chemical and Enantioselective Analyses
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3331; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183331 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 439
Abstract
The leaves of Nectandra laurel Klotzsch ex Nees, belonging to the family, Lauraceae, were collected in the province of Loja (Ecuador), dried, and analytically steam-distilled. An unprecedented essential oil was obtained, with a 0.03% yield by weight of dry plant material. The volatile [...] Read more.
The leaves of Nectandra laurel Klotzsch ex Nees, belonging to the family, Lauraceae, were collected in the province of Loja (Ecuador), dried, and analytically steam-distilled. An unprecedented essential oil was obtained, with a 0.03% yield by weight of dry plant material. The volatile fraction was submitted to qualitative (GC-MS) and quantitative (GC-FID) chemical analysis, on two orthogonal stationary phases. Seventy-eight compounds were detected and quantified on at least one column. The essential oil was dominated by sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (53.0–53.8% on the non-polar and polar stationary phase, respectively), followed by oxygenated sesquiterpenoids (18.9–19.0%). A third group was constituted by metabolites of other origins, mainly aliphatic compounds, apparently derived from the acetate pathway (11.7–8.5%). The major components of the EO (≥3.0% with at least one column) were δ-selinene (30.5–28.8%), δ-cadinene (5.4–6.4%), epi-α-cadinol (4.9–5.2%), an undetermined compound with a molecular weight of 204 (3.4–4.2%), α-pinene (3.3–2.9%), and α-cadinol (2.9–3.0%). Finally, the essential oil was submitted to enantioselective analysis, on two β-cyclodextrin-based chiral selectors, determining the enantiomeric distribution of seven chiral terpenes. Among them, (1R,5R)-(+)-α-pinene, (1R,5R)-(+)-β-pinene, and (R)-(−)-α-phellandrene were enantiomerically pure, whereas camphene, borneol, α-copaene, and α-terpineol were present as scalemic mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemistry)
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17 pages, 1173 KiB  
Article
Exploring Salinity Tolerance Mechanisms in Diverse Wheat Genotypes Using Physiological, Anatomical, Agronomic and Gene Expression Analyses
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3330; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183330 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 736
Abstract
Salinity is a widespread abiotic stress that devastatingly impacts wheat growth and restricts its productivity worldwide. The present study is aimed at elucidating biochemical, physiological, anatomical, gene expression analysis, and agronomic responses of three diverse wheat genotypes to different salinity levels. A salinity [...] Read more.
Salinity is a widespread abiotic stress that devastatingly impacts wheat growth and restricts its productivity worldwide. The present study is aimed at elucidating biochemical, physiological, anatomical, gene expression analysis, and agronomic responses of three diverse wheat genotypes to different salinity levels. A salinity treatment of 5000 and 7000 ppm gradually reduced photosynthetic pigments, anatomical root and leaf measurements and agronomic traits of all evaluated wheat genotypes (Ismailia line, Misr 1, and Misr 3). In addition, increasing salinity levels substantially decreased all anatomical root and leaf measurements except sclerenchyma tissue upper and lower vascular bundle thickness compared with unstressed plants. However, proline content in stressed plants was stimulated by increasing salinity levels in all evaluated wheat genotypes. Moreover, Na+ ions content and antioxidant enzyme activities in stressed leaves increased the high level of salinity in all genotypes. The evaluated wheat genotypes demonstrated substantial variations in all studied characters. The Ismailia line exhibited the uppermost performance in photosynthetic pigments under both salinity levels. Additionally, the Ismailia line was superior in the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase activity (CAT), peroxidase (POX), and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzymes followed by Misr 1. Moreover, the Ismailia line recorded the maximum anatomical root and leaf measurements under salinity stress, which enhanced its tolerance to salinity stress. The Ismailia line and Misr 3 presented high up-regulation of H+ATPase, NHX2 HAK, and HKT genes in the root and leaf under both salinity levels. The positive physiological, anatomical, and molecular responses of the Ismailia line under salinity stress were reflected on agronomic performance and exhibited superior values of all evaluated agronomic traits. Full article
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18 pages, 3693 KiB  
Article
Effects of Salt Tolerance Training on Multidimensional Root Distribution and Root-Shoot Characteristics of Summer Maize under Brackish Water Irrigation
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3329; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183329 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 499
Abstract
To investigate the impact of brackish water irrigation on the multidimensional root distribution and root-shoot characteristics of summer maize under different salt-tolerance-training modes, a micro-plot experiment was conducted from June to October in 2022 at the experimental station in Hohai University, China. Freshwater [...] Read more.
To investigate the impact of brackish water irrigation on the multidimensional root distribution and root-shoot characteristics of summer maize under different salt-tolerance-training modes, a micro-plot experiment was conducted from June to October in 2022 at the experimental station in Hohai University, China. Freshwater irrigation was used as the control (CK), and different concentrations of brackish water (S0: 0.08 g·L−1, S1: 2.0 g·L−1, S2: 4.0 g·L−1, S3: 6.0 g·L−1) were irrigated at six-leaf stage, ten-leaf stage, and tasseling stage, constituting different salt tolerance training modes, referred to as S0-2-3, S0-3-3, S1-2-3, S1-3-3, S2-2-3, and S2-3-3. The results showed that although their fine root length density (FRLD) increased, the S0-2-3 and S0-3-3 treatments reduced the limit of root extension in the horizontal direction, causing the roots to be mainly distributed near the plants. This resulted in decreased leaf area and biomass accumulation, ultimately leading to significant yield reduction. Additionally, the S2-2-3 and S2-3-3 treatments stimulated the adaptive mechanism of maize roots, resulting in boosted fine root growth to increase the FRLD and develop into deeper soil layers. However, due to the prolonged exposure to a high level of salinity, their roots below 30 cm depth senesced prematurely, leading to an inhibition in shoot growth and also resulting in yield reduction of 10.99% and 11.75%, compared to CK, respectively. Furthermore, the S1-2-3 and S1-3-3 treatments produced more reasonable distributions of FRLD, which did not boost fine root growth but established fewer weak areas (FLRD < 0.66 cm−3) in their root systems. Moreover, the S1-2-3 treatment contributed to increasing leaf development and biomass accumulation, compared to CK, whereas it allowed for minimizing yield reduction. Therefore, our study proposed the S1-2-3 treatment as the recommended training mode for summer maize while utilizing brackish water resources. Full article
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16 pages, 3870 KiB  
Article
Segmentation and Phenotype Calculation of Rapeseed Pods Based on YOLO v8 and Mask R-Convolution Neural Networks
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3328; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183328 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Rapeseed is a significant oil crop, and the size and length of its pods affect its productivity. However, manually counting the number of rapeseed pods and measuring the length, width, and area of the pod takes time and effort, especially when there are [...] Read more.
Rapeseed is a significant oil crop, and the size and length of its pods affect its productivity. However, manually counting the number of rapeseed pods and measuring the length, width, and area of the pod takes time and effort, especially when there are hundreds of rapeseed resources to be assessed. This work created two state-of-the-art deep learning-based methods to identify rapeseed pods and related pod attributes, which are then implemented in rapeseed pots to improve the accuracy of the rapeseed yield estimate. One of these methods is YOLO v8, and the other is the two-stage model Mask R-CNN based on the framework Detectron2. The YOLO v8n model and the Mask R-CNN model with a Resnet101 backbone in Detectron2 both achieve precision rates exceeding 90%. The recognition results demonstrated that both models perform well when graphic images of rapeseed pods are segmented. In light of this, we developed a coin-based approach for estimating the size of rapeseed pods and tested it on a test dataset made up of nine different species of Brassica napus and one of Brassica campestris L. The correlation coefficients between manual measurement and machine vision measurement of length and width were calculated using statistical methods. The length regression coefficient of both methods was 0.991, and the width regression coefficient was 0.989. In conclusion, for the first time, we utilized deep learning techniques to identify the characteristics of rapeseed pods while concurrently establishing a dataset for rapeseed pods. Our suggested approaches were successful in segmenting and counting rapeseed pods precisely. Our approach offers breeders an effective strategy for digitally analyzing phenotypes and automating the identification and screening process, not only in rapeseed germplasm resources but also in leguminous plants, like soybeans that possess pods. Full article
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20 pages, 2308 KiB  
Article
Botanical Collection Patterns and Conservation Categories of the Most Traded Timber Species from the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Role of Protected Areas
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3327; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183327 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 625
Abstract
The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to a rich biodiversity of woody plant species. Nonetheless, their conservation remains difficult, as some areas remain poorly explored and lack georeferenced records. Therefore, the current study aims predominantly to analyze the collection patterns of timber species in [...] Read more.
The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to a rich biodiversity of woody plant species. Nonetheless, their conservation remains difficult, as some areas remain poorly explored and lack georeferenced records. Therefore, the current study aims predominantly to analyze the collection patterns of timber species in the Amazon lowlands of Ecuador and to evaluate the conservation coverage of these species in protected areas. Furthermore, we try to determine the conservation category of the species according to the criteria of the IUCN Red List. We identified that one third of the timber species in the study area was concentrated in three provinces due to historical botanical expeditions. However, a worrying 22.0% of the species had less than five records of presence, and 29.9% had less than ten records, indicating a possible underestimation of their presence. In addition, almost half of the species evaluated were unprotected, exposing them to deforestation risks and threats. To improve knowledge and conservation of forest biodiversity in the Ecuadorian Amazon, it is recommended to perform new botanical samplings in little-explored areas and digitize data in national herbaria. It is critical to implement automated assessments of the conservation status of species with insufficient data. In addition, it is suggested to use species distribution models to identify optimal areas for forest restoration initiatives. Effective communication of results and collaboration between scientists, governments, and local communities are key to the protection and sustainable management of forest biodiversity in the Amazon region. Full article
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15 pages, 4637 KiB  
Article
Effects of Climatic Change on Phylogeography and Ecological Niche of the Endemic Herb Elymus breviaristatus on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3326; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183326 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 503
Abstract
Past climatic and topographic variations have created strong biogeographic barriers for alpine species and are key drivers of the distribution of genetic variation and population dynamics of species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). Therefore, to better conserve and use germplasm resources, it is [...] Read more.
Past climatic and topographic variations have created strong biogeographic barriers for alpine species and are key drivers of the distribution of genetic variation and population dynamics of species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). Therefore, to better conserve and use germplasm resources, it is crucial to understand the distribution and differentiation of genetic variation within species. Elymus breviaristatus, an ecologically important rare grass species with strong resistance, is restricted to a limited area of the QTP. In this study, we investigated the phylogeography of E. breviaristatus using five chloroplast genes and spacer regions in natural populations distributed along the eastern QTP. We identified a total of 25 haplotypes among 216 individuals from 18 E. breviaristatus populations, which were further classified into four haplogroups based on geographical distribution and haplotype network analysis. Notably, we did not observe any signs of population expansion. High genetic diversity was exhibited at both species and population levels, with precipitation being the main limiting factor for population genetic diversity levels. Higher genetic diversity was exhibited by populations located near the Mekong–Salween Divide genetic barrier, suggesting that they may have served as a glacial refuge. The significant pattern of genetic differentiation by environmental isolation highlights the influence of heterogeneous environments on the genetic structure of E. breviaristatus populations. Additionally, the results of ecological niche models indicated that the geographic distribution of E. breviaristatus populations has decreased rapidly since the Last Glacial Maximum but is not threatened by future global warming. Full article
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21 pages, 7861 KiB  
Article
Statistics and Analysis of Digital Information on Vascular Plant Specimens and the History of Plant Collecting in Guangzhou, China
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3325; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183325 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 489
Abstract
This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of digitized specimen data and relevant literature to investigate the vascular plant diversity in Guangzhou City, China. Specimen data were collected from various sources, including the China Digital Herbarium (CVH), the National Specimen Resource Sharing Platform (NSII), [...] Read more.
This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of digitized specimen data and relevant literature to investigate the vascular plant diversity in Guangzhou City, China. Specimen data were collected from various sources, including the China Digital Herbarium (CVH), the National Specimen Resource Sharing Platform (NSII), Global Plants on JSTOR, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Following data standardization, the study identified 41,890 vascular plant specimens, encompassing 248 families, 1563 genera, and 4536 species, including subspecies and cultivated plants. Among them, the native plants of Guangzhou city accounted for 60.6% of the species. The temporal analysis identified three distinct peaks in specimen collection: 1916–1920, 1928–1936, and 1950–1964. Collection activities were primarily concentrated between the months of April and November. The distribution of collected specimens exhibited significant variation among different species, with families such as Fabaceae, Poaceae, and Myrtaceae having the highest number of specimens. Similarly, genera such as Eucalyptus, Ficus, and Citrus were well-represented. The most frequently collected species included Litchi chinensis, Eucalyptus robusta, and Cycas taiwaniana. Remarkably, 21 species had specimen counts exceeding 100. Unfortunately, approximately three-quarters of the species had fewer than 10 recorded specimens. Alarmingly, 1220 species were represented by only one specimen. Geographically, the majority of specimens originated from the former suburbs of Guangzhou, Conghua Delta Mountain, and Liuxi River areas, while other regions had limited representation. In terms of specimen collections, the Herbarium of South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBSC) recorded the highest number of specimens (13,828 specimens), followed by the Tree Herbarium of South China Agricultural University (CANT; 3869 specimens) and the Herbarium of Sun Yat-sen University (SYS; 3654 specimens). The collection history in Guangzhou spans nearly 300 years and can be broadly divided into two distinct periods. The first period extends from the late 13th century to 1949, primarily encompassing the collection efforts of foreign visitors in Guangzhou, and represents the pioneering phase of plant taxonomy research in China. The second period, from 1949 to the present, is characterized by extensive investigations and collection activities conducted by local scholars, with a specific emphasis on native plant resources. By meticulously organizing and verifying information derived from historical documents and specimens, the paper effectively summarizes the plant collection and research history of Guangzhou, providing detailed profiles of the key collectors. These findings furnish reliable historical reference materials for the study of plant taxonomy and diversity in Guangzhou. Full article
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28 pages, 5299 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Potential of Algal Extracts as Promising Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Agents against Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa: In Vitro and In Silico Studies including Molecular Docking
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3324; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183324 - 20 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa poses a global challenge due to its virulence and biofilm-forming ability, leading to persistent infections. This study had a dual focus: first, it aimed to investigate the biofilm activity and antibiotic resistance profiles of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates obtained from a [...] Read more.
Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa poses a global challenge due to its virulence and biofilm-forming ability, leading to persistent infections. This study had a dual focus: first, it aimed to investigate the biofilm activity and antibiotic resistance profiles of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates obtained from a fish-rearing farm. Second, it explored the potential of algal extracts as effective antibacterial and antibiofilm agents. The study analyzed 23 isolates of P. aeruginosa from the farm, assessing antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation. The antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities of two algal extracts, Arthrospira platensis (cyanobacteria) acetone extract (AAE) and Polysiphonia scopulorum (Rhodophyta) methanol extract (PME), were tested individually and combined (COE). The effects on biofilm-related gene expression were examined. AAE, PME, and COE were evaluated for antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties. Biofilm-related gene expression was measured and the extracts were analyzed for physicochemical properties and toxicity. Most P. aeruginosa isolates (86.9%) were antibiotic-resistant and formed biofilms. AAE, PME, and COE displayed promising antibacterial and antibiofilm effects, with COE being particularly effective. COE reduced a key biofilm-related gene expression. The fatty acid content (56% in AAE and 34% in PME) correlated with the effects. Specific compounds, such as phytol, bromophenol, and dihydroxy benzaldehyde, contributed to the activities. The extracts showed favorable characteristics and interactions with FabZ protein amino acids. This study suggests the potential of algal extracts as antibacterial and antibiofilm agents against drug-resistant infections. Further exploration in clinical applications is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds from Marine Plants and Related Sources)
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12 pages, 7181 KiB  
Article
Primary Screening of Microorganisms against Meloidogyne hapla (Chitwood, 1949) under the Conditions of Laboratory and Vegetative Tests on Tomato
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3323; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183323 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Highly adapted obligate endoparasites of the root system, root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), cause great damage to agricultural crops. Our research is aimed at the assessment of nematicidal activity and effectiveness of antagonist fungal and bacterial strains against the most common type of [...] Read more.
Highly adapted obligate endoparasites of the root system, root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), cause great damage to agricultural crops. Our research is aimed at the assessment of nematicidal activity and effectiveness of antagonist fungal and bacterial strains against the most common type of root-knot nematode in the south of Russia. By means of molecular genetic identification, it was found that in the south of Russia, the species Meloidogyne hapla Chitwood, 1949 and Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid and White, 1919) Chitwood, 1949 cause galls on the roots of open-ground and greenhouse tomato. Screening of microbial agents against second-stage juvenile (J2) M. hapla was carried out in the laboratory. At the end of the experiment, two liquid fungal cultures of Paecilomyces lilacinus BK-6 and Metarhizium anisopliae BK-2 were isolated, the nematicidal activity of which reached 100.0 and 70.2%, and exceeded the values of the biological standard (Nemotafagin-Mikopro) by 38.4% and 8.8%. The highest biological efficacy was noted in the liquid cultures of P. lilacinus BK-6, M. anisopliae BK-2, and Arthrobotrys conoides BK-8 when introduced into the soil before planting tomato. The number of formed galls on the roots was lower in comparison with the control by 81.0%, 75.5%, and 74.4%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of the Root-Knot Nematodes)
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20 pages, 6402 KiB  
Article
Floral Development on Vitis vinifera Is Associated with MADS-Box Transcription Factors through the Transcriptional Regulation of VviZIP3
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3322; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183322 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Several grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars show a tendency to develop parthenocarpic seedless grapes, affecting fruit yield and quality. This reproductive disorder originates in defective ovule fertilization due to a failure in pollen tube growth. Zinc (Zn) is a crucial trace element, [...] Read more.
Several grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars show a tendency to develop parthenocarpic seedless grapes, affecting fruit yield and quality. This reproductive disorder originates in defective ovule fertilization due to a failure in pollen tube growth. Zinc (Zn) is a crucial trace element, playing a vital role in various physiological and metabolic processes. It is particularly essential for the healthy growth of flowers and fruits. Insufficient zinc has been suggested as a potential reason for issues in this development process. This microelement is taken up through a mechanism that involves transporters, including the ZRT-IRT-like protein (ZIP) gene family, associated with the influx of Zn into the cell. In grapevines, 20 genes for ZIP-type transporters have been described. In this study, we analyzed the expression pattern of VviZIP3 during flower development and employ transgenic methods to assess its transcriptional regulation. Furthermore, through computational examination of the promoter region, we identified two CArG boxes, recognized as responsive elements to MADS transcription factors. These factors play a key role in shaping various components of a flower, such as pollen. Our investigation of the VviZIP3 promoter confirms the functionality of these CArG boxes. Overall, our results suggest that the increased expression of VviZIP3 during flowering is likely under the influence of MADS transcription factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Floral Biology 2.0)
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23 pages, 3360 KiB  
Article
Agro-Morphological and Molecular Characterization Reveal Deep Insights in Promising Genetic Diversity and Marker-Trait Associations in Fagopyrum esculentum and Fagopyrum tataricum
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3321; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183321 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Characterisation of genetic diversity is critical to adequately exploit the potential of germplasm collections and identify important traits for breeding programs and sustainable crop improvement. Here, we characterised the phenotypic and genetic diversity of a global collection of the two cultivated buckwheat species [...] Read more.
Characterisation of genetic diversity is critical to adequately exploit the potential of germplasm collections and identify important traits for breeding programs and sustainable crop improvement. Here, we characterised the phenotypic and genetic diversity of a global collection of the two cultivated buckwheat species Fagopyrum esculentum and Fagopyrum tataricum (190 and 51 accessions, respectively) using 37 agro-morphological traits and 24 SSR markers. A wide range of variation was observed in both species for most of the traits analysed. The two species differed significantly in most traits, with traits related to seeds and flowering contributing most to differentiation. The accessions of each species were divided into three major phenoclusters with no clear geographic clustering. At the molecular level, the polymorphic SSR markers were highly informative, with an average polymorphic information content (PIC) of over 0.65 in both species. Genetic diversity, as determined by Nei’s expected heterozygosity (He), was high (He = 0.77 and He = 0.66, respectively) and differed significantly between species (p = 0.03) but was homogeneously distributed between regions, confirming the lack of genetic structure as determined by clustering approaches. The weak genetic structure revealed by the phenotypic and SSR data and the low fixation indices in both species suggested frequent seed exchange and extensive cultivation and selection. In addition, 93 and 140 significant (p < 0.05) marker-trait associations (MTAs) were identified in both species using a general linear model and a mixed linear model, most of which explained >20% of the phenotypic variation in associated traits. Core collections of 23 and 13 phenotypically and genetically diverse accessions, respectively, were developed for F. esculentum and F. tataricum. Overall, the data analysed provided deep insights into the agro-morphological and genetic diversity and genetic relationships among F. esculentum and F. tataricum accessions and pointed to future directions for genomics-based breeding programs and germplasm management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Genetics and Breeding of Grain Crops)
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27 pages, 32705 KiB  
Article
Computer Vision Interaction Design in Sustainable Urban Development: A Case Study of Roof Garden Landscape Plants in Marine Cities
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3320; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183320 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 609
Abstract
The rapid urbanization and the increasing need for sustainable development have led to the emergence of green roof landscapes in ocean cities. These rooftop gardens provide numerous environmental benefits and contribute to the overall well-being of urban dwellers. However, optimizing the design and [...] Read more.
The rapid urbanization and the increasing need for sustainable development have led to the emergence of green roof landscapes in ocean cities. These rooftop gardens provide numerous environmental benefits and contribute to the overall well-being of urban dwellers. However, optimizing the design and interaction experience of green roof landscapes requires the integration of intelligent technologies. This paper explores the application of computer visual design techniques, specifically 3DMAX modeling and virtual reality, in the intelligent interaction design of green roof landscape plants in ocean cities. Designers can use computer visual design (3DMAX) and other technologies to interact intelligently with the roof landscape in order to improve landscape design. Through case studies, this indicated that computer vision is excellent for image processing of rooftop landscapes and also demonstrates a high degree of compatibility between computer vision and green rooftop landscape plant design in marine cities. This paper highlights the significance of intelligent interaction design and computer visual design techniques in optimizing the integration of green roof landscape plants in ocean cities. It emphasizes the potential of 3DMAX modeling and VR technology in creating immersive and engaging experiences for designers, users, and stakeholders alike. The findings contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field of sustainable urban development and provide insights for designers, policymakers, and researchers seeking to enhance green roof landscapes in ocean cities. The dissertation highlights the potential of using computer vision design techniques to enhance the roof garden landscaping process and advocates for more efficient and effective ways to design, visualize, and improve rooftop gardens by utilizing software equipped with computer vision technology such as 3DMAX, ultimately contributing to the advancement of sustainable urban landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ornamental Plants and Urban Gardening)
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16 pages, 7057 KiB  
Article
Plant Growth in LED-Sourced Biophilic Environments Is Improved by the Biochar Amendment of Low-Fertility Soil, the Reflection of Low-Intensity Light, and a Continuous Photoperiod
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3319; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183319 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Introducing plants in the design of biophilic indoor environments is fundamental for improving human health, well-being, and performance. Previous studies showed that the phenotype of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana grown under LED-sourced CoeLux® lighting systems was characterized by low biomass production [...] Read more.
Introducing plants in the design of biophilic indoor environments is fundamental for improving human health, well-being, and performance. Previous studies showed that the phenotype of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana grown under LED-sourced CoeLux® lighting systems was characterized by low biomass production rates, a small leaf area, and a low lamina-to-petiole length ratio, suggesting the onset of a strong shade avoidance syndrome. Therefore, it is essential to identify new strategies to improve plant growth under these peculiar light conditions. In the present work, we investigated the effects of two growing media (i.e., low-fertility soil and soil-less substrate), solid and liquid fertilizers, manure, biochar, perlite, mirror reflection of light, and a 24 h photoperiod on A. thaliana plants growing under CoeLux® lighting systems at a light intensity of 30 μmol m−2s−1. We found that the biochar soil amendment to low-fertility soil increases both the above-ground plant biomass and leaf area. Furthermore, the application of a mirror behind the plants and a continuous photoperiod improves not only the biomass and the leaf area but also the lamina-to-petiole length ratio. The combination of different beneficial treatments can further boost plant growth in the low-intensity light environment characterizing the CoeLux® biophilic lighting systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of LED Light Spectra and Intensities on Plant Growth 2.0)
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17 pages, 3766 KiB  
Article
Pollen Morphology in Sorbus L. (Rosaceae) and Its Taxonomic Implications
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3318; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183318 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 591
Abstract
The genus Sorbus L. in the Rosaceae family is taxonomically challenging due to its morphological variation, polyploidy, and interspecific hybridization. In this study, we used scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to observe the pollen morphology of eighty species, representing six subgenera, in order to [...] Read more.
The genus Sorbus L. in the Rosaceae family is taxonomically challenging due to its morphological variation, polyploidy, and interspecific hybridization. In this study, we used scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to observe the pollen morphology of eighty species, representing six subgenera, in order to assess the differences within the genus Sorbus and its pollen characteristics. We conducted a cluster analysis on three qualitative and four quantitative characteristics. The results demonstrated that the pollen grains of the studied Sorbus species are isopolar and tricolporate. We identified five types of pollen shapes: suboblate, spheroidal, subprolate, prolate, and perprolate. The pollen ornamentation of the investigated species could be classified into five types: striate-perforate, striate, cerebroid-perforate, cerebroid, and foveolate. Interestingly, within the same subgenera, different species exhibited multiple types of characters. The cluster analysis indicated that all 80 species could be divided into six groups, with group B consisting exclusively of species from the subgenus Sorbus. Although pollen micro-morphologies alone do not provide sufficient evidence to establish the taxonomic relationships of the subgenera within Sorbus, they do offer valuable information for species-level taxonomic treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Origin and Evolution of the East Asian Flora (EAF))
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19 pages, 4017 KiB  
Review
The Role of the Hercynian Mountains of Central Europe in Shaping Plant Migration Patterns in the Pleistocene—A Review
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3317; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183317 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 599
Abstract
The climatic changes that took place in Europe during the Quaternary period influenced plant habitats as well as their species and vegetation composition. In this article, biogeographical studies on Hercynian mountain plants that include data for the Alps, Carpathians, and European lowlands are [...] Read more.
The climatic changes that took place in Europe during the Quaternary period influenced plant habitats as well as their species and vegetation composition. In this article, biogeographical studies on Hercynian mountain plants that include data for the Alps, Carpathians, and European lowlands are reviewed in order to discuss the phylogeographical structure and divergence of the Hercynian populations from those in other European mountain ranges, Scandinavia, and lowlands. The analyzed studies show specific phylogeographical relations between the Hercynian mountains, Alps, Scandinavia, Carpathians, and European lowlands. The results also indicate that the genetic patterns of plant populations in the Hercynian Mountains may differ significantly in terms of origin. The main migration routes of species to the Hercynian ranges began in the Alps or Carpathians. Some species, such as Rubus chamaemorus L., Salix lapponum L., and Salix herbacea L., are glacial relics that may have arrived and settled in the Hercynian Mountains during the Ice Age and that survived in isolated habitats. The Hercynian Mountains are composed of various smaller mountain ranges and are a crossroads of migration routes from different parts of Europe; thus, intensive hybridization has occurred between the plant populations therein, which is indicated by the presence of several divergent genetic lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Taxonomy, Systematics, and Phylogeography)
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11 pages, 2477 KiB  
Article
Alternative Ecological Products for Aphid Control on Plum
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3316; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183316 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Ecological farming is increasing worldwide, as more and more consumers prefer chemical-free fruits. As a result, ecological farming is becoming increasingly appealing to European farmers, including those in Romania. However, implementing an effective ecological phytosanitary program remains a challenge for farmers due to [...] Read more.
Ecological farming is increasing worldwide, as more and more consumers prefer chemical-free fruits. As a result, ecological farming is becoming increasingly appealing to European farmers, including those in Romania. However, implementing an effective ecological phytosanitary program remains a challenge for farmers due to limited options and a lack of information about their effectiveness. Romania is a major producer of plums and ranks second in the world after China. Aphids are common pests of plum, and some species are vectors of the damaging Plum pox virus, and therefore require special attention regarding their control. Eight ecological products were tested both in the field and laboratory for a duration of three vegetative periods to determine their efficiency in aphid control. The effects of ecological products were compared with five chemical insecticides known to be effective against aphids. Observations were made 24 and 48 h after spraying. Two of the eight ecological products tested were proven to be efficient in aphid control, Ovipron Top and Prev-Am, with a mortality rate over 90%. The results indicate that these two ecological products are comparable in effectiveness to chemical insecticides and could be suitable candidates for both ecological and conventional treatment programs. Full article
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11 pages, 2327 KiB  
Article
Divergence in Glyphosate Susceptibility between Steinchisma laxum Populations Involves a Pro106Ser Mutation
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3315; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183315 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 504
Abstract
The characterization of the mechanisms conferring resistance to herbicides in weeds is essential for developing effective management programs. This study was focused on characterizing the resistance level and the main mechanisms that confer resistance to glyphosate in a resistant (R) Steinchisma laxum population [...] Read more.
The characterization of the mechanisms conferring resistance to herbicides in weeds is essential for developing effective management programs. This study was focused on characterizing the resistance level and the main mechanisms that confer resistance to glyphosate in a resistant (R) Steinchisma laxum population collected in a Colombian rice field in 2020. The R population exhibited 11.2 times higher resistance compared to a susceptible (S) population. Non-target site resistance (NTSR) mechanisms that reduced absorption and impaired translocation and glyphosate metabolism were not involved in the resistance to glyphosate in the R population. Evaluating the target site resistance mechanisms by means of enzymatic activity assays and EPSPS (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase) gene sequencing, the mutation Pro106Ser was found in R plants of S. laxum. These findings are crucial for managing the spread of S. laxum resistance in Colombia. To effectively control S. laxum in the future, it is imperative that farmers use herbicides with different mechanisms of action in addition to glyphosate and adopt Integrate Management Programs to control weeds in rice fields of the central valleys of Colombia. Full article
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15 pages, 3892 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Time-Course Sequencing: Insights into the Cell Wall Macromolecule-Mediated Fruit Dehiscence during Ripening in Camellia oleifera
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3314; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183314 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Camellia oleifera (C. oleifera), one of the world’s four major edible woody oil crops, has been widely planted in southern China’s subtropical region for the extremely high nutritional and health benefits of its seed oil. Timing and synchronization of fruit dehiscence [...] Read more.
Camellia oleifera (C. oleifera), one of the world’s four major edible woody oil crops, has been widely planted in southern China’s subtropical region for the extremely high nutritional and health benefits of its seed oil. Timing and synchronization of fruit dehiscence are critical factors influencing the oil output and quality, as well as the efficiency and cost of harvesting C. oleifera, yet they extremely lack attention. To gain an understanding of the molecular basis underlying the dehiscence of C. oleifera fruit, we sampled pericarp–replum tissues containing dehiscence zones from fruits at different developmental stages and performed time-series transcriptomic sequencing and analysis for the first time. Statistical and GO enrichment analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed that drastic transcriptional changes occurred over the last short sampling interval (4 days, 18th–22nd October), which directed functional classifications link to cell wall and cell wall macromolecule activity. WGCNA further showed that factors controlling cell wall modification, including endo-1,3;1,4-beta-D-glucanase, WAT1-like protein 37, LRR receptor-like serine/threonine-protein kinase, and cellulose synthase A catalytic subunit, were identified as core members of the co-expression network of the last stage highly related modules. Furthermore, in these modules, we also noted genes that were annotated as coding for polygalacturonase and pectinesterase, two pectinases that were expected to be major players in cell separation during dehiscence. qRT-PCR further confirmed the expression profiles of these cell wall modification relating factors, which possessed a special high transcriptional abundance at the final stage. These results suggested the cell wall associated cell separation, one of the essential processes downstream of fruit dehiscence, happened in dehiscing fruit of C. oleifera during ripening. Hydrolases acting on cell wall components are good candidates for signal mediating dehiscence of C. oleifera fruit. In conclusion, our analysis provided insights into the cell wall macromolecule-mediated fruit dehiscence during ripening in C. oleifera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fruit Development and Quality Formation of Horticultural Crops)
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