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Horticulturae, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 107 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this study, a sustainable and environmentally friendly edible coating was developed based on sodium alginate (1% w/v), cedar mucilage (4% w/v), and calcium chloride (2% w/v), applied using a layer-by-layer technique to prolong the shelf life of fresh-cut melon. Coated and uncoated melon cubes were packed in PET containers and stored at 4°C for 15 days. The coating reduced weight loss and enhanced bioactive compound content and antioxidant activity during cold storage. Edible coating represents a valid tool to extend the postharvest life, improve the storability, and enhance the physicochemical and qualitative traits of fresh-cut melon. View this paper
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24 pages, 3846 KiB  
Article
Insights into Medieval Grape Cultivation in Al-Andalus: Morphometric, Domestication, and Multivariate Analysis of Vitis vinifera Seed Types
by Javier Valera, Diego Rivera, Gonzalo Matilla-Séiquer, Diego José Rivera-Obón, Carlos-Alvar Ocete, Rafael Ocete, Julio Navarro, Pedro Jiménez, Rafael González, Juan Antonio Ramírez, José María Moreno, José Javier Martínez and Concepción Obón
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050530 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Understanding the origins and evolution of modern grapevine varieties in the Iberian Peninsula and western Europe necessitates an examination of the proportions of Vitis vinifera cultivars, their relationships with wild grapevine populations, and the utilization of seedless cultivars in al-Andalus. Employing morphometric studies, [...] Read more.
Understanding the origins and evolution of modern grapevine varieties in the Iberian Peninsula and western Europe necessitates an examination of the proportions of Vitis vinifera cultivars, their relationships with wild grapevine populations, and the utilization of seedless cultivars in al-Andalus. Employing morphometric studies, domestication indices, multivariate analysis, and Bayesian hypothesis testing, this study investigates several distinct seed types identified in materials from Roman and medieval deposits. These seeds exhibit a spectrum from highly domesticated to purely wild. Our findings reveal the predominance of Proles Occidentalis Negrul, and the presence of feral-like grapevines associated with Proles Euphratica. Additionally, we observe the continuous presence of wild grapevines related to Vitis sylvestris CC Gmelin throughout the studied period. Seeds exhibiting intermediate characteristics are documented, alongside the identification of “stenosperms”, suggesting anomalies in seed formation. Notably, the presence of Vitis vinifera raisins “stenospermocarpics” of the sultana type is suggested, potentially elucidating the absence of table grapes and raisins of the Proles Orientalis Negrul in the archaeological record, despite frequent mentions by medieval agronomy writers from al-Andalus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viticulture)
14 pages, 1413 KiB  
Article
Genetic Mapping for Leaf Shape and Leaf Size in Non-Heading Chinese Cabbage by a RIL Population
by Tianzi Zhao, Aimei Bai, Xinya Wang, Feixue Zhang, Miaomiao Yang, Yuhui Wang, Tongkun Liu, Xilin Hou and Ying Li
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050529 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 309
Abstract
Leaves are the predominant photosynthetic and edible organs in non-heading Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris ssp. chinensis, NHCC), contributing significantly to yield, appearance, and desirability to consumers. However, the genetic basis of leaf shape and size in non-heading Chinese cabbage remains unclear. [...] Read more.
Leaves are the predominant photosynthetic and edible organs in non-heading Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris ssp. chinensis, NHCC), contributing significantly to yield, appearance, and desirability to consumers. However, the genetic basis of leaf shape and size in non-heading Chinese cabbage remains unclear. In this study, we developed a RIL population using ‘Maertou’, with slender leaves and narrow petioles, and ‘Suzhouqing’, with oval leaves and wide petioles, to construct a genetic linkage map and detect QTLs. To obtain stable and reliable QTLs, the 11 leaf-related traits, including the leaf length, leaf width, and fresh weight of the lamina and petiole and the thickness of petiole was observed on two locations—while the leaf shape, petiole shape, index of lamina/petiole length, and index of petiole fresh weight were calculated based on 7 leaf-related traits. QTL mapping illustrated that a total of 27 QTLs for leaf-related traits were preliminarily detected. The candidate genes were annotated and several genes involved in leaf development and leaf shape appeared in the overlapping regions of multiple loci, such as KRP2, GRF4, ARGOS, and SAUR9. This study lays the foundation for further exploration of the genetic mechanisms and development of effective molecular markers for leaf shape and size in NHCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Vegetable Production Systems)
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14 pages, 1673 KiB  
Article
Effect of Menthol Treatment on the Sprouting and Quality of Potato Tuber
by Ye Xu, Yang Qin, Qianqian Hou, Defu Niu and Qingmin Chen
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050528 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 346
Abstract
This study used Dutch potatoes at the end of dormancy as a material to explore the impact of menthol (0.2 and 0.5 g/kg based on potato mass) treatment on sprouting inhibition and potato quality. The findings revealed that a menthol concentration of 0.5 [...] Read more.
This study used Dutch potatoes at the end of dormancy as a material to explore the impact of menthol (0.2 and 0.5 g/kg based on potato mass) treatment on sprouting inhibition and potato quality. The findings revealed that a menthol concentration of 0.5 g/kg effectively inhibited potato tuber sprouting and significantly reduced glucoside alkaloid production. After a storage period of 15 days, the sprouting percentage and glucoside alkaloid content of potatoes treated with 0.5 g/kg menthol were observed to be significantly lower at 4.17% and 68.63 mg/kg, respectively, compared to the control group which exhibited values of 100% and 282.01 mg/kg, respectively (p < 0.05). Throughout the storage period, 0.5 g/kg of menthol promoted respiration, reduced malondialdehyde production in potatoes, inhibited polyphenol oxidase activity, and slowed down tissue browning. Additionally, it mitigated the decline in starch and soluble protein content, inhibiting the accumulation of reducing sugars. Full article
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17 pages, 801 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in Understanding and Controlling Fusarium Diseases of Alliums
by Suman Sharma, Subhankar Mandal and Christopher S. Cramer
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050527 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 281
Abstract
Allium species are known for their culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. Fusarium basal rot is one of the most damaging soilborne fungal diseases of Allium species and poses a significant threat to yield, quality, and storage life worldwide. Various species of Fusarium have [...] Read more.
Allium species are known for their culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. Fusarium basal rot is one of the most damaging soilborne fungal diseases of Allium species and poses a significant threat to yield, quality, and storage life worldwide. Various species of Fusarium have been identified as causal agents for Fusarium basal rot, depending on the Allium species involved. Diverse disease management practices have been implemented to mitigate the impact of Fusarium basal rot. This review article provides a comprehensive overview of the recent progress in detecting different species of Fusarium involved in Fusarium basal rot and strategies to control them in affected Allium species involving chemical, biological, and cultural methods. It covers the latest advancements in host plant resistance research from traditional breeding to modern molecular techniques and studying secondary metabolites involved in defense mechanisms against Fusarium basal rot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics, Genomics, Breeding, and Biotechnology (G2B2))
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14 pages, 2632 KiB  
Article
Overexpression of CBL-Interacting Protein Kinases 23 Improves Tolerance to Low-Nitrogen Stress in Potato Plants
by Feiyun Huang, Yifei Lu, Zi Li, Lang Zhang, Minqiu Xie, Bi Ren, Liming Lu, Liqin Li and Cuiqin Yang
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050526 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 205
Abstract
CBL-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs) play important regulatory roles in plant growth development and abiotic stress tolerance. However, the biological roles of these genes in response to low-nitrate (LN) stress in potato plants have not been determined. Here, we reported that StCIPK23 was expressed [...] Read more.
CBL-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs) play important regulatory roles in plant growth development and abiotic stress tolerance. However, the biological roles of these genes in response to low-nitrate (LN) stress in potato plants have not been determined. Here, we reported that StCIPK23 was expressed mainly in roots and leaves. StCIPK23 was located mainly in the cell membrane, nucleus, and cytoplasm. Further research suggested that, compared with wild-type (WT) plants, StCIPK23-overexpressing plants were taller and had significantly greater nitrate and ammonium nitrogen contents under LN stress. StCIPK23 overexpression can increase StAT, StNRT2.1, StNR, StGS1-3, and StGOGAT expression levels in StCIPK23 transgenic seedlings compared to those in WT plants under LN stress. The results of yeast two-hybrid and luciferase complementation imaging experiments suggested that StCIPK23 could interact with StCBL3. Real-time reverse transcription–PCR revealed the StCIPK23 expression level peaked at 6 h and the StCBL3 expression level peaked at 9 h in the roots under LN stress. In conclusion, we found that StCIPK23 and StCBL3 form a complex to regulate the expression of key genes in the nitrogen metabolism pathway to improve LN tolerance in potato plants. Full article
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18 pages, 5076 KiB  
Article
Practical Guidelines for Farm Waste Utilization in Sustainable Kale Production
by Ornprapa Thepsilvisut, Nuengruethai Srikan, Preuk Chutimanukul, Dusit Athinuwat, Wilawan Chuaboon, Rusama Marubodee and Hiroshi Ehara
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050525 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 238
Abstract
Natural amendments from agricultural waste to improve soil physicochemical properties continuously attract research interest in promoting eco-friendly plant production. The present study evaluated the proper use of sawdust, biochar, and compost made from farm waste for kale production from seedling propagation to field [...] Read more.
Natural amendments from agricultural waste to improve soil physicochemical properties continuously attract research interest in promoting eco-friendly plant production. The present study evaluated the proper use of sawdust, biochar, and compost made from farm waste for kale production from seedling propagation to field conditions. From the seedling propagation process, the results demonstrate that the most suitable growing medium for kale seedings was 0.5:1:1 v/v of sawdust + biochar + compost, which gave the fastest mean germination times (2.71 days) and the highest seed germination percentage (78.33%). In addition to investigating the selected growing media as the soil amendments at five different rates (0, 6.25, 12.50, 18.75, 25.00, and 31.25 t ha−1), the result reveals that the fresh weight of marketable leaves was significantly highest under the 31.25 t ha−1 treatment. The application rate that yielded the highest gross profit margins was eight times higher than the control. Moreover, in some harvesting periods, the kale leaf yields under the treatment of 31.25 t ha−1 showed higher total chlorophyll and carotenoid contents. Full article
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15 pages, 15048 KiB  
Article
Pollen and Floral Organ Morphology of 18 Oil-Tea Genotypes and Its Systematic Significance
by Qian Yin, Zhongfei Pan, Yanming Li, Huan Xiong, Joseph Masabni, Deyi Yuan and Feng Zou
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050524 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 239
Abstract
Oil-tea belongs to the Camellia genus, an important oil crop in China. However, oil-tea is taxonomically challenging due to its morphological variation, polyploidy, and interspecific hybridization. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the flower organs’ morphology and pollen micro-morphology of 18 oil-tea [...] Read more.
Oil-tea belongs to the Camellia genus, an important oil crop in China. However, oil-tea is taxonomically challenging due to its morphological variation, polyploidy, and interspecific hybridization. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the flower organs’ morphology and pollen micro-morphology of 18 oil-tea genotypes in detail and discussed their significance for oil-tea taxonomy. The quantitative parameters of flowers were measured using Vernier caliper measurements. Pollen morphology was observed and photographed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicated that the flower size varied significantly among the tested oil-tea genotypes, with the corolla diameter ranging from 42.25 μm in C. meiocarpa ‘LP’ to 89.51 μm in C. oleifera ‘ASX09’. The pollen grains of oil-tea are monads and medium grade in pollen size. There were two types of polar views, including triangular or subcircular, with a polar axis length (P) ranging from 27.5 μm in C. oleifera ‘CY67’ to 59.04 μm in C. mairei (H. Lév.) Melch. var. lapidea (Y.C. Wu) Sealy. The equatorial views exhibited oblate, spherical, or oblong shapes, with an equatorial axis length (E) of 21.32 to 41.62 μm. The pollen exine sculpture was perforate, verrucate, and reticulate. The perforation lumina diameter (D) ranged from 0.29 μm in C. magniflora Chang to 1.22 μm in C. yuhsienensis Hu, and the perforation width (W) varied from 0.77 μm in C. osmantha to 1.40 μm in C. gauchowensis ‘HM349’, respectively. Qualitative clustering analysis (Q-type cluster) and principal component analysis (PCA) were conducted using eleven indexes of flower and pollen morphology, and the 18 oil-tea genotypes were classified into three categories. In addition, the correlation analysis showed that there was a significant correlation between pollen size and flower morphology or pollen exine sculpture. These results offer valuable information on the classification and identification of the 18 oil-tea germplasm resources. Full article
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10 pages, 1378 KiB  
Article
An Updated Isotopic Database of Fertilizers Used in Intensive Organic Farming: A Case Study on Protein Hydrolyzed Derivatives and Chelated Nutrients
by José Manuel Muñoz-Redondo, Francisco Julián Cuevas, José Carlos Montenegro, José Luis Ordóñez-Díaz and José Manuel Moreno-Rojas
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050523 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 228
Abstract
The global demand for organic food products has rapidly increased over the last years, becoming an emerging niche market targeting the high-income segment. The higher retailing price for organic food products may increase the risk of fraudulent practices at the different stages of [...] Read more.
The global demand for organic food products has rapidly increased over the last years, becoming an emerging niche market targeting the high-income segment. The higher retailing price for organic food products may increase the risk of fraudulent practices at the different stages of the food supply chain, and consequently, substantial control is needed. Currently, the authentication of organic food products, such as those of plant origin, remains a key challenge in analytical chemistry. While stable isotopes have emerged as a powerful tool for this purpose, most studies have focused on crops, missing the agricultural inputs used for fertilization that influence the isotopic values of the crops. In this study, we aimed to isotopically characterize commonly used fertilizers, soil conditioners, and micronutrient fertilizers in intensive organic agriculture in the largest organic production region in the world (Almería, Spain). Our goal was to clarify the limitations that nitrogen isotopic fingerprinting presents for the fertilizer input industry and to characterize the organic inputs. The conventional fertilizers analyzed in this study showed low δ15N values compared to their organic counterparts, except for some plant-based fertilizers, protein hydrolyzed fertilizers, and chelated nutrients. Both protein hydrolyzed fertilizers and micronutrient fertilizers presented a wide range of variability in their δ15N values, including some very low or even negative values, more similar to those of conventional fertilizers. The results of this study highlight the challenges of authenticating organic foods in agriculture when using nitrogen isotope analysis. Full article
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19 pages, 5502 KiB  
Article
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) YTH Domain-Containing RNA-Binding Protein (YTP) Family Members Participate in Low-Temperature Treatment and Waterlogging Stress Responses
by Yidan Zhang, Tianli Guo, Jingyuan Li, Libo Jiang and Na Wang
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050522 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 272
Abstract
YT521-B homology (YTH) domain-containing RNA-binding proteins (YTPs) are important N6-methyladenosine (m6A) readers that have crucial roles in determining the destiny of m6A-modified RNAs, which are the most widespread RNA modifications in eukaryotes. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) [...] Read more.
YT521-B homology (YTH) domain-containing RNA-binding proteins (YTPs) are important N6-methyladenosine (m6A) readers that have crucial roles in determining the destiny of m6A-modified RNAs, which are the most widespread RNA modifications in eukaryotes. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) hold significant importance in both dietary consumption patterns and scientific inquiries. While the YTP gene family has been characterized in tomatoes, their specific reactions to the low temperature and waterlogging stresses remain to be elucidated. In our study, nine tomato SlYTPs could be divided into five subclasses, YTHDFa-c and YTHDCa-b. After gene cloning and measuring their expression levels under stress conditions, it was revealed that SlYTP8 exhibited increased sensitivity to low-temperature treatment, while the expression levels of SlYTP9 were notably upregulated in leaf tissues subjected to waterlogging conditions. As members of the YTHDFc subfamily, SlYTP8 and SlYTP9 are both localized in the cytoplasm. Nevertheless, overexpression (OE) of SlYTP8 increased the sensitivity of tomato plants to low-temperature treatment, which was manifested by a higher accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and a weaker reactive oxygen species scavenging ability compared to wild-type (WT) tomatoes. However, in comparison to WT plants, the leaves of SlYTP9 OE tomatoes showed higher chlorophyll content and a stronger reactive oxygen species scavenging ability after 3 days of waterlogging treatment, thereby increasing the resistance of tomatoes to waterlogging stress. Moreover, in order to investigate the possible molecular mechanisms underlying their responses to the low temperature and waterlogging stresses, the transcription factors and interacting protein networks associated with SlYTP8/9 promoters and proteins were also predicted, respectively. These results could fill the gap in the understanding of tomato YTPs in response to the low temperature and waterlogging stresses, while also providing a theoretical and experimental basis for subsequent studies on their molecular mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biotic and Abiotic Stress)
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21 pages, 5118 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Secondary Metabolite Production in Pelargonium graveolens Hort. Cell Cultures: Eliciting Effects of Chitosan and Jasmonic Acid on Bioactive Compound Production
by Amine Elbouzidi, Mohamed Taibi, Abdellah Baraich, Mounir Haddou, El Hassania Loukili, Abdeslam Asehraou, François Mesnard and Mohamed Addi
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050521 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 313
Abstract
This study explores the effects of chitosan (CHT) and jasmonic acid (JA) elicitors on rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens Hort.) cell suspension cultures, aiming to enhance the production of phenolics and flavonoids and antioxidant properties. Elicitation with CHT and JA resulted in varied [...] Read more.
This study explores the effects of chitosan (CHT) and jasmonic acid (JA) elicitors on rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens Hort.) cell suspension cultures, aiming to enhance the production of phenolics and flavonoids and antioxidant properties. Elicitation with CHT and JA resulted in varied biomass yields and callus characteristics, with higher concentrations generally leading to increased phenolic accumulation. Optimal biomass was achieved with CHT4 (75 mg/mL) and JA3 (50 µM) treatments. HPLC-DAD analysis revealed changes in phenolic compound composition and quantities, with specific compounds induced by either CHT4 or JA3. For instance, gallic acid content increased significantly in CHT4-treated cells, while catechin content increased notably in both CHT4 and JA3 treatments. Antioxidant enzyme activities like superoxide dismutase and peroxidase increased with elicitor concentration, particularly in CHT4 and JA3 treatments. Both treatments exhibited potent antioxidant activity, with JA3 exhibiting the lowest IC50 value in the DPPH assay and highest total antioxidant capacity (TAC) values. Surprisingly, both CHT4 and JA3 extracts effectively inhibited tyrosinase activity. These findings underscore the efficacy of CHT and JA elicitors in enhancing phenolic and flavonoid production, boosting antioxidant capacity, and inhibiting tyrosinase activity in P. graveolens cultures, offering promising implications for further research and industrial applications in pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. Full article
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15 pages, 2524 KiB  
Article
Jasmonates Play an Important Role in Differential Accumulation of Key Oolong Tea Aromas in Two Tea Varieties (Camellia sinensis)
by Xin-Lei Li, Hui-Li Deng, Yu-Cheng Zheng, Xiang-Rui Kong, Qiu-Sheng Zhong, Xiao-Mei You, Rui-Yang Shan, Zheng-He Lin, Zhi-Hui Chen and Chang-Song Chen
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050520 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 241
Abstract
Aroma is an important factor in the measurement of the quality and market value of oolong tea. However, it is hard to develop an oolong tea with good aroma quality using unsuitable tea varieties. To explore the key factors of tea varieties in [...] Read more.
Aroma is an important factor in the measurement of the quality and market value of oolong tea. However, it is hard to develop an oolong tea with good aroma quality using unsuitable tea varieties. To explore the key factors of tea varieties in the formation of oolong tea aromas, the fresh leaves of the Chungui variety (CG, suitable for oolong tea, Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) and the Fuyun No. 6 variety (F6, unsuitable for oolong tea, Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) were harvested and treated by withering and mechanical stress in order. Then, aroma, transcriptome, and jasmonate (JA) contents, and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), of samples were investigated. The contents of characteristic oolong tea aromas, including indole, (E)-β-ocimene, (E)-nerolidol, α-farnesene, and jasmine lactone, were all accumulated in much higher quantities in the CG variety after withering and mechanical stress. Accordingly, the coding genes of aroma formation synthases TSB2, OCS, NES, AFS, and LOX1, and related genes in MVA, MEP, and ALA pathways, were all much more highly activated. These differential reactions are mainly caused by the higher accumulation of jasmonates, especially methyl jasmonate, a type of important plant signal chemical, in CG after mechanical stress. WGCNA analysis indicated 34 different transcription factors from different families are predicted to be involved in this jasmonate-responsive reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinals, Herbs, and Specialty Crops)
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19 pages, 6062 KiB  
Article
Non-Destructive Detection of Cerasus Humilis Fruit Quality by Hyperspectral Imaging Combined with Chemometric Method
by Bin Wang, Hua Yang, Lili Li and Shujuan Zhang
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050519 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 249
Abstract
Cerasus Humilis fruit is susceptible to rapid color changes post-harvest, which degrades its quality. This research utilized hyperspectral imaging technology to detect and visually analyze the soluble solid content (SSC) and firmness of the fruit, aiming to improve quality and achieve optimal pricing. [...] Read more.
Cerasus Humilis fruit is susceptible to rapid color changes post-harvest, which degrades its quality. This research utilized hyperspectral imaging technology to detect and visually analyze the soluble solid content (SSC) and firmness of the fruit, aiming to improve quality and achieve optimal pricing. Four maturity stages (color turning stage, coloring stage, maturity stage, and fully ripe stage) of Cerasus Humilis fruit were examined using hyperspectral images (895–1700 nm) alongside data collection on SSC and firmness. These samples were divided into a calibration set and a validation set with a ratio of 3:1 by sample set partitioning based on the joint X-Y distances (SPXY) method. The original spectral data was processed by a spectral preprocessing method. Multiple linear regression (MLR) and nonlinear least squares support vector machine (LS-SVM) detection models were established using feature wavelengths selected by the successive projections algorithm (SPA), competitive adaptive reweighted sampling (CARS), uninformative variable elimination (UVE), and two combined downscaling algorithms (UVE-SPA and UVE-CARS), respectively. For SSC and firmness detection, the best models were the SNV-SPA-LS-SVM model with 18 feature wavelengths and the original spectra-UVE-CARS-LS-SVM model with eight feature wavelengths, respectively. For SSC, the correlation coefficient of prediction (Rp) was 0.8526, the root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) was 0.9703, and the residual prediction deviation (RPD) was 1.9017. For firmness, Rp was 0.7879, RMSEP was 1.1205, and RPD was 2.0221. Furthermore, the optimal model was employed to retrieve the distribution of SSC and firmness within Cerasus Humilis fruit. This retrieved information facilitated visual inspection, enabling a more intuitive and comprehensive assessment of SSC and firmness at each pixel level. These findings demonstrated the effectiveness of hyperspectral imaging technology for determining SSC and firmness in Cerasus Humilis fruit. This paves the way for online monitoring of fruit quality, ultimately facilitating timely harvesting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Smart Technology and Equipment in Horticulture)
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13 pages, 661 KiB  
Article
Effect of Transplanting Time and Nitrogen–Potassium Ratio on Yield, Growth, and Quality of Cauliflower Landrace Gigante di Napoli in Southern Italy
by Alessio Vincenzo Tallarita, Eugenio Cozzolino, Antonio Salluzzo, Agnieszka Sekara, Robert Pokluda, Otilia Cristina Murariu, Lorenzo Vecchietti, Luisa del Piano, Pasquale Lombardi, Antonio Cuciniello and Gianluca Caruso
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050518 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
Research has been increasingly focusing on the preservation of the biodiversity of vegetable crops under sustainable farming management. An experiment was carried out in southern Italy on Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis, landrace Gigante di Napoli, to assess the effects of two transplanting [...] Read more.
Research has been increasingly focusing on the preservation of the biodiversity of vegetable crops under sustainable farming management. An experiment was carried out in southern Italy on Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis, landrace Gigante di Napoli, to assess the effects of two transplanting times (9 September and 7 October), in factorial combination with five nitrogen–potassium ratios (0.6; 0.8; 1.0; 1.2; and 1.4) on plant growth, yield, and quality of cauliflower heads. A split-plot design was used for the treatment distribution in the field, with three replications. The earlier transplant and the 1.2 N:K ratio led to the highest yield, mean weight, and firmness of cauliflower heads which were not significantly affected by both transplanting time and N:K ratio in terms of colour components. The 1.2 N:K ratio led to the highest head diameter with the earlier transplant, whereas the 1.0 ratio was the most effective on this parameter in the later crop cycle. The highest nitrate, nitrogen, and potassium concentrations in the heads were recorded with the earlier transplanting time. Antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid, and polyphenol content increased with the rise of the N:K ratio. The element use efficiency was constantly negative with the N:K increase for nitrogen and was augmented until the 1.2 ratio for potassium. The results of our investigation showed that the optimal combination between transplanting time and N:K ratio is a key aspect to improve head yield and quality of the cauliflower landrace Gigante di Napoli, under the perspective of biodiversity safeguarding and valorisation. Full article
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24 pages, 14141 KiB  
Article
Research on a Flower Recognition Method Based on Masked Autoencoders
by Yin Li, Yang Lv, Yuhang Ding, Haotian Zhu, Hua Gao and Lifei Zheng
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050517 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Accurate and efficient flower identification holds significant importance not only for the general public—who may use this information for educational, recreational, or conservation purposes—but also for professionals in fields such as botany, agriculture, and environmental science, where precise flower recognition can assist in [...] Read more.
Accurate and efficient flower identification holds significant importance not only for the general public—who may use this information for educational, recreational, or conservation purposes—but also for professionals in fields such as botany, agriculture, and environmental science, where precise flower recognition can assist in biodiversity assessments, crop management, and ecological monitoring. In this study, we propose a novel flower recognition method utilizing a masked autoencoder, which leverages the power of self-supervised learning to enhance the model’s feature extraction capabilities, resulting in improved classification performance with an accuracy of 99.6% on the Oxford 102 Flowers dataset. Consequently, we have developed a large-scale masked autoencoder pre-training model specifically tailored for flower identification. This approach allows the model to learn robust and discriminative features from a vast amount of unlabeled flower images, thereby enhancing its generalization ability for flower classification tasks. Our method has been applied successfully to flower target detection, achieving a Mean Average Precision (mAP) of 71.3%. This result underscores the versatility and effectiveness of our approach across various flower-related tasks, including both detection and recognition. Simultaneously, we have developed a straightforward, user-friendly flower recognition and classification software application, which offers convenient and reliable references for flower education, teaching, dataset annotation, and other uses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Floriculture, Nursery and Landscape, and Turf)
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36 pages, 2309 KiB  
Review
Continuous Plant-Based and Remote Sensing for Determination of Fruit Tree Water Status
by Alessandro Carella, Pedro Tomas Bulacio Fischer, Roberto Massenti and Riccardo Lo Bianco
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050516 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Climate change poses significant challenges to agricultural productivity, making the efficient management of water resources essential for sustainable crop production. The assessment of plant water status is crucial for understanding plant physiological responses to water stress and optimizing water management practices in agriculture. [...] Read more.
Climate change poses significant challenges to agricultural productivity, making the efficient management of water resources essential for sustainable crop production. The assessment of plant water status is crucial for understanding plant physiological responses to water stress and optimizing water management practices in agriculture. Proximal and remote sensing techniques have emerged as powerful tools for the non-destructive, efficient, and spatially extensive monitoring of plant water status. This review aims to examine the recent advancements in proximal and remote sensing methodologies utilized for assessing the water status, consumption, and irrigation needs of fruit tree crops. Several proximal sensing tools have proved useful in the continuous estimation of tree water status but have strong limitations in terms of spatial variability. On the contrary, remote sensing technologies, although less precise in terms of water status estimates, can easily cover from medium to large areas with drone or satellite images. The integration of proximal and remote sensing would definitely improve plant water status assessment, resulting in higher accuracy by integrating temporal and spatial scales. This paper consists of three parts: the first part covers current plant-based proximal sensing tools, the second part covers remote sensing techniques, and the third part includes an update on the on the combined use of the two methodologies. Full article
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17 pages, 14654 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Evaporation and Drought Stress of Pistachio Plant Using UAV Multispectral Images and a Surface Energy Balance Approach
by Hadi Zare Khormizi, Hamid Reza Ghafarian Malamiri and Carla Sofia Santos Ferreira
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050515 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Water scarcity is a critical abiotic stress factor for plants in arid and semi-arid regions, impacting crop development and production yield and quality. Monitoring water stress at finer scales (e.g., farm and plant), requires multispectral imagery with thermal capabilities at centimeter resolution. This [...] Read more.
Water scarcity is a critical abiotic stress factor for plants in arid and semi-arid regions, impacting crop development and production yield and quality. Monitoring water stress at finer scales (e.g., farm and plant), requires multispectral imagery with thermal capabilities at centimeter resolution. This study investigates drought stress in pistachio trees in a farm located in Yazd province, Iran, by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) images to quantify evapotranspiration and assess drought stress in individual trees. Images were captured on 10 July 2022, using a Matrix 300 UAV with a MicaSense Altum multispectral sensor. By employing the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL), actual field evapotranspiration was accurately calculated (10 cm spatial resolution). Maps of the optimum crop coefficient (Kc) were developed from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) based on standard evapotranspiration using the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 56 methodology. The comparison between actual and standard evapotranspiration allowed us to identify drought-stressed trees. Results showed an average and maximum daily evaporation of 4.3 and 8.0 mm/day, respectively, in pistachio trees. The real crop coefficient (Kc) for pistachio was 0.66, contrasting with the FAO 56 standard of 1.17 due to the stress factor (Ks). A significant correlation was found between Kc and NDVI (R2 = 0.67, p < 0.01). The regression model produced a crop coefficient map, valuable to support precise irrigation management and drought prevention, considering the heterogeneity at the farm scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water Management in Horticulture)
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18 pages, 2218 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential of Biostimulants to Optimize Lettuce Cultivation in Coupled and Decoupled Aquaponics Systems: Growth Performance, Functional Characteristics and Metabolomic Analysis
by Eirini Chandrou, Sofia Faliagka, Anastasia Mourantian, Marios Georgios Kollaros, Katerina Karamanoli, Eleftheria-Maria Pechlivani, Nikolaos Katsoulas and Efi Levizou
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050514 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Zero-discharge and low-input aquaponics systems are a promising alternative to the intensive agricultural and aquacultural production systems currently used, ensuring high environmental sustainability. However, new approaches and management practices are needed to increase their productivity to reach the yields of classic production systems. [...] Read more.
Zero-discharge and low-input aquaponics systems are a promising alternative to the intensive agricultural and aquacultural production systems currently used, ensuring high environmental sustainability. However, new approaches and management practices are needed to increase their productivity to reach the yields of classic production systems. In this context, the present study investigated for the first time the potential of two biostimulants to improve lettuce performance in aquaponics, whether coupled or decoupled, with hydroponics serving as a control. A comprehensive evaluation was conducted to assess the plant functional (focusing on the photosynthetic process evaluation) and growth responses at the whole-plant level. In addition, the nutritional state of the leaves was determined and metabolomic analysis was performed at the cellular level, the latter also for the first time in aquaponics research. The results demonstrated the limitations that coupled aquaponics poses in relation to lettuce growth, function and metabolism, which were already obvious from the 12th day of the experiment. Indicatively, the plants grown under coupled aquaponics exhibited a notable decrease in the leaf fresh weight, potassium content and nitrogen content, with reductions of 80%, 60%, and 30%, respectively, in comparison to the hydroponics control. However, the combined physiological and metabolomic data indicate that these plants down-regulate processes and metabolism to acclimate to low nutrient levels in lettuce leaves rather than experiencing damage. The application of biostimulants did not significantly optimize the plants’ performance, though one of them appeared to be effective in improving some aspects of the photochemical efficiency. The decoupled and hydroponics systems resulted in similarly high yields and efficiency in terms of plant function, without any marked contribution from the biostimulants. We conclude that the decoupled aquaponics system has been successful in achieving yields comparable to those of hydroponics, with lower chemical inputs. Future studies should focus on examining other biostimulants in this system to further improve its performance while maintaining its environmental benefits within a circular economy framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Protected Culture)
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11 pages, 949 KiB  
Article
Promising and Failed Breeding Techniques for Overcoming Sterility and Increasing Seed Set in Bananas (Musa spp.)
by Allan Waniale, Settumba B. Mukasa, Arthur K. Tugume, Alex Barekye and Robooni Tumuhimbise
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050513 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 425
Abstract
Most banana improvement programs are restricted to using a sub-set of edible landraces for sexual hybridization as the majority are female sterile. This results from an array of factors that work in tandem and lead to sterility. Use of pollen germination media (PGM) [...] Read more.
Most banana improvement programs are restricted to using a sub-set of edible landraces for sexual hybridization as the majority are female sterile. This results from an array of factors that work in tandem and lead to sterility. Use of pollen germination media (PGM) during pollination significantly increases seed set, but it is a very small fraction compared to the potential seed set. This research therefore explored early pollination (a day before anthesis), evening pollination, saline treatment, plant growth regulators (PGRs) treatment, and ovule culture as potential techniques for overcoming sterility in bananas. Early and evening pollinations did not increase seed set because of immature flowers and a mismatch of male and female flower opening, respectively (t-prob. = 0.735 and 0.884). Immersion of bunches in a saline solution before pollination and ovule culture also did not overcome pollination barriers. Auxin antagonists (TIBA and salicylic acid) increased seed set, though their respective increases were not statistically significant (t-prob. = 0.123 and 0.164, respectively). The use of auxin antagonists shows great potential for overcoming pollination barriers in bananas. However, application rates and time of application have to be optimized and used holistically with other promising techniques, such as use of PGM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developments in the Genetics and Breeding of Banana Species)
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17 pages, 5850 KiB  
Article
Regulatory Mechanisms of Pollen Development: Transcriptomic and Bioinformatic Insights into the Role of β-1,3 Glucanase Gene (LbGlu1) in Lycium barbarum
by Xin Zhang, Zhanlin Bei, Jinglong Li, Haijun Ma, Cuiping Wang, Wendi Xu, Yufeng Ren, Jun Zhou and Xingfu Yan
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050512 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Pollen fertility is a critical factor in seed development and crop breeding. Extensive studies have explored the mechanisms of pollen fertility in model plants and economic crops. However, the mechanisms of pollen abortion in medicinal and edible plants, including Lycium barbarum, remain [...] Read more.
Pollen fertility is a critical factor in seed development and crop breeding. Extensive studies have explored the mechanisms of pollen fertility in model plants and economic crops. However, the mechanisms of pollen abortion in medicinal and edible plants, including Lycium barbarum, remain elusive. This study utilized transcriptome analysis to identify key genes and regulatory networks implicated in pollen fertility in L. barbarum. The results demonstrated differential expression of 12,185 genes (DEGs) between the sterile and fertile lines, encompassing 489 genes that exhibited variation across the five stages of pollen development. Additionally, GO and KEGG enrichment analyses indicated that the DEGs were predominantly associated with energy metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, and notably, hydrolase activity. Co-expression network analysis unveiled two modules intimately associated with fertility, each comprising 908 and 756 hub genes, incorporating β-1,3-glucanase genes (Glu) and co-expressed transcription factors (TFs). Phylogenetic analysis implied that LbGlu1 was a potential candidate gene implicated in regulating pollen abortion in L. barbarum. This work advances a novel understanding of pollen abortion in L. barbarum and offers theoretical support for the utilization of sterility genes to enhance crop improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Crops Genetics and Genomics)
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16 pages, 3175 KiB  
Article
The Synergetic Effect of Light Spectra and Selenium Supplementation on Eruca sativa Mill. Growth and Physiological and Metabolic Responses
by Cátia Brito, Sónia Andrade, Helena Ferreira, Carlos Matos, Sandra Martins and José Moutinho-Pereira
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050511 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 389
Abstract
Eco-friendly lighting systems, like LED lights, can reduce energy consumption in greenhouse operations, have a long lifespan, and enable precise control over plant growth through spectrum selection. On the other hand, Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient with a beneficial role in plant metabolism [...] Read more.
Eco-friendly lighting systems, like LED lights, can reduce energy consumption in greenhouse operations, have a long lifespan, and enable precise control over plant growth through spectrum selection. On the other hand, Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient with a beneficial role in plant metabolism and an essential element for human health. In this study, we aim to unravel the effects of LED lighting combined with Se supplementation on the physiological behavior, yield, and quality of arugula (Eruca sativa). Arugula plants were cultivated under controlled conditions using two distinct LED lights: full white spectrum (W) and a mix of 80%/20% of red/blue light (R:B). These plants were then supplemented with three levels of Se: 0 mg Se kg−1 soil [0], 0.3 mg Se kg−1 soil [0.3], and 0.6 mg Se kg−1 soil [0.6]. The results showed that stomatal conductance remained unaffected by the light script. However, the plants exposed to R:B displayed more pronounced signs of photodamage and reduced net photosynthetic rate. Supplementation with Se plays a significant role in mitigating light-induced stress and in improving the antioxidant defense system; this was especially notable in R:B plants. Finally, R:B light decreased the accumulation of aboveground biomass, while no significant impact of Se was noticed on this outcome. Se accumulation exhibited a direct and proportional relationship with the concentration of Se applied. The integration of LED technology and Se supplementation not only enhances crop nutritional value but also aligns with the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Vegetable Production Systems)
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21 pages, 41750 KiB  
Article
Physiological Studies and Transcriptomic Analysis Reveal the Mechanism of Saline-Alkali Stress Resistance of Malus sieversii f. niedzwetzkyan
by Lepu Jiang, Yan Yang, Zhengli Zhou and Xuesen Chen
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050510 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 350
Abstract
Malus sieversii f. niedzwetzkyan, a wild species capable of growing on saline-alkali soil in Xinjiang, is the most promising horticultural crop for improving the saline-alkali wasteland. However, the tolerance of M. niedzwetzkyan to saline-alkali stress and the underlying molecular mechanisms remains largely [...] Read more.
Malus sieversii f. niedzwetzkyan, a wild species capable of growing on saline-alkali soil in Xinjiang, is the most promising horticultural crop for improving the saline-alkali wasteland. However, the tolerance of M. niedzwetzkyan to saline-alkali stress and the underlying molecular mechanisms remains largely unknown. Here, we conducted a hydroponic experiment in which M. niedzwetzkyana and M. domesticaRoyal Gala” seedlings were subjected to 150 mM saline-alkali stress. Physiological data showed that M. niedzwetzkyana had a strong ROS scavenging ability and ion transport ability, and its saline-alkali resistance was higher than that of M.Royal Gala”. Saline-alkali stress also promoted the synthesis of anthocyanins in M. niedzwetzkyana. Transcriptome analysis was conducted on the leaves and roots of M. niedzwetzkyana at different time points under saline-alkali stress (0 h, 6 h, and 12 h). Transcriptome analysis revealed that saline stress down-regulated most genes involved in the anthocyanin flavonoid synthesis pathway. Transcription levels of genes involved in antioxidant enzyme activity and ion transport were altered. We identified hub genes related to superoxide dismutase as well as Na+ and K+ transport using weighted gene co-expression network analysis. This study elucidated, for the first time at the molecular level, the saline-alkali tolerance of M. niedzwetzkyana, including the complex changes in pathways that regulate reactive oxygen species homeostasis, ion uptake, and anthocyanoside synthesis under saline-alkali stress conditions. This research provides an important genetic resource for identifying genes involved in responses to saline-alkali stress. Full article
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13 pages, 6115 KiB  
Article
Novel R2R3-MYB Transcription Factor LhMYB1 Promotes Anthocyanin Accumulation in Lilium concolor var. pulchellum
by Shengnan Tian, Muhammad Moaaz Ali, Mingli Ke, Yuxian Lu, Yiping Zheng, Xuanmei Cai, Shaozhong Fang, Jian Wu, Zhimin Lin and Faxing Chen
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050509 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 258
Abstract
Lilium concolor var. pulchellum has a brilliant flower colour, high germination rate, and resistance to cold, drought, and salinity and is an excellent source of lily germplasm. Anthocyanins are important flavonoids commonly found in plants and can make the flowers and fruits of [...] Read more.
Lilium concolor var. pulchellum has a brilliant flower colour, high germination rate, and resistance to cold, drought, and salinity and is an excellent source of lily germplasm. Anthocyanins are important flavonoids commonly found in plants and can make the flowers and fruits of plants more colourful. We first found that 0.2 mg/L 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) specifically induced the accumulation of anthocyanins, which were mainly cyanidins, in callus tissue culture of Lilium. Transcriptomic results indicated that anthocyanin accumulation was mainly involved in the flavonoid pathway, and an LhMYB1 transcription factor encoding 267 amino acids positively associated with anthocyanin accumulation was cloned from the MYB family. Subcellular localisation in tobacco showed that the gene was located in the nucleus of epidermal cells. Virus-induced gene silencing showed that silencing of the LhMYB1 gene on lily petals resulted in a purple to white colour change and a decrease in anthocyanin deposition, mainly in the upper and lower epidermis of the petals. Therefore, the results of this study will provide some ideas for the molecular breeding of lily flower colour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Molecular Biology of Horticultural Plants)
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19 pages, 5225 KiB  
Article
Molecular Identification of Genetic Diversity and Population Structure in Moroccan Male Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Using Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat, Direct Amplification of Minisatellite DNA, and Simple Sequence Repeat Markers
by Maha Ibrahimi, Najiba Brhadda, Rabea Ziri, Mohamed Fokar, Ilham Amghar, Fatima Gaboun, Aicha Habach, Reda Meziani, Jamal Elfadile, Rabha Abdelwahd and Ghizlane Diria
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050508 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 251
Abstract
Understanding genetic diversity and population structure plays a vital role in the efficient use of available material in plant-breeding programs and in germplasm conservation strategies. In the present study, we aim to evaluate the genetic variations and population structure of male date palms [...] Read more.
Understanding genetic diversity and population structure plays a vital role in the efficient use of available material in plant-breeding programs and in germplasm conservation strategies. In the present study, we aim to evaluate the genetic variations and population structure of male date palms from Morocco. The genetic diversity of 100 date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) genotypes was investigated using the performance of three types of molecular markers: inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSRs), direct amplification of minisatellite DNA (DAMD), and simple sequence repeats (SSRs). On the basis of their polymorphic information content (PIC) (ISSRs = 0.38; DAMD = 0.4; SSRs = 0.33), effective multiplex ratio (EMR) (ISSRs = 27.34; DAMD = 52.31; SSRs = 22.20), Resolving power Rp (ISSR = 13.81; DAMD = 28.73; SSR = 14.6), and marker index (MI) (ISSRs = 9.22; DAMD = 20.23; SSRs = 7.54) values, all markers used in our study are considered informative markers. Among them, DAMD markers demonstrated slightly higher informativeness compared to ISSR and SSR markers. A total of 216, 438, and 248 bands were, respectively, detected using ISSRs, DAMD, and SSRs, with 95%, 98% and 94% of polymorphism, respectively. The AMOVA results revealed considerable diversity within date palms. The PCOa results showed that males of Tinghir and Errachidia were regrouped into the same cluster, while males of Goulmima were separated into another group. A cluster and structure analysis separated the studied genotypes into three groups. One group comprises genotypes of males from Zagora with some female varieties scattered in this group. The second group includes male genotypes from Goulmima along with accessions of female and male varieties. The third group contains males of Errachidia, Tata and Tinghir populations. The cluster and structure analysis separated the studied genotypes according to their origin. Full article
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17 pages, 6196 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Mechanisms Underlying Petal Pigmentation Differences in Two Cultivars of Physalis philadelphica Based on HPLC and NGS
by Hongyu Qiao, Wennan Zhao, Song Tian, Da Wang, Haiyan Wu, Chenyu Wang, Jiaming Zhu, Nan Li, Xu Zhu, Shujing Mu, Jingying Zhang and Hongxia He
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050507 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 402
Abstract
Physalis philadelphica, a member of the Solanaceae family, commonly known as Physalis, is a one-year-old herbaceous plant with both medicinal and edible properties, as well as ornamental value. At present, only limited research is available on the flower color of P. philadelphica. [...] Read more.
Physalis philadelphica, a member of the Solanaceae family, commonly known as Physalis, is a one-year-old herbaceous plant with both medicinal and edible properties, as well as ornamental value. At present, only limited research is available on the flower color of P. philadelphica. This study aimed to elucidate the metabolic characteristics underlying the flower color of P. philadelphica and to identify key genes associated with flower color metabolism. We selected two representative varieties of P. philadelphica with significant differences in flower color, namely, “Tieba” (yellow flower) and “Qingjin” (yellow-purple flower), as the experimental materials. The analysis of related pigment components and the determination of relative content by high-performance liquid chromatography were conducted to investigate the flower color-related metabolic pathways of P. philadelphica. Through next-generation sequencing, these pathways were further investigated for the characteristics and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with flower color formation. The results of the research show that: Anthocyanin is the main component of petal coloring of P. philadelphica var. Qingjin, while malvidin pigment, pelargonidin, delphinidin, and cyanidin are the main components of flower color intensity. Carotenoids are the main components of the petal coloring of P. philadelphica var. Tieba and β-carotene is the main component of flower color intensity. Comparing different developmental stages of these two kinds of Physalis pubescens, we identified two key transcription factors (TFs) (eBP and STAT) that were involved in the inhibition of anthocyanin synthesis and regulate the inhibition of pf05G124640 (dihydroflavonol 4-reductase) and pf09G224140 (anthocyanin synthase) in anthocyanin synthesis. One heat shock transcription factor was found to regulate the flavonoid and flavonol synthesis pathway of pf01G020090 (anthocyanin 3-O-glucosyltransferase); two key TFs (NAC and G2-Like), pf10G255070 (isoricin dehydrogenase) and pf09G237080 (abscisic acid 8′-hydroxylase), played important roles in carotene biosynthesis. This study provides new insights for further exploration of the genetic diversity of petal coloring in P. philadelphica and establishes a foundation for subsequent molecular breeding efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Floriculture, Nursery and Landscape, and Turf)
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17 pages, 8175 KiB  
Article
Effect of Phosphate-Deficiency Stress on the Biological Characteristics and Transcriptomics of Panax ginseng
by Hai Sun, Hao Liang, Cai Shao, Jiaqi Qian, Jiapeng Zhu, Guojia Zhang, Bochen Lv and Yayu Zhang
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050506 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 331
Abstract
The low availability of phosphorus has become a common problem worldwide. Phosphorus is essential for phenotypic morphology and ginsenoside synthesis. However, the effects of Pi stress on ginseng phenotype and ginsenoside synthesis remain unclear. Phenotypic analyses and transcriptomics revealed the phenotypic construction and [...] Read more.
The low availability of phosphorus has become a common problem worldwide. Phosphorus is essential for phenotypic morphology and ginsenoside synthesis. However, the effects of Pi stress on ginseng phenotype and ginsenoside synthesis remain unclear. Phenotypic analyses and transcriptomics revealed the phenotypic construction and regulation of differential genes involved in the physiological metabolism of ginseng under low-Pi stress. Root length and stem length were found to be significantly inhibited by phosphate-deficiency stress in the half-phosphate (HP) and no-phosphate (NP) treatment groups; however, the number of fibrous roots, which are regulated by phytohormones, was found to increase. In ginseng leaves, the indexes of physiological stress, superoxide anion (221.19 nmol/g) and malonaldehyde (MDA) (0.05 μmol/min/g), reached the maximum level. Moreover, chlorophyll fluorescence images and chlorophyll content further confirmed the inhibition of ginseng photosynthesis under low-Pi stress. A total of 579 and 210 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were shared between NP and total phosphate (TP) and HP and TP, respectively, and only 64 common DEGs were found based on the two comparisons. These DEGs were mainly related to the synthesis of phosphate transporters (PHTs), phytohormones, and ginsenosides. According to KEGG analyses, four DEGs (Pg_s 0368.2, Pg_s3418.1, Pg_s5392.5 and Pg_s3342.1) affected acetyl-CoA production by regulating glycometabolism and tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA). In addition, related genes, including those encoding 13 PHTs, 15 phytohormones, and 20 ginsenoside synthetases, were screened in ginseng roots under Pi-deficiency stress. These results indicate that changes in the ginseng phenotype and transcriptional regulation of DEGs are involved in the Pi-deficiency stress environment of ginseng, thereby providing new information regarding the development of ginseng for low-Pi tolerance. Full article
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8 pages, 803 KiB  
Communication
Post-Frost Pruning Does Not Impact Vine Yield and Berry Composition in Young Grapevines
by Suraj Kar, Ricky W. Clark, Ian T. Ivey, Joseph B. DeShields, Jeremy Cusimano and Alexander D. Levin
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050505 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Spring frost is a perennial and widespread problem across many cool climatic and high-elevation winegrowing regions of the world. Vitis vinifera L. cv. Pinot noir is an early budding cultivar; thus, it is particularly susceptible to late-spring frost damage. In late April 2022, [...] Read more.
Spring frost is a perennial and widespread problem across many cool climatic and high-elevation winegrowing regions of the world. Vitis vinifera L. cv. Pinot noir is an early budding cultivar; thus, it is particularly susceptible to late-spring frost damage. In late April 2022, an advective frost event occurred throughout Western Oregon winegrowing regions and subsequently damaged a substantial number of commercial vineyards. Growers often are unsure of how to manage grapevines after a frost event. Limited research has shown little-to-no effect of pruning vs. non-pruning strategies on vine yield and productivity. In addition, pruning a frost-affected vineyard incurs additional labor costs that may offset the cost–benefit balance for the grower. Therefore, in this experiment, the effect of two different post-frost pruning treatments (cane pruning and spur pruning) on vine yield, berry composition, and vine vegetative growth were tested. No effect of post-frost pruning treatments on vine yield, berry composition, and vine vegetative characteristics was observed. Cluster numbers, cluster weights, and berries per cluster only differed between cane- vs. spur-pruned vines. Therefore, leaving frost-affected vines alone and a scaled-back vineyard management practice could be practical for economic reasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Effects of Climate Change on Viticulture (Grape))
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19 pages, 4970 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Characterization of Some Extracts of Origanum vulgare L. and Biosafety Evaluation Using Allium cepa Assay
by Daniela Nicuță, Luminița Grosu, Irina-Claudia Alexa and Adriana-Luminița Fînaru
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050504 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Origanum vulgare L. is ethnomedicinally valuable against various diseases. In Romania, attention for the oregano extracts such as infusions, decoctions, or tinctures, which are very popular among consumers, is constantly increasing, mainly as an important therapeutic alternative. Therefore, this study was undertaken to [...] Read more.
Origanum vulgare L. is ethnomedicinally valuable against various diseases. In Romania, attention for the oregano extracts such as infusions, decoctions, or tinctures, which are very popular among consumers, is constantly increasing, mainly as an important therapeutic alternative. Therefore, this study was undertaken to evaluate the comparative cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts of local oregano using a sustainable method such as the Allium cepa assay. Two aqueous oregano extracts obtained by infusion (I01) and decoction (D02) and two hydroalcoholic extracts (E03—water/ethanol 80:20 v/v; E04—water/ethanol 60:40 v/v) were used in this study. Before performing the Allium cepa test, a phytochemical screening carried out using fast and efficient analytical methods (electrometry, colorimetry, UV-Vis spectrometry, and high-performance thin-layer chromatography/HPTLC) allowed the qualitative differences in the chemical profile of the investigated oregano extracts to be highlighted. The aqueous and hydroalcoholic oregano extracts were tested on root meristems of Allium cepa and the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity parameters evaluated were the mitotic index (MI) and chromosomal aberration (CA). The results revealed a decrease in MI for each analyzed sample, with hydroethanolic extract E04 showing the most significant effect on MI (9.66%, 3 times less than that of the control sample), followed by the D02 sample obtained by decoction. Chromosomal aberrations such as the ana-telophase with bridges, expelled chromosomes, or delayed chromosomes were observed in all four extracts. The frequency of cells with CA was higher in the case of samples treated with hydroalcoholic extracts compared to aqueous extracts. The experimental extraction conditions influenced the mitotic index, the varieties of identified chromosomal aberrations, and their frequency. Therefore, based on the result obtained in this study, it may be concluded that the Oregano vulgare L. extracts present cytotoxic and genotoxic effects on onion cells. The Allium cepa assay proves to be an easy-to-handle method, with reliable results, minimal cost, and environmental friendliness for the evaluation of the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of oregano extracts. Full article
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14 pages, 5052 KiB  
Article
Non-Destructive Prediction of Anthocyanin Content of Rosa chinensis Petals Using Digital Images and Machine Learning Algorithms
by Xiu-Ying Liu, Jun-Ru Yu and Heng-Nan Deng
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050503 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Anthocyanins are widely found in plants and have significant functions. The accurate detection and quantitative assessment of anthocyanin content are essential to assess its functions. The anthocyanin content in plant tissues is typically quantified by wet chemistry and spectroscopic techniques. However, these methods [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are widely found in plants and have significant functions. The accurate detection and quantitative assessment of anthocyanin content are essential to assess its functions. The anthocyanin content in plant tissues is typically quantified by wet chemistry and spectroscopic techniques. However, these methods are time-consuming, labor-intensive, tedious, expensive, destructive, or require expensive equipment. Digital photography is a fast, economical, efficient, reliable, and non-invasive method for estimating plant pigment content. This study examined the anthocyanin content of Rosa chinensis petals using digital images, a back-propagation neural network (BPNN), and the random forest (RF) algorithm. The objective was to determine whether using RGB indices and BPNN and RF algorithms to accurately predict the anthocyanin content of R. chinensis petals is feasible. The anthocyanin content ranged from 0.832 to 4.549 µmol g−1 for 168 samples. Most RGB indices were strongly correlated with the anthocyanin content. The coefficient of determination (R2) and the ratio of performance to deviation (RPD) of the BPNN and RF models exceeded 0.75 and 2.00, respectively, indicating the high accuracy of both models in predicting the anthocyanin content of R. chinensis petals using RGB indices. The RF model had higher R2 and RPD values, and lower root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) values than the BPNN, indicating that it outperformed the BPNN model. This study provides an alternative method for determining the anthocyanin content of flowers. Full article
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20 pages, 8379 KiB  
Article
Insights into the PYR/PYL/RCAR Gene Family in Pomegranates (Punica granatum L.): A Genome-Wide Study on Identification, Evolution, and Expression Analysis
by Ke Yin, Fan Cheng, Hongfang Ren, Jingyi Huang, Xueqing Zhao and Zhaohe Yuan
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050502 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 323
Abstract
The response of plants to abiotic stress is intricately mediated by PYR/PYL/RCARs, key components within the ABA signal transduction pathway. Despite the widespread identification of PYL genes across diverse plant species, the evolutionary history and structural characteristics of these genes within the [...] Read more.
The response of plants to abiotic stress is intricately mediated by PYR/PYL/RCARs, key components within the ABA signal transduction pathway. Despite the widespread identification of PYL genes across diverse plant species, the evolutionary history and structural characteristics of these genes within the pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) remained unexplored. In this study, we uncovered, for the first time, 12 PgPYLs from the whole genome dataset of ‘Tunisia’, mapping them onto five chromosomes and categorizing them into three distinct subgroups (Group I, Group II, and Group III) through phylogenetic analysis. Detailed examination of the composition of these genes revealed similar conserved motifs and exon–intron structures among genes within the same subgroup. Fragment duplication emerged as the primary mechanism driving the amplification of the PYL gene family, as evidenced by intra-species collinearity analysis. Furthermore, inter-species collinearity analysis provided insights into potential evolutionary relationships among the identified PgPYL genes. Cis-acting element analysis revealed a rich repertoire of stress and hormone response elements within the promoter region of PgPYLs, emphasizing their putative roles in diverse signaling pathways. Upon treatment with 100 μmol/L ABA, we investigated the expression patterns of the PgPYL gene family, and the qRT-PCR data indicated a significant up-regulation in the majority of PYL genes. This suggested an active involvement of PgPYL genes in the plant’s response to exogenous ABA. Among them, PgPYL1 was chosen as a candidate gene to explore the function of the gene family, and the CDS sequence of PgPYL1 was cloned from pomegranate leaves with a full length of 657 bp, encoding 218 amino acids. Tobacco transient expression analysis demonstrated a consistent trend in the expression levels of pBI121-PgPYL1 and the related genes of the ABA signaling pathway, both of which increased initially before declining. This study not only contributes to the elucidation of the genomic and structural attributes of PgPYL genes but also provides a foundation for understanding their potential functions in stress responses. The identified conserved motifs, evolutionary relationships, and expression patterns under ABA treatment pave the way for further research into the PgPYL gene family’s role in pomegranate biology, offering valuable insights for future studies on genetic improvement and stress resilience in pomegranate cultivation. Full article
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Article
Consumers’ Perceptions for an Outdoor Ornamental Plant: Exploring the Influence of Novel Plant Diseases Diagnostics and Sustainable Nurseries Cultivation Management
by Michel Frem, Alessandro Petrontino, Vincenzo Fucilli, Barbara De Lucia, Emanuela Tria, Adele Annarita Campobasso, Federica Calderoni and Francesco Bozzo
Horticulturae 2024, 10(5), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050501 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 323
Abstract
A discrete choice experiment was conducted to assess the perceptions and willingness-to-pay of Italian consumers regarding plant diagnosis and sustainable cultivation attributes in outdoor ornamental plants, specifically Abelia × grandiflora. The results revealed that most Italian consumers place great importance on the [...] Read more.
A discrete choice experiment was conducted to assess the perceptions and willingness-to-pay of Italian consumers regarding plant diagnosis and sustainable cultivation attributes in outdoor ornamental plants, specifically Abelia × grandiflora. The results revealed that most Italian consumers place great importance on the health of ornamental plants during the purchasing process, with a preference for obtaining them from nursery facilities. Additionally, they demonstrated a willingness to pay a price premium for innovative plant diagnosis and sustainable cultivation in the production of A. × grandiflora, amounting to EUR 1.10 and EUR 0.90, respectively. These findings have significant implications for (i) nursery growers, enabling them to shape their sustainable nursery management and marketing strategies, and (ii) policymakers, facilitating the enhancement of communication strategies and the implementation of awareness campaigns aimed at promoting the sale of healthy Italian ornamental species, following the current EU regulation 2020/1201. Full article
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