Cultivating plants for better health
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Cultivating plants for better health
Agricultural news, natural pest control and natural ways to increase yield and plant nutrients as well as breeds with higher beneficial phytonutrients.
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LED Blue Light-induced changes in phenolics and ethylene in citrus fruit: Implication in elicited resistance against Penicillium digitatum infection

LED Blue Light-induced changes in phenolics and ethylene in citrus fruit: Implication in elicited resistance against Penicillium digitatum infection | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
The objective was to investigate whether LED Blue Light (LBL) induces changes in phenolics and ethylene production of sweet oranges, and whether they participate in LBL-elicited resistance against the most important postharvest pathogen (Penicillium digitatum) of citrus fruit. The expression of relevant genes of the phenylpropanoid and ethylene biosynthetic pathways during elicitation of resistance was also determined. Different LBL (wavelength 450 nm) quantum fluxes were used within the 60–630 μmol m−2 s−1 range. The HPLC analysis showed that the most relevant increase in phenylpropanoids occurred in scoparone, which markedly increased 3 days after exposing fruits to a very high quantum flux (630 μmol m−2 s−1) for 18 h. However, phenylpropanoids, including scoparone, were not critical factors in LBL-induced resistance. The genes involved in ethylene biosynthesis were differentially regulated by LBL. Ethylene is not involved in elicited resistance, although high LBL levels increased ethylene production in only 1 h.
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Melatonin promotes ripening and improves quality of tomato fruit during postharvest life.

In this study, the effect of melatonin on the postharvest ripening and quality improvement of tomato fruit was carried out. The tomatoes were immersed in exogenous melatonin for 2h, and then the related physiological indicators and the expression of genes during post-harvest life were evaluated. Compared with control check (CK), the 50 µM melatonin treatment significantly increased lycopene levels by 5.8-fold. Meanwhile, the key genes involved in fruit colour development, including phytoene synthase1 (PSY1) and carotenoid isomerase (CRTISO), showed a 2-fold increase in expression levels. The rate of water loss from tomato fruit also increased 8.3%, and the expression of aquaporin genes, such as SlPIP12Q, SlPIPQ, SlPIP21Q, and SlPIP22, was up-regulated 2- to 3-fold under 50 µM melatonin treatment. In addition, 50 µM melatonin treatment enhanced fruit softening, increased water-soluble pectin by 22.5%, and decreased protopectin by 19.5%. The expression of the cell wall modifying proteins polygalacturonase (PG), pectin esterase1 (PE1), β-galactosidase (TBG4), and expansin1 (Exp1) was up-regulated under 50 µM melatonin treatment. Melatonin increased ethylene production by 27.1%, accelerated the climacteric phase, and influenced the ethylene signalling pathway. Alteration of ethylene production correlated with altered 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase (ACS4) expression. The expression of ethylene signal transduction-related genes such as NR, SlETR4, SlEIL1, SlEIL3, and SlERF2, was enhanced by 50 µM melatonin. The effect of melatonin on ethylene biosynthesis, ethylene perception, and ethylene signalling may contribute to fruit ripening and quality improvement in tomato. This research may promote the application of melatonin on postharvest ripening and quality improvement of tomato fruit as well as other horticultural productions in the future.
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Melatonin Improved Anthocyanin Accumulation by Regulating Gene Expressions and Resulted in High Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging Capacity in Cabbage

Melatonin Improved Anthocyanin Accumulation by Regulating Gene Expressions and Resulted in High Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging Capacity in Cabbage | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
In this work, we found, that exogenous melatonin pretreatment improved anthocyanin accumulation (1- to 2-fold) in cabbage. To verify the relationship with melatonin and anthocyanin, an Arabidopsis mutant, snat, which expresses a defective form of the melatonin biosynthesis enzyme SNAT (Serotonin N-acetyl transferase), was employed. Under cold conditions, the foliage of wild-type Arabidopsis exhibited a deeper red color than the snat mutant. This finding further proved, that exogenous melatonin treatment was able to affect anthocyanin accumulation. To gain a better understanding of how exogenous melatonin upregulates anthocyanin, we measured gene expression in cabbage samples treated with melatonin and untreated controls. We found that the transcript levels of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes were upregulated by melatonin treatment. Moreover, melatonin treatment increased the expression levels of the transcription factors MYB, bHLH, and WD40, which constitute the transcriptional activation complex responsible for coordinative regulation of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes. We found, that free radical generation was downregulated, whereas the osmotic adjustment and antioxidant capacities were upregulated in exogenous melatonin-treated cabbage plants. We concluded, that melatonin increases anthocyanin production and benefits cabbage growth.
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Melatonin enhances cold tolerance in drought primed wild type and abscisic acid-deficient mutant barley.

Melatonin enhances cold tolerance in drought primed wild type and abscisic acid-deficient mutant barley. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Melatonin is involved in multiple plant developmental processes and various stress responses. To explore the roles of melatonin played as well as its association with abscisic acid (ABA) in a process of drought priming induced cold tolerance (DPICT), a wild-type barley and its ABA-deficient mutant Az34 counterpart were selected for comparison, in which, the effects of melatonin application (either foliarly or rhizospherically) and/or drought priming on the cold tolerance of both types of barleys were systematically investigated. It was demonstrated that the early drought priming induced an increase of endogenous melatonin production, which is not ABA-dependent. In addition, exogenously applied melatonin resulted in higher ABA concentration in the drought-primed plants than in the non-primed plants when exposure to cold stress, indicating that ABA responded in a drought-dependent manner. The interplay of melatonin and ABA leads to plants maintaining better water status. Drought priming induced melatonin accumulation enhanced the antioxidant capacity in both chloroplasts and mitochondria, which sustained the photosynthetic electron transport in photosynthetic apparatus of the plants under cold stress. These results suggest that the exogenous melatonin application enhances the DPICT by modulating sub-cellular antioxidant systems and ABA levels in barley.
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Phytochemical Variations and Enhanced Efficiency of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Ingredients in Salvia officinalis as Inoculated with Different Rhizobacteria.

Phytochemical Variations and Enhanced Efficiency of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Ingredients in Salvia officinalis as Inoculated with Different Rhizobacteria. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Plants produce a variety of secondary metabolites to improve their performance upon exposure to pathogens, pests, herbivores, or environmental stresses. Secondary metabolism in plants is, therefore, highly regulated by presence of biotic or abiotic elicitors in the environment. The present research was undertaken to characterize plant growth-promoting attributes of four plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) including two Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf Ap1, Pf Ap18) and two P. putida (Pp Ap9, Pp Ap14) strains, and to determine their role (individually or in consortium) on growth of Salvia officialis, and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as essential oils (EOs), total phenolics, and flavonoids. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of the extracts and EOs obtained from the inoculated plants were also investigated. The PGPR inoculum was applied to soil, cuttings, and foliage. Results indicated that different PGPR strains varied in their efficiency for production of auxin, siderophore, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase, and phosphate solubilization. All individually inoculated plants had significantly higher shoot and root biomass, leaf P content, EOs yield, total phenolics, and flavonoids content compared to uninoculated control plants. The major constituents of EOs, cis-thujene, camphor, and 1,8-cineol, increased following inoculation with reference PGPRs. Although the extract from all inoculated plants had improved antioxidant activity, it was remarkable for the Pf Ap18 strain, which had the lowest IC50 value across treatments. Antibacterial assay of various EOs and their major constituents against pathogenic bacteria showed that the highest activity was observed against Staphylococcus aureus using EOs of Pp Ap14 source. Based on our findings, we suggest that individual inoculation with effective PGPR strains can substantially improve plant growth and secondary metabolism in S. officinalis plants.
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Identification of Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM)-Responsive microRNAs in Tomato.

Identification of Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM)-Responsive microRNAs in Tomato. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
A majority of land plants can form symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated to regulate this process in legumes, but their involvement in non-legume species is largely unknown. In this study, by performing deep sequencing of sRNA libraries in tomato roots and comparing with tomato genome, a total of 700 potential miRNAs were predicted, among them, 187 are known plant miRNAs that have been previously deposited in miRBase. Unlike the profiles in other plants such as rice and Arabidopsis, a large proportion of predicted tomato miRNAs was 24 nt in length. A similar pattern was observed in the potato genome but not in tobacco, indicating a Solanum genus-specific expansion of 24-nt miRNAs. About 40% identified tomato miRNAs showed significantly altered expressions upon Rhizophagus irregularis inoculation, suggesting the potential roles of these novel miRNAs in AM symbiosis. The differential expression of five known and six novel miRNAs were further validated using qPCR analysis. Interestingly, three up-regulated known tomato miRNAs belong to a known miR171 family, a member of which has been reported in Medicago truncatula to regulate AM symbiosis. Thus, the miR171 family likely regulates AM symbiosis conservatively across different plant lineages. More than 1000 genes targeted by potential AM-responsive miRNAs were provided and their roles in AM symbiosis are worth further exploring.
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Antifungal Effect of Plant Essential Oils on Controlling Phytophthora Species.

In this study, antifungal activity of essential oils of Cymbopogon citratus and Ocimum basilicum and two fungicides Mancozeb and Metalaxyl-Mancozeb in six different concentrations were investigated for controlling three species of Phytophthora, including P. capsici, P. drechsleri and P. melonis on pepper, cucumber and melon under in vitro and greenhouse conditions, respectively. Under the in vitro condition, the median effective concen- tration (EC50) values (ppm) of plant essential oils and fungicides were measured. In greenhouse, soil infested with Phytophthora species was treated by adding 50 ml of essential oils and fungicides (100 ppm). Disease severity was determined after 28 days. Among two tested plant essential oils, C. citratus had the lowest EC50 values for inhibition of the mycelial growth of P. capsici (31.473), P. melonis (33.097) and P. drechsleri (69.112), respectively. The mean EC50 values for Metalaxyl-Mancozeb on these pathogens were 20.87, 20.06 and 17.70, respectively. Chemical analysis of plant essential oils by GC-MS showed that, among 42 compounds identified from C. citratus, two compounds β-geranial (α-citral) (39.16%) and z-citral (30.95%) were the most abundant. Under the greenhouse condition, Metalaxyl-Mancozeb caused the greatest reduction in disease severity, 84.2%, 86.8% and 92.1% on melon, cucumber, and pepper, respectively. The C. citratus essential oil reduced disease severity from 47.4% to 60.5% compared to the untreated control (p≤0.05). Essential oils of O. basilicum had the lowest effects on the pathogens under in vitro and greenhouse conditions. These results show that essential oils may contribute to the development of new antifungal agents to protect the crops from Phytophthora diseases.
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Water Extract from Spent Mushroom Substrate of Hericium erinaceus Suppresses Bacterial Wilt Disease of Tomato

Water Extract from Spent Mushroom Substrate of Hericium erinaceus Suppresses Bacterial Wilt Disease of Tomato | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Culture filtrates of six different edible mushroom species were screened for antimicrobial activity against tomato wilt bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum B3. Hericium erinaceus, Lentinula edodes (Sanjo 701), Grifola frondosa, and Hypsizygus marmoreus showed antibacterial activity against the bacteria. Water, n-butanol, and ethyl acetate extracts of spent mushroom substrate (SMS) of H. erinaceus exhibited high antibacterial activity against different phytopathogenic bacteria: Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, R. solanacearum, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, X. campestris pv. campestris, X. axonopodis pv. vesicatoria, X. axonopodis pv. citiri, and X. axonopodis pv. glycine. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that water extracts of SMS (WESMS) of H. erinaceus induced expressions of plant defense genes encoding β-1,3-glucanase (GluA) and pathogenesis-related protein-1a (PR-1a), associated with systemic acquired resistance. Furthermore, WESMS also suppressed tomato wilt disease caused by R. solanacearum by 85% in seedlings and promoted growth (height, leaf number, and fresh weight of the root and shoot) of tomato plants. These findings suggest the WESMS of H. erinaceus has the potential to suppress bacterial wilt disease of tomato through multiple effects including antibacterial activity, plant growth promotion, and defense gene induction.
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Dark period following UV-C treatment enhances killing of Botrytis cinerea conidia and controls gray mold of strawberries.

Dark period following UV-C treatment enhances killing of Botrytis cinerea conidia and controls gray mold of strawberries. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Strawberries are available throughout the year either from production in the field or from high and low tunnel culture. Diversity of production conditions results in new challenges in controlling diseases before and after harvest. Fungicides have traditionally been used to control these diseases; however, their limitations necessitate a search for new approaches. We found that UV-C irradiation of Botrytis cinerea, a major pathogen of strawberry, can effectively kill this fungus if a dark period follows the treatment. The inclusion of a 4-h dark period resulted in almost complete kill of B. cinerea conidia on agar media at a dose of 12.36 J/m2. The UV-C dose did not cause a reduction in photosynthesis in strawberry leaves or discoloration of sepals, even after exposing plants repeatedly (twice a week) for seven weeks. Although irradiation of dry conidia of B. cinerea with this dose resulted in some survival, the conidia were not infective and not able to cause decay even when inoculated onto a highly susceptible mature apple fruit. Irradiation of strawberry pollen at 12.36 J/m2 did not affect pollen germination, tube growth and length in vitro, or germination and tube growth in the style of hand pollinated emasculated strawberry flowers. No negative effect of the UV-C treatment was observed on fruit yield and quality in high tunnel culture. In the fruit and flower petal inoculation tests the UV-C treatment was highly effective in reducing fruit decay and petal infection. This UV-C treatment with an exposure time of 60 sec may be useful in controlling gray mold in tunnel production of strawberries and may also have the potential for use in intensive field and indoor production of other fruits and vegetables providing that a 4-h dark period follows the irradiation.
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Enhancing growth, phytochemical constituents and aphid resistance capacity in cabbage with foliar application of eckol - a biologically active phenmolecule from brown seaweed.

Enhancing growth, phytochemical constituents and aphid resistance capacity in cabbage with foliar application of eckol - a biologically active phenmolecule from brown seaweed. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Although foliar application of seaweed extracts on plant growth and development is extensively studied, reliable knowledge and understanding of mode of action of particular compound(s) responsible for enhancing plant growth is lacking. A brown seaweed Ecklonia maxima is widely used commercially as a biostimulant to improve plant growth and crop protection. Eckol, a phenolic compound isolated from E. maxima has recently shown stimulatory effects in maize, indicating its potential use as a plant biostimulant. Cabbage is a widely cultivated vegetable crop throughout the world, which requires high input of fertilizers and is susceptible to several aphid borne diseases. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of foliar application of eckol on the growth, phytochemical constituents and myrosinase activity (aphid resistance capacity) of commercially cultivated cabbage. Foliar application of eckol (10-6M) significantly enhanced shoot and root length, shoot and root fresh and dry weight, leaf area and leaf number. This treatment also showed a significant increase in photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll 'a', chlorophyll 'b', total chlorophyll and carotenoid) compared to the untreated plants. The levels of protein, proline and iridoid glycosides were significantly higher in cabbage leaves with eckol treatment. All the control plants were severely infested with cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae) but no infestation was observed on the eckol-sprayed plants, which can be attributed to an increase in myrosinase activity. This study reveals dual effects (plant growth promoting and insect repelling) of eckol on cabbage plants that need further investigations both under field conditions and in other brassicaceous species.
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Enhanced rice production but greatly reduced carbon emission following biochar amendment in a metal-polluted rice paddy.

Enhanced rice production but greatly reduced carbon emission following biochar amendment in a metal-polluted rice paddy. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Soil amendment of biochar (BSA) had been shown effective for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and alleviating metal stress to plants and microbes in soil. It has not yet been addressed if biochar exerts synergy effects on crop production, GHG emission, and microbial activity in metal-polluted soils. In a field experiment, biochar was amended at sequential rates at 0, 10, 20, and 40 t ha-1, respectively, in a cadmium- and lead-contaminated rice paddy from the Tai lake Plain, China, before rice cropping in 2010. Fluxes of soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) were monitored using a static chamber method during the whole rice growing season (WRGS) of 2011. BSA significantly reduced soil CaCl2 extractable pool of Cd, and DTPA extractable pool of Cd and Pb. As compared to control, soil CO2 emission under BSA was observed to have no change at 10 t ha-1 but decreased by 16-24 % at 20 and 40 t ha-1. In a similar trend, BSA at 20 and 40 t ha-1 increased rice yield by 25-26 % and thus enhanced ecosystem CO2 sequestration by 47-55 % over the control. Seasonal total N2O emission was reduced by 7.1, 30.7, and 48.6 % under BSA at 10, 20, and 40 t ha-1, respectively. Overall, a net reduction in greenhouse gas balance (NGHGB) by 53.9-62.8 % and in greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI) by 14.3-28.6 % was observed following BSA at 20 and 40 t ha-1. The present study suggested a great potential of biochar to enhancing grain yield while reducing carbon emission in metal-polluted rice paddies.
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Application of Pseudomonas fluorescens to Blackberry under Field Conditions Improves Fruit Quality by Modifying Flavonoid Metabolism.

Application of a plant growth promoting rhizobacterium (PGPR), Pseudomonas fluorescens N21.4, to roots of blackberries (Rubus sp.) is part of an optimised cultivation practice to improve yields and quality of fruit throughout the year in this important fruit crop. Blackberries are especially rich in flavonoids and therefore offer potential benefits for human health in prevention or amelioration of chronic diseases. However, the phenylpropanoid pathway and its regulation during ripening have not been studied in detail, in this species. PGPR may trigger flavonoid biosynthesis as part of an induced systemic response (ISR) given the important role of this pathway in plant defence, to cause increased levels of flavonoids in the fruit. We have identified structural genes encoding enzymes of the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid biosynthetic pathways catalysing the conversion of phenylalanine to the final products including flavonols, anthocyanins and catechins from blackberry, and regulatory genes likely involved in controlling the activity of pathway branches. We have also measured the major flavonols, anthocyanins and catechins at three stages during ripening. Our results demonstrate the coordinated expression of flavonoid biosynthetic genes with the accumulation of anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols in developing fruits of blackberry. Elicitation of blackberry plants by treatment of roots with P.fluorescens N21.4, caused increased expression of some flavonoid biosynthetic genes and an accompanying increase in the concentration of selected flavonoids in fruits. Our data demonstrate the physiological mechanisms involved in the improvement of fruit quality by PGPR under field conditions, and highlight some of the genetic targets of elicitation by beneficial bacteria.
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Experimental evidence that wildflower strips increase pollinator visits to crops.

Wild bees provide a free and potentially diverse ecosystem service to farmers growing pollination-dependent crops. While many crops benefit from insect pollination, soft fruit crops, including strawberries are highly dependent on this ecosystem service to produce viable fruit. However, as a result of intensive farming practices and declining pollinator populations, farmers are increasingly turning to commercially reared bees to ensure that crops are adequately pollinated throughout the season. Wildflower strips are a commonly used measure aimed at the conservation of wild pollinators. It has been suggested that commercial crops may also benefit from the presence of noncrop flowers; however, the efficacy and economic benefits of sowing flower strips for crops remain relatively unstudied. In a study system that utilizes both wild and commercial pollinators, we test whether wildflower strips increase the number of visits to adjacent commercial strawberry crops by pollinating insects. We quantified this by experimentally sowing wildflower strips approximately 20 meters away from the crop and recording the number of pollinator visits to crops with, and without, flower strips. Between June and August 2013, we walked 292 crop transects at six farms in Scotland, recording a total of 2826 pollinators. On average, the frequency of pollinator visits was 25% higher for crops with adjacent flower strips compared to those without, with a combination of wild and commercial bumblebees (Bombus spp.) accounting for 67% of all pollinators observed. This effect was independent of other confounding effects, such as the number of flowers on the crop, date, and temperature. Synthesis and applications. This study provides evidence that soft fruit farmers can increase the number of pollinators that visit their crops by sowing inexpensive flower seed mixes nearby. By investing in this management option, farmers have the potential to increase and sustain pollinator populations over time.
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Dandelion root extract affects colorectal cancer proliferation and survival through the activation of multiple death signalling pathways.

Dandelion root extract affects colorectal cancer proliferation and survival through the activation of multiple death signalling pathways. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Dandelion extracts have been studied extensively in recent years for its anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory activity. Recent work from our lab, with in-vitro systems, shows the anti-cancer potential of an aqueous dandelion root extract (DRE) in several cancer cell models, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. In this study, we examined the cancer cell-killing effectiveness of an aqueous DRE in colon cancer cell models. Aqueous DRE induced programmed cell death (PCD) selectively in > 95% of colon cancer cells, irrespective of their p53 status, by 48 hours of treatment. The anti-cancer efficacy of this extract was confirmed in in-vivo studies, as the oral administration of DRE retarded the growth of human colon xenograft models by more than 90%. We found the activation of multiple death pathways in cancer cells by DRE treatment, as revealed by gene expression analyses showing the expression of genes implicated in programmed cell death. Phytochemical analyses of the extract showed complex multi-component composition of the DRE, including some known bioactive phytochemicals such as α-amyrin, β-amyrin, lupeol and taraxasterol. This suggested that this natural extract could engage and effectively target multiple vulnerabilities of cancer cells. Therefore, DRE could be a non-toxic and effective anti-cancer alternative, instrumental for reducing the occurrence of cancer cells drug-resistance.
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Melatonin enhances thermotolerance by promoting cellular protein protection in tomato plants.

Melatonin enhances thermotolerance by promoting cellular protein protection in tomato plants. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Melatonin is a pleiotropic signaling molecule that provides physiological protection against diverse environmental stresses in plants. Nonetheless, the mechanisms for melatonin-mediated thermotolerance remain largely unknown. Here we report that endogenous melatonin levels increased with a rise in ambient temperature and that peaked at 40 °C. Foliar pretreatment with an optimal dose of melatonin (10 μM) or the overexpression of N-acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT) gene effectively ameliorated heat-induced photoinhibition and electrolyte leakage in tomato plants. Both exogenous melatonin treatment and endogenous melatonin manipulation by overexpression of ASMT decreased the levels of insoluble and ubiquitinated proteins, but enhanced the expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) to refold denatured and unfolded proteins under heat stress. Meanwhile, melatonin also induced expression of several ATG genes and formation of autophagosomes to degrade aggregated proteins under the same stress. Proteomic profile analyses revealed that protein aggregates for a large number of biological processes accumulated in wild-type plants. However, exogenous melatonin treatment or overexpression of ASMT, reduced the accumulation of aggregated proteins. Aggegation responsive proteins such as HSP70 and Rubisco activase were preferentially accumulated and ubiquitinated in wild-type plants under heat stress, whilst melatonin mitigated heat stress-induced accumulation and ubiquitination of aggregated proteins. These results suggest that melatonin promotes cellular protein protection through induction of HSPs and autophagy to refold or degrade denatured proteins under heat stress in tomato plants.
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Vinegar residue compost as a growth substrate enhances cucumber resistance against the Fusarium wilt pathogen Fusarium oxysporum by regulating phys...

Vinegar residue compost as a growth substrate enhances cucumber resistance against the Fusarium wilt pathogen Fusarium oxysporum by regulating phys... | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Fusarium wilt caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cucumerinum (FOC) is the most severe soil-borne disease attacking cucumber. To assess the positive effects of vinegar residue substrate (VRS) on the growth and incidence of Fusarium wilt on cucumber, we determined the cucumber growth parameters, disease severity, defense-related enzyme and pathogenesis-related (PR) protein activities, and stress-related gene expression levels. In in vitro and pot experiments, we demonstrated the following results: (i) the VRS extract exhibited a higher biocontrol activity than that of peat against FOC, and significantly improved the growth inhibition of FOC, with values of 48.3 %; (ii) in response to a FOC challenge, antioxidant enzymes and the key enzymes of phenylpropanoid metabolic activities, as well as the PR protein activities in the roots of cucumber, were significantly increased. Moreover, the activities of these proteins were higher in VRS than in peat; (iii) the expression levels of stress-related genes (including glu, pal, and ethylene receptor) elicited responses to the pathogens inoculated in cucumber leaves; and (iv) the FOC treatment significantly inhibited the growth of cucumber seedlings. Moreover, all of the growth indices of plants grown in VRS were significantly higher than those grown in peat. These results offer a new strategy to control cucumber Fusarium wilt, by upregulating the activity levels of defense-related enzymes and PR proteins and adjusting gene expression levels. They also provide a theoretical basis for VRS applications.
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Effect of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on the Growth and Polyphenol Profile of Marjoram, Lemon Balm, and Marigold.

Effect of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on the Growth and Polyphenol Profile of Marjoram, Lemon Balm, and Marigold. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
The aim of this study is to examine the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization on biomass, polyphenol profile, and content of economically important herbs. A pot experiment was performed with marjoram, lemon balm, and marigold applying a commercially available AMF mixture for inoculation. Major polyphenols were identified using HPLC-UV-ESI-qTOFMS on the basis of their UV-vis and mass spectral characteristics, and selected ones were quantified. We showed that AMF can provide different services for each herb. Marjoram had the highest level of fungal colonization (82 M%) followed by lemon balm (62 M%) and marigold (17 M%). AMF inoculation significantly increased the biomass of marjoram (1.5-fold), the number of marigold flowers (1.2-fold), and the yield of rosmarinic acid and lithospermic acid isomers of marjoram (1.5-fold) and lemon balm (1.2-fold). Therefore, the quantity and quality of plant material could be improved by the application of optimized AMF inoculum.
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Frontiers | Nighttime Supplemental LED Inter-lighting Improves Growth and Yield of Single-Truss Tomatoes by Enhancing Photosynthesis in Both Winter and Summer

Frontiers | Nighttime Supplemental LED Inter-lighting Improves Growth and Yield of Single-Truss Tomatoes by Enhancing Photosynthesis in Both Winter and Summer | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Greenhouses with sophisticated environmental control systems, or so-called plant factories with solar light, enable growers to achieve high yields of produce with desirable qualities. In a greenhouse crop with high planting density, low photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) at the lower leaves tends to limit plant growth, especially in the winter when the solar altitude and PPFD at the canopy are low and day length is shorter than in summer. Therefore, providing supplemental lighting to the lower canopy can increase year-round productivity. However, supplemental lighting can be expensive. In some places, the cost of electricity is lower at night, but the effect of using supplemental light at night has not yet been examined. In this study, we examined the effects of supplemental LED inter-lighting (LED inter-lighting hereafter) during the daytime or nighttime on photosynthesis, growth, and yield of single-truss tomato plants both in winter and summer. We used LED inter-lighting modules with combined red and blue light to illuminate lower leaves right after the first anthesis. The PPFD of this light was 165 μmol m-2 s-1 measured at 10 cm from the LED module. LED inter-lighting was provided from 4:00 am to 4:00 pm for the daytime treatments and from 10:00 pm to 10:00 am for the nighttime treatments. Plants exposed only to solar light were used as controls. Daytime LED inter-lighting increased the photosynthetic capacity of middle and lower canopy leaves, which significantly increased yield by 27% in winter; however, photosynthetic capacity and yield were not significantly increased during summer. Nighttime LED inter-lighting increased photosynthetic capacity in both winter and summer, and yield increased by 24% in winter and 12% in summer. In addition, nighttime LED inter-lighting in winter significantly increased the total soluble solids and ascorbic acid content of the tomato fruits, by 20 and 25%, respectively. Use of nighttime LED inter-lighting was also more cost-effective than daytime inter-lighting. Thus, nighttime LED inter-lighting can effectively improve tomato plant growth and yield with lower energy cost compared with daytime both in summer and winter.
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Metabolic Profiling and Antioxidant Assay of Metabolites from Three Radish Cultivars (Raphanus sativus).

Metabolic Profiling and Antioxidant Assay of Metabolites from Three Radish Cultivars (Raphanus sativus). | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
A total of 13 anthocyanins and 33 metabolites; including organic acids, phenolic acids, amino acids, organic compounds, sugar acids, sugar alcohols, and sugars, were profiled in three radish cultivars by using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS)-based metabolite profiling. Total phenolics and flavonoids and their in vitro antioxidant activities were assessed. Pelargonidins were found to be the major anthocyanin in the cultivars studied. The cultivar Man Tang Hong showed the highest level of anthocyanins (1.89 ± 0.07 mg/g), phenolics (0.0664 ± 0.0033 mg/g) and flavonoids (0.0096 ± 0.0004 mg/g). Here; the variation of secondary metabolites in the radishes is described, as well as their association with primary metabolites. The low-molecular-weight hydrophilic metabolite profiles were subjected to principal component analysis (PCA), hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA), Pearson's correlation analysis. PCA fully distinguished the three radish cultivars tested. The polar metabolites were strongly correlated between metabolites that participate in the TCA cycle. The chemometrics results revealed that TCA cycle intermediates and free phenolic acids as well as anthocyanins were higher in the cultivar Man Tang Hong than in the others. Furthermore; superoxide radical scavenging activities and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging were investigated to elucidate the antioxidant activity of secondary metabolites in the cultivars. Man Tang Hong showed the highest superoxide radical scavenging activity (68.87%) at 1000 μg/mL, and DPPH activity (20.78%), followed by Seo Ho and then Hong Feng No. 1. The results demonstrate that GC-TOFMS-based metabolite profiling, integrated with chemometrics, is an applicable method for distinguishing phenotypic variation and determining biochemical reactions connecting primary and secondary metabolism. Therefore; this study might provide information on the relationship between primary and secondary metabolites and a synergistic antioxidant ability derived from the secondary metabolites in the radish cultivars.
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A label-free differential proteomics analysis reveals the effect of melatonin in promoting fruit ripening and anthocyanin accumulation upon post-harvest in tomatoes.

A label-free differential proteomics analysis reveals the effect of melatonin in promoting fruit ripening and anthocyanin accumulation upon post-harvest in tomatoes. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
To better understand the function of melatonin in tomato fruit ripening and quality improvement, a label-free quantitation method was used to investigate the proteins that differ between the control (CK) and 50 μM melatonin treatment (M50) fruits. Proteomics data identified 241 proteins that were significantly influenced by melatonin. These proteins were involved in several ripening-related pathways, including cell-wall metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism. Moreover, the application of exogenous melatonin increased 8 proteins that are related to anthocyanin accumulation during fruit ripening. Additionally, the affected protein levels correlated with the corresponding gene transcript levels. Further, the total anthocyanin content from M50 increased by 52%, 48% and 50% at 5, 8 and 13 DAT (day after melatonin treatment), respectively. The melatonin-mediated promotion of fruit ripening and quality might be due to the altered proteins involved in processes associated with ripening. In this work, we indicated that a senescence-related protein was downregulated in the M50 fruit, while a cell apoptosis inhibitor (API5) protein was upregulated. In addition, peroxidases (POD9, POD12, peroxidase p7-like) and catalase (CAT3) significantly increased in the M50 fruits. Based on the previous studies and our data, we inferred that melatonin might be positively related to fruit ripening but negatively related to fruit senescence. This research provides insights into the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying melatonin-mediated fruit ripening as well as the anthocyanin formation process in tomato fruit at the protein concentration level, and we reveal possible candidates for regulation of anthocyanin formation during fruit ripening.
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Effects of dog rose and watercress extracts on control of green mould decay and postharvest quality of orange fruits.

Effects of dog rose and watercress extracts on control of green mould decay and postharvest quality of orange fruits. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and IC50 values and total phenolics of dog rose fruits were 72.5-80 μL mL(- 1), 130 μg mL(- 1) and 5.7 mg GA g(- 1), respectively. The Fashand watercress population and dog rose extracts exhibited mycelia growth inhibition values of 45.08% and 37.12%, respectively. The results of in vivo study indicated that the treatment of inoculated fruits with both methanol extracts especially the watercress plant extract considerably controls the citrus fruits decay (Penicillium digitatum) up to 73%. In conclusion, methanol extracts of dog rose fruits and especially watercress plant had the potential to be used against citrus green mould and even for the improvement of postharvest quality of orange fruits.
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Determination of Polyphenols, Capsaicinoids, and Vitamin C in New Hybrids of Chili Peppers

Determination of Polyphenols, Capsaicinoids, and Vitamin C in New Hybrids of Chili Peppers | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Six hybrids were subjected to chromatographic analyses by HPLC for the determination of phytochemicals such as capsaicinoid, polyphenol, and vitamin C. The dynamics of ripening of 4 of the hybrids were also characterised. Seven capsaicinoids could be separated and determined; the major compounds were nordihydrocapsaicin, capsaicin, and dihydrocapsaicin, while homocapsaicin and homodihydrocapsaicin derivatives were detected as minor constituents. Capsaicin content ranged between 95.5 ± 4.15 and 1610.2 ± 91.46 μg/g FW, and the highest value was found in Bandai (C. frutescens) at the green ripening stage. The major capsaicinoids had a decreasing tendency in Bandai and Chili 3735 hybrids, while no change was observed in Beibeihong and Lolo during ripening. Nine polyphenol compounds were detected including 8 flavonoids and a nonflavonoid compound in the pods of all hybrids. The major components were naringenin-diglucoside, catechin, and vanillic acid-derivative and luteolin-glucoside. Naringenin-diglucoside ranged from 93.5 ± 4.26 to 368.8 ± 30.77 μg/g FW. Except vanillic acid-derivative, dominant polyphenols increased or remained unchanged during ripening. As for vitamin C, its content tended to increase with the advance in ripening in all hybrids included in this study. The highest value of 3689.4 ± 39.50 μg/g FW was recorded in Fire Flame hybrid.
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Tolerance of Mycorrhiza infected pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) seedling to drought stress under glasshouse conditions.

Tolerance of Mycorrhiza infected pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) seedling to drought stress under glasshouse conditions. | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
The influence of Glomus etunicatum colonization on plant growth and drought tolerance of 3-month-old Pistacia vera seedlings in potted culture was studied in two different water treatments. The arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) inoculation and plant growth (including plant shoot and root weight, leaf area, and total chlorophyll) were higher for well-watered than for water-stressed plants. The growth of AM-treated seedlings was higher than non-AM-treatment regardless of water status. P, K, Zn and Cu contents in AM-treated shoots were greater than those in non-AM shoots under well-watered conditions and drought stress. N and Ca content were higher under drought stress, while AM symbiosis did not affect the Mg content. The contents of soluble sugars, proteins, flavonoid and proline were higher in mycorrhizal than non-mycorrhizal-treated plants under the whole water regime. AM colonization increased the activities of peroxidase enzyme in treatments, but did not affect the catalase activity in shoots and roots under well-watered conditions and drought stress. We conclude that AM colonization improved the drought tolerance of P. vera seedlings by increasing the accumulation of osmotic adjustment compounds, nutritional and antioxidant enzyme activity. It appears that AM formation enhanced the drought tolerance of pistachio plants, which increased host biomass and plant growth.
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Repellency of Plant Extracts against the Legume Flower Thrips Megalurothrips sjostedti (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Repellency of Plant Extracts against the Legume Flower Thrips Megalurothrips sjostedti (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) | Cultivating plants for better health | Scoop.it
Megalurothrips sjostedti Trybom is an important pest of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) in Africa. To propose an alternative to chemical control, the repellency of 24 plant extracts was evaluated against adult female thrips of M. sjostedti in the laboratory. Plant extracts in ethanol were separately applied on a filter paper disk in a still air visual cue olfactometer. The results showed highly significant differences in repellency among extract type, concentration and their interactions. We classified the level of repellency into four categories as strong, good, moderate and weak or non- repellent based on hierarchical ascendant classification. We identified Piper nigrum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum cassia as strong repellents. Five extracts were classified as good, eight as moderate and the remaining eight extracts were weak or non-repellent. Repellency of the extracts increased with the concentration suggesting that the behavioral response of M. sjostedti was dose-dependent. Mono- and sesquiterpene hydrocarbon compounds from seven highly repellent extracts were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The use of repellent extracts could be useful in developing integrated pest management strategies for thrips on legume crops. In this regard, the specific modes of action of the identified compounds need to be investigated to incorporate them into the existing crop protection strategies.
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The influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculation on yam (Dioscorea spp.) tuber weights and secondary metabolite content.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are widely distributed in nature. They live in the roots of higher plants, in a symbiotic relationship. In this study, five commercial species of yams (Dioscorea spp.) were inoculated with six species of AMF, Glomus clarum, G. etunicatum, G. fasciculatum, Gigaspora sp., G. mosseae, and Acaulospora sp., in field cultivation conditions to investigate the influence of AMF inoculation on tuber weights and secondary metabolite content in yam tubers. The results showed that mycorrhizae formation rates ranged from 63.33% to 90%. G. etunicatum inoculation treatment increased the tube weights of the five species of yam tubers by 39%, 35%, 20%, 56%, and 40% for Tainung 1, Tainung 2, Ercih, Zihyuxieshu, and Tainung 5, respectively. The content of secondary metabolites, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanin, was significantly increased by the AMF treatment in tuber flesh and peel of all the tested yam species. Specifically, the maximums exchange of secondary metabolite contents increased to 40%, 42%, and 106% for polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanin, respectively, in the tuber fresh. This study revealed that different species of yam had varying degrees of affinity with various AMF species; selecting effective AMF species is necessary to facilitate yam growth and improve the quality and quantity of yam tubers.
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