A 50% increase in total radiation by extending the photoperiod from 16 to 24 hr doubled the weight of all cultivars of loose-leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) 'Grand Rapids Forcing', 'Waldmanns Green', 'Salad Bowl', and 'RubyConn', but not a Butterhead cultivar, 'Salina'. When total daily radiation (moles of photons) was the same, plants under continuous radiation weighed 30% to 50% more than plants under a 16 hr photoperiod. By using continuous radiation on loose-leaf lettuce, fewer lamp fixtures were required and yield was increased.
We investigated patterns of variation in alkamides and cichoric acid accumulation in the roots and aboveground parts of Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench. These phytochemicals were extracted from fresh plant parts with 60% ethanol and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. Concentrations of alkamides and cichoric acid were measured on a dry-weight basis (mg·g(-1)). For total alkamides, concentrations among individual plants varied from 5.02 to 27.67 (mean = 14.4%) in roots, from 0.62 to 3.42 (mean = 1.54) in nearly matured seed heads (NMSH), and 0.22 to 5.25 (mean = 0.77) in young tops (about ½ flower heads, ¼ leaves, and ¼ stems). For cichoric acid, concentrations among individual plants varied from 2.65 to 37.52 (mean = 8.95), from 2.03 to 31.58 (mean = 10.9), and from 4.79 to 38.55 (mean = 18.88) in the roots, the NMSH, and the tops, respectively. Dodeca-2E, 4E, 8Z, 10E-tetraenoic acid isobutylamide and dodeca-2E, 4E, 8Z, 10Z-tetraenoic acid isobutylamide (alkamides 8/9) accounted for only 9.4% of the total alkamides in roots, but comprised 87.9% in the NMSH, and 76.6% in the young tops. Correlations of concentrations of alkamides or cichoric acid between those of roots and those of the NMSH were not statistically significant, and either within the roots, the NMSH, and the young tops. However, a significant negative correlation was observed between the concentration of cichoric acid in the roots and in young tops, and a significant positive correlation was observed between total alkamide concentration in the roots and cichoric acid concentration in the young tops. These results may be useful in the genetic improvement of E. purpurea for medicinal use.
Treatment of greenhouse-grown eggplant (Solanum melongena L. var. esculentum Nees. 'Burpee's Black Beauty') seedlings with supplemental photosynthetically active radiation from cool-white fluorescent lamps increased growth of plants subsequently transferred outdoors relative to growth of plants that received no supplemental radiation or were shaded to 45% of solar irradiation in the greenhouse before transfer outdoors. Eggplant seedlings transferred outdoors were placed under plastic tarps either to provide relative protection from solar ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation (280-315 nm) using Mylar film or to allow exposure to UV-B using cellulose acetate. Protection of seedlings from UV-B radiation resulted in greater leaf expansion than for UV-B-exposed seedlings, but no change in leaf or shoot dry weight occurred after 9 days of treatment. Specific leaf weight increased in response to UV-B exposure outdoors. Exposure of eggplant to UV-B radiation from fluorescent sunlamps in the greenhouse also decreased leaf expansion and leaf and shoot dry weight gain after 5 days of treatment. However, there were no differences in leaf or shoot dry weight relative to control plants after 12 days of UV-B treatment, indicating that UV-B treated plants had acclimated to the treatment and actually had caught up with non-UV-B-irradiated plants in terms of growth.
Photosynthesis is fundamentally driven by photon flux rather than energy flux, but not all absorbed photons yield equal amounts of photosynthesis. Thus, two measures of photosynthetically active radiation have emerged: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), which values all photons from 400 to 700 nm equally, and yield photon flux (YPF), which weights photons in the range from 360 to 760 nm according to plant photosynthetic response. We selected seven common radiation sources and measured YPF and PPF from each source with a spectroradiometer. We then compared these measurements with measurements from three quantum sensors designed to measure YPF, and from six quantum sensors designed to measure PPF. There were few differences among sensors within a group (usually <5%), but YPF values from sensors were consistently lower (3% to 20%) than YPF values calculated from spectroradiometric measurements. Quantum sensor measurements of PPF also were consistently lower than PPF values calculated from spectroradiometric measurements, but the differences were <7% for all sources, except red-light-emitting diodes. The sensors were most accurate for broad-band sources and least accurate for narrow-band sources. According to spectroradiometric measurements, YPF sensors were significantly less accurate (>9% difference) than PPF sensors under metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and low-pressure sodium lamps. Both sensor types were inaccurate (>18% error) under red-light-emitting diodes. Because both YPF and PPF sensors are imperfect integrators, and because spectroradiometers can measure photosynthetically active radiation much more accurately, researchers should consider developing calibration factors from spectroradiometric data for some specific radiation sources to improve the accuracy of integrating sensors.
Calcium is known to be a second messenger in many developmental processes in animal systems, but it has only recently become evident that Ca is an important intracellular messenger in plants as well. The level of free Ca concentration in the cytoplasm is extremely low, and it is influenced by extracellular signals such as light, gravity, and hormones. Investigations from our laboratory indicated that Ca and its binding protein, calmodulin, play an important role in stimulus-response coupling by regulating enzyme activities, especially through protein phosphorylation. In vivo and in vitro protein phosphorylation studies have revealed Ca-dependent changes in various plant tissues. We have also been able to influence various physiological processes such as cell elongation, abscission, senescence, and tuberization by altering extracellular and intracellular Ca levels. Other examples of Ca-mediated processes in plants are as follows: a) cell division, b) geotropism, c) protoplasmic streaming, d) stomatal control, e) chloroplast movement, f) secretion, g) hormone-dependent changes, h) enzyme activation, and i) protein phosphorylation.
An overview of the major concepts of Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) includes an identification of environmental factors, such as gravity levels, light levels, and growth volume, that influence the type of CELSS system that can be developed. Various plant growth systems are described together with their possible space applications. Life support functions performed by plants include food production, atmosphere regeneration, and water purification. Selected relationships between biological and physical-chemical life support techniques are considered as a part of these functions. Consumers in a CELSS may be humans, animals, or microorganisms, but nutritional, water, and atmosphere requirements of humans are emphasized in this report, as they are the primary requirement drivers for a CELSS design. The human role in waste generation is discussed as it affects plant nutrient availability. The role of waste management systems in recovering nutrients for plant growth and requirements for CELSS are defined for air, water, and food. Both physical and a biological nutrient recovery/waste disposal systems are examined. The separate subsystems of a CELSS are identified and discussed. Nutrient recovery, plant irradiation, automation, and facilities equipment and applications are reviewed with special attention to direct solar irradiation using fiber optics. These subsystems, along with other environmental control systems, such as thermal, humidity, and ventilation, are essential to plant growth in the space environment.
Limited-cluster production systems may be a useful strategy to increase crop production and profitability for the greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill). In this study, using an ebb-and-flood hydroponics system, we modified plant architecture and spacing and determined the effects on fruit yield and harvest index at two light levels. Single-cluster plants pruned to allow two leaves above the cluster had 25% higher fruit yields than did plants pruned directly above the cluster; this was due to an increase in fruit weight, not fruit number. Both fruit yield and harvest index were greater for all single-cluster plants at the higher light level because of increases in both fruit weight and fruit number. Fruit yield for two-cluster plants was 30% to 40% higher than for single-cluster plants, and there was little difference in the dates or length of the harvest period. Fruit yield for three-cluster plants was not significantly different from that of two-cluster plants; moreover, the harvest period was delayed by 5 days. Plant density (5.5, 7.4, 9.2 plants/m2) affected fruit yield/plant, but not fruit yield/unit area. Given the higher costs for materials and labor associated with higher plant densities, a two-cluster crop at 5.5 plants/m2 with two leaves above the cluster was the best of the production system strategies tested.
The respiration of cut flowers of gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus ex Hook.f. 'Vesuvio') and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) increased exponentially with increasing storage temperature. Poststorage vase life and negatively gravitropic bending of the neck of the flowers were both strongly affected by simulated transport at higher temperatures. Vase life and stem bending after dry storage showed highly significant linear relationships (negative and positive, respectively) with the rate of respiration during storage. The data indicate the importance of maintaining temperatures close to the freezing point during commercial handling and transport of these important commercial cut-flower crops for maximum vase life.
The day-neutral, semidwarf rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivar Ai-Nan-Tsao was grown in a greenhouse under summer conditions using high-pressure sodium lamps to extend the natural photoperiod. After allowing 2 weeks for germination, stand establishment, and thinning to a consistent planting density of 212 plants/m2, stands were maintained under continuous lighting for 35 or 49 days before shifting to 8- or 12-h photoperiods until harvest 76 days after planting. Non-shifted control treatments consisting of 8-, 12-, or 24-h photoperiods also were maintained throughout production. Tiller number increased as duration of exposure to continuous light increased before shifting to shorter photoperiods. However, shoot harvest index and yield efficiency rate were lower for all plants receiving continuous light than for those under the 8- or 12-h photoperiods. Stands receiving 12-h photoperiods throughout production had the highest grain yield per plant and equaled the 8-h-photoperiod control plants for the lowest tiller number per plant. As long as stands were exposed to continuous light, tiller formation continued. Shifting to shorter photoperiods late in the cropping cycle resulted in newly formed tillers that were either sterile or unable to mature grain before harvest. Late-forming tillers also suppressed yield of grain in early-forming tillers, presumably by competing for photosynthate or for remobilized assimilate during senescence. Stands receiving 12-h photoperiods throughout production not only produced the highest grain yield at harvest but had the highest shoot harvest index, which is important for resource-recovery strategies in advanced life-support systems proposed for space.
Plants were grown under light-emitting diode (LED) arrays with various spectra to determine the effects of light quality on the development of diseases caused by tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) on pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlectend:Fr.) Pollaci] on cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum Smith) on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). One LED (660) array supplied 99% red light at 660 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height) and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. A second LED (660/735) array supplied 83% red light at 660 nm and 17% far-red light at 735 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height). A third LED (660/BF) array supplied 98% red light at 660 nm, 1% blue light (BF) between 350 to 550 nm, and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. Control plants were grown under broad-spectrum metal halide (MH) lamps. Plants were grown at a mean photon flux (300 to 800 nm) of 330 micromoles m-2 s-1 under a 12-h day/night photoperiod. Spectral quality affected each pathosystem differently. In the ToMV/pepper pathosystem, disease symptoms developed slower and were less severe in plants grown under light sources that contained blue and UV-A wavelengths (MH and 660/BF treatments) compared to plants grown under light sources that lacked blue and UV-A wavelengths (660 and 660/735 LED arrays). In contrast, the number of colonies per leaf was highest and the mean colony diameters of S. fuliginea on cucumber plants were largest on leaves grown under the MH lamp (highest amount of blue and UV-A light) and least on leaves grown under the 660 LED array (no blue or UV-A light). The addition of far-red irradiation to the primary light source in the 660/735 LED array increased the colony counts per leaf in the S. fuliginea/cucumber pathosystem compared to the red-only (660) LED array. In the P. solanacearum/tomato pathosystem, disease symptoms were less severe in plants grown under the 660 LED array, but the effects of spectral quality on disease development when other wavelengths were included in the light source (MH-, 660/BF-, and 660/735-grown plants) were equivocal. These results demonstrate that spectral quality may be useful as a component of an integrated pest management program for future space-based controlled ecological life support systems.
A system was developed for subjecting plants to elevated air ion levels. This system consisted of a rectangular Plexiglas chamber lined with a Faraday cage. Air ions were generated by corona discharge from frayed stainless steel fibers placed at one end of the chamber. This source was capable of producing varying levels of either positive or negative air ions. During plant exposures, environmental conditions were controlled by operating the unit in a growth chamber.
Chromosome karyotypes of the most commonly cultivated and medicinally used Echinacea taxa, E. angustifolia DC. var. angustifolia and E. purpurea (L.) Moench., were analyzed. The chromosomes of both taxa are medium in length, ranging from 4.12 to 5.83 μm in E. angustifolia var. angustifolia and 3.99 to 6.08 μm in E. purpurea. No abrupt length changes in the chromosomes were noted. The karyotypes of the two species are generally similar, but a distinguishable feature exists in one pair of chromosomes. The centromere of chromosome pair 10 is subterminally located in E. purpurea, but terminally located in E. angustifolia var. angustifolia, which can be readily recognized in mitotic metaphase cell plates. This finding may provide useful information for Echinacea evolutionary, genetic, and breeding studies.
Seeds from five lots each of Echinacea angustifolia DC, and E. pallida (Nutt.) Nutt. were germinated in a growth chamber in light (40 μmol·m(-2)· s(-1)) or darkness at 25 °C for 16 to 20 d after soaking in 1 mM ethephon or water for 10 min, or moist stratification at 4 - 6 °C for two weeks. Either light or ethephon promoted seed germination of E. angustifolia and E. pallida, in comparison with darkness in nine of ten lots. Ethephon in the dark had similar or greater germination percentages than water with light. Ethephon with light improved germination in three of ten lots compared with ethephon in the dark. The effect of cold, moist stratification in comparison with darkness varied by seed lot. Five lots of E. purpurea (L.) Moench were tested; however, no treatment differences were measured. The finding that ethethon promoted E. angustifolia and E. pallida seed germination in darkness could be useful in the cultivation of these two species. Chemical name used: 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).
Most economically important bananas and plantains are large triploid seedless herbs that must be propagated vegetatively by removing small side shoots or "suckers" from the parent plant or by planting seed pieces of larger corms. Consequently, multiplication of stock material is time consuming, Recently, the rapid production of young banana plantlets suitable for use as "seed" material has been described. Vegetative shoot apices were isolated and multiplied using aseptic tissue culture techniques. Although these multiplication systems, once established, can produce thousands of plants in a relatively short period of time, their establishment necessitates the initial sacrifice of an individual specimen, which may not always be desirable or prudent should a limited parent stock be available. We describe here the production and multiplication of rooted banana plantlets from the isolation and culture of terminal floral apices.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) plants were grown hydroponically, using continuously recirculating nutrient solution. Two culture tray designs were tested; one tray design used only nutrient solution, while the other used a sphagnum-filled pod development compartment just beneath the cover and above the nutrient solution. Both trays were fitted with slotted covers to allow developing gynophores to reach the root zone. Peanut seed yields averaged 350 gm-2 dry mass, regardless of tray design, suggesting that substrate is not required for hydroponic peanut production.
'Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and TU-82-155 sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were grown in monocultured or intercropped recirculating hydroponic systems in a greenhouse using the nutrient film technique (NFT). The objective was to determine whether growth and subsequent yield would be affected by intercropping. Treatments were sweetpotato monoculture (SP), peanut monoculture (PN), and sweetpotato and peanut grown in separate NFT channels but sharing a common nutrient solution (SP-PN). Greenhouse conditions ranged from 24 to 33 degrees C, 60% to 90% relative humidity (RH), and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 200 to 1700 micromoles m-2 s-1. Sweetpotato cuttings (15 cm long) and 14-day-old seedlings of peanuts were planted into growth channels (0.15 x 0.15 x 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart within and 25 cm apart between growing channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with a 1 N: 2.4 K ratio was used. Solution pH was maintained between 5.5 and 6.0 for treatments involving SP and 6.4 and 6.7 for PN. Electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 microS cm-1. The number of storage roots per sweetpotato plant was similar for both SP and SP-PN. Storage root fresh and dry mass were 29% and 36% greater, respectively, for plants in the SP-PN treatment than for plants in the SP treatment. The percent dry mass of the storage roots, dry mass of fibrous and pencil roots, and the length-to-diameter ratio of storage roots were similar for SP and SP-PN sweetpotato plants. Likewise, foliage fresh and dry mass and harvest index were not significantly influenced by treatment. Total dry mass was 37% greater for PN than for SP-PN peanut plants, and pod dry mass was 82% higher. Mature and total seed dry mass and fibrous root dry mass were significantly greater for PN than for SP-PN plants. Harvest index (HI) was similar for both treatments. Root length tended to be lower for seedlings grown in the nutrient solution from the SP-PN treatment.
Plants will be an important component of future long-term space missions. Lighting systems for growing plants will need to be lightweight, reliable, and durable, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have these characteristics. Previous studies demonstrated that the combination of red and blue light was an effective light source for several crops. Yet the appearance of plants under red and blue lighting is purplish gray making visual assessment of any problems difficult. The addition of green light would make the plant leave appear green and normal similar to a natural setting under white light and may also offer a psychological benefit to the crew. Green supplemental lighting could also offer benefits, since green light can better penetrate the plant canopy and potentially increase plant growth by increasing photosynthesis from the leaves in the lower canopy. In this study, four light sources were tested: 1) red and blue LEDs (RB), 2) red and blue LEDs with green fluorescent lamps (RGB), 3) green fluorescent lamps (GF), and 4) cool-white fluorescent lamps (CWF), that provided 0%, 24%, 86%, and 51% of the total PPF in the green region of the spectrum, respectively. The addition of 24% green light (500 to 600 nm) to red and blue LEDs (RGB treatment) enhanced plant growth. The RGB treatment plants produced more biomass than the plants grown under the cool-white fluorescent lamps (CWF treatment), a commonly tested light source used as a broad-spectrum control.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with high-intensity output are being studied as a photosynthetic light source for plants. High-output LEDs have peak emission at approximately 660 nm concentrated in a waveband of +/- 30 nm. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa Grand Rapids') seedlings developed extended hypocotyls and elongated cotyledons when grown under these LEDs as a sole source of irradiance. This extension and elongation was prevented when the red LED radiation was supplemented with more than 15 micromoles m-2 s-1 of 400- to 500-nm photons from blue fluorescent lamps. Blue radiation effects were independent of the photon level of the red radiation.
Radish (Raphanus sativus L. cv. Cherriette), lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Waldmann's Green), and spinach (Spinacea oleracea L. cv. Nordic IV) plants were grown under 660-nm red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and were compared at equal photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) with either plants grown under cool-white fluorescent lamps (CWF) or red LEDs supplemented with 10% (30 micromoles m-2 s-1) blue light (400-500 nm) from blue fluorescent (BF) lamps. At 21 days after planting (DAP), leaf photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance were greater for plants grown under CWF light than for those grown under red LEDs, with or without supplemental blue light. At harvest (21 DAP), total dry-weight accumulation was significantly lower for all species tested when grown under red LEDs alone than when grown under CWF light or red LEDs + 10% BF light. Moreover, total dry weight for radish and spinach was significantly lower under red LEDs + 10% BF than under CWF light, suggesting that addition of blue light to the red LEDs was still insufficient for achieving maximal growth for these crops.
Prunella vulgaris (Lamiaceae), commonly known as selfheal, is a perennial herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine. Recent studies have found that P. vulgaris possesses anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and it is likely that this will lead to increased commercial demand for this species. To date, research publications on P. vulgaris cultivation and genetics are scarce. Using accessions originally collected from different geographical regions, we investigated the breeding system of this species by observing variation in floral morphology, time of pollen release, and selfed-seed set in bagged flowers and isolated plants. Two types of floral morphology, one with exerted styles, extending past open corollas when viewed from above, and the other with shorter, inserted styles, were found among 30 accessions. Two accessions originally collected from Asia uniformly displayed exerted styles, and 27 accessions had inserted styles. One accession from Oregon displayed variation in this trait among individual plants. Microscopic observation of seven accessions, including ones with both exerted and inserted styles, revealed that they all release pollen to some degree before the flowers open. Using bagged flowers, we found that selfed-seed set varied widely among eight accessions, ranging from 6% to 94%. However, bagging may underestimate seed set for some accessions. The two accessions with the lowest rates when using bagged flowers increased in seed set by 350% and 158%, respectively, when we evaluated single, unbagged plants in isolation cages. The accession with 6% selfed-seed set when bagged also had exerted styles. These findings suggest that mating systems in P. vulgaris may be in the process of evolutionary change and that understanding breeding-system variation should be useful in developing efficient seed-regeneration protocols and breeding and selection strategies for this species.
This paper describes the use of a commercial growth chamber for canopy photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration measurements. The system was designed to measure transpiration via water vapor fluxes, and the importance of this measurement is discussed. Procedures for continuous measurement of root-zone respiration are described, and new data is presented to dispel myths about sources of water vapor interference in photosynthesis and in the measurement of CO2 by infrared gas analysis. Mitchell (1992) has described the fundamentals of various approaches to measuring photosynthesis. Because our system evolved from experience with other types of single-leaf and canopy gas-exchange systems, it is useful to review advantages and disadvantages of different systems as they apply to various research objectives.
Picture yourself a million miles from earth; it's lunch time. What will you eat: meat, fish, bread, fresh vegetables (cooked or uncooked), or food from a tube? What will happen to the waste products from the processed food or even from yourself? What will you breathe? These and hundreds of detailed questions must be answered. At present, we have little knowledge about a totally closed environment life support system (CELSS). We have developed in this paper a list of references that are pertinent to the problem. It is divided into subject areas and listed chronologically, rather than alphabetically.
This paper describes a closed-loop control system for controlling the irradiance and spectral quality generated by fluorescent lamps in a controlled environment chamber. The 400 to 800 nm irradiance and the ratio of the red waveband (600 to 700 nm) to the far-red waveband (700 to 800 nm) were independently controlled and varied as functions of time. A suggested application is to investigate the possibility of synergistic effects of changing irradiance levels and changing spectral distributions on photoperiodism and photomorphogenesis.
Two types of nondestructive chlorophyll meters were compared with a standard, destructive chlorophyll measurement technique. The nondestructive chlorophyll meters were 1) a custom built, single-wavelength meter, and 2) the recently introduced, dual-wavelengh, chlorophyll meter from Minolta (model SPAD-502). Data from both meters were closely correlated with destructive measurements of chlorophyll (r2 = 0.90 and 0.93; respectively) for leaves with chlorophyll concentrations ranging from 100 to 600 mg m-2, but both meters consistently overestimated chlorophyll outside this range. Although the dual-wavelength meter was slightly more accurate than the single-wavelength meter (higher r2), the light-scattering properties of leaf cells and the nonhomogeneous distribution of chlorophyll in leaves appear to limit the ability of all meters to estimate in vivo chlorophyll concentration.
This study evaluated the potential of high photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, alone or in combination with metal halide (MH) plus quartz iodide (QI) incandescent lamps, to support lettuce growth, with or without N supplementation. Varying exposures to radiation from combined HPS, MH, and QI lamps influenced dry weight gain and photosynthetic pigment content of hydroponically grown Black-Seeded Simpson' lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings. Cumulative leaf dry weight declined with increasing exposure, up to 20 hours per day, to 660 micromoles m-2 s-1 of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) from HPS lamps concomitant with constant 20 hours per day of 400 micromoles m-2 s-1 from MH + QI lamps. Leaves progressively yellowed with increasing exposure to radiation from the three-lamp combination, corresponding to lower specific chlorophyll content but not to specific carotenoid content. Lettuce grown under 20-hour photoperiods of 400, 473, or 668 micromoles m-2 s-1 from HPS radiation alone had the highest leaf dry weight at a PPF of 473 micromoles m-2 s-1. Chlorophyll, but not carotenoid specific content, decreased with each incremental increase in PPF from HPS lamps. Doubling the level of N in nutrient solution and supplying it as a combination of NH4+ and NO3- partially ameliorated adverse effects of high PPF on growth and pigment content relative to treatments using single-strength N as NO3-.
The effects of elevated CO2 on growth, pod, and seed yield, and gas exchange of 'Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were evaluated under controlled environmental conditions. Plants were exposed to concentrations of 400 (ambient), 800, and 1200 micromoles mol-1 CO2 in reach-in growth chambers. Foliage fresh and dry weights increased with increased CO2 up to 800 micromoles mol-1, but declined at 1200 micromoles mol-1. The number and the fresh and dry weights of pods also increased with increasing CO2 concentration. However, the yield of immature pods was not significantly influenced by increased CO2. Total seed yield increased 33% from ambient to 800 micromoles mol-1 CO2, and 4% from 800 to 1200 micromoles mol-1 CO2. Harvest index increased with increasing CO2. Branch length increased while specific leaf area decreased linearly as CO2 increased from ambient to 1200 micromoles mol-1. Net photosynthetic rate was highest among plants grown at 800 micromoles mol-1. Stomatal conductance decreased with increased CO2. Carboxylation efficiency was similar among plants grown at 400 and 800 micromoles mol-1 and decreased at 1200 micromoles mol-1 CO2. These results suggest that CO2 enrichment from 400 to 800 micromoles mol-1 had positive effects on peanut growth and yield, but above 800 micromoles mol-1 enrichment seed yield increased only marginally.
Organic production of one of the most popular botanical supplements, Echinacea, continues to expand in the U.S. Echinacea seeds typically show a high degree of dormancy that can be broken by ethephon or gibberelic acid (GA), but these methods are currently disallowed in organic production. In order to determine the efficacy of non-chemical seed treatments, we evaluated the effect of varying seed source and supplying light, with and without cold-moist stratification, on seed germination of the three most important medicinal species of Echinacea, E. angustifolia DC, E. purpurea (L) Moench, and E. pallida (Nutt.) Nutt. Treatments included cold-moist stratification under 24 h light, 24 h dark, and 16/8 h light/dark to break seed dormancy. We found that germination was greater in the E. purpurea and E. pallida seeds from a commercial organic seed source compared to a public germplasm source. When seeds were not cold-moist stratified, 16-24 h light increased germination in E. angustifolia only. Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida seeds that were cold-moist stratified under 16-24 h of light for 4 wk had a significantly greater percentage and rate of germination compared to seeds germinated in the dark. Therefore, cold-moist stratification under light conditions is recommended as a method to break seed dormancy and increase germination rates in organic production of Echinacea.
Seed germination patterns were studied in E. purpurea (L.) Moench grouped by seed source, one group of seven lots from commercially cultivated populations and a second group of nine lots regenerated from ex situ conserved wild populations. Germination tests were conducted in a growth chamber in light (40 μmol·m(-2)·s(-1)) or darkness at 25 °C for 20 days after soaking the seeds in water for 10 minutes. Except for two seed lots from wild populations, better germination was observed for commercially cultivated populations in light (90% mean among seed lots, ranging from 82% to 95%) and in darkness (88% mean among seed lots, ranging from 82% to 97%) than for wild populations in light (56% mean among seed lots, ranging from 9% to 92%) or in darkness (37% mean among seed lots, ranging from 4% to 78%). No germination difference was measured between treatments in light and darkness in the commercially cultivated populations, but significant differences were noted for treatments among wild populations. These results suggest that repeated cycles of sowing seeds during cultivation without treatments for dormancy release resulted in reduced seed dormancy in E. purpurea.
Chlorosis and necrotic spotting develop on the foliage of particular cultivars of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) when grown under constant light. 'Kennebec', a cultivar severely injured by constant light when propagated from tissue-cultured plantlets, also was injured when plants were propagated from small tuber pieces (approximately 1 g). However, plants did not develop injury when propagated from large tuber pieces (approximately 100 g). Plants from large tuber pieces grew more rapidly than plants from small tuber pieces. The role of plant vigor and carbohydrate translocation in controlling injury development is discussed.
Plants of the potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars Denali, Norland, Haig and Kennebec were grown for 42 days under three temperature cycling periods (thermoperiods) with continuous irradiation in two repeated experiments to help determine if temperature cycling might be varied to optimize tuber development of potatoes in controlled environments. Thermoperiods of 6/6 hours, 12/12 hours and 24/24 hours were established with the same temperature change of 22/14C and same controlled vapor pressure deficit of 0.60 kPa. The thermoperiod of 24/24 hours significantly promoted tuber initiation but slowed tuber enlargement in all four cultivars, compared to the thermoperiods of 6/6 hours and 12/12 hours. Denali' produced the highest tuber and total dry weights under the 6/6 hours thermoperiod. Kennebec' produced the highest tuber dry weight under the 12/12 hours thermoperiod. Thermoperiods had no significant effect on shoot and root dry weights of any cultivars. The major effect of thermoperiods was on initiation and enlargement of tubers.
In the past, plant growth generally has been measured using destructive methods. This paper describes a nondestructive technique for continuously monitoring plant growth. The technique provides a means of directly and accurately measuring plant growth over both short and long time intervals. Application of this technique to the direct measurement of plant growth rates is illustrated using corn (Zea mays L.) as an example.
Triacontanol (1-triacontanol) applied as a foliar spray at 10(-7) M to 4-day-old, hydroponically grown leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings in a controlled environment increased leaf fresh and dry weight 13% to 20% and root fresh and dry weight 13% to 24% 6 days after application, relative to plants sprayed with water. When applied at 8 as well as 4 days after seeding, triacontanol increased plant fresh and dry weight, leaf area, and mean relative growth rate 12% to 37%. There was no benefit of repeating application of triacontanol in terms of leaf dry weight gain.
To assess the cost and area/volume requirements of a farm in a space station or Lunar or Martian base, a few laboratories in the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Japan are studying optimum controlled environments for the production of selected crops. Temperature, light, photoperiod, CO2, humidity, the root-zone environment, and cultivars are the primary factors being manipulated to increase yields and harvest index. Our best wheat yields on a time basis (24 g m-2 day-1 of edible biomass) are five times good field yields and twice the world record. Similar yields have been obtained in other laboratories with potatoes and lettuce; soybeans are also promising. These figures suggest that approximately 30 m2 under continuous production could support an astronaut with sufficient protein and about 2800 kcal day-1. Scientists under Iosif Gitelzon in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, have lived in a closed system for up to 5 months, producing 80% of their own food. Thirty square meters for crops were allotted to each of the two men taking part in the experiment. A functional controlled-environment life-support system (CELSS) will require the refined application of several disciplines: controlled-environment agriculture, food preparation, waste disposal, and control-systems technology, to list only the broadest categories. It has seemed intuitively evident that ways could be found to prepare food, regenerate plant nutrients from wastes, and even control and integrate several subsystems of a CELSS. But could sufficient food be produced in the limited areas and with the limited energy that might be available? Clearly, detailed studies of food production were necessary.
Plant density and harvest time were manipulated to optimize vegetative (foliar) productivity of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] canopies for future dietary use in controlled ecological life-support systems as vegetables or salad greens. Productivity was measured as total shoot and edible dry weights (DW), edible yield rate [(EYR) grams DW per square meter per day], shoot harvest index [(SHI) grams DW per edible gram DW total shoot], and yield-efficiency rate [(YER) grams DW edible per square meter per day per grams DW nonedible]. Cowpeas were grown in a greenhouse for leaf-only harvest at 14, 28, 42, 56, 84, or 99 plants/m2 and were harvested 20, 30, 40, or 50 days after planting (DAP). Shoot and edible dry weights increased as plant density and time to harvest increased. A maximum of 1189 g shoot DW/m2 and 594 g edible DW/m2 were achieved at an estimated plant density of 85 plants/m2 and harvest 50 DAP. EYR also increased as plant density and time to harvest increased. An EYR of 11 g m-2 day-1 was predicted to occur at 86 plants/m2 and harvest 50 DAP. SHI and YER were not affected by plant density. However, the highest values of SHI (64%) and YER (1.3 g m-2 day-1 g-1) were attained when cowpeas were harvested 20 DAP. The average fat and ash contents [dry-weight basis (dwb)] of harvested leaves remained constant regardless of harvest time. Average protein content increased from 25% DW at 30 DAP to 45% DW at 50 DAP. Carbohydrate content declined from 50% DW at 30 DAP to 45% DW at 50 DAP. Total dietary fiber content (dwb) of the leaves increased from 19% to 26% as time to harvest increased from 20 to 50 days.
Five greenhouse-grown cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] cultivars were tested in a generalized random complete-block design to determine the effect of early leaf harvest on dry weight and protein concentration of plant parts at maturity. The most recent, fully expanded leaves on each branch from one group of plants were harvested at 5 and 7 weeks after planting. On the other groups of plants, no early leaf harvest was performed. Dry weight and protein concentration (dry weight basis) were determined for leaves, stems, and seeds at maturity and for leaves harvested early. Weight and protein concentration of seeds, leaves, and stems differed significantly between cultivars; protein concentration of leaves harvested at 5 or 7 weeks did not. Dry weight of leaves harvested at 5 vs. 7 weeks did not differ significantly, but leaf protein concentration was significantly higher at 5 weeks compared to 7 weeks. Across all cultivars, early leaf harvest had no significant effect on leaf or stem weight per plant at maturity. However, there was a significant decrease in seed weight when leaves were harvested early. Results suggest that even limited leaf harvest at 5 and 7 weeks has detrimental effects on yield, but not on protein concentration, of cowpea seeds harvested at maturity.
A system was developed in which nutrient flow to plant roots is controlled by a thin (0.98 or 1.18 mm) porous (0.2 or 0.5 microns) stainless steel sheet membrane. The flow of nutrient solution through the membrane is controlled by adjusting the relative negative pressure on the nutrient solution side of the membrane. Thus, the nutrient solution is contained by the membrane and cannot escape from the compartment even under microgravity conditions if the appropriate pressure gradient across the membrane is maintained. Plant roots grow directly on the top surface of the membrane and pull the nutrient solution through this membrane interface. The volume of nutrient solution required by this system for plant growth is relatively small, since the plenum, which contains the nutrient solution in contact with the membrane, needs only to be of sufficient size to provide for uniform flow to all parts of the membrane. Solution not passing through the membrane to the root zone is recirculated through a reservoir where pH and nutrient levels are controlled. The size of the solution reservoir depends on the sophistication of the replenishment system. The roots on the surface of the membrane are covered with a polyethylene film (white on top, black on bottom) to maintain a high relative humidity and also limit light to prevent algal growth. Seeds are sown directly on the stainless steel membrane under the holes in the polyethylene film that allow a pathway for the shoots.
Closed and semi-closed plant growth chambers have long been used in studies of plant and crop physiology. These studies include the measurement of photosynthesis and transpiration via photosynthetic gas exchange. Unfortunately, other gaseous products of plant metabolism can accumulate in these chambers and cause artifacts in the measurements. The most important of these gaseous byproducts is the plant hormone ethylene (C2H4). In spite of hundreds of manuscripts on ethylene, we still have a limited understanding of the synthesis rates throughout the plant life cycle. We also have a poor understanding of the sensitivity of intact, rapidly growing plants to ethylene. We know ethylene synthesis and sensitivity are influenced by both biotic and abiotic stresses, but such whole plant responses have not been accurately quantified. Here we present an overview of basic studies on ethylene synthesis and sensitivity.
Polyurethane foam plugs commonly are used as collars or supports to grow plants in solution culture. Despite their utility, these foam plugs can be quite toxic to plants, particularly to small seedlings. We have observed tissue injury in tests using plugs to support lettuce, red beet, and potato plants in solution culture. Typically, the injury is initiated on the hypocotyl or stem tissue in direct contact with the foam, and appears within 30 hr as a brownish discoloration on the tissue surface. This discoloration can be followed by complete collapse of affected tissue and eventual death of the seedling. When injury does not progress beyond surface browning, the seedling survives but growth is slowed. In this paper, we report on different treatments that can be used to remove the toxicity of these plugs so they can be used in plant research.
The relationship between mature Cycas micronesica K.D. Hill seed sterol concentration and content and plant or seed phenotypic characteristics was established by multiple regression. Combined models were significant for free but not glycosylated sterols. Reduced models revealed leaf number as the only significant predictor. Free and glycosylated sterol concentrations were unaffected throughout the range of several predictors: tree height (1.7 to 5.8 m), seed fresh weight (48 to 120 g), seed load (one to 76 seeds per plant), and estimated tree age (32 to 110 years). The free and glycosylated sterol phenotypes were also not dependent on the presence/absence of developed embryos in mature seeds. The significant response to leaf number was subtle with an increase of 43 leaves associated with a 0.1-mg increase in free sterol per gram seed fresh weight. This is the first report for any cycad that discusses reproductive or physiological traits in the context of allometric relations. Results indicate a highly constrained phenotypic plasticity of Cycas gametophyte sterol and steryl glucoside concentration and seed content in relation to whole plant and organ size variation.
Orientation of root growth on earth and under microgravity conditions can possibly be controlled by hydrotropism--growth toward a moisture source in the absence of or reduced gravitropism. A porous-tube water delivery system being used for plant growth studies is appropriate for testing this hypothesis since roots can be grown aeroponically in this system. When the roots of the agravitropic mutant pea ageotropum (Pisum sativum L.) were placed vertically in air of 91% relative humidity and 2 to 3 mm from the water-saturated porous tube placed horizontally, the roots responded hydrotropically and grew in a continuous arch along the circular surface of the tube. By contrast, normal gravitropic roots of Alaska' pea initially showed a slight transient curvature toward the tube and then resumed vertical downward growth due to gravitropism. Thus, in microgravity, normal gravitropic roots could respond to a moisture gradient as strongly as the agravitropic roots used in this study. Hydrotropism should be considered a significant factor responsible for orientation of root growth in microgravity.
A nutrient delivery system that may have applicability for growing plants in microgravity is described. The Vacuum-Operated Nutrient Delivery System (VONDS) draws nutrient solution across roots that are under a partial vacuum at approximately 91 kPa. Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Blue Lake 274) plants grown on the VONDS had consistently greater leaf area and higher root, stem, leaf, and pod dry weights than plants grown under nonvacuum control conditions. This study demonstrates the potential applicability of the VONDS for growing plants in microgravity for space biology experimentation and/or crop production.
Electronic dimming of high-intensity discharge lamps offers control of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) but is often characterized as causing significant spectral changes. Growth chambers with 400-W metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps were equipped with a dimmer system using silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCR) as high-speed switches. Phase control operation turned the line power off for some period of the alternating current cycle. At full power, the electrical input to HPS and MH lamps was 480 W (root mean squared) and could be decreased to 267 W and 428 W, respectively, before the arc was extinguished. Concomitant with this decrease in input power, PPF decreased by 60% in HPS and 50% in MH. The HPS lamp has characteristic spectral peaks at 589 and 595 nm. As power to the HPS lamps was decreased, the 589-nm peak remained constant while the 595-nm peak decreased, equaling the 589-nm peak at 345-W input, and the 589-nm peak was almost absent at 270-W input. The MH lamp has a broader spectral output but also has a peak at 589 nm and another smaller peak at 545 nm. As input power to the MH lamps decreased, the peak at 589 diminished to equal the 545-nm peak. As input power approached 428 W, the 589-nm peak shifted to 570 nm. While the spectrum changed as input power was decreased in the MH and HPS lamps, the phytochrome equilibrium ratio (Pfr : Ptot) remains unchanged for both lamp types.
Development of a more effective radiation source for use in plant-growing facilities would be of significant benefit for both research and commercial crop production applications. An array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce red radiation, supplemented with a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 30 micromoles s-1 m-2 in the 400- to 500-nm spectral range from blue fluorescent lamps, was used effectively as a radiation source for growing plants. Growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. Grand Rapids') plants maintained under the LED irradiation system at a total PPF of 325 micromoles s-1 m-2 for 21 days was equivalent to that reported in the literature for plants grown for the same time under cool-white fluorescent and incandescent radiation sources. Characteristics of the plants, such as leaf shape, color, and texture, were not different from those found with plants grown under cool-white fluorescent lamps. Estimations of the electrical energy conversion efficiency of a LED system for plant irradiation suggest that it may be as much as twice that published for fluorescent systems.
'Salad Bowl' and 'Waldmann's Green' leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) were exposed to photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFD) of 444 or 889 micromoles s-1 m-2 for 20 hours day-1 under a diurnal temperature regime of 25 degrees C days/15 degrees nights or 20 degrees days/15 degrees nights. Leaf dry weight of both cultivars was highest under the high PPFD/warm temperature regime and lowest under the low PPFD/cool temperature regime. 'Waldmann's Green' yielded more than did 'Salad Bowl' at 889 micromoles s-1 m-2 and 25 degrees days/20 degrees nights. Under high PPFD, both cultivars yielded better with 25 degrees days/25 degrees nights than with 25 degrees days/20 degrees nights, although relative growth rates were the same under both temperature regimes.