Abstract: Sugarcane, Saccharum spp., in the United States is attacked by a number of different arthropod pests. The most serious among those pests are two stalk boring moths in the Family Crambidae: the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.), and the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar). The two species are affected by abiotic and biotic environmental stress factors. Water deficit and excessive soil nitrogen alter physical and physiochemical aspects of the sugarcane plant that make the crop increasingly vulnerable to E. loftini. Weed growth can be competitive with sugarcane but it also supports enhanced abundances and diversity of natural enemies that can suppress infestations of D. saccharalis. In an instance where the stalk borer is considered a stress factor, proximity of vulnerable crops to sugarcane can influence levels of E. loftini infestation of sugarcane. The adverse effects of each stress factor, in terms of stalk borer attack, can be reduced by adopting appropriate cultural practices, such as adequate irrigation, judicious use of nitrogen fertilizer, using noncompetitive weed growth, and not planting vulnerable crops near sugarcane fields. Understanding the relationships between stress factors and crop pests can provide valuable insights for plant breeders and tools for incorporation into integrated pest management strategies.
Abstract: Enhanced efficiency nitrogen (N) fertilizers (EEFs) may improve crop recovery of fertilizer-N, but there is evidence that some EEFs cause a lag in crop growth compared to growth with standard urea. Biomass and mineral nutrient accumulation was investigated in rice fertilized with urea, urea-3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) and polymer-coated urea (PCU) to determine whether any delays in biomass production alter the accumulation patterns, and subsequent grain concentrations, of key mineral nutrients. Plant growth and mineral accumulation and partitioning to grains did not differ significantly between plants fertilized with urea or urea-DMPP. In contrast, biomass accumulation and the accumulation of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and manganese were delayed during the early growth phase of plants fertilized with PCU. However, plants in the PCU treatment ultimately compensated for this by increasing growth and nutrient uptake during the latter vegetative stages so that no differences in biomass or nutrient accumulation generally existed among N fertilizer treatments at anthesis. Delayed biomass accumulation in rice fertilized with PCU does not appear to reduce the total accumulation of mineral nutrients, nor to have any impact on grain mineral nutrition when biomass and grain yields are equal to those of rice grown with urea or urea-DMPP.
Abstract: Crop system models are generally parametrized with daily air temperatures recorded at 1.5 or 2 m height. These data are not able to represent temperatures at the canopy level, which control crop growth, and the impact of heat stress on crop yield, which are modified by canopy characteristics and plant physiological processes Since such data are often not available and current simulation approaches are complex and/or based on unrealistic assumptions, new methods for integrating canopy temperatures in the framework of crop system models are needed. Based on a forward stepwise-based model selection procedure and quantile regression analyses, we developed empirical regression models to predict winter wheat canopy temperatures obtained from thermal infrared observations performed during four growing seasons for three irrigation levels. We used daily meteorological variables and the daily output data of a crop system model as covariates. The standard cross validation revealed a root mean square error (RMSE) of ~0.8 °C, 1.5–2 °C and 0.8–1.2 °C for estimating mean, maximum and minimum canopy temperature, respectively. Canopy temperature of both water-deficit and fully irrigated wheat plots significantly differed from air temperature. We suggest using locally calibrated empirical regression models of canopy temperature as a simple approach for including potentially amplifying or mitigating microclimatic effects on plant response to temperature stress in crop system models.
Abstract: Soil and water pollution by metals and other toxic chemicals is difficult to measure and control, and, as such, presents an ongoing global threat to sustainable agriculture and human health. Efforts to remove contaminants by plant-mediated pathways, or “phytoremediation”, though widely studied, have failed to yield consistent, predictable removal of biological and chemical contaminants. Emerging research has revealed that one major limitation to using plants to clean up the environment is that plants are programmed to protect themselves: Like white blood cells in animals, border cells released from plant root tips carry out an extracellular trapping process to neutralize threats and prevent injury to the host. Variability in border cell trapping has been found to be correlated with variation in sensitivity of roots to aluminum, and removal of border cell results in increased Al uptake into the root tip. Studies now have implicated border cells in responses of diverse plant roots to a range of heavy metals, including arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, mercury, iron, and zinc. A better understanding of border cell extracellular traps and their role in preventing toxin uptake may facilitate efforts to use plants as a nondestructive approach to neutralize environmental threats.
Abstract: Stripe rust (caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) of wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a devastating disease in temperate regions when susceptible varieties are grown and environmental conditions sustain high disease pressures. With frequent and severe outbreaks, disease resistance is a key tool for controlling stripe rust on wheat. The goal of this research was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in stripe rust resistance from the important US Pacific Northwest soft white winter wheat varieties “Eltan” and “Finch”. An F2:5 recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping population of 151 individuals derived from the Finch × Eltan cross was developed through single seed descent. A linkage map comprising 683 unique single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci and 70 SSR markers were used to develop 22 linkage groups consisting of 16 of the 21 chromosomes. Stripe rust data were collected on the RILs during the summers of 2012 to 2014. QTL analysis identified two genomic regions on chromosomes 4A (QYrel.wak-4A) and 6B (QYrfi.wak-6B) associated with resistance from Eltan and Finch, respectively. The results of the QTL analysis showed that QYrel.wak-4A and QYrfi.wak-6B reduced infection type and disease severity. Based upon both molecular and phenotypic differences, QYrel.wak-4A is a novel QTL for adult plant resistance (APR) to stripe rust.