Open AccessArticle
Fluorescent Nano-Probes to Image Plant Cell Walls by Super-Resolution STED Microscopy
Plants 2018, 7(1), 11; doi:10.3390/plants7010011 -
Abstract
Lignocellulosic biomass is a complex network of polymers making up the cell walls of plants. It represents a feedstock of sustainable resources to be converted into fuels, chemicals, and materials. Because of its complex architecture, lignocellulose is a recalcitrant material that requires some
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Lignocellulosic biomass is a complex network of polymers making up the cell walls of plants. It represents a feedstock of sustainable resources to be converted into fuels, chemicals, and materials. Because of its complex architecture, lignocellulose is a recalcitrant material that requires some pretreatments and several types of catalysts to be transformed efficiently. Gaining more knowledge in the architecture of plant cell walls is therefore important to understand and optimize transformation processes. For the first time, super-resolution imaging of poplar wood samples has been performed using the Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) technique. In comparison to standard confocal images, STED reveals new details in cell wall structure, allowing the identification of secondary walls and middle lamella with fine details, while keeping open the possibility to perform topochemistry by the use of relevant fluorescent nano-probes. In particular, the deconvolution of STED images increases the signal-to-noise ratio so that images become very well defined. The obtained results show that the STED super-resolution technique can be easily implemented by using cheap commercial fluorescent rhodamine-PEG nano-probes which outline the architecture of plant cell walls due to their interaction with lignin. Moreover, the sample preparation only requires easily-prepared plant sections of a few tens of micrometers, in addition to an easily-implemented post-treatment of images. Overall, the STED super-resolution technique in combination with a variety of nano-probes can provide a new vision of plant cell wall imaging by filling in the gap between classical photon microscopy and electron microscopy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Imaging and Spectroscopy of Natural Fluorophores in Pine Needles
Plants 2018, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/plants7010010 -
Abstract
Many plant tissues fluoresce due to the natural fluorophores present in cell walls or within the cell protoplast or lumen. While lignin and chlorophyll are well-known fluorophores, other components are less well characterized. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of fresh or fixed vibratome-cut sections of
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Many plant tissues fluoresce due to the natural fluorophores present in cell walls or within the cell protoplast or lumen. While lignin and chlorophyll are well-known fluorophores, other components are less well characterized. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of fresh or fixed vibratome-cut sections of radiata pine needles revealed the presence of suberin, lignin, ferulate, and flavonoids associated with cell walls as well as several different extractive components and chlorophyll within tissues. Comparison of needles in different physiological states demonstrated the loss of chlorophyll in both chlorotic and necrotic needles. Necrotic needles showed a dramatic change in the fluorescence of extractives within mesophyll cells from ultraviolet (UV) excited weak blue fluorescence to blue excited strong green fluorescence associated with tissue browning. Comparisons were made among fluorophores in terms of optimal excitation, relative brightness compared to lignin, and the effect of pH of mounting medium. Fluorophores in cell walls and extractives in lumens were associated with blue or green emission, compared to the red emission of chlorophyll. Autofluorescence is, therefore, a useful method for comparing the histology of healthy and diseased needles without the need for multiple staining techniques, potentially aiding visual screening of host resistance and disease progression in needle tissue. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Nitrogen Fertilizer Management in Dryland Wheat Cropping Systems
Plants 2018, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/plants7010009 -
Abstract
Wheat is the most widely cultivated food crop in the world, which provides nutrition to most of the world population and is well adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Timely and efficient rates of nitrogen (N) application are vital for increasing
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Wheat is the most widely cultivated food crop in the world, which provides nutrition to most of the world population and is well adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Timely and efficient rates of nitrogen (N) application are vital for increasing wheat grain yield and protein content, and maintaining environmental sustainability. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of using different rates and split application of N on the performance of spring wheat in dryland cropping systems. The experiment was conducted in three different locations in Montana and Idaho during two consecutive growing seasons. A split-plot experimental design was used with three at planting N fertilization application (0, 90 and 135 kg N ha−1) and two topdressing N fertilization strategies as treatments. A number of variables such as grain yield (GY), protein content (GP) in the grains and N uptake (NUP) were assessed. There was a significant effect of climate, N rate, and time application on the wheat performance. The results showed that at-planting N fertilizer application of 90 kg N ha−1 has significantly increased GY, GP and NUP. On the other hand, for these site-years, increasing at-planting N fertilizer rate to 135 kg N ha−1 did not further enhance wheat GY, GP and NUP values. For all six site-years, topdress N fertilizer applied at flowering did not improve wheat GY, GP and NUP compared to at-planting fertilizer alone. As the risk of yield loss is minimal with split N application, from these results we concluded the best treatment for study is treatments that had received 90 kg N ha−1 split as 45 kg N ha−1 at planting and 45 kg N ha−1 at flowering. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cistus incanus from Strandja Mountain as a Source of Bioactive Antioxidants
Plants 2018, 7(1), 8; doi:10.3390/plants7010008 -
Abstract
The purpose of the present study is to survey the extraction conditions and explore the antioxidant potential of the wild herb Cistus incanus, which is non-traditional in Bulgarian ethnomedicine and widespread in the Strandja Mountain. The influence of the extraction time (0–500
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The purpose of the present study is to survey the extraction conditions and explore the antioxidant potential of the wild herb Cistus incanus, which is non-traditional in Bulgarian ethnomedicine and widespread in the Strandja Mountain. The influence of the extraction time (0–500 min) and solvent composition (0–50% ethanol in water) on the polyphenols, flavonoid yields and on the antioxidant capacity of the extracts of leaves, stalks (wood parts) and bud mixture were studied. The antioxidant capacity (AOC) was evaluated by use of scavenging assays of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. Total polyphenol and flavonoid contents were quantified using UV–vis (ultraviolet-visible) spectrophotometry. The optimal yield of the desired components was obtained with 30% ethanol in water solvent at the 390th min of extraction time. In addition, the influence of seasonality (winter and summer Cistus incanus), and of the different aerial parts—hard-coated seeds, buds, and a mixture of leaves and stalks of the wild plant—on the presence of polyphenols, flavonoids, and AOC were investigated. The present work revealed that the high values of polyphenols, flavonoids and the high AOC occurred not only in the summer leaves, but were also found in the winter leaves, hard-coated seeds, buds, and stalks. Based on the obtained results, the Cistus incanus from Strandja Mountain could be an excellent new source of natural antioxidants in food and for the pharmaceutical industries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Raman Imaging of Plant Cell Walls in Sections of Cucumis sativus
Plants 2018, 7(1), 7; doi:10.3390/plants7010007 -
Abstract
Raman microspectra combine information on chemical composition of plant tissues with spatial information. The contributions from the building blocks of the cell walls in the Raman spectra of plant tissues can vary in the microscopic sub-structures of the tissue. Here, we discuss the
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Raman microspectra combine information on chemical composition of plant tissues with spatial information. The contributions from the building blocks of the cell walls in the Raman spectra of plant tissues can vary in the microscopic sub-structures of the tissue. Here, we discuss the analysis of 55 Raman maps of root, stem, and leaf tissues of Cucumis sativus, using different spectral contributions from cellulose and lignin in both univariate and multivariate imaging methods. Imaging based on hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) indicates different substructures in the xylem cell walls of the different tissues. Using specific signals from the cell wall spectra, analysis of the whole set of different tissue sections based on the Raman images reveals differences in xylem tissue morphology. Due to the specifics of excitation of the Raman spectra in the visible wavelength range (532 nm), which is, e.g., in resonance with carotenoid species, effects of photobleaching and the possibility of exploiting depletion difference spectra for molecular characterization in Raman imaging of plants are discussed. The reported results provide both, specific information on the molecular composition of cucumber tissue Raman spectra, and general directions for future imaging studies in plant tissues. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Deciphering the Evolution and Development of the Cuticle by Studying Lipid Transfer Proteins in Mosses and Liverworts
Plants 2018, 7(1), 6; doi:10.3390/plants7010006 -
Abstract
When plants conquered land, they developed specialized organs, tissues, and cells in order to survive in this new and harsh terrestrial environment. New cell polymers such as the hydrophobic lipid-based polyesters cutin, suberin, and sporopollenin were also developed for protection against water loss,
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When plants conquered land, they developed specialized organs, tissues, and cells in order to survive in this new and harsh terrestrial environment. New cell polymers such as the hydrophobic lipid-based polyesters cutin, suberin, and sporopollenin were also developed for protection against water loss, radiation, and other potentially harmful abiotic factors. Cutin and waxes are the main components of the cuticle, which is the waterproof layer covering the epidermis of many aerial organs of land plants. Although the in vivo functions of the group of lipid binding proteins known as lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) are still rather unclear, there is accumulating evidence suggesting a role for LTPs in the transfer and deposition of monomers required for cuticle assembly. In this review, we first present an overview of the data connecting LTPs with cuticle synthesis. Furthermore, we propose liverworts and mosses as attractive model systems for revealing the specific function and activity of LTPs in the biosynthesis and evolution of the plant cuticle. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Plants in 2017
Plants 2018, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/plants7010005 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Plants maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Nutrition of Fruit Trees to Reconcile Productivity and Environmental Concerns
Plants 2018, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/plants7010004 -
Abstract
Although perennial fruit crops represent 1% of global agricultural land, they are of a great economic importance in world trade and in the economy of many regions. The perennial woody nature of fruit trees, their physiological stages of growth, the root distribution pattern,
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Although perennial fruit crops represent 1% of global agricultural land, they are of a great economic importance in world trade and in the economy of many regions. The perennial woody nature of fruit trees, their physiological stages of growth, the root distribution pattern, and the presence of herbaceous vegetation in alleys make orchard systems efficient in the use and recycling of nitrogen (N). The present paper intends to review the existing literature on N nutrition of young and mature deciduous and evergreen fruit trees with special emphasis to temperate and Mediterranean climates. There are two major sources of N contributing to vegetative tree growth and reproduction: root N uptake and internal N cycling. Optimisation of the use of external and internal N sources is important for a sustainable fruit production, as N use efficiency by young and mature fruit trees is generally lower than 55% and losses of fertilizer N may occur with the consequent economic and environmental concern. Organic alternatives to mineral N fertilizer like the application of manure, compost, mulching, and cover crops are scarcely used in perennial fruit trees, in spite of the fact that society’s expectations call for more sustainable production techniques and the demand for organic fruits is increasing. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Advances in Non-Destructive Early Assessment of Fruit Ripeness towards Defining Optimal Time of Harvest and Yield Prediction—A Review
Plants 2018, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/plants7010003 -
Abstract
Global food security for the increasing world population not only requires increased sustainable production of food but a significant reduction in pre- and post-harvest waste. The timing of when a fruit is harvested is critical for reducing waste along the supply chain and
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Global food security for the increasing world population not only requires increased sustainable production of food but a significant reduction in pre- and post-harvest waste. The timing of when a fruit is harvested is critical for reducing waste along the supply chain and increasing fruit quality for consumers. The early in-field assessment of fruit ripeness and prediction of the harvest date and yield by non-destructive technologies have the potential to revolutionize farming practices and enable the consumer to eat the tastiest and freshest fruit possible. A variety of non-destructive techniques have been applied to estimate the ripeness or maturity but not all of them are applicable for in situ (field or glasshouse) assessment. This review focuses on the non-destructive methods which are promising for, or have already been applied to, the pre-harvest in-field measurements including colorimetry, visible imaging, spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging. Machine learning and regression models used in assessing ripeness are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Occurrence of Flavonoids and Related Compounds in Cedrus brevifolia A. Henry ex Elwes & A. Henry Needles. Inhibitory Potencies on Lipoxygenase, Linoleic Acid Lipid Peroxidation and Antioxidant Activity
Plants 2018, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/plants7010001 -
Abstract
The phytochemical analysis of the polar extracts of Cedrus brevifolia needles yielded 20 compounds, namely from the methanol extract we isolated three flavonoids (13), one hydrolysable tannin (4), eleven phenolic derivatives (515) and
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The phytochemical analysis of the polar extracts of Cedrus brevifolia needles yielded 20 compounds, namely from the methanol extract we isolated three flavonoids (13), one hydrolysable tannin (4), eleven phenolic derivatives (515) and one apocarotenoid (16), while from the methanol: water (5:1) extract we isolated four flavonoids (1720). Chemical structures of all isolated compounds were determined by 1D, 2D-NMR (1 Dimension, 2 Dimensions Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and UV-Vis (Ultraviolet-Visible) spectroscopy. Furthermore, the antioxidant potentials and the anti-inflammatory activities of both crude extracts and isolates were evaluated through DPPH radical scavenging capability, linoleic acid lipid peroxidation inhibition, and soybean LOX inhibition assays. This is the first report on the chemical profile of C. brevifolia needles. Catechin was the main compound derived from the methanol extract. According to our results, 4-O-β-d-glucopyranyl trans-p-coumaric acid and taxifolin were the most active ingredients. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Flavonoids and Phenolic Acids from Oregano: Occurrence, Biological Activity and Health Benefits
Plants 2018, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/plants7010002 -
Abstract
Several herb species classified as oregano have been widely used in folk medicine to alleviate inflammation-related diseases, respiratory and digestive disorders, headaches, rheumatism, diabetes and others. These potential health benefits are partially attributed to the phytochemical compounds in oregano such as flavonoids (FL)
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Several herb species classified as oregano have been widely used in folk medicine to alleviate inflammation-related diseases, respiratory and digestive disorders, headaches, rheumatism, diabetes and others. These potential health benefits are partially attributed to the phytochemical compounds in oregano such as flavonoids (FL) and phenolic acids (PA). Flavonoids and phenolic acids are among the most abundant and most studied phytochemicals in oregano species. Epidemiological, in vitro and in vivo experiments have related long-term consumption of dietary FL and PA with a decreased risk of incidence of chronic diseases. The aim of this manuscript is to summarize the latest studies on the identification and distribution of flavonoids and phenolic compounds from oregano species and their potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer health benefits. Full article
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Open AccessReview
TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA 1-Dependent Regulation of Flavonoid Biosynthesis
Plants 2017, 6(4), 65; doi:10.3390/plants6040065 -
Abstract
The flavonoid composition of various tissues throughout plant development is of biological relevance and particular interest for breeding. Arabidopsis thaliana TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA 1 (AtTTG1) is an essential regulator of late structural genes in flavonoid biosynthesis. Here, we provide a review of the
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The flavonoid composition of various tissues throughout plant development is of biological relevance and particular interest for breeding. Arabidopsis thaliana TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA 1 (AtTTG1) is an essential regulator of late structural genes in flavonoid biosynthesis. Here, we provide a review of the regulation of the pathway’s core enzymes through AtTTG1-containing R2R3-MYELOBLASTOSIS-basic HELIX-LOOP-HELIX-WD40 repeat (MBW(AtTTG1)) complexes embedded in an evolutionary context. We present a comprehensive collection of A. thalianattg1 mutants and AtTTG1 orthologs. A plethora of MBW(AtTTG1) mechanisms in regulating the five major TTG1-dependent traits is highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dead Pericarps of Dry Fruits Function as Long-Term Storage for Active Hydrolytic Enzymes and Other Substances That Affect Germination and Microbial Growth
Plants 2017, 6(4), 64; doi:10.3390/plants6040064 -
Abstract
It is commonly assumed that dead pericarps of dry indehiscent fruits have evolved to provide an additional physical layer for embryo protection and as a means for long distance dispersal. The pericarps of dry fruits undergo programmed cell death (PCD) during maturation whereby
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It is commonly assumed that dead pericarps of dry indehiscent fruits have evolved to provide an additional physical layer for embryo protection and as a means for long distance dispersal. The pericarps of dry fruits undergo programmed cell death (PCD) during maturation whereby most macromolecules such DNA, RNA, and proteins are thought to be degraded and their constituents remobilized to filial tissues such as embryo and endosperm. We wanted to test the hypothesis that the dead pericarp represents an elaborated layer that is capable of storing active proteins and other substances for increasing survival rate of germinating seeds. Using in gel assays we found that dead pericarps of both dehiscent and indehiscent dry fruits of various plant species including Arabidopsis thaliana and Sinapis alba release upon hydration multiple active hydrolytic enzymes that can persist in an active form for decades, including nucleases, proteases, and chitinases. Proteomic analysis of indehiscent pericarp of S. alba revealed multiple proteins released upon hydration, among them proteases and chitinases, as well as proteins involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification and cell wall modification. Pericarps appear to function also as a nutritional element-rich storage for nitrate, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and others. Sinapis alba dehiscent and indehiscent pericarps possess germination inhibitory substances as well as substances that promote microbial growth. Collectively, our study explored previously unknown features of the dead pericarp acting also as a reservoir of biological active proteins, and other substances capable of “engineering” the microenvironment for the benefit of the embryo. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preserving Traditional Botanical Knowledge: The Importance of Phytogeographic and Ethnobotanical Inventory of Peruvian Dye Plants
Plants 2017, 6(4), 63; doi:10.3390/plants6040063 -
Abstract
Peru is a megadiverse country with native species of all kinds, including dye plants, which have been used for hundreds of years by the local population. Despite the fact that many of these natural dyes are of a superior quality compared to synthetic
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Peru is a megadiverse country with native species of all kinds, including dye plants, which have been used for hundreds of years by the local population. Despite the fact that many of these natural dyes are of a superior quality compared to synthetic ones and do not have the harmful effects that the latter may cause to human health, due to the lack of documentation and dissemination, ethnobotanical knowledge is unfortunately being lost with the passing of generations. In order to preserve and spread such valuable knowledge, this study conducted a comprehensive taxonomic, phytogeographic, and ethnobotanical inventory of dye plants based on periodical botanical explorations in selected locations of Northern Peru during the span of two decades. A critical review of the specialized bibliography was then carried out and the findings were verified with the personal knowledge and experience of both the researchers and the local and regional people. The results of the inventory record 32 species of dye plants from Northern Peru distributed in 22 families, of which the following stand out due to the number of species: Fabaceae (5), Anacardiaceae (2), Annonaceae (2), Asteraceae (2), Berberidaceae (2), Rosaceae (2), and Solanaceae (2). Of the 32 dye species identified, four are considered endemic from Peru: Berberis buceronis J.F. Macbr., Caesalpinia paipai Ruiz & Pav., Coreopsis senaria S.F. Blake & Sherf., and Lomatia hirsuta (Lam.) Diels. The study also found that species such as Bixa orellana L., Indigofera suffruticosa Mill., Sambucus peruviana, and the lichen Usnea baileyi (Stirton) Zahlbr have not been commercially exploited in Peru despite the fact that they already constitute a great economic source for several countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flavonoids and Ellagitannins Characterization, Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of Phyllanthus acuminatus Vahl
Plants 2017, 6(4), 62; doi:10.3390/plants6040062 -
Abstract
The phenolic composition of leaves from Phyllanthus acuminatus L., a plant commonly used in Costa Rica as traditional medicine, was studied using UPLC-ESI-MS on an enriched phenolic extract. A total of 20 phenolic compounds were identified, comprising eight flavonoids (two flavanones—pinocembrin isomers and
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The phenolic composition of leaves from Phyllanthus acuminatus L., a plant commonly used in Costa Rica as traditional medicine, was studied using UPLC-ESI-MS on an enriched phenolic extract. A total of 20 phenolic compounds were identified, comprising eight flavonoids (two flavanones—pinocembrin isomers and six derivatives from apigenin, chrysin, quercetin, and kaempferol); seven ellagitannins, two flavan-3-ols (prodelphinidin B dimer and (epi)gallocatechin); and three phenolic acids (ellagic acid, trimethylellagic acid, and ferulic acid). All of these compounds are reported for the first time in P. acuminatus, while previously reported in the genus Phyllanthus. Antioxidant evaluation was performed for P. acuminatus phenolic extract obtaining DPPH results with a remarkably low IC50 value of 0.15 μg/mL. Also, cytotoxicity on gastric AGS and colon SW20 adenocarcinoma cell lines was evaluated, and highly promising results were obtained, with IC50 values of 11.3 μg/mL and 10.5 μg/mL, respectively. Furthermore, selectivity index values obtained when comparing cytotoxicity on normal Vero cells was SI > 20 for both cancer cell lines, indicating a particularly high selectivity. Additionally, Justicidin B, a metabolite extensively studied for its antitumoral activity, was isolated from a non-polar extract of P. acuminatus, and comparatively evaluated for both bioactivities. The DPPH value obtained for Justicidin B was moderate (IC50 = 14.28 μg/mL), while cytotoxicity values for both AGS (IC50 = 19.5 μg/mL) and SW620 (IC50 = 24.8 μg/mL) cell lines, as well as selectivity when compared with normal Vero cells (SI = 5.4 and 4.2 respectively), was good, but lower than P. acuminatus extract. These preliminary results suggest that P. acuminatus enriched phenolic extract containing flavonoids, ellagitannins, flavan-3-ols, and phenolic acids, reported for the first time in this plant, could be of interest for further cancer cytotoxicity studies to elucidate structure–bioactivity relationships, and the molecular mechanisms and pathways. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Morphological Variation and Inter-Relationships of Quantitative Traits in Enset (Ensete ventricosum (welw.) Cheesman) Germplasm from South and South-Western Ethiopia
Plants 2017, 6(4), 56; doi:10.3390/plants6040056 -
Abstract
Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is Ethiopia’s most important root crop. A total of 387 accessions collected from nine different regions of Ethiopia were evaluated for 15 quantitative traits at Areka Agricultural Research Centre to determine the extent and pattern of distribution
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Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is Ethiopia’s most important root crop. A total of 387 accessions collected from nine different regions of Ethiopia were evaluated for 15 quantitative traits at Areka Agricultural Research Centre to determine the extent and pattern of distribution of morphological variation. The variations among the accessions and regions were significant (p ≤ 0.01) for all the 15 traits studied. Mean for plant height, central shoot weight before grating, and fermented squeezed kocho yield per hectare per year showed regional variation along an altitude gradient and across cultural differences related to the origin of the collection. Furthermore, there were significant correlations among most of the characters. This included the correlation among agronomic characteristics of primary interest in enset breeding such as plant height, pseudostem height, and fermented squeezed kocho yield per hectare per year. Altitude of the collection sites also significantly impacted the various characteristics studied. These results reveal the existence of significant phenotypic variations among the 387 accessions as a whole. Regional differentiations were also evident among the accessions. The implication of the current results for plant breeding, germplasm collection, and in situ and ex situ genetic resource conservation are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Comparative Analysis of the Nitrogen Effect of Common Agricultural Practices and Rotation Systems in a Rainfed Mediterranean Environment
Plants 2017, 6(4), 61; doi:10.3390/plants6040061 -
Abstract
The nitrogen (N) effect of legumes is one of the main reasons for their inclusion in rotation systems and their success in rainfed agriculture of Mediterranean areas. The comparative analysis of this effect in relation to alternative systems or practices is essential for
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The nitrogen (N) effect of legumes is one of the main reasons for their inclusion in rotation systems and their success in rainfed agriculture of Mediterranean areas. The comparative analysis of this effect in relation to alternative systems or practices is essential for a comprehensive appreciation in their merit. This field experiment was comprised of four three-year rotation cycles. Wheat (Triticum turgidum durum) was seeded for two consecutive years after common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), treated in three different ways, and after fallow and compared with three wheat monocultures: the conventional one, the continuous straw incorporation, and the sewage sludge incorporation once every three years. Wheat grain and straw yields and N uptake were compared among treatments. Results showed that rotation systems that included vetch were the most promising for improving sustainability. Maximum N uptake and the greatest yield surpluses were obtained when wheat followed vetch incorporated during flowering. When vetch in the rotation was cut for hay or left to fill grains subsequent wheat showed also enhanced yields. Fallow affected the rotation system’s fertility due to the incorporation of volunteer plants into the soil. Sewage sludge sustained production without the need for inorganic fertilization during three years. Straw incorporation always gave the smallest yields and N harvests, presumably due to soil N immobilization. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Phloem-Conducting Cells in Haustoria of the Root-Parasitic Plant Phelipanche aegyptiaca Retain Nuclei and Are Not Mature Sieve Elements
Plants 2017, 6(4), 60; doi:10.3390/plants6040060 -
Abstract
Phelipanche aegyptiaca parasitizes a wide range of plants, including important crops, and causes serious damage to their production. P. aegyptiaca develops a specialized intrusive organ called a haustorium that establishes connections to the host’s xylem and phloem. In parallel with the development of
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Phelipanche aegyptiaca parasitizes a wide range of plants, including important crops, and causes serious damage to their production. P. aegyptiaca develops a specialized intrusive organ called a haustorium that establishes connections to the host’s xylem and phloem. In parallel with the development of xylem vessels, the differentiation of phloem-conducting cells has been demonstrated by the translocation of symplasmic tracers from the host to the parasite. However, it is unclear yet whether haustorial phloem-conducting cells are sieve elements. In this study, we identified phloem-conducting cells in haustoria by the host-to-parasite translocation of green fluorescent protein (GFP) from AtSUC2pro::GFP tomato sieve tubes. Haustorial GFP-conducting cells contained nuclei but not callose-rich sieve plates, indicating that phloem-conducting cells in haustoria differ from conventional sieve elements. To ascertain why the nuclei were not degenerated, expression of the P. aegyptiaca homologs NAC-domain containing transcription factor (NAC45), NAC45/86-dependent exonuclease-domain protein 1 (NEN1), and NEN4 was examined. However, these genes were more highly expressed in the haustorium than in tubercle protrusion, implying that nuclear degradation in haustoria may not be exclusively controlled by the NAC45/86-NEN regulatory pathway. Our results also suggest that the formation of plasmodesmata with large size exclusion limits is independent of nuclear degradation and callose deposition. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Ethnobotanical Survey, Preliminary Physico-Chemical and Phytochemical Screening of Salvia argentea (L.) Used by Herbalists of the Saïda Province in Algeria
Plants 2017, 6(4), 59; doi:10.3390/plants6040059 -
Abstract
An ethnobotanical study was carried out in the Saïda region among herbalists to evaluate the use of Salvia argentea (L.), a plant species native from North Africa belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Forty-two herbalists were interviewed individually, aged between 30 and 70 years,
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An ethnobotanical study was carried out in the Saïda region among herbalists to evaluate the use of Salvia argentea (L.), a plant species native from North Africa belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Forty-two herbalists were interviewed individually, aged between 30 and 70 years, all males, 52.38% of them having received a secondary education level and having performing their duties for more than a decade. This study showed that Salvia argentea is used specifically in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory system. The leaves are the most commonly used part, usually in the form of powder and exclusively administered orally. The preliminary results of the physicochemical characterization and the phytochemical screening of the powdered leaves of Salvia argentea attest to their safety and confer them a guarantee of phytotherapeutic quality. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Climate Modelling Shows Increased Risk to Eucalyptus sideroxylon on the Eastern Coast of Australia Compared to Eucalyptus albens
Plants 2017, 6(4), 58; doi:10.3390/plants6040058 -
Abstract
Aim: To identify the extent and direction of range shift of Eucalyptus sideroxylon and E. albens in Australia by 2050 through an ensemble forecast of four species distribution models (SDMs). Each was generated using four global climate models (GCMs), under two representative concentration
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Aim: To identify the extent and direction of range shift of Eucalyptus sideroxylon and E. albens in Australia by 2050 through an ensemble forecast of four species distribution models (SDMs). Each was generated using four global climate models (GCMs), under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Location: Australia. Methods: We used four SDMs of (i) generalized linear model, (ii) MaxEnt, (iii) random forest, and (iv) boosted regression tree to construct SDMs for species E. sideroxylon and E. albens under four GCMs including (a) MRI-CGCM3, (b) MIROC5, (c) HadGEM2-AO and (d) CCSM4, under two RCPs of 4.5 and 6.0. Here, the true skill statistic (TSS) index was used to assess the accuracy of each SDM. Results: Results showed that E. albens and E. sideroxylon will lose large areas of their current suitable range by 2050 and E. sideroxylon is projected to gain in eastern and southeastern Australia. Some areas were also projected to remain suitable for each species between now and 2050. Our modelling showed that E. sideroxylon will lose suitable habitat on the western side and will not gain any on the eastern side because this region is one the most heavily populated areas in the country, and the populated areas are moving westward. The predicted decrease in E. sideroxylon’s distribution suggests that land managers should monitor its population closely, and evaluate whether it meets criteria for a protected legal status. Main conclusions: Both Eucalyptus sideroxylon and E. albens will be negatively affected by climate change and it is projected that E. sideroxylon will be at greater risk of losing habitat than E. albens. Full article
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