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Plants, Volume 13, Issue 11 (June-1 2024) – 158 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) has caused substantial economic damage and is considered the greatest challenge to citrus cultivation worldwide. HLB-resistant and tolerant wild Australian limes were utilized in a decade-long citrus breeding program to develop disease-resistant citrus. High-quality de novo genomes of three individual Australian lime parent trees were assembled using long-read sequencing. Putative resistance-associated genes were identified through bioinformatic analysis. The genomic information developed in this study will assist in pre-selecting valuable hybrids in the breeding program and identifying resistance-associated loci to accelerate the development of disease-resistant citrus genotypes through genome-assisted breeding. Resistant citrus cultivars would provide a sustainable solution to HLB disease management. View this paper
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34 pages, 4993 KiB  
Article
Identification of Pepper Leaf Diseases Based on TPSAO-AMWNet
by Li Wan, Wenke Zhu, Yixi Dai, Guoxiong Zhou, Guiyun Chen, Yichu Jiang, Ming’e Zhu and Mingfang He
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111581 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Pepper is a high-economic-value agricultural crop that faces diverse disease challenges such as blight and anthracnose. These diseases not only reduce the yield of pepper but, in severe cases, can also cause significant economic losses and threaten food security. The timely and accurate [...] Read more.
Pepper is a high-economic-value agricultural crop that faces diverse disease challenges such as blight and anthracnose. These diseases not only reduce the yield of pepper but, in severe cases, can also cause significant economic losses and threaten food security. The timely and accurate identification of pepper diseases is crucial. Image recognition technology plays a key role in this aspect by automating and efficiently identifying pepper diseases, helping agricultural workers to adopt and implement effective control strategies, alleviating the impact of diseases, and being of great importance for improving agricultural production efficiency and promoting sustainable agricultural development. In response to issues such as edge-blurring and the extraction of minute features in pepper disease image recognition, as well as the difficulty in determining the optimal learning rate during the training process of traditional pepper disease identification networks, a new pepper disease recognition model based on the TPSAO-AMWNet is proposed. First, an Adaptive Residual Pyramid Convolution (ARPC) structure combined with a Squeeze-and-Excitation (SE) module is proposed to solve the problem of edge-blurring by utilizing adaptivity and channel attention; secondly, to address the issue of micro-feature extraction, Minor Triplet Disease Focus Attention (MTDFA) is proposed to enhance the capture of local details of pepper leaf disease features while maintaining attention to global features, reducing interference from irrelevant regions; then, a mixed loss function combining Weighted Focal Loss and L2 regularization (WfrLoss) is introduced to refine the learning strategy during dataset processing, enhancing the model’s performance and generalization capabilities while preventing overfitting. Subsequently, to tackle the challenge of determining the optimal learning rate, the tent particle snow ablation optimizer (TPSAO) is developed to accurately identify the most effective learning rate. The TPSAO-AMWNet model, trained on our custom datasets, is evaluated against other existing methods. The model attains an average accuracy of 93.52% and an F1 score of 93.15%, demonstrating robust effectiveness and practicality in classifying pepper diseases. These results also offer valuable insights for disease detection in various other crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diseases and Sustainable Agriculture)
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23 pages, 3703 KiB  
Article
High Concentrations of Se Inhibited the Growth of Rice Seedlings
by Ying Liu, Jiayu Ma, Feng Li, Xiang Zeng, Zhengwei Wu, Yongxiang Huang, Yingbin Xue and Yanyan Wang
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1580; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111580 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 403
Abstract
Selenium (Se) is crucial for both plants and humans, with plants acting as the main source for human Se intake. In plants, moderate Se enhances growth and increases stress resistance, whereas excessive Se leads to toxicity. The physiological mechanisms by which Se influences [...] Read more.
Selenium (Se) is crucial for both plants and humans, with plants acting as the main source for human Se intake. In plants, moderate Se enhances growth and increases stress resistance, whereas excessive Se leads to toxicity. The physiological mechanisms by which Se influences rice seedlings’ growth are poorly understood and require additional research. In order to study the effects of selenium stress on rice seedlings, plant phenotype analysis, root scanning, metal ion content determination, physiological response index determination, hormone level determination, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and other methods were used. Our findings indicated that sodium selenite had dual effects on rice seedling growth under hydroponic conditions. At low concentrations, Se treatment promotes rice seedling growth by enhancing biomass, root length, and antioxidant capacity. Conversely, high concentrations of sodium selenite impair and damage rice, as evidenced by leaf yellowing, reduced chlorophyll content, decreased biomass, and stunted growth. Elevated Se levels also significantly affect antioxidase activities and the levels of proline, malondialdehyde, metal ions, and various phytohormones and selenium metabolism, ion transport, and antioxidant genes in rice. The adverse effects of high Se concentrations may directly disrupt protein synthesis or indirectly induce oxidative stress by altering the absorption and synthesis of other compounds. This study aims to elucidate the physiological responses of rice to Se toxicity stress and lay the groundwork for the development of Se-enriched rice varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation Strategies and Tolerance of Plants to Abiotic Stresses)
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22 pages, 2134 KiB  
Article
Parameterization of Four Models to Estimate Crop Evapotranspiration in a Solar Greenhouse
by Shikai Gao, Yu Li, Xuewen Gong and Yanbin Li
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111579 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 298
Abstract
Working to simplify mechanistic models on the basis of reliability for estimating crop evapotranspiration (ET) in a greenhouse is still worthwhile for horticulturists. In this study, four ET models (Penman–Monteith, Priestley–Taylor, and Shuttleworth–Wallace models, and the Crop coefficient method) were parameterized after taking [...] Read more.
Working to simplify mechanistic models on the basis of reliability for estimating crop evapotranspiration (ET) in a greenhouse is still worthwhile for horticulturists. In this study, four ET models (Penman–Monteith, Priestley–Taylor, and Shuttleworth–Wallace models, and the Crop coefficient method) were parameterized after taking the restriction effect of resistance parameters in these models on ET into account, named as PA-PM, PA-PT, PA-CC, and PA-SW, respectively. The performance of these four parameterized models was compared at different growth stages, as well as the entire growing season. Tomatoes that were ET-grown in a solar greenhouse without a heating device were measured using weighting lysimeters during 2016–2017 and 2019–2021, in which data from 2016 were used to adjust the model parameters, and data from the other four study years were used to examine the model performance. The results indicated that the PA-PT and PA-CC models have a better performance in estimating tomato ET at four growth stages, while the PA-PM and PA-SW performed well only at the development and middle stages. Compared to the ET that was measured with the weighting lysimeters, the ET that was predicted using the PA-PM model was 27.0% lower at the initial stage, and 8.7% higher at the late stage; the ET that was computed using the PA-SW model was 19.5% and 13.6% higher at the initial and late stages, respectively. The PA-PT model yielded the lowest root mean square error and the highest index of agreement against the other models over the entire growing season, indicating that the PA-PT model is the best recommended model for estimating tomato ET in a solar greenhouse. Full article
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17 pages, 6863 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Thermal Characteristics of Potato and Hop Pollen for Their Cryopreservation and Cross-Breeding
by Milos Faltus, Jaroslava Domkářová, Petr Svoboda, Vendulka Horáčková, Vladimír Nesvadba, Vladislav Klička, Jiří Ptáček, Alois Bilavcik and Jiri Zamecnik
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111578 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 304
Abstract
This study investigated the thermal properties of potato and hop pollen for cryopreservation and subsequent cross-breeding. Phase transitions and frozen water content in selected pollen samples were measured using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). Unlike hop pollen, potato pollen showed high variability in [...] Read more.
This study investigated the thermal properties of potato and hop pollen for cryopreservation and subsequent cross-breeding. Phase transitions and frozen water content in selected pollen samples were measured using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). Unlike hop pollen, potato pollen showed high variability in thermal properties and water content. Three specific types of pollen samples based on their thermal characteristics and water content were distinguished by DSC in potato: (1) ‘glassy’, with a water content lower than 0.21 g water per g dry matter; (2) ‘transient’, with a water content between 0.27 and 0.34 g of water per g of dry matter; (3) ‘frozen’, with a water content higher than 0.34 g of water per g of dry matter. Only the ‘glassy’ pollen samples with a low water content showed suitable properties for its long-term storage using cryopreservation in potato and hops. Cryopreservation of pollen did not significantly reduce its viability, and cryopreserved pollen was successfully used to produce both potato and hop hybrids. The results indicate that cryopreservation is a feasible technique for the preservation and utilization of pollen of these crops in the breeding process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Propagation and Cryopreservation of Plants)
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11 pages, 1084 KiB  
Article
Genetic Gain and Inbreeding in Different Simulated Genomic Selection Schemes for Grain Yield and Oil Content in Safflower
by Huanhuan Zhao, Majid Khansefid, Zibei Lin and Matthew J. Hayden
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111577 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a multipurpose minor crop consumed by developed and developing nations around the world with limited research funding and genetic resources. Genomic selection (GS) is an effective modern breeding tool that can help to fast-track the genetic diversity [...] Read more.
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a multipurpose minor crop consumed by developed and developing nations around the world with limited research funding and genetic resources. Genomic selection (GS) is an effective modern breeding tool that can help to fast-track the genetic diversity preserved in genebank collections to facilitate rapid and efficient germplasm improvement and variety development. In the present study, we simulated four GS strategies to compare genetic gains and inbreeding during breeding cycles in a safflower recurrent selection breeding program targeting grain yield (GY) and seed oil content (OL). We observed positive genetic gains over cycles in all four GS strategies, where the first cycle delivered the largest genetic gain. Single-trait GS strategies had the greatest gain for the target trait but had very limited genetic improvement for the other trait. Simultaneous selection for GY and OL via indices indicated higher gains for both traits than crossing between the two single-trait independent culling strategies. The multi-trait GS strategy with mating relationship control (GS_GY + OL + Rel) resulted in a lower inbreeding coefficeint but a similar gain compared to that of the GS_GY + OL (without inbreeding control) strategy after a few cycles. Our findings lay the foundation for future safflower GS breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology)
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17 pages, 6025 KiB  
Article
Genotyping-by-Sequencing Analysis Reveals Associations between Agronomic and Oil Traits in Gamma Ray-Derived Mutant Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)
by Woon Ji Kim, Baul Yang, Dong-Gun Kim, Sang Hoon Kim, Ye-Jin Lee, Juyoung Kim, So Hyeon Baek, Si-Yong Kang, Joon-Woo Ahn, Yu-Jin Choi, Chang-Hyu Bae, Kanivalan Iwar, Seong-Hoon Kim and Jaihyunk Ryu
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1576; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111576 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) holds significant commercial value as one of the leading oil crops, with its agronomic features and oil quality being crucial determinants. In this investigation, 73,226 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 95 rapeseed mutant lines induced by gamma rays, [...] Read more.
Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) holds significant commercial value as one of the leading oil crops, with its agronomic features and oil quality being crucial determinants. In this investigation, 73,226 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 95 rapeseed mutant lines induced by gamma rays, alongside the original cultivar (‘Tamra’), using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) analysis were examined. This study encompassed gene ontology (GO) analysis and a genomewide association study (GWAS), thereby concentrating on agronomic traits (e.g., plant height, ear length, thousand-seed weight, and seed yield) and oil traits (including fatty acid composition and crude fat content). The GO analysis unveiled a multitude of genes with SNP variations associated with cellular processes, intracellular anatomical structures, and organic cyclic compound binding. Through GWAS, we detected 320 significant SNPs linked to both agronomic (104 SNPs) and oil traits (216 SNPs). Notably, two novel candidate genes, Bna.A05p02350D (SFGH) and Bna.C02p22490D (MDN1), are implicated in thousand-seed weight regulation. Additionally, Bna.C03p14350D (EXO70) and Bna.A09p05630D (PI4Kα1) emerged as novel candidate genes associated with erucic acid and crude fat content, respectively. These findings carry implications for identifying superior genotypes for the development of new cultivars. Association studies offer a cost-effective means of screening mutants and selecting elite rapeseed breeding lines, thereby enhancing the commercial viability of this pivotal oil crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Genetics and Breeding of Brassica napus L.)
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15 pages, 3118 KiB  
Article
Effect of Polyethylene Glycol-Simulated Drought Stress on Stomatal Opening in “Modern” and “Ancient” Wheat Varieties
by Ilva Licaj, Anna Fiorillo, Maria Chiara Di Meo, Ettore Varricchio and Mariapina Rocco
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1575; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111575 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 268
Abstract
Climate change is leading to an increase in the intensity, duration, and frequency of severe droughts, especially in southern and southeastern Europe, thus aggravating water scarcity problems. Water deficit stress harms the growth, physiology, and yield of crops like durum wheat. Hence, studying [...] Read more.
Climate change is leading to an increase in the intensity, duration, and frequency of severe droughts, especially in southern and southeastern Europe, thus aggravating water scarcity problems. Water deficit stress harms the growth, physiology, and yield of crops like durum wheat. Hence, studying ancient wheat varieties’ stress responses could help identify genetic traits to enhance crop tolerance to environmental stresses. In this background, this study aimed to investigate the effects of PEG 6000-stimulated drought stress in the ancient wheat variety Saragolla and the modern one Svevo by analyzing various biochemical and molecular parameters that can especially condition the stomatal movement. Our data revealed that drought stress caused a significant increase in the levels of total soluble sugars, ABA, and IAA in both selected cultivars to a greater extent in the Saragolla than in the Svevo. We demonstrated that, under water deficit stress, calcium dynamics as well as the expression of ERF109, MAPK3/6, MYB60, and TaTPC1, involved in the activation of drought-related calcium-sensitive pathways, display significant differences between the two varieties. Therefore, our study provided further evidence regarding the ability of the ancient wheat variety Saragolla to better cope with drought stress compared to the modern variety Svevo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Abiotic Stress in Plants)
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31 pages, 5243 KiB  
Article
Integrating NDVI, SPAD, and Canopy Temperature for Strategic Nitrogen and Seeding Rate Management to Enhance Yield, Quality, and Sustainability in Wheat Cultivation
by Oussama Hnizil, Aziz Baidani, Ilham Khlila, Nasserelhaq Nsarellah, Abdelali Laamari and Ali Amamou
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111574 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 371
Abstract
This study explores the interplay between nitrogen doses and seeding rates on wheat yield, biomass, and protein content. Utilizing tools such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD) measurements, and canopy temperature (CT), we conducted experiments over five [...] Read more.
This study explores the interplay between nitrogen doses and seeding rates on wheat yield, biomass, and protein content. Utilizing tools such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD) measurements, and canopy temperature (CT), we conducted experiments over five growing seasons. The treatments included three nitrogen levels (0, 60, 120 kg/ha) and three seeding rates (300, 400, 500 seeds/m2) in a split-plot design with 90 plots and two replications. Our results show that an intermediate nitrogen dose (60 kg/ha) combined with a moderate seed rate (400 seeds/m2) enhances wheat yield by 22.95%. Reduced nitrogen levels increased protein content, demonstrating wheat’s adaptive mechanisms under nitrogen constraints. NDVI analysis highlighted significant growth during the tillering phase with high nitrogen, emphasizing early-stage nutrient management. SPAD measurements showed that early nitrogen applications boost chlorophyll content, essential for vigorous early growth, while CT data indicate that optimal nitrogen and seed rates can effectively modulate plant stress responses. As crops mature, the predictive capacity of NDVI declines, indicating the need for adjusted nitrogen strategies. Collectively, these findings advocate for refined management of nitrogen and seeding rates, integrating NDVI, SPAD, and CT assessments to enhance yields and promote sustainable agricultural practices while minimizing environmental impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility, Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management)
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15 pages, 2923 KiB  
Article
Effects of Long-Term Sod Culture Management on Soil Fertility, Enzyme Activities, Soil Microorganisms, and Fruit Yield and Quality in “Jiro” Sweet Persimmon Orchard
by Xu Yang, Bangchu Gong, Cuiyu Liu, Yanpeng Wang and Yang Xu
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1573; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111573 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 302
Abstract
Clean tillage frequently causes the loss of soil nutrients and weakens microbial ecosystem service functions. In order to improve orchard soil nutrient cycling, enhance enzyme activities and microbial community structure in a “Jiro” sweet persimmon orchard, sod culture management was carried out to [...] Read more.
Clean tillage frequently causes the loss of soil nutrients and weakens microbial ecosystem service functions. In order to improve orchard soil nutrient cycling, enhance enzyme activities and microbial community structure in a “Jiro” sweet persimmon orchard, sod culture management was carried out to clarify the relationship among soil nutrient, microbial communities, and fruit yield and quality in persimmon orchard. The results showed that sod culture management increased the content of organic matter, total organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil, thus improving soil fertility. Compared with clean tillage orchards, sod culture methods significantly increased soil enzyme activities and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) content. The abundance-based coverage estimator (ACE) and the simplest richness estimators (Chao l) indices of the bacterial community and all diversity and richness indices of the fungal community significantly increased in the sod culture orchard, which indicated that sod culture could increase the richness and diversity of the soil microbial community. The dominant bacterial phyla were Proteobacteria (32.21~41.13%) and Acidobacteria (18.76~23.86%), and the dominant fungal phyla were Mortierellomycota (31.11~83.40%) and Ascomycota (3.45~60.14%). Sod culture drove the composition of the microbial community to increase the beneficial microbiome. Correlation analyses and partial least squares path modeling (PLS-PM) comparative analyses showed that the soil chemical properties (mainly including soil organic matter content, total organic carbon content, total potassium content, and total nitrogen content), soil enzyme activities and soil microorganisms were strongly correlated with fruit yield and quality. Meanwhile, soil nutrient, soil enzyme, and soil microbes had also influenced each other. Our results showed that long-term ryegrass planting could improve soil fertility, enzyme activities, and microbial community compositions. Such changes might lead to a cascading effect on the fruit yield and quality of “Jiro” sweet persimmons. Full article
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16 pages, 6764 KiB  
Article
Intersectional Hybrids between Darrow’s Blueberry (V. darrowii Camp) and Lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea L.)
by Mark K. Ehlenfeldt, Nahla Bassil, Ryan King, Juan Zalapa, Fernando de la Torre and James L. Luteyn
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1572; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111572 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 305
Abstract
An initial cross of V. darrowii ‘Johnblue’ (Darrow’s blueberry) × V. vitis-idaea ‘Red Sunset’ (lingonberry) produced more than 30 true intersectional diploid hybrids as confirmed by molecular markers. The most vigorous of these hybrids was extensively evaluated. This hybrid, US 2535-A, was floriferous [...] Read more.
An initial cross of V. darrowii ‘Johnblue’ (Darrow’s blueberry) × V. vitis-idaea ‘Red Sunset’ (lingonberry) produced more than 30 true intersectional diploid hybrids as confirmed by molecular markers. The most vigorous of these hybrids was extensively evaluated. This hybrid, US 2535-A, was floriferous and morphologically intermediate to the respective parents. Examination of pollen suggested low male fertility. Numerous crosses using the hybrid as a female reflected similarly low fertility and potential crossing barriers. Stylar examination suggested blockage of pollen tube growth in self-pollinations and significantly retarded growth in backcross pollinations. Nonetheless, two confirmed hybrid offspring were produced using the F1 hybrid as a female in crosses with V. vitis-idaea and V. darrowii, respectively. In a second set of crosses utilizing additional V. darrowii and V. vitis-idaea genotypes, another 23 verified hybrids in seven parental combinations were produced. Hybrids such as the ones presented offer the potential for generating de novo interspecific fruit types in blueberry and/or broadening the adaptation of lingonberry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology)
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17 pages, 2940 KiB  
Article
Effects of Micro-Topography and Vegetation on Soil Moisture on Fixed Sand Dunes in Tengger Desert, China
by Dinghai Zhang, Youyi Zhao, Haidi Qi, Lishan Shan, Guopeng Chen and Ting Ning
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111571 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Soil moisture is a key factor in arid ecosystems, with local variations influenced by topography and vegetation. Understanding this relationship is crucial for combating desertification. Employing ANOVA, Mean Decrease Accuracy (MDA) analysis from random forest modeling and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), this study [...] Read more.
Soil moisture is a key factor in arid ecosystems, with local variations influenced by topography and vegetation. Understanding this relationship is crucial for combating desertification. Employing ANOVA, Mean Decrease Accuracy (MDA) analysis from random forest modeling and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), this study investigates the distribution of soil moisture and its associations with topographic and vegetative factors across four micro-geomorphic units in the Tengger Desert, China. Significant heterogeneity in soil moisture across various layers and locations, including windward and leeward slopes and the tops and bottoms of dunes, was observed. Soil moisture generally increases from the surface down to 300 cm, with diminishing fluctuations at greater depths. Soil moisture peaks in the surface and middle layers on windward slopes and in deep layers at the bottom of dunes, exhibiting an initial rise and then a decline on windward slopes. Topographic (including slope direction and elevation difference) and vegetation (including shrub and herb coverage) factors significantly influence soil moisture across three depth layers. Topographic factors negatively affect soil moisture directly, whereas vegetation positively influences it indirectly, with shrub and herb abundance enhancing moisture levels. These insights inform ecological management and the formulation of soil moisture-conservation strategies in arid deserts. The study underscores customizing sand-binding vegetation to various micro-geomorphic dune units. Full article
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14 pages, 5786 KiB  
Article
Identification and Functional Characterization of the SaMYB113 Gene in Solanum aculeatissimum
by Songheng Yi, Qihang Cai, Yanbo Yang, Hongquan Shen, Zhenghai Sun and Liping Li
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1570; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111570 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 281
Abstract
The MYB transcription factors (TFs) have substantial functions in anthocyanin synthesis as well as being widely associated with plant responses to various adversities. In the present investigation, we found an unreported MYB TF from Solanum aculeatissimum (a wild relative of eggplant) and named it [...] Read more.
The MYB transcription factors (TFs) have substantial functions in anthocyanin synthesis as well as being widely associated with plant responses to various adversities. In the present investigation, we found an unreported MYB TF from Solanum aculeatissimum (a wild relative of eggplant) and named it SaMYB113 in reference to its homologous gene. Bioinformatics analysis demonstrated that the open reading frame of SaMYB113 was 825 bp in length, encoding 275 amino acids, with a typical R2R3-MYB gene structure, and predicted subcellular localization in the nucleus. Analysis of the tissue-specific expression pattern through qRT-PCR showed that the SaMYB113 was expressed at a high level in young stems as well as leaves of S. aculeatissimum. Transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants overexpressing SaMYB113 pertinent to the control of the 35S promoter exhibited a distinct purple color trait, suggesting a significant change in their anthocyanin content. Furthermore, we obtained three tobacco transgenic lines with significant differences in anthocyanin accumulation and analyzed the differences in anthocyanin content by LC-MS/MS. The findings demonstrated that overexpression of SaMYB113 caused tobacco to have considerably raised levels of several anthocyanin components, with the most significant increases in delphinidin-like anthocyanins and cyanidin-like anthocyanins. The qRT-PCR findings revealed significant differences in the expression levels of structural genes for anthocyanin synthesis among various transgenic lines. In summary, this study demonstrated that the SaMYB113 gene has a substantial impact on anthocyanin synthesis, and overexpression of the SaMYB113 gene leads to significant modifications to the expression levels of a variety of anthocyanin-synthesizing genes, which leads to complex changes in anthocyanin content and affects plant phenotypes. This present research offers the molecular foundation for the research of the mechanism of anthocyanin formation within plants, as well as providing some reference for the improvement of traits in solanum crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Molecular Biology)
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13 pages, 1022 KiB  
Article
Contribution of Antioxidant System Components to the Long-Term Physiological and Protective Effect of Salicylic Acid on Wheat under Salinity Conditions
by Dilara Maslennikova, Inna Knyazeva, Oksana Vershinina, Andrey Titenkov and Oksana Lastochkina
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1569; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111569 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 327
Abstract
Salicylic acid (SA) plays a crucial role in regulating plant growth and development and mitigating the negative effects of various stresses, including salinity. In this study, the effect of 50 μM SA on the physiological and biochemical parameters of wheat plants under normal [...] Read more.
Salicylic acid (SA) plays a crucial role in regulating plant growth and development and mitigating the negative effects of various stresses, including salinity. In this study, the effect of 50 μM SA on the physiological and biochemical parameters of wheat plants under normal and stress conditions was investigated. The results showed that on the 28th day of the growing season, SA pretreatment continued to stimulate the growth of wheat plants. This was evident through an increase in shoot length and leaf area, with the regulation of leaf blade width playing a significant role in this effect. Additionally, SA improved photosynthesis by increasing the content of chlorophyll a (Chl a) and carotenoids (Car), resulting in an increased TAP (total amount of pigments) index in the leaves. Furthermore, SA treatment led to a balanced increase in the levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in the leaves, accompanied by a slight but significant accumulation of ascorbic acid (ASA), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), proline, and the activation of glutathione reductase (GR) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Exposure to salt stress for 28 days resulted in a reduction in length and leaf area, photosynthetic pigments, and GSH and ASA content in wheat leaves. It also led to the accumulation of H2O2 and proline and significant activation of GR and APX. However, SA pretreatment exhibited a long-term growth-stimulating and protective effect under stress conditions. It significantly mitigated the negative impacts of salinity on leaf area, photosynthetic pigments, proline accumulation, lipid peroxidation, and H2O2. Furthermore, SA reduced the salinity-induced depletion of GSH and ASA levels, which was associated with the modulation of GR and APX activities. In small-scale field experiments conducted under natural growing conditions, pre-sowing seed treatment with 50 μM SA improved the main indicators of grain yield and increased the content of essential amino acids in wheat grains. Thus, SA pretreatment can be considered an effective approach for providing prolonged protection to wheat plants under salinity and improving grain yield and quality. Full article
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13 pages, 2081 KiB  
Article
Meta-Topolin as an Effective Benzyladenine Derivative to Improve the Multiplication Rate and Quality of In Vitro Axillary Shoots of Húsvéti Rozmaring Apple Scion
by Neama Abdalla and Judit Dobránszki
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111568 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 350
Abstract
In vitro mass propagation of apple plants plays an important role in the rapid multiplication of genetically uniform, disease-free scions and rootstocks with desired traits. Successful micropropagation of apple using axillary shoot cultures is influenced by several factors, the most critical of which [...] Read more.
In vitro mass propagation of apple plants plays an important role in the rapid multiplication of genetically uniform, disease-free scions and rootstocks with desired traits. Successful micropropagation of apple using axillary shoot cultures is influenced by several factors, the most critical of which is the cytokinin included in the culture medium. The impact of medium composition from single added cytokinins on shoot proliferation of apple scion Húsvéti rozmaring cultured on agar-agar gelled Murashige and Skoog medium fortified with indole butyric acid and gibberellic acid was investigated. The optimum concentration for efficient shoot multiplication differs according to the type of cytokinin. The highest significant multiplication rate (5.40 shoots/explant) was achieved using 2.0 μM thidiazuron while the longest shoots (1.80 cm) were observed on the medium containing benzyladenine at a concentration of 2.0 μM. However, application of either thidiazuron or benzyladenine as cytokinin source in the medium resulted in shoots of low quality, such as stunted and thickened shoots with small leaves. In the case of benzyladenine riboside, the 8 μM concentration was the most effective in increasing the multiplication rate (4.76 shoots/explant) but caused thickened stem development with tiny leaves. In the present study, meta-topolin was shown to be the most effective cytokinin that could be applied to induce sufficient multiplication (3.28 shoots/explant) and high-quality shoots along with shoot lengths of 1.46 cm when it was applied at concentrations of 4 μM. However, kinetin was the least active cytokinin; it practically did not induce the development of new shoots. The superior cytokinin for in vitro axillary shoot development of apple scion Húsvéti rozmaring with high-quality shoots was the meta-topolin, but it may be different depending on the variety/genotype under study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Tissue Culture IV)
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13 pages, 2125 KiB  
Article
An Investigation of the Magnitude of the Role of Different Plant Species in Grassland Communities on Species Diversity, China
by Miaomiao Li, Mao Ye, Yinjuan Li, Guoyan Zeng, Weilong Chen, Xiaoting Pan, Qingzhi He and Xi Zhang
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1567; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111567 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 288
Abstract
In this study, we selected four grassland plots in Altai forest area and used the field survey method of “two-valued occurrence” to obtain the occurrence data of each plant species in the plots so as to calculate the species diversity index value of [...] Read more.
In this study, we selected four grassland plots in Altai forest area and used the field survey method of “two-valued occurrence” to obtain the occurrence data of each plant species in the plots so as to calculate the species diversity index value of the community as a whole and the species diversity index value of each plant species not present in the community and to make use of the difference between these two diversity indices to determine the role of each plant species in the overall species diversity of the community. The difference between these two diversity indices was used to investigate the role of each plant species in the overall species diversity of the community. The results show the following: (1) In the grassland of the Altai forest area in Xinjiang, Asteraceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae, Polygonaceae, and Rosaceae are the dominant families, among which the genera Puccinellia Parl, Taraxacum, Pharbitis, Lactuca, Geranium, and Alchemilla are the dominant genera. (2) The plant species with the greatest contribution to species diversity in the four grassland samples was not the first dominant species of the community, but rather the plant species whose dominance was in the second to sixth position. (3) The first dominant species was overwhelmingly dominant in the four sample plots, and it served to increase the overall diversity of the community. (4) The overall trend in the size of the role of species in diversity is unimodal, i.e., logarithmically increasing to a maximum as species dominance decreases and then exponentially or linearly decreasing and eventually converging to zero. The synthesis showed that it was not the first dominant species that played the largest role in species diversity in the different grassland communities and that the overwhelmingly dominant species reduced the species diversity of the community. Full article
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21 pages, 1065 KiB  
Article
Ethnobotanical Survey of Culturally Important Plants and Mushrooms in North-Western Part of Croatia
by Ljiljana Krstin, Zorana Katanić, Katarina Benčić, Laura Lončar and Tanja Žuna Pfeiffer
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111566 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 326
Abstract
The Republic of Croatia is spread in geographical and climatic conditions that support a great diversity of habitats and associated plant taxa, many of which can be used for food or medicine. However, urbanization, loss of natural habitats, as well as changes in [...] Read more.
The Republic of Croatia is spread in geographical and climatic conditions that support a great diversity of habitats and associated plant taxa, many of which can be used for food or medicine. However, urbanization, loss of natural habitats, as well as changes in people’s dependence on the natural resources from the surrounding environment may lead to the loss of valuable knowledge about the use of plants and mushrooms. With the aim of studying and preserving this knowledge in the continental north-western part of Croatia, an ethnobotanical survey was undertaken at the two study areas—Valpovo and Đurđevac, which included a total of 17 settlements. A total of 103 informants, 65% female and 35% male, aged between 22 and 83 years, participated in an interview using pre-planned questionnaires. The informants reported 131 plants belonging to 55 families and 17 mushroom taxa. The largest number of plants belonged to the families of Rosaceae, Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, and Apiaceae. In both areas, the informants cultivate and also gather wild plants, but these practices are better preserved in the area of Đurđevac where 109 taxa from 47 families were recorded. In addition to cultivated and gathered plants, informants from the Valpovo area also reported the use of purchased plants. Plants and mushrooms are mostly used as food (21 plant taxa and 17 mushrooms), but plants also serve as medicine (68 taxa), as both food and medicine (35 taxa), feed for cattle (11 taxa), repellent (four taxa), and/or space freshener (two taxa). The most frequently used wild plants are Chamomilla recutita, Mentha x piperita, and Urtica dioica, while Boletus edulis, Agaricus campestris, and Macrolepiota procera are the most often used mushrooms. The results indicate that the local people in the studied north-western part of Croatia still nurture the practice of cultivating and gathering plants and that herbal remedies are considerably important among the informants. The study should be further extended to broaden and preserve valuable ethnobotanical knowledge and encourage the protection of culturally important plants of the studied area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Ecology)
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13 pages, 2439 KiB  
Article
Geographic Location Affects the Bacterial Community Composition and Diversity More than Species Identity for Tropical Tree Species
by Kepeng Ji, Yaqing Wei and Guoyu Lan
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1565; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111565 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Microorganisms associated with plants play a crucial role in their growth, development, and overall health. However, much remains unclear regarding the relative significance of tree species identity and spatial variation in shaping the distribution of plant bacterial communities across large tropical regions, as [...] Read more.
Microorganisms associated with plants play a crucial role in their growth, development, and overall health. However, much remains unclear regarding the relative significance of tree species identity and spatial variation in shaping the distribution of plant bacterial communities across large tropical regions, as well as how these communities respond to environmental changes. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the characteristics of bacterial community composition in association with two rare and endangered tropical tree species, Dacrydium pectinatum and Vatica mangachapoi, across various geographical locations on Hainan Island. Our findings can be summarized as follows: (1) Significant differences existed in the bacterial composition between D. pectinatum and V. mangachapoi, as observed in the diversity of bacterial populations within the root endosphere. Plant host-related variables, such as nitrogen content, emerged as key drivers influencing leaf bacterial community compositions, underscoring the substantial impact of plant identity on bacterial composition. (2) Environmental factors associated with geographical locations, including temperature and soil pH, predominantly drove changes in both leaf and root-associated bacterial community compositions. These findings underscored the influence of geographical locations on shaping plant-associated bacterial communities. (3) Further analysis revealed that geographical locations exerted a greater influence than tree species identity on bacterial community compositions and diversity. Overall, our study underscores that environmental variables tied to geographical location primarily dictate changes in plant bacterial community composition. These insights contribute to our understanding of microbial biogeography in tropical regions and carry significant implications for the conservation of rare and endangered tropical trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbiome Interactions)
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9 pages, 751 KiB  
Brief Report
p-Coumaric Acid Differential Alters the Ion-Omics Profile of Chia Shoots under Salt Stress
by Mbukeni Nkomo, Mihlali Badiwe, Lee-Ann Niekerk, Arun Gokul, Marshal Keyster and Ashwil Klein
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1564; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111564 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
p-Coumaric acid (p-CA) is a phenolic compound that plays a crucial role in mediating multiple signaling pathways. It serves as a defense strategy against plant wounding and is also presumed to play a role in plant development and lignin biosynthesis. [...] Read more.
p-Coumaric acid (p-CA) is a phenolic compound that plays a crucial role in mediating multiple signaling pathways. It serves as a defense strategy against plant wounding and is also presumed to play a role in plant development and lignin biosynthesis. This study aimed to investigate the physiological and ionomic effect of p-CA on chia seedlings under salt stress. To this end, chia seedlings were supplemented with Nitrosol® containing 100 μM of p-CA, 100 of mM NaCI, and their combined (100 mM NaCI + 100 μM p-CA) solutions in 2-day intervals for a period of 14 days along with a control containing Nitrosol® only. The treatment of chia seedlings with 100 mM of NaCI decreased their growth parameters and the content of the majority of the essential macro-elements (K, P, Ca, and Mg), except for that of sodium (Na). The simultaneous application of p-CA and a salt stress treatment (p-CA + NaCI) alleviated the effect of salt stress on chia seedlings’ shoots, and this was indicated by the increase in chia biomass. Furthermore, this combined treatment significantly enhanced the levels of the essential microelements Mg and Ca. In summary, this brief report is built on the foundational work of our previous study, which demonstrated that p-CA promotes growth in chia seedlings via activation of O2. In this brief report, we further show that p-CA not only promotes growth but also mitigates the effects of salt stress on chia seedlings. This mitigation effect may result from the presence of Mg and Ca, which are vital nutrients involved in regulating metabolic pathways, enzyme activity, and amino acid synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Management for Resilient Crop Production (Volume II))
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17 pages, 25174 KiB  
Article
Forecast the Habitat Sustainability of Schoenus ferrugineus L. (Cyperaceae) in the Southern Urals under Climate Change
by Nikolay Fedorov, Albert Muldashev, Oksana Mikhaylenko, Svetlana Zhigunova, Elvira Baisheva, Pavel Shirokikh, Ilnur Bikbaev and Vasiliy Martynenko
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1563; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111563 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 318
Abstract
An analysis of the current potential range of the Pleistocene relict plant species Schoenus ferrugineus and modeling of changes in its future range under moderate (RCP4.5) and strong (RCP8.5) climate change in the middle and second half of the 21st century were carried [...] Read more.
An analysis of the current potential range of the Pleistocene relict plant species Schoenus ferrugineus and modeling of changes in its future range under moderate (RCP4.5) and strong (RCP8.5) climate change in the middle and second half of the 21st century were carried out. The MaxEnt program was used for modeling. Climate variables from CHELSA Bioclim, the global digital soil mapping system SoilGrids, and a digital elevation model were used as predictors. Modeling has shown that climate change will lead to a significant reduction in the suitability of S. ferrugineus habitat conditions by the mid-21st century. The predicted changes in the distribution of habitats of S. ferrugineus, a diagnostic species of calcareous mires and an indicator of their ecological state, indicate a possible strong transformation of wetland complexes in the Southern Urals region even under moderate climate change. A reduction in the distribution of S. ferrugineus at the eastern limit of its range will also be facilitated by more frequent extreme droughts. To maintain the distribution of S. ferrugineus on the eastern border of its range, a number of measures are proposed to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, contributing to the preservation of the hydrological regime of calcareous mires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Response Mechanisms of Plants to Drought Stress)
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19 pages, 5648 KiB  
Article
Pollination Ecology, Breeding System, and Conservation of Butia lallemantii Deble & Marchiori (Arecaceae): A Useful Dwarf Palm Tree from the Pampa
by Oscar Perdomo, Rafael Becker and Rodrigo Bustos Singer
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1562; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111562 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 691
Abstract
The Dwarf Palm, Butia lallemantii Deble & Marchiori, is an endangered species endemic to the Pampa biome and typically grows in sandy and rocky soils. Given its economic, ecological, and cultural relevance, it is crucial to understand the ecology and biology of this [...] Read more.
The Dwarf Palm, Butia lallemantii Deble & Marchiori, is an endangered species endemic to the Pampa biome and typically grows in sandy and rocky soils. Given its economic, ecological, and cultural relevance, it is crucial to understand the ecology and biology of this species to encourage its preservation and highlight its significance for the Pampa. This study aims to investigate whether this palm relies on animal vectors for pollination, analyze its breeding system, and propose strategies for its conservation and sustainable use. We conducted field observations on pollination ecology, identified floral visitors, and designed six breeding system experiments to test cross-compatibility, self-compatibility, and apomixis. Additionally, we conducted a literature review to propose conservation strategies. Butia lallemantii is pollinator-dependent and self-compatible. The flowers are mostly melittophilous and offer pollen and nectar for floral visitors. The main pollinators are native Meliponinae and Halictinae bees and the introduced Apis mellifera. This study represents the first comprehensive and complete examination of the breeding system and pollination process on Butia palms. This palm can provide materials for industries, but urgent actions are needed to preserve the remaining populations through effective policies and strategies. Furthermore, this palm should be integrated into diversified agroecosystems to evaluate its adaptability to cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Plant Ecology)
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16 pages, 2004 KiB  
Article
Root Zone Water Management Effects on Soil Hydrothermal Properties and Sweet Potato Yield
by Shihao Huang, Lei Zhao, Tingge Zhang, Minghui Qin, Tao Yin, Qing Liu and Huan Li
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111561 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 310
Abstract
Sufficient soil moisture is required to ensure the successful transplantation of sweet potato seedlings. Thus, reasonable water management is essential for achieving high quality and yield in sweet potato production. We conducted field experiments in northern China, planted on 18 May and harvested [...] Read more.
Sufficient soil moisture is required to ensure the successful transplantation of sweet potato seedlings. Thus, reasonable water management is essential for achieving high quality and yield in sweet potato production. We conducted field experiments in northern China, planted on 18 May and harvested on 18 October 2021, at the Nancun Experimental Base of Qingdao Agricultural University. Three water management treatments were tested for sweet potato seedlings after transplanting: hole irrigation (W1), optimized drip irrigation (W2), and traditional drip irrigation (W3). The variation characteristics of soil volumetric water content, soil temperature, and soil CO2 concentration in the root zone were monitored in situ for 0–50 days. The agronomy, root morphology, photosynthetic parameters, 13C accumulation, yield, and yield components of sweet potato were determined. The results showed that soil VWC was maintained at 22–25% and 27–32% in the hole irrigation and combined drip irrigation treatments, respectively, from 0 to 30 days after transplanting. However, there was no significant difference between the traditional (W3) and optimized (W2) drip irrigation systems. From 30 to 50 days after transplanting, the VWC decreased significantly in all treatments, with significant differences among all treatments. Soil CO2 concentrations were positively correlated with VWC from 0 to 30 days after transplanting but gradually increased from 30 to 50 days, with significant differences among treatments. Soil temperature varied with fluctuations in air temperature, with no significant differences among treatments. Sweet potato survival rates were significantly lower in the hole irrigation treatments than in the drip irrigation treatments, with no significant difference between W2 and W3. The aboveground biomass, photosynthetic parameters, and leaf area index were significantly higher under drip irrigation than under hole irrigation, and values were higher in W3 than in W2. However, the total root length, root volume, and 13C partitioning rate were higher in W2 than in W3. These findings suggest that excessive drip irrigation can lead to an imbalance in sweet potato reservoir sources. Compared with W1, the W2 and W3 treatments exhibited significant yield increases of 42.98% and 36.49%, respectively. The W2 treatment had the lowest sweet potato deformity rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies to Improve Water-Use Efficiency in Plant Production)
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4 pages, 201 KiB  
Editorial
Understanding Arctic–Alpine Plants from Ecological and Evolutionary Perspectives
by Gregor Kozlowski
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1560; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111560 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Conditions in arctic and alpine ecosystems impose great challenges on the plants and other organisms that live there [...] Full article
12 pages, 980 KiB  
Article
Lineages of Fractal Genera Comprise the 88-Million-Year Steel Evolutionary Spine of the Ecosphere
by Richard H. Zander
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1559; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111559 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Fractal evolution is apparently effective in selectively preserving environmentally resilient traits for more than 80 million years in Streptotrichaceae (Bryophyta). An analysis simulated maximum destruction of ancestral traits in that large lineage. The constraints enforced were the preservation of newest ancestral traits, and [...] Read more.
Fractal evolution is apparently effective in selectively preserving environmentally resilient traits for more than 80 million years in Streptotrichaceae (Bryophyta). An analysis simulated maximum destruction of ancestral traits in that large lineage. The constraints enforced were the preservation of newest ancestral traits, and all immediate descendant species obtained different new traits. Maximum character state changes in ancestral traits were 16 percent of all possible traits in any one sub-lineage, or 73 percent total of the entire lineage. Results showed, however, that only four ancestral traits were permanently eliminated in any one lineage or sub-lineage. A lineage maintains maximum biodiversity of temporally and regionally survival-effective traits at minimum expense to resilience across a geologic time of 88 million years for the group studied. Similar processes generating an extant punctuated equilibrium as bursts of about four descendants per genus and one genus per 1–2 epochs are possible in other living groups given similar emergent processes. The mechanism is considered complexity-related, the lineage being a self-organized emergent phenomenon strongly maintained in the ecosphere by natural selection on fractal genera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity, Distribution and Conservation of Bryophytes)
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21 pages, 363 KiB  
Review
Upgrading Strategies for Managing Nematode Pests on Profitable Crops
by Mahfouz M. M. Abd-Elgawad
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1558; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111558 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) reduce the high profitability of many crops and degrade their quantitative and qualitative yields globally. Traditional nematicides and other nematode control methods are being used against PPNs. However, stakeholders are searching for more sustainable and effective alternatives with limited side [...] Read more.
Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) reduce the high profitability of many crops and degrade their quantitative and qualitative yields globally. Traditional nematicides and other nematode control methods are being used against PPNs. However, stakeholders are searching for more sustainable and effective alternatives with limited side effects on the environment and mankind to face increased food demand, unfavorable climate change, and using unhealthy nematicides. This review focuses on upgrading the pre-procedures of PPN control as well as novel measures for their effective and durable management strategies on economically important crops. Sound and effective sampling, extraction, identification, and counting methods of PPNs and their related microorganisms, in addition to perfecting designation of nematode–host susceptibility/resistance, form the bases for these strategies. Therefore, their related frontiers should be expanded to synthesize innovative integrated solutions for these strategies. The latter involve supplanting unsafe nematicides with a new generation of safe and reliable chemical nematicidal and bionematicidal alternatives. For better efficacy, nematicidal materials and techniques should be further developed via computer-aided nematicide design. Bioinformatics devices can reinforce the potential of safe and effective biocontrol agents (BCAs) and their active components. They can delineate the interactions of bionematicides with their targeted PPN species and tackle complex diseases. Also, the functional plan of nematicides based on a blueprint of the intended goals should be further explored. Such goals can currently engage succinate dehydrogenase, acetylcholinesterase, and chitin deacetylase. Nonetheless, other biochemical compounds as novel targets for nematicides should be earnestly sought. Commonly used nematicides should be further tested for synergistic or additive function and be optimized via novel sequential, dual-purpose, and co-application of agricultural inputs, especially in integrated pest management schemes. Future directions and research priorities should address this novelty. Meanwhile, emerging bioactivated nematicides that offer reliability and nematode selectivity should be advanced for their favorable large-scale synthesis. Recent technological means should intervene to prevail over nematicide-related limitations. Nanoencapsulation can challenge production costs, effectiveness, and manufacturing defects of some nematicides. Recent progress in studying molecular plant–nematode interaction mechanisms can be further exploited for novel PPN control given related topics such as interfering RNA techniques, RNA-Seq in BCA development, and targeted genome editing. A few recent materials/techniques for control of PPNs in durable agroecosystems via decision support tools and decision support systems are addressed. The capability and effectiveness of nematicide operation harmony should be optimized via employing proper cooperative mechanisms among all partners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Strategies for the Control of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes)
17 pages, 633 KiB  
Review
Effects of Jasmonic Acid on Stress Response and Quality Formation in Vegetable Crops and Their Underlying Molecular Mechanisms
by Jiaqi Wu, Yangyang Chen, Yujie Xu, Yahong An, Zhenzhu Hu, Aisheng Xiong and Guanglong Wang
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1557; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111557 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 423
Abstract
The plant hormone jasmonic acid plays an important role in plant growth and development, participating in many physiological processes, such as plant disease resistance, stress resistance, organ development, root growth, and flowering. With the improvement in living standards, people have higher requirements regarding [...] Read more.
The plant hormone jasmonic acid plays an important role in plant growth and development, participating in many physiological processes, such as plant disease resistance, stress resistance, organ development, root growth, and flowering. With the improvement in living standards, people have higher requirements regarding the quality of vegetables. However, during the growth process of vegetables, they are often attacked by pests and diseases and undergo abiotic stresses, resulting in their growth restriction and decreases in their yield and quality. Therefore, people have found many ways to regulate the growth and quality of vegetable crops. In recent years, in addition to the role that JA plays in stress response and resistance, it has been found to have a regulatory effect on crop quality. Therefore, this study aims to review the jasmonic acid accumulation patterns during various physiological processes and its potential role in vegetable development and quality formation, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. The information provided in this manuscript sheds new light on the improvements in vegetable yield and quality. Full article
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20 pages, 1821 KiB  
Article
Design of Microbial Consortia Based on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, Yeasts, and Bacteria to Improve the Biochemical, Nutritional, and Physiological Status of Strawberry Plants Growing under Water Deficits
by Urley A. Pérez-Moncada, Christian Santander, Antonieta Ruiz, Catalina Vidal, Cledir Santos and Pablo Cornejo
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1556; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111556 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Drought affects several plant physiological characteristics such as photosynthesis, carbon metabolism, and chlorophyll content, causing hormonal and nutritional imbalances and reducing nutrient uptake and transport, which inhibit growth and development. The use of bioinoculants based on plant growth-promoting microorganisms such as plant growth-promoting [...] Read more.
Drought affects several plant physiological characteristics such as photosynthesis, carbon metabolism, and chlorophyll content, causing hormonal and nutritional imbalances and reducing nutrient uptake and transport, which inhibit growth and development. The use of bioinoculants based on plant growth-promoting microorganisms such as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), yeasts, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has been proposed as an alternative to help plants tolerate drought. However, most studies have been based on the use of a single type of microorganism, while consortia studies have been scarcely performed. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate different combinations of three PGPR, three AMF, and three yeasts with plant growth-promoting attributes to improve the biochemical, nutritional, and physiological behavior of strawberry plants growing under severe drought. The results showed that the growth and physiological attributes of the non-inoculated plants were significantly reduced by drought. In contrast, plants inoculated with the association of the fungus Claroideoglomus claroideum, the yeast Naganishia albida, and the rhizobacterium Burkholderia caledonica showed a stronger improvement in tolerance to drought. High biomass, relative water content, fruit number, photosynthetic rate, transpiration, stomatal conductance, quantum yield of photosystem II, N concentration, P concentration, K concentration, antioxidant activities, and chlorophyll contents were significantly improved in inoculated plants by up to 16.6%, 12.4%, 81.2%, 80%, 79.4%, 71.0%, 17.8%, 8.3%, 6.6%, 57.3%, 41%, and 22.5%, respectively, compared to stressed non-inoculated plants. Moreover, decreased malondialdehyde levels by up to 32% were registered. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of maximizing the effects of inoculation with beneficial rhizosphere microorganisms based on the prospect of more efficient combinations among different microbial groups, which is of interest to develop bioinoculants oriented to increase the growth of specific plant species in a global scenario of increasing drought stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi)
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15 pages, 1641 KiB  
Article
Cladanthus scariosus Essential Oil and Its Principal Constituents with Cytotoxic Effects on Human Tumor Cell Lines
by Natale Badalamenti, Vincenzo Ilardi, Maurizio Bruno, Filippo Maggi, Luana Quassinti and Massimo Bramucci
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111555 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Cladanthus is a small genus of the Asteraceae family comprising just five species that, apart from Cladanthus mixtus (L.) Chevall., has a large distribution in all the Mediterranean countries, mainly in the North Africa area. Several ethnopharmacological uses have been reported for species [...] Read more.
Cladanthus is a small genus of the Asteraceae family comprising just five species that, apart from Cladanthus mixtus (L.) Chevall., has a large distribution in all the Mediterranean countries, mainly in the North Africa area. Several ethnopharmacological uses have been reported for species of this genus. Notably, Cladanthus scariosus (Ball) Oberpr. & Vogt is endemic to Morocco. Seeking to delve deeper into the phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects of this species, in this work, we investigated the essential oil (EO) obtained from the aerial parts of a locally sourced accession, hitherto unexplored, growing wild near Tizi n’Ticha, Morocco. The chemical composition of the EO, obtained by the hydrodistillation method, was evaluated by GC and GC-MS. The most abundant EO constituent was germacrene D (13.2%), the principal representative of the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons class (27.2%). However, the major class of constituents was monoterpene hydrocarbons (43.0%), with α-pinene (11.9%), sabinene (10.2%), p-cymene (8.5%), and α-phellandrene (5.2%) as the most abundant. The EO and its main constituents have been tested for their possible cytotoxic activity against three human tumor cell lines (MDA-MB 231, A375, and CaCo2) using the MTT assay, with corresponding IC50 values of 13.69, 13.21, and 22.71 µg/mL, respectively. Germacrene D and terpinen-4-ol were found to be the most active constituents with IC50 values between 3.21 and 9.53 µg/mL. The results demonstrate remarkable cytotoxic activity against the three human tumor cell lines studied, and in the future, further analyses could demonstrate the excellent potential of C. scariosus EO as an antitumor agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemistry)
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15 pages, 5211 KiB  
Article
Tomato Mutants Reveal Root and Shoot Strigolactone Involvement in Branching and Broomrape Resistance
by Uri Karniel, Amit Koch, Nurit Bar Nun, Dani Zamir and Joseph Hirschberg
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1554; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111554 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 362
Abstract
The phytohormones strigolactones (SLs) control root and shoot branching and are exuded from roots into the rhizosphere to stimulate interaction with mycorrhizal fungi. The exuded SLs serve as signaling molecules for the germination of parasitic plants. The broomrape Phelipanche aegyptiaca is a widespread [...] Read more.
The phytohormones strigolactones (SLs) control root and shoot branching and are exuded from roots into the rhizosphere to stimulate interaction with mycorrhizal fungi. The exuded SLs serve as signaling molecules for the germination of parasitic plants. The broomrape Phelipanche aegyptiaca is a widespread noxious weed in various crop plants, including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). We have isolated three mutants that impair SL functioning in the tomato variety M82: SHOOT BRANCHING 1 (sb1) and SHOOT BRANCHING 2 (sb2), which abolish SL biosynthesis, and SHOOT BRANCHING 3 (sb3), which impairs SL perception. The over-branching phenotype of the sb mutants resulted in a severe yield loss. The isogenic property of the mutations in a determinate growth variety enabled the quantitative evaluation of the contribution of SL to yield under field conditions. As expected, the mutants sb1 and sb2 were completely resistant to infection by P. aegyptiaca due to the lack of SL in the roots. In contrast, sb3 was more susceptible to P. aegyptiaca than the wild-type M82. The SL concentration in roots of the sb3 was two-fold higher than in the wild type due to the upregulation of the transcription of SL biosynthesis genes. This phenomenon suggests that the steady-state level of root SLs is regulated by a feedback mechanism that involves the SL signaling pathway. Surprisingly, grafting wild-type varieties on sb1 and sb2 rootstocks eliminated the branching phenotype and yield loss, indicating that SL synthesized in the shoots is sufficient to control shoot branching. Moreover, commercial tomato varieties grafted on sb1 were protected from P. aegyptiaca infection without significant yield loss, offering a practical solution to the broomrape crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Physiology and Crop Production)
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14 pages, 10954 KiB  
Article
Effects of Foliar Boron Application on Physiological and Antioxidants Responses in Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) Cultivars
by Marjorie Reyes-Díaz, Paz Cárcamo-Fincheira, Ricardo Tighe-Neira, Adriano Nunes-Nesi, Arnould Savouré and Claudio Inostroza-Blancheteau
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1553; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111553 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 334
Abstract
Boron (B) is a micronutrient crucial for the growth, development, productivity, and quality of crops. However, in areas characterized by acid soil (pHwater < 5.0) and high rainfall, soil B concentration tends to decrease, leading to insufficient supply to crops. This study [...] Read more.
Boron (B) is a micronutrient crucial for the growth, development, productivity, and quality of crops. However, in areas characterized by acid soil (pHwater < 5.0) and high rainfall, soil B concentration tends to decrease, leading to insufficient supply to crops. This study was aimed at determining the optimal rate of B fertilization to enhance Vaccinium corymbosum L. performance in acid conditions. One-year-old cultivars with contrasting Al resistance (Al-sensitive Star and Al-resistant Cargo) were used. Plants were conditioned in plastic pots containing 18 L of half-ionic-strength Hoagland solution (pH 4.5) for 2 weeks. Thereafter, the following B treatments were applied foliarly: control, without B application (distilled water), 200, 400, and 800 mg L−1 of B as Solubor® for up to 72 h. Photosynthetic performance, root and shoot B levels, antioxidants, and oxidative stress were evaluated. Root and shoot B concentrations increased with the increasing B application, being higher in leaves than in roots of both cultivars. Net photosynthesis decreased at 800 mg L−1 B supply and effective quantum yield of PSII at 72 h in all B treatments. Lipid peroxidation increased in both cultivars at 800 mg L−1 B treatment. Antioxidant activity increased in all B treatments in both cultivars; while, at 400 and 800 mg L−1 B, total phenols increased in leaves of cultivar Star and decreased in cultivar Cargo. In conclusion, optimal B foliar application for highbush blueberry appears to be around 400 mg L−1 B. The appropriate B foliar application could help mitigate potential stress-induced problems in highbush blueberry cultivation. However, the optimal foliar B application should be confirmed in field experiments to help the farmers manage B nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Responses in Plants)
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13 pages, 1628 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Salinity in the Irrigation of a Wild Underutilized Leafy Vegetable, Sonchus oleraceus L.
by Anna Gkotzamani, Ioannis Ipsilantis, George Menexes, Andreas Katsiotis, Konstadinos Mattas and Athanasios Koukounaras
Plants 2024, 13(11), 1552; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13111552 - 4 Jun 2024
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Abstract
Introducing non- or under-utilized crops to cultivation generates benefits such as biodiversity enrichment, supporting mitigation actions towards climate change-induced effects. The salinization of soil and water supplies is progressively disrupting natural habitats and food production, especially in regions such as the Mediterranean. Sonchus [...] Read more.
Introducing non- or under-utilized crops to cultivation generates benefits such as biodiversity enrichment, supporting mitigation actions towards climate change-induced effects. The salinization of soil and water supplies is progressively disrupting natural habitats and food production, especially in regions such as the Mediterranean. Sonchus oleraceus L. is a Mediterranean wild leafy green with nutritional and medicinal properties. This study’s purpose was to determine whether salinity affects the growth, quality, and nutrient composition of Sonchus oleraceus L. In an unheated plastic greenhouse, seedlings were transplanted in pots filled with perlite and irrigated with a nutrient solution with no NaCl added (the control, C) or with the addition of 40, 60, 80, and 100 mM of NaCl (treatments S4, S6, S8, and S10, respectively). The leaf and root growth, leaf quality, and the nutrient composition of leaves and roots were determined. Regarding the results, growth was mainly affected at high salinity levels (S8 and S10), with no observed effects of salinity on the determined quality parameters. The nutrient composition was variably affected by salinity in leaves but not in roots (except in the case of Na and the K/Na ratio). Sonchus oleraceus L. showed a general relative tolerance in moderate salinity levels (40 and 60 mM of NaCl), suggesting potential commercial exploitation of the species in areas where the quality of irrigation water is low. However, the health effects of consuming this species grown under salinity stress need to be studied in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
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