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Plants, Volume 13, Issue 5 (March-1 2024) – 188 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): During plant development, mobile proteins, including transcription factors, serve as messengers to activate transcriptional signaling cascades in distal tissues. These proteins travel from cell to cell via nanoscopic tunnels in the cell wall known as the plasmodesmata. Cellular control over this intercellular movement involves regulation at the level of plasmodesmata density and structure and at the level of the cargo proteins that traverse these tunnels. In this review, we cover the dynamics of plasmodesmata formation and structure in a developmental context and recent insights into the mechanisms that control these aspects. Furthermore, we explore the processes involved in cargo-specific mechanisms that control the transport of proteins via plasmodesmata. View this paper
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13 pages, 12020 KiB  
Article
Morphology and Molecular Phylogeny of the Genus Stigeoclonium (Chaetophorales, Chlorophyta) from China, Including Descriptions of the Pseudostigeoclonium gen. nov.
by Benwen Liu, Qiumei Lan, Qingyu Dai, Huan Zhu and Guoxiang Liu
Plants 2024, 13(5), 748; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050748 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 696
Abstract
Stigeoclonium is a genus of green algae that is widely distributed in freshwater habitats around the world. The genus comprises species with variously developed prostrates and erect systems of uniseriate branched filaments and grows attached to a wide range of different surfaces. It [...] Read more.
Stigeoclonium is a genus of green algae that is widely distributed in freshwater habitats around the world. The genus comprises species with variously developed prostrates and erect systems of uniseriate branched filaments and grows attached to a wide range of different surfaces. It holds significant promise for applications in water quality indicators, sewage treatment, and the development of high-value-added products. Nevertheless, our comprehension of Stigeoclonium remains unclear and perplexing, particularly regarding its fundamental systematic taxonomy. Recent molecular analyses have revealed that the morphologically well-defined genus Stigeoclonium is polyphyletic and requires taxonomic revision. Phylogenetic analysis based on a single molecular marker and limited samples is insufficient to address the polyphyletic nature of Stigeoclonium. In the present study, 34 out of 45 strains of Stigeoclonium were newly acquired from China. Alongside the morphological data, a concatenated dataset of three markers (18S rDNA + ITS2 + tufA) was utilized to determine their molecular phylogeny. The phylogenetic analysis successfully resolved the broadly defined Stigeoclonium into three robustly supported clades (Stigeoclonim tenue clade, S. farctum clade, and S. helveticum clade). The morphological characteristics assessment results showed that the cell type of the main axis-producing branch, considered a crucial morphological characteristic of the Stigeoclonium taxonomy, did not accurately reflect the real phylogeny of the genus. A new taxonomical classification of the genus Stigeoclonium was proposed based on zoospores’ germination types, which aligned well with the phylogenetic topologies. Species where zoospores showed erect germination (S. helveticum clade) formed a distinct monophyletic clade, clearly separated from the other two clades, with zoospores showing prostrate germination or pseudo-erect germination. Consequently, a new genus, Pseudostigeoclonium gen. nov., is suggested to include all species in the broadly defined Stigeoclonium with zoospores with erect germination. The taxonomic diversity is supported by distinctive morphological differences and phylogenetic divergence within the broadly defined Stigeoclonium identified in this study. Further evaluation of the genus Stigeoclonium is necessary, especially via examining additional specimens and re-evaluating morphological characters under precisely defined laboratory conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Systematics, Taxonomy, Nomenclature and Classification)
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19 pages, 1437 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Fertility Dynamics and Nutritional Quality of Potato Tubers in a Compost-Amended Mars Regolith Simulant
by Antonio Giandonato Caporale, Roberta Paradiso, Mario Palladino, Nafiou Arouna, Luana Izzo, Alberto Ritieni, Stefania De Pascale and Paola Adamo
Plants 2024, 13(5), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050747 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 582
Abstract
Mars exploration will foresee the design of bioregenerative life support systems (BLSSs), in which the use/recycle of in situ resources might allow the production of food crops. However, cultivation on the poorly-fertile Mars regolith will be very challenging. To pursue this goal, we [...] Read more.
Mars exploration will foresee the design of bioregenerative life support systems (BLSSs), in which the use/recycle of in situ resources might allow the production of food crops. However, cultivation on the poorly-fertile Mars regolith will be very challenging. To pursue this goal, we grew potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) plants on the MMS-1 Mojave Mars regolith simulant, pure (R100) and mixed with green compost at 30% (R70C30), in a pot in a cold glasshouse with fertigation. For comparison purposes, we also grew plants on a fluvial sand, pure (S100) and amended with 30% of compost (S70C30), a volcanic soil (VS) and a red soil (RS). We studied the fertility dynamics in the substrates over time and the tuber nutritional quality. We investigated nutrient bioavailability and fertility indicators in the substrates and the quality of potato tubers. Plants completed the life cycle on R100 and produced scarce but nutritious tubers, despite many critical simulant properties. The compost supply enhanced the MMS-1 chemical/physical fertility and determined a higher tuber yield of better nutritional quality. This study demonstrated that a compost-amended Mars simulant could be a proper substrate to produce food crops in BLSSs, enabling it to provide similar ecosystem services of the studied terrestrial soils. Full article
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22 pages, 4094 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Analysis of XGBoost and Neural Network Models for Predicting Some Tomato Fruit Quality Traits from Environmental and Meteorological Data
by Oussama M’hamdi, Sándor Takács, Gábor Palotás, Riadh Ilahy, Lajos Helyes and Zoltán Pék
Plants 2024, 13(5), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050746 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 938
Abstract
The tomato as a raw material for processing is globally important and is pivotal in dietary and agronomic research due to its nutritional, economic, and health significance. This study explored the potential of machine learning (ML) for predicting tomato quality, utilizing data from [...] Read more.
The tomato as a raw material for processing is globally important and is pivotal in dietary and agronomic research due to its nutritional, economic, and health significance. This study explored the potential of machine learning (ML) for predicting tomato quality, utilizing data from 48 cultivars and 28 locations in Hungary over 5 seasons. It focused on °Brix, lycopene content, and colour (a/b ratio) using extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost) and artificial neural network (ANN) models. The results revealed that XGBoost consistently outperformed ANN, achieving high accuracy in predicting °Brix (R² = 0.98, RMSE = 0.07) and lycopene content (R² = 0.87, RMSE = 0.61), and excelling in colour prediction (a/b ratio) with a R² of 0.93 and RMSE of 0.03. ANN lagged behind particularly in colour prediction, showing a negative R² value of −0.35. Shapley additive explanation’s (SHAP) summary plot analysis indicated that both models are effective in predicting °Brix and lycopene content in tomatoes, highlighting different aspects of the data. SHAP analysis highlighted the models’ efficiency (especially in °Brix and lycopene predictions) and underscored the significant influence of cultivar choice and environmental factors like climate and soil. These findings emphasize the importance of selecting and fine-tuning the appropriate ML model for enhancing precision agriculture, underlining XGBoost’s superiority in handling complex agronomic data for quality assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Modeling)
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13 pages, 2652 KiB  
Article
A Novel Allele in the Promoter of Wx Decreases Gene Expression and Confers Lower Apparent Amylose Contents in Japonica Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
by Weijie Tang, Haiyuan Chen, Suobing Zhang, Jun Tang, Jing Lin, Xianwen Fang, Gaoming Chen and Yunhui Zhang
Plants 2024, 13(5), 745; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050745 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Wx is the key gene that controls amylose content (AC), and various alleles have been found in rice populations. Wxb is the major allele in japonica and produces moderate AC (15~18%). It was recently found that editing the promoter of Wx could [...] Read more.
Wx is the key gene that controls amylose content (AC), and various alleles have been found in rice populations. Wxb is the major allele in japonica and produces moderate AC (15~18%). It was recently found that editing the promoter of Wx could produce a series of alleles that have different Wx activities. Although some studies have edited the promoter, few studies have focused on the natural variations in Wx. Here, we used the Rice3K database to investigate variations in the Wx promoter and found that the allele Wx1764178 (A/G) has a higher LD (linkage disequilibrium) with the two key SNPs (1765751, T/G; 1768006, A/C), which could produce different Wx alleles and influence AC, as reported previously. Further study showed that the Wx1764178 allele (A/G) is functional and influences the expression of Wx positively. Editing the A allele using CRISPR‒Cas9 produced 36 and 3 bp deletions and caused a decrease in the expression of Wx. The apparent amylose content (AAC) in the edited lines was decreased by 7.09% and 11.50% compared with that of the wild type, which was the japonica variety Nipponbare with Wxb and the A allele at 1764178, while a complementary line with the G allele showed a lower AAC than the A allele with no effect on other agronomic traits. The AAC of the edited lines showed a higher increase than that of the wild type (Nipponbare, Wxb) in low-nitrogen conditions relative to high-nitrogen conditions. We also developed a dCAPS marker to identify the allele and found that the G allele has widely been used (82.95%) in japonica-bred varieties from Jiangsu Province, China. Overall, we found a functional allele (Wx1764178, A/G) in the Wx promoter that could affect AAC in japonica cultivars and be developed as markers for quality improvement in rice breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Breeding and Germplasm Improvement of Rice—2nd Edition)
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14 pages, 2446 KiB  
Article
Research on Physiological Characteristics and Differential Gene Expression of Rice Hybrids and Their Parents under Salt Stress at Seedling Stage
by Dan Zhang, Yuanyi Hu, Ruopeng Li, Li Tang, Lin Mo, Yinlin Pan, Bigang Mao, Ye Shao, Bingran Zhao and Dongyang Lei
Plants 2024, 13(5), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050744 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 527
Abstract
Soil salinization is one of the most important abiotic stresses which can seriously affect the growth and development of rice, leading to the decrease in or even loss of a rice harvest. Increasing the rice yield of saline soil is a key issue [...] Read more.
Soil salinization is one of the most important abiotic stresses which can seriously affect the growth and development of rice, leading to the decrease in or even loss of a rice harvest. Increasing the rice yield of saline soil is a key issue for agricultural production. The utilization of heterosis could significantly increase crop biomass and yield, which might be an effective way to meet the demand for rice cultivation in saline soil. In this study, to elucidate the regulatory mechanisms of rice hybrids and their parents that respond to salt stress, we investigated the phenotypic characteristics, physiological and biochemical indexes, and expression level of salt-related genes at the seedling stage. In this study, two sets of materials, encapsulating the most significant differences between the rice hybrids and their parents, were screened using the salt damage index and a hybrid superiority analysis. Compared with their parents, the rice hybrids Guang-Ba-You-Hua-Zhan (BB1) and Y-Liang-You-900 (GD1) exhibited much better salt tolerance, including an increased fresh weight and higher survival rate, a better scavenging ability towards reactive oxygen species (ROS), better ionic homeostasis with lower content of Na+ in their Na+/K+ ratio, and a higher expression of salt-stress-responsive genes. These results indicated that rice hybrids developed complex regulatory mechanisms involving multiple pathways and genes to adapt to salt stress and provided a physiological basis for the utilization of heterosis for improving the yield of rice under salt stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Rice and Rice Breeding)
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14 pages, 1153 KiB  
Review
Aggregation-Induced Emission Luminogens: A New Possibility for Efficient Visualization of RNA in Plants
by Zheng-Chao Yang, Li-Xiang Zhao, Yu-Qi Sang, Xin Huang, Xuan-Chen Lin and Zhi-Ming Yu
Plants 2024, 13(5), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050743 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 662
Abstract
RNAs play important roles in regulating biological growth and development. Advancements in RNA-imaging techniques are expanding our understanding of their function. Several common RNA-labeling methods in plants have pros and cons. Simultaneously, plants’ spontaneously fluorescent substances interfere with the effectiveness of RNA bioimaging. [...] Read more.
RNAs play important roles in regulating biological growth and development. Advancements in RNA-imaging techniques are expanding our understanding of their function. Several common RNA-labeling methods in plants have pros and cons. Simultaneously, plants’ spontaneously fluorescent substances interfere with the effectiveness of RNA bioimaging. New technologies need to be introduced into plant RNA luminescence. Aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens), due to their luminescent properties, tunable molecular size, high fluorescence intensity, good photostability, and low cell toxicity, have been widely applied in the animal and medical fields. The application of this technology in plants is still at an early stage. The development of AIEgens provides more options for RNA labeling. Click chemistry provides ideas for modifying AIEgens into RNA molecules. The CRISPR/Cas13a-mediated targeting system provides a guarantee of precise RNA modification. The liquid–liquid phase separation in plant cells creates conditions for the enrichment and luminescence of AIEgens. The only thing that needs to be looked for is a specific enzyme that uses AIEgens as a substrate and modifies AIEgens onto target RNA via a click chemical reaction. With the development and progress of artificial intelligence and synthetic biology, it may soon be possible to artificially synthesize or discover such an enzyme. Full article
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15 pages, 4342 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Analyses of Four PhNF-YC Genes from Petunia hybrida and Impacts on Flowering Time
by Jing Bin, Qinghua Tan, Shiyun Wen, Licheng Huang, Huimin Wang, Muhammad Imtiaz, Zhisheng Zhang, Herong Guo, Li Xie, Ruizhen Zeng and Qian Wei
Plants 2024, 13(5), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050742 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Nuclear Factor Y (NF-Y) is a class of heterotrimeric transcription factors composed of three subunits: NF-A, NF-YB, and NF-YC. NF-YC family members play crucial roles in various developmental processes, particularly in the regulation of flowering time. However, their functions in petunia remain poorly [...] Read more.
Nuclear Factor Y (NF-Y) is a class of heterotrimeric transcription factors composed of three subunits: NF-A, NF-YB, and NF-YC. NF-YC family members play crucial roles in various developmental processes, particularly in the regulation of flowering time. However, their functions in petunia remain poorly understood. In this study, we isolated four PhNF-YC genes from petunia and confirmed their subcellular localization in both the nucleus and cytoplasm. We analyzed the transcript abundance of all four PhNF-YC genes and found that PhNF-YC2 and PhNF-YC4 were highly expressed in apical buds and leaves, with their transcript levels decreasing before flower bud differentiation. Silencing PhNF-YC2 using VIGS resulted in a delayed flowering time and reduced chlorophyll content, while PhNF-YC4-silenced plants only exhibited a delayed flowering time. Furthermore, we detected the transcript abundance of flowering-related genes involved in different signaling pathways and found that PhCO, PhGI, PhFBP21, PhGA20ox4, and PhSPL9b were regulated by both PhNF-YC2 and PhNF-YC4. Additionally, the transcript abundance of PhSPL2, PhSPL3, and PhSPL4 increased only in PhNF-YC2-silenced plants. Overall, these results provide evidence that PhNF-YC2 and PhNF-YC4 negatively regulate flowering time in petunia by modulating a series of flowering-related genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Growth, Development, and Stress Response of Horticulture Plants)
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14 pages, 1386 KiB  
Article
Characterization among and within Sicilian Tetraploid Wheat Landraces by Gluten Protein Analysis for Traceability Purposes
by Samuela Palombieri, Marco Bonarrigo, Silvia Potestio, Francesco Sestili, Bernardo Messina, Giuseppe Russo, Claudia Miceli, Benedetto Frangipane, Marco Genduso, Chiara Delogu, Lorella Andreani and Stefania Masci
Plants 2024, 13(5), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050741 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 463
Abstract
The criteria of “Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability” as well as a high “overall quality index” are used to register the Italian modern varieties to the national register. Differently, local conservation varieties can be certified under different EU Directives that facilitate, as an overall [...] Read more.
The criteria of “Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability” as well as a high “overall quality index” are used to register the Italian modern varieties to the national register. Differently, local conservation varieties can be certified under different EU Directives that facilitate, as an overall objective, the preservation of biodiversity and the containment of genetic erosion. In recent years, products derived from ancient grains are perceived to be healthier and more sustainable by consumers, especially in Italy, with consequent higher market prices. The ancient tetraploid wheat varieties registered in the national register of conservation varieties amount to 28, 24 of which are Sicilian. They are supposed to have wide genetic variability compared to modern ones, making them vulnerable to fraud because they are difficult to trace. It is therefore important to have tools able to discriminate between autochthonous Sicilian varieties. This can be completed by gluten proteins composition, which also provides information on the technological properties of derived products. Fifty-one accessions belonging to twenty-two ancient varieties of Sicilian tetraploid (mostly durum) wheat were analyzed. Although wide intra-accession and intra-varietal variability measurements were assessed, the gliadin pattern of bulks of seeds belonging to each variety was discriminatory. Moreover, differences in technological attitudes were found between landraces. This paves the way to use gluten protein patterns for traceability, allowing local farmers and producers to valorize their products and assure consumers regarding the transparency of the entire supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Physiology and Crop Production)
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22 pages, 2249 KiB  
Article
Microanatomical Changes in the Leaves of Arundo donax (L.) Caused by Potentially Toxic Elements from Municipal Sewage Sediment
by Csilla Tóth, László Simon and Brigitta Tóth
Plants 2024, 13(5), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050740 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 509
Abstract
An open-field 3-year-long microplot experiment was set up with three micropropagated lines (SC Blossom, BFT Indiana, and STM Hajdúsági) of giant reed (Arundo donax L.). Plants were grown on a soil cover of a former sewage settling pond located in Debrecen Lovász-Zug, [...] Read more.
An open-field 3-year-long microplot experiment was set up with three micropropagated lines (SC Blossom, BFT Indiana, and STM Hajdúsági) of giant reed (Arundo donax L.). Plants were grown on a soil cover of a former sewage settling pond located in Debrecen Lovász-Zug, Hungary. Soil cover of the sewage sediment was moderately contaminated with various toxic elements (As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn). The highest total concentration of examined toxic elements in leaves was found in the BFT Indiana line (∑326 mg/kg), while in the SC Blossom and STM Hajdúsági lines, ∑210 mg/kg and ∑182 mg/kg were measured, respectively. The highest Zn concentration (117 mg/kg) was found in the leaves of in BFT Indiana line and was 67% higher than that in SC Blossom and 95% more than in the STM Hajdúsági line. The BFT Indiana leaves showed typical signs of adaptation to heavy metal stress in the case of numerous micromorphometric characteristics. The extent of leaf mesophylls decreased, and the number of bulliform cells and phytoliths, as well as the sclerenchymatous stock, increased. The size of the vascular bundles was reduced. The size of the stomata decreased while the stomatal density increased. It can be concluded that the BFT Indiana line had the best adaptational response to heavy metal stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evaluation of Stress Factors in Crops’ Life)
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13 pages, 3091 KiB  
Article
Effect of Growth Stage on Nutrition, Fermentation Quality, and Microbial Community of Semidry Silage from Forage Soybean
by Kexin Wang, Shengnan Sun, Yilin Zou, Yongqi Gao, Zifeng Gao, Bo Wang, Yi Hua, Yalin Lu, Guofu Hu and Ligang Qin
Plants 2024, 13(5), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050739 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Soybean (Glycine max (Linn.) Merr.) is highly suitable as animal feed. The silage quality and microbial characteristics of soybean silage are still unclear. Forage soybean (HN389), at six different growth stages (R2-R7), were used as experimental materials to investigate the changes in [...] Read more.
Soybean (Glycine max (Linn.) Merr.) is highly suitable as animal feed. The silage quality and microbial characteristics of soybean silage are still unclear. Forage soybean (HN389), at six different growth stages (R2-R7), were used as experimental materials to investigate the changes in fermentation, nutritional quality, and microbial characteristics of semidry silage after 0, 7, 14, 30, and 45 d. As the growth period extended, the content of crude protein (CP) and crude fat (EE) gradually increased, while the neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and the acid detergent fiber (ADF) content decreased. The pH value also decreased gradually with fermentation time, accompanied by increases in the proportion of ammonia-N and the content of lactic acid (LA) and acetic acid (AA). In addition, competitive inhibition was observed in the microbial fermentation. With the process of ensiling, Lactobacillus became the dominant bacterial species. The results indicate that the most active stage of fermentation during ensiling occurred within the first 7 days, the fermentation and nutritional quality of the soybean forage were improved, and the optimal mowing stage was the grain stage. Comparison of the microbial abundance showed that all microorganisms entered a stable stage at 30 days of silage. After storage, the dominant bacteria were Lactobacillus, Enterobacter, and Pantoea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Silage Production)
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14 pages, 4924 KiB  
Article
Ethylene Action Inhibition Improves Adventitious Root Induction in Adult Chestnut Tissues
by Ricardo Castro-Camba, Mariana Neves, Sandra Correia, Jorge Canhoto, Jesús M. Vielba and Conchi Sánchez
Plants 2024, 13(5), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050738 - 06 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 505
Abstract
Phase change refers to the process of maturation and transition from the juvenile to the adult stage. In response to this shift, certain species like chestnut lose the ability to form adventitious roots, thereby hindering the successful micropropagation of adult plants. While auxin [...] Read more.
Phase change refers to the process of maturation and transition from the juvenile to the adult stage. In response to this shift, certain species like chestnut lose the ability to form adventitious roots, thereby hindering the successful micropropagation of adult plants. While auxin is the main hormone involved in adventitious root formation, other hormones, such as ethylene, are also thought to play a role in its induction and development. In this study, experiments were carried out to determine the effects of ethylene on the induction and growth of adventitious roots. The analysis was performed in two types of chestnut microshoots derived from the same tree, a juvenile-like line with a high rooting ability derived from basal shoots (P2BS) and a line derived from crown branches (P2CR) with low rooting responses. By means of the application of compounds to modify ethylene content or inhibit its signalling, the potential involvement of this hormone in the induction of adventitious roots was analysed. Our results show that ethylene can modify the rooting competence of mature shoots, while the response in juvenile material was barely affected. To further characterise the molecular reasons underlying this maturation-derived shift in behaviour, specific gene expression analyses were developed. The findings suggest that several mechanisms, including ethylene signalling, auxin transport and epigenetic modifications, relate to the modulation of the rooting ability of mature chestnut microshoots and their recalcitrant behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics in the Acquisition of Rooting Competence)
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15 pages, 2315 KiB  
Article
Effect of Light Quality on Seed Potato (Solanum tuberose L.) Tuberization When Aeroponically Grown in a Controlled Greenhouse
by Md Hafizur Rahman, Md. Jahirul Islam, Umma Habiba Mumu, Byeong Ryeol Ryu, Jung-Dae Lim, Md Obyedul Kalam Azad, Eun Ju Cheong and Young-Seok Lim
Plants 2024, 13(5), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050737 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
A plant factory equipped with artificial lights is a comparatively new concept when growing seed potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) for minituber production. The shortage of disease-free potato seed tubers is a key challenge to producing quality potatoes. Quality seed tuber production all [...] Read more.
A plant factory equipped with artificial lights is a comparatively new concept when growing seed potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) for minituber production. The shortage of disease-free potato seed tubers is a key challenge to producing quality potatoes. Quality seed tuber production all year round in a controlled environment under an artificial light condition was the main purpose of this study. The present study was conducted in a plant factory to investigate the effects of distinct spectrum compositions of LEDs on potato tuberization when grown in an aeroponic system. The study was equipped with eight LED light combinations: L1 = red: blue: green (70 + 25 + 5), L2 = red: blue: green (70 + 20 + 10), L3 = red: blue: green (70 + 15 + 15), L4 = red: blue: green (70 + 10 + 20), L5 = red: blue: far-red (70 + 25 + 5), L6 = red: blue: far-red (70 + 20 + 10), L7 = red: blue: far-red (70 + 15 + 15), L8 = red: blue: far-red (70 + 10 + 20), and L9 = natural light with 300 µmol m−2 s−1 of irradiance, 16/8 h day/night, 65% relative humidity, while natural light was used as the control treatment. According to the findings, treatment L4 recorded a higher tuber number (31/plant), tuber size (>3 g); (9.26 ± 3.01), and GA3 content, along with better plant growth characteristics. Moreover, treatment L4 recorded a significantly increased trend in the stem diameter (11.08 ± 0.25), leaf number (25.32 ± 1.2), leaf width (19 ± 0.81), root length (49 ± 2.1), and stolon length (49.62 ± 2.05) compared to the control (L9). However, the L9 treatment showed the best performance in plant fresh weight (67.16 ± 4.06 g) and plant dry weight (4.46 ± 0.08 g). In addition, photosynthetic pigments (Chl a) (0.096 ± 0.00 mg g−1, 0.093 ± 0.00 mg g−1) were found to be the highest in the L1 and L2 treatments, respectively. However, Chl b and TCL recorded the best results in treatment L4. Finally, with consideration of the plant growth and tuber yield performance, treatment L4 was found to have the best spectral composition to grow quality seed potato tubers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light and Its Influence on the Growth and Quality of Plants)
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12 pages, 3041 KiB  
Article
Responses in Plant Growth and Root Exudates of Pistia stratiotes under Zn and Cu Stress
by Yujie Wang, Pan Zhang, Canhua Yang, Yibai Guo, Panpan Gao, Tong Wang, Yu Liu, Lina Xu and Gongke Zhou
Plants 2024, 13(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050736 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 625
Abstract
At present, the situation regarding heavy metal pollution in aquatic environments is becoming more and more serious. The bioaccumulation of heavy metals in aquatic plants causes obvious phytotoxicity, which can also induce secondary pollution in the aquatic environment. Zinc and copper, as indispensable [...] Read more.
At present, the situation regarding heavy metal pollution in aquatic environments is becoming more and more serious. The bioaccumulation of heavy metals in aquatic plants causes obvious phytotoxicity, which can also induce secondary pollution in the aquatic environment. Zinc and copper, as indispensable elements for plant growth, are also prominent heavy metals in water pollution in China, and their concentrations play a crucial role in plant growth. In this study, we investigated the response of Pistia stratiotes (P. stratiotes) to different concentrations of Zn and Cu, and the results showed that plant growth and photosynthesis were inhibited under both Zn (1, 2, 4, and 8 mg/L) and Cu (0.2, 0.4, 0.8, and 1 mg/L) stresses. The relative growth rates of P. stratiotes under 8 mg/L Zn or 1 mg/L Cu stress were 6.33% and 6.90%, which were much lower than those in the control group (10.86%). Meanwhile, Zn and Cu stress caused insignificant change in the relative water contents of plants. The decrease in phlorophyll fluorescence parameters and chlorophyll contents suggested the significant photoinhibition of Zn and Cu stress. Chemical analysis of plant root exudates showed that the root secretion species obtained by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) mainly included amino acids, alkanes, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, and more. Compared with the control group, the influence of Zn or Cu on the reduction in relative amounts of exudates was greater than that on the increase. The results of this study provide important data for the utilization of P. stratiotes in heavy metal-polluted water environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiology and Ecology of Aquatic Plants)
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18 pages, 2948 KiB  
Article
Phytoremediation Potential of Different Genotypes of Salix alba and S. viminalis
by Jelena Urošević, Dragica Stanković, Dušan Jokanović, Goran Trivan, Aleh Rodzkin, Đorđe Jović and Filip Jovanović
Plants 2024, 13(5), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050735 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 655
Abstract
Elevated concentrations of heavy metals result in soil degradation, a reduction in plant yields, and a lower quality of agricultural products, which directly endangers people, animals, and the ecosystem. The potential of three clones of Salix alba (347, NS 73/6, and B-44) and [...] Read more.
Elevated concentrations of heavy metals result in soil degradation, a reduction in plant yields, and a lower quality of agricultural products, which directly endangers people, animals, and the ecosystem. The potential of three clones of Salix alba (347, NS 73/6, and B-44) and one genotype of S. viminalis for the phytoextraction of heavy metals was investigated, with the aim of identifying the most physiologically suitable willow genotypes for use in soil phytoremediation. The experiment was placed on the contaminated soil substrate collected in Kolubara Mining Basin (Serbia), enriched by high loads of heavy metal salts, and a control medium. Significant differences in the concentrations of heavy metals were recorded between the contaminated and control plant material, especially when it comes to nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb), confirming that S. alba and S. viminalis are hyperaccumulator species of heavy metals. Clone 347 shows the greatest uptake of Cd and chromium (Cr), and clone B-44 takes up these metals only to a lesser extent, while clone NS 73/6 shows a less pronounced uptake of Cr. The roots have the greatest ability to accumulate Ni and Pb, Cu is absorbed by all plant organs, while Cd is absorbed by the leaves. The organ that showed the greatest ability to accumulate heavy metals was the root, which means that willows have a limited power to translocate heavy metals to above-ground organs. The studied genotypes of S. alba have a higher potential for the phytostabilization of Cu and Cd, as well as the phytoextraction of Cd, compared with S. viminalis. The results confirm the assumption of differences between different willow genotypes in terms of the ability to phytoextract certain heavy metals from soil, which is important information when selecting genotypes for soil phytoremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
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24 pages, 7108 KiB  
Article
Romanian Wild-Growing Chelidonium majus—An Emerging Approach to a Potential Antimicrobial Engineering Carrier System Based on AuNPs: In Vitro Investigation and Evaluation
by Adina-Elena Segneanu, Gabriela Vlase, Titus Vlase, Maria-Viorica Ciocalteu, Cornelia Bejenaru, Gabriela Buema, Ludovic Everard Bejenaru, Eugen Radu Boia, Andrei Dumitru and Simina Boia
Plants 2024, 13(5), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050734 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 538
Abstract
Novel nanotechnology based on herbal products aspires to be a high-performing therapeutic platform. This study reports the development of an original engineering carrier system that jointly combines the pharmacological action of Chelidonium majus and AuNPs, with unique properties that ensure that the limitations [...] Read more.
Novel nanotechnology based on herbal products aspires to be a high-performing therapeutic platform. This study reports the development of an original engineering carrier system that jointly combines the pharmacological action of Chelidonium majus and AuNPs, with unique properties that ensure that the limitations imposed by low stability, toxicity, absorption, and targeted and prolonged release can be overcome. The metabolite profile of Romanian wild-grown Chelidonium majus contains a total of seventy-four phytochemicals belonging to eight secondary metabolite categories, including alkaloids, amino acids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, fatty acids, sterols, and miscellaneous others. In this study, various techniques (XRD, FTIR, SEM, DLS, and TG/DTG) were employed to investigate his new carrier system’s morpho-structural and thermal properties. In vitro assays were conducted to evaluate the antioxidant potential and release profile. The results indicate 99.9% and 94.4% dissolution at different pH values for the CG-AuNPs carrier system and 93.5% and 85.26% for greater celandine at pH 4 and pH 7, respectively. Additionally, three in vitro antioxidant assays indicated an increase in antioxidant potential (flavonoid content 3.8%; FRAP assay 24.6%; and DPPH 24.4%) of the CG-AuNPs carrier system compared to the herb sample. The collective results reflect the system’s promising perspective as a new efficient antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory candidate with versatile applications, ranging from target delivery systems, oral inflammation (periodontitis), and anti-age cosmetics to extending the shelf lives of products in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spectra Analysis and Plants Research 2.0)
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13 pages, 4352 KiB  
Article
A Novel Sorbitol-Based Flow Cytometry Buffer Is Effective for Genome Size Estimation across a Cypriot Grapevine Collection
by Kyriakos Michael, Constantina Andreou, Anastasia Markou, Michalakis Christoforou and Nikolaos Nikoloudakis
Plants 2024, 13(5), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050733 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Flow cytometry (FCM) is a widely used technique to study genome size (C-value), but recalcitrant metabolites in grapevines often hinder its efficiency in grapevine research. The aim of the present study was (i) to develop a novel buffer tailormade for the nuclei isolation [...] Read more.
Flow cytometry (FCM) is a widely used technique to study genome size (C-value), but recalcitrant metabolites in grapevines often hinder its efficiency in grapevine research. The aim of the present study was (i) to develop a novel buffer tailormade for the nuclei isolation of grapevines and (ii) to characterize a Cypriot germplasm collection based on C-values. A local cultivar “Xinisteri” was used as a pilot test to evaluate a Sorbitol-based buffer, while sprouting, young, and fully matured leaves were examined to evaluate the developmental parameter. The novel Sorbitol buffer was shown to have a coefficient of variation (CV) of 4.06%, indicating improved properties compared to other commonly used FCM buffers [WPB (7.69%), LB01 (6.69%), and LB (7.13%), respectively]. In addition, a significant variation in genome size between genotypes was found in a comprehensive application with 24 grape varieties. Nucleic content (2C) ranged from 0.577/1C pg for the “Assyrtiko” cultivar up to 0.597/1C pg for the “Spourtiko” cultivar, revealing a 17.6/1C Mbp difference. The lowest coefficient of variation (CV) across all entries was found in the variety “Ofthalmo” (2.29%), while the highest was observed in “Pinot Noir” (3.44%). Anova analysis revealed several distinct clusters, showing that in several cases, C-values can be used as a simple method to distinguish grapevine cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grapevine Genetic Resources)
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14 pages, 6708 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Virus-Free Chrysanthemum ‘Hangju’ Productivity and Response to Virus Reinfection in the Field: Molecular Insights into Virus–Host Interactions
by Xuejie Du, Xinqiao Zhan, Xueting Gu, Xinyi Liu and Bizeng Mao
Plants 2024, 13(5), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050732 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 616
Abstract
The shoot apical meristem culture has been used widely to produce virus-free plantlets which have the advantages of strong disease resistance, high yield, and prosperous growth potential. However, this virus-free plant will be naturally reinfected in the field. The physiological and metabolic responses [...] Read more.
The shoot apical meristem culture has been used widely to produce virus-free plantlets which have the advantages of strong disease resistance, high yield, and prosperous growth potential. However, this virus-free plant will be naturally reinfected in the field. The physiological and metabolic responses in the reinfected plant are still unknown. The flower of chrysanthemum ‘Hangju’ is a traditional medicine which is unique to China. In this study, we found that the virus-free ‘Hangju’ (VFH) was reinfected with chrysanthemum virus B/R in the field. However, the reinfected VFH (RVFH) exhibited an increased yield and medicinal components compared with virus-infected ‘Hangju’ (VIH). Comparative analysis of transcriptomes was performed to explore the molecular response mechanisms of the RVFH to CVB infection. A total of 6223 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in the RVFH vs. the VIH. KEGG enrichment and physiological analyses indicated that treatment with the virus-free technology significantly mitigated the plants’ lipid and galactose metabolic stress responses in the RVFH. Furthermore, GO enrichment showed that plant viral diseases affected salicylic acid (SA)-related processes in the RVFH. Specifically, we found that phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) genes played a major role in defense-related SA biosynthesis in ‘Hangju’. These findings provided new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying plant virus–host interactions and have implications for developing strategies to improve plant resistance against viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis and Disease Control in Crops—2nd Edition)
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15 pages, 2817 KiB  
Article
Phytochemical Profile and Evaluation of the Antioxidant, Cyto-Genotoxic, and Antigenotoxic Potential of Salvia verticillata Hydromethanolic Extract
by Lamprini S. Stavropoulou, Ioanna Efthimiou, Lambrini Giova, Chrysoula Manoli, Paraskevi S. Sinou, Aris Zografidis, Fotini N. Lamari, Dimitris Vlastos, Stefanos Dailianis and Maria Antonopoulou
Plants 2024, 13(5), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050731 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 758
Abstract
This study comprises the phytochemical characterization, the evaluation of the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity (AA), and the investigation of the cyto-genotoxic and antigenotoxic potential of hydromethanolic extract derived from Salvia verticillata L. leaves. HPLC–DAD–ESI-MS and HPLC–DAD were used for the [...] Read more.
This study comprises the phytochemical characterization, the evaluation of the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity (AA), and the investigation of the cyto-genotoxic and antigenotoxic potential of hydromethanolic extract derived from Salvia verticillata L. leaves. HPLC–DAD–ESI-MS and HPLC–DAD were used for the characterization of the extract and determination of the major ingredients. Afterwards, the TPC and AA were determined. The cytotoxic and genotoxic effect of the extract on cultured human lymphocytes at concentrations of 10, 25, and 50 μg mL−1 was investigated via the Cytokinesis Block MicroNucleus (CBMN) assay. Moreover, its antigenotoxic potential against the mutagenic agent mitomycin C (MMC) was assessed using the same assay. The hydromethanolic extract comprises numerous metabolites, with rosmarinic acid being the major compound. It had a high value of TPC and exerted significant AA as shown by the results of the Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) and Radical Scavenging Activity by DPPH• assays. A dose-dependent cytotoxic potential was recorded, with the highest dose (50 μg mL−1) exhibiting statistically significant cytotoxicity. None of the tested concentrations induced significant micronuclei (MN) frequencies, indicating a lack of genotoxicity. All tested concentrations reduced the MMC-mediated genotoxic effects, with the two lowest showing statistically significant antigenotoxic potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Chemical Analysis of Plants)
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15 pages, 3593 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Analysis of Meloidogyne javanica and the Role of a C-Type Lectin in Parasitism
by Wenwei Chi, Lili Hu, Zhiwen Li, Borong Lin, Kan Zhuo and Jinling Liao
Plants 2024, 13(5), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050730 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 662
Abstract
Meloidogyne javanica is one of the most widespread and economically important sedentary endoparasites. In this study, a comparative transcriptome analysis of M. javanica between pre-parasitic second-stage juveniles (Pre-J2) and parasitic juveniles (Par-J3/J4) was conducted. A total of 48,698 unigenes were obtained, of which [...] Read more.
Meloidogyne javanica is one of the most widespread and economically important sedentary endoparasites. In this study, a comparative transcriptome analysis of M. javanica between pre-parasitic second-stage juveniles (Pre-J2) and parasitic juveniles (Par-J3/J4) was conducted. A total of 48,698 unigenes were obtained, of which 18,826 genes showed significant differences in expression (p < 0.05). In the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) from transcriptome data at Par-J3/J4 and Pre-J2, a large number of unigenes were annotated to the C-type lectin (CTL, Mg01965), the cathepsin L-like protease (Mi-cpl-1), the venom allergen-like protein (Mi-mps-1), Map-1 and the cellulase (endo-β-1,4-glucanase). Among seven types of lectins found in the DEGs, there were 10 CTLs. The regulatory roles of Mj-CTL-1, Mj-CTL-2 and Mj-CTL-3 in plant immune responses involved in the parasitism of M. javanica were investigated. The results revealed that Mj-CTL-2 could suppress programmed cell death (PCD) triggered by Gpa2/RBP-1 and inhibit the flg22-stimulated ROS burst. In situ hybridization and developmental expression analyses showed that Mj-CTL-2 was specifically expressed in the subventral gland of M. javanica, and its expression was up-regulated at Pre-J2 of the nematode. In addition, in planta silencing of Mj-CTL-2 substantially increased the plant resistance to M. javanica. Moreover, yeast co-transformation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay showed that Mj-CTL-2 specifically interacted with the Solanum lycopersicum catalase, SlCAT2. It was demonstrated that M. javanica could suppress the innate immunity of plants through the peroxide system, thereby promoting parasitism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Parasitic Nematode)
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23 pages, 9623 KiB  
Article
Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Umbilicaria aprina Group (Umbilicariaceae, Lichenized Ascomycota) Supports Species Level and Neo-Endemic Status of Umbilicaria krascheninnikovii
by Evgeny A. Davydov, Dmitry E. Himelbrant, Ekaterina S. Kuznetsova, Irina S. Stepanchikova and Lidia S. Yakovchenko
Plants 2024, 13(5), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050729 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 600
Abstract
The Northeast Asian endemic species of lichen-forming fungus Umbilicaria krascheninnikovii is herein discussed in the global context of biogeography and phylogeny of the U. aprina group. The name U. krascheninnikovii has been erroneously used by lichenologists for Umbilicaria spp. from high latitudes or [...] Read more.
The Northeast Asian endemic species of lichen-forming fungus Umbilicaria krascheninnikovii is herein discussed in the global context of biogeography and phylogeny of the U. aprina group. The name U. krascheninnikovii has been erroneously used by lichenologists for Umbilicaria spp. from high latitudes or altitudes worldwide, as there are omphalodisc apothecia and rough “crystals” of a necral layer on the upper surface. To test the monophyly and phylogenetic relationships within the U. aprina group, four independent DNA regions (nrITS/5.8S, RPB2, mtLSU, and mtSSU) were used for six rare species, including a dozen specimens of U. krascheninnikovii from its locus classicus in Kamchatka. The study is based on the phylograms obtained using maximum likelihood and a Bayesian phylogenetic inference framework. As a result of phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses, it was shown that U. krascheninnikovii is a neo-endemic of the areas of modern volcanism in Kamchatka, Japan, as well as in the Kurile Islands, where this species was recorded for the first time. The morphology of U. krascheninnikovii is herein described and illustrated. Increasing the role of the sexual process and reducing asexual thalloconidiogenesis are shown to be apomorphic traits in the U. aprina group. The combination of sexual and asexual reproduction provides adaptive advantages in changing environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phylogeny and Taxonomy of Lichen Symbionts)
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36 pages, 7238 KiB  
Article
Identification and Genetic Diversity Analysis of the Pathogen of Anthracnose of Pepper in Guizhou
by Aimin Zhang, Lei Li, Xuewen Xie, Ali Chai, Yanxia Shi, Dan Xing, Zhiguo Yu and Baoju Li
Plants 2024, 13(5), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050728 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Anthracnose of pepper is a significant disease caused by Colletotrichum spp. In 2017 and 2021, 296 isolates were obtained from 69 disease samples. Through morphological analysis, pathogenicity detection, and polygenic phylogenetic analysis, the above strains were attributed to 10 species: C. scovillei, [...] Read more.
Anthracnose of pepper is a significant disease caused by Colletotrichum spp. In 2017 and 2021, 296 isolates were obtained from 69 disease samples. Through morphological analysis, pathogenicity detection, and polygenic phylogenetic analysis, the above strains were attributed to 10 species: C. scovillei, C. fructicola, C. karstii, C. truncatum, C. gloeosporioides, C. kahawae, C. boninense, C. nymphaeae, C. plurivorum, and C. nigrum. C. scovillei had the most strains (150), accounting for 51.02% of the total isolates; C. fructicola came in second (72 isolates), accounting for 24.49%. Regarding regional distribution, Zunyi City has the highest concentration of strains—92 strains total, or 34.18%—across seven species. Notably, this investigation showed that C. nymphaeae infected pepper fruit for the first time in China. Genetic diversity analysis showed that C. fructicola could be divided into seven haplotypes, and the population in each region had apparent genetic differentiation. However, the genetic distance between each population was not significantly related to geographical distance. Neutral detection and nucleotide mismatch analysis showed that C. fructicola might have undergone population expansion. Full article
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12 pages, 2824 KiB  
Communication
Climate Factors Influence Above- and Belowground Biomass Allocations in Alpine Meadows and Desert Steppes through Alterations in Soil Nutrient Availability
by Jiangfeng Wang, Xing Zhang, Ru Wang, Mengyao Yu, Xiaohong Chen, Chenghao Zhu, Jinlong Shang and Jie Gao
Plants 2024, 13(5), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050727 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Biomass is a direct reflection of community productivity, and the allocation of aboveground and belowground biomass is a survival strategy formed by the long-term adaptation of plants to environmental changes. However, under global changes, the patterns of aboveground–belowground biomass allocations and their controlling [...] Read more.
Biomass is a direct reflection of community productivity, and the allocation of aboveground and belowground biomass is a survival strategy formed by the long-term adaptation of plants to environmental changes. However, under global changes, the patterns of aboveground–belowground biomass allocations and their controlling factors in different types of grasslands are still unclear. Based on the biomass data of 182 grasslands, including 17 alpine meadows (AMs) and 21 desert steppes (DSs), this study investigates the spatial distribution of the belowground biomass allocation proportion (BGBP) in different types of grasslands and their main controlling factors. The research results show that the BGBP of AMs is significantly higher than that of DSs (p < 0.05). The BGBP of AMs significantly decreases with increasing mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP) (p < 0.05), while it significantly increases with increasing soil nitrogen content (N), soil phosphorus content (P), and soil pH (p < 0.05). The BGBP of DSs significantly decreases with increasing MAP (p < 0.05), while it significantly increases with increasing soil phosphorus content (P) and soil pH (p < 0.05). The random forest model indicates that soil pH is the most important factor affecting the BGBP of both AMs and DSs. Climate-related factors were identified as key drivers shaping the spatial distribution patterns of BGBP by exerting an influence on soil nutrient availability. Climate and soil factors exert influences not only on grassland biomass allocation directly, but also indirectly by impacting the availability of soil nutrients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Response Mechanisms of Plants to Drought Stress)
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15 pages, 1112 KiB  
Article
Nematicidal Activity of Phytochemicals against the Root-Lesion Nematode Pratylenchus penetrans
by Pedro Barbosa, Jorge M. S. Faria, Tomás Cavaco, Ana Cristina Figueiredo, Manuel Mota and Cláudia S. L. Vicente
Plants 2024, 13(5), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050726 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 747
Abstract
Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) are highly damaging pests responsible for heavy losses in worldwide productivity in a significant number of important plant crops. Common pest management strategies rely on the use of synthetic chemical nematicides, which have led to serious concerns regarding their impacts [...] Read more.
Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) are highly damaging pests responsible for heavy losses in worldwide productivity in a significant number of important plant crops. Common pest management strategies rely on the use of synthetic chemical nematicides, which have led to serious concerns regarding their impacts on human health and the environment. Plant natural products, or phytochemicals, can provide a good source of agents for sustainable control of PPNs, due to their intrinsic characteristics such as higher biodegradability, generally low toxicity for mammals, and lower bioaccumulation in the environment. In this work, the nematicidal activity of 39 phytochemicals was determined against the root-lesion nematode (RLN) Pratylenchus penetrans using standard direct and indirect contact methodologies. Overall, the RLN was tolerant to the tested phytochemicals at the highest concentration, 2 mg/mL, seldom reaching full mortality. However, high activities were obtained for benzaldehyde, carvacrol, 3-octanol, and thymol, in comparison to other phytochemicals or the synthetic nematicide oxamyl. These phytochemicals were seen to damage nematode internal tissues but not its cuticle shape. Also, the environmental and (eco)toxicological parameters reported for these compounds suggest lower toxicity and higher safety of use than oxamyl. These compounds appear to be good candidates for the development of biopesticides for a more sustainable pest management strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopesticides for Plant Protection)
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18 pages, 2806 KiB  
Article
Development of S Haplotype-Specific Markers to Identify Genotypes of Self-Incompatibility in Radish (Raphanus sativus L.)
by Seong-Ho Heo, Su-Yeon Kim, Suk-Yeon Mo and Han-Yong Park
Plants 2024, 13(5), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050725 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Radish (Raphanus sativus L.), a root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is considered one of the representative crops displaying sporophytic self-incompatibility (SSI). The utilization of a self-incompatibility system in F1 breeding can improve the efficiency of cross-combinations, leading to a [...] Read more.
Radish (Raphanus sativus L.), a root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is considered one of the representative crops displaying sporophytic self-incompatibility (SSI). The utilization of a self-incompatibility system in F1 breeding can improve the efficiency of cross-combinations, leading to a reduction in breeding time and aiding in the development of novel F1 varieties. The successful implementation of this system necessitates the rapid and accurate identification of S haplotypes in parental lines. In this study, we identified a total of nine S haplotypes among 22 elite radish lines through Sanger sequencing. Subsequently, we obtained sequences for showing a 95% similarity to nine S haplotypes, along with sequences identified by other researchers using BLAST. Following this, multiple sequence alignment (MSA) was conducted to identify SRK and SLG sequence similarities, as well as polymorphisms within the class I and II groups. Subsequently, S haplotype-specific marker sets were developed, targeting polymorphic regions of SRK and SLG alleles. These markers successfully amplified each of the nine S haplotypes. These markers will play a crucial role in the rapid and precise identification of parental S haplotypes in the radish F1 breeding process, proving instrumental in the radish F1 purity test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Plant Breeding)
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33 pages, 1960 KiB  
Review
Unleashed Treasures of Solanaceae: Mechanistic Insights into Phytochemicals with Therapeutic Potential for Combatting Human Diseases
by Saima Jan, Sana Iram, Ommer Bashir, Sheezma Nazir Shah, Mohammad Azhar Kamal, Safikur Rahman, Jihoe Kim and Arif Tasleem Jan
Plants 2024, 13(5), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050724 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 925
Abstract
Plants that possess a diverse range of bioactive compounds are essential for maintaining human health and survival. The diversity of bioactive compounds with distinct therapeutic potential contributes to their role in health systems, in addition to their function as a source of nutrients. [...] Read more.
Plants that possess a diverse range of bioactive compounds are essential for maintaining human health and survival. The diversity of bioactive compounds with distinct therapeutic potential contributes to their role in health systems, in addition to their function as a source of nutrients. Studies on the genetic makeup and composition of bioactive compounds have revealed them to be rich in steroidal alkaloids, saponins, terpenes, flavonoids, and phenolics. The Solanaceae family, having a rich abundance of bioactive compounds with varying degrees of pharmacological activities, holds significant promise in the management of different diseases. Investigation into Solanum species has revealed them to exhibit a wide range of pharmacological properties, including antioxidant, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, nephroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcerogenic effects. Phytochemical analysis of isolated compounds such as diosgenin, solamargine, solanine, apigenin, and lupeol has shown them to be cytotoxic in different cancer cell lines, including liver cancer (HepG2, Hep3B, SMMC-772), lung cancer (A549, H441, H520), human breast cancer (HBL-100), and prostate cancer (PC3). Since analysis of their phytochemical constituents has shown them to have a notable effect on several signaling pathways, a great deal of attention has been paid to identifying the biological targets and cellular mechanisms involved therein. Considering the promising aspects of bioactive constituents of different Solanum members, the main emphasis was on finding and reporting notable cultivars, their phytochemical contents, and their pharmacological properties. This review offers mechanistic insights into the bioactive ingredients intended to treat different ailments with the least harmful effects for potential applications in the advancement of medical research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactivities of Nature Products)
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11 pages, 1832 KiB  
Article
Control of Plant Height and Lateral Root Development via Stu-miR156 Regulation of SPL9 Transcription Factor in Potato
by Hongyu Luo, Jiangwei Yang, Shengyan Liu, Shigui Li, Huaijun Si and Ning Zhang
Plants 2024, 13(5), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050723 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 827
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous, non-coding small-molecule RNAs that usually regulate the expression of target genes at the post-transcriptional level. miR156 is one of a class of evolutionarily highly conserved miRNA families. SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) transcription factor is one [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous, non-coding small-molecule RNAs that usually regulate the expression of target genes at the post-transcriptional level. miR156 is one of a class of evolutionarily highly conserved miRNA families. SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) transcription factor is one of the target genes that is regulated by miR156. SPL transcription factors are involved in regulating plant growth and development, hormone response, stress response, and photosynthesis. In the present study, transgenic potato plants with overexpressed miR156 were obtained via the Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method. The results showed that the expression levels of the target gene, StSPL9, were all downregulated in the transgenic plants with overexpressed Stu-miR156. Compared with those of the control plants, the plant height and root length of the transgenic plants were significantly decreased, while the number of lateral roots was significantly increased. These results revealed that the miR156/SPLs module was involved in regulating potato plant height and root growth. Full article
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19 pages, 8521 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the UDP-Glucosyltransferase (UGT) Gene Family and Its Functional Involvement in Drought and Salt Stress Tolerance in Phoebe bournei
by Hengfeng Guan, Yanzi Zhang, Jingshu Li, Zhening Zhu, Jiarui Chang, Almas Bakari, Shipin Chen, Kehui Zheng and Shijiang Cao
Plants 2024, 13(5), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050722 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases (UDP-GTs, UGTs), which are regulated by UGT genes, play a crucial role in glycosylation. In vivo, the activity of UGT genes can affect the availability of metabolites and the rate at which they can be eliminated from the body. UGT [...] Read more.
Uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases (UDP-GTs, UGTs), which are regulated by UGT genes, play a crucial role in glycosylation. In vivo, the activity of UGT genes can affect the availability of metabolites and the rate at which they can be eliminated from the body. UGT genes can exert their regulatory effects through mechanisms such as post-transcriptional modification, substrate subtype specificity, and drug interactions. Phoebe bournei is an economically significant tree species that is endemic to southern China. Despite extensive studies on the UGT gene family in various species, a comprehensive investigation of the UGT family in P. bournei has not been reported. Therefore, we conducted a systematic analysis to identify 156 UGT genes within the entire P. bournei genome, all of which contained the PSPG box. The PbUGT family consists of 14 subfamilies, consistent with Arabidopsis thaliana. We observed varying expression levels of PbUGT genes across different tissues in P. bournei, with the following average expression hierarchy: leaf > stem xylem > stem bark > root xylem > root bark. Covariance analysis revealed stronger covariance between P. bournei and closely related species. In addition, we stressed the seedlings with 10% NaCl and 10% PEG-6000. The PbUGT genes exhibited differential expression under drought and salt stresses, with specific expression patterns observed under each stress condition. Our findings shed light on the transcriptional response of PbUGT factors to drought and salt stresses, thereby establishing a foundation for future investigations into the role of PbUGT transcription factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Horticultural Plant Genomics)
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19 pages, 7829 KiB  
Article
Exogenous Sodium and Calcium Alleviate Drought Stress by Promoting the Succulence of Suaeda salsa
by Dong Zhang, Changyan Tian and Wenxuan Mai
Plants 2024, 13(5), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050721 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 635
Abstract
Succulence is a key trait involved in the response of Suaeda salsa to salt stress. However, few studies have investigated the effects of the interaction between salt and drought stress on S. salsa growth and succulence. In this study, the morphology and physiology [...] Read more.
Succulence is a key trait involved in the response of Suaeda salsa to salt stress. However, few studies have investigated the effects of the interaction between salt and drought stress on S. salsa growth and succulence. In this study, the morphology and physiology of S. salsa were examined under different salt ions (Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl, and SO42−) and simulated drought conditions using different polyethylene glycol concentrations (PEG; 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15%). The results demonstrate that Na+ and Ca2+ significantly increased leaf succulence by increasing leaf water content and enlarging epidermal cell size compared to Mg2+, Cl, and SO42−. Under drought (PEG) stress, with an increase in drought stress, the biomass, degree of leaf succulence, and water content of S. salsa decreased significantly in the non-salt treatment. However, with salt treatment, the results indicated that Na+ and Ca2+ could reduce water stress due to drought by stimulating the succulence of S. salsa. In addition, Na+ and Ca2+ promoted the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD), which could reduce oxidative stress. In conclusion, Na+ and Ca2+ are the main factors promoting succulence and can effectively alleviate drought stress in S. salsa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Nutrition)
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15 pages, 7007 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Co-Expression Networks of WOX Gene Family in Nelumbo nucifera
by Juan-juan Li, Xiao-yan Qiu, Yu-jun Dai, Tonny M. Nyonga and Chang-chun Li
Plants 2024, 13(5), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050720 - 04 Mar 2024
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Abstract
WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) genes are a class of plant-specific transcription factors, regulating the development of multiple tissues. However, the genomic characterizations and expression patterns of WOX genes have not been analyzed in lotus. In this study, 15 NnWOX genes were identified [...] Read more.
WUSCHEL-related homeobox (WOX) genes are a class of plant-specific transcription factors, regulating the development of multiple tissues. However, the genomic characterizations and expression patterns of WOX genes have not been analyzed in lotus. In this study, 15 NnWOX genes were identified based on the well-annotated reference genome of lotus. According to the phylogenetic analysis, the NnWOX genes were clustered into three clades, i.e., ancient clade, intermediate clade, and WUS clade. Except for the conserved homeobox motif, we further found specific motifs of NnWOX genes in different clades and divergence gene structures, suggesting their distinct functions. In addition, two NnWOX genes in the ancient clade have conserved expression patterns and other NnWOX genes exhibit different expression patterns in lotus tissues, suggesting a low level of functional redundancy in lotus WOX genes. Furthermore, we constructed the gene co-expression networks for each NnWOX gene. Based on weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), ten NnWOX genes and their co-expressed genes were assigned to the modules that were significantly related to the cotyledon and seed coat. We further performed RT-qPCR experiments, validating the expression levels of ten NnWOX genes in the co-expression networks. Our study reveals comprehensive genomic features of NnWOX genes in lotus, providing a solid basis for further function studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Plant Biology 2023)
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18 pages, 4665 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Phenological Gaps on Leaf Characteristics and Foliage Dynamics of an Understory Dwarf Bamboo, Sasa kurilensis
by Chongyang Wu, Ryota Tanaka, Kyohei Fujiyoshi, Yasuaki Akaji, Muneto Hirobe, Naoko Miki, Juan Li, Keiji Sakamoto and Jian Gao
Plants 2024, 13(5), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050719 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Phenological gaps exert a significant influence on the growth of dwarf bamboos. However, how dwarf bamboos respond to and exploit these phenological gaps remain enigmatic. The light environment, soil nutrients, leaf morphology, maximum photosynthetic rate, foliage dynamics, and branching characteristics of Sasa kurilensis [...] Read more.
Phenological gaps exert a significant influence on the growth of dwarf bamboos. However, how dwarf bamboos respond to and exploit these phenological gaps remain enigmatic. The light environment, soil nutrients, leaf morphology, maximum photosynthetic rate, foliage dynamics, and branching characteristics of Sasa kurilensis were examined under the canopies of Fagus crenata and Magnolia obovata. The goal was to elucidate the adaptive responses of S. kurilensis to phenological gaps in the forest understory. The findings suggest that phenological gaps under an M. obovata canopy augment the available biomass of S. kurilensis, enhancing leaf area, leaf thickness, and carbon content per unit area. However, these gaps do not appreciably influence the maximum photosynthetic rate, total leaf number, leaf lifespan, branch number, and average branch length. These findings underscore the significant impact of annually recurring phenological gaps on various aspects of S. kurilensis growth, such as its aboveground biomass, leaf morphology, and leaf biochemical characteristics. It appears that leaf morphology is a pivotal trait in the response of S. kurilensis to phenological gaps. Given the potential ubiquity of the influence of phenological gaps on dwarf bamboos across most deciduous broadleaf forests, this canopy phenomenon should not be overlooked. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Basis of Morphogenesis and Development in Bamboo)
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