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Plants, Volume 7, Issue 1 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) For the first time, super-resolution imaging of poplar wood samples has been performed using the [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial Symplasmic Intercellular Communication through Plasmodesmata
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
Communication between cells is an essential process for developing and maintaining multicellular collaboration during plant development and physiological adaptation in response to environmental stimuli. The intercellular movement of proteins and RNAs in addition to the movement of small nutrients or signaling molecules such
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Communication between cells is an essential process for developing and maintaining multicellular collaboration during plant development and physiological adaptation in response to environmental stimuli. The intercellular movement of proteins and RNAs in addition to the movement of small nutrients or signaling molecules such as sugars and phytohormones has emerged as a novel mechanism of cell-to-cell signaling in plants. As a strategy for efficient intercellular communication and long-distance molecule movement, plants have evolved plant-specific symplasmic communication networks via plasmodesmata (PDs) and the phloem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmodesmata and Intercellular Movement)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Boiling, Steaming and Frying of Selected Leafy Vegetables on the In Vitro Anti-inflammation Associated Biological Activities
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of cooking (boiling, steaming, and frying) on anti-inflammation associated properties in vitro of six popularly consumed green leafy vegetables in Sri Lanka, namely: Centella asiatica, Cassia auriculata, Gymnema lactiferum,
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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of cooking (boiling, steaming, and frying) on anti-inflammation associated properties in vitro of six popularly consumed green leafy vegetables in Sri Lanka, namely: Centella asiatica, Cassia auriculata, Gymnema lactiferum, Olax zeylanica, Sesbania grnadiflora, and Passiflora edulis. The anti-inflammation associated properties of methanolic extracts of cooked leaves were evaluated using four in vitro biological assays, namely, hemolysis inhibition, proteinase inhibition, protein denaturation inhibition, and lipoxygenase inhibition. Results revealed that the frying of all the tested leafy vegetables had reduced the inhibition abilities of protein denaturation, hemolysis, proteinase, and lipoxygenase activities when compared with other food preparation methods. Steaming significantly increased the protein denaturation and hemolysis inhibition in O. zeylanica and P. edulis. Steaming of leaves increased inhibition activity of protein denaturation in G. lactiferum (by 44.8%) and P. edulis (by 44%); hemolysis in C. asiatica, C. auriculata, and S. grandiflora; lipoxygenase inhibition ability in P. edulis (by 50%), C. asiatica (by 400%), and C. auriculata leaves (by 250%); proteinase inhibition in C. auriculata (100%) when compared with that of raw leaves. In general, steaming and boiling in contrast to frying protect the health-promoting properties of the leafy vegetables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating Genetic Conformism of Korean Mulberry Cultivars Using Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA and Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat Profiling
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
Apart from being fed to silkworms in sericulture, the ecologically important Mulberry plant has been used for traditional medicine in Asian countries as well as in manufacturing wine, food, and beverages. Germplasm analysis among Mulberry cultivars originating from South Korea is crucial in
[...] Read more.
Apart from being fed to silkworms in sericulture, the ecologically important Mulberry plant has been used for traditional medicine in Asian countries as well as in manufacturing wine, food, and beverages. Germplasm analysis among Mulberry cultivars originating from South Korea is crucial in the plant breeding program for cultivar development. Hence, the genetic deviations and relations among 8 Morus alba plants, and one Morus lhou plant, of different cultivars collected from South Korea were investigated using 10 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and 10 inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers in the present study. The ISSR markers exhibited a higher polymorphism (63.42%) among mulberry genotypes in comparison to RAPD markers. Furthermore, the similarity coefficient was estimated for both markers and found to be varying between 0.183 and 0.814 for combined pooled data of ISSR and RAPD. The phenogram drawn using the UPGMA cluster method based on combined pooled data of RAPD and ISSR markers divided the nine mulberry genotypes into two divergent major groups and the two individual independent accessions. The distant relationship between Dae-Saug (SM1) and SangchonJo Sang Saeng (SM5) offers a possibility of utilizing them in mulberry cultivar improvement of Morus species of South Korea. Full article
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Open AccessReview A Comprehensive Review on the Medicinal Plants from the Genus Asphodelus
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Plant-based systems continue to play an essential role in healthcare, and their use by different cultures has been extensively documented. Asphodelus L. (Asphodelaceae) is a genus of 18 species and of a total of 27 species, sub-species and varieties, distributed along
[...] Read more.
Plant-based systems continue to play an essential role in healthcare, and their use by different cultures has been extensively documented. Asphodelus L. (Asphodelaceae) is a genus of 18 species and of a total of 27 species, sub-species and varieties, distributed along the Mediterranean basin, and has been traditionally used for treating several diseases particularly associated with inflammatory and infectious skin disorders. The present study aimed to provide a general review of the available literature on ethnomedical, phytochemical, and biological data related to the genus Asphodelus as a potential source of new compounds with biological activity. Considering phytochemical studies, 1,8-dihydroxyanthracene derivatives, flavonoids, phenolic acids and triterpenoids were the main classes of compounds identified in roots, leaf and seeds which were correlated with their biological activities as anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory or antioxidant agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessReview The Genus Conradina (Lamiaceae): A Review
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
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Abstract
Conradina (Lamiaceae) is a small genus of native United States (US) species limited to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. Three species of Conradina are federally listed as endangered and one is threatened while two are candidates for listing as endangered. The purpose
[...] Read more.
Conradina (Lamiaceae) is a small genus of native United States (US) species limited to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. Three species of Conradina are federally listed as endangered and one is threatened while two are candidates for listing as endangered. The purpose of the present review is to highlight the recent advances in current knowledge on Conradina species and to compile reports of chemical constituents that characterize and differentiate between Conradina species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lamiaceae Species: Biology, Ecology and Practical Uses)
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Open AccessArticle Polar Constituents of Salvia willeana (Holmboe) Hedge, Growing Wild in Cyprus
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
Twenty compounds were isolated from the aerial parts of Salvia willeana (Holmboe) Hedge, growing wild in Cyprus. These compounds comprise one new and one known acetophenone, one megastigmane glucoside, five phenolic derivatives, two caffeic acid oligomers, three flavonoids, two lignans, two triterpene acids,
[...] Read more.
Twenty compounds were isolated from the aerial parts of Salvia willeana (Holmboe) Hedge, growing wild in Cyprus. These compounds comprise one new and one known acetophenone, one megastigmane glucoside, five phenolic derivatives, two caffeic acid oligomers, three flavonoids, two lignans, two triterpene acids, one monoterpene glucoside, and two fatty acids. The structures of the isolated compounds were established by means of NMR [(Rotating-frame OverhauserEffect SpectroscopY) (1H-1H-COSY (COrrelation SpectroscopΥ), 1H-13C-HSQC (Heteronuclear Single Quantum Correlation), HMBC (Heteronuclear Multiple Bond Correlation), NOESY (Nuclear Overhauser Effect SpectroscopY), ROESY (Rotating-frame Overhauser Effect SpectroscopY)] and MS spectral analyses. This is the first report of the natural occurrence of 4-hydroxy-acetophenone 4-O-(3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxybenzoyl)-β-d-glucopyranoside. A chemical review on the non-volatile secondary metabolites has been carried out. Based on the literature data, the analysis revealed that the chemical profile of S. willeana is close to that of S. officinalis L. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lamiaceae Species: Biology, Ecology and Practical Uses)
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Open AccessArticle Preliminary Study of the Potential Extracts from Selected Plants to Improve Surface Cleaning
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
Environment hygiene is important for preventing infection and promoting a healthier environment in which to live or work. The goal of this study was to examine the antimicrobial effects of Citrus aurantifolia (key lime) juice and aqueous extracts of Cinnamomum iners (cinnamon) bark
[...] Read more.
Environment hygiene is important for preventing infection and promoting a healthier environment in which to live or work. The goal of this study was to examine the antimicrobial effects of Citrus aurantifolia (key lime) juice and aqueous extracts of Cinnamomum iners (cinnamon) bark and Citrus hystrix (kaffir lime) leaves on the kinetic growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin resistance Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Antimicrobial activity was quantitatively evaluated using spectrophotometry and viable cell counts versus bacterial growth time. The fomite surface samples that were used in the second experiment were chosen randomly from the laboratories. They were assessed both before and after intervention using a mixture of commercial disinfectant detergent and lime juice. In the kinetic growth study, the lime juice effectively eliminated P. aeruginosa and MRSA. The cinnamon bark extract was more effective at inhibiting P. aeruginosa than MRSA. The kaffir lime leaf extract demonstrated bacteriostatic activity for the first 60 min, which then weakened after 90 min for both bacteria. The lime juice extract and commercial disinfectant mixture effectively disinfected the fomites. Further studies of the use of key lime juice as a disinfectant in the hospital environment should be conducted, as C. aurantifolia exhibits antibacterial activities against endemic microbes. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effects of Medium-Term Amendment with Diversely Processed Sewage Sludge on Soil Humification—Mineralization Processes and on Cu, Pb, Ni, and Zn Bioavailability
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
The organic fraction of sewage sludge administered to agricultural soil can contribute to slowing down the loss of soil’s organic carbon and, in some cases, can improve the physical and mechanical properties of the soil. One of the main constraints to the agricultural
[...] Read more.
The organic fraction of sewage sludge administered to agricultural soil can contribute to slowing down the loss of soil’s organic carbon and, in some cases, can improve the physical and mechanical properties of the soil. One of the main constraints to the agricultural use of sewage sludge is its heavy metals content. In the long term, agricultural administration of sewage sludge to soil could enhance the concentration of soil heavy metals (as total and bioavailable fractions). The aim of this research was to evaluate the effects of medium-term fertilization with diversely processed sewage sludge on the soil’s organic carbon content and humification–mineralization processes, on the physical–mechanical properties of soil and their influence on the pool of potentially bioavailable heavy metals, in order to assess their effectiveness as soil organic amendments. After eight years of sludge administration; an increase in the concentrations of bioavailable form was evidenced in all the heavy metals analyzed; independently of the type of sludge administered. The form of sludge administration (liquid, dehydrated, composted) has differently influenced the soil humification–mineralization processes and the physical–mechanical properties of soil. The prolonged amendment with composted sewage sludge contributed to keeping the soil humification–mineralization process in equilibrium and to improving the physical and mechanical qualities of the treated soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility and Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle Relationships between Nutrient Heterogeneity, Root Growth, and Hormones: Evidence for Interspecific Variation
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 15 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: Plant roots respond to nutrients through root architecture that is regulated by hormones. Strong inter-specific variation in root architecture has been well documented, but physiological mechanisms that may control the variation have not. (2) Methods: We examined correlations between root architecture
[...] Read more.
(1) Background: Plant roots respond to nutrients through root architecture that is regulated by hormones. Strong inter-specific variation in root architecture has been well documented, but physiological mechanisms that may control the variation have not. (2) Methods: We examined correlations between root architecture and hormones to seek clues on mechanisms behind root foraging behavior. In the green house at Beijing Normal University, hydroponic culture experiments were used to examine the root responses of four species—Callistephus chinensis, Solidago canadensis, Ailanthus altissima, Oryza sativa—to two nitrogen types (NO3 or NH4+), three nitrogen concentrations (low, medium, and high concentrations of 0.2, 1, and 18 mM, respectively) and two ways of nitrogen application (stable vs. variable). The plants were harvested after 36 days to measure root mass, 1st order root length, seminal root length for O. sativa, density of the 1st order laterals, seminal root number for O. sativa, the inter-node length of the 1st order laterals, and root hormone contents of indole-3-acetic acid, abscisic acid, and cytokinins (zeatin + zeatinriboside). (3) Results: Species differed significantly in their root architecture responses to nitrogen treatments. They also differed significantly in hormone responses to the nitrogen treatments. Additionally, the correlations between root architecture and hormone responses were quite variable across the species. Each hormone had highly species-specific relationships with root responses. (4) Conclusions: Our finding implies that a particular root foraging behavior is probably not controlled by the same biochemical pathway in all species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dimensional Changes of Tracheids during Drying of Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) Compression Woods: A Study Using Variable-Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy (VP-SEM)
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Variable-pressure scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate the dimensional changes in longitudinal, tangential and radial directions, on wetting and drying, of tracheids of opposite wood (OW) and three grades of compression woods (CWs), including severe CW (SCW) and two grades of mild
[...] Read more.
Variable-pressure scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate the dimensional changes in longitudinal, tangential and radial directions, on wetting and drying, of tracheids of opposite wood (OW) and three grades of compression woods (CWs), including severe CW (SCW) and two grades of mild compression wood (MCW) (MCW1 and MCW2) in corewood of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) saplings. The CW was formed on the underside and OW on the upper side of slightly tilted stems. In the longitudinal direction, the shrinkage of SCW tracheids was ~300% greater than that of OW tracheids, with the shrinkage of the MCW1 and MCW2 tracheids being intermediate. Longitudinal swelling was also investigated and hysteresis was demonstrated for the tracheids of all corewood types, with the extent of hysteresis increasing with CW severity. A statistical association was found between longitudinal shrinkage and the content of lignin and galactosyl residues in the cell-wall matrix. The galactosyl residues are present mostly as (1→4)-β-galactans, which are known to have a high capacity for binding water and swell on hydration. The small proportions of (1→3)-β-glucans in the CWs have similar properties. These polysaccharides may play a functional role in the longitudinal shrinking and swelling of CW tracheids. Tangential shrinkage of tracheids was greater than radial shrinkage but both were greatest for OW and least for SCW, with the MCW1 and MCW2 being intermediate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Wall Dynamics in Plant Growth and Stress Response)
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Open AccessArticle Immunomodulatory and Inhibitory Effect of Immulina®, and Immunloges® in the Ig-E Mediated Activation of RBL-2H3 Cells. A New Role in Allergic Inflammatory Responses
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
Immulina®, a high-molecular-weight polysaccharide extract from the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina) is a potent activator of innate immune cells. On the other hand, it is well documented that Spirulina exerts anti-inflammatory effects and showed promising effects with respect to
[...] Read more.
Immulina®, a high-molecular-weight polysaccharide extract from the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina) is a potent activator of innate immune cells. On the other hand, it is well documented that Spirulina exerts anti-inflammatory effects and showed promising effects with respect to the relief of allergic rhinitis symptoms. Taking into account these findings, we decided to elucidate whether Immulina®, and immunLoges® (a commercial available multicomponent nutraceutical with Immulina® as a main ingredient) beyond immune-enhancing effects, might also exert inhibitory effects in the induced allergic inflammatory response and on histamine release from RBL-2H3 mast cells. Our findings show that Immulina® and immunLoges® inhibited the IgE-antigen complex-induced production of TNF-α, IL-4, leukotrienes and histamine. The compound 48/80 stimulated histamine release in RBL-2H3 cells was also inhibited. Taken together, our results showed that Immulina® and immunLoges® exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and inhibited the release of histamine from mast cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessArticle Evidence of Adaptation to Recent Changes in Atmospheric CO2 in Four Weedy Species
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 19 February 2018
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Abstract
Seeds of three C3 and one C4 annual weedy species were collected from agricultural fields in Beltsville, Maryland in 1966 and 2006, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations averaged about 320 and 380 mol mol−1, respectively. Plants from each collection
[...] Read more.
Seeds of three C3 and one C4 annual weedy species were collected from agricultural fields in Beltsville, Maryland in 1966 and 2006, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations averaged about 320 and 380 mol mol−1, respectively. Plants from each collection year were grown over a range of CO2 concentrations to test for adaptation of these weedy species to recent changes in atmospheric CO2. In all three of the C3 species, the increase in CO2 concentration from 320 mol mol−1 to 380 mol mol−1 increased total dry mass at 24 days in plants from seeds collected in 2006, but not in plants from seeds collected in 1966. Shoot and seed dry mass at maturity was greater at the higher growth CO2 in plants collected in 2006 than in 1966 in two of the species. Down-regulation of photosynthetic carboxylation capacity during growth at high CO2 was less in the newer seed lots than in the older in two of the species. Overall, the results indicate that adaptation to recent changes in atmospheric CO2 has occurred in some of these weedy species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Fluorescent Nano-Probes to Image Plant Cell Walls by Super-Resolution STED Microscopy
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Lignocellulosic biomass is a complex network of polymers making up the cell walls of plants. It represents a feedstock of sustainable resources to be converted into fuels, chemicals, and materials. Because of its complex architecture, lignocellulose is a recalcitrant material that requires some
[...] Read more.
Lignocellulosic biomass is a complex network of polymers making up the cell walls of plants. It represents a feedstock of sustainable resources to be converted into fuels, chemicals, and materials. Because of its complex architecture, lignocellulose is a recalcitrant material that requires some pretreatments and several types of catalysts to be transformed efficiently. Gaining more knowledge in the architecture of plant cell walls is therefore important to understand and optimize transformation processes. For the first time, super-resolution imaging of poplar wood samples has been performed using the Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) technique. In comparison to standard confocal images, STED reveals new details in cell wall structure, allowing the identification of secondary walls and middle lamella with fine details, while keeping open the possibility to perform topochemistry by the use of relevant fluorescent nano-probes. In particular, the deconvolution of STED images increases the signal-to-noise ratio so that images become very well defined. The obtained results show that the STED super-resolution technique can be easily implemented by using cheap commercial fluorescent rhodamine-PEG nano-probes which outline the architecture of plant cell walls due to their interaction with lignin. Moreover, the sample preparation only requires easily-prepared plant sections of a few tens of micrometers, in addition to an easily-implemented post-treatment of images. Overall, the STED super-resolution technique in combination with a variety of nano-probes can provide a new vision of plant cell wall imaging by filling in the gap between classical photon microscopy and electron microscopy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Imaging and Spectroscopy of Natural Fluorophores in Pine Needles
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Many plant tissues fluoresce due to the natural fluorophores present in cell walls or within the cell protoplast or lumen. While lignin and chlorophyll are well-known fluorophores, other components are less well characterized. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of fresh or fixed vibratome-cut sections of
[...] Read more.
Many plant tissues fluoresce due to the natural fluorophores present in cell walls or within the cell protoplast or lumen. While lignin and chlorophyll are well-known fluorophores, other components are less well characterized. Confocal fluorescence microscopy of fresh or fixed vibratome-cut sections of radiata pine needles revealed the presence of suberin, lignin, ferulate, and flavonoids associated with cell walls as well as several different extractive components and chlorophyll within tissues. Comparison of needles in different physiological states demonstrated the loss of chlorophyll in both chlorotic and necrotic needles. Necrotic needles showed a dramatic change in the fluorescence of extractives within mesophyll cells from ultraviolet (UV) excited weak blue fluorescence to blue excited strong green fluorescence associated with tissue browning. Comparisons were made among fluorophores in terms of optimal excitation, relative brightness compared to lignin, and the effect of pH of mounting medium. Fluorophores in cell walls and extractives in lumens were associated with blue or green emission, compared to the red emission of chlorophyll. Autofluorescence is, therefore, a useful method for comparing the histology of healthy and diseased needles without the need for multiple staining techniques, potentially aiding visual screening of host resistance and disease progression in needle tissue. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nitrogen Fertilizer Management in Dryland Wheat Cropping Systems
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Wheat is the most widely cultivated food crop in the world, which provides nutrition to most of the world population and is well adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Timely and efficient rates of nitrogen (N) application are vital for increasing
[...] Read more.
Wheat is the most widely cultivated food crop in the world, which provides nutrition to most of the world population and is well adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Timely and efficient rates of nitrogen (N) application are vital for increasing wheat grain yield and protein content, and maintaining environmental sustainability. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of using different rates and split application of N on the performance of spring wheat in dryland cropping systems. The experiment was conducted in three different locations in Montana and Idaho during two consecutive growing seasons. A split-plot experimental design was used with three at planting N fertilization application (0, 90 and 135 kg N ha−1) and two topdressing N fertilization strategies as treatments. A number of variables such as grain yield (GY), protein content (GP) in the grains and N uptake (NUP) were assessed. There was a significant effect of climate, N rate, and time application on the wheat performance. The results showed that at-planting N fertilizer application of 90 kg N ha−1 has significantly increased GY, GP and NUP. On the other hand, for these site-years, increasing at-planting N fertilizer rate to 135 kg N ha−1 did not further enhance wheat GY, GP and NUP values. For all six site-years, topdress N fertilizer applied at flowering did not improve wheat GY, GP and NUP compared to at-planting fertilizer alone. As the risk of yield loss is minimal with split N application, from these results we concluded the best treatment for study is treatments that had received 90 kg N ha−1 split as 45 kg N ha−1 at planting and 45 kg N ha−1 at flowering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility and Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle Cistus incanus from Strandja Mountain as a Source of Bioactive Antioxidants
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of the present study is to survey the extraction conditions and explore the antioxidant potential of the wild herb Cistus incanus, which is non-traditional in Bulgarian ethnomedicine and widespread in the Strandja Mountain. The influence of the extraction time (0–500
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The purpose of the present study is to survey the extraction conditions and explore the antioxidant potential of the wild herb Cistus incanus, which is non-traditional in Bulgarian ethnomedicine and widespread in the Strandja Mountain. The influence of the extraction time (0–500 min) and solvent composition (0–50% ethanol in water) on the polyphenols, flavonoid yields and on the antioxidant capacity of the extracts of leaves, stalks (wood parts) and bud mixture were studied. The antioxidant capacity (AOC) was evaluated by use of scavenging assays of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. Total polyphenol and flavonoid contents were quantified using UV–vis (ultraviolet-visible) spectrophotometry. The optimal yield of the desired components was obtained with 30% ethanol in water solvent at the 390th min of extraction time. In addition, the influence of seasonality (winter and summer Cistus incanus), and of the different aerial parts—hard-coated seeds, buds, and a mixture of leaves and stalks of the wild plant—on the presence of polyphenols, flavonoids, and AOC were investigated. The present work revealed that the high values of polyphenols, flavonoids and the high AOC occurred not only in the summer leaves, but were also found in the winter leaves, hard-coated seeds, buds, and stalks. Based on the obtained results, the Cistus incanus from Strandja Mountain could be an excellent new source of natural antioxidants in food and for the pharmaceutical industries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Raman Imaging of Plant Cell Walls in Sections of Cucumis sativus
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Raman microspectra combine information on chemical composition of plant tissues with spatial information. The contributions from the building blocks of the cell walls in the Raman spectra of plant tissues can vary in the microscopic sub-structures of the tissue. Here, we discuss the
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Raman microspectra combine information on chemical composition of plant tissues with spatial information. The contributions from the building blocks of the cell walls in the Raman spectra of plant tissues can vary in the microscopic sub-structures of the tissue. Here, we discuss the analysis of 55 Raman maps of root, stem, and leaf tissues of Cucumis sativus, using different spectral contributions from cellulose and lignin in both univariate and multivariate imaging methods. Imaging based on hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) indicates different substructures in the xylem cell walls of the different tissues. Using specific signals from the cell wall spectra, analysis of the whole set of different tissue sections based on the Raman images reveals differences in xylem tissue morphology. Due to the specifics of excitation of the Raman spectra in the visible wavelength range (532 nm), which is, e.g., in resonance with carotenoid species, effects of photobleaching and the possibility of exploiting depletion difference spectra for molecular characterization in Raman imaging of plants are discussed. The reported results provide both, specific information on the molecular composition of cucumber tissue Raman spectra, and general directions for future imaging studies in plant tissues. Full article
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Open AccessReview Deciphering the Evolution and Development of the Cuticle by Studying Lipid Transfer Proteins in Mosses and Liverworts
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 10 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
When plants conquered land, they developed specialized organs, tissues, and cells in order to survive in this new and harsh terrestrial environment. New cell polymers such as the hydrophobic lipid-based polyesters cutin, suberin, and sporopollenin were also developed for protection against water loss,
[...] Read more.
When plants conquered land, they developed specialized organs, tissues, and cells in order to survive in this new and harsh terrestrial environment. New cell polymers such as the hydrophobic lipid-based polyesters cutin, suberin, and sporopollenin were also developed for protection against water loss, radiation, and other potentially harmful abiotic factors. Cutin and waxes are the main components of the cuticle, which is the waterproof layer covering the epidermis of many aerial organs of land plants. Although the in vivo functions of the group of lipid binding proteins known as lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) are still rather unclear, there is accumulating evidence suggesting a role for LTPs in the transfer and deposition of monomers required for cuticle assembly. In this review, we first present an overview of the data connecting LTPs with cuticle synthesis. Furthermore, we propose liverworts and mosses as attractive model systems for revealing the specific function and activity of LTPs in the biosynthesis and evolution of the plant cuticle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Plant Cuticle)
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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Plants in 2017
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Plants maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Nitrogen Nutrition of Fruit Trees to Reconcile Productivity and Environmental Concerns
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
Although perennial fruit crops represent 1% of global agricultural land, they are of a great economic importance in world trade and in the economy of many regions. The perennial woody nature of fruit trees, their physiological stages of growth, the root distribution pattern,
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Although perennial fruit crops represent 1% of global agricultural land, they are of a great economic importance in world trade and in the economy of many regions. The perennial woody nature of fruit trees, their physiological stages of growth, the root distribution pattern, and the presence of herbaceous vegetation in alleys make orchard systems efficient in the use and recycling of nitrogen (N). The present paper intends to review the existing literature on N nutrition of young and mature deciduous and evergreen fruit trees with special emphasis to temperate and Mediterranean climates. There are two major sources of N contributing to vegetative tree growth and reproduction: root N uptake and internal N cycling. Optimisation of the use of external and internal N sources is important for a sustainable fruit production, as N use efficiency by young and mature fruit trees is generally lower than 55% and losses of fertilizer N may occur with the consequent economic and environmental concern. Organic alternatives to mineral N fertilizer like the application of manure, compost, mulching, and cover crops are scarcely used in perennial fruit trees, in spite of the fact that society’s expectations call for more sustainable production techniques and the demand for organic fruits is increasing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility and Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Advances in Non-Destructive Early Assessment of Fruit Ripeness towards Defining Optimal Time of Harvest and Yield Prediction—A Review
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
Global food security for the increasing world population not only requires increased sustainable production of food but a significant reduction in pre- and post-harvest waste. The timing of when a fruit is harvested is critical for reducing waste along the supply chain and
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Global food security for the increasing world population not only requires increased sustainable production of food but a significant reduction in pre- and post-harvest waste. The timing of when a fruit is harvested is critical for reducing waste along the supply chain and increasing fruit quality for consumers. The early in-field assessment of fruit ripeness and prediction of the harvest date and yield by non-destructive technologies have the potential to revolutionize farming practices and enable the consumer to eat the tastiest and freshest fruit possible. A variety of non-destructive techniques have been applied to estimate the ripeness or maturity but not all of them are applicable for in situ (field or glasshouse) assessment. This review focuses on the non-destructive methods which are promising for, or have already been applied to, the pre-harvest in-field measurements including colorimetry, visible imaging, spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging. Machine learning and regression models used in assessing ripeness are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Enhancement for Global Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle The Occurrence of Flavonoids and Related Compounds in Cedrus brevifolia A. Henry ex Elwes & A. Henry Needles. Inhibitory Potencies on Lipoxygenase, Linoleic Acid Lipid Peroxidation and Antioxidant Activity
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
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Abstract
The phytochemical analysis of the polar extracts of Cedrus brevifolia needles yielded 20 compounds, namely from the methanol extract we isolated three flavonoids (13), one hydrolysable tannin (4), eleven phenolic derivatives (515) and
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The phytochemical analysis of the polar extracts of Cedrus brevifolia needles yielded 20 compounds, namely from the methanol extract we isolated three flavonoids (13), one hydrolysable tannin (4), eleven phenolic derivatives (515) and one apocarotenoid (16), while from the methanol: water (5:1) extract we isolated four flavonoids (1720). Chemical structures of all isolated compounds were determined by 1D, 2D-NMR (1 Dimension, 2 Dimensions Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and UV-Vis (Ultraviolet-Visible) spectroscopy. Furthermore, the antioxidant potentials and the anti-inflammatory activities of both crude extracts and isolates were evaluated through DPPH radical scavenging capability, linoleic acid lipid peroxidation inhibition, and soybean LOX inhibition assays. This is the first report on the chemical profile of C. brevifolia needles. Catechin was the main compound derived from the methanol extract. According to our results, 4-O-β-d-glucopyranyl trans-p-coumaric acid and taxifolin were the most active ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Flavonoids)
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Open AccessReview Flavonoids and Phenolic Acids from Oregano: Occurrence, Biological Activity and Health Benefits
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 23 December 2017 / Published: 26 December 2017
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Abstract
Several herb species classified as oregano have been widely used in folk medicine to alleviate inflammation-related diseases, respiratory and digestive disorders, headaches, rheumatism, diabetes and others. These potential health benefits are partially attributed to the phytochemical compounds in oregano such as flavonoids (FL)
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Several herb species classified as oregano have been widely used in folk medicine to alleviate inflammation-related diseases, respiratory and digestive disorders, headaches, rheumatism, diabetes and others. These potential health benefits are partially attributed to the phytochemical compounds in oregano such as flavonoids (FL) and phenolic acids (PA). Flavonoids and phenolic acids are among the most abundant and most studied phytochemicals in oregano species. Epidemiological, in vitro and in vivo experiments have related long-term consumption of dietary FL and PA with a decreased risk of incidence of chronic diseases. The aim of this manuscript is to summarize the latest studies on the identification and distribution of flavonoids and phenolic compounds from oregano species and their potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Flavonoids)
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