Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Antioxidant, Anti-tyrosinase, Anti-α-amylase, and Cytotoxic Potentials of the Invasive Weed Andropogon virginicus
Plants 2021, 10(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010069 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Andropogon virginicus is an invasive weed that seriously threatens agricultural production and economics worldwide. In this research, dried aerial parts of A. virginicus were extracted, applying Soxhlet and liquid-liquid phase methods to acquire the total crude (T-Anvi), hexane (H-Anvi), ethyl acetate (E-Anvi), butanol [...] Read more.
Andropogon virginicus is an invasive weed that seriously threatens agricultural production and economics worldwide. In this research, dried aerial parts of A. virginicus were extracted, applying Soxhlet and liquid-liquid phase methods to acquire the total crude (T-Anvi), hexane (H-Anvi), ethyl acetate (E-Anvi), butanol (B-Anvi), and water (W-Anvi) extracts, respectively. In which, T-Anvi contains the highest total phenolic and flavonoid contents (24.80 mg gallic acid and 37.40 mg rutin equivalents per g dry weight, respectively). Via anti-radical (ABTS and DPPH), and reducing power assays, E-Anvi exhibits the most potent activities (IC50 = 13.96, 43.59 and 124.11 µg/mL, respectively), stronger than butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a standard antioxidant, while the lipid peroxidation inhibitory effect of E-Anvi (LPI = 90.85% at the concentration of 500 µg/mL) is close to BHT. E-Anvi shows the most substantial inhibition (IC50 = 2.58 mg/mL) on tyrosinase. Notably, α-amylase is significantly suppressed by H-Anvi (IC50 = 0.72 mg/mL), over twice stronger than the positive control, palmitic acid. In the cytotoxic assay, E-Anvi is the strongest extract inhibiting K562 cells (IC50 = 112.01 µg/mL). Meanwhile, T-Anvi shows the highest prevention on Meg-01 expansion (IC50 = 91.40 µg/mL). Dominant compounds detected in E-Anvi by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) are identified as flavonoids. However, among four major compounds identified in H-Anvi by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), palmitic acid and phytol are the most abundant compounds with peak areas of 27.97% and 16.42%, respectively. In essence, this is the first report describing that A. virginicus is a potential natural source of antioxidants, tyrosinase and α-amylase inhibitors, and anti-chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) agents which may be useful in future therapeutics as promising alternative medicines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Plant Extracts)
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Article
Detection of Strawberry Diseases Using a Convolutional Neural Network
Plants 2021, 10(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010031 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
The strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is a high-value crop with an annual cultivated area of ~500 ha in Taiwan. Over 90% of strawberry cultivation is in Miaoli County. Unfortunately, various diseases significantly decrease strawberry production. The leaf and fruit disease became [...] Read more.
The strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is a high-value crop with an annual cultivated area of ~500 ha in Taiwan. Over 90% of strawberry cultivation is in Miaoli County. Unfortunately, various diseases significantly decrease strawberry production. The leaf and fruit disease became an epidemic in 1986. From 2010 to 2016, anthracnose crown rot caused the loss of 30–40% of seedlings and ~20% of plants after transplanting. The automation of agriculture and image recognition techniques are indispensable for detecting strawberry diseases. We developed an image recognition technique for the detection of strawberry diseases using a convolutional neural network (CNN) model. CNN is a powerful deep learning approach that has been used to enhance image recognition. In the proposed technique, two different datasets containing the original and feature images are used for detecting the following strawberry diseases—leaf blight, gray mold, and powdery mildew. Specifically, leaf blight may affect the crown, leaf, and fruit and show different symptoms. By using the ResNet50 model with a training period of 20 epochs for 1306 feature images, the proposed CNN model achieves a classification accuracy rate of 100% for leaf blight cases affecting the crown, leaf, and fruit; 98% for gray mold cases, and 98% for powdery mildew cases. In 20 epochs, the accuracy rate of 99.60% obtained from the feature image dataset was higher than that of 1.53% obtained from the original one. This proposed model provides a simple, reliable, and cost-effective technique for detecting strawberry diseases. Full article
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Article
Confirmation and Fine Mapping of the Resistance Locus Ren9 from the Grapevine Cultivar ‘Regent’
Plants 2021, 10(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010024 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera) is a major fruit crop with high economic importance. Due to its susceptibility towards fungal and oomycete pathogens such as Erysiphe necator and Plasmopara viticola, the causal agents of powdery and downy mildew (PM and DM, [...] Read more.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera) is a major fruit crop with high economic importance. Due to its susceptibility towards fungal and oomycete pathogens such as Erysiphe necator and Plasmopara viticola, the causal agents of powdery and downy mildew (PM and DM, respectively), grapevine growers annually face a major challenge in coping with shortfalls of yield caused by these diseases. Here we report the confirmation of a genetic resource for grapevine resistance breeding against PM. During the delimitation process of Ren3 on chromosome 15 from the cultivar ‘Regent’, a second resistance-encoding region on chromosome 15 termed Ren9 was characterized. It mediates a trailing necrosis associated with the appressoria of E. necator and restricts pathogen growth. In this study, we confirm this QTL in a related mapping population of ‘Regent’ × ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’. The data show that this locus is located at the upper arm of chromosome 15 between markers GF15-58 (0.15 Mb) and GF15-53 (4 Mb). The efficiency of the resistance against one of the prominent European PM isolates (EU-B) is demonstrated. Based on fine-mapping and literature knowledge we propose two possible regions of interest and supply molecular markers to follow both regions in marker-assisted selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology)
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Article
Genotype × Environment Interaction for Wheat Yield Traits Suitable for Selection in Different Seed Priming Conditions
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121804 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Different seed priming treatments are widely used in order to improve the nutritional status of wheat, as well as to improve its grain yield and yield- related traits. The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of seed priming with zinc oxide nanoparticles [...] Read more.
Different seed priming treatments are widely used in order to improve the nutritional status of wheat, as well as to improve its grain yield and yield- related traits. The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of seed priming with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) on the yield related traits, such as, field emergence, plant height, spike length and grain yield per plant of four winter wheat genotypes (Triticum aestivum L.) during two vegetation seasons of 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. The seeds of each wheat genotypes were primed with different concentrations of ZnO NPs (0 mg L−1, 10 mg L−1, 100 mg L−1 and 1000 mg L−1) for 48 h in a dark box by continuous aeration and were sown in soil pots with 60–70% moisture content until full maturity. The additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) models were used to study the genotype environment effects. The results indicated that the plants response to ZnO nanoparticles significantly increased all of the observed traits of the wheat, while its maximum rates reduced the traits of the wheat. The AMMI analysis revealed the very complex nature of the variation observed in the trial and showed the significant effect of the G×E interaction, in which the first main component was significant for all components. Full article
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Article
Seed Morphology in Silene Based on Geometric Models
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1787; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121787 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Seed description in morphology is often based on adjectives such as “spherical”, “globular”, or “reniform”, but this does not provide a quantitative method. A new morphological approach based on the comparison of seed images with geometric models provides a seed description in Silene [...] Read more.
Seed description in morphology is often based on adjectives such as “spherical”, “globular”, or “reniform”, but this does not provide a quantitative method. A new morphological approach based on the comparison of seed images with geometric models provides a seed description in Silene species on a quantitative basis. The novelty of the proposed method is based in the comparison of the seed images with geometric models according to a cardioid shape. The J index is a measurement that indicates the seed percentage of similarity with a cardioid or cardioid-derived figures used as models. The seeds of Silene species have high values of similarity with the cardioid and cardioid-derived models (J index superior to 90). The comparison with different figures allows species description and differentiation. The method is applied here to seeds of 21 species and models are proposed for some of them including S. diclinis, an endangered species. The method is discussed in the context of previous comparison with the measures used in traditional morphometric analysis. The similarity of seed images with geometric figures opens a new perspective for the automatized taxonomical evaluation of samples linking seed morphology to functional traits in endangered Silene species. Full article
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Article
Plant Roots Release Small Extracellular Vesicles with Antifungal Activity
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121777 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) play pivotal roles in cell-to-cell and inter-kingdom communication. Despite their relevant biological implications, the existence and role of plant EVs released into the environment has been unexplored. Herein, we purified round-shaped small vesicles (EVs) by differential ultracentrifugation of a sampling [...] Read more.
Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) play pivotal roles in cell-to-cell and inter-kingdom communication. Despite their relevant biological implications, the existence and role of plant EVs released into the environment has been unexplored. Herein, we purified round-shaped small vesicles (EVs) by differential ultracentrifugation of a sampling solution containing root exudates of hydroponically grown tomato plants. Biophysical analyses, by means of dynamic light scattering, microfluidic resistive pulse sensing and scanning electron microscopy, showed that the size of root-released EVs range in the nanometric scale (50–100 nm). Shot-gun proteomics of tomato EVs identified 179 unique proteins, several of which are known to be involved in plant-microbe interactions. In addition, the application of root-released EVs induced a significant inhibition of spore germination and of germination tube development of the plant pathogens Fusarium oxysporum, Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria alternata. Interestingly, these EVs contain several proteins involved in plant defense, suggesting that they could be new components of the plant innate immune system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Article
Agro-Morphological, Yield and Quality Traits and Interrelationship with Yield Stability in Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) Genotypes under Saline Marginal Environment
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1763; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121763 - 13 Dec 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a halophytic crop that shows resistance to multiple abiotic stresses, including salinity. In this study we investigated the salinity tolerance mechanisms of six contrasting quinoa cultivars belonging to the coastal region of Chile using agro-physiological parameters (plant [...] Read more.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a halophytic crop that shows resistance to multiple abiotic stresses, including salinity. In this study we investigated the salinity tolerance mechanisms of six contrasting quinoa cultivars belonging to the coastal region of Chile using agro-physiological parameters (plant height (PH), number of branches/plant (BN), number of panicles/plant (PN), panicle length (PL), biochemical traits (leaf C%, leaf N%, grain protein contents); harvest index and yield (seed yield and plant dry biomass (PDM) under three salinity levels (0, 10, and 20 d Sm−1 NaCl). The yield stability was evaluated through comparision of seed yield characteristics [(static environmental variance (S2) and dynamic Wricke’s ecovalence (W2)]. Results showed that significant variations existed in agro-morphological and yield attributes. With increasing salinity levels, yield contributing parameters (number of panicles and panicle length) decreased. Salt stress reduced the leaf carbon and nitrogen contents. Genotypes Q21, and AMES13761 showed higher seed yield (2.30 t ha−1), more productivity and stability at various salinities as compared to the other genotypes. Salinity reduced seed yield to 44.48% and 60% at lower (10 dS m−1) and higher salinity (20 dS m−1), respectively. Grain protein content was highest in NSL106398 and lowest in Q29 when treated with saline water. Seed yield was positively correlated with PH, TB, HI, and C%. Significant and negative correlations were observed between N%, protein contents and seed yield. PH showed significant positive correlation with APL, HI, C% and C:N ratio. HI displayed positive correlations with C%, N% and protein content., All measured plant traits, except for C:N ratio, responded to salt in a genotype-specific way. Our results indicate that the genotypes (Q21 and AMES13761) proved their suitability under sandy desert soils of Dubai, UAE as they exhibited higher seed yield while NSL106398 showed an higher seed protein content. The present research highlights the need to preserve quinoa biodiversity for a better seedling establishment, survival and stable yield in the sandy desertic UAE environment. Full article
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Article
The Impact of the Method Extraction and Different Carrot Variety on the Carotenoid Profile, Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Properties of Juices
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121759 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
The study assesses the antioxidant activity (AA), carotenoid profile and total phenolic content (TPC) of carrot juices obtained from three different varieties (black, orange and yellow) and prepared using high- (HSJ) and low-speed juicer (LSJ). The AA assessment was carried out using four [...] Read more.
The study assesses the antioxidant activity (AA), carotenoid profile and total phenolic content (TPC) of carrot juices obtained from three different varieties (black, orange and yellow) and prepared using high- (HSJ) and low-speed juicer (LSJ). The AA assessment was carried out using four assays (DPPH, ABTS, PCL ACW and PCL ACL). The content of carotenoids was conducted by high performance liquid chromatography equipped with a diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) method, while the total phenolic content by the spectrophotometric method. It was shown that orange carrot juices contain more carotenoids than yellow and black carrot juices, approximately ten and three times more, respectively. The total carotenoid content in orange carrot juice made by the HSJ was higher (by over 11%) compared to juice prepared by the LSJ. The highest total phenolic content was noticed in black carrot juices, while the lowest in orange carrot juices. In black carrot juices, a higher range of TPC was found in juices made by HSJ, while in the case of the orange and yellow carrots, the highest content of TPC was detected in juices prepared by the LSJ. AA of the juices was highly dependent on the carrot variety, juice extraction method. The most assays confirmed the highest AA values in black carrot juices. Furthermore, it was shown that the HSJ method is more preferred to obtain orange and yellow carrot juices with higher antioxidant properties, while the LSJ method is more suitable for black carrot juice extraction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants)
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Article
Over-Expression of a Melon Y3SK2-Type LEA Gene Confers Drought and Salt Tolerance in Transgenic Tobacco Plants
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1749; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121749 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Climate change, with its attendant negative effects, is expected to hamper agricultural production in the coming years. To counteract these negative effects, breeding of environmentally resilient plants via conventional means and genetic engineering is necessary. Stress defense genes are valuable tools by which [...] Read more.
Climate change, with its attendant negative effects, is expected to hamper agricultural production in the coming years. To counteract these negative effects, breeding of environmentally resilient plants via conventional means and genetic engineering is necessary. Stress defense genes are valuable tools by which this can be achieved. Here we report the successful cloning and functional characterization of a melon Y3SK2-type dehydrin gene, designated as CmLEA-S. We generated CmLEA-S overexpressing transgenic tobacco lines and performed in vitro and in vivo drought and salt stress analyses. Seeds of transgenic tobacco plants grown on 10% polyethylene glycol (PEG) showed significantly higher germination rates relative to wild-type seeds. In the same way, transgenic seeds grown on 150 mM sodium chloride (NaCl) recorded significantly higher germination percentages compared with wild-type plants. The fresh weights and root lengths of young transgenic plants subjected to drought stress were significantly higher than that of wild-type plants. Similarly, the fresh weights and root lengths of transgenic seedlings subjected to salt stress treatments were also significantly higher than wild-type plants. Moreover, transgenic plants subjected to drought and salt stresses in vivo showed fewer signs of wilting and chlorosis, respectively. Biochemical assays revealed that transgenic plants accumulated more proline and less malondialdehyde (MDA) compared with wild-type plants under both drought and salt stress conditions. Finally, the enzymatic activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and catalase (CAT) were enhanced in drought- and salt-stressed transgenic lines. These results suggest that the CmLEA-S gene could be used as a potential candidate gene for crop improvement. Full article
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Article
Evolution of the Polyphenol and Terpene Content, Antioxidant Activity and Plant Morphology of Eight Different Fiber-Type Cultivars of Cannabis sativa L. Cultivated at Three Sowing Densities
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1740; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121740 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The chemical composition of the inflorescences of eight different fibre-type Cannabis sativa L. cultivars grown in Switzerland was monitored for different sowing densities over the season 2019. HPLC-MS, GC-MS and GC-FID, as well as spectrophotometric techniques were used to measure the total phenolic [...] Read more.
The chemical composition of the inflorescences of eight different fibre-type Cannabis sativa L. cultivars grown in Switzerland was monitored for different sowing densities over the season 2019. HPLC-MS, GC-MS and GC-FID, as well as spectrophotometric techniques were used to measure the total phenolic content (TPC) and the antioxidative activity of the inflorescence extracts, and to characterise and quantify the flavonoids and terpenes produced by the different cultivars over different sowing densities from July to September 2019. The main finding of the present study is that the TPC, as well as the individual flavonoids and terpenes, were mainly influenced by the harvest period and the phenological stage of the plant. The content of polyphenols and flavonoids decrease during the flower development for all cultivars studied. The terpene content increased with maturation. The monoterpenes/sesquiterpenes ratio also changed between the early flowering (majority of sesquiterpenes) and the end of flowering (majority of monoterpenes). The sowing density showed an impact on plant morphology, a low density such as 30 seeds/m2 influencing the production of bigger flowers, thus increasing the yield of polyphenols and terpenes production. Therefore, hemp inflorescences can be regarded as valuable by-products of fibre production, for their valorisation in the food and beverage industry in addition to cosmetics and perfumery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemistry)
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Article
Use of Leaves as Bioindicator to Assess Air Pollution Based on Composite Proxy Measure (APTI), Dust Amount and Elemental Concentration of Metals
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1743; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121743 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Monitoring air pollution and environmental health are crucial to ensure viable cities. We assessed the usefulness of the Air Pollution Tolerance Index (APTI) as a composite index of environmental health. Fine and coarse dust amount and elemental concentrations of Celtis occidentalis and Tilia [...] Read more.
Monitoring air pollution and environmental health are crucial to ensure viable cities. We assessed the usefulness of the Air Pollution Tolerance Index (APTI) as a composite index of environmental health. Fine and coarse dust amount and elemental concentrations of Celtis occidentalis and Tilia × europaea leaves were measured in June and September at three sampling sites (urban, industrial, and rural) in Debrecen city (Hungary) to assess the usefulness of APTI. The correlation between APTI values and dust amount and elemental concentrations was also studied. Fine dust, total chlorophyll, and elemental concentrations were the most sensitive indicators of pollution. Based on the high chlorophyll and low elemental concentration of tree leaves, the rural site was the least disturbed by anthropogenic activities, as expected. We demonstrated that fine and coarse dust amount and elemental concentrations of urban tree leaves are especially useful for urban air quality monitoring. Correlations between APTI and other measured parameters were also found. Both C. occidentalis and T. europaea were sensitive to air pollution based on their APTI values. Thus, the APTI of tree leaves is an especially useful proxy measure of air pollution, as well as environmental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition and Plant Abiotic Stress Resistance)
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Article
Scion and Rootstock Differently Influence Growth, Yield and Quality Characteristics of Cherry Tomato
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1725; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121725 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Grafting is a valuable tool for managing problems of tomato soil-borne pathogens and pests, but often generates unpredictable effects on crop yield and product quality. To observe these rootstocks-induced changes, experimental designs including many rootstock-scion combinations are required. To this end, a greenhouse [...] Read more.
Grafting is a valuable tool for managing problems of tomato soil-borne pathogens and pests, but often generates unpredictable effects on crop yield and product quality. To observe these rootstocks-induced changes, experimental designs including many rootstock-scion combinations are required. To this end, a greenhouse experiment was conducted on 63 graft combinations, involving seven cherry tomato scions grouped in large, medium and small-fruited, and eight rootstocks with different genetic backgrounds (crosses between Solanum lycopersicum and S. habrochaites or S. peruvianum or S. pimpinellifolium, plus an intraspecific hybrid), using ungrafted controls. The response of the graft partners was firstly analyzed individually using the environmental variance (σ2E), then by grouping them by classes. When analyzed individually, the scion genotype influenced fruit L*, b*, shape index, total soluble solids (TSS) and its ratio with tritatable acidity (TSS/TA), whereas plant growth and yield were unpredictable. After clustering the graft partners, some of these responses were attributable to the imposed classes. The S. habrochaites-derived hybrids maximized plant biomass, unlike the S. pimpinellifolium ones. Both classes reduced fruit biomass in small- and medium-fruited scions (by 11 and 14%, respectively). The S. habrochaites and S. peruvianum hybrids reduced a* and TSS, whereas promoted TA. L-ascorbic acid was reduced by grafting (from −23 to −45%), in the S. pimpinellifolium group too, indicating, even in low vigor rootstocks, a dilution effect worsening this nutraceutical trait of tomatoes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Development and Morphogenesis)
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Article
UV-B Radiation Affects Photosynthesis-Related Processes of Two Italian Olea europaea (L.) Varieties Differently
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1712; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121712 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Given the economical importance of the olive tree it is essential to study its responses to stress agents such as excessive UV-B radiation, to understand the defense mechanisms and to identify the varieties that are able to cope with it. In the light [...] Read more.
Given the economical importance of the olive tree it is essential to study its responses to stress agents such as excessive UV-B radiation, to understand the defense mechanisms and to identify the varieties that are able to cope with it. In the light of the analysis carried out in this study, we argue that UV-B radiation represents a dangerous source of stress for the olive tree, especially in the current increasingly changing environmental conditions. Both the varieties considered (Giarraffa and Olivastra Seggianese), although resistant to the strong treatment to which they were exposed, showed, albeit in different ways and at different times, evident effects. The two varieties have different response times and the Giarraffa variety seems better suited to prolonged UV-B stress, possible due to a more efficient and quick activation of the antioxidant response (e.g., flavonoids use to counteract reactive oxygen species) and because of its capacity to maintain the photosynthetic efficiency as well as a relatively higher content of mannitol. Moreover, pigments reduction after a long period of UV-B exposure can also be an adaptation mechanism triggered by Giarraffa to reduce energy absorption under UV-B stress. Olivastra Seggianese seems less suited to overcome UV-B stress for a long period (e.g., higher reduction of Fv/Fm) and has a higher requirement for sugars (e.g., glucose) possible to counteract stress and to restore energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Endemic Veronica saturejoides Vis. ssp. saturejoides–Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Free Volatile Compounds
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1646; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121646 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Chemical profile and antioxidant activity of the species Veronica saturejoides Vis. ssp. saturejoides (Plantaginaceae)—which is endemic to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro —were investigated. Volatile compounds produced by glandular trichomes (composed of one stalk cell and two elliptically formed head cells according [...] Read more.
Chemical profile and antioxidant activity of the species Veronica saturejoides Vis. ssp. saturejoides (Plantaginaceae)—which is endemic to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro —were investigated. Volatile compounds produced by glandular trichomes (composed of one stalk cell and two elliptically formed head cells according to scanning electron microscope investigation) were isolated from the plants collected in two locations. Additionally, as a part of specialized metabolites, total polyphenols, total tannins, total flavonoids and total phenolic acids were determined spectrophotometrically. In the lipophilic volatile fractions-essential oils, the most abundant compounds identified were hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, caryophyllene oxide and hexadecanoic acid. In total, the class of oxygenated sesquiterpenes and the group of fatty aldehydes, acids and alcoholic compounds dominated in the essential oils. In the hydrophilic volatile fractions-hydrosols, the most abundant compounds identified were trans-p-mentha-1(7),8-dien-2-ol, allo-aromadendrene and (E)-caryophyllene. A group of oxygenated monoterpenes and the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons dominated in the hydrosols. Antioxidant activity of essential oils and hydrosols was tested with two methods: 2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Essential oils showed higher antioxidant activity than hydrosols and showed similar antioxidant activity to Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil. Obtained results demonstrate that this genus is a potential source of volatiles with antioxidant activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composition and Biological Activities of Plant Secondary Metabolites)
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Article
Celery (Apium graveolens L.) Performances as Subjected to Different Sources of Protein Hydrolysates
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1633; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121633 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
The vegetable production sector is currently fronting several issues mainly connected to the increasing demand of high quality food produced in accordance with sustainable horticultural technologies. The application of biostimulants, particularly protein hydrolysates (PHs), might be favorable to optimize water and mineral uptake [...] Read more.
The vegetable production sector is currently fronting several issues mainly connected to the increasing demand of high quality food produced in accordance with sustainable horticultural technologies. The application of biostimulants, particularly protein hydrolysates (PHs), might be favorable to optimize water and mineral uptake and plant utilization and to increase both production performance and quality feature of vegetable crops. The present study was carried out on celery plants grown in a tunnel to appraise the influence of two PHs, a plant-derived PH (P-PH), obtained from soy extract and an animal PH (A-PH), derived from hydrolyzed animal epithelium (waste from bovine tanneries) on yield, yield components (head height, root collar diameter, and number of stalks), mineral composition, nutritional and functional features, as well as the economic profitability of PHs applications. Fresh weight in A-PH and P-PH treated plants was 8.3% and 38.2% higher, respectively than in untreated control plants. However, no significant difference was found between A-PH treated plants and control plants in terms of fresh weight. Head height significantly increased by 5.5% and 16.3% in A-PH and P-PH treated plants, respectively compared with untreated control (p ≤ 0.05). N content was inferior in PHs treated plants than in untreated control. Conversely, K and Mg content was higher in A-PH and P-PH treated plants as compared to the untreated ones. Furthermore, A-PH and P-PH improved ascorbic acid content by 8.2% and 8.7%, respectively compared with the non-treated control (p ≤ 0.001). Our results confirmed, also, that PHs application is an eco-friendly technique to improve total phenolic content in celery plants. In support of this, our findings revealed that animal or plants PH applications increased total phenolics by 36.9% and 20.8%, respectively compared with untreated plants (p ≤ 0.001). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants as Growth Promoting and Stress Protecting Compounds)
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Article
Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus: Seed Transmission Rate and Efficacy of Different Seed Disinfection Treatments
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1615; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111615 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a highly infectious virus, that is becoming a threat to tomato production worldwide. In this work we evaluated the localization of ToBRFV particles in tomato seeds, its seed transmission rate and efficacy of disinfection, and the [...] Read more.
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a highly infectious virus, that is becoming a threat to tomato production worldwide. In this work we evaluated the localization of ToBRFV particles in tomato seeds, its seed transmission rate and efficacy of disinfection, and the effects of different thermal- and chemical-based treatments on ToBRFV-infected seeds’ germination. Analyses demonstrated that ToBRFV was located in the seed coat, sometime in the endosperm, but never in the embryo; its transmission from infected seeds to plantlets occurs by micro-lesions during the germination. The ToBRFV seed transmission rate was 2.8% in cotyledons and 1.8% in the third true leaf. Regarding the different disinfection treatments, they returned 100% of germination at 14 days post-treatment (dpt), except for the treatment with 2% hydrochloric acid +1.5% sodium hypochlorite for 24 h, for which no seed germinated after 14 dpt. All treatments have the ability to inactivate ToBRFV, but in six out of seven treatments ToBRFV was still detectable by RT-qPCR. These results raise many questions about the correct way to carry out diagnosis at customs. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the effective localization of ToBRFV particles in seeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seed Borne Plant Viruses: A Threat for the Global Exchanges)
Article
Ontogeny and Anatomy of the Dimorphic Pitchers of Nepenthes rafflesiana Jack
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1603; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111603 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
An enigmatic feature of tropical pitcher plants belonging to the genus Nepenthes is their dimorphic prey-capturing pitfall traps. In many species, the conspicuously shaped upper and lower pitchers grow from a swollen leaf tendril tip until finally opening as insect-alluring devices. Few have [...] Read more.
An enigmatic feature of tropical pitcher plants belonging to the genus Nepenthes is their dimorphic prey-capturing pitfall traps. In many species, the conspicuously shaped upper and lower pitchers grow from a swollen leaf tendril tip until finally opening as insect-alluring devices. Few have studied the ontogeny of these traps from an anatomical and quantitative morphological perspective. We investigated whether the anatomy and development of lower and upper type pitchers of N. rafflesiana differ or overlap in terms of 3D geometric morphology and microstructure progression and presence. We hypothesized that there is an overlap in the initial, but not all, developmental stages of the two pitcher types and that one pitcher type is suspended in development. We identified four important morphological changes of pitcher ontogeny and defined these as curvation, elongation, inflation and maturation phases. Pitcher length indicated progress through developmental phases, and we propose to use it as a tool for indication of developmental stage. Microstructure development coincided with the developmental phases defined. Additionally, we discovered a new anatomical feature of extrafloral nectariferous peristomal glands between the inner peristome ridges of upper and lower pitchers being hollow and analyze the chemistry of the sugars on the outside of these glands. Ontogenetic shape analysis indicated that upper and lower pitcher types develop with similar phase progression but have no directly overlapping morphology. This means that upper pitchers are not a derived state from lower pitchers. Independent developmental programs evolved to produce distinctly shaped upper and lower pitchers in Nepenthes, likely to exploit different food sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Anatomy and Biochemistry)
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Article
Inactivation of H+-ATPase Participates in the Influence of Variation Potential on Photosynthesis and Respiration in Peas
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111585 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Local damage (e.g., burning, heating, or crushing) causes the generation and propagation of a variation potential (VP), which is a unique electrical signal in higher plants. A VP influences numerous physiological processes, with photosynthesis and respiration being important targets. VP generation is based [...] Read more.
Local damage (e.g., burning, heating, or crushing) causes the generation and propagation of a variation potential (VP), which is a unique electrical signal in higher plants. A VP influences numerous physiological processes, with photosynthesis and respiration being important targets. VP generation is based on transient inactivation of H+-ATPase in plasma membrane. In this work, we investigated the participation of this inactivation in the development of VP-induced photosynthetic and respiratory responses. Two- to three-week-old pea seedlings (Pisum sativum L.) and their protoplasts were investigated. Photosynthesis and respiration in intact seedlings were measured using a GFS-3000 gas analyzer, Dual-PAM-100 Pulse-Amplitude-Modulation (PAM)-fluorometer, and a Dual-PAM gas-exchange Cuvette 3010-Dual. Electrical activity was measured using extracellular electrodes. The parameters of photosynthetic light reactions in protoplasts were measured using the Dual-PAM-100; photosynthesis- and respiration-related changes in O2 exchange rate were measured using an Oxygraph Plus System. We found that preliminary changes in the activity of H+-ATPase in the plasma membrane (its inactivation by sodium orthovanadate or activation by fusicoccin) influenced the amplitudes and magnitudes of VP-induced photosynthetic and respiratory responses in intact seedlings. Decreases in H+-ATPase activity (sodium orthovanadate treatment) induced fast decreases in photosynthetic activity and increases in respiration in protoplasts. Thus, our results support the effect of H+-ATPase inactivation on VP-induced photosynthetic and respiratory responses. Full article
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Article
Arabidopsis Response to Inhibitor of Cytokinin Degradation INCYDE: Modulations of Cytokinin Signaling and Plant Proteome
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1563; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111563 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Cytokinins are multifaceted plant hormones that play crucial roles in plant interactions with the environment. Modulations in cytokinin metabolism and signaling have been successfully used for elevating plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stressors. Here, we analyzed Arabidopsis thaliana response to INhibitor of [...] Read more.
Cytokinins are multifaceted plant hormones that play crucial roles in plant interactions with the environment. Modulations in cytokinin metabolism and signaling have been successfully used for elevating plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stressors. Here, we analyzed Arabidopsis thaliana response to INhibitor of CYtokinin DEgradation (INCYDE), a potent inhibitor of cytokinin dehydrogenase. We found that at low nanomolar concentration, the effect of INCYCE on seedling growth and development was not significantly different from that of trans-Zeatin treatment. However, an alteration in the spatial distribution of cytokinin signaling was found at low micromolar concentrations, and proteomics analysis revealed a significant impact on the molecular level. An in-depth proteome analysis of an early (24 h) response and a dose-dependent response after 168 h highlighted the effects on primary and secondary metabolism, including alterations in ribosomal subunits, RNA metabolism, modulations of proteins associated with chromatin, and the flavonoid and phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway. The observed attenuation in stress-response mechanisms, including abscisic acid signaling and the metabolism of jasmonates, could explain previously reported positive effects of INCYDE under mild stress conditions. Full article
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Article
Extreme Drought Affects Visitation and Seed Set in a Plant Species in the Central Chilean Andes Heavily Dependent on Hummingbird Pollination
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1553; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111553 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Rising temperatures and increasing drought in Mediterranean-type climate areas are expected to affect plant–pollinator interactions, especially in plant species with specialised pollination. Central Chile experienced a mega drought between 2010 and 2020 which reached an extreme in the austral summer of 2019–2020. Based [...] Read more.
Rising temperatures and increasing drought in Mediterranean-type climate areas are expected to affect plant–pollinator interactions, especially in plant species with specialised pollination. Central Chile experienced a mega drought between 2010 and 2020 which reached an extreme in the austral summer of 2019–2020. Based on intensive pollinator sampling and floral studies we show that the subalpine form of Mutisia subulata (Asteraceae) is a specialised hummingbird-pollinated species. In a two-year study which included the severest drought year, we quantified visitation frequency, flower-head density, flower-head visitation rates, two measures of floral longevity, nectar characteristics and seed set and monitored climatic variables to detect direct and indirect climate-related effects on pollinator visitation. Flower-head density, nectar standing crop and seed set were significantly reduced in the severest drought year while nectar concentration increased. The best model to explain visitation frequency included flower-head density, relative humidity, temperature, and nectar standing crop with highly significant effects of the first three variables. Results for flower-head density suggest hummingbirds were able to associate visual signals with reduced resource availability and/or were less abundant. The negative effect of lower relative humidity suggests the birds were able to perceive differences in nectar concentration. Reduced seed set per flower-head together with the availability of far fewer ovules in the 2019–2020 austral summer would have resulted in a major reduction in seed set. Longer and more intense droughts in this century could threaten local population persistence in M. subulata. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pollinator Interactions in Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems)
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Article
In Silico Identification of MYB and bHLH Families Reveals Candidate Transcription Factors for Secondary Metabolic Pathways in Cannabis sativa L.
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111540 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Plant secondary metabolic pathways are finely regulated by the activity of transcription factors, among which members of the bHLH and MYB subfamilies play a main role. Cannabis sativa L. is a unique officinal plant species with over 600 synthesized phytochemicals having diverse scale-up [...] Read more.
Plant secondary metabolic pathways are finely regulated by the activity of transcription factors, among which members of the bHLH and MYB subfamilies play a main role. Cannabis sativa L. is a unique officinal plant species with over 600 synthesized phytochemicals having diverse scale-up industrial and pharmaceutical usage. Despite comprehensive knowledge of cannabinoids’ metabolic pathways, very little is known about their regulation, while the literature on flavonoids’ metabolic pathways is still scarce. In this study, we provide the first genome-wide analysis of bHLH and MYB families in C. sativa reference cultivar CBDRx and identification of candidate coding sequences for these transcription factors. Cannabis sativa bHLHs and MYBs were then classified into functional subfamilies through comparative phylogenetic analysis with A. thaliana transcription factors. Analyses of gene structure and motif distribution confirmed that CsbHLHs and CsMYBs belonging to the same evolutionary clade share common features at both gene and amino acidic level. Candidate regulatory genes for key metabolic pathways leading to flavonoid and cannabinoid synthesis in Cannabis were also retrieved. Furthermore, a candidate gene approach was used to identify structural enzyme-coding genes for flavonoid and cannabinoid synthesis. Taken as a whole, this work represents a valuable resource of candidate genes for further investigation of the C. sativa cannabinoid and flavonoid metabolic pathways for genomic studies and breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Functional Genomics in Cannabis sativa, L.)
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Article
Light Quality Affected the Growth and Root Organic Carbon and Autotoxin Secretions of Hydroponic Lettuce
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111542 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Light is a crucial environmental signal and photosynthetic energy for plant growth, development, and primary and secondary metabolism. To explore the effects of light quality on the growth and root exudates of hydroponic lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), white LED (W, control) and [...] Read more.
Light is a crucial environmental signal and photosynthetic energy for plant growth, development, and primary and secondary metabolism. To explore the effects of light quality on the growth and root exudates of hydroponic lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), white LED (W, control) and four the mixtures of red (R) and blue (B) LED with different R/B light intensity ratios (R/B = 2, 2R1B; R/B = 3, 3R1B; R/B = 4, 4R1B; and R/B = 8, 8R1B) were designed. The results showed that the biomass of lettuce under 8R1B and W treatments was higher than that under other light quality treatments. The photosynthetic rate (Pn) under red and blue light was significantly higher than that of white light. Total root length, root surface area, and root volume were the highest under 8R1B. 4R1B treatment significant increased root activity by 68.6% compared with W. In addition, total organic carbon (TOC) content, TOC content/shoot dry weight, TOC content/root dry weight, and TOC content/root surface area were the highest under 4R1B. Moreover, 8R1B treatment reduced the concentration of benzoic acid and salicylic acid, and the secretion ability of benzoic acid and salicylic acid by per unit root surface area and accumulation by per unit shoot dry weight. In addition, 2R1B and 3R1B reduced the secretion ability of gallic acid and tannic acid by per unit root surface area and accumulation by per unit shoot dry weight. In conclusion, this study showed that the secretion of autotoxins could be reduced through the mediation of red and blue light composition of LEDs in a plant factory. In terms of autotoxin secretion reduction efficiency and yield performance of lettuce, 8R1B light regime is recommended for practical use. Full article
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Article
Physiological and Biochemical Changes in Sugar Beet Seedlings to Confer Stress Adaptability under Drought Condition
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111511 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 17
Abstract
The present study was conducted to examine the adaptability of 11 sugar beet cultivars grown under drought stress in the controlled glasshouse. The treatment was initiated on 30-day-old sugar beet plants where drought stress was made withholding water supply for consecutive 10 days [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted to examine the adaptability of 11 sugar beet cultivars grown under drought stress in the controlled glasshouse. The treatment was initiated on 30-day-old sugar beet plants where drought stress was made withholding water supply for consecutive 10 days while control was done with providing water as per requirement. It was observed that drought stress expressively reduced plant growth, photosynthetic pigments, and photosynthetic quantum yield in all the cultivars but comparative better results were observed in S1 (MAXIMELLA), S2 (HELENIKA), S6 (RECODDINA), S8 (SV2347), and S11 (BSRI Sugarbeet 2) cultivars. Besides, osmolytes like proline, glycine betaine, total soluble carbohydrate, total soluble sugar, total polyphenol, total flavonoid, and DPPH free radical scavenging activity were remarkably increased under drought condition in MAXIMELLA, HELENIKA, TERRANOVA, GREGOIA, SV2348, and BSRI Sugar beet 2 cultivars. In contrast, activities of enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD) were significantly decreased in all, while the cultivars SV2347, BSRI Sugar beet 1 and BSRI Sugar beet 2 were found with increased ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity under drought condition. In parallel, polyphenol oxidase (PPO) was increased in all cultivars except HELENIKA. Overall, the cultivars HELENIKA, RECODDINA, GREGOIA, SV2347, SV2348, BSRI Sugar beet 1, and BSRI Sugar beet 2 were found best fitted to the given drought condition. These findings would help further for the improvement of stress adaptive sugar beet cultivars development in the breeding program for drought-prone regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
GIS-Facilitated Effective Propagation Protocols of the Endangered Local Endemic of Crete Carlina diae (Rech. f.) Meusel and A. Kástner (Asteraceae): Serving Ex Situ Conservation Needs and Its Future Sustainable Utilization as an Ornamental
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1465; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111465 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Conservation and sustainable exploitation of threatened endemic plants with medicinal and/or horticultural/ornamental value can be achieved through the development of effective propagation protocols. After unveiling the bioclimatic preferences of Carlina diae (Asteraceae) with geographic information systems (GIS), four propagation trials were conducted using [...] Read more.
Conservation and sustainable exploitation of threatened endemic plants with medicinal and/or horticultural/ornamental value can be achieved through the development of effective propagation protocols. After unveiling the bioclimatic preferences of Carlina diae (Asteraceae) with geographic information systems (GIS), four propagation trials were conducted using seeds of this endangered local Cretan endemic for in vivo and in vitro germination, as well as seasonal vegetative propagation trials (softwood cuttings) and micropropagation (nodal explants). Seed germination was accomplished at a level of 77–90% in vivo (30 days) and 96% in vitro (10 days) using an MS medium with 2.9 μM gibberellic acid (GA3). The optimum treatments for cuttings’ rooting were 1000 and 2000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) (11–16 roots, 2–3 cm long, 100% rooting) within 40 days in mist. In vitro shoot propagation exhibited a 2.8 proliferation rate after six successive subcultures on an MS medium with 2.9 μM GA3. Both ex vitro rooting and acclimatization were successful in 40 days, with 96% microshoot rooting and an equal survival rate. The GIS-facilitated effective species-specific propagation protocols developed in this study can consolidate the perspective of successful re-introduction of ex situ-raised material of C. diae into wild habitats and may serve its sustainable exploitation for high-added value ornamental products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxonomy and Plant Conservation)
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Article
Image-Based Plant Disease Identification by Deep Learning Meta-Architectures
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111451 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 19
Abstract
The identification of plant disease is an imperative part of crop monitoring systems. Computer vision and deep learning (DL) techniques have been proven to be state-of-the-art to address various agricultural problems. This research performed the complex tasks of localization and classification of the [...] Read more.
The identification of plant disease is an imperative part of crop monitoring systems. Computer vision and deep learning (DL) techniques have been proven to be state-of-the-art to address various agricultural problems. This research performed the complex tasks of localization and classification of the disease in plant leaves. In this regard, three DL meta-architectures including the Single Shot MultiBox Detector (SSD), Faster Region-based Convolutional Neural Network (RCNN), and Region-based Fully Convolutional Networks (RFCN) were applied by using the TensorFlow object detection framework. All the DL models were trained/tested on a controlled environment dataset to recognize the disease in plant species. Moreover, an improvement in the mean average precision of the best-obtained deep learning architecture was attempted through different state-of-the-art deep learning optimizers. The SSD model trained with an Adam optimizer exhibited the highest mean average precision (mAP) of 73.07%. The successful identification of 26 different types of defected and 12 types of healthy leaves in a single framework proved the novelty of the work. In the future, the proposed detection methodology can also be adopted for other agricultural applications. Moreover, the generated weights can be reused for future real-time detection of plant disease in a controlled/uncontrolled environment. Full article
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Article
Antioxidant Responses of Phenolic Compounds and Immobilization of Copper in Imperata cylindrica, a Plant with Potential Use for Bioremediation of Cu Contaminated Environments
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1397; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101397 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
This work examined the capability of Imperata cylindrica to respond, tolerate and accumulate Cu when growing at high Cu concentration (300 mg kg−1 of substrate) at different times of exposure (2, 14 and 21 days). The Cu accumulation in plants was examined [...] Read more.
This work examined the capability of Imperata cylindrica to respond, tolerate and accumulate Cu when growing at high Cu concentration (300 mg kg−1 of substrate) at different times of exposure (2, 14 and 21 days). The Cu accumulation in plants was examined by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and Cu localized by Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy. Additionally, the phenolic compound identifications and concentrations were determined using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Our results showed that root biomass decreased significantly at high Cu levels, with a greater decrease at 21 days (39.8% less biomass in comparison to control). The root showed 328 mg Cu kg−1 dry weight at 21 days of exposure to Cu, being the tissue that accumulates most of the Cu. Lipid peroxidation was a clear indicator of Cu stress, principally in shoots. The exposure to Cu significantly increased the synthesis of phenolic compounds in shoots of plants exposed 21 days to Cu, where 5-caffeoylquinic acid reached the highest concentrations. Our results support that I. cylindrica is a Cu accumulator plant in root organs with a medium level of accumulation (between 200–600 mg Cu kg−1 biomass), which can tolerate the exposure to high Cu levels by means of increasing the synthesis of phenolic compound in shoots, suggesting a potential use as phytoremediation tool in Cu polluted environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Stress in Plants)
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Article
Effect of Cadmium-Tolerant Rhizobacteria on Growth Attributes and Chlorophyll Contents of Bitter Gourd under Cadmium Toxicity
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101386 - 17 Oct 2020
Cited by 29
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is one of the heavy metals that negatively affects the growth of plants. High solubilization in water leads Cd to enter into plants quite easily, thus decreasing seed germination, photosynthesis, and transpiration. It also shows an antagonistic effect with many of [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is one of the heavy metals that negatively affects the growth of plants. High solubilization in water leads Cd to enter into plants quite easily, thus decreasing seed germination, photosynthesis, and transpiration. It also shows an antagonistic effect with many of the plants’ nutrients like Mn, Ca, K, Mg and Fe. Nowadays, inoculation of plants with ACC deaminase (ACCD) rhizobacteria to mitigate Cd’s adverse effects has drawn the attention of environmental microbiologists. The rhizobacteria secrete organic compounds that can immobilize Cd in soil. Therefore, this study was accomplished to investigate the effect of ACCD plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on the bitter gourd under Cd stress. There were six treatments consisting of two ACCD PGPR (Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Agrobacterium fabrum) strains and inorganic fertilizers at two levels of Cd, i.e., 2 (Cd2) and 5 mg kg−1 soil (Cd5). The results showed A. fabrum with the recommended NPK fertilizer (RNPKF) significantly increased the vine length (48 and 55%), fresh weight (24 and 22%), and contents of chlorophyll a (79 and 50%), chlorophyll b (30 and 33%) and total chlorophyll (61 and 36%), over control at the two Cd levels i.e., Cd2 and Cd5, respectively. In conclusion, the recommended NPK fertilizer + A. fabrum combination is a very effective treatment with which to immobilize Cd in soil for the improvement of bitter gourd growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Stress in Plants)
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Article
Variability in the Qualitative and Quantitative Composition and Content of Phenolic Compounds in the Fruit of Introduced American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton)
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101379 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the composition and content of phenolic compounds in ethanol extracts of eight different cultivars of American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) fruit using spectrophotometric and UPLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis and to evaluate the antioxidant activity in vitro [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the composition and content of phenolic compounds in ethanol extracts of eight different cultivars of American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) fruit using spectrophotometric and UPLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis and to evaluate the antioxidant activity in vitro of these extracts. The highest total amount of phenolic compounds evaluated via Folin–Ciocalteu spectrophotometry was detected in American cranberry fruit samples of the ‘Bain’ clone, and the highest total amount of flavonoids was found in samples of the ‘Drever’ and ‘Baiwfay’ cultivars. The highest total amount of the individual phenolic compounds (519.53 ± 25.12 mg/g DW) identified and quantitatively evaluated via chromatography was detected in samples of the ‘Searles’ cranberry cultivar. In the studied cranberry samples, the predominant phenolic compounds were hyperoside, quercetin, and procyanidin A2, while the amounts of other compounds were significantly lower. HCA and PCA revealed that ‘Woolman’, ‘Holliston’, ‘Pilgrim, and ‘Searles’ fruit samples had different quantitative content of phenolic compounds from other cranberry cultivars. Meanwhile, fruit of ‘Baiwfay’, ‘Drever’, ‘Bain’, and ‘Bergman’ were similar in their phytochemical profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resources of Berry and Medicinal Plants)
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Article
Correction of Potassium Fertigation Rate of Apple Tree (Malus domestica Borkh.) in Central Russia during the Growing Season
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1366; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101366 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
The proper use of potassium fertilizer can stimulate a significant yield increase. However, the application of excessively high rates of potassium can reduce the availability of soil calcium for apple trees. The potassium fertigation rate must meet the apple tree’s requirements so that [...] Read more.
The proper use of potassium fertilizer can stimulate a significant yield increase. However, the application of excessively high rates of potassium can reduce the availability of soil calcium for apple trees. The potassium fertigation rate must meet the apple tree’s requirements so that the applied fertilizers can be absorbed by the roots as much as possible. Crop load in apple orchards sometimes varies significantly in different years. The potassium content in apple fruits is relatively high, and the maximum requirement for this nutrient occurs when fruits grow and ripen. Different crop loads at that time mean the various demands of trees and need for changing application rates for this nutrient. The investigation was carried out in the experimental orchard of I.V. Michurin Federal Scientific Centre (Michurinsk, Russia) in 2016 and 2017 (52.885131, 40.465613). We studied seasonal changes of potassium and calcium contents in soil, fruits, and leaves and their relationship with yield during the research. We paid much attention to the potassium rate shift on its content in leaves and fruits and cultivars “Lobo” and “Zhigulevskoye” yield. If the potassium application rate changes according to the actual crop load, it stimulates the yield growth or (if the crop load was relatively low) the reduction of the rate did not lower the productivity. Moreover, we studied the relationship between potassium and calcium nutrition. The decrease in potassium fertigation rate increased the availability of soil calcium. It was the reason for fruit calcium concentration enlargement and mitigation of the K/Ca ratio. We also specified some parameters for soil–leaf diagnosis for potassium nutrition during the growing season. Full article
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Article
Impact of Bulk ZnO, ZnO Nanoparticles and Dissolved Zn on Early Growth Stages of Barley—A Pot Experiment
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101365 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Zinc is among the most in-demand metals in the world which also means that a considerable amount of this element is released to the environment each year as a result of human activities. A pot experiment was conducted to study the impact of [...] Read more.
Zinc is among the most in-demand metals in the world which also means that a considerable amount of this element is released to the environment each year as a result of human activities. A pot experiment was conducted to study the impact of low- and high-dose zinc amendments on plant growth and biomass yield, with Calcic Chernozem as a growing medium and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) as a model plant. The distribution of zinc in various plant parts was also investigated. Zn (II) was added in powder as bulk ZnO and in solution as ZnO nanoparticles and ZnSO4 in two dosages (3 and 30 mmol kg−1 soil) prior to planting. The plants were harvested after 10 days of growth. The three sets of data were taken under identical experimental conditions. The application of zinc in aqueous solution and in particulate form (having particle sizes in the range of <100 nm to >500 nm) at concentration of 3 and 30 mmol Zn kg−1 to the soil resulted in decreased growth (root length, shoot length) and biomass yield; the only exception was the addition of 30 mmol Zn kg−1 in the form of bulk ZnO, which had a positive effect on the root growth. The dry weight reduction (sprout biomass) was lowest in plants grown in soil treated with dissolved zinc. There were no statistically significant changes in the content of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and total chlorophyll, although flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) analysis indicated that plants bioaccumulated the zinc applied. This implies that the transport of zinc into the above-ground plant parts is controlled by the presence of effective mechanical and physiological barriers in roots. Crop performance under zinc stress in relation to biomass production and the growth of roots and shoots is also partly a reflection of the effects of soil properties. Our findings emphasize the importance of considering plant-soil interactions in research of potential toxicity and bioavailability of zinc in the environment. Full article
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Article
Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Electrical and Photosynthetic Activity and the Content of Phytohormones Induced by Local Stimulation of Pea Plants
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101364 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
A local leaf burning causes variation potential (VP) propagation, a decrease in photosynthesis activity, and changes in the content of phytohormones in unstimulated leaves in pea plants. The VP-induced photosynthesis response develops in two phases: fast inactivation and long-term inactivation. Along with a [...] Read more.
A local leaf burning causes variation potential (VP) propagation, a decrease in photosynthesis activity, and changes in the content of phytohormones in unstimulated leaves in pea plants. The VP-induced photosynthesis response develops in two phases: fast inactivation and long-term inactivation. Along with a decrease in photosynthetic activity, there is a transpiration suppression in unstimulated pea leaves, which corresponds to the long-term phase of photosynthesis response. Phytohormone level analysis showed an increase in the concentration of jasmonic acid (JA) preceding a transpiration suppression and a long-term phase of the photosynthesis response. Analysis of the spatial and temporal dynamics of electrical signals, phytohormone levels, photosynthesis, and transpiration activity showed the most pronounced changes in the more distant leaf from the area of local stimulation. The established features are related to the architecture of the vascular bundles in the pea stem. Full article
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Article
Metabolic Responses to Waterlogging Differ between Roots and Shoots and Reflect Phloem Transport Alteration in Medicago truncatula
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1373; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101373 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Root oxygen deficiency that is induced by flooding (waterlogging) is a common situation in many agricultural areas, causing considerable loss in yield and productivity. Physiological and metabolic acclimation to hypoxia has mostly been studied on roots or whole seedlings under full submergence. The [...] Read more.
Root oxygen deficiency that is induced by flooding (waterlogging) is a common situation in many agricultural areas, causing considerable loss in yield and productivity. Physiological and metabolic acclimation to hypoxia has mostly been studied on roots or whole seedlings under full submergence. The metabolic difference between shoots and roots during waterlogging, and how roots and shoots communicate in such a situation is much less known. In particular, the metabolic acclimation in shoots and how this, in turn, impacts on roots metabolism is not well documented. Here, we monitored changes in the metabolome of roots and shoots of barrel clover (Medicago truncatula), growth, and gas-exchange, and analyzed phloem sap exudate composition. Roots exhibited a typical response to hypoxia, such as γ-aminobutyrate and alanine accumulation, as well as a strong decline in raffinose, sucrose, hexoses, and pentoses. Leaves exhibited a strong increase in starch, sugars, sugar derivatives, and phenolics (tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, benzoate, ferulate), suggesting an inhibition of sugar export and their alternative utilization by aromatic compounds production via pentose phosphates and phosphoenolpyruvate. Accordingly, there was an enrichment in sugars and a decline in organic acids in phloem sap exudates under waterlogging. Mass-balance calculations further suggest an increased imbalance between loading by shoots and unloading by roots under waterlogging. Taken as a whole, our results are consistent with the inhibition of sugar import by waterlogged roots, leading to an increase in phloem sugar pool, which, in turn, exert negative feedback on sugar metabolism and utilization in shoots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Responses to Hypoxia)
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Article
Phytotoxicity, Morphological, and Metabolic Effects of the Sesquiterpenoid Nerolidol on Arabidopsis thaliana Seedling Roots
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101347 - 12 Oct 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Natural herbicides that are based on allelopathy of compounds, can offer effective alternatives to chemical herbicides towards sustainable agricultural practices. Nerolidol, a sesquiterpenoid alcohol synthesized by many plant families, was shown to be the most effective allelopathic compound in a preliminary screening performed [...] Read more.
Natural herbicides that are based on allelopathy of compounds, can offer effective alternatives to chemical herbicides towards sustainable agricultural practices. Nerolidol, a sesquiterpenoid alcohol synthesized by many plant families, was shown to be the most effective allelopathic compound in a preliminary screening performed with several other sesquiterpenoids. In the present study, Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings were treated for 14 d with various cis-nerolidol concentrations (0, 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 µM) to investigate its effects on root growth and morphology. To probe the underlying changes in root metabolome, we conducted untargeted gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based metabolomics to find out the specificity or multi-target action of this sesquiterpenoid alcohol. Oxidative stress (measured as levels of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA) by-product) and antioxidant enzyme activities, i.e., superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were also evaluated in the roots. Nerolidol showed an IC50 (120 µM), which can be considered low for natural products. Nerolidol caused alterations in root morphology, brought changes in auxin balance, induced changes in sugar, amino acid, and carboxylic acid profiles, and increased the levels of H2O2 and MDA in root tissues in a dose-dependent manner. Several metabolomic-scale changes induced by nerolidol support the multi-target action of nerolidol, which is a positive feature for a botanical herbicide. Though it warrants further mechanistic investigation, nerolidol is a promising compound for developing a new natural herbicide. Full article
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Communication
OsmiR535, a Potential Genetic Editing Target for Drought and Salinity Stress Tolerance in Oryza sativa
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1337; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101337 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
OsmiR535 belongs to the miR156/miR529/miR535 superfamily, a highly conserved miRNA family in plants. OsmiR535 is involved in regulating the cold-stress response, modulating plant development, and determining panicle architecture and grain length. However, the role that OsmiR535 plays in plant responses to drought and [...] Read more.
OsmiR535 belongs to the miR156/miR529/miR535 superfamily, a highly conserved miRNA family in plants. OsmiR535 is involved in regulating the cold-stress response, modulating plant development, and determining panicle architecture and grain length. However, the role that OsmiR535 plays in plant responses to drought and salinity are elusive. In the current study, molecular and genetic engineering techniques were used to elucidate the possible role of OsmiR535 in response to NaCl, PEG(Poly ethylene glycol), ABA(Abscisic acid), and dehydration stresses. Our results showed that OsmiR535 is induced under stressed conditions as compared to control. With transgenic and CRISPR/Cas9 knockout system techniques, our results verified that either inhibition or knockout of OsmiR535 in rice could enhance the tolerance of plants to NaCl, ABA, dehydration and PEG stresses. In addition, the overexpression of OsmiR535 significantly reduced the survival rate of rice seedlings during PEG and dehydration post-stress recovery. Our results demonstrated that OsmiR535 negatively regulates the stress response in rice. Moreover, our practical application of CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing created a homozygous 5 bp deletion in the coding sequence of OsmiR535, demonstrating that OsmiR535 could be a useful genetic editing target for drought and salinity tolerance and a new marker for molecular breeding of Oryza sativa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop and Medical Plants)
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Article
Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb. and Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. Flowers: New Sources of Bioactive Compounds
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101329 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 44
Abstract
Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (AH) and Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb. (AL) are two endemic plants that grow on the Asian continent. To date, their applications have been aimed at using their fruit as a food source or for some of their [...] Read more.
Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (AH) and Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb. (AL) are two endemic plants that grow on the Asian continent. To date, their applications have been aimed at using their fruit as a food source or for some of their therapeutic virtues. In this study, attention was given to the flowers of AH and AL. Initially, the cytotoxicity of the phytoextracts was assessed, and the content of minerals, phenols, and flavonoids was determined. Furthermore, some antioxidant components were identified by HPLC. Furthermore, the ability of AH and AL extracts to modulate the gene expression of some targets involved in the antioxidant response was studied. The results obtained highlighted the nutritional and antioxidant value of the AH and AL flower extracts. This study will contribute to enhancing the use of AH and AL flowers as potential supplements in human nutrition. Full article
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Article
Plant Disease Classification: A Comparative Evaluation of Convolutional Neural Networks and Deep Learning Optimizers
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1319; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101319 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 41
Abstract
Recently, plant disease classification has been done by various state-of-the-art deep learning (DL) architectures on the publicly available/author generated datasets. This research proposed the deep learning-based comparative evaluation for the classification of plant disease in two steps. Firstly, the best convolutional neural network [...] Read more.
Recently, plant disease classification has been done by various state-of-the-art deep learning (DL) architectures on the publicly available/author generated datasets. This research proposed the deep learning-based comparative evaluation for the classification of plant disease in two steps. Firstly, the best convolutional neural network (CNN) was obtained by conducting a comparative analysis among well-known CNN architectures along with modified and cascaded/hybrid versions of some of the DL models proposed in the recent researches. Secondly, the performance of the best-obtained model was attempted to improve by training through various deep learning optimizers. The comparison between various CNNs was based on performance metrics such as validation accuracy/loss, F1-score, and the required number of epochs. All the selected DL architectures were trained in the PlantVillage dataset which contains 26 different diseases belonging to 14 respective plant species. Keras with TensorFlow backend was used to train deep learning architectures. It is concluded that the Xception architecture trained with the Adam optimizer attained the highest validation accuracy and F1-score of 99.81% and 0.9978 respectively which is comparatively better than the previous approaches and it proves the novelty of the work. Therefore, the method proposed in this research can be applied to other agricultural applications for transparent detection and classification purposes. Full article
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Transcriptome Analyses and Antioxidant Activity Profiling Reveal the Role of a Lignin-Derived Biostimulant Seed Treatment in Enhancing Heat Stress Tolerance in Soybean
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1308; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101308 - 02 Oct 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Soybean (Glycine max Merr.) is a worldwide important legume crop, whose growth and yield are negatively affected by heat stress at germination time. Here, we tested the role of a biostimulant based on lignin derivatives, plant-derived amino acids, and molybdenum in enhancing [...] Read more.
Soybean (Glycine max Merr.) is a worldwide important legume crop, whose growth and yield are negatively affected by heat stress at germination time. Here, we tested the role of a biostimulant based on lignin derivatives, plant-derived amino acids, and molybdenum in enhancing soybean heat stress tolerance when applied on seeds. After treatment with the biostimulant at 35 °C, the seed biometric parameters were positively influenced after 24 h, meanwhile, germination percentage was increased after 72 h (+10%). RNA-Seq analyses revealed a modulation of 879 genes (51 upregulated and 828 downregulated) in biostimulant-treated seeds as compared with the control, at 24 h after incubation at 35 °C. Surprisingly, more than 33% of upregulated genes encoded for ribosomal RNA (rRNA) methyltransferases and proteins involved in the ribosome assembly, acting in a specific protein network. Conversely, the downregulated genes were involved in stress response, hormone signaling, and primary metabolism. Finally, from a biochemical point of view, the dramatic H2O2 reduction 40%) correlated to a strong increase in non-protein thiols (+150%), suggested a lower oxidative stress level in biostimulant-treated seeds, at 24 h after incubation at 35 °C. Our results provide insights on the biostimulant mechanism of action and on its application for seed treatments to improve heat stress tolerance during germination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biostimulants in Plants Science)
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Article
Germplasm Acquisition and Distribution by CGIAR Genebanks
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1296; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101296 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
The international collections of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) hosted by 11 CGIAR Centers are important components of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s global system of conservation and use of PGRFA. They also play an important supportive role [...] Read more.
The international collections of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) hosted by 11 CGIAR Centers are important components of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s global system of conservation and use of PGRFA. They also play an important supportive role in realizing Target 2.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper analyzes CGIAR genebanks’ trends in acquiring and distributing PGRFA over the last 35 years, with a particular focus on the last decade. The paper highlights a number of factors influencing the Centers’ acquisition of new PGRFA to include in the international collections, including increased capacity to analyze gaps in those collections and precisely target new collecting missions, availability of financial resources, and the state of international and national access and benefit-sharing laws and phytosanitary regulations. Factors contributing to Centers’ distributions of PGRFA included the extent of accession-level information, users’ capacity to identify the materials they want, and policies. The genebanks’ rates of both acquisition and distribution increased over the last decade. The paper ends on a cautionary note concerning the potential of unresolved tensions regarding access and benefit sharing and digital genomic sequence information to undermine international cooperation to conserve and use PGRFA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biodiversity and Genetic Resources)
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Article
Potential Effects of Essential Oils Extracted from Mediterranean Aromatic Plants on Target Weeds and Soil Microorganisms
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1289; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101289 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs), extracted from aromatic plants, have been proposed as candidates to develop natural herbicides. This study aimed to evaluate the herbicidal potential of Thymbra capitata (L.) Cav., Mentha × piperita L. and Santolina chamaecyparissus L. essential oils (EOs) on Avena fatua [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs), extracted from aromatic plants, have been proposed as candidates to develop natural herbicides. This study aimed to evaluate the herbicidal potential of Thymbra capitata (L.) Cav., Mentha × piperita L. and Santolina chamaecyparissus L. essential oils (EOs) on Avena fatua L., Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv, Portulaca oleracea L. and Amaranthus retroflexus L. and their effects on soil microorganisms. A pot experiment was set up and three EOs at three doses were applied by irrigation. Efficacy and effects of EOs on weed growth were determined. Soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, microbial respiration, and the main microbial groups were determined at days 7, 28 and 56. EOs demonstrated herbicidal activity, increasing their toxicity with the dose. T. capitata was the most effective against all weeds at the maximum dose. P. oleracea was the most resistant weed. Soil microorganisms, after a transient upheaval period induced by the addition of EOs, recovered their initial function and biomass. T. capitata EO at the highest dose did not allow soil microorganisms to recover their initial functionality. EOs exhibited great potential as natural herbicides but the optimum dose of application must be identified to control weeds and not negatively affect soil microorganisms. Full article
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Challenges for Ex Situ Conservation of Wild Bananas: Seeds Collected in Papua New Guinea Have Variable Levels of Desiccation Tolerance
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091243 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Ex situ seed conservation of banana crop wild relatives (Musa spp. L.), is constrained by critical knowledge gaps in their storage and germination behaviour. Additionally, challenges in collecting seeds from wild populations impact the quality of seed collections. It is, therefore, crucial [...] Read more.
Ex situ seed conservation of banana crop wild relatives (Musa spp. L.), is constrained by critical knowledge gaps in their storage and germination behaviour. Additionally, challenges in collecting seeds from wild populations impact the quality of seed collections. It is, therefore, crucial to evaluate the viability of seeds from such collecting missions in order to improve the value of future seed collections. We evaluate the seed viability of 37 accessions of seven Musa species, collected from wild populations in Papua New Guinea, during two collecting missions. Seeds from one mission had already been stored in conventional storage (dried for four months at 15% relative humidity, 20 °C and stored for two months at 15% relative humdity, −20 °C), so a post-storage test was carried out. Seeds from the second mission were assessed freshly extracted and following desiccation. We used embryo rescue techniques to overcome the barrier of germinating in vivo Musa seeds. Seeds from the first mission had low viability (19 ± 27% mean and standard deviation) after storage for two months at 15% relative humidity and −20 °C. Musa balbisiana Colla seeds had significantly higher post-storage germination than other species (p < 0.01). Desiccation reduced germination of the seeds from the second collecting mission, from 84 ± 22% (at 16.7 ± 2.4% moisture content) to 36 ± 30% (at 2.4 ± 0.8% moisture content). There was considerable variation between and (to a lesser extent) within accessions, a proportion of individual seeds of all but one species (Musa ingens N.W.Simmonds) survived desiccation and sub-zero temperature storage. We identified that seeds from the basal end of the infructescence were less likely to be viable after storage (p < 0.001); and made morphological observations that identify seeds and infructescences with higher viability in relation to their developmental maturity. We highlight the need for research into seed eco-physiology of crop wild relatives in order to improve future collecting missions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biodiversity and Genetic Resources)
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Article
Role of Organic Anions and Phosphatase Enzymes in Phosphorus Acquisition in the Rhizospheres of Legumes and Grasses Grown in a Low Phosphorus Pasture Soil
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091185 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Rhizosphere processes play a critical role in phosphorus (P) acquisition by plants and microbes, especially under P-limited conditions. Here, we investigated the impacts of nutrient addition and plant species on plant growth, rhizosphere processes, and soil P dynamics. In a glasshouse experiment, blue [...] Read more.
Rhizosphere processes play a critical role in phosphorus (P) acquisition by plants and microbes, especially under P-limited conditions. Here, we investigated the impacts of nutrient addition and plant species on plant growth, rhizosphere processes, and soil P dynamics. In a glasshouse experiment, blue lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), white clover (Trifolium repens L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were grown in a low-P pasture soil for 8 weeks with and without the single and combined addition of P (33 mg kg−1) and nitrogen (200 mg kg−1). Phosphorus addition increased plant biomass and total P content across plant species, as well as microbial biomass P in white clover and ryegrass. Alkaline phosphatase activity was higher for blue lupin. Legumes showed higher concentrations of organic anions compared to grasses. After P addition, the concentrations of organic anions increased by 11-,10-, 5-, and 2-fold in the rhizospheres of blue lupin, white clover, wheat, and ryegrass, respectively. Despite the differences in their chemical availability (as assessed by P fractionation), moderately labile inorganic P and stable organic P were the most depleted fractions by the four plant species. Inorganic P fractions were depleted similarly between the four plant species, while blue lupin exhibited a strong depletion of stable organic P. Our findings suggest that organic anions were not related to the acquisition of inorganic P for legumes and grasses. At the same time, alkaline phosphatase activity was associated with the mobilization of stable organic P for blue lupin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility and Nutrient Cycling II)
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Article
Three New Alien Taxa for Europe and a Chorological Update on the Alien Vascular Flora of Calabria (Southern Italy)
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091181 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
Knowledge on alien species is needed nowadays to protect natural habitats and prevent ecological damage. The presence of new alien plant species in Italy is increasing every day. Calabria, its southernmost region, is not yet well known with regard to this aspect. Thanks [...] Read more.
Knowledge on alien species is needed nowadays to protect natural habitats and prevent ecological damage. The presence of new alien plant species in Italy is increasing every day. Calabria, its southernmost region, is not yet well known with regard to this aspect. Thanks to fieldwork, sampling, and observing many exotic plants in Calabria, here, we report new data on 34 alien taxa. In particular, we found three new taxa for Europe (Cascabela thevetia, Ipomoea setosa subsp. pavonii, and Tecoma stans), three new for Italy (Brugmansia aurea, NarcissusCotinga’, and NarcissusErlicheer’), one new one for the Italian Peninsula (Luffa aegyptiaca), and 21 new taxa for Calabria (Allium cepa, Asparagus setaceus, Bassia scoparia, Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, Bidens formosa, Casuarina equisetifolia, Cedrus atlantica, Chlorophytum comosum, Cucurbita maxima subsp. maxima, Dolichandra unguis-cati, Fagopyrum esculentum, Freesia alba, Juglans regia, Kalanchoë delagoënsis, Passiflora caerulea, Portulaca grandiflora, Prunus armeniaca, Prunus dulcis, Solanum tuberosum, Tradescantia sillamontana, and Washingtonia filifera). Furthermore, we provide the first geolocalized record of Araujia sericifera, the confirmation of Oxalis stricta, and propose a change of status for four taxa (Cenchrus setaceus, Salpichroa origanifolia, Sesbania punicea, and Nothoscordum gracile) for Calabria. The updated knowledge on the presence of new alien species in Calabria, in Italy and in Europe could allow for the prevention of other new entries and to eliminate this potential ecological threat to natural habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Threatened Vegetation and Environmental Management)
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Article
Enhanced Agronomic Efficiency Using a New Controlled-Released, Polymeric-Coated Nitrogen Fertilizer in Rice
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091183 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Fertilizer-use efficiency is one of the most critical concerns in rice cultivation to reduce N losses, increase yields, and improve crop management. The effects of a new polymeric-coated controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) were compared to those of other slow-release and traditional fertilizers in a [...] Read more.
Fertilizer-use efficiency is one of the most critical concerns in rice cultivation to reduce N losses, increase yields, and improve crop management. The effects of a new polymeric-coated controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) were compared to those of other slow-release and traditional fertilizers in a microscale experiment, which was carried out in cuvettes under partly controlled ambient conditions, and a large-scale field experiment. To evaluate the fertilizer’s efficiency, nitrogen and water-use efficiency were calculated using the measurement of different photosynthetic and crop yield parameters. Improved responses regarding some of the analyzed physiological and growth parameters were observed for those plants fertilized with the new CRF. In the microscale experiment, significantly increased yields (ca. 35%) were produced in the plants treated with CRF as compared to traditional fertilizer. These results were in accordance with ca. 24% significant increased levels of N in leaves of CRF-treated plants, besides increased P, Fe, Mn, and cytokinin contents. At the field scale, similar yields were obtained with the slow-release or traditional fertilizers and CRF at a 20% reduced N dose. The new controlled-release fertilizer is a urea-based fertilizer coated with lignosulfonates, which is cheaply produced from the waste of pulp and wood industries, containing humic acids as biostimulants. In conclusion, CRF is recommended to facilitate rice crop management and to reduce contamination, as it can be formulated with lower N doses and because it is ecological manufacturing. Full article
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Article
Plant Soft Rot Development and Regulation from the Viewpoint of Transcriptomic Profiling
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1176; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091176 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Soft rot caused by Pectobacterium species is a devastating plant disease poorly characterized in terms of host plant responses. In this study, changes in the transcriptome of tobacco plants after infection with Pectobacterium atrosepticum (Pba) were analyzed using RNA-Seq. To draw [...] Read more.
Soft rot caused by Pectobacterium species is a devastating plant disease poorly characterized in terms of host plant responses. In this study, changes in the transcriptome of tobacco plants after infection with Pectobacterium atrosepticum (Pba) were analyzed using RNA-Seq. To draw a comprehensive and nontrivially itemized picture of physiological events in Pba-infected plants and to reveal novel potential molecular “players” in plant–Pba interactions, an original functional gene classification was performed. The classifications present in various databases were merged, enriched by “missed” genes, and divided into subcategories. Particular changes in plant cell wall-related processes, perturbations in hormonal and other regulatory systems, and alterations in primary, secondary, and redox metabolism were elucidated in terms of gene expression. Special attention was paid to the prediction of transcription factors (TFs) involved in the disease’s development. Herewith, gene expression was analyzed within the predicted TF regulons assembled at the whole-genome level based on the presence of particular cis-regulatory elements (CREs) in gene promoters. Several TFs, whose regulons were enriched by differentially expressed genes, were considered to be potential master regulators of Pba-induced plant responses. Differential regulation of genes belonging to a particular multigene family and encoding cognate proteins was explained by the presence/absence of the particular CRE in gene promoters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Omics in Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Variations of Essential Oil Constituents in Oregano (Origanum vulgare subsp. viridulum (= O. heracleoticum) over Cultivation Cycles
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091174 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Oregano is—probably—the most appreciated and widespread aromatic plant in Sicily. With the aim of evaluating the modifications of oregano’s essential oil composition over time, between 2013 and 2015 six weekly samplings of three different oregano plantations were carried out, from the beginning of [...] Read more.
Oregano is—probably—the most appreciated and widespread aromatic plant in Sicily. With the aim of evaluating the modifications of oregano’s essential oil composition over time, between 2013 and 2015 six weekly samplings of three different oregano plantations were carried out, from the beginning of flowering (early May) until the traditional harvest moment (end of June). Samples were hydrodistilled and the obtained essential oils (EOs) were evaluated by means of a combination of GC–FID and GC–MS. The Origanum plants under study were demonstrated to belong to the high-yielding, thymol-type biotypes, with thymol, γ-terpinene and p-cymene as three main components, among the total of about 50 of the evaluated EOs. In each location, EO yields were found to increase throughout survey dates. Significant variations were found in many EO components, both across years and throughout harvest dates within locations. The choice of the harvest moment was confirmed to be crucial in assessing quality aspects of oregano. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatiles: A Goldmine Not Fully Explored)
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Article
Longer Photoperiods with the Same Daily Light Integral Increase Daily Electron Transport through Photosystem II in Lettuce
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091172 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Controlled environment crop production recommendations often use the daily light integral (DLI) to quantify the light requirements of specific crops. Sole-source electric lighting, used in plant factories, and supplemental electric lighting, used in greenhouses, may be required to attain a specific DLI. Electric [...] Read more.
Controlled environment crop production recommendations often use the daily light integral (DLI) to quantify the light requirements of specific crops. Sole-source electric lighting, used in plant factories, and supplemental electric lighting, used in greenhouses, may be required to attain a specific DLI. Electric lighting is wasteful if not provided in a way that promotes efficient photochemistry. The quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII), the fraction of absorbed light used for photochemistry, decreases with increasing photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD). Thus, we hypothesized that the daily photochemical integral (DPI), the total electron transport through photosystem II (PSII) integrated over 24 h, would increase if the same DLI was provided at a lower PPFD over a longer photoperiod. To test this, ΦPSII and the electron transport rate (ETR) of lettuce (Lactuca sativa ‘Green Towers’) were measured in a growth chamber at DLIs of 15 and 20 mol m−2 d−1 over photoperiods ranging from 7 to 22 h. This resulted in PPFDs of 189 to 794 μmol m−2 s−1. The ΦPSII decreased from 0.67 to 0.28 and ETR increased from 55 to 99 μmol m−2 s−1 as PPFD increased from 189 to 794 μmol m−2 s−1. The DPI increased linearly as the photoperiod increased, but the magnitude of this response depended on DLI. With a 7-h photoperiod, the DPI was ≈2.7 mol m−2 d−1, regardless of DLI. However, with a 22-h photoperiod, the DPI was 4.54 mol m−2 d−1 with a DLI of 15 mol m−2 d−1 and 5.78 mol m−2 d−1 with a DLI of 20 mol m−2 d−1. Our hypothesis that DPI can be increased by providing the same DLI over longer photoperiods was confirmed. Full article
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Article
Gene Expression Profiles and Flavonoid Accumulation during Salt Stress in Ginkgo biloba Seedlings
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091162 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
Ginkgo biloba is an economically valuable tree, as a variety of flavonoid compounds are produced by the leaves of its seedlings. Although soil salinity is a serious threat to agricultural productivity worldwide, the effect of salt stress on G. biloba seedlings remains unclear. [...] Read more.
Ginkgo biloba is an economically valuable tree, as a variety of flavonoid compounds are produced by the leaves of its seedlings. Although soil salinity is a serious threat to agricultural productivity worldwide, the effect of salt stress on G. biloba seedlings remains unclear. In this study, we found that under high NaCl concentrations (200 and 300 mmol/L), seedling growth was inhibited and the water content, chlorophyll, and peroxidase (POD) enzyme activity were significantly decreased in the leaves, whereas the soluble protein and proline levels increased significantly. However, at low NaCl concentrations (50 and 100 mmol/L), the seedlings grew normally because of the regulation of catalase (CAT) and POD enzyme activities. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind G. biloba salt tolerance, we examined the transcriptome of G. biloba seedlings treated with 100 mmol/L NaCl. Twelve differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found to be involved in ion osmotic potential signal transduction and amplification, including two ABA signaling genes, five CDPK/CIPK genes, and five mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling genes. We also found that NAC transcription factors may be involved in the salt stress response; these included positive regulators (Gb_12203, Gb_27819, Gb_37720, and Gb_41540) and negative regulators (Gb_32549, Gb_35048, and Gb_37444). Importantly, treatment with 100 mmol/L NaCl can significantly improve flavonoid and flavonol glycoside biosynthesis. Simultaneously, the expression of flavonoid biosynthesis-related genes, including PAL (Gb_10949, Gb_21115) and FLS (Gb_00285, Gb_14024, and Gb_14029), was significantly upregulated. Based on these results, we reveal that G. biloba seedlings can tolerate low-level soil salinity stress through the regulation of different kinds of genes and transcriptome factors, especially flavonoid biosynthesis, which is improved to respond to environmental stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Abiotic Stresses on Plant Development)
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Article
Leaf Soluble Sugars and Free Amino Acids as Important Components of Abscisic Acid—Mediated Drought Response in Tomato
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091147 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Water deficit has a global impact on plant growth and crop yield. Climate changes are going to increase the intensity, duration and frequency of severe droughts, particularly in southern and south-eastern Europe, elevating the water scarcity issues. We aimed to assess the contribution [...] Read more.
Water deficit has a global impact on plant growth and crop yield. Climate changes are going to increase the intensity, duration and frequency of severe droughts, particularly in southern and south-eastern Europe, elevating the water scarcity issues. We aimed to assess the contribution of endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) in the protective mechanisms against water deficit, including stomatal conductance, relative water potential and the accumulation of osmoprotectants, as well as on growth parameters. To achieve that, we used a suitable model system, ABA-deficient tomato mutant, flacca and its parental line. Flacca mutant exhibited constitutively higher levels of soluble sugars (e.g., galactose, arabinose, sorbitol) and free amino acids (AAs) compared with the wild type (WT). Water deficit provoked the strong accumulation of proline in both genotypes, and total soluble sugars only in flacca. Upon re-watering, these osmolytes returned to the initial levels in both genotypes. Our results indicate that flacca compensated higher stomatal conductance with a higher constitutive level of free sugars and AAs. Additionally, we suggest that the accumulation of AAs, particularly proline and its precursors and specific branched-chain AAs in both, glucose and sucrose in flacca, and sorbitol in WT, could contribute to maintaining growth rate during water deficit and recovery in both tomato genotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
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Article
Genetic Diversity of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, the Fusarium Wilt Pathogen of Banana, in Ecuador
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091133 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The continued dispersal of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (FocTR4), a quarantine soil-borne pathogen that kills banana, has placed this worldwide industry on alert and triggered enormous pressure on National Plant Protection (NPOs) agencies to limit new incursions. [...] Read more.
The continued dispersal of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 (FocTR4), a quarantine soil-borne pathogen that kills banana, has placed this worldwide industry on alert and triggered enormous pressure on National Plant Protection (NPOs) agencies to limit new incursions. Accordingly, biosecurity plays an important role while long-term control strategies are developed. Aiming to strengthen the contingency response plan of Ecuador against FocTR4, a population biology study—including phylogenetics, mating type, vegetative compatibility group (VCG), and pathogenicity testing—was performed on isolates affecting local bananas, presumably associated with race 1 of F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). Our results revealed that Foc populations in Ecuador comprise a single clonal lineage, associated with VCG0120. The lack of diversity observed in Foc populations is consistent with a single introduction event from which secondary outbreaks originated. The predominance of VCG0120, together with previous reports of its presence in Latin America countries, suggests this group as the main cause of the devastating Fusarium wilt epidemics that occurred in the 1950s associated to the demise of ‘Gros Michel’ bananas in the region. The isolates sampled from Ecuador caused disease in cultivars that are susceptible to races 1 and 2 under greenhouse experiments, although Fusarium wilt symptoms in the field were only found in ‘Gros Michel’. Isolates belonging to the same VCG0120 have historically caused disease on Cavendish cultivars in the subtropics. Overall, this study shows how Foc can be easily dispersed to other areas if restriction of contaminated materials is not well enforced. We highlight the need of major efforts on awareness and monitoring campaigns to analyze suspected cases and to contain potential first introduction events of FocTR4 in Ecuador. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Plant Protection)
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Phytochemical, Cytotoxicity, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Psilocybe Natalensis Magic Mushroom
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1127; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091127 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, have been used since ancient and recent times for depression and to improve quality of life. However, their anti-inflammatory properties are not known. The study aims at investing cytotoxicity; antioxidant; and, for the first time, anti-inflammatory [...] Read more.
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, have been used since ancient and recent times for depression and to improve quality of life. However, their anti-inflammatory properties are not known. The study aims at investing cytotoxicity; antioxidant; and, for the first time, anti-inflammatory effects of Psilocybe natalensis, a psilocybin-containing mushroom that grows in South Africa, on lipopolysaccharide-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages. Macrophage cells were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and treated with different concentrations of Psilocybe natalensis mushroom extracted with boiling hot water, cold water and ethanol over 24 h. Quercetin and N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester were used as positive controls. Effects of extracts on the lipopolysaccharide-induced nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2, and cytokine activities were investigated. Phytochemical analysis, and the antioxidant and cytotoxicity of extracts, were determined. Results showed that the three extracts inhibited the lipopolysaccharide-induced nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2, and interleukin 1β cytokine production significantly in a dose-dependent manner close to that of the positive controls. A study proposed that ethanol and water extracts of Psilocybe natalensis mushroom were safe at concentrations used, and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Phytochemical analysis confirmed the presence of natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in the mushroom extracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural and Functional Analysis of Extracts in Plants)
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