The Scientific World Journal: Botany The latest articles from Hindawi © 2017 , Hindawi Limited . All rights reserved. Allelopathic Activity of Extracts from Different Brazilian Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Cultivars on Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and Weed Plants Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is the fourth most consumed oleaginous plant in the world, producing seeds with high contents of lipids, proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Biological activities of different extracts of this species have already been evaluated by many researchers, including antioxidant, antitumoral, and antibacterial. In this work, the allelopathic activity of extracts from different Brazilian peanut cultivars against lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and two weed plants (Commelina benghalensis and Ipomoea nil) was studied. Aerial parts, roots, seeds, and seed coats were used for the preparation of crude extracts. Seed extract partitioning was performed with n-hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, n-butanol, and aqueous residue. Germination and growth of hypocotyls and rootlets were evaluated after one and five days of incubation with plant extracts, respectively. Crude seed extract and its dichloromethanic partition displayed highest allelopathic activity. These results contribute for the study of new potential natural herbicides. G. S. Casimiro, E. Mansur, G. Pacheco, R. Garcia, I. C. R. Leal, and N. K. Simas Copyright © 2017 G. S. Casimiro et al. All rights reserved. Kinetics Extraction Modelling and Antiproliferative Activity of Clinacanthus nutans Water Extract Mon, 26 Dec 2016 13:44:27 +0000 Clinacanthus nutans is widely grown in tropical Asia and locally known “belalai gajah” or Sabah snake grass. It has been used as a natural product to treat skin rashes, snake bites, lesion caused by herpes, diabetes, fever, and cancer. Therefore, the objectives of this research are to determine the maximum yield and time of exhaustive flavonoids extraction using Peleg’s model and to evaluate potential of antiproliferative activity on human lung cancer cell (A549). The extraction process was carried out on fresh and dried leaves at 28 to 30°C with liquid-to-solid ratio of 10 mL/g for 72 hrs. The extracts were collected intermittently analysed using mathematical Peleg’s model and RP-HPLC. The highest amount of flavonoids was used to evaluate the inhibitory concentration (IC50) via 2D cell culture of A549. Based on the results obtained, the predicted maximum extract density was observed at 29.20 ± 14.54 hrs of extraction (). However, the exhaustive time of extraction to acquire maximum flavonoids content exhibited approximately 10 hrs earlier. Therefore, 18 hrs of extraction time was chosen to acquire high content of flavonoids. The best antiproliferative effect (IC50) on A549 cell line was observed at 138.82 ± 0.60 µg/mL. In conclusion, the flavonoids content in Clinacanthus nutans water extract possesses potential antiproliferative properties against A549, suggesting an alternative approach for cancer treatment. Farah Nadiah Mohd Fazil, Nur Syarafina Mohd Azzimi, Badrul Hisham Yahaya, Nurulain Atikah Kamalaldin, and Saiful Irwan Zubairi Copyright © 2016 Farah Nadiah Mohd Fazil et al. All rights reserved. De Novo Transcriptome Sequencing of Olea europaea L. to Identify Genes Involved in the Development of the Pollen Tube Sun, 21 Feb 2016 12:08:33 +0000 In olive (Olea europaea L.), the processes controlling self-incompatibility are still unclear and the molecular basis underlying this process are still not fully characterized. In order to determine compatibility relationships, using next-generation sequencing techniques and a de novo transcriptome assembly strategy, we show that pollen tubes from different olive plants, grown in vitro in a medium containing its own pistil and in combination pollen/pistil from self-sterile and self-fertile cultivars, have a distinct gene expression profile and many of the differentially expressed sequences between the samples fall within gene families involved in the development of the pollen tube, such as lipase, carboxylesterase, pectinesterase, pectin methylesterase, and callose synthase. Moreover, different genes involved in signal transduction, transcription, and growth are overrepresented. The analysis also allowed us to identify members in actin and actin depolymerization factor and fibrin gene family and member of the Ca2+ binding gene family related to the development and polarization of pollen apical tip. The whole transcriptomic analysis, through the identification of the differentially expressed transcripts set and an extended functional annotation analysis, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of pollen germination and pollen tube growth in the olive. Domenico Iaria, Adriana Chiappetta, and Innocenzo Muzzalupo Copyright © 2016 Domenico Iaria et al. All rights reserved. Tocopherols in Sunflower Seedlings under Light and Dark Conditions Wed, 12 Aug 2015 06:55:27 +0000 The objective of this study was to evaluate the dynamics of tocopherols in cotyledons and radicles from sunflower seeds with high and low total tocopherol content, mainly in the -tocopherol form, and from seeds with increased proportions of -, -, and -tocopherol, both under dark and light conditions. Tocopherol content was measured every 24 h from 1 to 12 days after sowing. In all cases, the content of individual tocopherol forms in the cotyledons and radicles was reduced along the sampling period, which was more pronounced under light conditions. The presence of light had a slightly greater effect on - and -tocopherol than on - and -tocopherol. A marked light effect was also observed on total tocopherol content, with light promoting the reduction of tocopherol content in cotyledons and radicles. The study revealed only slight differences in the patterns of tocopherol losses in lines with different tocopherol profiles, both under dark and light conditions, which suggested that the partial replacement of -tocopherol by other tocopherol forms had no great impact on the protection against oxidative damage in seedlings. Lidia del Moral, Begoña Pérez-Vich, and Leonardo Velasco Copyright © 2015 Lidia del Moral et al. All rights reserved. Floral Nectary Anatomy and Ultrastructure in Mycoheterotrophic Plant, Epipogium aphyllum Sw. (Orchidaceae) Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:19:46 +0000 Epipogium aphyllum is a European-Asian obligatory mycoheterotrophic orchid containing no chlorophyll. Flowers are not resupinate with a sack-shape spur and cordate lip, which is divided into two parts: the basal (hypochile) and distal one (epichile). The floral analysis provides strong evidence to conclude that nectar is secreted on the upper surface of pink-coloured papillate ridges and epidermal (adaxial) cells at different place in spur, especially at the apex. The exudation on papillae has been observed through the entire anthesis and it has been stained on polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids. The dense cytoplasm of papillae contains profuse endoplasmic reticulum, plentiful vesicles (bigger ones with tannin-like materials), numerous mitochondria, sometimes dictyosomes, starch grains, and plastids with tubular structures. The large electron-dense bodies in cell walls are structurally the same as tannin-like materials from vesicles that are in contact with plasmalemma. The rupture of thin layer of swelled cuticle is caused by pressure of gathered substances exuded due to granulocrine secretion. The idioblasts with raphides occur mainly in tepals tissue. The dynamic changes of the nectar exudation, released through endocrine secretion, have been noticeable during the anthesis: both on the lip and inside the spur. The nectar secretion is not dependent on the colour form of E. aphyllum blooming shoots. The floral biology and ultrastructure differ from mycoheterotrophic plants known up to date. Emilia Święczkowska and Agnieszka K. Kowalkowska Copyright © 2015 Emilia Święczkowska and Agnieszka K. Kowalkowska. All rights reserved. WRKY Proteins: Signaling and Regulation of Expression during Abiotic Stress Responses Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:50:50 +0000 WRKY proteins are emerging players in plant signaling and have been thoroughly reported to play important roles in plants under biotic stress like pathogen attack. However, recent advances in this field do reveal the enormous significance of these proteins in eliciting responses induced by abiotic stresses. WRKY proteins act as major transcription factors, either as positive or negative regulators. Specific WRKY factors which help in the expression of a cluster of stress-responsive genes are being targeted and genetically modified to induce improved abiotic stress tolerance in plants. The knowledge regarding the signaling cascade leading to the activation of the WRKY proteins, their interaction with other proteins of the signaling pathway, and the downstream genes activated by them are altogether vital for justified targeting of the WRKY genes. WRKY proteins have also been considered to generate tolerance against multiple abiotic stresses with possible roles in mediating a cross talk between abiotic and biotic stress responses. In this review, we have reckoned the diverse signaling pattern and biological functions of WRKY proteins throughout the plant kingdom along with the growing prospects in this field of research. Aditya Banerjee and Aryadeep Roychoudhury Copyright © 2015 Aditya Banerjee and Aryadeep Roychoudhury. All rights reserved. Effects of Nuclear Genomes on Anther Development in Cytoplasmic Male Sterile Chicories (Cichorium intybus L.): Morphological Analysis Sun, 15 Mar 2015 06:52:51 +0000 The Cichorium intybus flower development in fertile, cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS 524) and various phenotypes carrying the 524 male sterile cytoplasm was investigated macroscopically and by light microscopy. The development was similar in fertile and in male sterile florets up to meiosis, and then it was affected in anther wall structure and pollen grain development in male sterile floret. In the male sterile plants, the tapetum intrusion after meiosis was less remarkable, the microspores started to abort at vacuolate stage, the connective tissue collapsed, and endothecium failed to expand normally and did not undergo cell wall lignification, which prevented anther opening since the septum and stomium were not disrupted. Crosses undertaken in order to introduce the CMS 524 into two different nuclear backgrounds gave rise to morphologically diversified progenies due to different nuclear-mitochondrial interactions. Macroscopic and cytological investigations showed that pollen-donor plants belonging to Jupiter population had potential capacity to restore fertility while the CC line could be considered as a sterility maintainer. Ildephonse Habarugira, Theo Hendriks, Marie-Christine Quillet, Jean-Louis Hilbert, and Caroline Rambaud Copyright © 2015 Ildephonse Habarugira et al. All rights reserved. Pollinator Behaviour on a Food-Deceptive Orchid Calypso bulbosa and Coflowering Species Thu, 12 Mar 2015 06:36:32 +0000 Food deception as a pollination strategy has inspired many studies over the last few decades. Pollinator deception has evolved in many orchids possibly to enhance outcrossing. Food-deceptive orchids usually have low pollinator visitation rates as compared to rewarding species. They may benefit in visitations from the presence (magnet-species hypothesis) or, alternatively, absence of coflowering rewarding species (competition hypothesis). We present data on pollinator visitations on a deceptive, terrestrial orchid Calypso bulbosa, a species with a single flower per plant and whose flowering period partly overlaps with rewarding, early flowering willows (Salix sp.) and later-flowering bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). When surveying inactive bumblebee queens on willows in cool weather, about 7% of them carried Calypso pollinia. Most common bumblebee species appeared to visit and thus pollinate Calypso. Bumblebees typically visited one to three Calypso flowers before flying away, providing some support for the outcrossing hypothesis. We conclude that, regarding the pollinations strategy, both magnet-species and competition hypotheses have a role in the pollination of Calypso, but on different spatial scales. On a large scale rewarding species are important for attracting pollinators to a given region, but on a small scale absence of competition ensures sufficient pollination rate for the deceptive orchid. Juha Tuomi, Juho Lämsä, Lauri Wannas, Thomas Abeli, and Anne Jäkäläniemi Copyright © 2015 Juha Tuomi et al. All rights reserved. Physiochemical Studies of Sodium Chloride on Mungbean (Vigna radiata L. Wilczek) and Its Possible Recovery with Spermine and Gibberellic Acid Tue, 03 Feb 2015 07:19:27 +0000 The physiological and biochemical responses to increasing NaCl concentrations, along with low concentrations of gibberellic acid or spermine, either alone or in their combination, were studied in mungbean seedlings. In the test seedlings, the root-shoot elongation, biomass production, and the chlorophyll content were significantly decreased with increasing NaCl concentrations. Salt toxicity severely affected activities of different antioxidant enzymes and oxidative stress markers. Activities of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) increased significantly over water control. Similarly, oxidative stress markers such as proline, malondialdehyde (MDA), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) contents also increased as a result of progressive increase in salt stress. Combined application of NaCl along with low concentrations of either gibberellic acid (5 µM) or spermine (50 µM) in the test seedlings showed significant alterations, that is, drastic increase in seedling elongation, increased biomass production, increased chlorophyll content, and significant lowering in all the antioxidant enzyme activities as well as oxidative stress marker contents in comparison to salt treated test seedlings, leading to better growth and metabolism. Our study shows that low concentrations of either gibberellic acid or spermine will be able to overcome the toxic effects of NaCl stress in mungbean seedlings. Srijita Ghosh, Sanglap Mitra, and Atreyee Paul Copyright © 2015 Srijita Ghosh et al. All rights reserved. Sublethal Heavy Metal Stress Stimulates Innate Immunity in Tomato Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:36:26 +0000 Effect of sublethal heavy metal stress as plant biotic elicitor for triggering innate immunity in tomato plant was investigated. Copper in in vivo condition induced accumulation of defense enzymes like peroxidase (PO), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), and β-1,3 glucanase along with higher accumulation of total phenol, antioxidative enzymes (catalase and ascorbate peroxidase), and total chlorophyll content. Furthermore, the treatment also induced nitric oxide (NO) production which was confirmed by realtime visualization of NO burst using a fluorescent probe 4,5-diaminofluorescein diacetate (DAF-2DA) and spectrophotometric analysis. The result suggested that the sublethal dose of heavy metal can induce an array of plant defense responses that lead to the improvement of innate immunity in plants. Nilanjan Chakraborty, Swarnendu Chandra, and Krishnendu Acharya Copyright © 2015 Nilanjan Chakraborty et al. All rights reserved. DNA Damage and Repair in Plants under Ultraviolet and Ionizing Radiations Mon, 02 Feb 2015 09:32:29 +0000 Being sessile, plants are continuously exposed to DNA-damaging agents present in the environment such as ultraviolet (UV) and ionizing radiations (IR). Sunlight acts as an energy source for photosynthetic plants; hence, avoidance of UV radiations (namely, UV-A, 315–400 nm; UV-B, 280–315 nm; and UV-C, <280 nm) is unpreventable. DNA in particular strongly absorbs UV-B; therefore, it is the most important target for UV-B induced damage. On the other hand, IR causes water radiolysis, which generates highly reactive hydroxyl radicals (OH•) and causes radiogenic damage to important cellular components. However, to maintain genomic integrity under UV/IR exposure, plants make use of several DNA repair mechanisms. In the light of recent breakthrough, the current minireview (a) introduces UV/IR and overviews UV/IR-mediated DNA damage products and (b) critically discusses the biochemistry and genetics of major pathways responsible for the repair of UV/IR-accrued DNA damage. The outcome of the discussion may be helpful in devising future research in the current context. Sarvajeet S. Gill, Naser A. Anjum, Ritu Gill, Manoranjan Jha, and Narendra Tuteja Copyright © 2015 Sarvajeet S. Gill et al. All rights reserved. Heavy Metal Stress and Some Mechanisms of Plant Defense Response Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:54:31 +0000 Unprecedented bioaccumulation and biomagnification of heavy metals (HMs) in the environment have become a dilemma for all living organisms including plants. HMs at toxic levels have the capability to interact with several vital cellular biomolecules such as nuclear proteins and DNA, leading to excessive augmentation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This would inflict serious morphological, metabolic, and physiological anomalies in plants ranging from chlorosis of shoot to lipid peroxidation and protein degradation. In response, plants are equipped with a repertoire of mechanisms to counteract heavy metal (HM) toxicity. The key elements of these are chelating metals by forming phytochelatins (PCs) or metallothioneins (MTs) metal complex at the intra- and intercellular level, which is followed by the removal of HM ions from sensitive sites or vacuolar sequestration of ligand-metal complex. Nonenzymatically synthesized compounds such as proline (Pro) are able to strengthen metal-detoxification capacity of intracellular antioxidant enzymes. Another important additive component of plant defense system is symbiotic association with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. AM can effectively immobilize HMs and reduce their uptake by host plants via binding metal ions to hyphal cell wall and excreting several extracellular biomolecules. Additionally, AM fungi can enhance activities of antioxidant defense machinery of plants. Abolghassem Emamverdian, Yulong Ding, Farzad Mokhberdoran, and Yinfeng Xie Copyright © 2015 Abolghassem Emamverdian et al. All rights reserved. The Moss Flora of Akdağ Mountain (Amasya, Turkey) Tue, 23 Dec 2014 00:10:19 +0000 The moss flora of Akdağ Mountain (Amasya, Turkey) was investigated. At the result of identifications of 1500 moss specimens, collected from the research area, 178 taxa belonging to 69 genera and 26 families were determined. Among them, 94 taxa are new for A3 grid square according to the Turkey grid system which was adopted by Henderson. The location data of Grimmia crinitoleucophaea Cardot and Barbula enderesii Garov. are the first records for Turkey, and Encalypta spathulata Müll. Hal., Schistidium dupretii (Thér.) W. A. Weber, Weissia condensa var. armata (Thér. & Trab.) M. J. Cano, Ros & J. Guerra, Tortella bambergeri (Schimp.), Barbula enderesii Garov., Hedwigia ciliata var. leucophaea Bruch & Schimp., and Campyliadelphus elodes (Lindb.) Kanda are recorded for the second time to the byroflora of Turkey. Kerem Canli and Barbaros Çetin Copyright © 2014 Kerem Canli and Barbaros Çetin. All rights reserved. Effects of Polysaccharide Elicitors on Secondary Metabolite Production and Antioxidant Response in Hypericum perforatum L. Shoot Cultures Thu, 11 Dec 2014 07:46:59 +0000 The effects of polysaccharide elicitors such as chitin, pectin, and dextran on the production of phenylpropanoids (phenolics and flavonoids) and naphtodianthrones (hypericin and pseudohypericin) in Hypericum perforatum shoot cultures were studied. Nonenzymatic antioxidant properties (NEAOP) and peroxidase (POD) activity were also observed in shoot extracts. The activities of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and chalcone-flavanone isomerase (CHFI) were monitored to estimate channeling in phenylpropanoid/flavonoid pathways of elicited shoot cultures. A significant suppression of the production of total phenolics and flavonoids was observed in elicited shoots from day 14 to day 21 of postelicitation. This inhibition of phenylpropanoid production was probably due to the decrease in CHFI activity in elicited shoots. Pectin and dextran promoted accumulation of naphtodianthrones, particularly pseudohypericin, within 21 days of postelicitation. The enhanced accumulation of naphtodianthrones was positively correlated with an increase of PAL activity in elicited shoots. All tested elicitors induced NEAOP at day 7, while chitin and pectin showed increase in POD activity within the entire period of postelicitation. The POD activity was in significantly positive correlation with flavonoid and hypericin contents, suggesting a strong perturbation of the cell redox system and activation of defense responses in polysaccharide-elicited H. perforatum shoot cultures. Sonja Gadzovska Simic, Oliver Tusevski, Stéphane Maury, Alain Delaunay, Claude Joseph, and Daniel Hagège Copyright © 2014 Sonja Gadzovska Simic et al. All rights reserved. A Method for the Simultaneous Determination of Chlorogenic Acid and Sesquiterpene Lactone Content in Industrial Chicory Root Foodstuffs Thu, 04 Dec 2014 11:39:49 +0000 A method for the simultaneous determination of free chlorogenic acids (CGA) and sesquiterpene lactones (STL) in chicory root and its dried (flour) and roasted (grain) forms is described. The method uses one extraction and one analysis for all chicory root products. Various solvents with low to high polarity, such as methanol, chloroform, or n-hexane, were tested alone, in combination in different proportions or with acidified or neutral aqueous solvent. The water/chloroform/methanol (30/30/40, v/v/v) mixture generated the best extraction yield, 21% higher than alcohol mixtures. The profiling of CGA and STL content was performed through a conventional HPLC-DAD method using a PFP core shell column in a fast single run. Good retention time and area repeatability (RDD mean % 0.46 and 5.6, resp.) and linearity () were obtained. The STL and chlorogenic acids levels determined were 254.7 and 100.2 g/g of dry matter in the root, 792.5 and 1,547 g/g in flour, and 160.4 and 822.5 g/g in the roasted grains, respectively. With an average recovery of 106% and precision of 90%, this method is rapid, reproducible, and straightforward way to quantify the chlorogenic acids and STL in chicory raw material and end products. Honorine Willeman, Philippe Hance, Anne Fertin, Najia Voedts, Nathalie Duhal, Jean-François Goossens, and Jean-Louis Hilbert Copyright © 2014 Honorine Willeman et al. All rights reserved. Cytomictic Anomalous Male Meiosis and 2n Pollen Grain Formation in Mertensia echioides Benth. (Boraginaceae) from Kashmir Himalaya Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:09:05 +0000 Presently Mertensia echioides Benth. (Boraginaceae) collected from Kashmir Himalaya, India, is cytologically analyzed for the first time revealing (diploid). Interestingly we found 4.3–6.2% syncytic meiocytes/PMCs with (tetraploid) in addition to normal meiocytes () during male meiosis. These comparatively larger PMCs (pollen mother cells) lead to the formation of fertile giant pollen grains. A frequency of 6.4–13.3% PMCs shows transfer of chromatin material at prophase-I and, therefore, results in aneuploid meiocytes. Whole chromatin transfer by the process of cytomixis could also have led to the formation of tetraploid cells. Translocation heterozygosity is also evident in the form of multivalents in 12–17% diploid () meiocytes at diakinesis and metaphase-I and is reported for the first time in this species. The syncytes formed depict open chain hexavalent and quadrivalent formation in the three populations with different frequencies. Moreover chromatin stickiness at metaphase-I is observed in 45% of PMCs in population-1 (P-1). Syncyte or unreduced PMC formation leading to unreduced fertile gametes is here speculated to act as a possible way out for infraspecific polyploidization in the species. Reyaz Ahmad Malik, Raghbir Chand Gupta, Santosh Kumari, and Akhtar Hussain Malik Copyright © 2014 Reyaz Ahmad Malik et al. All rights reserved. Seed Dispersal and Germination Traits of 70 Plant Species Inhabiting the Gurbantunggut Desert in Northwest China Mon, 17 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Seed dispersal and germination were examined for 70 species from the cold Gurbantunggut Desert in northwest China. Mean and range (3 orders of magnitude) of seed mass were smaller and narrower than those in other floras (5–8 orders of magnitude), which implies that selection favors relatively smaller seeds in this desert. We identified five dispersal syndromes (anemochory, zoochory, autochory, barochory, and ombrohydrochory), and anemochorous species were most abundant. Seed mass (, ), seed size (, ), and seed shape (, ) differed significantly among the five dispersal syndromes and barochorous species were significantly smaller and rounder than the others. There were no significant correlations between seed mass (seed weight) (), seed size (), or seed shape (variance) () and germination percentage. However, germination percentages differed significantly among the dispersal syndromes (, ) and seeds of ombrohydrochorous species had higher germination percentages than those of the other species. In the Gurbantunggut Desert, the percentage of species with seed dormancy was about 80%. In general, our studies suggest that adaptive strategies in seed dispersal and germination of plants in this area are closely related to the environment in which they live and that they are influenced by natural selection forces. Huiliang Liu, Daoyuan Zhang, Xuejun Yang, Zhenying Huang, Shimin Duan, and Xiyong Wang Copyright © 2014 Huiliang Liu et al. All rights reserved. Meiotic Studies in Some Species of Tribe Cichorieae (Asteraceae) from Western Himalayas Thu, 13 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The present paper deals with meiotic studies in 15 species belonging to 6 genera of the tribe Cichorieae from various localities of Western Himalayas. The chromosome number has been reported for the first time in Hieracium crocatum () and Lactuca lessertiana (). Further, intraspecific variability has been reported for the first time in H. umbellatum ( and ), Tragopogon dubius ( and ), and T. gracilis (). The chromosome report of in Youngia tenuifolia is made for the first time in India. Maximum numbers of the populations show laggards, chromosome stickiness, and cytomixis from early prophase to telophase-II, leading to the formation of aneuploid cells or meiocytes with double chromosome number. Such meiotic abnormalities produce unreduced pollen grains and the reduced pollen viability. Raghbir Chand Gupta, Henna Goyal, Vijay Singh, and Rajesh Kumar Goel Copyright © 2014 Raghbir Chand Gupta et al. All rights reserved. From Flower to Honey Bouquet: Possible Markers for the Botanical Origin of Robinia Honey Wed, 12 Nov 2014 06:55:48 +0000 Flowers are complex structures devoted to pollinator attraction, through visual as well as chemical signals. As bees collect nectar on flowers to produce honey, some aspects of floral chemistry are transferred to honey, making chemical markers an important technique to identify the botanical and geographical origins of honey. We applied a new approach that considers the simultaneous analysis of different floral parts (petals, stamens + pistils, calyxes + nectarines, and nectar) and the corresponding unifloral honey. We collected fresh flowers of Robinia pseudoacacia L. (black locust), selected five samples of Robinia honey from different geographical origins, applied SPME-GC/MS for volatile analyses, and defined the chemical contribution added by different floral parts to the honey final bouquet. Our results show that honey blends products from nectar as well as other flower parts. Comparing honey and flower profiles, we detected compounds coming directly from flower parts but not present in the nectar, such as hotrienol and β-pinene. These may turn out to be of special interest when selecting floral markers for the botanical origin of honey. Giovanna Aronne, Manuela Giovanetti, Raffaele Sacchi, and Veronica De Micco Copyright © 2014 Giovanna Aronne et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Diversity and Genetic Structure of Different Types of Natural Populations in Osmanthus fragrans Lour. and the Relationships with Sex Ratio, Population Structure, and Geographic Isolation Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:02:12 +0000 Osmanthus fragrans Lour., an evergreen small tree, has the rare sexual system of androdioecy (coexistence of males and hermaphrodites), once with wide-spread natural distribution in the areas of the South Yangzi river basin. However, due to excessive human utilization, natural distribution became fragmented and the number and size of natural populations reduced sharply. With four different types of natural populations from the same region as research object, we aim to provide a comparative analysis on the relationships among genetic diversity, sexual system, population structure and size, and geographic isolation by ISSR. In genetic parameters of , , and , the LQGC population had the highest value and the LQZGQ population had the lowest value. These indicated that LQGC population showed the highest genetic diversity, followed by QDH and JN population, and LQZGQ population exhibited the lowest genetic diversity. Genetic diversity in populations is closely related to population structure, reproduction mode, and sex ratio. However, there seems to be no obvious correlation between genetic diversity and population size. The results of AMOVA showed that genetic variations mostly occurred within populations. It indicates that no significant genetic differentiation among populations occurs, and geographic isolation has no significant effect on genetic diversity. Shaoqing Hu, Shuai Wu, Yiguang Wang, Hongbo Zhao, and Yuanyan Zhang Copyright © 2014 Shaoqing Hu et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Variability and Selection Criteria in Rice Mutant Lines as Revealed by Quantitative Traits Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Genetic based knowledge of different vegetative and yield traits play a major role in varietal improvement of rice. Genetic variation gives room for recombinants which are essential for the development of a new variety in any crop. Based on this background, this work was carried out to evaluate genetic diversity of derived mutant lines and establish relationships between their yield and yield components using multivariate analysis. To achieve this objective, two field trials were carried out on 45 mutant rice genotypes to evaluate their growth and yield traits. Data were taken on vegetative traits and yield and its components, while genotypic and phenotypic coefficients, variance components, expected genetic advance, and heritability were calculated. All the genotypes showed variations for vegetative traits and yield and its components. Also, there was positive relationship between the quantitative traits and the final yield with the exception of number of tillers. Finally, the evaluated genotypes were grouped into five major clusters based on the assessed traits with the aid of UPGMA dendrogram. So hybridization of group I with group V or group VI could be used to attain higher heterosis or vigour among the genotypes. Also, this evaluation could be useful in developing reliable selection indices for important agronomic traits in rice. Yusuff Oladosu, M. Y. Rafii, Norhani Abdullah, Mohammad Abdul Malek, H. A. Rahim, Ghazali Hussin, Mohammad Abdul Latif, and Isiaka Kareem Copyright © 2014 Yusuff Oladosu et al. All rights reserved. Suaveolic Acid: A Potent Phytotoxic Substance of Hyptis suaveolens Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:06:28 +0000 Hyptis suaveolens (Lamiaceae) is an exotic invasive plant in many countries. Earlier studies reported that the aqueous, methanol, and aqueous methanol extract of H. suaveolens and its residues have phytotoxic properties. However, to date, the phytotoxic substances of this plant have not been reported. Therefore, the objectives of this study were isolation and identification of phytotoxic substances of H. suaveolens. Aqueous methanol extract of this plant was purified by several chromatographic runs through bioassay guided fractionation using garden cress (Lepidium sativum) as a test plant. Final purification of a phytotoxic substance was achieved by reverse phase HPLC and characterized as 14α-hydroxy-13β-abiet-8-en-18-oic acid (suaveolic acid) by high-resolution ESI-MS, 1H-,13C-NMR, CD, and specific rotation. Suaveolic acid inhibited the shoot growth of garden cress, lettuce (Lactuca sativa), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), and barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) at concentrations greater than 30 µM. Root growth of all but lettuce was also inhibited at concentrations greater than 30 µM. The inhibitory activities were concentration dependent. Concentrations required for 50% growth inhibition of suaveolic acid for those test plant species were ranged from 76 to 1155 µM. Therefore, suaveolic acid is phytotoxic and may be responsible for the phytotoxicity of H. suaveolens plant extracts. A. K. M. Mominul Islam, Osamu Ohno, Kiyotake Suenaga, and Hisashi Kato-Noguchi Copyright © 2014 A. K. M. Mominul Islam et al. All rights reserved. Seasonality of Water Chemistry, Carbonate Production, and Biometric Features of Two Species of Chara in a Shallow Clear Water Lake Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:33:18 +0000 The objective of this study was to analyze the temporal variability of biometric features and the carbonate production of two charophytes: Chara polyacantha A. Braun and Chara rudis A. Braun against the background of the physical-chemical properties of water. The investigation was carried out in a small, mid-forest Lake Jasne (western Poland). It is a polymictic, mesotrophic, hardwater ecosystem dominated by charophyte vegetation. Each month, 10 individuals of each species were characterized in terms of morphometric features, fresh and dry weight, and the percentage of calcium carbonate. Additionally, physical-chemical parameters of the water were studied. The results of physical-chemical analyses indicated similar habitat conditions for both species. Despite smaller dry weight C. polyacantha was characterized by greater morphological variability and higher rates of growth and percentage share of calcium carbonate in dry mass than C. rudis. The percentage of calcium carbonates in dry mass did not differ significantly between the species and exceeded 60%, reaching the maximum (76% in C. polyacantha) in July and August. For both species, distinct correlations between the structure of biomass and morphological features were found. The obtained results show the great importance of charophyte vegetation in carbon cycling and functioning of lake ecosystems. Andrzej Pukacz, Mariusz Pełechaty, Marcin Frankowski, Artur Kowalski, and Kinga Zwijacz-Koszałka Copyright © 2014 Andrzej Pukacz et al. All rights reserved. The Epiphytic Fern Elaphoglossum luridum (Fée) Christ. (Dryopteridaceae) from Central and South America: Morphological and Physiological Responses to Water Stress Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:11:57 +0000 Elaphoglossum luridum (Fée) Christ. (Dryopteridaceae) is an epiphytic fern of the Atlantic Forest (Brazil). Anatomical and physiological studies were conducted to understand how this plant responds to water stress. The E. luridum frond is coriaceus and succulent, presenting trichomes, relatively thick cuticle, and sinuous cell walls in both abaxial and adaxial epidermis. Three treatments were analyzed: control, water deficit, and abscisic acid (ABA). Physiological studies were conducted through analysis of relative water content (RWC), photosynthetic pigments, chlorophyll a fluorescence, and malate content. No changes in RWC were observed among treatments; however, significant decreases in chlorophyll a content and photosynthetic parameters, including optimal irradiance () and maximum electron transport rate (ET), were determined by rapid light curves (RLC). No evidence of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway was observed in E. luridum in response to either water deficit or exogenous application of ABA. On the other hand, malate content decreased in the E. luridum frond after ABA treatment, seeming to downregulate malate metabolism at night, possibly through tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle regulation. Bruno Degaspari Minardi, Ana Paula Lorenzen Voytena, Marisa Santos, and Áurea Maria Randi Copyright © 2014 Bruno Degaspari Minardi et al. All rights reserved. Floristic Diversity and Distribution Pattern of Plant Communities along Altitudinal Gradient in Sangla Valley, Northwest Himalaya Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:15:00 +0000 Himalayas are globally important biodiversity hotspots and are facing rapid loss in floristic diversity and changing pattern of vegetation due to various biotic and abiotic factors. This has necessitated the qualitative and quantitative assessment of vegetation here. The present study was conducted in Sangla Valley of northwest Himalaya aiming to assess the structure of vegetation and its trend in the valley along the altitudinal gradient. In the forest and alpine zones of the valley, 15 communities were recorded. Study revealed 320 species belonging to 199 genera and 75 families. Asteraceae, Rosaceae, Apiaceae, and Ranunculaceae were dominant. Among genera, Artemisia followed by Polygonum, Saussurea, Berberis, and Thalictrum were dominant. Tree and shrub’s density ranged from 205 to 600 and from 105 to 1030 individual per hectare, respectively, whereas herbs ranged from 22.08 to 78.95 individual/m2. Nearly 182 species were native to the Himalaya. Maximum altitudinal distribution of few selected climate sensitive species was found to be highest in northeast and north aspects. This study gives an insight into the floristic diversity and community structure of the fragile Sangla Valley which was hitherto not available. Pankaj Sharma, J. C. Rana, Usha Devi, S. S. Randhawa, and Rajesh Kumar Copyright © 2014 Pankaj Sharma et al. All rights reserved. Phytochemical and Biological Activities of Four Wild Medicinal Plants Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:08:53 +0000 The fruits of four wild plants, namely, Capparis decidua, Ficus carica, Syzygium cumini, and Ziziphus jujuba, are separately used as traditional dietary and remedial agents in remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The results of our study on these four plants revealed that the examined fruits were a valuable source of nutraceuticals and exhibited good level of antimicrobial activity. The fruits of these four investigated plants are promising source of polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, and saponins. These four plants' fruits are good sources of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and chromium. It was also observed that these fruits are potential source of antioxidant agent and the possible reason could be that these samples had good amount of phytochemicals. Hence, the proper propagation, conservation, and chemical investigation are recommended so that these fruits should be incorporated for the eradication of food and health related problems. Anwar Ali Shad, Shabir Ahmad, Riaz Ullah, Naser M. AbdEl-Salam, H. Fouad, Najeeb Ur Rehman, Hidayat Hussain, and Wajid Saeed Copyright © 2014 Anwar Ali Shad et al. All rights reserved. Morphological Characterization and Assessment of Genetic Variability, Character Association, and Divergence in Soybean Mutants Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:30:31 +0000 Genetic diversity is important for crop improvement. An experiment was conducted during 2011 to study genetic variability, character association, and genetic diversity among 27 soybean mutants and four mother genotypes. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences among the mutants and mothers for nine morphological traits. Eighteen mutants performed superiorly to their mothers in respect to seed yield and some morphological traits including yield attributes. Narrow differences between phenotypic and genotypic coefficients of variation (PCV and GCV) for most of the characters revealed less environmental influence on their expression. High values of heritability and genetic advance with high GCV for branch number, plant height, pod number, and seed weight can be considered as favorable attributes for soybean improvement through phenotypic selection and high expected genetic gain can be achieved. Pod and seed number and maturity period appeared to be the first order traits for higher yield and priority should be given in selection due to their strong associations and high magnitudes of direct effects on yield. Cluster analysis grouped 31 genotypes into five groups at the coefficient value of 235. The mutants/genotypes from cluster I and cluster II could be used for hybridization program with the mutants of clusters IV and V in order to develop high yielding mutant-derived soybean varieties for further improvement. M. A. Malek, Mohd Y. Rafii, Most. Shahida Sharmin Afroz, Ujjal Kumar Nath, and M. Monjurul Alam Mondal Copyright © 2014 M. A. Malek et al. All rights reserved. Insecticidal Activity and Chemical Composition of the Morinda lucida Essential Oil against Pulse Beetle Callosobruchus maculatus Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:38:32 +0000 Insecticidal activity of essential oil extracted from Morinda lucida was tested on pulse beetle Callosobruchus maculatus, which is a pest that causes serious damage to several pulses. The insecticidal activity was compared with two pesticides, Phostoxin and Primo-ban-20. 120 mixed sex adult C. maculatus were introduced, along with 30 g of cowpeas. Four concentrations (0.40, 0.20, 0.10, and 0.05 μg/mL) of the M. lucida essential oil, Phostoxin, and Primo-ban-20 were tested. Essential oil chemical composition was analyzed by GC-MS. M. lucida essential oil showed a high toxicological effect, producing 100% mortality after 72 hours at a dose of 0.20 μg/mL. M. lucida essential oil had a potent insecticidal activity (LC90 = 0.629 μg/mL) compared to both pesticides, Phostoxin (LC90 = 0.652 μg/mL) and Primo-ban-20 (LC90 = 0.726 μg/mL), at 24 h. The main compounds of the essential oil were the oxygenated monoterpenoids, 1,8-cineole (43.4%), and α-terpinyl acetate (14.5%), and the monoterpene hydrocarbons, mostly sabinene (8.2%) and β-pinene (4.0%). Results clearly indicate that M. lucida essential oil can be used as an effective alternative for pulse beetle C. maculatus control, and it could be tested against other pulse beetles affecting Asia and Africa and throughout the world, thereby reducing use of synthetic pesticides. Moses S. Owolabi, Eduardo Padilla-Camberos, Akintayo L. Ogundajo, Isiaka A. Ogunwande, Guido Flamini, Olaniyi K. Yusuff, Kirk Allen, Karen Isabel Flores-Fernandez, and Jose Miguel Flores-Fernandez Copyright © 2014 Moses S. Owolabi et al. All rights reserved. Paternity Analysis of the Olive Variety “Istrska Belica” and Identification of Pollen Donors by Microsatellite Markers Sun, 06 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The leading olive variety in Slovenia is “Istrska belica” (Olea europaea L.), which currently represents 70% of all olive trees in productive orchards. Paternity analysis based on microsatellite markers was used for genotyping and identification of the potential pollen donors of “Istrska belica” and for assessing the proportion of self-fertilization in monovarietal olive orchards in the Slovene Istria. Seven microsatellite loci were used for genotyping thirty-one olive embryos from “Istrska belica” trees and for all potential pollen donor varieties, which are grown in the region and could participate as pollinators. Genotyping results and allele identification were performed using the FaMoz software. The most probable pollen donor was assigned to 39% of all analyzed embryos. Among all analyzed embryos no single case of self-fertilization was confirmed. According to the present results, the variety “Istrska belica” was in all cases fertilized by foreign pollen. The results will contribute to defining the new guidelines for farmers regarding the proper management and growing practice in monovarietal olive groves. Alenka Baruca Arbeiter, Jernej Jakše, and Dunja Bandelj Copyright © 2014 Alenka Baruca Arbeiter et al. All rights reserved. Histochemical Investigation and Kinds of Alkaloids in Leaves of Different Developmental Stages in Thymus quinquecostatus Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:52:57 +0000 Thymus quinquecostatus, with more medical value, is a kind of wild plants. In order to exploit and utilize this plant, we studied the species and locations of alkaloids in its leaves. In this paper, histochemical study of leaves at different developing stages was taken to localize the alkaloids. Meanwhile, the kinds and content of alkaloids in leaves were identified using GC-MS technique. It was found that there were two kinds of glandular trichomes, namely, peltate trichomes and capitate trichomes, on the surface of leaves, and their secretory cells could secrete alkaloids. Results showed that trichomes could secrete alkaloids as soon as the first pair of leaves formed, and there were altogether 18 kinds of alkaloids identified by GC-MS. Nearly all of these alkaloids of leaves at different developing stages were distinct from each other, except one, 3-methoxy-a-methyl-benzeneethanamine, persists at different developing stages with high concentration. Haiting Jing, Jing Liu, Hanzhu Liu, and Hua Xin Copyright © 2014 Haiting Jing et al. All rights reserved. The Responses of the Quantitative Characteristics of a Ramet Population of the Ephemeroid Rhizomatous Sedge Carex physodes to the Moisture Content of the Soil in Various Locations on Sand Dunes Thu, 19 Jun 2014 07:33:25 +0000 In this study, the soil moisture content was measured, and the quantitative characteristics of this sedge species were compared. The phenotypic plasticity of each parameter and the linear regression relationships were analyzed. The results showed that the soil moisture content was significantly affected by location, soil depth, and sampling date. The aboveground biomass, underground biomass, biomass density, and population density at the peak were significantly higher than elsewhere on the dune. However, the morphological plasticity index of the quantitative characteristics was higher at the base and middle of the dune. When the soil moisture content decreased, the underground biomass and ramet biomass density increased. The aboveground and underground biomasses were strongly negatively correlated, but the ramet height and aboveground biomass were strongly positively correlated. These results indicated that the soil water content significantly affected the clonal growth of C. physodes. The responsiveness of C. physodes may be adaptive when the soil resource supply is low. The strong morphological plasticity of the species appears to be ecologically important for the maintenance and dominance of this species in the dune habitat. Buhailiqiemu Abudureheman, Huiliang Liu, Daoyuan Zhang, Kaiyun Guan, and Yongkuan Zhang Copyright © 2014 Buhailiqiemu Abudureheman et al. All rights reserved. Phytotoxic Activity of Ocimum tenuiflorum Extracts on Germination and Seedling Growth of Different Plant Species Tue, 17 Jun 2014 08:58:03 +0000 Phytotoxic activity of Ocimum tenuiflorum (Lamiaceae) plant extracts was investigated against the germination and seedling growth of cress (Lepidium sativum), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli), and timothy (Phleum pratense) at four different concentrations. The plant extracts at concentrations greater than 30 mg dry weight equivalent extract mL−1 reduced significantly the total germination percent (GP), germination index (GI), germination energy (GE), speed of emergence (SE), seedling vigour index (SVI), and coefficient of the rate of germination (CRG) of all test species except barnyard grass and GP of lettuce. In contrast, time required for 50% germination (T50) and mean germination time (MGT) were increased at the same or higher than this concentration. The increasing trend of T50 and MGT and the decreasing trend of other indices indicated a significant inhibition or delay of germination of the test species by O. tenuiflorum plant extracts and vice versa. In addition, the shoot and root growth of all test species were significantly inhibited by the extracts at concentrations greater than 10 mg dry weight equivalent extract mL−1. The I50 values for shoot and root growth were ranged from 26 to 104 mg dry weight equivalent extract mL−1. Seedling growth was more sensitive to the extracts compared to seed germination. Results of this study suggest that O. tenuiflorum plant extracts have phytotoxic properties and thus contain phytotoxic substances. Isolation and characterization of those substances from this plant may act as a tool for new natural, biodegradable herbicide development to control weeds. A. K. M. Mominul Islam and Hisashi Kato-Noguchi Copyright © 2014 A. K. M. Mominul Islam and Hisashi Kato-Noguchi. All rights reserved. Richness and Cover of Nontimber Economic Plants along Altitude in Temperate Himalayan Forest-Use Types Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Pakistani Himalaya stretches over a wide range of altitudinal gradients and supports high diversity of medicinal plants that are an important source for rural livelihood. Altitudinal effects on ground vegetation have already been indicated but ground vegetation is also under severe threat of grazing and over collection. The present study investigated the effect of altitude on medicinal plants abundance in both old-growth and derived woodland forests. Each of the five line transects was selected in old-growth and derived woodland forests. Each line transect consisted of four plots distributed at four altitudinal levels (2200, 2300, 2400, and 2500 m asl). Species richness under derived woodland had shown strong negative correlation (r=-0.95) with altitude while it was found to be nonsignificant under old-growth. Cover of most of the species such as Veronica laxa (r=-0.95, P≤0.05) had shown significant negative correlation with altitude under derived woodland. Cover abundance of some species like Valeriana jatamansi and Viola canescens has also shown significant negative correlation under old-growth forest. Derived woodland can decrease the cover abundance of valuable medicinal plants towards extension at higher altitudes. Thus, protection of the derived woodland could serve as a tool for the improvement of rural livelihood and ecological restoration. Akash Tariq, Muhammad Adnan, Naser M. AbdElsalam, Hassan Fouad, Kamran Hussain, Riaz Ullah, and Ahsan Ullah Copyright © 2014 Akash Tariq et al. All rights reserved. Foliar Treatments of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid for Control of Common Scab in Potato Have Beneficial Effects on Powdery Scab Control Thu, 29 May 2014 11:58:02 +0000 Prior studies have shown that applications of the synthetic auxin 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) to the foliage of potato plants can reduce common scab. Here field and glasshouse trials suggest that 2,4-D foliar treatments may also reduce the biologically distinct tuber disease, powdery scab. Significant correlations between suppression of common and powdery scab from the field trials suggested an interaction between the two diseases or possible additional broad spectrum mechanisms of enhanced defence against pathogen invasion provided by 2,4-D treatment. Hannah Katherine Thompson, Robert Stephen Tegg, Ross Corkrey, and Calum Rae Wilson Copyright © 2014 Hannah Katherine Thompson et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of Various Media and Hormones via Suspension Culture on Secondary Metabolic Activities of (Cape Jasmine) Gardenia jasminoides Ellis Wed, 21 May 2014 11:12:17 +0000 The leaf of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis was used as explants and was cultured on MS and WPM media supplemented with various concentrations of NAA, IAA, 2,4-D, IBA, TDZ, and Kn (0 to 5 mg L−1 with 0.5 increment). After six months, the higher percentage of callus (100%) and the best dry and fresh weight of callus were formed on WPM medium supplemented with 2,4-D and NAA (2.0-3.0 mg L−1) and this amount was decreased from (84%) to (69%) when this media supplemented with Kinetin and TDZ (1 mg L−1) respectively were used. Leaf segments cultured on WPM media added with Kn (1 mg L−1) and TDZ (2 mg L−1) yielded the least amount of callus. It was found that WPM media added with IAA (4.5–5.0 mg L−1) were optimum for root induction from G. jasminoides plantlets. Antibacterial screening of leaf extracts (in vivo) showed no inhibitory effect against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and B. cereus, in contrast to callus extracts from leaf cultures supplemented with NAA, which showed inhibition activity against E. coli and B. cereus. The callus extracts from leaf cultures grown on both MS and WPM media showed higher antioxidant and superoxide dismutase activities than leaf extracts. Reza Farzinebrahimi, Rosna Mat Taha, Kamaludin Rashid, and Jamilah Syafawati Yaacob Copyright © 2014 Reza Farzinebrahimi et al. All rights reserved. A Novel In Vitro Protocol for Inducing Direct Somatic Embryogenesis in Phalaenopsis aphrodite without Taking Explants Thu, 15 May 2014 09:15:57 +0000 An alternative in vitro protocol for embryo induction directly from intact living seedlings of Phalaenopsis aphrodite subspecies formosana was established in this study. Without the supplementation of plant growth regulators (PGRs), no embryos were obtained from all the seedlings when cultured on the solid medium. In contrast, embryos formed from the seedlings on the 2-layer medium and the 2-step culture system without the use of PGRs. It was found that the age of the seedlings affected embryo induction. The 2-month-old seedlings typically had higher embryogenic responses when compared with the 4-month-old seedlings in the 2-layer medium or 2-step system. For the 2-month-old seedlings, 1 mg/L TDZ resulted in the highest number of embryos at the distal site of the shoot. However, on the leaves’ surface, 0.5 mg/L TDZ induced the highest number of embryos. When the 2-month-old seedlings were cultured using the 2-step method at 1 mg/L of TDZ, the highest embryogenic response was obtained, with an average of 44 embryos formed on each seedling. These adventitious embryos were able to convert into plantlets in a PGR-free 1/2 MS medium, and the plantlets had normal morphology and growth. Jia-Hua Feng and Jen-Tsung Chen Copyright © 2014 Jia-Hua Feng and Jen-Tsung Chen. All rights reserved. Comparative Analysis of Lycorine in Wild Plant and Callus Culture Samples of Hymenocallis littoralis by HPLC-UV Method Tue, 06 May 2014 12:58:14 +0000 The Hymenocallis littoralis, an ornamental and medicinal plant, had been traditionally used for wound healing. In the present study, an analytical method using HPLC with ultraviolet detection was developed for the quantification of lycorine in the extracts of different parts of wild plant and tissue culture samples of H. littoralis. The separation was achieved using a reversed-phase column. The method was found to be accurate, repeatable, and sensitive for the quantification of minute amount of lycorine present in the samples. The highest lycorine content was found in the bulb extract ( μg/mg) whereas the least was in the root extract ( μg/mg) of the wild plants. Few callus culture samples had high content of lycorine, comparable to that of wild plants. The results showed that plant growth regulators, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) alone at 4.5 μM ( μg/mg) or a combination of 2,4-D at 9.00 μM with 4.5 μM of 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP), were the optimum concentrations for the production of high lycorine ( μg/mg) content in callus culture. The present analytical method could be of value for routine quantification of lycorine in the tissue culture production and standardization of the raw material or extracts of H. littoralis. Sreeramanan Subramaniam, Jeevandran Sundarasekar, Geethaa Sahgal, and Vikneswaran Murugaiyah Copyright © 2014 Sreeramanan Subramaniam et al. All rights reserved. Leaf Anatomy and Photochemical Behaviour of Solanum lycopersicum L. Plants from Seeds Irradiated with Low-LET Ionising Radiation Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Plants can be exposed to ionising radiation not only in Space but also on Earth, due to specific technological applications or after nuclear disasters. The response of plants to ionising radiation depends on radiation quality/quantity and/or plant characteristics. In this paper, we analyse some growth traits, leaf anatomy, and ecophysiological features of plants of Solanum lycopersicum L. “Microtom” grown from seeds irradiated with increasing doses of X-rays (0.3, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Gy). Both juvenile and compound leaves from plants developed from irradiated and control seeds were analysed through light and epifluorescence microscopy. Digital image analysis allowed quantifying anatomical parameters to detect the occurrence of signs of structural damage. Fluorescence parameters and total photosynthetic pigment content were analysed to evaluate the functioning of the photosynthetic machinery. Radiation did not affect percentage and rate of seed germination. Plants from irradiated seeds accomplished the crop cycle and showed a more compact habitus. Dose-depended tendencies of variations occurred in phenolic content, while other leaf anatomical parameters did not show distinct trends after irradiation. The sporadic perturbations of leaf structure, observed during the vegetative phase, after high levels of radiation were not so severe as to induce any significant alterations in photosynthetic efficiency. V. De Micco, R. Paradiso, G. Aronne, S. De Pascale, M. Quarto, and C. Arena Copyright © 2014 V. De Micco et al. All rights reserved. Ultrastructure of Plant Leaf Cuticles in relation to Sample Preparation as Observed by Transmission Electron Microscopy Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:46:12 +0000 The leaf cuticular ultrastructure of some plant species has been examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in only few studies. Attending to the different cuticle layers and inner structure, plant cuticles have been grouped into six general morphological types. With the aim of critically examining the effect of cuticle isolation and preparation for TEM analysis on cuticular ultrastructure, adaxial leaf cuticles of blue-gum eucalypt, grey poplar, and European pear were assessed, following a membrane science approach. The embedding and staining protocols affected the ultrastructure of the cuticles analysed. The solubility parameter, surface tension, and contact angles with water of pure Spurr's and LR-White resins were within a similar range. Differences were however estimated for resin : solvent mixtures, since Spurr’s resin is combined with acetone and LR-White resin is mixed with ethanol. Given the composite hydrophilic and lipophilic nature of plant cuticles, the particular TEM tissue embedding and staining procedures employed may affect sample ultrastructure and the interpretation of the results in physicochemical and biological terms. It is concluded that tissue preparation procedures may be optimised to facilitate the observation of the micro- and nanostructure of cuticular layers and components with different degrees of polarity and hydrophobicity. Paula Guzmán, Victoria Fernández, Mohamed Khayet, María Luisa García, Agustín Fernández, and Luis Gil Copyright © 2014 Paula Guzmán et al. All rights reserved. CMYB1 Encoding a MYB Transcriptional Activator Is Involved in Abiotic Stress and Circadian Rhythm in Rice Tue, 01 Apr 2014 08:16:50 +0000 Through analysis of cold-induced transcriptome, a novel gene encoding a putative MYB transcription factor was isolated and designated Cold induced MYB 1 (CMYB1). Tissue-specific gene expression analysis revealed that CMYB1 was highly expressed in rice stems and nodes. qRT-PCR assay indicated that CMYB1 was dramatically induced by cold stress (>100-folds) and induced by exogenous ABA and osmotic stress. Interestingly, CMYB1 showed rhythmic expression profile in rice leaves at different developmental stages. Subcellular localization assay suggested that CMYB1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion protein was localized in the nuclei. Moreover, CMYB1 exhibited the transcriptional activation activity when transiently expressed in rice protoplast cells. Taken together, CMYB1 probably functions as a transcriptional activator in mediating stress and rhythm responsive gene expression in rice. Min Duan, Peng Huang, Xi Yuan, Hui Chen, Ji Huang, and Hongsheng Zhang Copyright © 2014 Min Duan et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Vetiveria zizanioides Essential Oil on Melanogenesis in Melanoma Cells: Downregulation of Tyrosinase Expression and Suppression of Oxidative Stress Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:38:24 +0000 The major objective of this study was to estimate the hypopigmentation function of the essential oil from Vetiveria zizanioides (VZ-EO). Our results indicated that VZ-EO exhibits potent lipid peroxidation inhibitory activity to moderate the bleaching of β-carotene and to maintain the cellular glutathione (GSH) levels. VZ-EO can markedly decrease melanin production and tyrosinase activity in α-melanin-stimulating-hormone- (α-MSH-) stimulated B16 cells. The effect of VZ-EO on melanogenesis is achieved by the suppression of cellular tyrosinase expression. The results demonstrated that the activity of VZ-EO on melanogenesis might be the result of its potent antioxidative ability, which was reflected in the decreased cellular oxidant and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and the recovered activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and catalase (CAT) in α-MSH-stimulated B16 cells. The most abundant compound in VZ-EO is cedr-8-en-13-ol (12.4%), which has a strong capability to inhibit lipid peroxidation. Therefore, VZ-EO has the potential to become an ingredient in future hypopigmentation drugs, foods, and cosmetics. Hsin-Yi Peng, Chin-Chun Lai, Chih-Chien Lin, and Su-Tze Chou Copyright © 2014 Hsin-Yi Peng et al. All rights reserved. Combining Ability of Pod Yield and Related Traits of Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) under Salinity Stress Sun, 09 Mar 2014 11:38:19 +0000 A study was performed using F1 diallel population without reciprocals to assess the mode of inheritance of pod yield and related traits in groundnut with imposed salinity stress. Heterosis was found for pod number and yield. Data on general and specific combining ability (gca and sca) indicated additive and nonadditive gene actions. The gca: sca ratios were much less than unity suggesting predominant role of nonadditive gene effects. Cultivars “Binachinabadam-2” and “Dacca-1” and mutant M6/25/64-82 had the highest, second highest, and third highest pod number, as well as gca values, respectively. These two cultivars and another mutant M6/15/70-19 also had the highest, second highest, and third highest pod yield, as well as gca values, respectively. Therefore, “Dacca-1”, “Binachinabadam-2”, M6/25/64-82, and M6/15/70-19 could be used as source of salinity tolerance. Cross combinations showing high sca effects arising from parents with high and low gca values for any trait indicate the influence of nonadditive genes on their expression. Parents of these crosses can be used for biparental mating or reciprocal recurrent selection for developing high yielding varieties. Crosses with high sca effects having both parents with good gca effects could be exploited by pedigree breeding to get transgressive segregants. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Md. Shah-E-Alam, Md. Abdul Hamid, Mohd Y. Rafii, and M. A. Malek Copyright © 2014 Md. Abul Kalam Azad et al. All rights reserved. Sequence Characterization and Spatiotemporal Expression Patterns of PbS26-RNase Gene in Chinese White Pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) Wed, 05 Mar 2014 06:34:28 +0000 Many flowering plants exhibit an important intraspecific reproductive barrier phenomenon, that is, self-incompatibility (SI), in which S-RNase genes play a significant role. To clarify the specific function of S-RNase genes in Chinese pears, the full length cDNA of PbS26-RNase was isolated by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) technology from Chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) cultivar “Hongpisu.” The cDNA sequence for PbS26-RNase was deposited in GenBank under accession number EU081888. At the amino acid level, the PbS26-RNase displayed the highest similarity (96.9%) with PcSa-RNase of P. communis, and only seven amino acid differences were present in the two S-RNases. Phylogenetic analysis of rosaceous S-RNases indicated that the PbS26-RNase clustered with maloideous S-RNases, forming a subfamily-specific not a species-specific group. The PbS26-RNase gene was specifically expressed in the style but not other tissues/organs. The expression level of the PbS26-RNase gene rapidly increased at bell balloon stage (BBS), and then it dropped after pollination. However, the abundance of the PbS26-RNase gene transcript in the style was greater after cross-pollination than after self-pollination. In addition, a method for rapidly detecting the PbS26-RNase gene was developed via allele-specific primers design. The present study could provide a scientific basis for fully clarifying the mechanism of pear SI at the molecular level. Lin Zhang, Baoguang Jia, Feng Zou, Xiaofeng Tan, Min Liu, Zhibo Song, Yanling Zeng, Nan Jiang, and Deyi Yuan Copyright © 2014 Lin Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Efficacy of Combined Formulations of Fungicides with Different Modes of Action in Controlling Botrytis Gray Mold Disease in Chickpea Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:00:59 +0000 Botrytis gray mold (BGM) caused by Botrytis cinerea Pers. Ex. Fr. is an extremely devastating disease of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and has a regional as well as an international perspective. Unfortunately, nonchemical methods for its control are weak and ineffective. In order to identify an effective control measure, six fungicides with different modes of action were evaluated on a BGM susceptible chickpea variety BARIchhola-1 at a high BGM incidence location (Madaripur) in Bangladesh for three years (2008, 2009, and 2010). Among the six fungicides tested, one was protectant [Vondozeb 42SC, a.i. mancozeb (0.2%)], two systemic [Bavistin 50 WP, a.i. carbendazim (0.2%), and Protaf 250EC, propiconazole (0.05%)], and three combination formulations [Acrobat MZ690, dimethomorph 9% + mancozeb 60%, (0.2%); Secure 600 WG, phenomadone + mancozeb (0.2%); and Companion, mancozeb 63% + carbendazim 12% (0.2%)]. The results showed superiority of combination formulations involving both protectant and systemic fungicides over the sole application of either fungicide separately. Among the combination fungicides, Companion was most effective, resulting in the lowest disease severity (3.33 score on 1–9 scale) and the highest increase (38%) of grain yield in chickpea. Therefore, this product could be preferred over the sole application of either solo protectant or systemic fungicides to reduce yield losses and avoid fungicide resistance. M. H. Rashid, M. Ashraf Hossain, M. A. Kashem, Shiv Kumar, M. Y. Rafii, and M. A. Latif Copyright © 2014 M. H. Rashid et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Biodiversity of Italian Olives (Olea europaea) Germplasm Analyzed by SSR Markers Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The olive is an important fruit species cultivated for oil and table olives in Italy and the Mediterranean basin. The conservation of cultivated plants in ex situ collections is essential for the optimal management and use of their genetic resources. The largest ex situ olive germplasm collection consists of approximately 500 Italian olive varieties and corresponding to 85% of the total Italian olive germplasm is maintained at the Consiglio per la Ricerca e sperimentazione per l’Agricoltura, Centro di Ricerca per l’Olivicoltura e l’Industria Olearia (CRA-OLI), in Italy. In this work, eleven preselected nuclear microsatellite markers were used to assess genetic diversity, population structure, and gene flows with the aim of assembling a core collection. The dendrogram obtained utilizing the unweighted pair group method highlights the presence of homonymy and synonymy in olive tree datasets analyzed in this study. 439 different unique genotype profiles were obtained with this combination of 11 loci nSSR, representing 89.8% of the varieties analyzed. The remaining 10.2% comprises different variety pairs in which both accessions are genetically indistinguishable. Clustering analysis performed using BAPS software detected seven groups in Italian olive germplasm and gene flows were determined among identified clusters. We proposed an Italian core collection of 23 olive varieties capturing all detected alleles at microsatellites. The information collected in this study regarding the CRA-OLI ex situ collection can be used for breeding programs, for germplasm conservation, and for optimizing a strategy for the management of olive gene pools. Innocenzo Muzzalupo, Giuseppe Giovanni Vendramin, and Adriana Chiappetta Copyright © 2014 Innocenzo Muzzalupo et al. All rights reserved. Uses of Local Plant Biodiversity among the Tribal Communities of Pangi Valley of District Chamba in Cold Desert Himalaya, India Mon, 17 Feb 2014 08:50:08 +0000 Pangi Valley is the interior most tribal area in Himachal Pradesh of Northwest Himalaya. An ethnobotanical investigation is attempted to highlight the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants being used by the tribes of Pangi Valley. Various localities visited in the valley 2-3 times in a year and ethnobotanical information was collected through interviews with elderly people, women, shepherds, and local vaids during May 2009 to September 2013. This paper documented 67 plant species from 59 genera and 36 families along with their botanical name, local name, family name, habit, medicinal parts used, and traditional usage, including the use of 35 plants with new ethnomedicinal and other use from the study area for the first time. Wild plants represent an important part of their medicinal, dietary, handicraft, fuel wood, veterinary, and fodder components. These tribal inhabitants and migrants depend on the wild plant resources for food, medicines, fuel, fibre, timber, and household articles for their livelihood security. The present study documents and contributes significant ethnobotanical information from the remote high altitude and difficult region of the world, which remains cut off from rest of the world for 6-7 months due to heavy snowfall. Pawan Kumar Rana, Puneet Kumar, Vijay Kumar Singhal, and Jai Chand Rana Copyright © 2014 Pawan Kumar Rana et al. All rights reserved. Overexpression of a Vesicle Trafficking Gene, OsRab7, Enhances Salt Tolerance in Rice Wed, 12 Feb 2014 13:01:52 +0000 High soils salinity is a main factor affecting agricultural production. Studying the function of salt-tolerance-related genes is essential to enhance crop tolerance to stress. Rab7 is a small GTP-binding protein that is distributed widely among eukaryotes. Endocytic trafficking mediated by Rab7 plays an important role in animal and yeast cells, but the current understanding of Rab7 in plants is still very limited. Herein, we isolated a vesicle trafficking gene, OsRab7, from rice. Transgenic rice over-expressing OsRab7 exhibited enhanced seedling growth and increased proline content under salt-treated conditions. Moreover, an increased number of vesicles was observed in the root tip of OsRab7 transgenic rice. The OsRab7 over-expression plants showed enhanced tolerance to salt stress, suggesting that vacuolar trafficking is important for salt tolerance in plants. Xiaojue Peng, Xia Ding, Tianfang Chang, Zhoulong Wang, Rong Liu, Xin Zeng, Yaohui Cai, and Youlin Zhu Copyright © 2014 Xiaojue Peng et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Capacity to Alleviate Abiotic Stress of Olive (Olea europaea L.) Plants at Different Transplant Conditions Wed, 12 Feb 2014 09:43:44 +0000 The capacity of roots to sense soil physicochemical parameters plays an essential role in maintaining plant nutritional and developmental functions under abiotic stress. These conditions generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plant tissues causing oxidation of proteins and lipids among others. Some plants have developed adaptive mechanisms to counteract such adverse conditions such as symbiotic association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). AMF enhance plant growth and improve transplant survival by protecting host plants against environmental stresses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the alleviation of transplanting stress by two strains of Rhizophagus irregularis (GC2 and GA5) in olive. Our results show that olive plants have an additional energetic expense in growth due to an adaptative response to the growing stage and to the mycorrhizal colonization at the first transplant. However, at the second transplant the coinoculation improves olive plant growth and protects against oxidative stress followed by the GA5-inoculation. In conclusion, a combination of two AMF strains at the beginning of olive propagation produces vigorous plants successfully protected in field cultivation even with an additional cost at the beginning of growth. María Josefina Bompadre, Mariana Pérgola, Laura Fernández Bidondo, Roxana Paula Colombo, Vanesa Analía Silvani, Alejandro Guillermo Pardo, Juan Antonio Ocampo, and Alicia Margarita Godeas Copyright © 2014 María Josefina Bompadre et al. All rights reserved. Allocation of Secondary Metabolites, Photosynthetic Capacity, and Antioxidant Activity of Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila Benth) in Response to and Light Intensity Mon, 10 Feb 2014 13:36:04 +0000 A split plot 3 by 4 experiment was designed to investigate and distinguish the relationships among production of secondary metabolites, soluble sugar, phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL; EC activity, leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll content, antioxidant activity (DPPH), and lipid peroxidation under three levels of CO2 (400, 800, and 1200 μmol/mol) and four levels of light intensity (225, 500, 625, and 900 μmol/m2/s) over 15 weeks in Labisia pumila. The production of plant secondary metabolites, sugar, chlorophyll content, antioxidant activity, and malondialdehyde content was influenced by the interactions between CO2 and irradiance. The highest accumulation of secondary metabolites, sugar, maliondialdehyde, and DPPH activity was observed under CO2 at 1200 μmol/mol + light intensity at 225 μmol/m2/s. Meanwhile, at 400 μmol/mol CO2 + 900 μmol/m2/s light intensity the production of chlorophyll and maliondialdehyde content was the highest. As CO2 levels increased from 400 to 1200 μmol/mol the photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, / (maximum efficiency of photosystem II), and PAL activity were enhanced. The production of secondary metabolites displayed a significant negative relationship with maliondialdehyde indicating lowered oxidative stress under high CO2 and low irradiance improved the production of plant secondary metabolites that simultaneously enhanced the antioxidant activity (DPPH), thus improving the medicinal value of Labisia pumila under this condition. Mohd Hafiz Ibrahim, Hawa Z. E. Jaafar, Ehsan Karimi, and Ali Ghasemzadeh Copyright © 2014 Mohd Hafiz Ibrahim et al. All rights reserved. Componential Profile and Amylase Inhibiting Activity of Phenolic Compounds from Calendula officinalis L. Leaves Sun, 09 Feb 2014 09:18:55 +0000 An ethanolic extract and its ethyl acetate-soluble fraction from leaves of Calendula officinalis L. (Asteraceae) were found to show an inhibitory effect on amylase. From the crude extract fractions, one new phenolic acid glucoside, 6′-O-vanilloyl-β-D-glucopyranose, was isolated, together with twenty-four known compounds including five phenolic acid glucosides, five phenylpropanoids, five coumarins, and nine flavonoids. Their structures were elucidated based on chemical and spectral data. The main components, isoquercitrin, isorhamnetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, 3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, and quercetin-3-O-(6′′-acetyl)-β-D-glucopyranoside, exhibited potent inhibitory effects on amylase. Daniil N. Olennikov and Nina I. Kashchenko Copyright © 2014 Daniil N. Olennikov and Nina I. Kashchenko. All rights reserved. An Overview of Important Ethnomedicinal Herbs of Phyllanthus Species: Present Status and Future Prospects Mon, 03 Feb 2014 07:51:01 +0000 The genus Phyllanthus consists of more than 1000 species, of which many are used as traditional medicines. The plant extracts have been used since ancient times, for treating hypertension, diabetes, hepatic, urinary, and sexual disorders, and other common ailments. Modern day scientific investigations have now confirmed pharmacognostic properties of Phyllanthus herbs. The phytochemicals attributing these medicinal properties have been identified in many of the Phyllanthus herbs. The morphologically similar herbs of Phyllanthus grow together and admixture of species during collection for manufacture of herbal medicines is quite common. Hence, along with pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies, appropriate protocols for correct identification of species are also important. As the use of these herbs as green medicines is becoming more popular, it is imperative to assess its genetic diversity and phylogenetic relatedness for future conservation strategies. This review is an attempt to present an overview of the existing studies on pharmacognostics, phytochemistry, species identification, and genetic diversity of Phyllanthus herbs and consequently (i) highlight areas where further research is needed and (ii) draw attention towards extending similar studies in underutilized but potentially important herbs such as P. maderaspatensis, P. kozhikodianus, P. rheedii, P. scabrifolius, and P. rotundifolius. Bharti Sarin, Nidhi Verma, Juan Pedro Martín, and Aparajita Mohanty Copyright © 2014 Bharti Sarin et al. All rights reserved. The Relationship between Diaspore Characteristics with Phylogeny, Life History Traits, and Their Ecological Adaptation of 150 Species from the Cold Desert of Northwest China Thu, 30 Jan 2014 09:22:38 +0000 Diaspore characteristics of 22 families, including 102 genera and 150 species (55 represented by seeds and 95 by fruits) from the Gurbantunggut Desert were analyzed for diaspore biological characteristics (mass, shape, color, and appendage type). The diaspore mass and shape were significantly different in phylogeny group (APG) and dispersal syndromes; vegetative periods significantly affected diaspore mass, but not diaspore shape; and ecotypes did not significantly affect diaspore mass and shape, but xerophyte species had larger diaspore mass than mesophyte species. Unique stepwise ANOVA results showed that variance in diaspore mass and shape among these 150 species was largely dependent upon phylogeny and dispersal syndromes. Therefore, it was suggested that phylogeny may constrain diaspore mass, and as dispersal syndromes may be related to phylogeny, they also constrained diaspore mass and shape. Diaspores of 85 species (56.67%) had appendages, including 26 with wings/bracts, 18 with pappus/hair, 14 with hooks/spines, 10 with awns, and 17 with other types of appendages. Different traits (mass, shape, color, appendage, and dispersal syndromes) of diaspore decided plants forming different adapted strategies in the desert. In summary, the diaspore characteristics were closely related with phylogeny, vegetative periods, dispersal syndromes, and ecotype, and these characteristics allowed the plants to adapt to extreme desert environments. Hui-Liang Liu, Dao-Yuan Zhang, Shi-Min Duan, Xi-Yong Wang, and Ming-Fang Song Copyright © 2014 Hui-Liang Liu et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Cadmium on Growth, Bacoside A, and Bacopaside I of Bacopa monnieri (L.), a Memory Enhancing Herb Thu, 30 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Bacopa monnieri (L.) is an important medicinal plant mainly known as a memory enhancing herb. It is important to see the effect of metal pollution on its active constituents. In this context, efforts have been made to observe the effect of Cd on the triterpenoid saponins bacoside A and bacopaside I in this plant. The influence of the metal on growth parameters like protein, chlorophyll content, and biomass has also been observed. It is interesting to note that the bacoside A and bacopaside I gradually increased by the Cd treatment up to 10 M and then decreased at higher concentrations, that is, 50 and 100 M, but the concentration of these components was more in all the treated plants as compared to control. On the contrary, protein, chlorophyll content, and biomass decreased with the increase in metal concentration and exposure duration due to metal toxicity. Poonam Gupta, Sayyada Khatoon, P. K. Tandon, and Vartika Rai Copyright © 2014 Poonam Gupta et al. All rights reserved. In Vitro Phytochemical, Antibacterial, and Antifungal Activities of Leaf, Stem, and Root Extracts of Adiantum capillus veneris Tue, 28 Jan 2014 14:13:25 +0000 Adiantum capillus veneris is a medicinally essential plant used for the treatment of diverse infectious diseases. The study of phytochemical and antimicrobial activities of the plant extracts against multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria and medically important fungi is of immense significance. Extracts from the leaves, stems, and roots of Adiantum capillus veneris were extracted with water, methanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and hexane and screened for their antimicrobial activity against ten MDR bacterial strains and five fungal strains isolated from clinical and water samples. Ash, moisture, and extractive values were determined according to standard protocols. FTIR (Fourier transform infrared Spectroscopy) studies were performed on different phytochemicals isolated from the extracts of Adiantum capillus Veneris. Phytochemical analysis showed the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, steroids, and reducing sugars. Water, methanol, and ethanol extracts of leaves, stems, and roots showed significant antibacterial and antifungal activities against most of the MDR bacterial and fungal strains. This study concluded that extracts of Adiantum capillus veneris have valuable phytochemicals and significant activities against most of the MDR bacterial strains and medically important fungal strains. Muhammad Saqib Ishaq, Muhammad Medrar Hussain, Muhammad Siddique Afridi, Ghadir Ali, Mahrukh Khattak, Sohail Ahmad, and Shakirullah Copyright © 2014 Muhammad Saqib Ishaq et al. All rights reserved. Cloning and Characterization of a Flavonol Synthase Gene from Scutellaria baicalensis Tue, 28 Jan 2014 07:25:31 +0000 Flavonols are the most abundant of all the flavonoids and play pivotal roles in a variety of plants. We isolated a cDNA clone encoding flavonol synthase from Scutellaria baicalensis (SbFLS). The SbFLS cDNA is 1011 bp long, encodes 336 amino acid residues, and belongs to a family of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases. The overall structure of SbFLS is very similar to that of Arabidopsis thaliana anthocyanidin synthase (AtANS), with a β jelly-roll fold surrounded by tens of short and long α-helices. SbFLS was constitutively expressed in the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers, with particularly high expression in the roots and flowers. SbFLS transcript levels in the roots were 376-, 70-, and 2.5-fold higher than in the leaves, stems, and flowers. The myricetin content was significantly higher than that of kaempferol and quercetin. Therefore, we suggest that SbFLS mediates flavonol formation in the different organs of S. baicalensis. Our study may contribute to the knowledge of the role of FLS in S. baicalensis. Yeon Bok Kim, KwangSoo Kim, YeJi Kim, Pham Anh Tuan, Haeng Hoon Kim, Jin Woong Cho, and Sang Un Park Copyright © 2014 Yeon Bok Kim et al. All rights reserved. Transcripts of Anthocyanidin Reductase and Leucoanthocyanidin Reductase and Measurement of Catechin and Epicatechin in Tartary Buckwheat Mon, 27 Jan 2014 09:48:38 +0000 Anthocyanidin reductase (ANR) and leucoanthocyanidin reductase (LAR) play an important role in the monomeric units biosynthesis of proanthocyanidins (PAs) such as catechin and epicatechin in several plants. The aim of this study was to clone ANR and LAR genes involved in PAs biosynthesis and examine the expression of these two genes in different organs under different growth conditions in two tartary buckwheat cultivars, Hokkai T8 and T10. Gene expression was carried out by quantitative real-time RT-PCR, and catechin and epicatechin content was analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography. The expression pattern of ANR and LAR did not match the accumulation pattern of PAs in different organs of two cultivars. Epicatechin content was the highest in the flowers of both cultivars and it was affected by light in only Hokkai T8 sprouts. ANR and LAR levels in tartary buckwheat might be regulated by different mechanisms for catechin and epicatechin biosynthesis under light and dark conditions. Yeon Bok Kim, Aye Aye Thwe, YeJi Kim, Xiaohua Li, Jin Woong Cho, Phun Bum Park, Mariadhas Valan Arasu, Naif Abdullah Al-Dhabi, Sun-Ju Kim, Tastsuro Suzuki, Kwang Hyun Jho, and Sang Un Park Copyright © 2014 Yeon Bok Kim et al. All rights reserved. In Vitro Culture Conditions and OeARF and OeH3 Expressions Modulate Adventitious Root Formation from Oleaster (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris) Cuttings Thu, 23 Jan 2014 09:11:52 +0000 Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris, also named oleaster, is the wild form of olive and it is used as rootstock and pollen donor for many cultivated varieties. An efficient procedure for in vitro propagation of oleaster was established in this study. A zeatin concentration of 2.5 mg/L was effective to induce an appreciable vegetative growth. Also high rooting efficiency was obtained by using a short IBA pulse, followed by two different IBA concentrations in the culture medium. With the aim to enlarge knowledge on the molecular aspects of adventitious rooting, we also evaluated the transcriptional modulation of an ARFs member and HISTONE H3 genes, involved in auxin signaling and cell replication, respectively, during the root induction phase of cuttings. The obtained results suggest that the selected genes, as markers of the induction phase, could be very useful for setting up efficient culture conditions along the rooting process, thus increasing micropropagation efficiency. Adriana Chiappetta, Cinzia Gagliardi, Leonardo Bruno, and Maria Beatrice Bitonti Copyright © 2014 Adriana Chiappetta et al. All rights reserved. Morphological and Pathogenic Variability among Macrophomina phaseolina Isolates Associated with Mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) Wilczek from Pakistan Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:20:39 +0000 Macrophomina phaseolina is a serious pathogen of many crops. In the present studies, 65 isolates of Macrophomina phaseolina from different agroecological regions of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan were analyzed for morphological and pathogenic variability. Regardless of their geographic origins, significant differences were detected among 65 isolates in their radial growth, sclerotial size, and weight as well as in pathogenicity. Sixteen isolates were rated as fast growing, 11 as slow growing, and the rest of the isolates as medium growing. Nine isolates were classified as large sized, 26 as small sized, and the remaining 30 isolates as medium sized. Thirty five isolates were ranked as heavy weight, 12 as low weight, and the rest of isolates were grouped as medium weight. Ten fungal isolates appeared to be least virulent, whereas eight isolates of diverse origin proved to be highly virulent against mungbean cultivars. The remaining isolates were regarded as moderately virulent. No relationship was found among the morphological characters and pathogenicity of the isolates. These morphological and pathogenic variations in various isolates of M. phaseolina may be considered important in disease management systems and will be useful in breeding programmes of mungbean cultivars resistant to charcoal rot. Umer Iqbal and Tariq Mukhtar Copyright © 2014 Umer Iqbal and Tariq Mukhtar. All rights reserved. Evaluation of In Vitro Antimalarial Activity of Different Extracts of Artemisia aucheri Boiss. and A. armeniaca Lam. and Fractions of the Most Potent Extracts Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:38:24 +0000 Ten extracts with different polarity from two Iranian Artemisia species, A. armeniaca Lam. and A. aucheri Boiss, were screened for their antimalarial properties by in vitro  β-hematin formation assay. Dichloromethane (DCM) extracts of both plants showed significant antimalarial activities with IC50 values of 1.36 ± 0.01 and 1.83 ± 0.03 mg/mL and IC90 values of 2.12 ± 0.04 and 2.62 ± 0.09 mg/mL for A. armeniaca and A. aucheri, respectively. Bioactivity-guided fractionation of DCM extracts of both plants by vacuum liquid chromatography (VLC) over silica gel with solvent mixtures of increasing polarities afforded seven fractions. Two fractions from DCM extract of A. armeniaca and four fractions from DCM extract of A. aucheri showed potent antimalarial activity with reducing IC50 and IC90 values compared to extracts. The most potent fraction belonged to DCM extract of A. armeniaca with IC50 and IC90 values of 0.47 ± 0.006 and 0.71 ± 0.006 mg/mL, respectively. Mahdi Mojarrab, Ali Shiravand, Abbas Delazar, and Fariba Heshmati Afshar Copyright © 2014 Mahdi Mojarrab et al. All rights reserved. Cellular Localization and Biochemical Characterization of a Chimeric Fluorescent Protein Fusion of Arabidopsis Cellulose Synthase-Like A2 Inserted into Golgi Membrane Tue, 14 Jan 2014 06:51:08 +0000 Cellulose synthase-like (Csl) genes are believed to encode enzymes for the synthesis of cell wall matrix polysaccharides. The subfamily of CslA is putatively involved in the biosynthesis of β-mannans. Here we report a study on the cellular localization and the enzyme activity of an Arabidopsis CslA family member, AtCslA2. We show that the fluorescent protein fusion AtCslA2-GFP, transiently expressed in tobacco leaf protoplasts, is synthesized in the ER and it accumulates in the Golgi stacks. The chimera is inserted in the Golgi membrane and is functional since membrane preparations obtained by transformed protoplasts carry out the in vitro synthesis of a 14C-mannan starting from GDP-d-[U-14C]mannose as substrate. The enzyme specific activity is increased by approximately 38% in the transformed protoplasts with respect to wild-type. Preliminary tests with proteinase K, biochemical data, and TM domain predictions suggest that the catalytic site of AtCslA2 faces the Golgi lumen. Monica De Caroli, Marcello S. Lenucci, Gian-Pietro Di Sansebastiano, Michela Tunno, Anna Montefusco, Giuseppe Dalessandro, and Gabriella Piro Copyright © 2014 Monica De Caroli et al. All rights reserved. Resistance to Multiple Tuber Diseases Expressed in Somaclonal Variants of the Potato Cultivar Russet Burbank Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Multiple disease resistance is an aim of many plant breeding programs. Previously, novel somatic cell selection was used to generate potato variants of “Russet Burbank” with resistance to common scab caused by infection with an actinomycete pathogen. Coexpression of resistance to powdery scab caused by a protozoan pathogen was subsequently shown. This study sought to define whether this resistance was effective against additional potato tuber diseases, black scurf, and tuber soft rot induced by fungal and bacterial pathogens. Pot trials and in vitro assays with multiple pathogenic strains identified significant resistance to both tuber diseases across the potato variants examined; the best clone A380 showed 51% and 65% reductions in disease severity to tuber soft rot and black scurf, respectively, when compared with the parent line. The resistance appeared to be tuber specific as no enhanced resistance was recorded in stolons or stem material when challenged Rhizoctonia solani that induces stolon pruning and stem canker. The work presented here suggests that morphological characteristics associated with tuber resistance may be the predominant change that has resulted from the somaclonal cell selection process, potentially underpinning the demonstrated broad spectrum of resistance to tuber invading pathogens. Tamilarasan Thangavel, Robert Steven Tegg, and Calum Rae Wilson Copyright © 2014 Tamilarasan Thangavel et al. All rights reserved. Chloroplast DNA Phylogeography of Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) in Indian Subcontinent Thu, 02 Jan 2014 14:19:36 +0000 Ocimum tenuiflorum L., holy basil “Tulsi”, is an important medicinal plant that is being grown and traditionally revered throughout Indian Subcontinent for thousands of years; however, DNA sequence-based genetic diversity of this aromatic herb is not yet known. In this report, we present our studies on the phylogeography of this species using trnL-trnF intergenic spacer of plastid genome as the DNA barcode for isolates from Indian subcontinent. Our pairwise distance analyses indicated that genetic heterogeneity of isolates remained quite low, with overall mean nucleotide p-distance of . However, our sensitive phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood framework was able to reveal subtle intraspecific molecular evolution of this species within the subcontinent. All isolates except that from North-Central India formed a distinct phylogenetic clade, notwithstanding low bootstrap support and collapse of the clade in Bayesian Inference. North-Central isolates occupied more basal position compared to other isolates, which is suggestive of its evolutionarily primitive status. Indian isolates formed a monophyletic and well-supported clade within O. tenuiflorum clade, which indicates a distinct haplotype. Given the vast geographical area of more than 3 million km2 encompassing many exclusive biogeographical and ecological zones, relatively low rate of evolution of this herb at this locus in India is particularly interesting. Felix Bast, Pooja Rani, and Devendra Meena Copyright © 2014 Felix Bast et al. All rights reserved. Use and Diversity of Palm (Arecaceae) Resources in Central Western Brazil Thu, 02 Jan 2014 13:59:20 +0000 Arecaceae Schultz-Sch. (Palmae Juss.), a member of the monocotyledon group, is considered one of the oldest extant angiosperm families on Earth. This family is highly valuable because of its species diversity, its occurrence in a wide range of habitats, and its status as an integral part of the culture and the family-based economy of many traditional and nontraditional communities. The main objectives of this study were to perform an ethnobotanical study involving these palms and a “Quilombola” (Maroon) community in the municipality of Cavalcante, GO, Brazil. The variables gender, age, and formal schooling had no influence on the number of species recognized and used by the Kalungas. Ethnobotanical studies based on traditional knowledge in addition to use and management of palms are fundamental aspects for planning and appliance of public policies directed to the use of natural resources and improvement of life quality. Renata Corrêa Martins, Tarciso de Sousa Filgueiras, and Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque Copyright © 2014 Renata Corrêa Martins et al. All rights reserved. Annual Variation in Flowering Phenology, Pollination, Mating System, and Pollen Yield in Two Natural Populations of Schima wallichii (DC.) Korth Tue, 31 Dec 2013 15:12:49 +0000 Background. Schima wallichii is a highly valuable tree of tropical forest in north-east Himalaya region that grows naturally in a wide range of altitudes between 750 and 2400 m asl with varying environments. Flowering phenology of tropical tree species at population level is generally ignored and therefore a detailed knowledge of flowering and fruiting patterns of important multipurpose tree species is critical to the successful management of forest genetic resources. Materials and Methods. The study was conducted at two different altitudes (i.e., 750 m and 900 m asl) in the tropical semideciduous forest of north-east Himalaya. The floral phenology including flowering synchrony in the populations, anthesis, anther dehiscence, stigma receptivity, pollinators visitation frequency, and mating system including index of self-incompatibility were worked out in Schima wallichii according to the ear-marked standard methods given by various scientists for each parameter. Results. The flowering period in Schima wallichii varied from 33 to 42 days with mean synchrony of 0.54 to 0.68 between the populations. The stigma was receptive up to 2.5 days only and showed slightly protandrous type of dichogamy. Average pollen production ranged between 6.90 × 107 pollen per tree in 2007 and 15.49 × 108 pollen per tree in 2011. A three-year masting cycle was noticed in this species. The frequency of visitation of honey bees was fairly high (5.2 ± 1.12 visits/flower/hour) as compared to other pollinators. The hand pollination revealed maximum fruit (74.2 ± 5.72%) and seed (70.8 ± 7.46%) settings. Conclusions. The variation in flowering phenology and pollen yield individually and annually along with temporal separation in anther dehiscence and pollinator’s visitation cause pollen limited reproduction, which ultimately influences the reproductive success in Schima wallichii. Vinod Prasad Khanduri, C. M. Sharma, K. S. Kumar, and S. K. Ghildiyal Copyright © 2013 Vinod Prasad Khanduri et al. All rights reserved. Factors Affecting Microcuttings of Stevia Using a Mist-Chamber Propagation Box Sun, 29 Dec 2013 09:56:01 +0000 Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a member of Compositae family. Stevia plant has zero calorie content and its leaves are estimated to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. This plant is believed to be the most ideal substitute for sugar and important to assist in medicinal value especially for diabetic patients. In this study, microcutting techniques using a mist-chamber propagation box were used as it was beneficial for propagation of Stevia and gave genetic uniformity to the plant. The effects of different treatments on root stimulation of Stevia in microcuttings technique were evaluated. Treatments studied were different sizes of shoot cuttings, plant growth regulators, lights, and shades. Data logger was used to record the mean value of humidity (>90% RH), light intensity (673–2045 lx), and temperature (28.6–30.1°C) inside the mist-chamber propagation box. From analysis of variance, there were significant differences between varieties and treatments in parameters studied (). For the size of shoot cuttings treatment, 6 nodes cuttings were observed to increase root number. As compared to control, shoot cuttings treated with indole butyric acid (IBA) had better performance regarding root length. Yellow light and 50% shade treatments showed higher root and leaf number and these conditions can be considered as crucial for potential propagation of Stevia. Mohamad Osman, Nur Syamimi Samsudin, Golam Faruq, and Arash Nezhadahmadi Copyright © 2013 Mohamad Osman et al. All rights reserved. Phenolic Profile of Dark-Grown and Photoperiod-Exposed Hypericum perforatum L. Hairy Root Cultures Thu, 26 Dec 2013 08:57:22 +0000 Hypericum perforatum L. is a medicinal plant considered as an important natural source of secondary metabolites with a wide range of pharmacological attributes. Hairy roots (HR) were induced from root segments of in vitro grown seedlings from H. perforatum after cocultivation with Agrobacterium rhizogenes A4. Investigations have been made to study the production of phenolic compounds in dark-grown (HR1) and photoperiod-exposed (HR2) cultures. The chromatographic analysis of phenolic acids, flavonols, flavan-3-ols, and xanthones revealed marked differences between HR1 and HR2 cultures. The production of quinic acid, kaempferol, and seven identified xanthones was increased in HR2. Moreover, HR2 showed a capability for de novo biosynthesis of two phenolic acids (3-p-coumaroylquinic acid and 3-feruloylquinic acid), three flavonol glycosides (kaempferol hexoside, hyperoside, and quercetin acetylglycoside), and five xanthones (tetrahydroxy-one-methoxyxanthone, 1,3,5-trihydroxy-6-methoxyxanthone, 1,3,5,6-tetrahydroxy-2-prenylxanthone, paxanthone, and banaxanthone E). On the other side, HR1 cultures were better producers of flavan-3-ols (catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidin dimers) than HR2. This is the first comparative study on phenolic profile of H. perforatum HR cultures grown under dark and photoperiod conditions. Oliver Tusevski, Jasmina Petreska Stanoeva, Marina Stefova, and Sonja Gadzovska Simic Copyright © 2013 Oliver Tusevski et al. All rights reserved. Antioxidant Capacity as a Marker for Assessing the In Vitro Performance of the Endangered Cistus heterophyllus Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:36:17 +0000 Cistus heterophyllus subsp. carthaginensis is an endemic and endangered species from the SE Mediterranean coastal region of Spain. Within the framework of the efforts aiming to species conservation, in vitro culture techniques could be of interest. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of C. heterophyllus shoot cultures as a possible marker of in vitro performance. The effects of five different basal salt formulations and cytokinin levels on in vitro performance and antioxidant capacity were examined. K+/Na+ and Ca2+/Na+ ratios initially present in culture media greatly affected the antioxidant capacity (the lower the ratios the higher the antioxidant capacity). Increasing concentrations of BA resulted in higher antioxidant capacity. The results obtained point to antioxidant capacity as being a marker of incidence of stress conditions in in vitro cultured C. heterophyllus. A good correlation was found between antioxidant capacity and total soluble phenolics present in Cistus extracts. Catechin was identified in all the extracts and its levels were found to change parallel to the antioxidant capacity, pointing to a prominent role played by this flavonoid in C. heterophyllus defence against oxidative stress, which in turn affects the in vitro performance of this species. Antonio López-Orenes, Antonio F. Ros-Marín, María A. Ferrer, and Antonio A. Calderón Copyright © 2013 Antonio López-Orenes et al. All rights reserved. High Genetic Diversity and Insignificant Interspecific Differentiation in Opisthopappus Shih, an Endangered Cliff Genus Endemic to the Taihang Mountains of China Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:52:32 +0000 Opisthopappus Shih is endemic to the Taihang Mountains, China. It grows in the crevice of cliffs and is in fragmented distribution. This genus consists of two species, namely, O. taihangensis (Ling) Shih and O. longilobus Shih, which are both endangered plants in China. This study adopted intersimple sequence repeat markers (ISSR) to analyze the genetic diversity and genetic structure from different levels (genus, species, and population) in this genus. A total of 253 loci were obtained from 27 primers, 230 of which were polymorphic loci with a proportion of polymorphic bands (PPB) of up to 90.91% at genus level. At species level, both O. taihangensis (%, , and ) and O. longilobus (%, , and ) have high genetic diversity. Their respective genetic variation mostly existed within the population. And genetic variation in O. longilobus (84.95%) was higher than that in O. taihangensis (80.45%). A certain genetic differentiation among populations in O. taihangensis was found (, ) and genetic differentiation in O. longilobus was very small (, ). Gene flow in different degrees ( and 4.336, resp.) and mating system can form the existing genetic structures of these two species. Furthermore, genetic differentiation coefficient () between species and the clustering result based on the genetic distance showed that interspecific differentiation between O. taihangensis and O. longilobus was not significant and could occur lately. Rongmin Guo, Lihua Zhou, Hongbo Zhao, and Fadi Chen Copyright © 2013 Rongmin Guo et al. All rights reserved. Five Pistacia species (P. vera, P. atlantica, P. terebinthus, P. khinjuk, and P. lentiscus): A Review of Their Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:50:07 +0000 Pistacia, a genus of flowering plants from the family Anacardiaceae, contains about twenty species, among them five are more popular including P. vera, P. atlantica, P. terebinthus, P. khinjuk, and P. lentiscus. Different parts of these species have been used in traditional medicine for various purposes like tonic, aphrodisiac, antiseptic, antihypertensive and management of dental, gastrointestinal, liver, urinary tract, and respiratory tract disorders. Scientific findings also revealed the wide pharmacological activities from various parts of these species, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, anticholinesterase, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antidiabetic, antitumor, antihyperlipidemic, antiatherosclerotic, and hepatoprotective activities and also their beneficial effects in gastrointestinal disorders. Various types of phytochemical constituents like terpenoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and sterols have also been isolated and identified from different parts of Pistacia species. The present review summarizes comprehensive information concerning ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities of the five mentioned Pistacia species. Mahbubeh Bozorgi, Zahra Memariani, Masumeh Mobli, Mohammad Hossein Salehi Surmaghi, Mohammad Reza Shams-Ardekani, and Roja Rahimi Copyright © 2013 Mahbubeh Bozorgi et al. All rights reserved. Alginate Encapsulation of Begonia Microshoots for Short-Term Storage and Distribution Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:02:13 +0000 Synthetic seeds were formed from shoot tips of two in vitro grown Begonia cultivars using 3% sodium alginate in Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) salt solution as the gel matrix and 100 mM calcium chloride for complexation. Synthetic seed formation was achieved by releasing the sodium alginate/explant combination into 100 mM calcium chloride (CaCl2·H2O) solution for 30 or 45 min. Both control and encapsulated shoots were transferred into sterile Petri dishes and stored at 4°C or 22°C for 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks. Conversion of synthetic seeds into plantlets for both storage environments was assessed in MS medium or peat-based substrate. No significant difference was found between the 30 and 45 min CaCl2·H2O treatments or the two cultivars. Encapsulation of explants improved survival rate over time irrespective of the medium type or storage environment. Survival rates of 88, 53, 28, and 11% for encapsulated microshoots versus 73, 13, 0, and 0% for control explants were achieved in microshoots stored for 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, respectively. The best results were obtained when synthetic seeds were stored at 4°C and germinated on MS medium. Regenerated plantlets were successfully established in potting soil. Hamidou F. Sakhanokho, Cecil T. Pounders, and Eugene K. Blythe Copyright © 2013 Hamidou F. Sakhanokho et al. All rights reserved. Agrobacterium tumefaciens-Mediated Transformation of Valsa mali: An Efficient Tool for Random Insertion Mutagenesis Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:41:08 +0000 Valsa mali is a causal agent of apple and pear trees canker disease, which is a destructive disease that causes serious economic losses in eastern Asia, especially in China. The lack of an efficient transformation system for Valsa mali retards its investigation, which poses difficulties to control the disease. In this research, a transformation system for this pathogen was established for the first time using A. tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT), with the optimal transformation conditions as follows: 106/mL conidia suspension, cocultivation temperature 22°C, cocultivation time 72 hours, and 200 μM acetosyringone (AS) in the inductive medium. The average transformation efficiency was 1015.00 ± 37.35 transformants per 106 recipient conidia. Thirty transformants were randomly selected for further confirmation and the results showed the presence of T-DNA in all hygromycin B resistant transformants and also revealed random and single gene integration with genetic stability. Compared with wild-type strain, those transformants exhibited various differences in morphology, conidia production, and conidia germination ability. In addition, pathogenicity assays revealed that 14 transformants had mitigated pathogenicity, while one had enhanced infection ability. The results suggest that ATMT of V. mali is a useful tool to gain novel insight into this economically important pathogen at molecular levels. Caixia Wang, Xiangnan Guan, Hanyan Wang, Guifang Li, Xiangli Dong, Guoping Wang, and Baohua Li Copyright © 2013 Caixia Wang et al. All rights reserved. Emerging Paradigms in Genomics-Based Crop Improvement Sun, 17 Nov 2013 08:58:27 +0000 Next generation sequencing platforms and high-throughput genotyping assays have remarkably expedited the pace of development of genomic tools and resources for several crops. Complementing the technological developments, conceptual shifts have also been witnessed in designing experimental populations. Availability of second generation mapping populations encompassing multiple alleles, multiple traits, and extensive recombination events is radically changing the phenomenon of classical QTL mapping. Additionally, the rising molecular breeding approaches like marker assisted recurrent selection (MARS) that are able to harness several QTLs are of particular importance in obtaining a “designed” genotype carrying the most desirable combinations of favourable alleles. Furthermore, rapid generation of genome-wide marker data coupled with easy access to precise and accurate phenotypic screens enable large-scale exploitation of LD not only to discover novel QTLs via whole genome association scans but also to practise genomic estimated breeding value (GEBV)-based selection of genotypes. Given refinements being experienced in analytical methods and software tools, the multiparent populations will be the resource of choice to undertake genome wide association studies (GWAS), multiparent MARS, and genomic selection (GS). With this, it is envisioned that these high-throughput and high-power molecular breeding methods would greatly assist in exploiting the enormous potential underlying breeding by design approach to facilitate accelerated crop improvement. Abhishek Bohra Copyright © 2013 Abhishek Bohra. All rights reserved. Root Growth and Enzymes Related to the Lignification of Maize Seedlings Exposed to the Allelochemical L-DOPA Thu, 14 Nov 2013 18:53:00 +0000 L-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is a known allelochemical exuded from the roots of velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens L. Fabaceae). In the current work, we analyzed the effects of L-DOPA on the growth, the activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), tyrosine ammonia-lyase (TAL), and peroxidase (POD), and the contents of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and lignin in maize (Zea mays) roots. Three-day-old seedlings were cultivated in nutrient solution with or without 0.1 to 2.0 mM L-DOPA in a growth chamber (25°C, light/dark photoperiod of 12/12, and photon flux density of 280 μmol m−2 s−1) for 24 h. The results revealed that the growth (length and weight) of the roots, the PAL, TAL, and soluble and cell wall-bound POD activities decreased, while phenylalanine, tyrosine, and lignin contents increased after L-DOPA exposure. Together, these findings showed the susceptibility of maize to L-DOPA. In brief, these results suggest that the inhibition of PAL and TAL can accumulate phenylalanine and tyrosine, which contribute to enhanced lignin deposition in the cell wall followed by a reduction of maize root growth. Rita de Cássia Siqueira-Soares, Anderson Ricardo Soares, Angela Valderrama Parizotto, Maria de Lourdes Lucio Ferrarese, and Osvaldo Ferrarese-Filho Copyright © 2013 Rita de Cássia Siqueira-Soares et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of In Vitro Antioxidant Properties of Methanol and Aqueous Extracts of Parkinsonia aculeata L. Leaves Thu, 14 Nov 2013 12:57:29 +0000 In the present study, methanol and aqueous extracts of Parkinsonia aculeata L. leaves were prepared and analyzed for phytochemical analysis and antioxidant potential in different in vitro assays. Antioxidant activity was studied using DPPH, CUPRAC, reducing power assay, deoxyribose degradation (site and nonsite specific), ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP), ferric thiocyanate (FTC), thiobarbituric acid (TBA), and molybdate ion reduction, respectively. The total phenolic contents of the methanol and aqueous leaf extract were 39 mg GAE/g and 38 mg GAE/g, whereas flavonoid contents of these extracts were found to be 0.013 mg RE/g and 0.006 mg RE/g, respectively. From the two extracts, the methanol extract shows maximum inhibition (%) of 57.82%, 71.23%, 48.26%, 69.85%, and 52.78% in DPPH, nonsite- and site-specific, FTC, and TBA assays and absorbance of 0.669 and 0.241 in reducing power and CUPRAC assays at the highest concentration tested. UPLC analysis was done to determine the presence of various types of polyphenols present in plant extracts. Sonia Sharma and Adarsh Pal Vig Copyright © 2013 Sonia Sharma and Adarsh Pal Vig. All rights reserved. Drought Tolerance in Wheat Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:25:36 +0000 Drought is one of the most important phenomena which limit crops’ production and yield. Crops demonstrate various morphological, physiological, biochemical, and molecular responses to tackle drought stress. Plants’ vegetative and reproductive stages are intensively influenced by drought stress. Drought tolerance is a complicated trait which is controlled by polygenes and their expressions are influenced by various environmental elements. This means that breeding for this trait is so difficult and new molecular methods such as molecular markers, quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping strategies, and expression patterns of genes should be applied to produce drought tolerant genotypes. In wheat, there are several genes which are responsible for drought stress tolerance and produce different types of enzymes and proteins for instance, late embryogenesis abundant (lea), responsive to abscisic acid (Rab), rubisco, helicase, proline, glutathione-S-transferase (GST), and carbohydrates during drought stress. This review paper has concentrated on the study of water limitation and its effects on morphological, physiological, biochemical, and molecular responses of wheat with the possible losses caused by drought stress. Arash Nezhadahmadi, Zakaria Hossain Prodhan, and Golam Faruq Copyright © 2013 Arash Nezhadahmadi et al. All rights reserved. Peculiar Evolutionary History of miR390-Guided TAS3-Like Genes in Land Plants Sat, 02 Nov 2013 11:49:05 +0000 PCR-based approach was used as a phylogenetic profiling tool to probe genomic DNA samples from representatives of evolutionary distant moss taxa, namely, classes Bryopsida, Tetraphidopsida, Polytrichopsida, Andreaeopsida, and Sphagnopsida. We found relatives of all Physcomitrella patens miR390 and TAS3-like loci in these plant taxa excluding Sphagnopsida. Importantly, cloning and sequencing of Marchantia polymorpha genomic DNA showed miR390 and TAS3-like sequences which were also found among genomic reads of M. polymorpha at NCBI database. Our data suggest that the ancient plant miR390-dependent TAS molecular machinery firstly evolved to target AP2-like mRNAs in Marchantiophyta and only then both ARF- and AP2-specific mRNAs in mosses. The presented analysis shows that moss TAS3 families may undergone losses of tasiAP2 sites during evolution toward ferns and seed plants. These data confirm that miR390-guided genes coding for ARF- and AP2-specific ta-siRNAs have been gradually changed during land plant evolution. Maria S. Krasnikova, Denis V. Goryunov, Alexey V. Troitsky, Andrey G. Solovyev, Lydmila V. Ozerova, and Sergey Y. Morozov Copyright © 2013 Maria S. Krasnikova et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Chloroform Extract of Dryopteris crassirhizoma on the Ultramicroscopic Structures of Meloidogyne incognita Thu, 24 Oct 2013 15:23:25 +0000 In our early experiments, the chloroform extract of D. crassirhizoma was demonstrated to contain the highest concentrations of total phloroglucinols among several extract fractions and possessed the most effective nematicidal activity. This study aimed to ascertain the ultrastructural changes in M. incognita after treatment with a D. crassirhizoma chloroform extract at 1 mg·mL−1 for 24 h. It was found that the extract exhibited significant destructive effects on the worm’s ultrastructure and caused distinctive damage to body surfaces and internal structures. These results will contribute to a deeper understanding of the nematicidal mechanism of D. crassirhizoma, as well as in the design of efficient bionematicides. Ji-quan Liu, Shu-lian Xie, Jia Feng, and Jin Cai Copyright © 2013 Ji-quan Liu et al. All rights reserved. Propagation and Introduction of Arnica montana L. into Cultivation: A Step to Reduce the Pressure on Endangered and High-Valued Medicinal Plant Species Thu, 24 Oct 2013 13:24:39 +0000 Arnica montana (L.) is an endangered and endemic medicinal plant species in Europe. The pressure on natural sources of this plant is alleviated by a suitable use of arnica resources in the European region and introduction into cultivation. The objective of this study was to describe the impact of different ways of plant propagation and introduction on the growth and reproduction mode of this species. During the six consecutive years of the field experiment, the vegetative and reproductive traits were monitored, and survival time was assessed. The particular ways of arnica plant propagation and introduction determined all the intrinsic species traits and plant survival. The values of the characteristics studied indicated good acclimatization of the arnica ecotype to the climatic conditions of eastern Poland. Practical implications from the data presented here include the possibility of using the presented modes of arnica propagation and introduction in the short- and long-term perspective of arnica cultivation, which can give a possibility of better adjustment of raw material production. Danuta Sugier, Piotr Sugier, and Urszula Gawlik-Dziki Copyright © 2013 Danuta Sugier et al. All rights reserved. Glandular Trichomes and Essential Oil of Thymus quinquecostatus Wed, 23 Oct 2013 18:32:05 +0000 The distribution and types of glandular trichomes and essential oil chemistry of Thymus quinquecostatus were studied. The glandular trichomes are distributed on the surface of stem, leaf, rachis, calyx and corolla, except petiole, pistil and stamen. Three morphologically distinct types of glandular trichomes are described. Peltate trichomes, consisting of a basal cell, a stalk cell and a 12-celled head, are distributed on the stem, leaf, corolla and outer side of calyx. Capitate trichomes, consisting of a unicellular base, a 1–2-celled stalk and a unicellular head, are distributed more diffusely than peltate ones, existing on stem, leaf, rachis and calyx. Digitiform trichomes are just distributed on the outer side of corolla, consisting of 1 basal cell, 3 stalk cells and 1 head cell. All three types of glandular trichomes can secrete essential oil, and in small capitate trichomes of rachis, all peltate trichomes and digitiform trichomes, essential oil is stored in a large subcuticular space, released by cuticle rupture, whereas, in other capitate trichomes, essential oil crosses the thin cuticle. The essential oil of T. quinquecostatus is yellow, and its content is highest in the growth period. 68 constituents were identified in the essential oils. The main constituent is linalool. Ping Jia, Hanzhu Liu, Ting Gao, and Hua Xin Copyright © 2013 Ping Jia et al. All rights reserved. Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Total Phenolic Compounds from Inula helenium Mon, 19 Aug 2013 12:25:08 +0000 Ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) of phenolic compounds from Inula helenium was studied. Effects of ethanol concentration, ultrasonic time, solid-liquid ratio, and number of extractions were investigated. An orthogonal array was constructed to optimize UAE process. The optimized extraction conditions were as follows: ethanol concentration, 30%; solid-liquid ratio, 1 : 20; number of extractions, 2 times; extraction time, 30 min. Under the optimal conditions, the yield of total phenolic compounds and chlorogenic acid was and  mg/g, respectively. The results showed that high amounts of phenolic compounds can be extracted from I. helenium by ultrasound-assisted extraction technology. Jin Wang, Yong-Ming Zhao, Ya-Ting Tian, Chun-Lin Yan, and Chun-Yan Guo Copyright © 2013 Jin Wang et al. All rights reserved. Shoot Organogenesis and Plant Regeneration from Leaf Explants of Lysionotus serratus D. Don Thu, 01 Aug 2013 09:18:35 +0000 The gesneriaceous perennial plant, Lysionotus serratus, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It also has a great development potential as an ornamental plant with its attractive foliage and beautiful flowers. An efficient propagation and regeneration system via direct shoot organogenesis from leaf explant was established in this study. High active cytokinin (6-benzyladenine (BA) or thidiazuron (TDZ)) was effective for direct organogenesis of initial induction. Murashige and Skoog (MS) growth media containing 0.5 mg L−1 BA alone or with combination of 0.1 mg L−1  α-Naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) were the most effective for shoot proliferation. High BA concentration (1.0 mg L−1) in the media caused high percentage of vitrified shoots though they introduced high shoot proliferation rate. Histological observation indicated that adventitious shoot regeneration on the medium containing 0.5 mg L−1 BA alone occurred directly from leaf epidermal cells without callus formation. Regenerated shoots rooted well on medium containing half-strength MS medium with 0.5 mg L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and the plantlets successfully acclimatized and grew vigorously in the greenhouse with a 94.2% and 92.1% survival rate. Qiansheng Li, Min Deng, Jie Zhang, Wei Zhao, Yigang Song, Quanjian Li, and Qingjun Huang Copyright © 2013 Qiansheng Li et al. All rights reserved. Natural Antisense Transcripts in Plants: A Review and Identification in Soybean Infected with Phakopsora pachyrhizi SuperSAGE Library Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:05:46 +0000 Natural antisense ranscripts (NAT) are RNA molecules complementary to other endogenous RNAs. They are capable of regulating the expression of target genes at different levels (transcription, mRNA stability, translation, etc.). Such a property makes them ideal for interventions in organisms' metabolism. The present study reviewed plant NAT aspects, including features, availability and genesis, conservation and distribution, coding capacity, NAT pair expression, and functions. Besides, an in silico identification of NATs pairs was presented, using deepSuperSAGE libraries of soybean infected or not with Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Results showed that around 1/3 of the 77,903 predicted trans-NATs (by PlantsNATsDB database) detected had unitags mapped in both sequences of each pair. The same 1/3 of the 436 foreseen cis-NATs showed unitags anchored in both sequences of the related pairs. For those unitags mapped in NAT pairs, a modulation expression was assigned as upregulated, downregulated, or constitutive, based on the statistical analysis (). As a result, the infected treatment promoted the expression of 2,313 trans-NATs pairs comprising unitags exclusively from that library (1,326 pairs had unitags only found in the mock library). To understand the regulation of these NAT pairs could be a key aspect in the ASR plant response. Suzana de Aragão Britto-Kido, José Ribamar Costa Ferreira Neto, Valesca Pandolfi, Francismar Corrêa Marcelino-Guimarães, Alexandre Lima Nepomuceno, Ricardo Vilela Abdelnoor, Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon, and Ederson Akio Kido Copyright © 2013 Suzana de Aragão Britto-Kido et al. All rights reserved. Chrysanthemum Cutting Productivity and Rooting Ability Are Improved by Grafting Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:02:28 +0000 Chrysanthemum has been commercially propagated by rooting of cuttings, whereas the quality will decline over multiple collections from a single plant. Therefore, we compared the vigour, rooting ability, and some physiological parameters between cuttings harvested from nongrafted “Jinba” (non-grafted cuttings) with those collected from grafted “Jinba” plants onto Artemisia scoparia as a rootstock (grafted cuttings). The yield, length, node number, stem diameter, fresh weight, and dry weight of the grafted cuttings were superior to the non-grafted cuttings. Also grafted cuttings “Jinba” rooted 1 day earlier, but showing enhanced rooting quality including number, length, diameter, and dry weight of roots, where compared to the non-grafted. The physiological parameters that indicated contents of soluble protein, peroxidase activity, soluble sugar, and starch, ratios of soluble sugar/nitrogen ratio, and carbohydrate/nitrogen (C/N), as well as contents of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and abscisic acid (ABA), and IAA/ABA ratio were significantly increased in the grafted cuttings. This suggested their important parts in mediating rooting ability. Results from this study showed that grafting improved productivity and rooting ability related to an altered physiology, which provide a means to meet the increasing demand. Jing Zhang, Sumei Chen, Ruixia Liu, Jiafu Jiang, Fadi Chen, and Weimin Fang Copyright © 2013 Jing Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Leaf Epidermis of the Rheophyte Dyckia brevifolia Baker (Bromeliaceae) Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:48:28 +0000 Some species of Dyckia Schult. f., including Dyckia brevifolia Baker, are rheophytes that live in the fast-moving water currents of streams and rivers which are subject to frequent flooding, but also period of low water. This study aimed to analyze the leaf epidermis of D. brevifolia in the context of epidermal adaptation to this aquatic plant’s rheophytic habitat. The epidermis is uniseriate, and the cuticle is thickened. The inner periclinal and anticlinal walls of the epidermal cells are thickened and lignified. Stomata are tetracytic, located in the depressions in relation to the surrounding epidermal cells, and covered by peltate trichomes. While the epidermal characteristics of D. brevifolia are similar to those of Bromeliaceae species, this species has made particular adaptations of leaf epidermis in response to its rheophytic environment. Ghislaine Maria Lobo, Thaysi Ventura de Souza, Caroline Heinig Voltolini, Ademir Reis, and Marisa Santos Copyright © 2013 Ghislaine Maria Lobo et al. All rights reserved. Antimicrobial, Antiparasitic, Anti-Inflammatory, and Cytotoxic Activities of Lopezia racemosa Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:55:24 +0000 The present study investigates the potential benefits of the Mexican medicinal plant Lopezia racemosa (Onagraceae). Extracts and fractions from aerial parts of this plant were assessed to determine their antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities in vitro. Aerial parts of the plant were extracted with various solvents and fractionated accordingly. Extracts and fractions were tested against a panel of nine bacterial and four fungal species. The antiparasitic activity was tested against Leishmania donovani, whereas the anti-inflammatory activity of the compounds was determined by measuring the secretion of interleukin-6 from human-derived macrophages. The same macrophage cell line was used to investigate the cytotoxicity of the compounds. Various extracts and fractions showed antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and anti-inflammatory activities. The hexanic fraction HF 11-14b was the most interesting fraction with antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activities. The benefit of L. racemosa as a traditional medicinal plant was confirmed as shown by its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory activities. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the biological activities of L. racemosa, including antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory activities. Carla Cruz Paredes, Paulina Bolívar Balbás, Anaximandro Gómez-Velasco, Zaida Nelly Juárez, Eugenio Sánchez Arreola, Luis Ricardo Hernández, and Horacio Bach Copyright © 2013 Carla Cruz Paredes et al. All rights reserved. Influence of Abscisic Acid and Sucrose on Somatic Embryogenesis in Cactus Copiapoa tenuissima Ritt. forma mostruosa Wed, 12 Jun 2013 09:59:11 +0000 Having produced the embryos of cactus Copiapoa tenuissima Ritt. forma monstruosa at the globular stage and callus, we investigated the effect of abscisic acid (ABA) in the following concentrations: 0, 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 μM on successive stages of direct (DSE) and indirect somatic embryogenesis (ISE). In the indirect somatic embryogenesis process we also investigated a combined effect of ABA (0, 0.1, 1 μM) and sucrose (1, 3, 5%). The results showed that a low concentration of ABA (0-1 μM) stimulates the elongation of embryos at the globular stage and the number of correct embryos in direct somatic embryogenesis, while a high ABA concentration (10–100 μM) results in growth inhibition and turgor pressure loss of somatic embryos. The indirect somatic embryogenesis study in this cactus suggests that lower ABA concentrations enhance the increase in calli fresh weight, while a high concentration of 10 μM ABA or more changes calli color and decreases its proliferation rate. However, in the case of indirect somatic embryogenesis, ABA had no effect on the number of somatic embryos and their maturation. Nevertheless, we found a positive effect of sucrose concentration for both the number of somatic embryos and the increase in calli fresh weight. J. Lema-Rumińska, K. Goncerzewicz, and M. Gabriel Copyright © 2013 J. Lema-Rumińska et al. All rights reserved. Identification, Characterization, and Palynology of High-Valued Medicinal Plants Mon, 10 Jun 2013 09:44:11 +0000 High-valued medicinal plants Achillea millefolium, Acorus calamus, Arnebia nobilis, Fumaria indica, Gymnema sylvestre, Origanum vulgare, Paeonia emodi, Peganum harmala, Psoralea corylifolia, Rauwolfia serpentina, and Vetiveria zizanioides were identified with the help of taxonomical markers and investigated for characterization and palynological studies. These parameters are used to analyze their quality, safety, and standardization for their safe use. Botanical description and crude drug description is intended for their quality assurance at the time of collection, commerce stages, manufacturing, and production. For this purpose the detailed morphology was studied and compared with the Flora of Pakistan and other available literatures. Here we reported the pollen grain morphology of Origanum vulgare, Paeonia emodi, Psoralea corylifolia, and Rauwolfia serpentina for the first time. Similarly the crude drug study of Gymnema sylvestre (leaf), Origanum vulgare (aerial parts), Paeonia emodi (tubers), and Peganum harmala (seeds) was also carried out for the first time. Hina Fazal, Nisar Ahmad, and Bilal Haider Abbasi Copyright © 2013 Hina Fazal et al. All rights reserved. Antioxidant Potential and Oil Composition of Callistemon viminalis Leaves Thu, 28 Feb 2013 13:27:31 +0000 The present study was designed to investigate the antioxidant potential and oil composition of Callistemon viminalis leaves. GC-MS analysis of the n-hexane extract revealed the presence of 40 compounds. Leaves contained appreciable levels of total phenolic contents (0.27–0.85 GAE mg/g) and total flavonoid contents (2.25–7.96 CE mg/g). DPPH radical scavenging IC50 and % inhibition of linoleic acid peroxidation were found to be in the ranges of 28.4–56.2 μg/ml and 40.1–70.2%, respectively. The haemolytic effect of the plant leaves was found in the range of 1.79–4.95%. The antioxidant activity of extracts was also studied using sunflower oil as an oxidative substrate and found that it stabilized the oil. The correlation between the results of different antioxidant assays and oxidation parameters of oil indicated that leaves' methanolic extract, exhibiting higher TPC and TFC and scavenging power, was also more potent for enhancing the oxidative stability of sunflower oil. Muhammad Zubair, Sadia Hassan, Komal Rizwan, Nasir Rasool, Muhammad Riaz, M. Zia-Ul-Haq, and Vincenzo De Feo Copyright © 2013 Muhammad Zubair et al. All rights reserved. mRNA Expression of EgCHI1, EgCHI2, and EgCHI3 in Oil Palm Leaves (Elaeis guineesis Jacq.) after Treatment with Ganoderma boninense Pat. and Trichoderma harzianum Rifai Thu, 02 Aug 2012 09:57:48 +0000 Background. Basal stem rot (BSR) disease caused by the fungus Ganoderma boninense is the most serious disease affecting the oil palm; this is because the disease escapes the early disease detection. The biocontrol agent Trichoderma harzianum can protect the disease only at the early stage of the disease. In the present study, the expression levels of three oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) chitinases encoding EgCHI1, EgCHI2, and EgCHI3 at 2, 5, and 8 weeks inoculation were measured in oil palm leaves from plants treated with G. boninense or T. harzianum alone or both. Methods. The five-month-old oil palm seedlings were treated with Gano-wood blocks inoculum and trichomulch. Expression of EgCHI1, EgCHI2, and EgCHI3 in treated leaves tissue was determined by real-time PCR. Results. Oil palm chitinases were not strongly expressed in oil palm leaves of plants treated with G. boninense alone compared to other treatments. Throughout the 8-week experiment, expression of EgCHI1 increased more than 3-fold in leaves of plants treated with T. harzianum and G. boninense when compared to those of control and other treated plants. Conclusion. The data illustrated that chitinase cDNA expression varied depending on tissue and the type of treatment. Laila Naher, Soon Guan Tan, Chai Ling Ho, Umi Kalsom Yusuf, Siti Hazar Ahmad, and Faridah Abdullah Copyright © 2012 Laila Naher et al. All rights reserved. Seed Yield of Mungbean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek) in relation to Growth and Developmental Aspects Thu, 02 Aug 2012 08:46:50 +0000 Growth parameters such as leaf area (LA), total dry mass (TDM) production, crop growth rate (CGR), relative growth rate (RGR), and net assimilation rate (NAR) were compared in six varieties of mungbean under subtropical condition (24°8′ N 90°0′ E) to identify limiting growth characters for the efficient application of physiology breeding for higher yields. Results revealed that a relatively smaller portion of TDM was produced before flower initiation and the bulk of it after anthesis. The maximum CGR was observed during pod filling stage in all the varieties due to maximum leaf area (LA) development at this stage. Two plant characters such as LA and CGR contributed to the higher TDM production. Results indicated that high yielding mungbean varieties should possess larger LA, higher TDM production ability, superior CGR at all growth stages, and high relative growth rate and net assimilation rate at vegetative stage which would result in superior yield components. M. M. A. Mondal, A. B. Puteh, M. A. Malek, M. R. Ismail, M. Y. Rafii, and M. A. Latif Copyright © 2012 M. M. A. Mondal et al. All rights reserved. Different Accumulation of Free Amino Acids during Short- and Long-Term Osmotic Stress in Wheat Wed, 01 Aug 2012 09:15:28 +0000 The effect of wheat chromosome 5A on free amino acid accumulation induced by osmotic stress was compared in chromosome 5A substitution lines with different freezing tolerance. Treatment with 15% polyethylene glycol (PEG) resulted in greater total free amino acid content even after 3 days compared to the controls. The ratio of amino acids belonging to various amino acid families differed after 3-week treatment in the control and PEG-treated plants only in the case of the freezing-sensitive substitution line. There was a transient increase with a maximum after 3 days in the amounts of several amino acids, after which their concentrations exhibited a more gradual increase. During the first days of osmotic stress the Glu, Gln, Asp, Asn, Thr, Ser, Leu, and His concentrations were greater in the tolerant substitution line than in the sensitive one, while the opposite relationship was observed at the end of the PEG treatment. The coordinated changes in the levels of individual amino acids indicated that they are involved in both the short- and long-term responses to osmotic stress. The alterations differed in the two chromosome 5A substitution lines, depending on the stress tolerance of the chromosome donor genotype. Zita Kovács, Livia Simon-Sarkadi, Ildikó Vashegyi, and Gábor Kocsy Copyright © 2012 Zita Kovács et al. All rights reserved. Carrizo citrange Plants Do Not Require the Presence of Roots to Modulate the Response to Osmotic Stress Tue, 31 Jul 2012 09:10:19 +0000 The study of the effects of a specific stress condition on the performance of plants grown under field conditions is difficult due to interactions among multiple abiotic and biotic factors affecting the system. In vitro tissue-culture-based techniques allow the study of each adverse condition independently and also make possible to investigate the performance of genotypes of interest under stress conditions avoiding the effect of the root. In this paper, the response of Carrizo citrange, a commercial citrus rootstock, to osmotic stress was evaluated by culturing in vitro intact plants and micropropagated shoots. The osmotic stress was generated by adding two different concentrations of polyethyleneglycol to the culture media. Different parameters such as plant performance, organ length, antioxidant activities, and endogenous contents of proline, malondialdehyde, and hormones were determined. Differently to that observed under high salinity, when subjected to osmotic stress conditions, Carrizo citrange showed increased endogenous levels of MDA, proline, and ABA. These results evidence that the mechanisms of response of Carrizo citrange to saline or osmotic stress are different. The presence of roots was not necessary to activate any of the plant responses which indicates that the organs involved in the stress perception and signaling depends on the type of adverse condition to which plants are subjected. Rosa M. Pérez-Clemente, Almudena Montoliu, Sara I. Zandalinas, Carlos de Ollas, and Aurelio Gómez-Cadenas Copyright © 2012 Rosa M. Pérez-Clemente et al. All rights reserved. Identification of Xylem Occlusions Occurring in Cut Clematis (Clematis L., fam. Ranunculaceae Juss.) Stems during Their Vase Life Tue, 31 Jul 2012 08:29:41 +0000 During the vase life of cut stems obstruction of xylem vessels occurs due to microbial growth, formation of tyloses, deposition of materials in the lumen of xylem vessels and the presence of air emboli in the vascular system. Such obstructions may restrict water uptake and its transport towards upwards thus lowering their ornamental value and longevity of cut flowers. Clematis is a very attractive plant material which may be used as cut flower in floral compositions. Nothing is known about the histochemical or cytological nature of xylem blockages occurring in cut stems of this plant. This study shows that in clematis, tyloses are the main source of occlusions, although bacteria and some amorphic substances may also appear inside the vessels. A preservative composed of 200 mg dm−3 8-HQC (8-hydroxyquinolin citrate) and 2% sucrose arrested bacterial development and the growth of tyloses. This information can be helpful in the development of new treatments to improve keeping qualities of cut clematis stems. Agata Jedrzejuk, Julia Rochala, Jacek Zakrzewski, and Julita Rabiza-Świder Copyright © 2012 Agata Jedrzejuk et al. All rights reserved. Erratum to “Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation of Guignardia mangiferae from “Tahiti” Acid Lime” Mon, 18 Jun 2012 10:29:19 +0000 Ester Wickert, Eliana Gertrudes de Macedo Lemos, Luciano Takeshi Kishi, Andressa de Souza, and Antonio de Goes Copyright © 2012 Ester Wickert et al. All rights reserved. Intraspecific Crossability in Andrographis paniculata Nees: A Barrier against Breeding of the Species Mon, 04 Jun 2012 14:58:05 +0000 The ambiguity of crossability in Andrographis paniculata (AP) was pointed out in the present research. Accordingly, the effects of different style length and crossing time on intraspecific crossability of seven AP accessions in 21 possible combinations were investigated. The best results came out between 08:00 to 11:00 h for manual out-crossing of AP, while the time from 12:00 to 18:00 h showed a decreasing trend. Moreover, 12 mm style length was found as the most proper phenological stage in terms of stigmatic receptivity to perform out-crossing in this plant. All in all, AP behaved unlikely in each combination, and a significant difference was observed in crossability of AP accessions (𝑃<0.01). The lowest and highest crossability rate was found in hybrids 21 (11261NS × 11344K) and 27 (11322PA × 11350T) with 0.25% and 13.33%, respectively. Furthermore, a significant negative relationship between style length and crossibility (𝑟2=0.762∗∗) was recorded in this research. As a final conclusion, crossing time and proper style length can improve the intraspecific crossability in the species, considerably. Despite all the mentioned contrivances, we still believe that a genetic incongruity should be involved as an additional obstacle in crossability of those combinations that failed or responded deficiently to outcrossing. Alireza Valdiani, Mihdzar Abdul Kadir, Mohd Said Saad, Daryush Talei, Vahid Omidvar, and Chia Sok Hua Copyright © 2012 Alireza Valdiani et al. All rights reserved. Physiological and Growth Responses of Six Turfgrass Species Relative to Salinity Tolerance Tue, 22 May 2012 16:03:05 +0000 The demand for salinity-tolerant turfgrasses is increasing due to augmented use of effluent or low-quality water (sea water) for turf irrigation and the growing turfgrass industry in coastal areas. Experimental plants, grown in plastic pots filled with a mixture of river sand and KOSASR peat (9 : 1), were irrigated with sea water at different dilutions imparting salinity levels of 0, 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, or 48 dS m−1. Salinity tolerance was evaluated on the basis of leaf firing, shoot and root growth reduction, proline content, and relative water content. Paspalum vaginatum was found to be most salt tolerant followed by Zoysia japonica and Zoysia matrella, while Digitaria didactyla, Cynodon dactylon “Tifdwarf,” and Cynodon dactylon “Satiri” were moderately tolerant. The results indicate the importance of turfgrass varietal selection for saline environments. Md. Kamal Uddin, Abdul Shukor Juraimi, Mohd. Razi Ismail, Md. Alamgir Hossain, Radziah Othman, and Anuar Abdul Rahim Copyright © 2012 Md. Kamal Uddin et al. All rights reserved. Growth and Anatomical Parameters of Adventitious Roots Formed on Mung Bean Hypocotyls Are Correlated with Galactoglucomannan Oligosaccharides Structure Tue, 22 May 2012 15:47:25 +0000 The effect of galactoglucomannan oligosaccharides (GGMOs) compared with chemically modified oligosaccharides, GGMOs-g (with reduced number of D-galactose side chains) and GGMOs-r (with reduced reducing ends) on mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek) adventitious roots formation, elongation, and anatomical structure have been studied. All types of oligosaccharides influenced adventitious root formation in the same way: stimulation in the absence of exogenous auxin and inhibition in the presence of exogenous auxin. Both reactions are probably related with the presence/content of endogenous auxin in plant cuttings. However, the adventitious root length was inhibited by GGMOs both in the absence as well as in the presence of auxin (IBA or NAA), while GGMOs-g inhibition was significantly weaker compared with GGMOs. GGMOs-r were without significant difference on both processes, compared with GGMOs. GGMOs affected not only the adventitious root length but also their anatomy in dependence on the combination with certain type of auxin. The oligosaccharides influenced cortical cells division, which was reflected in the cortex area and in the root diameter. All processes followed were dependent on oligosaccharides chemical structure. The results suggest also that GGM-derived oligosaccharides may play an important role in adventitious roots elongation but not in their formation. K. Kollárová, I. Zelko, M. Henselová, P. Capek, and D. Lišková Copyright © 2012 K. Kollárová et al. All rights reserved. Botanicals to Control Soft Rot Bacteria of Potato Tue, 22 May 2012 15:47:02 +0000 Extracts from eleven different plant species such as jute (Corchorus capsularis L.), cheerota (Swertia chiraita Ham.), chatim (Alstonia scholaris L.), mander (Erythrina variegata), bael (Aegle marmelos L.), marigold (Tagetes erecta), onion (Allium cepa), garlic (Allium sativum L.), neem (Azadiracta indica), lime (Citrus aurantifolia), and turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) were tested for antibacterial activity against potato soft rot bacteria, E. carotovora subsp. carotovora (Ecc) P-138, under in vitro and storage conditions. Previously, Ecc P-138 was identified as the most aggressive soft rot bacterium in Bangladeshi potatoes. Of the 11 different plant extracts, only extracts from dried jute leaves and cheerota significantly inhibited growth of Ecc P-138 in vitro. Finally, both plant extracts were tested to control the soft rot disease of potato tuber under storage conditions. In a 22-week storage condition, the treated potatoes were significantly more protected against the soft rot infection than those of untreated samples in terms of infection rate and weight loss. The jute leaf extracts showed more pronounced inhibitory effects on Ecc-138 growth both in in vitro and storage experiments. M. M. Rahman, A. A. Khan, M. E. Ali, I. H. Mian, A. M. Akanda, and S. B. Abd Hamid Copyright © 2012 M. M. Rahman et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation of the Causal Agent of Citrus Black Spot in Brazil Tue, 15 May 2012 17:42:23 +0000 One of the most important diseases that affect sweet orange orchards in Brazil is the Citrus Black Spot that is caused by the fungus Guignardia citricarpa. This disease causes irreparable losses due to the premature falling of fruit, as well as its severe effects on the epidermis of ripe fruit that renders them unacceptable at the fresh fruit markets. Despite the fact that the fungus and the disease are well studied, little is known about the genetic diversity and the structure of the fungi populations in Brazilian orchards. The objective of this work was study the genetic diversity and population differentiation of G. citricarpa associated with four sweet orange varieties in two geographic locations using DNA sequence of ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region from fungi isolates. We observed that different populations are closely related and present little genetic structure according to varieties and geographic places with the highest genetic diversity distributed among isolates of the same populations. The same haplotypes were sampled in different populations from the same and different orange varieties and from similar and different origins. If new and pathogenic fungi would become resistant to fungicides, the observed genetic structure could rapidly spread this new form from one population to others. Ester Wickert, Antonio de Goes, Andressa de Souza, and Eliana Gertrudes de Macedo Lemos Copyright © 2012 Ester Wickert et al. All rights reserved. Ephedra alte (Joint Pine): An Invasive, Problematic Weedy Species in Forestry and Fruit Tree Orchards in Jordan Thu, 03 May 2012 09:01:26 +0000 A field survey was carried out to record plant species climbed by Ephedra alte in certain parts of Jordan during 2008–2010. Forty species of shrubs, ornamental, fruit, and forest trees belonging to 24 plant families suffered from the climbing habit of E. alte. Growth of host plants was adversely affected by E. alte growth that extended over their vegetation. In addition to its possible competition for water and nutrients, the extensive growth it forms over host species prevents photosynthesis, smothers growth and makes plants die underneath the extensive cover. However, E. alte did not climb all plant species, indicating a host preference range. Damaged fruit trees included Amygdalus communis, Citrus aurantifolia, Ficus carica, Olea europaea, Opuntia ficus-indica, and Punica granatum. Forestry species that were adversely affected included Acacia cyanophylla, Ceratonia siliqua, Crataegus azarolus, Cupressus sempervirens, Pinus halepensis, Pistacia atlantica, Pistacia palaestina, Quercus coccifera, Quercus infectoria, Retama raetam, Rhamnus palaestina, Rhus tripartita, and Zizyphus spina-christi. Woody ornamentals attacked were Ailanthus altissima, Hedera helix, Jasminum fruticans, Jasminum grandiflorum, Nerium oleander, and Pyracantha coccinea. Results indicated that E. alte is a strong competitive for light and can completely smother plants supporting its growth. A. communis, F. carica, R. palaestina, and C. azarolus were most frequently attacked. Jamal R. Qasem Copyright © 2012 Jamal R. Qasem. All rights reserved. Pollen, Tapetum, and Orbicule Development in Colletia paradoxa and Discaria americana (Rhamnaceae) Wed, 02 May 2012 19:15:00 +0000 Tapetum, orbicule, and pollen grain ontogeny in Colletia paradoxa and Discaria americana were studied with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The ultrastructural changes observed during the different stages of development in the tapetal cells and related to orbicule and pollen grain formation are described. The proorbicules have the appearance of lipid globule, and their formation is related to the endoplasmic reticulum of rough type (ERr). This is the first report on the presence of orbicules in the family Rhamnaceae. Pollen grains are shed at the bicellular stage. M. Gotelli, B. Galati, and D. Medan Copyright © 2012 M. Gotelli et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of High Concentrations of Glufosinate Ammonium on the Yield Components of Transgenic Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Constitutively Expressing the bar Gene Wed, 02 May 2012 15:12:48 +0000 We present an experiment done on a bar+ wheat line treated with 14 different concentrations of glufosinate ammonium—an effective component of nonselective herbicides—during seed germination in a closed experimental system. Yield components as number of spikes per plant, number of grains per spike, thousand kernel weight, and yield per plant were thoroughly analysed and statistically evaluated after harvesting. We found that a concentration of glufosinate ammonium 5000 times the lethal dose was not enough to inhibit the germination of transgenic plants expressing the bar gene. Extremely high concentrations of glufosinate ammonium caused a bushy phenotype, significantly lower numbers of grains per spike, and thousand kernel weights. Concerning the productivity, we observed that concentrations of glufosinate ammonium 64 times the lethal dose did not lead to yield depression. Our results draw attention to the possibilities implied in the transgenic approaches. Zoltán Áy, Róbert Mihály, Mátyás Cserháti, Éva Kótai, and János Pauk Copyright © 2012 Zoltán Áy et al. All rights reserved. Erratic Male Meiosis Resulting in 2𝑛 Pollen Grain Formation in a 4x Cytotype (2𝑛=28) of Ranunculus laetus Wall. ex Royle Wed, 02 May 2012 13:05:40 +0000 Two accessions were studied for male meiosis in Ranunculus laetus from the cold regions of Northwest Himalayas. One accession showed the presence of 14 bivalents at diakinesis and regular segregation of bivalents at anaphase I which lead to normal tetrad formation with four 𝑛 microspores and consequently 𝑛 pollen grains and 100% pollen fertility. Second accession from the same locality revealed the erratic meiosis characterized by the presence of all the 28 chromosomes as univalents in meiocytes at metaphase I. Univalent chromosomes failed to segregate during anaphases and produced restitution nuclei at meiosis I and II. These restitution nuclei resulted into dyads and triads which subsequently produced two types of apparently fertile pollen grains. On the basis of size, the two types of pollen grains were categorized as 𝑛 (normal reduced) and 2𝑛 (unreduced, 1.5-times larger than the 𝑛 pollen grains). The estimated frequency of 2𝑛 pollen grains from dyads and triads (61.59%) was almost the same as that of the observed one (59.90%), which indicated that 2𝑛 pollen grains in R. laetus were the result of dyads and triads. The present paper herein may provide an insight into the mechanisms of the formation of various intraspecific polyploids through sexual polyploidization in R. laetus. Puneet Kumar and Vijay Kumar Singhal Copyright © 2012 Puneet Kumar and Vijay Kumar Singhal. All rights reserved. Soluble Sugars and Sucrose-Metabolizing Enzymes Related to Cold Acclimation of Sweet Cherry Cultivars Grafted on Different Rootstocks Wed, 02 May 2012 12:19:36 +0000 The bark tissues were collected from 4-year-old sweet cherry trees cvs. 0900 Ziraat and Lambert grafted on Gisela 5 and Mazzard rootstocks in cold-acclimated (CA) and nonacclimated (NA) stages. Bark tissues subjected to 4°C and −5°C injured to a limited extent in both stages. However, more than 50% injury occurred by temperatures equal to or colder than −15°C only in NA period. Total soluble sugar (TSS), reducing sugars, and sucrose contents were higher in CA than those in NA stages in all samples. The activities of acid invertase (EC and sucrose synthase (SS) (EC enzymes were higher in NA stage than those in CA stage. Considering the rootstocks, reducing sugars were higher in both cultivars grafted on Gisela 5 whereas sucrose contents were higher in both cultivars grafted on Mazzard. However, the enzyme activities of both cultivars were higher on Mazzard rootstock than on Gisela 5. In conclusion, cold hardiness of sweet cherry graft combinations was suggested by increasing their TSS, reducing sugars, and sucrose contents significantly in the CA stage. Moreover, acid invertase and SS are down regulated during cold acclimation. Indeed the results suggested that Mazzard is more cold-hardy rootstock than Gisela 5. Ece Turhan and Sergul Ergin Copyright © 2012 Ece Turhan and Sergul Ergin. All rights reserved. Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Field on Healthy and Infected Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) Trees with Phytoplasma Wed, 02 May 2012 11:52:07 +0000 Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has become an issue of concern for a great many people and is an active area of research. Phytoplasmas, also known as mycoplasma-like organisms, are wall-less prokaryotes that are pathogens of many plant species throughout the world. Effects of electromagnetic fields on the changes of lipid peroxidation, content of H2O2, proline, protein, and carbohydrates were investigated in leaves of two-year-old trees of lime (Citrus aurantifolia) infected by the Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifoliae. The healthy and infected plants were discontinuously exposed to a 10 KHz quadratic EMF with maximum power of 9 W for 5 days, each 5 h, at 25°C. Fresh and dry weight of leaves, content of MDA, proline, and protein increased in both healthy and infected plants under electromagnetic fields, compared with those of the control plants. Electromagnetic fields decreased hydrogen peroxide and carbohydrates content in both healthy and infected plants compared to those of the controls. Fatemeh Abdollahi, Vahid Niknam, Faezeh Ghanati, Faribors Masroor, and Seyyed Nasr Noorbakhsh Copyright © 2012 Fatemeh Abdollahi et al. All rights reserved. NADP-Dependent Isocitrate Dehydrogenase from Arabidopsis Roots Contributes in the Mechanism of Defence against the Nitro-Oxidative Stress Induced by Salinity Wed, 02 May 2012 11:45:43 +0000 NADPH regeneration appears to be essential in the mechanism of plant defence against oxidative stress. Plants contain several NADPH-generating dehydrogenases including isocitrate dehydrogenase (NADP-ICDH), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGDH), and malic enzyme (ME). In Arabidopsis seedlings grown under salinity conditions (100 mM NaCl) the analysis of physiological parameters, antioxidant enzymes (catalase and superoxide dismutase) and content of superoxide radical (O2•−), nitric oxide (NO), and peroxynitrite (ONOO−) indicates a process of nitro-oxidative stress induced by NaCl. Among the analysed NADPH-generating dehydrogenases under salinity conditions, the NADP-ICDH showed the maximum activity mainly attributable to the root NADP-ICDH. Thus, these data provide new insights on the relevance of the NADP-ICDH which could be considered as a second barrier in the mechanism of response against the nitro-oxidative stress generated by salinity. Marina Leterrier, Juan B. Barroso, Raquel Valderrama, José M. Palma, and Francisco J. Corpas Copyright © 2012 Marina Leterrier et al. All rights reserved. Pollen Viability, Pistil Receptivity, and Embryo Development in Hybridization of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn Wed, 02 May 2012 11:13:16 +0000 Seed set is usually low and differs for different crosses of flower lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.). The reasons remain unknown, and this has a negative impact on lotus breeding. To determine the causes, we carried out two crosses of flower lotus, that is, “Jinsenianhua” × “Qinhuaihuadeng” and “Qinhuaihuadeng” × “Jinsenianhua” and pollen viability, pistil receptivity, and embryo development were investigated. The pollen grains collected at 05:00-06:00 hrs had the highest viability, and the viabilities of “Jinsenianhua” and “Qinhuaihuadeng” were 20.6 and 15.7%, respectively. At 4 h after artificial pollination, the number of pollen grains germinating on each stigma reached a peak: 63.0 and 17.2 per stigma in “Jinsenianhua” × “Qinhuaihuadeng” and “Qinhuaihuadeng” × “Jinsenianhua”, respectively. At 1 d after artificial pollination, the percentages of normal embryos in the two crosses were 55.0 and 21.9%, respectively; however, at 11 d after pollination, the corresponding percentages were 20.8 and 11.2%. Seed sets of the two crosses were 17.9 and 8.0%, respectively. The results suggested that low pistil receptivity and embryo abortion caused low seed set in “Qinhuaihuadeng” × “Jinsenianhua”, whereas low fecundity of “Jinsenianhua” × “Qinhuaihuadeng” was mainly attributable to embryo abortion. Yan-Li Wang, Zhi-Yong Guan, Fa-Di Chen, Wei-Min Fang, and Nian-Jun Teng Copyright © 2012 Yan-Li Wang et al. All rights reserved. Localisation of Abundant and Organ-Specific Genes Expressed in Rosa hybrida Leaves and Flower Buds by Direct In Situ RT-PCR Tue, 01 May 2012 19:05:21 +0000 In situ PCR is a technique that allows specific nucleic acid sequences to be detected in individual cells and tissues. In situ PCR and IS-RT-PCR are elegant techniques that can increase both sensitivity and throughput, but they are, at best, only semiquantitative; therefore, it is desirable first to ascertain the expression pattern by conventional means to establish the suitable conditions for each probe. In plants, in situ RT-PCR is widely used in the expression localisation of specific genes, including MADS-box and other function-specific genes or housekeeping genes in floral buds and other organs. This method is especially useful in small organs or during early developmental stages when the separation of particular parts is impossible. In this paper, we compared three different labelling and immunodetection methods by using in situ RT-PCR in Rosa hybrida flower buds and leaves. As target genes, we used the abundant β-actin and RhFUL gene, which is expressed only in the leaves and petals/sepals of flower buds. We used digoxygenin-11-dUTP, biotin-11-dUTP, and fluorescein-12-dUTP-labelled nucleotides and antidig-AP/ streptavidin-fluorescein-labelled antibodies. All of the used methods gave strong, specific signal and all of them may be used in localization of gene expression on tissue level in rose organs. Agata Jedrzejuk, Heiko Mibus, and Margrethe Serek Copyright © 2012 Agata Jedrzejuk et al. All rights reserved. Occurrence of Morphological and Anatomical Adaptive Traits in Young and Adult Plants of the Rare Mediterranean Cliff Species Primula palinuri Petagna Mon, 30 Apr 2012 14:45:15 +0000 Cliffs worldwide are known to be reservoirs of relict biodiversity. Despite the presence of harsh abiotic conditions, large endemic floras live in such environments. Primula palinuri Petagna is a rare endemic plant species, surviving on cliff sites along a few kilometres of the Tyrrhenian coast in southern Italy. This species is declared at risk of extinction due to human impact on the coastal areas in question. Population surveys have shown that most of the plants are old individuals, while seedlings and plants at early stages of development are rare. We followed the growth of P. palinuri plants from seed germination to the adult phase and analysed the morphoanatomical traits of plants at all stages of development. Our results showed that the pressure of cliff environmental factors has been selected for seasonal habitus and structural adaptive traits in this species. The main morphoanatomical modifications are suberized cell layers and accumulation of phenolic compounds in cell structures. These features are strictly related to regulation of water uptake and storage as well as defence from predation. However, we found them well established only in adult plants and not in juvenile individuals. These findings contribute to explain the rare recruitment of the present relict populations, identifying some of the biological traits which result in species vulnerability. Veronica De Micco and Giovanna Aronne Copyright © 2012 Veronica De Micco and Giovanna Aronne. All rights reserved. The Role of Biotechnology for Conservation and Biologically Active Substances Production of Rhodiola rosea: Endangered Medicinal Species Mon, 30 Apr 2012 13:48:37 +0000 At present, more than 50 000 plant species are used in phytotherapy and medicine. About 2/3 of them are harvested from nature leading to local extinction of many species or degradation of their habitats. Biotechnological methods offer possibilities not only for faster cloning and conservation of the genotype of the plants but for modification of their gene information, regulation, and expression for production of valuable substances in higher amounts or with better properties. Rhodiola rosea is an endangered medicinal species with limited distribution. It has outstanding importance for pharmaceutical industry for prevention and cure of cancer, heart and nervous system diseases, and so forth. Despite the great interest in golden root and the wide investigations in the area of phytochemistry, plant biotechnology remained less endeavoured and exploited. The paper presents research on initiation of in vitro cultures in Rhodiola rosea and some other Rhodiola species. Achievements in induction of organogenic and callus cultures, regeneration, and micropropagation varied but were a good basis for alternative in vitro synthesis of the desired metabolites and for the development of efficient systems for micropropagation for conservation of the species. Krasimira Tasheva and Georgina Kosturkova Copyright © 2012 Krasimira Tasheva and Georgina Kosturkova. All rights reserved. Reproductive Ecology of Male and Female Strobili and Mating System in Two Different Populations of Pinus roxburghii Mon, 30 Apr 2012 13:45:57 +0000 We studied several flowering traits, namely, male-female cone phenology, male-female cone production per tree, mating system, sex ratio, air-borne pollen grains and pollen migration, over four successive years in two different natural populations of P. roxburghii from Garhwal Himalaya, India. Assessment of each trait mentioned except pollen dispersion was done by selecting five representative trees randomly in each population. The pollen migration was studied on naturally isolated source trees. The pollen trapping was done in all directions up to 2.5 km. The average reproductive period in P. roxburghii was 36 days with 3–5 days protandry. There were significant year and population effects for male and female cone output and pollen grains production per tree. In mass production year (1999), an average production of pollen cone per tree was estimated as 42.44±8.32×103 at lower altitude and 28.1±0.89×103 at higher altitude. The controlled pollination results in high level of outcrossing with 90% seed setting. We conclude that the high male-female ratio and tremendous pollen production capacity in P. roxburghii indicate high male competition among trees within populations. The isolation strip of 600 m is considered minimal for the management of seed orchard. Chandra Mohan Sharma, Vinod Prasad Khanduri, and Sunil Kumar Ghildiyal Copyright © 2012 Chandra Mohan Sharma et al. All rights reserved. Morphofunctional Traits and Pollination Mechanisms of Coronilla emerus L. Flowers (Fabaceae) Mon, 30 Apr 2012 11:36:39 +0000 It is accepted that the papilionaceous corolla of the Fabaceae evolved under the selective pressure of bee pollinators. Morphology and function of different parts of Coronilla emerus L. flowers were related to their role in the pollination mechanism. The corolla has a vexillum with red nectar lines, a keel hiding stamens and pistil, and two wing petals fasten to the keel with two notched folds. Pollinators land on the complex of keel and wings, trigger the protrusion of pollen and finally of the stigma from the keel tip. Data on pollen viability and stigma receptivity prove that flowers are proterandrous. The results of hand-pollination experiments confirmed that insects are fundamental to set seed. Interaction with pollinators allows not only the transport of pollen but also the rupture of the stigmatic cuticle, necessary to achieve both allogamy and autogamy. Field observations showed that Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Diptera visited the flowers. Only some of the Hymenoptera landed on the flowers from the front and elicited pollination mechanisms. Most of the insects sucked the nectar from the back without any pollen transfer. Finally, morphological and functional characteristics of C. emerus flowers are discussed in terms of floral larceny and reduction in pollination efficiency. Giovanna Aronne, Manuela Giovanetti, and Veronica De Micco Copyright © 2012 Giovanna Aronne et al. All rights reserved. Medicinal and Environmental Indicator Species of Utricularia from Montane Forest of Peninsular Malaysia Mon, 30 Apr 2012 08:23:27 +0000 The carnivorous Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae) is a small herb of multifarious wet habitats worldwide. Eleven of the 14 Peninsular Malaysian species range into the mountains. Distribution, disturbance adaptability and collection frequency were used to formulate their commonness category. Common (U. aurea, U. bifida, and U. minutissima) and fairly common (U. gibba and U. uliginosa) species are mostly lowland plants that ascend to open montane microhabitats, while the fairly common (U. striatula), narrow-range (U. caerulea pink form and U. involvens), rare (U. furcellata and U. scandens), and endemic (U. vitellina) species are restricted to mountainous sites. Common species that colonise dystrophic to oligotrophic man-made sites in late succession could serve as predictors for general health and recovery of wet habitats. Rarer species are often locally abundant, their niches situated around pristine forest edges. When in decline, they indicate the beginning of problems affecting the forest. Utricularia is reportedly nutritious, mildly astringent, and diuretic. Preadapted to nutrient-poor, waterlogged soils, U. bifida is suitable as an alternative for small-scale herb cultivation on low pH, wet poor soils usually deemed not suitable for any crops. Noorma Wati Haron and Ming Yee Chew Copyright © 2012 Noorma Wati Haron and Ming Yee Chew. All rights reserved. Secondary Metabolites of Hypericum leptophyllum Hochst., an Endemic Turkish Species Sun, 29 Apr 2012 11:22:23 +0000 In the present study, the presence of the phloroglucinol derivative hyperforin, the naphthodianthrones hypericin and pseudohypericin, the phenylpropane chlorogenic acid and the flavonoids rutin, hyperoside, kaempferol, isoquercetine, quercitrine, and quercetine was investigated in Hypericum leptophyllum Hochst., an endemic Turkish species for the first time. The aerial parts representing a total of 30 individuals were collected at full flowering and dissected into floral, leaf, and stem tissues. After being dried at room temperature, the plant materials were assayed for secondary metabolite concentrations by HPLC. Aerial plant parts accumulated chlorogenic acid, hyperoside, isoquercetine, quercitrine, and quercetine, but they did not accumulate hyperforin, hypericin, pseudohypericin, rutin, and kaempferol. Accumulation levels of the detected compounds varied with plant tissues. Such kind of data could be useful for elucidation of the chemotaxonomical significance of the corresponding compounds and phytochemical evaluation of this endemic species. Necdet Camas, Jolita Radusiene, Zydrunas Stanius, Omer Caliskan, and Cuneyt Cirak Copyright © 2012 Necdet Camas et al. All rights reserved. Phytophthora capsici Epidemic Dispersion on Commercial Pepper Fields in Aguascalientes, Mexico Thu, 26 Apr 2012 15:50:11 +0000 Chili pepper blight observed on pepper farms from north Aguascalientes was monitored for the presence of Phytophthora capsici during 2008–2010. Initially, ELISA tests were directed to plant samples from greenhouses and rustic nurseries, showing an 86% of positive samples. Later, samples of wilted plants from the farms during the first survey were tested with ELISA. The subsequent survey on soil samples included mycelia isolation and PCR amplification of a 560 bp fragment of ITS-specific DNA sequence of P. capsici. Data was analyzed according to four geographical areas defined by coordinates to ease the dispersal assessment. In general, one-third of the samples from surveyed fields contained P. capsici, inferring that this may be the pathogen responsible of the observed wilt. Nevertheless, only five sites from a total of 92 were consistently negative to P. capsici. The presence of this pathogen was detected through ELISA and confirmed through PCR. The other two-thirds of the negative samples may be attributable to Fusarium and Rhizoctonia, both isolated instead of Phytophthora in these areas. Due to these striking results, this information would be of interest for local plant protection committees and farmers to avoid further dispersal of pathogens to new lands. Adrián Zapata-Vázquez, Mario Sánchez-Sánchez, Alicia del-Río-Robledo, Héctor Silos-Espino, Catarino Perales-Segovia, Silvia Flores-Benítez, Mario Martín González-Chavira, and Luis Lorenzo Valera-Montero Copyright © 2012 Adrián Zapata-Vázquez et al. All rights reserved. Variation in Nectar Volume and Sugar Concentration of Allium ursinum L. ssp. ucrainicum in Three Habitats Tue, 24 Apr 2012 11:51:19 +0000 Floral nectar volume and concentration of ramson (Allium ursinum L. ssp. ucrainicum) were investigated in three different habitats, including two types of sessile oak-hornbeam association on brown forest soil with clay illuviation and a silver lime-flowering ash rock forest association on rendzina. Daily nectar production ranged from 0.1 to 3.8 μL per flower with sugar concentrations of 25 to 50%. Mean nectar volumes and concentrations showed significant differences between freely exposed flowers and covered flowers, which had been isolated from flower visitors 24 h prior to nectar studies. Both the amount and quality of nectar were affected by microclimatic conditions and soil properties and varied between populations at different habitats. In the silver lime-flowering ash rock-forest association mean nectar volumes and concentrations were lower than in a typical sessile oak-hornbeam association on three occasions, the difference being significant in two cases. During full bloom, the date of sampling did not have a profound effect on either nectar volume or concentration. Ágnes Farkas, Réka Molnár, Tamás Morschhauser, and István Hahn Copyright © 2012 Ágnes Farkas et al. All rights reserved. Spontaneous Hybridization between Pinus mugo and Pinus sylvestris at the Lithuanian Seaside: A Morphological Survey Tue, 24 Apr 2012 08:33:26 +0000 We address the problem of spontaneous hybridization between an exotic species Pinus mugo and the native/local P. sylvestris at the seaside spit of Kursiu Nerija in Lithuania. The objective was to identify spontaneous hybrids between P. mugo and P. sylvestris based on morphology traits among the individuals naturally regenerating at the seaside spit. The field inventory was carried out over the entire Lithuanian part of the spit, and 200 individuals morphologically intermediate between P. sylvestris and P. mugo were identified. Based on a weighted trait index, the intermediate individuals were grouped into two groups, one morphologically close to P. sylvestris and another close to P. mugo. The needle micromorphological traits of the putative hybrids were of intermediate values between P. mugo and P. sylvestris. The results provide a strong evidence of spontaneous hybridization between P. mugo and P. sylvestris in Lithuanian seaside spit of Kursiu Nerija. Darius Danusevičius, Vitas Marozas, Gediminas Brazaitis, Raimundas Petrokas, and Knud Ib Christensen Copyright © 2012 Darius Danusevičius et al. All rights reserved. Identification and Mechanism of Echinochloa crus-galli Resistance to Fenoxaprop-p-ethyl with respect to Physiological and Anatomical Differences Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:54:16 +0000 Identification and mechanism of Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) resistance to fenoxaprop-p-ethyl via physiological and anatomical differences between susceptible and resistant were investigated. The physiological and anatomical differences that were take into account were growth reduction, chlorophyll content reduction, lamina thickness, and xylem vessel diameter in both susceptible and resistant biotypes of E. crus-galli. The results showed that the growth reduction fifty (GR50) of resistant biotype was 12.07-times higher than that of the susceptible biotype of E. crus-galli treated with fenoxaprop-p-ethyl. The chlorophyll content was highly reduced in the susceptible biotype relative to the resistant one of E. crus-galli treated with fenoxaprop-p-ethyl. An anatomical test showed significant differences in the cytology of susceptible and resistant biotypes of E. crus-galli treated with fenoxaprop-p-ethyl with respect to lamina thickness and xylem vessel diameter. The resistance of E. crus-galli to fenoxaprop-p-ethyl may be due to the faster metabolism of fenoxaprop-p-ethyl below the physiologically active concentration or the insensitivity of its target enzyme (Acetyl-CoA carboxylase). Amany Hamza, Aly Derbalah, and Mohamed El-Nady Copyright © 2012 Amany Hamza et al. All rights reserved. Plant Regeneration and Cellular Behaviour Studies in Celosia cristata Grown In Vivo and In Vitro Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:14:08 +0000 Tissue culture studies of Celosia cristata were established from various explants and the effects of various hormones on morphogenesis of this species were examined. It was found that complete plant regeneration occurred at highest percentage on MS medium supplemented with 2.0 mg/L NAA and 1.5 mg/L BAP, with the best response showed by shoot explants. In vitro flowering was observed on MS basal medium after six weeks. The occurrence of somaclonal variation and changes in cellular behavior from in vivo and in vitro grown plants were investigated through cytological studies and image analysis. It was observed that Mitotic Index (MI), mean chromosome numbers, and mean nuclear to cell area ratio of in vitro root meristem cells were slightly higher compared to in vivo values. However, in vitro plants produced lower mean cell areas but higher nuclear areas when compared to in vivo plants. Thus, no occurrence of somaclonal variation was detected, and this was supported by morphological features of the in vitro plants. Rosna Mat Taha and Sharifah Nurashikin Wafa Copyright © 2012 Rosna Mat Taha and Sharifah Nurashikin Wafa. All rights reserved. Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation of Guignardia mangiferae from “Tahiti” Acid Lime Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:12:11 +0000 Among the citrus plants, “Tahiti” acid lime is known as a host of G. mangiferae fungi. This species is considered endophytic for citrus plants and is easily isolated from asymptomatic fruits and leaves. G. mangiferae is genetically related and sometimes confused with G. citricarpa which causes Citrus Black Spot (CBS). “Tahiti” acid lime is one of the few species that means to be resistant to this disease because it does not present symptoms. Despite the fact that it is commonly found in citric plants, little is known about the populations of G. mangiferae associated with these plants. Hence, the objective of this work was to gain insights about the genetic diversity of the G. mangiferae populations that colonize “Tahiti” acid limes by sequencing cistron ITS1-5.8S-ITS2. It was verified that “Tahiti” acid lime plants are hosts of G. mangiferae and also of G. citricarpa, without presenting symptoms of CBS. Populations of G. mangiferae present low-to-moderate genetic diversity and show little-to-moderate levels of population differentiation. As gene flow was detected among the studied populations and they share haplotypes, it is possible that all populations, from citrus plants and also from the other known hosts of this fungus, belong to one great panmictic population. Ester Wickert, Eliana Gertrudes de Macedo Lemos, Luciano Takeshi Kishi, Andressa de Souza, and Antonio de Goes Copyright © 2012 Ester Wickert et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Storage Conditions and Storage Periods on Seed Germination in Eleven Populations of Swertia chirayita: A Critically Endangered Medicinal Herb in Himalaya Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:11:28 +0000 Effect of different storage conditions (room temperature, 4°C, and −15°C) and different storage periods over 24 months on seed germination in Swertia chirayita collected from different altitudes in Sikkim Himalaya was determined. Multivariate ANOVA revealed significant (𝑃<0.0001) effect of storage condition and storage period on seed germination and mean germination time. Seed germination percentage significantly (𝑃<0.01) varied between 87.78% (Sc5) and 100% (Sc2) during initial testing. Comparatively, high seed germination, low mean germination time, and low rate of fall in seed germination percentage in seeds stored at 4°C over different storage period were recorded. In addition, above 50% seed germination in majority of the populations even after 24 months of storage suggests 4°C as the most appropriate storage condition for long-term storage of seeds of S. chirayita. Bharat K. Pradhan and Hemant K. Badola Copyright © 2012 Bharat K. Pradhan and Hemant K. Badola. All rights reserved. Growth, Root Formation, and Nutrient Value of Triticale Plants Fertilized with Biosolids Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:14:13 +0000 Biosolids are utilized as nutrient rich fertilizer. Little material is available on benefits to forage crops resulting from fertilization with biosolids. This paper aimed to compare the effects of fertilization with biosolids versus commercial nitrogen fertilizer on growth, root formation, and nutrient value of triticale plants in a greenhouse experiment. Per treatment, five pots were seeded with five triticale seeds each. Treatments included a nonfertilized control, fertilization with 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 ml biosolids per pot, and fertilization with a commercial nitrogen fertilizer at the recommended application rate and at double that rate. Biomass production, root length, root diameter, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium concentration were analyzed at harvest. Fertilization with biosolids increased triticale production (𝑃<0.001); production was similar for the 100 to 400 mL treatments. Root length, nitrogen, and phosphorus concentration increased, and potassium concentration decreased linearly with application rate. At the recommended rate, biomass production was similar between fertilization with biosolids and commercial fertilizer. However, plants fertilized with commercial fertilizer had considerably longer roots (𝑃<0.001), higher nitrogen concentration (𝑃<0.05), and lower potassium concentration (𝑃<0.01) than those fertilized with biosolids. Our results indicate that at the recommended application rate, biomass production was similar between fertilization with biosolids and with commercial nitrogen fertilizer, indicating the value of biosolids fertilization as a potential alternative. Wendy Mercedes Rauw, Michael Bela Teglas, Sudeep Chandra, and Matthew Lewis Forister Copyright © 2012 Wendy Mercedes Rauw et al. All rights reserved. Induction of MAP Kinase Homologues during Growth and Morphogenetic Development of Karnal Bunt (Tilletia indica) under the Influence of Host Factor(s) from Wheat Spikes Sun, 01 Apr 2012 08:39:28 +0000 Signaling pathways that activate different mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in response to certain environmental conditions, play important role in mating type switching (Fus3) and pathogenicity (Pmk1) in many fungi. In order to determine the roles of such regulatory genes in Tilletia indica, the causal pathogen of Karnal bunt (KB) of wheat, semi-quantitative and quantitative RT-PCR was carried out to isolate and determine the expression of MAP kinase homologues during fungal growth and development under in vitro culture. Maximum expression of TiFus3 and TiPmk1 genes were observed at 14th and 21st days of culture and decreased thereafter. To investigate whether the fungus alters the expression levels of same kinases upon interaction with plants, cultures were treated with 1% of host factors (extracted from S-2 stage of wheat spikes). Such treatment induced the expression of MAPks in time dependent manner compared to the absence of host factors. These results suggest that host factor(s) provide certain signal(s) which activate TiFus3 and TiPmk1 during morphogenetic development of T. indica. The results also provides a clue about the role of host factors in enhancing the disease potential due to induction of MAP kinases involved in fungal development and pathogenecity. Atul K. Gupta, J. M. Seneviratne, G. K. Joshi, and Anil Kumar Copyright © 2012 Atul K. Gupta et al. All rights reserved. Changes in Structure and Histochemistry of Glandular Trichomes of Thymus quinquecostatus Celak Sun, 01 Apr 2012 08:31:29 +0000 The types, morphology, distribution, structure, and development process of the glandular trichomes on the leaves of Thymus quinquecostatus Celak had been investigated in this study. Two different types of glandular trichomes were determined in detail, namely, capitate trichomes and peltate ones. Besides, there were distinct differences on morphology, distribution, structure, and development process between the two kinds of trichomes. As the peltate trichome stepping into senium stage, it caved in the epidermis integrally, which was different from the capitate one. The secretion of the capitate trichome contained essential oil, polyphenols, and flavonoids, while, in addition to these three components, the secretion of the peltate one also contained acid polysaccharides. A distinctive difference was also seen in the secretory pathway of the secretion between the two types of trichomes. The secretion of capitate one was extruded through the cuticle of the head cell, but the secretion of the peltate one kept accumulating in the subcuticular space of the head cells until it was released by cuticle rupture. Ping Jia, Ting Gao, and Hua Xin Copyright © 2012 Ping Jia et al. All rights reserved. Effects of CO𝟐 Enrichment on Growth and Development of Impatiens hawkeri Mon, 12 Mar 2012 14:26:20 +0000 The effects of CO2 enrichment on growth and development of Impatiens hawkeri, an important greenhouse flower, were investigated for the purpose of providing scientific basis for CO2 enrichment to this species in greenhouse. The plants were grown in CO2-controlled growth chambers with 380 (the control) and 760 (CO2 enrichment) μmol⋅mol-1, respectively. The changes in morphology, physiology, biochemistry, and leaf ultrastructure of Impatiens were examined. Results showed that CO2 enrichment increased flower number and relative leaf area compared with the control. In addition, CO2 enrichment significantly enhanced photosynthetic rate, contents of soluble sugars and starch, activities of peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), but reduced chlorophyll content and malondialdehyde (MDA) content. Furthermore, significant changes in chloroplast ultrastructure were observed at CO2 enrichment: an increased number of starch grains with an expanded size, and an increased ratio of stroma thylakoid to grana thylakoid. These results suggest that CO2 enrichment had positive effects on Impatiens, that is, it can improve the visual value, promote growth and development, and enhance antioxidant capacity. Fan-Fan Zhang, Yan-Li Wang, Zhi-Zhe Huang, Xiao-Chen Zhu, Feng-Jiao Zhang, Fa-Di Chen, Wei-Min Fang, and Nian-Jun Teng Copyright © 2012 Fan-Fan Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Nemesia Root Hair Response to Paper Pulp Substrate for Micropropagation Wed, 04 Jan 2012 10:59:51 +0000 Agar substrates for in vitro culture are well adapted to plant micropropagation, but not to plant rooting and acclimatization. Conversely, paper-pulp-based substrates appear as potentially well adapted for in vitro culture and functional root production. To reinforce this hypothesis, this study compares in vitro development of nemesia on several substrates. Strong differences between nemesia roots growing in agar or in paper-pulp substrates were evidenced through scanning electron microscopy. Roots developed in agar have shorter hairs, larger rhizodermal cells, and less organized root caps than those growing on paper pulp. In conclusion, it should be noted that in this study, in vitro microporous substrates such as paper pulp lead to the production of similar root hairs to those found in greenhouse peat substrates. Consequently, if agar could be used for micropropagation, rooting, and plant acclimatization, enhancement could be achieved if rooting stage was performed on micro-porous substrates such as paper pulp. Pascal Labrousse, David Delmail, Raphaël Decou, Michel Carlué, Sabine Lhernould, and Pierre Krausz Copyright © 2012 Pascal Labrousse et al. All rights reserved. Seasonal Variation of the Effect of Extremely Diluted Agitated Gibberellic Acid (10e-30) on Wheat Stalk Growth: A Multiresearcher Study Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 +0000 The influence of a homeopathic high dilution of gibberellic acid on wheat growth was studied at different seasons of the year. Seedlings were allowed to develop under standardized conditions for 7 days; plants were harvested and stalk lengths were measured. The data obtained confirm previous findings, that ultrahigh diluted potentized gibberellic acid affects stalk growth. Furthermore, the outcome of the study suggests that experiments utilizing the bioassay presented should best be performed in autumn season. In winter and spring, respectively, no reliable effects were found. Peter Christian Endler, Wolfgang Matzer, Christian Reich, Thomas Reischl, Anna Maria Hartmann, Karin Thieves, Andrea Pfleger, Jürgen Hofäcker, Harald Lothaller, and Waltraud Scherer-Pongratz Copyright © 2011 Peter Christian Endler et al. All rights reserved. Function and Diversification of MADS-Box Genes in Rice Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 MADS-box genes play critical roles in a number of developmental processes in flowering plants, such as specification of floral organ identity, control of flowering time, and regulation of fruit development. Because of their crucial functions in flower development, diversification of the MADS-box gene family has been suggested to be a major factor responsible for floral diversity during radiation of the flowering plants. Inflorescences and flowers in the grass species have unique structures that are distinct from those in eudicots. Thus, it is plausible that the diversification of the function of MADS-box genes may have been a key driving force in the morphological divergence of the flowers and inflorescences in the grasses. Indeed, recent progress in genetic studies has shown that MADS-box genes function in flower development in Oryza sativa (rice), in support of the idea that functional diversification of the MADS-box genes was involved in evolution of the angiosperms. In this review, we summarize the functions of the major subfamilies of the MADS-box genes in rice and discuss their role in the development and evolution of rice flowers and inflorescences. Takahiro Yamaguchi and Hiro-Yuki Hirano Copyright © 2006 Takahiro Yamaguchi and Hiro-Yuki Hirano. All rights reserved. Relationships between Passive Sampler and Continuous Ozone (O3) Measurement Data in Ecological Effects Research Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 In ecological effects research, there is a rapid increase in the application of passive sampling techniques for measuring ambient ozone (O3) concentrations. Passive samplers provide data on cumulative exposures of a plant to a pollutant. However, O3 is not an accumulative contaminant within the plant tissue, and use of prolonged passive sampling durations cannot account for the dynamics of the occurrences of O3 that have a significant influence on the plant response. Therefore, a stochastic Weibull probability model was previously developed and applied to a site in Washington State (1650 m MSL) to simulate the cumulative exposure data from a passive sampler, to mimic the corresponding frequency distributions of hourly O3 concentrations that would otherwise have been obtained by continuous monitoring. At that site the correlation between the actual passive sampler and the continuous monitor data was R2 = 0.74. The simulation of the hourly O3 data was based on and compared with the results obtained from a colocated continuous monitor. In this paper we report the results of the model application to data from an unrelated monitoring site (New Hampshire, 476 m MSL) with poor correlation between the passive sampling and continuous monitoring (R2 = 0.24). In addition, as opposed to the previous work, we provide comparisons of the frequency distributions of the hourly O3 concentrations obtained by the simulation and the actual continuous monitoring. In spite of the major difference in the R2 values, at both sites the simulation provided very satisfactory results within the 95% confidence interval, suggesting its broad applicability. The final objective of this overall approach is to develop a generic model that can simulate reasonably well the occurrences of ambient O3 concentrations that are dependent upon the elevation of the measurement site and the synoptic and local meteorology. Such an effort would extend the relative utility of the passive sampling data in explaining stochastic plant responses. S. Krupa and M. Nosal Copyright © 2001 S. Krupa and M. Nosal. All rights reserved. Impacts of Elevated Atmospheric CO2 and O3 on Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera): Reproductive Fitness Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Atmospheric CO2 and tropospheric O3 are rising in many regions of the world. Little is known about how these two commonly co-occurring gases will affect reproductive fitness of important forest tree species. Here, we report on the long-term effects of CO3 and O3 for paper birch seedlings exposed for nearly their entire life history at the Aspen FACE (Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) site in Rhinelander, WI. Elevated CO2 increased both male and female flower production, while elevated O3 increased female flower production compared to trees in control rings. Interestingly, very little flowering has yet occurred in combined treatment. Elevated CO2 had significant positive effect on birch catkin size, weight, and germination success rate (elevated CO2 increased germination rate of birch by 110% compared to ambient CO2 concentrations, decreased seedling mortality by 73%, increased seed weight by 17%, increased root length by 59%, and root-to-shoot ratio was significantly decreased, all at 3 weeks after germination), while the opposite was true of elevated O3 (elevated O3 decreased the germination rate of birch by 62%, decreased seed weight by 25%, and increased root length by 15%). Under elevated CO2, plant dry mass increased by 9 and 78% at the end of 3 and 14 weeks, respectively. Also, the root and shoot lengths, as well as the biomass of the seedlings, were increased for seeds produced under elevated CO2, while the reverse was true for seedlings from seeds produced under the elevated O3. Similar trends in treatment differences were observed in seed characteristics, germination, and seedling development for seeds collected in both 2004 and 2005. Our results suggest that elevated CO2 and O3 can dramatically affect flowering, seed production, and seed quality of paper birch, affecting reproductive fitness of this species. Joseph N. T. Darbah, Mark E. Kubiske, Neil Nelson, Elina Oksanen, Elina Vaapavuori, and David F. Karnosky Copyright © 2007 Joseph N. T. Darbah et al. All rights reserved. Homeopathic Treatment of Arabidopsis thaliana Plants Infected with Pseudomonas syringae Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Homeopathic basic research is still in the screening phase to identify promising model systems that are adapted to the needs and peculiarities of homeopathic medicine and pharmacy. We investigated the potential of a common plant-pathogen system, Arabidopsis thaliana infected with the virulent bacteria Pseudomonas syringae, regarding its response towards a homeopathic treatment. A. thaliana plants were treated with homeopathic preparations before and after infection. Outcome measure was the number of P. syringae bacteria in the leaves of A. thaliana, assessed in randomized and blinded experiments. After a screening of 30 homeopathic preparations, we investigated the effect of Carbo vegetabilis 30x, Magnesium phosphoricum 30x, Nosode 30x, Biplantol (a homeopathic complex remedy), and Biplantol 30x on the infection rate in five or six independent experiments in total. The screening yielded significant effects for four out of 30 tested preparations. In the repeated experimental series, only the homeopathic complex remedy Biplantol induced a significant reduction of the infection rate (p = 0.01; effect size, d = 0.38). None of the other four repeatedly tested preparations (Carbo vegetabilis 30x, Magnesium phosphoricum 30x, Nosode 30x, Biplantol 30x) yielded significant effects in the overall evaluation. This phytopathological model yielded a small to medium effect size and thus might be of interest for homeopathic basic research after further improvement. Compared to Bion (a common SAR inducer used as positive control), the magnitude of the treatment effect of Biplantol was about 50%. Thus, homeopathic formulations might have a potential for the treatment of plant diseases after further optimization. However, the ecological impact should be investigated more closely before widespread application. Devika Shah-Rossi, Peter Heusser, and Stephan Baumgartner Copyright © 2009 Devika Shah-Rossi et al. All rights reserved. Cloning, Structural Characterization, and Phylogenetic Analysis of Flower MADS-Box Genes from Crocus (Crocus sativus L.) Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Crocus (Crocus sativus L.) is a crop species cultivated for its flowers and, more specifically, for its red stigmas. The flower of crocus is bisexual and sterile, since crocus is a triploid species. Its perianth consists of six petaloid tepals: three tepals in whorl 1 (outer tepals) and three tepals in whorl 2 (inner tepals). The androecium consists of three distinct stamens and the gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil with three carpels, a single three-branched style, and an inferior ovary. The dry form of the stigmas constitutes the commercial saffron used as a food additive, in the coloring industry, and in medicine. In order to uncover and understand the molecular mechanisms controlling flower development in cultivated crocus and its relative wild progenitor species, and characterize a number of crocus flower mutants, we have cloned and characterized different, full-length, cDNA sequences encoding MADS-box transcription factor proteins involved in flower formation. Athanasios S. Tsaftaris, Alexios N. Polidoros, Konstantinos Pasentsis, and Apostolos Kalivas Copyright © 2007 Athanasios S. Tsaftaris et al. All rights reserved. Induction of 1-FEH in Mature Chicory Roots Appears to be Related to Low Temperatures Rather than to Leaf Damage Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Large-scale inulin production from chicory roots (Cichorium intybus L.) is hampered by the induction of 1-FEH activity (fructan 1-exohydrolase) and concomitant fructose production in autumn, coincident with a period with low night temperatures that cause leaf damage. To understand whether leaf damage per se is sufficient for 1-FEH induction and fructan breakdown, we defoliated mature chicory plants at a preharvest stage (September 10) and investigated the changes in carbohydrate levels and 1-FEH activities. Also, the activities of 1-SST (sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyl transferase, EC, 1-FFT (fructan:fructan 1-fructosyl transferase, EC, and acid invertase (EC were determined. Defoliation did not result in a prompt fructan breakdown and increase in 1-FEH activity, but after 10 days fructan breakdown and 1-FEH activities became higher in the defoliated plants. Defoliation resulted in a sharp decrease in 1-SST activity over the first 24 h. Afterwards, root 1-SST activities of defoliated plants remained at a lower level than in control plants. 1-FFT and invertase activities were not affected by defoliation. It can be concluded that defoliation of plants at the preharvest stage by itself did not induce the same rapid changes as observed in naturally induced October roots by low temperature (harvest stage). Taken together with our finding that 1-FEH is not induced in chicory roots when plants are transferred to the greenhouse early autumn (minimal temperature 14°C), we conclude that low temperatures might be essential for 1-FEH induction. W. Van den Ende and A. Van Laere Copyright © 2002 W. Van den Ende and A. Van Laere. All rights reserved. Class B Gene Expression and the Modified ABC Model in Nongrass Monocots Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 The discovery of the MADS-box genes and the study of model plants such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Antirrhinum majus have greatly improved our understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving the diversity in floral development. The class B genes, which belong to the MADS-box gene family, are important regulators of the development of petals and stamens in flowering plants. Many nongrass monocot flowers have two whorls of petaloid organs, which are called tepals. To explain this floral morphology, the modified ABC model was proposed. This model was exemplified by the tulip, in which expansion and restriction of class B gene expression is linked to the transition of floral morphologies in whorl 1. The expression patterns of class B genes from many monocot species nicely fit this model; however, those from some species, such as asparagus, do not. In this review, we summarize the relationship between class B gene expression and floral morphology in nongrass monocots, such as Liliales (Liliaceae) and Asparagales species, and discuss the applicability of the modified ABC model to monocot flowers. Akira Kanno, Mutsumi Nakada, Yusuke Akita, and Masayo Hirai Copyright © 2007 Akira Kanno et al. All rights reserved. Induction of Biomolecules in Mature Leaves of Terminalia arjuna Due to Feeding of Antheraea mylitta Drury Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Terminalia arjuna is an important food plant of the tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta Drury. In this study, we investigated the induction of biomolecules in mature leaves of these plants subjected to insect feeding. Increase in total tannin content, lipid peroxidation, and trypsin inhibitor activity have been observed in mature leaves damaged by the insects. The growth rate of Vth instar larvae of A. mylitta fed on previously damaged foliage reduced by 87.1%. Induction of biomolecules for defense mechanisms in relation to herbivore damage has been discussed. G. Abraham, G. Thomas, and C.R. Babu Copyright © 2004 G. Abraham et al. All rights reserved. The Use of Critical Levels for Determining Plant Response to Ozone in Europe and in North America Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Critical levels to determine plant response to ozone (O3) have been used in Europe since the 1980s, utilizing the concentration-based AOT40 to relate plant response to ambient O3 exposure. More recently, there has been progress in Europe toward utilizing flux-based critical levels, because plant response is more closely related to O3 uptake than to the amount of O3 in ambient air. Flux-based critical levels are plant species specific; data for parameterization of flux-based critical levels models are lacking for most plant species. Although flux-based critical levels are now being used for a limited number of agricultural crops and tree species where data are available, the use of flux-based critical levels is limited by the lack of adequate consideration and incorporation of plant internal detoxification mechanisms in flux modeling. Critical levels have not been used in North America; however, recent interest in the U.S. and Canada for using critical loads for nitrogen and sulfur has generated interest in using critical levels for O3. A major obstacle for utilization of critical levels in North America is that ambient air quality standards for O3 in the U.S. and Canada are concentration based. It appears that cumulative exposure-based metrics, particularly when implemented with a quantification of peak concentrations and environmental variables, such as a drought index, are currently the most useful to relate O3 to vegetation response. Because data are unavailable to quantify detoxification potential of vegetation, effective flux models are not available to determine plant response to O3. Robert C. Musselman and Allen S. Lefohn Copyright © 2007 Robert C. Musselman and Allen S. Lefohn. All rights reserved. Early Events in Populus Hybrid and Fagus sylvatica Leaves Exposed to Ozone Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 This paper aims to investigate early responses to ozone in leaves of Fagus sylvatica (beech) and Populus maximowiczii x Populus berolinensis (poplar). The experimental setup consisted of four open-air (OA) plots, four charcoal-filtered (CF) open-top chambers (OTCs), and four nonfiltered (NF) OTCs. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were carried out on nonsymptomatic (CF) and symptomatic (NF and OA) leaves of both species. Qualitative analyses were performed applying microscopic techniques: Evans blue staining for detection of cell viability, CeCl3 staining of transmission electron microscope (TEM) samples to detect the accumulation of H2O2, and multispectral fluorescence microimaging and microspectrofluorometry to investigate the accumulation of fluorescent phenolic compounds in the walls of the damaged cells. Quantitative analyses consisted of the analysis of the chlorophyll a fluorescence transients (fast kinetics). The early responses to ozone were demonstrated by the Evans blue and CeCl3 staining techniques that provided evidence of plant responses in both species 1 month before foliar symptoms became visible. The fluorescence transients analysis, too, demonstrated the breakdown of the oxygen evolving system and the inactivation of the end receptors of electrons at a very early stage, both in poplar and in beech. The accumulation of phenolic compounds in the cell walls, on the other hand, was a species-specific response detected in poplar, but not in beech. Evans blue and CeCl3 staining, as well as the multispectral fluorescence microimaging and microspectrofluorometry, can be used to support the field diagnosis of ozone injury, whereas the fast kinetics of chlorophyll fluorescence provides evidence of early physiological responses. R. Desotgiu, F. Bussotti, F. Faoro, M. Iriti, G. Agati, R. Marzuoli, G. Gerosa, and C. Tani Copyright © 2010 R. Desotgiu et al. All rights reserved. Quantification of Mesophyll Resistance and Apoplastic Ascorbic Acid as an Antioxidant for Tropospheric Ozone in Durum Wheat (Triticum durum Desf. cv. Camacho) Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 The daily variations in cellular and apoplastic ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid levels in a Mediterranean durum wheat cultivar (Triticum durum Desf. cv. Camacho) were analyzed in order to relate them to ambient ozone exposure and to subsequent stomatally absorbed ozone fluxes. The aim of this study is to prove the effectiveness and accuracy of a computer model (SODA) to calculate the mesophyll resistance (rm) to ozone uptake, the percentage of ozone detoxification by apoplastic ascorbic acid, and the ozone flux to the plasmalemma (Fm) in a Mediterranean durum wheat cultivar. These calculated factors were related to apoplastic ascorbic acid levels and to ambient ozone concentrations. These relationships were obtained with a view to explaining the detoxification of ozone by apoplastic ascorbic acid. Ozone detoxifications of up to 52% were found at midday, when maximum ozone concentrations and maximum apoplastic ascorbic acid are seen. Mesophyll resistance was minimum at this time, and ozone flux to the plasmalemma was reduced because of the reaction of ozone with apoplastic ascorbic acid. Daniel de la Torre Copyright © 2008 Daniel de la Torre. All rights reserved. Visible Foliar Injury and Physiological Responses to Ozone in Italian Provenances of Fraxinus excelsior and F. ornus Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 We compared leaf visible injury and physiological responses (gas exchange and chlorophyll a fluorescence) to high O3 exposure (150 nmol mol–1 h, 8 h day–1, 35–40 days) of two woody species of the same genus with different ecological features: the mesophilic green ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and the xerotolerant manna ash (F. ornus). We also studied how provenances from northern (Piedmont) and central (Tuscany) Italy, within the two species, responded to O3 exposure. Onset and extent of visible foliar injury suggested that F. excelsior was more O3 sensitive than F. ornus. The higher stomatal conductance in F. ornus than in F. excelsior suggested a larger potential O3 uptake, in disagreement to lower visible foliar injury. The higher carbon assimilation in F. ornus suggested a higher potential of O3 detoxification and/or repair. Contrasting geographical variations of ash sensitivity to O3 were recorded, as Piedmont provenances reduced gas exchange less than Tuscan provenances in F. excelsior and more in F. ornus. Visible injury was earlier and more severe in F. excelsior from Piedmont than from Tuscany, while the provenance did not affect visible injury onset and extent in F. ornus. Nicla Contran and Elena Paoletti Copyright © 2007 Nicla Contran and Elena Paoletti. All rights reserved. Antagonism of Some Aquatic Hyphomycetes against Plant Pathogenic Fungi Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 The antagonistic activity of five aquatic hyphomycetes, viz., Heliscus lugdunensis, Tetrachaetum elegans, Tetracladium breve, T. marchalianum, and T. nainitalense, against seven plant pathogenic fungi was studied using a dual culture technique. Inhibitory activity of tested aquatic hyphomycetes was determined by measuring the radial growth of plant pathogenic fungi on dual culture plates. Tetrachaetum elegans showed antagonistic activity against Colletotrichum falcatum, Fusarium oxysporum, Pyricularia oryzae, Sclerotium sclerotiorum, and Tilletia indicaHeliscus lugdunensis showed antagonism against only two plant pathogenic fungi, Rhizoctonia solani and Colletotrichum falcatum.Tetracladium breve, T. marchalianum, and T. nainitalense showed no response towards tested plant pathogenic fungi. S. C. Sati and P. Arya Copyright © 2010 S. C. Sati and P. Arya. All rights reserved. Applied K Fertilizer Use Efficiency in Pineapples Grown on a Tropical Peat Soil Under Residues Removal Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 In Malaysia, pineapples are grown on peat soils, but most K fertilizer recommendations do not take into account K loss through leaching. The objective of this study was to determine applied K use efficiency under a conventionally recommended fertilization regime in pineapple cultivation with residues removal. Results showed that K recovery from applied K fertilizer in pineapple cultivation on tropical peat soil was low, estimated at 28%. At a depth of 0–10 cm, there was a sharp decrease of soil total K, exchangeable K, and soil solution K days after planting (DAP) for plots with K fertilizer. This decline continued until the end of the study. Soil total, exchangeable, and solution K at the end of the study were generally lower than prior values before the study. There was no significant accumulation of K at depths of 10–25 and 25–45 cm. However, K concentrations throughout the study period were generally lower or equal to their initial status in the soil indicating leaching of the applied K and partly explained the low K recovery. Potassium losses through leaching in pineapple cultivation on tropical peat soils need to be considered in fertilizer recommendations for efficient recovery of applied K. Osumanu H. Ahmed, Husni M. H. Ahmad, Hanafi M. Musa, Anuar A. Rahim, and Syed Omar S. Rastan Copyright © 2005 Osumanu H. Ahmed et al. All rights reserved. Plant Functions in Wetland and Aquatic Systems: Influence of Intensity and Capacity of Soil Reduction Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Wetland or hydric soils, in addition to excess water and limited air-filled porosity, are characterized by anaerobic or reducing conditions. Wetland plants have developed physiological and morphological adaptations for growing under these conditions. Various methods exist for measuring plant responses to reducing conditions in wetland and aquatic environments, including assessment of radial oxygen transport, cellular enzymatic transformations, changes in root structure, and nutrient uptake. However, a gap exists in quantifying the chemical properties and reducing nature of soil environment in which plant roots are grown. The variation in reducing conditions, oxygen demand, and other associated processes that occur in wetland soils makes it difficult to truly compare the plant responses reported in the literature. This review emphasizes soil-plant interactions in wetlands, drawing attention to the importance of quantifying the intensity and capacity of reduction and/or oxygen demand in wetland soils to allow proper evaluation of wetland plant responses to such conditions. R.D. DeLaune and S.R. Pezeshki Copyright © 2001 R.D. DeLaune and S.R. Pezeshki. All rights reserved. Proliferation Potential of 18-Month-Old Callus of Ananas comosus L. cv. Moris Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Differential effect of plant growth regulators and additives in proliferation of 18-month-old calli of Ananas comosus L. cv. Moris were assessed in vitro. The proliferation of callus relied on the growth regulators and additives. Of the different auxins supplemented in the Murashige and Skoog (MS) media, 32.22 μM α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) gave the highest mean fresh weight of callus (46.817 g). Medium supplemented with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was inferior to NAA, while b-naphthoxy acetic acid (BNOA) and p-chlorophenoxy acetic acid (4-CPA) were not effective in proliferating 18-months old callus. Addition of casein hydrolysate and coconut water to NAA supplemented medium showed better proliferation and production of callus. However, in terms of callus production, NAA at 32.22 μM was economically better. A.E. De Silva, M.A. Kadir, M.A. Aziz, and S. Kadzimin Copyright © 2006 A.E. De Silva et al. All rights reserved. Phosphorus Leaching in an Acid Tropical Soil “Recapitalized” with Phosphate Rock and Triple Superphosphate Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 With high rates of phosphorus applied to increase “capital P” as a stock for plant uptake over several years, the question of P leaching is inevitable. We conducted an intact soil column experiment in the field to evaluate P leached from soils treated with triple superphosphate (TSP) and Gafsa phosphate rock (GPR) at 300, 600, and 900 kg P ha-1 with and without integration of cattle manure. The lysimeters, made from PVC tubes of 30-cm length, were inserted into the soil up to the 25-cm depth. The tubes were fitted with a resin bag containing a mixture of cation and anion exchange resin (50:50) at the lower end of the tube inserted into the soil. The tubes, arranged in a completely randomized design, were sampled randomly at 10-week intervals for 12 months. Phosphorus extractable from the top- and subsoil at the end of experiment and leached P were determined. More P was leached out from TSP (threefold) compared to GPR, and the amount of P leached increased with increasing rates of P fertilizer applied. Application of manure intensified the amounts of P leached from TSP, particularly at the 6-month sampling time. There was hardly any substantial P leached from the soil treated with GPR. Thus, for effective and efficient long-term P fertilizer management strategies, choosing the right P fertilizer source and monitoring P losses through leaching has to be done for enhanced fertilizer use efficiency and thus reducing P pollution of ground waters. E. Gikonyo, A.R. Zaharah, M.M. Hanafi, and R. Anuar Copyright © 2010 E. Gikonyo et al. All rights reserved. Growth Responses of Wheat (Triticum aestivumL. var. HD 2329) Exposed to Ambient Air Pollution under Varying Fertility Regimes Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 The problem of urban air pollution has attracted special attention in India due to a tremendous increase in the urban population; motor vehicles vis a vis the extent of energy utilization. Field studies were conducted on wheat crops (Triticum aestivum L. var. HD 2329) by keeping the pot-grown plants in similar edaphic conditions at nine different sites in Allahabad City to quantify the effects of ambient air pollution levels on selected growth and yield parameters. Air quality monitoring was done at all the sites for gaseous pollutants viz. SO2, NO2, and O3. Various growth parameters (plant height, biomass, leaf area, NPP, etc.) showed adverse effects at sites receiving higher pollution load. Reduction in test weight and harvest index was found to be directly correlated with the levels of pollutant concentrations. The study clearly showed the negative impact of air pollution on periurban agriculture. Anoop Singh, S. B. Agrawal, and Dheeraj Rathore Copyright © 2003 Anoop Singh et al. All rights reserved. The Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Inoculation and Mulch of Contrasting Chemical Composition on the Yield of Cassava under Humid Tropical Conditions Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 The influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), Glomus deserticola, and leaf mulch from Gliricidia sepium and Senna siamea on the yield of cassava (Manihot esculenta) in a degraded alfisol of southwestern Nigeria was investigated. Inoculation in conjunction with mulching increased cassava tuber yield by 40–278% over the control. The highest yield was obtained with G. sepium and S. siamea mulch applied together in equal proportions. The results are explained in the light of the growth-enhancing effects of AMF, encouraged by the ameliorating effects of mulch on the soil structure and nutrient contents. Iniobong E. Okon, M. G. Solomon, and O. Osonubi Copyright © 2010 Iniobong E. Okon et al. All rights reserved. Alterations of the Biochemical Pathways of Plants by the Air Pollutant Ozone: Which are the True Gauges of Injury? Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Plant strategies to survive ozone stress include exclusion or tolerance of ozone. If these processes fail, past observations of ozone injury have indicated many physiological and metabolic changes then occur; most of these changes are likely to have been initiated at the level of gene expression, suggesting signal transduction. In the last decade considerable understanding of the biochemical process within plants has been developed. Currently there are several hypotheses regarding a response of plants to ozone fumigation: [1] membrane dysfunction and alteration of purpose; [2] stress ethylene interactions; [3] impairment of photosynthesis via changes in Rubisco levels and the guard cells so that the stomata do not track correctly the environment; [4] antioxidant protection through metabolites and enzyme systems to reduce the oxidant load; and [5] general impairment or disruption of metabolic pathways. Robert L. Heath Copyright © 2007 Robert L. Heath. All rights reserved. Use and Misuse of Nitrogen in Agriculture: The German Story Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Nitrogen (N) fertilization in agriculture has been discussed controversially in Germany for almost two centuries. The agronomist Carl Sprengel, who published his theory on the mineral nutrition of plants in 1828, advocated the use of mineral N fertilizers. Chemist Justus von Liebig, on the other hand, vehemently denied around 1850 the need for N fertilization. Although it soon became evident that Sprengel was right and Liebig was wrong, not much synthetic N fertilizer was used in German agriculture until around 1915, when the Haber-Bosch technique enabled the commercial production of NH3. The use of N fertilizers since then has grown, especially since 1950. To increase agricultural productivity, German governments have promoted, directly and indirectly, the use of N in crop and in animal production. Unfortunately, it was overlooked that N surpluses in agriculture increased rapidly; around 1980 they amounted yearly to more than 100 kg ha-1. The extensive use of N in agriculture is causing environmental damage and is contributing substantially to the external costs of present agriculture. The main N compounds that affect the environment are N2O, NH3, and NO3. These compounds are considered to contribute one third to the external costs of agriculture. Additionally, the high rate of human intake of animal proteins and lipids has adversely affected the health of the country’s population. Fundamental corrections in German farm policy appear inevitable. Rienk R. van der Ploeg, Rienk P. Schweigert, and Rienk J. Bachmann Copyright © 2001 Rienk R. van der Ploeg et al. All rights reserved. Pre-Exposure to Ozone Predisposes Oak Leaves to Attacks by Diplodia corticola and Biscogniauxia mediterranea Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 One-year-old cork oak (Quercus suber) and turkey oak (Q. cerris) seedlings were exposed to ozone (110 ppb, 5 h day˗1, for 30 days) and were inoculated with Diplodia corticola and Biscogniauxia mediterranea, respectively, by spraying a suspension of spores on the leaves. Both fungi are endophytic and may act as weak parasites, contributing to oak decline. Ozone exposure stimulated leaf attacks after inoculation, although the physiological, visible, and structural responses of both oaks to O3 exposure were weak. In fact, steady-state gas exchange, leaf waxes, and wettability were not significantly affected by O3. In Q. cerris, O3 altered the structure of stomata, as observed by scanning microscopy, and reduced the leaf relative water content. No hyphal entry through stomata or growth towards stomata was, however, observed. Inoculations were performed in a humid chamber at low light; stomata were likely to be closed. When Q. cerris was inoculated in natural conditions, i.e., in a forest infected by B. mediterranea, seedlings pre-exposed to the enhanced O3 regime had a higher number of B. mediterranea isolates than the controls. This suggests that pre-exposure to O3 predisposed Q. cerris leaves to attacks by B. mediterranea independent of stomata. The hyphae of both fungi were able to enter the leaf through the cuticle, either by gradual in-growth into the cuticle or erosion of a hollow in the cuticle at the point of contact. The primary cause of increased leaf injury in O3-exposed seedlings appeared to be higher germination of spores than on control leaves. Elena Paoletti, Naldo Anselmi, and Antonio Franceschini Copyright © 2007 Elena Paoletti et al. All rights reserved. The Orchid MADS-Box Genes Controlling Floral Morphogenesis Mon, 01 Jan 1900 00:00:00 +0000 Orchids are known for both their floral diversity and ecological strategies. The versatility and specialization in orchid floral morphology, structure, and physiological properties have fascinated botanists for centuries. In floral studies, MADS-box genes contributing to the now famous ABCDE model of floral organ identity control have dominated conceptual thinking. The sophisticated orchid floral organization offers an opportunity to discover new variant genes and different levels of complexity to the ABCDE model. Recently, several remarkable research studies done on orchid MADS-box genes have revealed the important roles on orchid floral development. Knowledge about MADS-box genes’' encoding ABCDE functions in orchids will give insights into the highly evolved floral morphogenetic networks of orchids. Wen-Chieh Tsai and Hong-Hwa Chen Copyright © 2006 Wen-Chieh Tsai and Hong-Hwa Chen. All rights reserved.