Correia, A. C.; Costa-e-Silva, F.; Dubbert, M.; Piayda, A.; Pereira, J. S.
Mediterranean climates are prone to a great variation in yearly precipitation. The effects on ecosystem will depend on the severity and timing of droughts. In this study we questioned how an extreme dry winter affects the carbon flux in the understorey of a cork oak woodland? What is the seasonal contribution of understorey vegetation to ecosystem productivity? We used closed-system portable chambers to measure CO2 exchange of the dominant shrub species (Cistus salviifolius, Cistus crispus and Ulex airensis), of the herbaceous layer and on bare soil in a cork oak woodland in central Portugal during the dry winter year of 2012. Shoot growth, leaf shedding, flower and fruit setting, above and belowground plant biomass were measured as well as seasonal leaf water potential. Eddy-covariance and micrometeorological data together with CO2 exchange measurements were used to access the understorey species contribution to ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP). The herbaceous layer productivity was severely affected by the dry winter, with half of the yearly maximum aboveground biomass in comparison with the 6 years site average. The semi-deciduous and evergreen shrubs showed desynchronized phenophases and lagged carbon uptake maxima. Whereas shallow-root shrubs exhibited opportunistic characteristics in exploiting the understorey light and water resources, deep rooted shrubs showed better water status but considerably lower assimilation rates. The contribution of understorey vegetation to ecosystem GPP was lower during summer with 14% and maximum during late spring, concomitantly with the lowest tree productivity due to tree canopy renewal. The herbaceous vegetation contribution to ecosystem GPP never exceeded 6% during this dry year stressing its sensitivity to winter and spring precipitation. Although shrubs are more resilient to precipitation variability when compared with the herbaceous vegetation, the contribution of the understorey vegetation to ecosystem GPP can
Valladares, Fernando; Gianoli, Ernesto; Saldaña, Alfredo
Background and Aims While the climbing habit allows vines to reach well-lit canopy areas with a minimum investment in support biomass, many of them have to survive under the dim understorey light during certain stages of their life cycle. But, if the growth/survival trade-off widely reported for trees hold for climbing plants, they cannot maximize both light-interception efficiency and shade avoidance (i.e. escaping from the understorey). The seven most important woody climbers occurring in a Chilean temperate evergreen rainforest were studied with the hypothesis that light-capture efficiency of climbers would be positively associated with their abundance in the understorey. Methods Species abundance in the understorey was quantified from their relative frequency and density in field plots, the light environment was quantified by hemispherical photography, the photosynthetic response to light was measured with portable gas-exchange analyser, and the whole shoot light-interception efficiency and carbon gain was estimated with the 3-D computer model Y-plant. Key Results Species differed in specific leaf area, leaf mass fraction, above ground leaf area ratio, light-interception efficiency and potential carbon gain. Abundance of species in the understorey was related to whole shoot features but not to leaf level features such as specific leaf area. Potential carbon gain was inversely related to light-interception efficiency. Mutual shading among leaves within a shoot was very low (<20 %). Conclusions The abundance of climbing plants in this southern rainforest understorey was directly related to their capacity to intercept light efficiently but not to their potential carbon gain. The most abundant climbers in this ecosystem match well with a shade-tolerance syndrome in contrast to the pioneer-like nature of climbers observed in tropical studies. The climbers studied seem to sacrifice high-light searching for coping with the dim understorey light. PMID:21685433
Thomas, Katherine R.; Kolle, Mathias; Whitney, Heather M.; Glover, Beverley J.; Steiner, Ullrich
The blue colouration seen in the leaves of Selaginella willdenowii is shown to be iridescent. Transmission electron microscopy studies confirm the presence of a layered lamellar structure of the upper cuticle of iridescent leaves. Modelling of these multi-layer structures suggests that they are responsible for the blue iridescence, confirming the link between the observed lamellae and the recorded optical properties. Comparison of blue and green leaves from the same plant indicates that the loss of the blue iridescence corresponds to a loss of the multi-layer structure. The results reported here do not support the idea that iridescence in plants acts to enhance light capture of photosynthetically important wavelengths. The reflectance of light in the range 600–700 nm is very similar for both iridescent and non-iridescent leaves. However, owing to the occurrence of blue colouration in a wide variety of shade dwelling plants it is probable that this iridescence has some adaptive benefit. Possible adaptive advantages of the blue iridescence in these plants are discussed. PMID:20519208
Balch, Jennifer K.; Massad, Tara J.; Brando, Paulo M.; Nepstad, Daniel C.; Curran, Lisa M.
Anthropogenic understorey fires affect large areas of tropical forest, yet their effects on woody plant regeneration post-fire remain poorly understood. We examined the effects of repeated experimental fires on woody stem (less than 1 cm at base) mortality, recruitment, species diversity, community similarity and regeneration mode (seed versus sprout) in Mato Grosso, Brazil. From 2004 to 2010, forest plots (50 ha) were burned twice (B2) or five times (B5), and compared with an unburned control (B0). Stem density recovered within a year after the first burn (initial density: 12.4–13.2 stems m−2), but after 6 years, increased mortality and decreased regeneration—primarily of seedlings—led to a 63 per cent and 85 per cent reduction in stem density in B2 and B5, respectively. Seedlings and sprouts across plots in 2010 displayed remarkable community similarity owing to shared abundant species. Although the dominant surviving species were similar across plots, a major increase in sprouting occurred—almost three- and fourfold greater in B2 and B5 than in B0. In B5, 29 species disappeared and were replaced by 11 new species often present along fragmented forest edges. By 2010, the annual burn regime created substantial divergence between the seedling community and the initial adult tree community (greater than or equal to 20 cm dbh). Increased droughts and continued anthropogenic ignitions associated with frontier land uses may promote high-frequency fire regimes that may substantially alter regeneration and therefore successional processes. PMID:23610167
Sousa, Suelen M; de Faria, Maurício L; Latini, Anderson O
Herbivorous insects may attack eucalyptus causing economic losses. One of these pests is the moth Euselasia apisaon Dahman, a key pest in the basin of middle Rio Doce. Here we studied the survival of pupae of this moth in Eucalyptus and in understorey plants and tested the hypotheses: i) live pupae are more abundant in plants of the understorey than in eucalyptus, ii) there is no difference between the abundance of pupae in different plants of the understorey. We sampled three areas cultivated with eucalyptus in Belo Oriente, MG, and samples were taken in five plots each area, getting five branches of each plant and of five eucalyptus trees that bordered the plot. The proportion of live and dead pupae and the mortality rate were estimated. The abundance of live pupae was higher in the understorey and the mortality rate of pupae was the same among different families of plants of the understorey. It is possible the larger available leaf area of understorey plants justify the greater abundance of live pupae in this habitat, however, avoidance of feeding habitat to finish the life cycle is also a possible explanation. Mortality rate in plants of the understorey points to an equal pressure of natural enemies on the pupae. These appointments help us to understand the dynamics of pests in eucalyptus plantations, providing important information to support actions against pests in natural environments.
Soliveres, Santiago; Eldridge, David J; Maestre, Fernando T; Bowker, Matthew A; Tighe, Matthew; Escudero, Adrián
Studies of facilitative interactions as drivers of plant richness along environmental gradients often assume the existence of an overarching stress gradient equally affecting the performance of all the species in a given community. However, co-existing species differ in their ecophysiological adaptations, and do not experience the same stress level under particular environmental conditions. Moreover, these studies assume a unimodal richness-biomass curve, which is not as general as previously thought. We ignored these assumptions to assess changes in plant-plant interactions, and their effect on local species richness, across environmental gradients in semi-arid areas of Spain and Australia. We aimed to understand the relative importance of direct (microhabitat amelioration) and indirect (changes in the competitive relationships among the understorey species: niche segregation, competitive exclusion or intransitivity) mechanisms that might underlie the effects of nurse plants on local species richness. By jointly studying these direct and indirect mechanisms using a unifying framework, we were able to see how our nurse plants (trees, shrubs and tussock grasses) not only increased local richness by expanding the niche of neighbouring species, but also by increasing niche segregation among them, though the latter was not important in all cases. The outcome of the competition-facilitation continuum changed depending on the study area, likely because the different types of stress gradient considered. When driven by both rainfall and temperature, or rainfall alone, the community-wide importance of nurse plants remained constant (Spanish sites), or showed a unimodal relationship along the gradient (Australian sites). This study expands our understanding of the relative roles of plant-plant interactions and environmental conditions as drivers of local species richness in semi-arid environments. These results can also be used to refine predictions about the response of
Karlsen, Stein Rune; Jepsen, Jane Uhd; Odland, Arvid; Ims, Rolf Anker; Elvebakk, Arve
The increased spread of insect outbreaks is among the most severe impacts of climate warming predicted for northern boreal forest ecosystems. Compound disturbances by insect herbivores can cause sharp transitions between vegetation states with implications for ecosystem productivity and climate feedbacks. By analysing vegetation plots prior to and immediately after a severe and widespread outbreak by geometrid moths in the birch forest-tundra ecotone, we document a shift in forest understorey community composition in response to the moth outbreak. Prior to the moth outbreak, the plots divided into two oligotrophic and one eutrophic plant community. The moth outbreak caused a vegetation state shift in the two oligotrophic communities, but only minor changes in the eutrophic community. In the spatially most widespread communities, oligotrophic dwarf shrub birch forest, dominance by the allelopathic dwarf shrub Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum, was effectively broken and replaced by a community dominated by the graminoid Avenella flexuosa, in a manner qualitatively similar to the effect of wild fires in E. nigrum communities in coniferous boreal forest further south. As dominance by E. nigrum is associated with retrogressive succession the observed vegetation state shift has widespread implications for ecosystem productivity on a regional scale. Our findings reveal that the impact of moth outbreaks on the northern boreal birch forest system is highly initial-state dependent, and that the widespread oligotrophic communities have a low resistance to such disturbances. This provides a case for the notion that climate impacts on arctic and northern boreal vegetation may take place most abruptly when conveyed by changed dynamics of irruptive herbivores.
Soliveres, Santiago; Eldridge, David J.
Summary Shrub canopies in semi-arid environments often produce positive effects on soil fertility, and on the richness and biomass of understorey plant communities. However, both positive and negative effects of shrub encroachment on plant and soil attributes have been reported at the landscape-level. The contrasting results between patch- and landscape-level effects in shrublands could be caused by differences in the degree of shrub encroachment or grazing pressure, both of which are likely to reduce the ability of individual shrubs to ameliorate their understorey environment. We examined how grazing and shrub encroachment (measured as landscape-level shrub cover) influence patch-level effects of shrubs on plant density, biomass and similarity in species composition between shrub understories and open areas, and on soil stability, nutrient cycling, and infiltration in two semi-arid Australian woodlands. Individual shrubs had consistently positive effects on all plant and soil variables (average increase of 23% for all variables). These positive patch-level effects persisted with increasing shrub cover up to our maximum of 50% cover. Heavy grazing negatively affected most of the variables studied (average decline of 11%). It also altered, for some variables, how individual shrubs affected their sub-canopy environment with increasing shrub cover. Thus for species density, biomass and soil infiltration, the positive effect of individual shrubs with increasing shrub cover diminished under heavy grazing. Synthesis Our study refines predictions of the effects of woody encroachment on ecosystem structure and functioning by showing that heavy grazing, rather than differences in shrub cover, explains the contrasting effects on ecosystem structure and function between individual shrubs and those in dense aggregations. We also discuss how species-specific traits of the encroaching species, such as their height or its ability to fix N, might influence the relationship between
van Dobben, Han F; de Vries, Wim
We evaluated effects of atmospheric deposition of nitrogen on the composition of forest understorey vegetation both in space and time, using repeated data from the European wide monitoring program ICP-Forests, which focuses on normally managed forest. Our aim was to assess whether both spatial and temporal effects of deposition can be detected by a multiple regression approach using data from managed forests over a relatively short time interval, in which changes in the tree layer are limited. To characterize the vegetation, we used indicators derived from cover percentages per species using multivariate statistics and indicators derived from the presence/absence, that is, species numbers and Ellenberg's indicator values. As explanatory variables, we used climate, altitude, tree species, stand age, and soil chemistry, besides deposition of nitrate, ammonia and sulfate. We analyzed the effects of abiotic conditions at a single point in time by canonical correspondence analysis and multiple regression. The relation between the change in vegetation and abiotic conditions was analyzed using redundancy analysis and multiple regression, for a subset of the plots that had both abiotic data and enough species to compute a mean Ellenberg N value per plot using a minimum of three species. Results showed that the spatial variation in the vegetation is mainly due to "traditional" factors such as soil type and climate, but a statistically significant part of the variation could be ascribed to atmospheric deposition of nitrate. The change in the vegetation over the past c. 10 years was also significantly correlated to nitrate deposition. Although the effect of deposition on the individual species could not be clearly defined, the effect on the vegetation as a whole was a shift toward nitrophytic species as witnessed by an increase in mean Ellenberg's indicator value.
Habeck, Christopher W; Schultz, Alexis K
better access to existing and future data. Ultimately, we show that white-tailed deer have strongly negative impacts on forest understorey plant communities in North America, but these impacts are not ubiquitous for all components of the plant community.
Habeck, Christopher W.; Schultz, Alexis K.
better access to existing and future data. Ultimately, we show that white-tailed deer have strongly negative impacts on forest understorey plant communities in North America, but these impacts are not ubiquitous for all components of the plant community. PMID:26487676
Wanek, Wolfgang; Pörtl, Katja
Epiphyllous bryophytes on tropical rainforest plants acquire nutrients from throughfall and free-living N2-fixing organisms, but may also depend directly on host leaf leachates. By contrast, after drying events bryophytes lose significant quantities of nutrients through leaching that can be taken up by host leaves. To assess a potential nutritional interdependency, nitrogen fluxes between epiphyllous liverworts and their host leaves (Carludovica drudei, Costus laevis, Dieffenbachia concinna, Pentagonia wendlandii) were quantified by in situ15N-labelling techniques in a lowland rainforest, Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica. Depending on host species, epiphyllous bryophytes met between 1 and 57% of their N demand from host leaf leachates. Externally supplied 15N was taken up both by epiphylls and host leaves, but N from epiphyll leachates accounted for < 2.5% of host leaf N after 14 d. Long-term observations (180 d) demonstrated the highly dynamic nature of phyllosphere N of the investigated tropical rainforest understorey and an intermittent sink capacity of epiphyllous bryophytes.
Cheng, Dongliang; Zhong, Quanlin; Niklas, Karl J.; Ma, Yuzhu; Yang, Yusheng; Zhang, Jianhua
Background and Aims Empirical studies and allometric partitioning (AP) theory indicate that plant above-ground biomass (MA) scales, on average, one-to-one (isometrically) with below-ground biomass (MR) at the level of individual trees and at the level of entire forest communities. However, the ability of the AP theory to predict the biomass allocation patterns of understorey plants has not been established because most previous empirical tests have focused on canopy tree species or very large shrubs. Methods In order to test the AP theory further, 1586 understorey sub-tropical forest plants from 30 sites in south-east China were harvested and examined. The numerical values of the scaling exponents and normalization constants (i.e. slopes and y-intercepts, respectively) of log–log linear MA vs. MR relationships were determined for all individual plants, for each site, across the entire data set, and for data sorted into a total of 19 sub-sets of forest types and successional stages. Similar comparisons of MA/MR were also made. Key Results The data revealed that the mean MA/MR of understorey plants was 2·44 and 1·57 across all 1586 plants and for all communities, respectively, and MA scaled nearly isometrically with respect to MR, with scaling exponents of 1·01 for all individual plants and 0·99 for all communities. The scaling exponents did not differ significantly among different forest types or successional stages, but the normalization constants did, and were positively correlated with MA/MR and negatively correlated with scaling exponents across all 1586 plants. Conclusions The results support the AP theory’s prediction that MA scales nearly one-to-one with MR (i.e. MA ∝ MR ≈1·0) and that plant biomass partitioning for individual plants and at the community level share a strikingly similar pattern, at least for the understorey plants examined in this study. Furthermore, variation in environmental conditions appears to affect the numerical values of
Ley, A C; Hardy, O J
Gene flow within and between species is a fundamental process shaping the evolutionary history of taxa. However, the extent of hybridization and reinforcement is little documented in the tropics. Here we explore the pattern of gene flow between three sister species from the herbaceous genus Marantochloa (Marantaceae), sympatrically distributed in the understorey of the African rainforest, using data from the chloroplast and nuclear genomes (DNA sequences and AFLP). We found highly contrasting patterns: while there was no evidence of gene flow between M. congensis and M. monophylla, species identity between M. monophylla and M. incertifolia was maintained despite considerable gene flow. We hypothesize that M. incertifolia originated from an ancient hybridization event between M. congensis and M. monophylla, considering the current absence of hybridization between the two assumed parent species, the rare presence of shared haplotypes between all three species and the high percentage of haplotypes shared by M. incertifolia with each of the two parent species. This example is contrasted with two parapatrically distributed species from the same family in the genus Haumania forming a hybrid zone restricted to the area of overlap. This work illustrates the diversity of speciation/introgression patterns that can potentially occur in the flora of tropical Africa.
Katahata, S-I; Han, Q; Naramoto, M; Kakubari, Y; Mukai, Y
We evaluated seasonal variation in photosynthetic temperature dependence and its contribution to annual carbon gain in an evergreen understorey shrub, Daphniphyllum humile Maxim, growing at the forest border and in the understorey of a deciduous forest. Plants at both sites exhibited similar optimal temperatures for photosynthesis (T(opt)). The activation energy for ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylation (HaV) at both sites tended to be higher in summer than in spring or autumn, suggesting that HaV may be the controlling factor in the T(opt) shift in D. humile. In contrast to the seasonal changes in T(opt ), the maximum photosynthetic rate at the optimal temperature (P(opt)) differed between the two sites: it was lower in autumn than in summer at the forest border, but was the same in summer and autumn in the understorey. In the understorey plants, nitrogen content (Narea) increased in autumn, but this was not the case for forest border plants. In addition, Rubisco content increased significantly in autumn in the understorey leaves but decreased distinctly in forest border leaves. Increased Narea and Rubisco in understorey leaves resulted in increased in photosynthesis in autumn. Annual carbon gain was 30.8 mol · m(-2) in forest border leaves and 5.8 mol · m(-2) in understorey leaves. Carbon gain in understorey leaves during the short period after overstorey leaf fall and before snow accumulation was approximately 49% of annual carbon gain. Furthermore, autumn carbon gain calculated using activation energy of summer with autumn photosynthetic parameters underestimated the autumn carbon gain by as much as 31%. In conclusion, photosynthetic temperature acclimation may be a key factor in increasing annual carbon gain in understorey D. humile.
Camargo-Sanabria, Angela A; Mendoza, Eduardo; Guevara, Roger; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Dirzo, Rodolfo
It has been suggested that tropical defaunation may unleash community-wide cascading effects, leading to reductions in plant diversity. However, experimental evidence establishing cause-effect relationships thereof is poor. Through a 5 year exclosure experiment, we tested the hypothesis that mammalian defaunation affects tree seedling/sapling community dynamics leading to reductions in understorey plant diversity. We established plot triplets (n = 25) representing three defaunation contexts: terrestrial-mammal exclosure (TE), medium/large mammal exclosure (PE) and open access controls (C). Seedlings/saplings 30-100 cm tall were marked and identified within each of these plots and re-censused three times to record survival and recruitment. In the periods 2010-2011 and 2011-2013, survival was greater in PE than in C plots and recruitment was higher in TE plots than in C plots. Overall, seedling density increased by 61% in TE plots and 23% in PE plots, whereas it decreased by 5% in C plots. Common species highly consumed by mammals (e.g. Brosimum alicastrum and Ampelocera hottlei) increased in their abundance in TE plots. Rarefaction curves showed that species diversity decreased in TE plots from 2008 to 2013, whereas it remained similar for C plots. Given the prevalence of tropical defaunation, we posit this is an anthropogenic effect threatening the maintenance of tropical forest diversity.
Camargo-Sanabria, Angela A.; Mendoza, Eduardo; Guevara, Roger; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Dirzo, Rodolfo
It has been suggested that tropical defaunation may unleash community-wide cascading effects, leading to reductions in plant diversity. However, experimental evidence establishing cause–effect relationships thereof is poor. Through a 5 year exclosure experiment, we tested the hypothesis that mammalian defaunation affects tree seedling/sapling community dynamics leading to reductions in understorey plant diversity. We established plot triplets (n = 25) representing three defaunation contexts: terrestrial-mammal exclosure (TE), medium/large mammal exclosure (PE) and open access controls (C). Seedlings/saplings 30–100 cm tall were marked and identified within each of these plots and re-censused three times to record survival and recruitment. In the periods 2010–2011 and 2011–2013, survival was greater in PE than in C plots and recruitment was higher in TE plots than in C plots. Overall, seedling density increased by 61% in TE plots and 23% in PE plots, whereas it decreased by 5% in C plots. Common species highly consumed by mammals (e.g. Brosimum alicastrum and Ampelocera hottlei) increased in their abundance in TE plots. Rarefaction curves showed that species diversity decreased in TE plots from 2008 to 2013, whereas it remained similar for C plots. Given the prevalence of tropical defaunation, we posit this is an anthropogenic effect threatening the maintenance of tropical forest diversity. PMID:25540281
Tuanmu, Mao-Ning; Viña, Andrés; Winkler, Julie A.; Li, Yu; Xu, Weihua; Ouyang, Zhiyun; Liu, Jianguo
Climate change is threatening global ecosystems through its impact on the survival of individual species and their ecological functions. Despite the important role of understorey plants in forest ecosystems, climate impact assessments on understorey plants and their role in supporting wildlife habitat are scarce in the literature. Here we assess climate-change impacts on understorey bamboo species with an emphasis on their ecological function as a food resource for endangered giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). An ensemble of bamboo distribution projections associated with multiple climate-change projections and bamboo dispersal scenarios indicates a substantial reduction in the distributional ranges of three dominant bamboo species in the Qinling Mountains, China during the twenty-first century. As these three species comprise almost the entire diet of the panda population in the region, the projected changes in bamboo distribution suggest a potential shortage of food for this population, unless alternative food sources become available. Although the projections were developed under unavoidable simplifying assumptions and uncertainties, they indicate potential challenges for panda conservation and underscore the importance of incorporating interspecific interactions into climate-change impact assessments and associated conservation planning.
Tedersoo, Leho; Pellet, Prune; Kõljalg, Urmas; Selosse, Marc-André
Several forest understorey achlorophyllous plants, termed mycoheterotrophs (MHs), obtain C from their mycorrhizal fungi. The latter in turn form ectomycorrhizas with trees, the ultimate C source of the entire system. A similar nutritional strategy occurs in some green forest orchids, phylogenetically close to MH species, that gain their C via a combination of MH and photosynthesis (mixotrophy). In orchid evolution, mixotrophy evolved in shaded habitats and preceded MH nutrition. By generalizing and applying this to Ericaceae, we hypothesized that green forest species phylogenetically close to MHs are mixotrophic. Using stable C isotope analysis with fungi, autotrophic, mixotrophic and MH plants as comparisons, we found the first quantitative evidence for substantial fungi-mediated mixotrophy in the Pyroleae, common ericaceous shrubs from boreal forests close to the MH Monotropoideae. Orthilia secunda, Pyrola chlorantha, Pyrola rotundifolia and Chimaphila umbellata acquired between 10.3 and 67.5% of their C from fungi. High N and 15N contents also suggest that Pyroleae nutrition partly rely on fungi. Examination of root fungal internal transcribed spacer sequences at one site revealed that 39 species of mostly endophytic or ectomycorrhizal fungi, including abundant Tricholoma spp., were associated with O. secunda, P. chlorantha and C. umbellata. These fungi, particularly ectomycorrhizal associates, could thus link mixotrophic Pyroleae spp. to surrounding trees, allowing the C flows deduced from isotopic evidence. These data suggest that we need to reconsider ecological roles of understorey plants, which could influence the dynamics and composition of forest communities.
Mäki, Mari; Heinonsalo, Jussi; Hellén, Heidi; Bäck, Jaana
Boreal forest floor emits biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from the understorey vegetation and the heterogeneous soil matrix, where the interactions of soil organisms and soil chemistry are complex. Earlier studies have focused on determining the net exchange of VOCs from the forest floor. This study goes one step further, with the aim of separately determining whether the photosynthesized carbon allocation to soil affects the isoprenoid production by different soil organisms, i.e., decomposers, mycorrhizal fungi, and roots. In each treatment, photosynthesized carbon allocation through roots for decomposers and mycorrhizal fungi was controlled by either preventing root ingrowth (50 µm mesh size) or the ingrowth of roots and fungi (1 µm mesh) into the soil volume, which is called the trenching approach. Isoprenoid fluxes were measured using dynamic (steady-state flow-through) chambers from the different treatments. This study aimed to analyze how important the understorey vegetation is as a VOC sink. Finally, a statistical model was constructed based on prevailing temperature, seasonality, trenching treatments, understory vegetation cover, above canopy photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), soil water content, and soil temperature to estimate isoprenoid fluxes. The final model included parameters with a statistically significant effect on the isoprenoid fluxes. The results show that the boreal forest floor emits monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and isoprene. Monoterpenes were the most common group of emitted isoprenoids, and the average flux from the non-trenched forest floor was 23 µg m-2 h-1. The results also show that different biological factors, including litterfall, carbon availability, biological activity in the soil, and physico-chemical processes, such as volatilization and absorption to the surfaces, are important at various times of the year. This study also discovered that understorey vegetation is a strong sink of monoterpenes. The
Jongen, Marjan; Hellmann, Christine; Unger, Stephan
To date, the implications of the predicted greater intra-annual variability and extremes in precipitation on ecosystem functioning have received little attention. This study presents results on leaf-level physiological responses of five species covering the functional groups grasses, forbs, and legumes in the understorey of a Mediterranean oak woodland, with increasing precipitation variability, without altering total annual precipitation inputs. Although extending the dry period between precipitation events from 3 to 6 weeks led to increased soil moisture deficit, overall treatment effects on photosynthetic performance were not observed in the studied species. This resilience to prolonged water stress was explained by different physiological and morphological strategies to withstand periods below the wilting point, that is, isohydric behavior in Agrostis, Rumex, and Tuberaria, leaf succulence in Rumex, and taproots in Tolpis. In addition, quick recovery upon irrigation events and species-specific adaptations of water-use efficiency with longer dry periods and larger precipitation events contributed to the observed resilience in productivity of the annual plant community. Although none of the species exhibited a change in cover with increasing precipitation variability, leaf physiology of the legume Ornithopus exhibited signs of sensitivity to moisture deficit, which may have implications for the agricultural practice of seeding legume-rich mixtures in Mediterranean grassland-type systems. This highlights the need for long-term precipitation manipulation experiments to capture possible directional changes in species composition and seed bank development, which can subsequently affect ecosystem state and functioning.
Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Esteban, Raquel; Míguez, Fátima; Artetxe, Unai; Castañeda, Verónica; Pintó-Marijuan, Marta; Becerril, José María; García-Plazaola, José Ignacio
Accumulation of abaxial anthocyanins is an intriguing leaf trait particularly common among deeply shaded understorey plants of tropical and temperate forests whose ecological significance is still not properly understood. To shed light on it, possible ecophysiological roles of abaxial anthocyanins were tested in the perennial understorey herb of temperate deciduous forests Saxifraga hirsuta, chosen as a model species due to the coexistence of green and anthocyanic leaves and the presence of an easily removable lower anthocyanic epidermis. Anthocyanins accumulated during autumn, which temporally matched the overstorey leaf fall. Patterns of development of abaxial anthocyanins and direct measurements of photochemical efficiency under monochromatic light were not consistent with a photoprotective hypothesis. Enhancement of light capture also seemed unlikely since the back-scattering of red light towards the lower mesophyll was negligible. Seed germination was similar under acyanic and anthocyanic leaves. A relevant consequence of abaxial anthocyanins was the dramatic reduction of light transmission through the leaf. The dark environment generated underneath the Saxifraga canopy was enhanced by the horizontal repositioning of leaves, which occurs in parallel with reddening. This might play a role in biotic interactions by inhibiting vital processes of competitors, which may be of especial importance in spring before the overstorey leaves sprout. PMID:25922298
Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Esteban, Raquel; Míguez, Fátima; Artetxe, Unai; Castañeda, Verónica; Pintó-Marijuan, Marta; Becerril, José María; García-Plazaola, José Ignacio
Accumulation of abaxial anthocyanins is an intriguing leaf trait particularly common among deeply shaded understorey plants of tropical and temperate forests whose ecological significance is still not properly understood. To shed light on it, possible ecophysiological roles of abaxial anthocyanins were tested in the perennial understorey herb of temperate deciduous forests Saxifraga hirsuta, chosen as a model species due to the coexistence of green and anthocyanic leaves and the presence of an easily removable lower anthocyanic epidermis. Anthocyanins accumulated during autumn, which temporally matched the overstorey leaf fall. Patterns of development of abaxial anthocyanins and direct measurements of photochemical efficiency under monochromatic light were not consistent with a photoprotective hypothesis. Enhancement of light capture also seemed unlikely since the back-scattering of red light towards the lower mesophyll was negligible. Seed germination was similar under acyanic and anthocyanic leaves. A relevant consequence of abaxial anthocyanins was the dramatic reduction of light transmission through the leaf. The dark environment generated underneath the Saxifraga canopy was enhanced by the horizontal repositioning of leaves, which occurs in parallel with reddening. This might play a role in biotic interactions by inhibiting vital processes of competitors, which may be of especial importance in spring before the overstorey leaves sprout.
Newbery, D M; Kennedy, D N; Petol, G H; Madani, L; Ridsdale, C E
Changes in species composition in two 4-ha plots of lowland dipterocarp rainforest at Danum, Sabah, were measured over ten years (1986-1996) for trees > or = 10 cm girth at breast height (gbh). Each included a lower-slope to ridge gradient. The period lay between two drought events of moderate intensity but the forest showed no large lasting responses, suggesting that its species were well adapted to this regime. Mortality and recruitment rates were not unusual in global or regional comparisons. The forest continued to aggrade from its relatively (for Sabah) low basal area in 1986 and, together with the very open upper canopy structure and an abundance of lianas, this suggests a forest in a late stage of recovery from a major disturbance, yet one continually affected by smaller recent setbacks. Mortality and recruitment rates were not related to population size in 1986, but across subplots recruitment was positively correlated with the density and basal area of small trees (10-< 50cm gbh) forming the dense understorey. Neither rate was related to topography. While species with larger mean gbh had greater relative growth rates (rgr) than smaller ones, subplot mean recruitment rates were correlated with rgr among small trees. Separating understorey species (typically the Euphorbiaceae) from the overstorey (Dipterocarpaceae) showed marked differences in change in mortality with increasing gbh: in the former it increased, in the latter it decreased. Forest processes are centred on this understorey quasi-stratum. The two replicate plots showed a high correspondence in the mortality, recruitment, population changes and growth rates of small trees for the 49 most abundant species in common to both. Overstorey species had higher rgrs than understorey ones, but both showed considerable ranges in mortality and recruitment rates. The supposed trade-off in traits, viz slower rgr, shade tolerance and lower population turnover in the understorey group versus faster potential
Loures-Ribeiro, Alan; Manhães, Marco A; Dias, Manoel M
The Atlantic Forest has a high destruction rate and there is little information available on some aspects of the neotropical bird biology. Changes in environment are important factors that affect the resources available to birds. We compared the species sensitivity level of understorey birds in two areas in distinct successional stages (primary and secondary sections). Two 100 ha plots of lowland Atlantic Forest were analysed between August and December 2006. Among 25 bird species recorded, thirteen had lower abundance in secondary forest, two in primary forest, and ten had not clear tendency. According to the criteria used, the percentages for species with low, and medium and high sensitivity to habitat change were 44% and 56%, respectively. The number of species was not associated with the endemism level or foraging strata. Results show the importance of knowing bird species' sensitivity level with regard to habitat modification, and not only forest fragmentation.
Beck, H.; Gaines, M.S.; Hines, J.E.; Nichols, J.D.
Variation in food resource availability can have profound effects on habitat selection and dynamics of populations. Previous studies reported higher food resource availability and fruit removal in treefall gaps than in the understorey. Therefore, gaps have been considered 'keystone habitat' for Neotropical frugivore birds. Here we test if this prediction would also hold for terrestrial small mammals. In the Amazon, we quantified food resource availability in eleven treefall gaps and paired understorey habitats and used feeding experiments to test if two common terrestrial rodents (Oryzomys megacephalus and Proechimys spp.) would perceive differences between habitats. We live-trapped small mammals in eleven gaps and understorey sites for two years, and compared abundance, fitness components (survival and per capita recruitment) and dispersal of these two rodent species across gaps and understorey and seasons (rainy and dry). Our data indicated no differences in resource availability and consumption rate between habitats. Treefall gaps may represent a sink habitat for Oryzomys where individuals had lower fitness, apparently because of habitat-specific ant predation on early life stages, than in the understorey, the source habitat. Conversely, gaps may be source habitat for Proechimys where individuals had higher fitness, than in the understorey, the sink habitat. Our results suggest the presence of source-sink dynamics in a tropical gap-understorey landscape, where two rodent species perceive habitats differently. This may be a mechanism for their coexistence in a heterogeneous and species-diverse system.
Coruzzi, Gloria; Gutierrez, Rodrigo A.; Nero, Damion C.
Provided herein are compositions and methods for producing transgenic plants. In specific embodiments, transgenic plants comprise a construct comprising a polynucleotide encoding CCA1, GLK1 or bZIP1, operably linked to a plant-specific promote, wherein the CCA1, GLK1 or bZIP1 is ectopically overexpressed in the transgenic plants, and wherein the promoter is optionally a constitutive or inducible promoter. In other embodiments, transgenic plants in which express a lower level of CCA1, GLK1 or bZIP1 are provided. Also provided herein are commercial products (e.g., pulp, paper, paper products, or lumber) derived from the transgenic plants (e.g., transgenic trees) produced using the methods provided herein.
Reinhard, Diana Hereda
This science study aid, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, includes a series of plant rooting activities for secondary science classes. The material in the pamphlet is written for students and includes background information on plant hormones, a vocabulary list, and five learning activities. Objectives, needed materials, and…
Nor Hashim, Ezyan; Ramli, Rosli
A comparative study of understorey birds inhabiting different habitats, that is, virgin jungle reserve (VJR) and regenerated forest (RF), was conducted in Ulu Gombak Forest Reserve and Selangor and Triang Forest Reserve, Negeri Sembilan, Peninsular Malaysia. The objective of this study was to assess the diversity of understorey birds in both habitats and the effects of forest regeneration on the understorey bird community. The mist-netting method was used to capture understorey birds inhabiting both habitats in both locations. Species composition and feeding guild indicated that understorey bird populations were similar in the two habitats. However, the number of secondary forest species such as Little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra) in VJR is increasing due to its proximity to RF. This study discovered that RFs in both study areas are not yet fully recovered. However, based on the range of species discovered, the RFs have conservation value and should be maintained because they harbour important forest species such as babblers and flycatchers. The assessment of the community structure of understorey birds in VJR and RF is important for forest management and conservation, especially where both habitats are intact.
Strout, Greg; Russell, Scott D.; Pulsifer, Drew P.; Erten, Sema; Lakhtakia, Akhlesh; Lee, David W.
Background and Aims Blue-green iridescence in the tropical rainforest understorey sedge Mapania caudata creates structural coloration in its leaves through a novel photonic mechanism. Known structures in plants producing iridescent blues consist of altered cellulose layering within cell walls and in special bodies, and thylakoid membranes in specialized plastids. This study was undertaken in order to determine the origin of leaf iridescence in this plant with particular attention to nano-scale components contributing to this coloration. Methods Adaxial walls of leaf epidermal cells were characterized using high-pressure-frozen freeze-substituted specimens, which retain their native dimensions during observations using transmission and scanning microscopy, accompanied by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to identify the role of biogenic silica in wall-based iridescence. Biogenic silica was experimentally removed using aqueous Na2CO3 and optical properties were compared using spectral reflectance. Key Results and Conclusions Blue iridescence is produced in the adaxial epidermal cell wall, which contains helicoid lamellae. The blue iridescence from cell surfaces is left-circularly polarized. The position of the silica granules is entrained by the helicoid microfibrillar layers, and granules accumulate at a uniform position within the helicoids, contributing to the structure that produces the blue iridescence, as part of the unit cell responsible for 2 ° Bragg scatter. Removal of silica from the walls eliminated the blue colour. Addition of silica nanoparticles on existing cellulosic lamellae is a novel mechanism for adding structural colour in organisms. PMID:23960046
Argiolas, Alfredo; Puleo, Gian Luigi; Sinibaldi, Edoardo; Mazzolai, Barbara
Scientists have identified turgor-based actuation as a fundamental mechanism in plant movements. Plant cell turgor is generated by water influx due to the osmolyte concentration gradient through the cell wall and the plasma membrane behaving as an osmotic barrier. Previous studies have focused on turgor modulation with respect to potassium chloride (KCl) concentration changes, although KCl is not efficiently retained in the cell, and many other compounds, including L-glutamine (L-Gln) and D-glucose (D-Glc), are present in the cytosol. In fact, the contributions of other osmolytes to turgor dynamics remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the association of osmolytes and their consequent cooperative effects on the time-dependent turgor profile generated in a model cytosol consisting of KCl, D-Glc and L-Gln at experimentally measured plant motor/generic cell concentrations and at modified concentrations. We demonstrate the influence and association of the osmolytes using osmometry and NMR measurements. We also show, using a plant cell-inspired device we previously developed, that osmolyte complexes, rather than single osmolytes, permit to obtain higher turgor required by plant movements. We provide quantitative cues for deeper investigations of osmolyte transport for plant movement, and reveal the possibility of developing osmotic actuators exploiting a dynamically varying concentration of osmolytes. PMID:27445173
Argiolas, Alfredo; Puleo, Gian Luigi; Sinibaldi, Edoardo; Mazzolai, Barbara
Scientists have identified turgor-based actuation as a fundamental mechanism in plant movements. Plant cell turgor is generated by water influx due to the osmolyte concentration gradient through the cell wall and the plasma membrane behaving as an osmotic barrier. Previous studies have focused on turgor modulation with respect to potassium chloride (KCl) concentration changes, although KCl is not efficiently retained in the cell, and many other compounds, including L-glutamine (L-Gln) and D-glucose (D-Glc), are present in the cytosol. In fact, the contributions of other osmolytes to turgor dynamics remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the association of osmolytes and their consequent cooperative effects on the time-dependent turgor profile generated in a model cytosol consisting of KCl, D-Glc and L-Gln at experimentally measured plant motor/generic cell concentrations and at modified concentrations. We demonstrate the influence and association of the osmolytes using osmometry and NMR measurements. We also show, using a plant cell-inspired device we previously developed, that osmolyte complexes, rather than single osmolytes, permit to obtain higher turgor required by plant movements. We provide quantitative cues for deeper investigations of osmolyte transport for plant movement, and reveal the possibility of developing osmotic actuators exploiting a dynamically varying concentration of osmolytes.
Castilla, Antonio R.; Pope, Nathaniel; Jha, Shalene
Background and Aims Global pollinator declines and continued habitat fragmentation highlight the critical need to understand reproduction and gene flow across plant populations. Plant size, conspecific density and local kinship (i.e. neighbourhood genetic relatedness) have been proposed as important mechanisms influencing the reproductive success of flowering plants, but have rarely been simultaneously investigated. Methods We conducted this study on a continuous population of the understorey tree Miconia affinis in the Forest Dynamics Plot on Barro Colorado Island in central Panama. We used spatial, reproductive and population genetic data to investigate the effects of tree size, conspecific neighbourhood density and local kinship on maternal and paternal reproductive success. We used a Bayesian framework to simultaneously model the effects of our explanatory variables on the mean and variance of maternal viable seed set and siring success. Key Results Our results reveal that large trees had lower proportions of viable seeds in their fruits but sired more seeds. We documented differential effects of neighbourhood density and local kinship on both maternal and paternal reproductive components. Trees in more dense neighbourhoods produced on average more viable seeds, although this positive density effect was influenced by variance-inflation with increasing local kinship. Neighbourhood density did not have significant effects on siring success. Conclusions This study is one of the first to reveal an interaction among tree size, conspecific density and local kinship as critical factors differentially influencing maternal and paternal reproductive success. We show that both maternal and paternal reproductive success should be evaluated to determine the population-level and individual traits most essential for plant reproduction. In addition to conserving large trees, we suggest the inclusion of small trees and the conservation of dense patches with low kinship as
Morton, D C; Le Page, Y; DeFries, R; Collatz, G J; Hurtt, G C
Recent drought events underscore the vulnerability of Amazon forests to understorey fires. The long-term impact of fires on biodiversity and forest carbon stocks depends on the frequency of fire damages and deforestation rates of burned forests. Here, we characterized the spatial and temporal dynamics of understorey fires (1999-2010) and deforestation (2001-2010) in southern Amazonia using new satellite-based estimates of annual fire activity (greater than 50 ha) and deforestation (greater than 10 ha). Understorey forest fires burned more than 85 500 km(2) between 1999 and 2010 (2.8% of all forests). Forests that burned more than once accounted for 16 per cent of all understorey fires. Repeated fire activity was concentrated in Mato Grosso and eastern Pará, whereas single fires were widespread across the arc of deforestation. Routine fire activity in Mato Grosso coincided with annual periods of low night-time relative humidity, suggesting a strong climate control on both single and repeated fires. Understorey fires occurred in regions with active deforestation, yet the interannual variability of fire and deforestation were uncorrelated, and only 2.6 per cent of forests that burned between 1999 and 2008 were deforested for agricultural use by 2010. Evidence from the past decade suggests that future projections of frontier landscapes in Amazonia should separately consider economic drivers to project future deforestation and climate to project fire risk.
de Roode, Jacobus C; Pedersen, Amy B; Hunter, Mark D; Altizer, Sonia
1. Studies have considered how intrinsic host and parasite properties determine parasite virulence, but have largely ignored the role of extrinsic ecological factors in its expression. 2. We studied how parasite genotype and host plant species interact to determine virulence of the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (McLaughlin & Myers 1970) in the monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus L. We infected monarch larvae with one of four parasite genotypes and reared them on two milkweed species that differed in their levels of cardenolides: toxic chemicals involved in predator defence. 3. Parasite infection, replication and virulence were affected strongly by host plant species. While uninfected monarchs lived equally long on both plant species, infected monarchs suffered a greater reduction in their life spans (55% vs. 30%) on the low-cardenolide vs. the high-cardenolide host plant. These life span differences resulted from different levels of parasite replication in monarchs reared on the two plant species. 4. The virulence rank order of parasite genotypes was unaffected by host plant species, suggesting that host plant species affected parasite genotypes similarly, rather than through complex plant species-parasite genotype interactions. 5. Our results demonstrate that host ecology importantly affects parasite virulence, with implications for host-parasite dynamics in natural populations.
Baidar, B.; Koirala, R.; Neopane, H. P.; Shrestha, M. V.; Thapa, B.
Most people in the rural areas of Nepal rely on Micro-hydro Power Plants (MHPs) for their energy sources. With around four decade experiences in design and development of MHPs, Nepalese techno-entrepreneurs have gained wider reputation in the South Asian region and the beyond. However with the lack of competences in developing Francis turbines, majority of the MHPs are equipped with either Pelton of Cross Flow turbine, even though Francis units are suitable. With the devastating earthquake of a 7.6 magnitude that struck in the Gorkha district on Saturday, 25 April 2015, about 76 km northwest of the capital city Kathmandu, and the aftershocks followed claimed more than 8000 lives. It did not leave hydropower plants either. Many big plants have been affected and hundreds of MHPs were damaged, needing short to long term rehabilitation. The preliminary assessment of the 61 affected MHPs in the 6 earthquake affected districts shows more than 50% sites are suitable for Francis turbine. Hence the strategic rehabilitation plan has been developed in the present paper for the affected plants considering issues like geographical shift, dislocation of people and also with the focus on replacing the old turbine with Francis turbine in the suitable sites. The similar strategy can also be implemented in other developing countries with such situations.
Finkes, Laura K; Cady, Alan B; Mulroy, Juliana C; Clay, Keith; Rudgers, Jennifer A
Mutualistic symbionts are widespread in plants and may have strong, bottom-up influences on community structure. Here we show that a grass-endophyte mutualism shifts the composition of a generalist predator assemblage. In replicated, successional fields we manipulated endophyte infection by Neotyphodium coenophialum in a dominant, non-native plant (Lolium arundinaceum). We compared the magnitude of the endophyte effect with manipulations of thatch biomass, a habitat feature of known importance to spiders. The richness of both spider families and morphospecies was greater in the absence of the endophyte, although total spider abundance was not affected. Thatch removal reduced both spider abundance and richness, and endophyte and thatch effects were largely additive. Spider families differed in responses, with declines in Linyphiidae and Thomisidae due to the endophyte and declines in Lycosidae due to thatch removal. Results demonstrate that the community impacts of non-native plants can depend on plants' mutualistic associates, such as fungal endophytes.
Tewksbury, Joshua, J.; Levey, Douglas, J.; Haddad, Nick, M.; Sargent, Sarah; Orrock, John, L.; Weldon, Aimee; Danielson, Brent, J.; Brinkerhoff, Jory; Damschen, Ellen, I.; Townsend, Patricia
Tewksbury, J.J., D.J. Levey, N.M. Haddad, S. Sargent, J.L. Orrock, A. Weldon, B.J. Danielson, J. Brinkerhoff, E.I. Damschen, and P. Townsend. 2002. Corridors affect plants, animals, and their interactions in fragmented landscapes. PNAS 99(20):12923-12926. Among the most popular strategies for maintaining populations of both plants and animals in fragmented landscapes is to connect isolated patches with thin strips of habitat, called corridors. Corridors are thought to increase the exchange of individuals between habitat patches, promoting genetic exchange and reducing population fluctuations. Empirical studies addressing the effects of corridors have either been small in scale or have ignored confounding effects of increased habitat area created by the presence of a corridor. These methodological difficulties, coupled with a paucity of studies examining the effects of corridors on plants and plant-animal interactions, have sparked debate over the purported value of corridors in conservation planning. We report results of a large-scale experiment that directly address this debate. We demonstrate that corridors not only increase the exchange of animals between patches, but also facilitate two key plant-animal interactions: pollination and seed dispersal. Our results show that the beneficial effects of corridors extend beyond the area they add, and suggest that increased plant and animal movement through corridors will have positive impacts on plant populations and community interactions in fragmented landscapes.
Zhang, Yinfei; Wang, Yu; Ding, Zhaotang; Wang, Hui; Song, Lubin; Jia, Sisi; Ma, Dexin
The research of physiological responses to Zn stress in plants has been extensively studied. However, the ionomics and metabolomics responses of plants to Zn stress remain largely unknown. In present study, the nutrient elements were identified involved in ion homeostasis and metabolomics changes related to Zn deficiency or excess in tea plants. Nutrient element analysis demonstrated that the concentrations of Zn affected the ion-uptake in roots and the nutrient element transportation to leaves, leading to the different distribution of P, S, Al, Ca, Fe and Cu in the tea leaves or roots. Metabolomics analysis revealed that Zn deficiency or excess differentially influenced the metabolic pathways in the tea leaves. More specifically, Zn deficiency affected the metabolism of carbohydrates, and Zn excess affected flavonoids metabolism. Additionally, the results showed that both Zn deficiency and Zn excess led to reduced nicotinamide levels, which speeded up NAD(+) degradation and thus reduced energy metabolism. Furthermore, element-metabolite correlation analysis illustrated that Zn contents in the tea leaves were positively correlated with organic acids, nitrogenous metabolites and some carbohydrate metabolites, and negatively correlated with the metabolites involved in secondary metabolism and some other carbohydrate metabolites. Meanwhile, metabolite-metabolite correlation analysis demonstrated that organic acids, sugars, amino acids and flavonoids played dominant roles in the regulation of the tea leaf metabolism under Zn stress. Therefore, the conclusion should be drawn that the tea plants responded to Zn stress by coordinating ion-uptake and regulation of metabolism of carbohydrates, nitrogenous metabolites, and flavonoids.
Li, Shibai; Qin, Genji; Novák, Ondřej; Pěnčík, Aleš; Ljung, Karin; Aoyama, Takashi; Liu, Jingjing; Murphy, Angus; Gu, Hongya; Tsuge, Tomohiko; Qu, Li-Jia
Plant architecture is one of the key factors that affect plant survival and productivity. Plant body structure is established through the iterative initiation and outgrowth of lateral organs, which are derived from the shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem, after embryogenesis. Here we report that ADP1, a putative MATE (multidrug and toxic compound extrusion) transporter, plays an essential role in regulating lateral organ outgrowth, and thus in maintaining normal architecture of Arabidopsis. Elevated expression levels of ADP1 resulted in accelerated plant growth rate, and increased the numbers of axillary branches and flowers. Our molecular and genetic evidence demonstrated that the phenotypes of plants over-expressing ADP1 were caused by reduction of local auxin levels in the meristematic regions. We further discovered that this reduction was probably due to decreased levels of auxin biosynthesis in the local meristematic regions based on the measured reduction in IAA levels and the gene expression data. Simultaneous inactivation of ADP1 and its three closest homologs led to growth retardation, relative reduction of lateral organ number and slightly elevated auxin level. Our results indicated that ADP1-mediated regulation of the local auxin level in meristematic regions is an essential determinant for plant architecture maintenance by restraining the outgrowth of lateral organs. PMID:24391508
Li, Ruixi; Li, Jieru; Li, Shibai; Qin, Genji; Novák, Ondřej; Pěnčík, Aleš; Ljung, Karin; Aoyama, Takashi; Liu, Jingjing; Murphy, Angus; Gu, Hongya; Tsuge, Tomohiko; Qu, Li-Jia
Plant architecture is one of the key factors that affect plant survival and productivity. Plant body structure is established through the iterative initiation and outgrowth of lateral organs, which are derived from the shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem, after embryogenesis. Here we report that ADP1, a putative MATE (multidrug and toxic compound extrusion) transporter, plays an essential role in regulating lateral organ outgrowth, and thus in maintaining normal architecture of Arabidopsis. Elevated expression levels of ADP1 resulted in accelerated plant growth rate, and increased the numbers of axillary branches and flowers. Our molecular and genetic evidence demonstrated that the phenotypes of plants over-expressing ADP1 were caused by reduction of local auxin levels in the meristematic regions. We further discovered that this reduction was probably due to decreased levels of auxin biosynthesis in the local meristematic regions based on the measured reduction in IAA levels and the gene expression data. Simultaneous inactivation of ADP1 and its three closest homologs led to growth retardation, relative reduction of lateral organ number and slightly elevated auxin level. Our results indicated that ADP1-mediated regulation of the local auxin level in meristematic regions is an essential determinant for plant architecture maintenance by restraining the outgrowth of lateral organs.
Blasco, Begoña; Ríos, Juan Jose; Leyva, Rocío; Cervilla, Luis Miguel; Sánchez-Rodríguez, Eva; Rubio-Wilhelmi, María Mar; Rosales, Miguel Angel; Ruiz, Juan Manuel; Romero, Luis
Plants produce low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which form part of basic cell chemical communication; however, different types of stress can lead to an overexpression of ROS that can damage macromolecules essential for plant growth and development. Iodine is vital to human health, and iodine biofortification programs help improve the human intake through plant consumption. This biofortification process has been shown to influence the antioxidant capacity of lettuce plants, suggesting that the oxidative metabolism of the plant may be affected. The results of this study demonstrate that the response to oxidative stress is variable and depends on the form of iodine applied. Application of iodide (I(-)) to lettuce plants produces a reduction in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and an increase in catalase (CAT) and L-galactono dehydrogenase enzyme activities and in the activity of antioxidant compounds such as ascorbate (AA) and glutathione. This did not prove a very effective approach since a dose of 80 μM produced a reduction in the biomass of the plants. For its part, application of iodate (IO (3) (-) ) produced an increase in the activities of SOD, ascorbate peroxidase, and CAT, the main enzymes involved in ROS detoxification; it also increased the concentration of AA and the regenerative activities of the Halliwell-Asada cycle. These data confirm the non-phytotoxicity of IO (3) (-) since there is no lipid peroxidation or biomass reduction. According to our results, the ability of IO (3) (-) to induce the antioxidant system indicates that application of this form of iodine may be an effective strategy to improve the response of plants to different types of stress.
Hautier, Yann; Tilman, David; Isbell, Forest; Seabloom, Eric W; Borer, Elizabeth T; Reich, Peter B
Human-driven environmental changes may simultaneously affect the biodiversity, productivity, and stability of Earth's ecosystems, but there is no consensus on the causal relationships linking these variables. Data from 12 multiyear experiments that manipulate important anthropogenic drivers, including plant diversity, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, fire, herbivory, and water, show that each driver influences ecosystem productivity. However, the stability of ecosystem productivity is only changed by those drivers that alter biodiversity, with a given decrease in plant species numbers leading to a quantitatively similar decrease in ecosystem stability regardless of which driver caused the biodiversity loss. These results suggest that changes in biodiversity caused by drivers of environmental change may be a major factor determining how global environmental changes affect ecosystem stability.
Wright, Alexandra J; de Kroon, Hans; Visser, Eric J W; Buchmann, Tina; Ebeling, Anne; Eisenhauer, Nico; Fischer, Christine; Hildebrandt, Anke; Ravenek, Janneke; Roscher, Christiane; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang; Voesenek, Laurentius A C J; Mommer, Liesje
Flooding is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future. The ecological consequences of flooding are the combined result of species-specific plant traits and ecological context. However, the majority of past flooding research has focused on individual model species under highly controlled conditions. An early summer flooding event in a grassland biodiversity experiment in Jena, Germany, provided the opportunity to assess flooding responses of 60 grassland species in monocultures and 16-species mixtures. We examined plant biomass, species-specific traits (plant height, specific leaf area (SLA), root aerenchyma, starch content) and soil porosity. We found that, on average, plant species were less negatively affected by the flood when grown in higher-diversity plots in July 2013. By September 2013, grasses were unaffected by the flood regardless of plant diversity, and legumes were severely negatively affected regardless of plant diversity. Plants with greater SLA and more root aerenchyma performed better in September. Soil porosity was higher in higher-diversity plots and had a positive effect on plant performance. As floods become more frequent and severe in the future, growing flood-sensitive plants in higher-diversity communities and in soil with greater soil aeration may attenuate the most negative effects of flooding.
Boratyński, Zbyszek; Arias, Javi Miranda; Garcia, Cristina; Mappes, Tapio; Mousseau, Timothy A.; Møller, Anders P.; Pajares, Antonio Jesús Muñoz; Piwczyński, Marcin; Tukalenko, Eugene
Radioactivity released from disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is a global hazard and a threat to exposed biota. To minimize the deleterious effects of stressors organisms adopt various strategies. Plants, for example, may delay germination or stay dormant during stressful periods. However, an intense stress may halt germination or heavily affect various developmental stages and select for life history changes. Here, we test for the consequence of exposure to ionizing radiation on plant development. We conducted a common garden experiment in an uncontaminated greenhouse using 660 seeds originating from 33 wild carrots (Daucus carota) collected near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. These maternal plants had been exposed to radiation levels that varied by three orders of magnitude. We found strong negative effects of elevated radiation on the timing and rates of seed germination. In addition, later stages of development and the timing of emergence of consecutive leaves were delayed by exposure to radiation. We hypothesize that low quality of resources stored in seeds, damaged DNA, or both, delayed development and halted germination of seeds from plants exposed to elevated levels of ionizing radiation. We propose that high levels of spatial heterogeneity in background radiation may hamper adaptive life history responses. PMID:27982121
Boratyński, Zbyszek; Arias, Javi Miranda; Garcia, Cristina; Mappes, Tapio; Mousseau, Timothy A.; Møller, Anders P.; Pajares, Antonio Jesús Muñoz; Piwczyński, Marcin; Tukalenko, Eugene
Radioactivity released from disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima is a global hazard and a threat to exposed biota. To minimize the deleterious effects of stressors organisms adopt various strategies. Plants, for example, may delay germination or stay dormant during stressful periods. However, an intense stress may halt germination or heavily affect various developmental stages and select for life history changes. Here, we test for the consequence of exposure to ionizing radiation on plant development. We conducted a common garden experiment in an uncontaminated greenhouse using 660 seeds originating from 33 wild carrots (Daucus carota) collected near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. These maternal plants had been exposed to radiation levels that varied by three orders of magnitude. We found strong negative effects of elevated radiation on the timing and rates of seed germination. In addition, later stages of development and the timing of emergence of consecutive leaves were delayed by exposure to radiation. We hypothesize that low quality of resources stored in seeds, damaged DNA, or both, delayed development and halted germination of seeds from plants exposed to elevated levels of ionizing radiation. We propose that high levels of spatial heterogeneity in background radiation may hamper adaptive life history responses.
Smith, Sarah; Galinha, Carla; Desset, Sophie; Tolmie, Frances; Evans, David; Tatout, Christophe; Graumann, Katja
In non-plant systems, chromatin association with the nuclear periphery affects gene expression, where interactions with nuclear envelope proteins can repress and interactions with nucleoporins can enhance transcription. In plants, both hetero- and euchromatin can localize at the nuclear periphery, but the effect of proximity to the nuclear periphery on gene expression remains largely unknown. This study explores the putative function of Seh1 and Nup50a nucleoporins on gene expression by using the Lac Operator / Lac Repressor (LacI-LacO) system adapted to Arabidopsis thaliana. We used LacO fused to the luciferase reporter gene (LacO:Luc) to investigate whether binding of the LacO:Luc transgene to nucleoporin:LacI protein fusions alters luciferase expression. Two separate nucleoporin-LacI-YFP fusions were introduced into single insert, homozygous LacO:Luc Arabidopsis plants. Homozygous plants carrying LacO:Luc and a single insert of either Seh1-LacI-YFP or Nup50a-LacI-YFP were tested for luciferase activity and compared to plants containing LacO:Luc only. Seh1-LacI-YFP increased, while Nup50a-LacI-YFP decreased luciferase activity. Seh1-LacI-YFP accumulated at the nuclear periphery as expected, while Nup50a-LacI-YFP was nucleoplasmic and was not selected for further study. Protein and RNA levels of luciferase were quantified by western blotting and RT-qPCR, respectively. Increased luciferase activity in LacO:Luc+Seh1-LacI-YFP plants was correlated with increased luciferase protein and RNA levels. This change of luciferase expression was abolished by disruption of LacI-LacO binding by treating with IPTG in young seedlings, rosette leaves and inflorescences. This study suggests that association with the nuclear periphery is involved in the regulation of gene expression in plants.
Hughes, Nicole M; Vogelmann, Thomas C; Smith, William K
A red/purple coloration of lower (abaxial) leaf surfaces is commonly observed in deeply-shaded understorey plants, especially in the tropics. However, the functional significance of red abaxial coloration, including its role in photosynthetic adaptation, remains unclear. The objective of this study was to test the back-scatter hypothesis for abaxial leaf coloration, which posits that red pigments internally reflect/scatter red light transmitted by the upper leaf surface back into the mesophyll, thereby enhancing photon capture in light-limited environments. Abaxially red/non-red variegated leaves of Begonia heracleifolia (Cham. & Schltdl.) were used to compare reflectance spectra and chlorophyll fluorescence profiles of abaxially anthocyanic (red) and acyanic (non-red) tissues under red light. Photosynthetic gas exchange in response to red light was also compared for abaxially red/non-red leaf sections. The results did not support a back-scattering function, as anthocyanic leaf surfaces were not more reflective of red light than acyanic surfaces. Anthocyanic tissues also did not exhibit any increases in the mesophyll absorbance of red light, or increased photosynthetic gas exchange under red light at any intensity, relative to acyanic tissues. These results suggest that abaxial anthocyanins do not significantly enhance the absorption of red light in the species tested, and alternative functions are discussed.
Ma, Ling; Rao, Xingquan; Lu, Ping; Bai, Shahla Hosseini; Xu, Zhihong; Chen, Xiaoyang; Blumfield, Timothy; Xie, Jun
Eucalyptus spp. is a dominant tree genus in Australia and most Eucalyptus spp. are canopy dominant species. In Australian natural forests, Eucalyptus spp. commonly are associated with understorey legumes which play a crucial role for ecological restoration owing to their nitrogen (N) fixing ability for replenishing the soil N lost after frequent prescribed burning. This study aimed to explore to what extent physiological responses of these species differ 7 and 12 years after last fire. Two most common understorey Acacia spp., Acacia leiocalyx and A. disparrima, as well as one non-leguminous Eucalyptus resinifera, were studied due to their dominance in the forest. Both A. leiocalyx and A. disparrima showed higher carbon (C) assimilation capacity, maximum photosynthetic capacity, and moderate foliar C/N ratio compared with E. resinifera. A. leiocalyx showed various advantages compared to A. disparrima such as higher photosynthetic capacity, adaptation to wider light range and higher foliar total N (TNmass). A. leiocalyx also relied on N2-fixing ability for longer time compared to A. disparrima. The results suggested that the two Acacia spp. were more beneficial to C and N cycles for the post burning ecosystem than the non-N2-fixing species E. resinifera. A. leiocalyx had greater contribution to complementing soil N cycle long after burning compared to A. disparrima.
Lu, Hua-Zheng; Liu, Wen-Yao; Yu, Fei-Hai; Song, Liang; Xu, Xing-Liang; Wu, Chuan-Sheng; Zheng, Yu-Long; Li, Yang-Ping; Gong, He-De; Chen, Ke; Li, Su; Chen, Xi; Qi, Jin-Hua; Lu, Shu-Gang
Background and Aims The advantage of clonal integration (resource sharing between connected ramets of clonal plants) varies and a higher degree of integration is expected in more stressful and/or more heterogeneous habitats. Clonal facultative epiphytes occur in both forest canopies (epiphytic habitats) and forest understories (terrestrial habitats). Because environmental conditions, especially water and nutrients, are more stressful and heterogeneous in the canopy than in the understorey, this study hypothesizes that clonal integration is more important for facultative epiphytes in epiphytic habitats than in terrestrial habitats. Methods In a field experiment, an examination was made of the effects of rhizome connection (connected vs. disconnected, i.e. with vs. without clonal integration) on survival and growth of single ramets, both young and old, of the facultative epiphytic rhizomatous fern Selliguea griffithiana (Polypodiaceae) in both epiphytic and terrestrial habitats. In another field experiment, the effects of rhizome connection on performance of ramets were tested in small (10 × 10 cm2) and large (20 × 20 cm2) plots in both epiphytic and terrestrial habitats. Key Results Rhizome disconnection significantly decreased survival and growth of S. griffithiana in both experiments. The effects of rhizome disconnection on survival of single ramets and on ramet number and growth in plots were greater in epiphytic habitats than in terrestrial habitats. Conclusions Clonal integration contributes greatly to performance of facultative epiphytic ferns, and the effects were more important in forest canopies than in forest understories. The results therefore support the hypothesis that natural selection favours genotypes with a higher degree of integration in more stressful and heterogeneous environments. PMID:26050068
... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Actions affecting plant and animal... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...
... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Actions affecting plant and animal... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...
... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2012-07-01 2011-07-01 true Actions affecting plant and animal... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...
... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Actions affecting plant and animal... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...
... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Actions affecting plant and animal... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...
Keller, Carmen; Visschers, Vivianne; Siegrist, Michael
This study examined the relationship between the content of spontaneous associations with nuclear power plants and the acceptance of using new-generation nuclear power plants to replace old ones. The study also considered gender as a variable. A representative sample of the German- and French-speaking population of Switzerland (N= 1,221) was used. Log-linear models revealed significant two-way interactions between the association content and acceptance, association content and gender, and gender and acceptance. Correspondence analysis revealed that participants who were opposed to nuclear power plants mainly associated nuclear power plants with risk, negative feelings, accidents, radioactivity, waste disposal, military use, and negative consequences for health and environment; whereas participants favoring nuclear power plants mainly associated them with energy, appearance descriptions of nuclear power plants, and necessity. Thus, individuals opposing nuclear power plants had both more concrete and more diverse associations with them than people who were in favor of nuclear power plants. In addition, participants who were undecided often mentioned similar associations to those participants who were in favor. Males more often expressed associations with energy, waste disposal, and negative health effects. Females more often made associations with appearance descriptions, negative feelings, and negative environmental effects. The results further suggest that acceptance of replacing nuclear power plants was higher in the German-speaking part of the country, where all of the Swiss nuclear power plants are physically located. Practical implications for risk communication are discussed.
For many plant species, nutrient availability induces important anatomical responses, particularly the production of low-density tissues to the detriment of supporting tissues. Due to the contrasting biomechanical properties of plant tissues, these anatomical responses may induce important modifications in the biomechanical properties of plant organs. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of nutrient enrichment on the anatomical traits of two freshwater plant species and its consequences on plant biomechanical performance. Two plant species were grown under controlled conditions in low versus high nutrient levels. The anatomical and biomechanical traits of the plant stems were measured. Both species produced tissues with lower densities under nutrient-rich conditions, accompanied by modifications in the structure of the aerenchyma for one species. As expected, nutrient enrichment also led to important modifications in the biomechanical properties of the stem for both species. In particular, mechanical resistance (breaking force and strength) and stiffness of stems were significantly reduced under nutrient rich conditions. The production of weaker stem tissues as a result of nutrient enrichment may increase the risk of plants to mechanical failure, thus challenging plant maintenance in mechanically stressful or disturbed habitats. PMID:23028018
Kuhn, Benjamin M.; Errafi, Sanae; Bucher, Rahel; Dobrev, Petre; Geisler, Markus; Bigler, Laurent; Zažímalová, Eva; Ringli, Christoph
Flavonols are a group of secondary metabolites that affect diverse cellular processes. They are considered putative negative regulators of the transport of the phytohormone auxin, by which they influence auxin distribution and concomitantly take part in the control of plant organ development. Flavonols are accumulating in a large number of glycosidic forms. Whether these have distinct functions and diverse cellular targets is not well understood. The rol1-2 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana is characterized by a modified flavonol glycosylation profile that is inducing changes in auxin transport and growth defects in shoot tissues. To determine whether specific flavonol glycosides are responsible for these phenotypes, a suppressor screen was performed on the rol1-2 mutant, resulting in the identification of an allelic series of UGT89C1, a gene encoding a flavonol 7-O-rhamnosyltransferase. A detailed analysis revealed that interfering with flavonol rhamnosylation increases the concentration of auxin precursors and auxin metabolites, whereas auxin transport is not affected. This finding provides an additional level of complexity to the possible ways by which flavonols influence auxin distribution and suggests that flavonol glycosides play an important role in regulating plant development. PMID:26742840
Kuhn, Benjamin M; Errafi, Sanae; Bucher, Rahel; Dobrev, Petre; Geisler, Markus; Bigler, Laurent; Zažímalová, Eva; Ringli, Christoph
Flavonols are a group of secondary metabolites that affect diverse cellular processes. They are considered putative negative regulators of the transport of the phytohormone auxin, by which they influence auxin distribution and concomitantly take part in the control of plant organ development. Flavonols are accumulating in a large number of glycosidic forms. Whether these have distinct functions and diverse cellular targets is not well understood. The rol1-2 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana is characterized by a modified flavonol glycosylation profile that is inducing changes in auxin transport and growth defects in shoot tissues. To determine whether specific flavonol glycosides are responsible for these phenotypes, a suppressor screen was performed on the rol1-2 mutant, resulting in the identification of an allelic series of UGT89C1, a gene encoding a flavonol 7-O-rhamnosyltransferase. A detailed analysis revealed that interfering with flavonol rhamnosylation increases the concentration of auxin precursors and auxin metabolites, whereas auxin transport is not affected. This finding provides an additional level of complexity to the possible ways by which flavonols influence auxin distribution and suggests that flavonol glycosides play an important role in regulating plant development.
Dreschel, T. W.; Wheeler, R. M.; Sager, J. C.; Knott, W. M.
The development of the tubular membrane plant growth unit for the delivery of water and nutrients to roots in microgravity has recently focused on measuring the effects of changes in physical variables controlling solution availability to the plants. Significant effects of membrane pore size and the negative pressure used to contain the solution were demonstrated. Generally, wheat grew better in units with a larger pore size but equal negative pressure and in units with the same pore size but less negative pressure. Lettuce also exhibited better plant growth at less negative pressure.
Erdal, Serkan; Dumlupinar, Rahmi
The present study was undertaken to reveal the changes in inorganic constituents of plants exposed to mammalian sex hormones (MSH). Chickpea leaves were sprayed with 10(-4), 10(-6), 10(-9), 10(-12), and 10(-15) M concentrations of progesterone, β-estradiol, and androsterone at 7th day after sowing. The plants were harvested at the end of 18 days after treatment of MSH solutions and the inorganic components determined using a wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy technique. At all of the concentrations tested, MSH significantly increased the contents of K, S, Na, Ca, Mg, Zn, Fe, P, Cu, and Ni. Interestingly, only Mn and Cl contents decreased. The maximum changes in the inorganic composition were recorded at 10(-6) M for plants treated with progesterone and 10(-9) M for plants treated with β-estradiol and androsterone.
Plants produce wide variety of chemical compounds termed secondary metabolites that are not involved in basic metabolism, photosynthesis or reproduction. These compounds are used as flavors, fragrances, insecticides, dyes, hallucinogens, nutritional supplements, poisons, and pharmaceutical agents. ...
John Charles Walker
The DVL genes represent a new group of plant proteins that influence plant growth and development. Overexpression of DVL1, and other members of the DVL family, causes striking phenotypic changes. The DVL proteins share sequence homology in their C-terminal half. Point mutations in the C-terminal domain show it is necessary and deletion studies demonstrate the C-terminal domain is sufficient to confer the overexpression phenotypes. The phenotypes observed, and the conservation of the protein sequence in the plant kingdom, does suggest the DVL proteins have a role in modulating plant growth and development. Our working hypothesis is the DVL proteins function as regulators of cellular signaling pathways that control growth and development.
Merriam, K.E.; Keeley, J.E.; Beyers, J.L.
We evaluated the abundance of nonnative plants on fuel breaks and in adjacent untreated areas to determine if fuel treatments promote the invasion of nonnative plant species. Understanding the relationship between fuel treatments and nonnative plants is becoming increasingly important as federal and state agencies are currently implementing large fuel treatment programs throughout the United States to reduce the threat of wildland fire. Our study included 24 fuel breaks located across the State of California. We found that nonnative plant abundance was over 200% higher on fuel breaks than in adjacent wildland areas. Relative nonnative cover was greater on fuel breaks constructed by bulldozers (28%) than on fuel breaks constructed by other methods (7%). Canopy cover, litter cover, and duff depth also were significantly lower on fuel breaks constructed by bulldozers, and these fuel breaks had significantly more exposed bare ground than other types of fuel breaks. There was a significant decline in relative nonnative cover with increasing distance from the fuel break, particularly in areas that had experienced more numerous fires during the past 50 years, and in areas that had been grazed. These data suggest that fuel breaks could provide establishment sites for nonnative plants, and that nonnatives may invade surrounding areas, especially after disturbances such as fire or grazing. Fuel break construction and maintenance methods that leave some overstory canopy and minimize exposure of bare ground may be less likely to promote nonnative plants. ?? 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.
Chaparro, Jacqueline M; Badri, Dayakar V; Vivanco, Jorge M
There is a concerted understanding of the ability of root exudates to influence the structure of rhizosphere microbial communities. However, our knowledge of the connection between plant development, root exudation and microbiome assemblage is limited. Here, we analyzed the structure of the rhizospheric bacterial community associated with Arabidopsis at four time points corresponding to distinct stages of plant development: seedling, vegetative, bolting and flowering. Overall, there were no significant differences in bacterial community structure, but we observed that the microbial community at the seedling stage was distinct from the other developmental time points. At a closer level, phylum such as Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria and specific genera within those phyla followed distinct patterns associated with plant development and root exudation. These results suggested that the plant can select a subset of microbes at different stages of development, presumably for specific functions. Accordingly, metatranscriptomics analysis of the rhizosphere microbiome revealed that 81 unique transcripts were significantly (P<0.05) expressed at different stages of plant development. For instance, genes involved in streptomycin synthesis were significantly induced at bolting and flowering stages, presumably for disease suppression. We surmise that plants secrete blends of compounds and specific phytochemicals in the root exudates that are differentially produced at distinct stages of development to help orchestrate rhizosphere microbiome assemblage. PMID:24196324
Rostás, Michael; Ruf, Daniel; Zabka, Vanessa; Hildebrandt, Ulrich
The plant surface is the substrate upon which herbivorous insects and natural enemies meet and thus represents the stage for interactions between the three trophic levels. Plant surfaces are covered by an epicuticular wax layer which is highly variable depending on species, cultivar or plant part. Differences in wax chemistry may modulate ecological interactions. We explored whether caterpillars of Spodoptera frugiperda, when walking over a plant surface, leave a chemical trail (kairomones) that can be detected by the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris. Chemistry and micromorphology of cuticular waxes of two barley eceriferum wax mutants ( cer-za.126, cer-yp.949) and wild-type cv. Bonus (wt) were assessed. The plants were then used to investigate potential surface effects on the detectability of caterpillar kairomones. Here we provide evidence that C. marginiventris responds to chemical footprints of its host. Parasitoids were able to detect the kairomone on wild-type plants and on both cer mutants but the response to cer-yp.949 (reduced wax, high aldehyde fraction) was less pronounced. Experiments with caterpillar-treated wt and mutant leaves offered simultaneously, confirmed this observation: no difference in wasp response was found when wt was tested against cer-za.126 (reduced wax, wt-like chemical composition) but wt was significantly more attractive than cer-yp.949. This demonstrates for the first time that the wax layer can modulate the detectability of host kairomones.
Paris, Thomson M.; Hall, David G.; Hentz, Matthew G.; Hetesy, Gabriella; Stansly, Philip A.
The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is one of the most serious citrus pests worldwide due to its role as vector of huanglongbing or citrus greening disease. While some optimal plant species for ACP oviposition and development have been identified, little is known of the influence of host plants on ACP size and shape. Our goal was to determine how size and shape of ACP wing and body size varies when development occurs on different host plants in a controlled rearing environment. ACP were reared on six different rutaceous species; Bergera koenigii, Citrus aurantifolia, Citrus macrophylla, Citrus maxima, Citrus taiwanica and Murraya paniculata. Adults were examined for morphometric variation using traditional and geometric analysis based on 12 traits or landmarks. ACP reared on C. taiwanica were consistently smaller than those reared on the other plant species. Wing aspect ratio also differed between C. maxima and C. taiwanica. Significant differences in shape were detected with those reared on M. paniculata having narrower wings than those reared on C. macrophylla. This study provides evidence of wing size and shape differences of ACP based on host plant species which potentially may impact dispersal. Further study is needed to determine if behavioral and physiological differences are associated with the observed phenotypic differences. PMID:27833820
Paris, Thomson M; Allan, Sandra A; Hall, David G; Hentz, Matthew G; Hetesy, Gabriella; Stansly, Philip A
The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is one of the most serious citrus pests worldwide due to its role as vector of huanglongbing or citrus greening disease. While some optimal plant species for ACP oviposition and development have been identified, little is known of the influence of host plants on ACP size and shape. Our goal was to determine how size and shape of ACP wing and body size varies when development occurs on different host plants in a controlled rearing environment. ACP were reared on six different rutaceous species; Bergera koenigii, Citrus aurantifolia, Citrus macrophylla, Citrus maxima, Citrus taiwanica and Murraya paniculata. Adults were examined for morphometric variation using traditional and geometric analysis based on 12 traits or landmarks. ACP reared on C. taiwanica were consistently smaller than those reared on the other plant species. Wing aspect ratio also differed between C. maxima and C. taiwanica. Significant differences in shape were detected with those reared on M. paniculata having narrower wings than those reared on C. macrophylla. This study provides evidence of wing size and shape differences of ACP based on host plant species which potentially may impact dispersal. Further study is needed to determine if behavioral and physiological differences are associated with the observed phenotypic differences.
Lehoczky, E.; Szabados, I.; Marth, P.
Pot experiments were conducted in greenhouse conditions to study the effects of increasing cadmium (Cd) levels on biomass production and Cd contents in corn, (Zea mays L.), garlic (Allium sativum L.), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). Plants were grown in two soil types: Eutric cambisol soil and A gleyic luvisol soil. Spinach proved to be the most sensitive to Cd treatments as its biomass considerably decreased with the increasing Cd levels. Cadmium contents of the three crops increased with increasing levels of Cd applications. Statistical differences were observed in the Cd contents of crops depending on soil type. With the same Cd rates, Cd tissue concentration of test plants grown in the strongly acidic Gleyic luvisol soil were many times higher than that of plants grown in a neutral Eutric cambisol soil. 14 refs., 4 tabs.
Soudek, Petr; Kufner, Daniel; Petrová, Sárka; Mihaljevič, Martin; Vaněk, Tomáš
The ability of thorium uptake as well as responses to heavy metal stress were tested in tobacco cultivar La Burley 21. Thorium was accumulated preferentially in the root system. The presence of citric, tartaric and oxalic acids in hydroponic medium increased thorium accumulation in all plant organs. On the other hand, the addition of diamines and polyamines, the important antioxidants in plants, resulted in decrease of thorium accumulation, especially in the root system. Negative correlation was found between putrescine concentration and thorium accumulation. Nevertheless, the most important factor influencing the accumulation of thorium was the absence of phosphate ions in a hydroponic medium that caused more than 10-fold increase of thorium uptake in all plant parts. Accumulation and distribution of thorium was followed in six cultivars and 14 selected transformants. Cultivar La Barley 21 represented an average between the tested genotypes, having a very good distribution ratio between roots, stems and leaves.
Tremmel, D.C.; Bazzaz, F.A. )
Plant competition occurs through the negative effects that individual plants have on resource availability to neighboring individuals. Therefore competition experiments need to examine how different species change resource availability to their neighbors, and how different species respond to these changes-allocationally, architecturally, and physiologically-through time. In a greenhouse study we used a model system of annuals to examine how canopies of species having differing morphologies differed in their architectures and light-interception abilities, and how different species performed when grown in these canopies. Abutilon theophrasti, Datura stramonium, and Polygonum pensylvanicum were grown as [open quotes]targets[close quotes]. Plants were grown in pots, with one target plant and four neighbor plants. Detailed measurements of neighbor canopy structure and target plant canopy architecture were made at five harvests. Species with different morphologies showed large differences in canopy structure, particularly when grass and forb species were compared. Setaria, a grass, had a more open canopy than the other species (all forbs), and was a consistently weak competitor. Overall, however, the relative effects of different neighbors on target biomass varied with target species. Target biomass was poorly correlated with neighbor biomass and leaf area, but was highly correlated with a measure of target light-interception ability that took into account both target leaf deployment and neighbor light interception. Despite clear differences among neighbor species in canopy structure and effect on light penetration, the results suggest no broad generalizations about the effects of different species as neighbors. Knowledge of morphological, physiological, and life history characteristics of both the target and neighbor species may be necessary to explain the results of their competition. 53 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs.
Busquet, M; Calsamiglia, S; Ferret, A; Kamel, C
Different doses of 12 plant extracts and 6 secondary plant metabolites were incubated for 24 h in diluted ruminal fluid with a 50:50 forage:concentrate diet. Treatments were: control (no additive), plant extracts (anise oil, cade oil, capsicum oil, cinnamon oil, clove bud oil, dill oil, fenugreek, garlic oil, ginger oil, oregano oil, tea tree oil, and yucca), and secondary plant metabolites (anethol, benzyl salicylate, carvacrol, carvone, cinnamaldehyde, and eugenol). Each treatment was supplied at 3, 30, 300, and 3,000 mg/L of culture fluid. At 3,000 mg/L, most treatments decreased total volatile fatty acid concentration, but cade oil, capsicum oil, dill oil, fenugreek, ginger oil, and yucca had no effect. Different doses of anethol, anise oil, carvone, and tea tree oil decreased the proportion of acetate and propionate, which suggests that these compounds may not be nutritionally beneficial to dairy cattle. Garlic oil (300 and 3,000 mg/L) and benzyl salicylate (300 and 3,000 mg/L) reduced acetate and increased propionate and butyrate proportions, suggesting that methane production was inhibited. At 3,000 mg/L, capsicum oil, carvacrol, carvone, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon oil, clove bud oil, eugenol, fenugreek, and oregano oil resulted in a 30 to 50% reduction in ammonia N concentration. Careful selection and combination of these extracts may allow the manipulation of rumen microbial fermentation.
The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), due to its potential to vector the pathogen causing citrus greening disease or huanglongbing, is one of the most serious citrus pests worldwide. While optimal plant cultivars for ACP oviposition and development have been determined, little is known of the influence of...
Increased demand for fresh market bunch broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica) has led to increased production along the United States east coast. Maximizing broccoli yields is a primary concern for quickly expanding southeastern commercial markets. This broccoli plant density study was carr...
Responses of livestock gain and forage production to grazing intensity in shortgrass steppe are well-established, but effects on basal cover and plant diversity are less so. A long-term grazing intensity study was initiated on shortgrass steppe at the Central Plains Experimental Range (USDA-Agricult...
Increases in Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome on northern Great Plains rangelands have the potential to negatively impact ecosystem function, lower plant diversity and alter seasonal forage distribution, but control strategies are lacking in the region. A project was initiated on a heavily invad...
Pan, Xu; Ping, Yunmei; Cui, Lijuan; Li, Wei; Zhang, Xiaodong; Zhou, Jian; Yu, Fei-Hai; Prinzing, Andreas
Plant litter is an indispensable component of constructed wetlands, but how the submergence of plant litter affects their ecosystem functions and services, such as water purification, is still unclear. Moreover, it is also unclear whether the effects of plant litter submergence depend on other factors such as the duration of litter submergence, water source or litter species identity. Here we conducted a greenhouse experiment by submerging the litter of 7 wetland plant species into three types of water substrates and monitoring changes in water nutrient concentrations. Litter submergence affected water quality positively via decreasing the concentration of nitrate nitrogen and negatively via increasing the concentrations of total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen and total phosphorus. The effects of litter submergence depended on the duration of litter submergence, the water source, the litter species identity, and the plant life form. Different plant species had different effects on the water nutrient concentrations during litter submergence, and the effects of floating plants might be more negative than that of emergent plants. These results are novel evidence of how the submergence of different plant (life form) litter may affect the purification function of constructed wetlands. For water at low eutrophication levels, submerging a relative small amount of plant litter might improve water quality, via benefiting the denitrification process in water. These findings emphasized the management of floating plant litter (a potential removal) during the maintenance of human-controlled wetland ecosystems and provided a potential tool to improve the water quality of constructed wetlands via submerging plant litter of different types.
Wäschke, Nicole; Hardge, Kristin; Hancock, Christine; Hilker, Monika; Obermaier, Elisabeth; Meiners, Torsten
Plant diversity is known to affect success of host location by pest insects, but its effect on olfactory orientation of non-pest insect species has hardly been addressed. First, we tested in laboratory experiments the hypothesis that non-host plants, which increase odour complexity in habitats, affect the host location ability of herbivores and parasitoids. Furthermore, we recorded field data of plant diversity in addition to herbivore and parasitoid abundance at 77 grassland sites in three different regions in Germany in order to elucidate whether our laboratory results reflect the field situation. As a model system we used the herb Plantago lanceolata, the herbivorous weevil Mecinus pascuorum, and its larval parasitoid Mesopolobus incultus. The laboratory bioassays revealed that both the herbivorous weevil and its larval parasitoid can locate their host plant and host via olfactory cues even in the presence of non-host odour. In a newly established two-circle olfactometer, the weeviĺs capability to detect host plant odour was not affected by odours from non-host plants. However, addition of non-host plant odours to host plant odour enhanced the weeviĺs foraging activity. The parasitoid was attracted by a combination of host plant and host volatiles in both the absence and presence of non-host plant volatiles in a Y-tube olfactometer. In dual choice tests the parasitoid preferred the blend of host plant and host volatiles over its combination with non-host plant volatiles. In the field, no indication was found that high plant diversity disturbs host (plant) location by the weevil and its parasitoid. In contrast, plant diversity was positively correlated with weevil abundance, whereas parasitoid abundance was independent of plant diversity. Therefore, we conclude that weevils and parasitoids showed the sensory capacity to successfully cope with complex vegetation odours when searching for hosts. PMID:24416354
Hendriks, Marloes; Ravenek, Janneke M; Smit-Tiekstra, Annemiek E; van der Paauw, Jan Willem; de Caluwe, Hannie; van der Putten, Wim H; de Kroon, Hans; Mommer, Liesje
Plant-soil feedback is receiving increasing interest as a factor influencing plant competition and species coexistence in grasslands. However, we do not know how spatial distribution of plant-soil feedback affects plant below-ground interactions. We investigated the way in which spatial heterogeneity of soil biota affects competitive interactions in grassland plant species. We performed a pairwise competition experiment combined with heterogeneous distribution of soil biota using four grassland plant species and their soil biota. Patches were applied as quadrants of 'own' and 'foreign' soils from all plant species in all pairwise combinations. To evaluate interspecific root responses, species-specific root biomass was quantified using real-time PCR. All plant species suffered negative soil feedback, but strength was species-specific, reflected by a decrease in root growth in own compared with foreign soil. Reduction in root growth in own patches by the superior plant competitor provided opportunities for inferior competitors to increase root biomass in these patches. These patterns did not cascade into above-ground effects during our experiment. We show that root distributions can be determined by spatial heterogeneity of soil biota, affecting plant below-ground competitive interactions. Thus, spatial heterogeneity of soil biota may contribute to plant species coexistence in species-rich grasslands.
Lusk, Christopher H.; Pérez-Millaqueo, Manuel Matías; Piper, Frida I.; Saldaña, Alfredo
Background and Aims A long-running debate centres on whether shade tolerance of tree seedlings is mainly a function of traits maximizing net carbon gain in low light, or of traits minimizing carbon loss. To test these alternatives, leaf display, light-interception efficiency, and simulated net daily carbon gain of juvenile temperate evergreens of differing shade tolerance were measured, and how these variables are influenced by ontogeny was queried. Methods The biomass distribution of juveniles (17–740 mm tall) of seven temperate rainforest evergreens growing in low (approx. 4 %) light in the understorey of a second-growth stand was quantified. Daytime and night-time gas exchange rates of leaves were also determined, and crown architecture was recorded digitally. YPLANT was used to model light interception and carbon gain. Results An index of species shade tolerance correlated closely with photosynthetic capacities and respiration rates per unit mass of leaves, but only weakly with respiration per unit area. Accumulation of many leaf cohorts by shade-tolerant species meant that their ratios of foliage area to biomass (LAR) decreased more gradually with ontogeny than those of light-demanders, but also increased self-shading; this depressed the foliage silhouette-to-area ratio (STAR), which was used as an index of light-interception efficiency. As a result, displayed leaf area ratio (LARd = LAR × STAR) of large seedlings was not related to species shade tolerance. Self-shading also caused simulated net daily carbon assimilation rates of shade-tolerant species to decrease with ontogeny, leading to a negative correlation of shade tolerance with net daily carbon gain of large (500 mm tall) seedlings in the understorey. Conclusions The results suggest that efficiency of energy capture is not an important correlate of shade tolerance in temperate rainforest evergreens. Ontogenetic increases in self-shading largely nullify the potential carbon gain advantages expected
Partsch, Stephan; Milcu, Alexandru; Scheu, Stefan
Decomposer invertebrates influence soil structure and nutrient mineralization as well as the activity and composition of the microbial community in soil and therefore likely affect plant performance and plant competition. We established model grassland communities in a greenhouse to study the interrelationship between two different functional groups of decomposer invertebrates, Lumbricidae and Collembola, and their effect on plant performance and plant nitrogen uptake in a plant diversity gradient. Common plant species of Central European Arrhenatherion grasslands were transplanted into microcosms with numbers of plant species varying from one to eight and plant functional groups varying from one to four. Separate and combined treatments with earthworms and collembolans were set up. Microcosms contained 15N labeled litter to track N fluxes into plant shoots. Presence of decomposers strongly increased total plant and plant shoot biomass. Root biomass decreased in the presence of collembolans and even more in the presence of earthworms. However, it increased when both animal groups were present. Also, presence of decomposers increased total N concentration and 15N enrichment of grasses, legumes, and small herbs. Small herbs were at a maximum in the combined treatment with earthworms and collembolans. The impact of earthworms and collembolans on plant performance strongly varied with plant functional group identity and plant species diversity and was modified when both decomposers were present. Both decomposer groups generally increased aboveground plant productivity through effects on litter decomposition and nutrient mineralization leading to an increased plant nutrient acquisition. The non-uniform effects of earthworms and collembolans suggest that functional diversity of soil decomposer animals matters and that the interactions between soil animal functional groups affect the structure of plant communities.
Savage, Jessica A; Clearwater, Michael J; Haines, Dustin F; Klein, Tamir; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Sevanto, Sanna; Turgeon, Robert; Zhang, Cankui
Despite the crucial role of carbon transport in whole plant physiology and its impact on plant-environment interactions and ecosystem function, relatively little research has tried to examine how phloem physiology impacts plant ecology. In this review, we highlight several areas of active research where inquiry into phloem physiology has increased our understanding of whole plant function and ecological processes. We consider how xylem-phloem interactions impact plant drought tolerance and reproduction, how phloem transport influences carbon allocation in trees and carbon cycling in ecosystems and how phloem function mediates plant relations with insects, pests, microbes and symbiotes. We argue that in spite of challenges that exist in studying phloem physiology, it is critical that we consider the role of this dynamic vascular system when examining the relationship between plants and their biotic and abiotic environment.
Hampp, R; Hoffmann, E; Schönherr, K; Johann, P; De Filippis, L
Plant cell protoplasts derived from leaf tissue of two different tobacco species (Nicotiana tabacum., N. rustica L.) were exposed to short-term (sounding rocket experiments) and long-term (spacelab) microgravity environments in order to study both (electro) cell fusion and cell metabolism during early and later stages of tissue regeneration. The period of exposure to microgravity varied from 10 min (sounding rocket) to 10 d (space shuttle). The process of electro fusion of protoplasts was improved under conditions of microgravity: the time needed to establish close membrane contact between protoplasts (alignment time) was reduced (5 as compared to 15 s under 1 g) and numbers of fusion products between protoplasts of different specific density were increased by a factor of about 10. In addition, viability of fusion products, as shown by the ability to form callus, increased from about 60% to more than 90%. Regenerated fusion products obtained from both sounding-rocket and spacelab experiments showed a wide range of intermediate properties between the two parental plants. This was verified by isozyme analysis and random amplified polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR). In order to address potential metabolic responses, more general markers such as the overall energy state (ATP/ADP ratio), the redox charge of the diphosphopyridine nucleotide system (NADH/NAD ratio), and the pool size of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate (Fru 2,6 bisp), a regulator of the balance between glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, were determined. Responses of these parameters were different with regard to short-term and long-term exposure. Shortly after transition to reduced gravitation (sounding rocket) ratios of ATP/ADP exhibited strong fluctuation while the pool size of NAD decreased (indicating an increased NADH/NAD ratio) and that of Fru 2,6 bisp increased. As similar changes can be observed under stress conditions, this response is probably indicative of a metabolic stress
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 promise to further refine and strengthen air-pollution control. The resulting Clean Air Act has a more direct and pervasive impact on our everyday lives than any other environmental law. The Act: establishes health-based air-quality standards; provides for the preparation, approval, and enforcement of state implementation plans to meet the air-quality standards; and provides for the control of new emissions that have the potential to endanger public health. It also provides for the control of new sources of emissions of hazardous air pollutants, for the prevention of significant deterioration of clean air areas, for the reduction of emissions from automobile and other mobile sources, and for the control of acid ran. Finally, the Act provides for permit programs and civil and criminal enforcement. Compliance with the Clean Air Act and the regulations and standards established under it must be integrated into the design and operation of every chemical process industries (CPI) plant. This article provides a brief overview of the Clean Air Act's various air-quality programs.
Davis, R.E.; Hanson, A.L.; Mubayi, V.; Nourbakhsh, H.P.
Brookhaven National Laboratory has performed a series of probabilistic consequence assessment calculations for nuclear reactor siting. This study takes into account recent insights into severe accident source terms and examines consequences in a risk based format consistent with the quantitative health objectives (QHOs) of the NRC`s Safety Goal Policy. Simplified severe accident source terms developed in this study are based on the risk insights of NUREG-1150. The results of the study indicate that both the quantity of radioactivity released in a severe accident as well as the likelihood of a release are lower than those predicted in earlier studies. The accident risks using the simplified source terms are examined at a series of generic plant sites, that vary in population distribution, meteorological conditions, and exclusion area boundary distances. Sensitivity calculations are performed to evaluate the effects of emergency protective action assumptions on the risk of prompt fatality and latent cancers fatality, and population relocation. The study finds that based on the new source terms the prompt and latent fatality risks at all generic sites meet the QHOs of the NRC`s Safety Goal Policy by margins ranging from one to more than three orders of magnitude. 4 refs., 17 figs., 24 tabs.
Kaiser, H; Kappen, L
Observations of stomata in situ while simultaneously measuring CO(2) gas exchange and transpiration were made in field experiments with Aegopodium podagraria in a highly variable light climate in the understorey of trees. The low background photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) caused a slight opening of the stomata and no visible response to sporadic lightflecks. However, if lightflecks were frequent and brighter, slow opening movements were observed. Small apertures were sufficient to allow maximal photosynthetic rates. Therefore, the small apertures observed in low light usually only caused minor stomatal limitations of lightfleck photosynthesis. The response of stomata to step-wise changes in PPFD under different levels of leaf to air vapour pressure difference (Delta(W)) was observed under controlled conditions. High Delta(W) influenced the stomatal response only slightly by reducing stomatal aperture in low light and causing a slight reduction in the initial capacity to utilize high PPFD levels. Under continuous high PPFD, however, stomata opened to the same degree irrespective of Delta(W). Under high Delta(W), opening and closing responses to PPFD-changes were faster, which enabled a rapid removal of the small stomatal limitations of photosynthesis initially present in high Delta(W) after longer periods in low light. It is concluded that A. podagraria maintains a superoptimal aperture in low light which leads to a low instantaneous water use efficiency, but allows an efficient utilization of randomly occurring lightflecks.
Greenwood, E. A. N.; Klein, L.; Beresford, J. D.; Watson, G. D.; Wright, K. D.
Annual evaporation from groundflora, litter and soil of the jarrah forest was estimated from measurements of daily evaporation by ventilated chambers on several days over two separate 12-month periods. In the first year, when sampling ranged over 0.1 ha of forest, annual evaporation during daylight hours was estimated as 410 mm (0.32 rainfall). In the second year, sampling was more frequent, on a larger scale, and included the night hours. Annual evaporation was estimated at 360 mm (0.36 rainfall). Similarly, in the second year, annual evaporation from two trees of the dominant middle storey species, Banksia grandis, was estimated at 7500 and 18,9001 respectively. The leaf area of these two trees was 9.6 and 22.4 m 2, respectively, so that annual evaporation, when expressed as mm 3 per mm 2 leaf area, was similar for both trees (mean = 820 ± 30 mm). Applying that value to all Banksia trees in a hectare of forest, and using a measured estimate of leaf area index of 0.19, the estimated annual evaporation from the Banksia component was 155 mm (0.16 rainfall). For the upland part of the forest sampled, the combined annual evaporation from the lower and middle storeys accounted for about half (0.51) of the annual rainfall. We conclude that reduced evaporation from the upper storey following clearing or thinning may be strongly counteracted by increased evaporation from the understorey due to increased availability of energy and water.
Assouline, Shmuel; Or, Dani
Plant gas exchange is a key process shaping global hydrological and carbon cycles and is often characterized by plant water use efficiency (WUE - the ratio of CO2 gain to water vapor loss). Plant fossil record suggests that plant adaptation to changing atmospheric CO2 involved correlated evolution of stomata density (d) and size (s), and related maximal aperture, amax . We interpreted the fossil record of s and d correlated evolution during the Phanerozoic to quantify impacts on gas conductance affecting plant transpiration, E, and CO2 uptake, A, independently, and consequently, on plant WUE. A shift in stomata configuration from large s-low d to small s-high d in response to decreasing atmospheric CO2 resulted in large changes in plant gas exchange characteristics. The relationships between gas conductance, gws , A and E and maximal relative transpiring leaf area, (amax ⋅d), exhibited hysteretic-like behavior. The new WUE trend derived from independent estimates of A and E differs from established WUE-CO2 trends for atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeding 1,200 ppm. In contrast with a nearly-linear decrease in WUE with decreasing CO2 obtained by standard methods, the newly estimated WUE trend exhibits remarkably stable values for an extended geologic period during which atmospheric CO2 dropped from 3,500 to 1,200 ppm. Pending additional tests, the findings may affect projected impacts of increased atmospheric CO2 on components of the global hydrological cycle.
Cui, Lijuan; Li, Wei; Zhang, Xiaodong; Zhou, Jian; Yu, Fei-Hai; Prinzing, Andreas
Plant litter is an indispensable component of constructed wetlands, but how the submergence of plant litter affects their ecosystem functions and services, such as water purification, is still unclear. Moreover, it is also unclear whether the effects of plant litter submergence depend on other factors such as the duration of litter submergence, water source or litter species identity. Here we conducted a greenhouse experiment by submerging the litter of 7 wetland plant species into three types of water substrates and monitoring changes in water nutrient concentrations. Litter submergence affected water quality positively via decreasing the concentration of nitrate nitrogen and negatively via increasing the concentrations of total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen and total phosphorus. The effects of litter submergence depended on the duration of litter submergence, the water source, the litter species identity, and the plant life form. Different plant species had different effects on the water nutrient concentrations during litter submergence, and the effects of floating plants might be more negative than that of emergent plants. These results are novel evidence of how the submergence of different plant (life form) litter may affect the purification function of constructed wetlands. For water at low eutrophication levels, submerging a relative small amount of plant litter might improve water quality, via benefiting the denitrification process in water. These findings emphasized the management of floating plant litter (a potential removal) during the maintenance of human-controlled wetland ecosystems and provided a potential tool to improve the water quality of constructed wetlands via submerging plant litter of different types. PMID:28129405
Lu, Xinmin; Siemann, Evan; Shao, Xu; Wei, Hui; Ding, Jianqing
Plants and herbivorous insects can each be dramatically affected by temperature. Climate warming may impact plant invasion success directly but also indirectly through changes in their natural enemies. To date, however, there are no tests of how climate warming shifts the interactions among invasive plants and their natural enemies to affect invasion success. Field surveys covering the full latitudinal range of invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides in China showed that a beetle introduced for biocontrol was rare or absent at higher latitudes. In contrast, plant cover and mass increased with latitude. In a 2-year field experiment near the northern limit of beetle distribution, we found the beetle sustained populations across years under elevated temperature, dramatically decreasing A. philoxeroides growth, but it failed to overwinter in ambient temperature. Together, these results suggest that warming will allow the natural enemy to expand its range, potentially benefiting biocontrol in regions that are currently too cold for the natural enemy. However, the invader may also expand its range further north in response to warming. In such cases where plants tolerate cold better than their natural enemies, the geographical gap between plant and herbivorous insect ranges may not disappear but will shift to higher latitudes, leading to a new zone of enemy release. Therefore, warming will not only affect plant invasions directly but also drive either enemy release or increase that will result in contrasting effects on invasive plants. The findings are also critical for future management of invasive species under climate change.
Oguntimehin, Ilemobayo; Eissa, Fawzy; Sakugawa, Hiroshi
Cherry tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) were sprayed with fluoranthene and mixture of fluoranthene and mannitol solutions for 30d. The exposure was carried out in growth chambers in field conditions, and the air was filtered through charcoal filters to remove atmospheric contaminants. Plants were sprayed with 10microM fluoranthene as mist until they reached the fruiting stage, and the eco-physiological parameters were measured to determine the effects of the treatments. We measured CO(2) uptake and water vapour exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf pigment contents, visual symptoms and biomass allocation. Fluoranthene which was deposited as mist onto leaves negatively affected both growth and the quality of tomato plants, while other treatments did not. The photosynthetic rate measured at saturated irradiance was approximately 37% lower in fluoranthene-treated plants compared with the control group. Other variables, such as stomata conductance, the photochemical efficiency of PSII in the dark, Chl a, Chl b, and the total chlorophyll contents of the tomato leaves were significantly reduced in the fluoranthene-treated plants. Tomato plants treated with fluoranthene showed severe visible injury symptoms on the foliage during the exposure period. Mannitol (a reactive oxygen scavenger) mitigated effects of fluoranthene; thus, reactive oxygen species generated through fluoranthene may be responsible for the damaged tomato plants. It is possible for fluoranthene to decrease the aesthetic and hence the economic value of this valuable crop plant.
Blendinger, Pedro G; Loiselle, Bette A; Blake, John G
We studied the efficiency (proportion of the crop removed) and quantitative effectiveness (number of fruits removed) of dispersal of Miconia fosteri and M. serrulata (Melastomataceae) seeds by birds in lowland tropical wet forest of Ecuador. Specifically, we examined variation in fruit removal in order to reveal the spatial scale at which crop size influences seed dispersal outcome of individual plants, and to evaluate how the effect of crop size on plant dispersal success may be affected by conspecific fruit abundance and by the spatial distribution of frugivore abundance. We established two 9-ha plots in undisturbed terra-firme understory, where six manakin species (Pipridae) disperse most seeds of these two plant species. Mean levels of fruit removal were low for both species, with high variability among plants. In general, plants with larger crop sizes experienced greater efficiency and effectiveness of fruit removal than plants with smaller crops. Fruit removal, however, was also influenced by microhabitat, such as local topography and local neighborhood. Fruit-rich and disperser-rich patches overlapped spatially for M. fosteri but not M. serrulata, nonetheless fruit removal of M. serrulata was still much greater in fruit-rich patches. Fruit removal from individual plants did not decrease in patches with many fruiting conspecifics and, in fact, removal effectiveness was enhanced for M. fosteri with small crop sizes when such plants were in patches with more conspecifics. These results suggest that benefits of attracting dispersers to a patch balanced or outweighed the costs of competition for dispersers. Spatial pattern of fruit removal, a measure of plant fitness, depended on a complex interaction among plant traits, spatial patterns of plant distribution, and disperser behavior.
Gómez, José M; Bosch, Jordi; Perfectti, Francisco; Fernández, Juande; Abdelaziz, Mohamed
One outstanding and unsolved challenge in ecology and conservation biology is to understand how pollinator diversity affects plant performance. Here, we provide evidence of the functional role of pollination diversity in a plant species, Erysimum mediohispanicum (Brassicaceae). Pollinator abundance, richness and diversity as well as plant reproduction and recruitment were determined in eight plant populations. We found that E. mediohispanicum was generalized both at the regional and local (population) scale, since its flowers were visited by more than 100 species of insects with very different morphology, size and behaviour. However, populations differed in the degree of generalization. Generalization correlated with pollinator abundance and plant population size, but not with habitat, ungulate damage intensity, altitude or spatial location. More importantly, the degree of generalization had significant consequences for plant reproduction and recruitment. Plants from populations with intermediate generalization produced more seeds than plants from populations with low or high degrees of generalization. These differences were not the result of differences in number of flowers produced per plant. In addition, seedling emergence in a common garden was highest in plants from populations with intermediate degree of generalization. This outcome suggests the existence of an optimal level of generalizations even for generalized plant species.
Sobral, Mar; Guitián, José; Guitián, Pablo; Larrinaga, Asier R.
Individual plants produce repeated structures such as leaves, flowers or fruits, which, although belonging to the same genotype, are not phenotypically identical. Such subindividual variation reflects the potential of individual genotypes to vary with micro-environmental conditions. Furthermore, variation in organ traits imposes costs to foraging animals such as time, energy and increased predation risk. Therefore, animals that interact with plants may respond to this variation and affect plant fitness. Thus, phenotypic variation within an individual plant could be, in part, an adaptive trait. Here we investigated this idea and we found that subindividual variation of fruit size of Crataegus monogyna, in different populations throughout the latitudinal gradient in Europe, was explained at some extent by the selective pressures exerted by seed-dispersing birds. These findings support the hypothesis that within-individual variation in plants is an adaptive trait selected by interacting animals which may have important implications for plant evolution. PMID:24069297
Jongen, Marjan; Lecomte, Xavier; Pereira, João. S.
In the Iberian Peninsula, the evergreen oak woodlands, called montados in Portugal and dehesas in Spain, are of great ecological and socio-economic importance. Dominated by evergreen Quercus species, these savanna-type woodlands are characterized by a widely separated tree stratum associated with an herbaceous understorey, dominated by C3 annual species. The productivity and biogeochemical cycles of the herbaceous layer are highly dependent on timing and magnitude of precipitation. Climate change scenarios for the region suggest not only increasing air temperatures, but also the possibility of decreasing spring precipitation, accompanied by an increase in the interval between precipitation events, which might cause drought conditions to occur. To understand the impact of hydrological changes on productivity and ecosystem processes of the herbaceous understorey in these ecosystems, water manipulation experiments are being carried out in Portugal. In autumn 2009, large (30 m2) rain-out shelters were constructed near Coruche (Portugal), with the aim of studying the effect of precipitation variability on the understorey vegetation in a managed cork oak woodland. Initially, the two treatments in the rain-out shelters will be: (1) ambient precipitation quantity, with a dry period of 7 days, and (2) ambient precipitation quantity with a dry period of 21 days. The 'ambient precipitation quantity' is based on historical precipitation data for the experimental site, with average annual precipitation of 680 mm. In addition to the above two treatments, there will be non-sheltered reference plots, receiving natural rainfall patterns. In the future we aim to reduce the precipitation quantity (-30%) with similar length of the dry periods as above. From February 2010 onwards, we will gather a full data set for environmental variables, as well as productivity, species composition, soil CO2 flux, soil nitrogen and photosynthesis. Preliminary results will be presented.
Ribeiro, Ângela M.; Lloyd, Penn; Dean, W. Richard J.; Brown, Mark; Bowie, Rauri C. K.
Advances in understanding the process of species formation require an integrated perspective that includes the evaluation of spatial, ecological and genetic components. One approach is to focus on multiple stages of divergence within the same species. Species that comprise phenotypically different populations segregated in apparently distinct habitats, in which range is presently continuous but was putatively geographically isolated provide an interesting system to study the mechanisms of population divergence. Here, we attempt to elucidate the role of ecology and geography in explaining observed morphological and genetic variation in an understorey-dwelling bird endemic to southeastern Africa, where two subspecies are recognized according to phenotype and habitat affinity. We carried out a range-wide analysis of climatic requirements, morphological and genetic variation across southeast Africa to test the hypothesis that the extent of gene flow among populations of the brown scrub-robin are influenced by their distinct climatic niches. We recovered two distinct trends depending on whether our analyses were hierarchically structured at the subspecies or at the within subspecies level. Between subspecies we found pronounced morphological differentiation associated with strong reproductive isolation (no gene flow) between populations occupying divergent climatic niches characterized by changes in the temperature of the warmest and wettest month. In contrast, within subspecies, we recovered continuous morphological variation with extensive gene flow among populations inhabiting the temperate and sub-tropical forests of southern Africa, despite divergence along the climate axis that is mainly determined by minimum temperature and precipitation of the coldest months. Our results highlight the role of niche divergence as a diversifying force that can promote reproductive isolation in vertebrates. PMID:24516521
Tabular and staghorn corals of the genus Acropora often form low-diversity stands on shallow coral reefs, presumably due to their rapid growth rate and ability to outcompete understorey assemblages. Coral cover underneath the abundant Indo-Pacific tabular coral, Acropora hyacinthus, was four times lower than on the adjacent substratum on the reef crest at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. We investigated the effect of A. hyacinthus on patterns of recruitment and mortality by placing experimental panels and coral fragments underneath large colonies of A. hyacinthus. After 8 weeks, recruitment of corals, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae (CCA) underneath A. hyacinthus was 96, 85 and 50% lower, respectively, compared to panels placed in the open. In contrast, recruitment by bivalves and polychaetes was uniform among treatments, while bryozoans recruited four times more abundantly under A. hyacinthus than in the open. Consequently, the low rate of recruitment by corals beneath A. hyacinthus does not appear to be due to a reduction in the delivery of larvae underneath tables. Instead, the disparity between phototrophic and heterotrophic taxa suggests that diminished light levels under A. hyacinthus are partially responsible for the divergence in recruit assemblages. To test the effect of A. hyacinthus on early mortality and growth of established organisms, recruitment panels were placed on the open for 9 weeks then transplanted underneath A. hyacinthus for a further 8 weeks. The survivorship of juvenile corals underneath tables was less than half that of those on control panels on the unshaded reef crest. Furthermore, the abundance of algal turfs and CCA was sharply lower on transplanted panels. In contrast, heterotrophic organisms increased in cover, regardless of treatment. Experimental branch fragments of Acropora intermedia and Pocillopora damicornis also survived poorly following transplantation underneath A. hyacinthus, compared to
He, Lei; Cheng, Lulu; Hu, Liangliang; Tang, Jianjun; Chen, Xin
There is increasing recognition of the importance of niche optima in the shift of plant-plant interactions along environmental stress gradients. Here, we investigate whether deviation from niche optima would affect the outcome of plant-plant interactions along a soil acidity gradient (pH = 3.1, 4.1, 5.5 and 6.1) in a pot experiment. We used the acid-tolerant species Lespedeza formosa Koehne as the neighbouring plant and the acid-tolerant species Indigofera pseudotinctoria Mats. or acid-sensitive species Medicago sativa L. as the target plants. Biomass was used to determine the optimal pH and to calculate the relative interaction index (RII). We found that the relationships between RII and the deviation of soil pH from the target's optimal pH were linear for both target species. Both targets were increasingly promoted by the neighbour as pH values deviated from their optima; neighbours benefitted target plants by promoting soil symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, increasing soil organic matter or reducing soil exchangeable aluminium. Our results suggest that the shape of the curve describing the relationship between soil pH and facilitation/competition depends on the soil pH optima of the particular species.
Kieu, Nam Phuong; Aznar, Aude; Segond, Diego; Rigault, Martine; Simond-Côte, Elizabeth; Kunz, Caroline; Soulie, Marie-Christine; Expert, Dominique; Dellagi, Alia
Iron is an essential element for most living organisms, and pathogens are likely to compete with their hosts for the acquisition of this element. The bacterial plant pathogen Dickeya dadantii has been shown to require its siderophore-mediated iron uptake system for systemic disease progression on several host plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana. In this study, we investigated the effect of the iron status of Arabidopsis on the severity of disease caused by D. dadantii. We showed that symptom severity, bacterial fitness and the expression of bacterial pectate lyase-encoding genes were reduced in iron-deficient plants. Reduced symptoms correlated with enhanced expression of the salicylic acid defence plant marker gene PR1. However, levels of the ferritin coding transcript AtFER1, callose deposition and production of reactive oxygen species were reduced in iron-deficient infected plants, ruling out the involvement of these defences in the limitation of disease caused by D. dadantii. Disease reduction in iron-starved plants was also observed with the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea. Our data demonstrate that the plant nutritional iron status can control the outcome of an infection by acting on both the pathogen's virulence and the host's defence. In addition, iron nutrition strongly affects the disease caused by two soft rot-causing plant pathogens with a large host range. Thus, it may be of interest to take into account the plant iron status when there is a need to control disease without compromising crop quality and yield in economically important plant species.
Vankosky, Meghan A; VanLaerhoven, Sherah L
Optimal oviposition theory predicts a positive relationship between female preference for oviposition hosts and offspring performance. Interspecies effects on oviposition preference have been widely investigated, especially for herbivores. However, intraspecies variation, such as nitrogen content, might also influence female preference for oviposition hosts and subsequent offspring performance. To evaluate this possibility, we investigated the oviposition preference of a zoophytophagous omnivore and the development and survival of its nymphs on a single species of host plant that varied in nitrogen content. In choice and no-choice experiments without prey, female omnivores were allowed to oviposit on plants that had been fertilized using four rates of nitrogen fertilizer (39, 78, 156 and 311 mg/L nitrogen) for 72 h. After 72 h, the most females were found on tomato plants receiving high concentrations of nitrogen fertilizer and more eggs were laid on those plants. First instar nymphs developed more rapidly on high nitrogen plants and third instar nymphs developed faster on low nitrogen plans. Plant nitrogen did not affect nymph survival to the adult stage, or the probability of survival over time. Although female omnivores did discriminate between potential oviposition hosts based on plant nitrogen, their choices did not significantly impact nymph development or survival. This is the first study to show that intraspecies variation in nitrogen content between plants affects the oviposition preference of female omnivores, but not offspring performance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Shi, Xiaobin; Chen, Gong; Tian, Lixia; Peng, Zhengke; Xie, Wen; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Zhou, Xuguo; Zhang, Youjun
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) causes serious crop losses worldwide by transmitting viruses. We have previously shown that salicylic acid (SA)-related plant defenses directly affect whiteflies. In this study, we applied exogenous SA to tomato plants in order to investigate the interaction between SA-induced plant volatiles and nonviruliferous B. tabaci B and Q or B- and Q-carrying tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). The results showed that exogenous SA caused plants to repel nonviruliferous whiteflies, but the effect was reduced when the SA concentration was low and when the whiteflies were viruliferous. Exogenous SA increased the number and quantity of plant volatiles—especially the quantity of methyl salicylate and δ-limonene. In Y-tube olfactometer assays, methyl salicylate and δ-limonene repelled the whiteflies, but the repellency was reduced for viruliferous Q. We suggest that the release of plant volatiles as mediated by SA affects the interaction between whiteflies, plants, and viruses. Further studies are needed to determine why viruliferous Q is less sensitive than nonviruliferous Q to repellent plant volatiles. PMID:27376280
Selmants, Paul C; Zavaleta, Erika S; Wolf, Amelia A
Numerous experiments have demonstrated that diverse plant communities use nitrogen (N) more completely and efficiently, with implications for how species conservation efforts might influence N cycling and retention in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most such experiments have randomly manipulated species richness and minimized environmental heterogeneity, two design aspects that may reduce applicability to real ecosystems. Here we present results from an experiment directly comparing how realistic and randomized plant species losses affect plant N use across a gradient of soil depth in a native-dominated serpentine grassland in California. We found that the strength of the species richness effect on plant N use did not increase with soil depth in either the realistic or randomized species loss scenarios, indicating that the increased vertical heterogeneity conferred by deeper soils did not lead to greater complementarity among species in this ecosystem. Realistic species losses significantly reduced plant N uptake and altered N-use efficiency, while randomized species losses had no effect on plant N use. Increasing soil depth positively affected plant N uptake in both loss order scenarios but had a weaker effect on plant N use than did realistic species losses. Our results illustrate that realistic species losses can have functional consequences that differ distinctly from randomized losses, and that species diversity effects can be independent of and outweigh those of environmental heterogeneity on ecosystem functioning. Our findings also support the value of conservation efforts aimed at maintaining biodiversity to help buffer ecosystems against increasing anthropogenic N loading.
Water for dryland grain production in the Texas panhandle is limited. Agronomic practices such as reduction in plant population or change in sowing time may help increase maize (Zea mays L.) yield potential. Tiller formation under dryland conditions leads to more vegetative growth and reduced yield....
Bitas, Vasileios; McCartney, Nathaniel; Li, Ningxiao; Demers, Jill; Kim, Jung-Eun; Kim, Hye-Seon; Brown, Kathleen M; Kang, Seogchan
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have well-documented roles in plant-plant communication and directing animal behavior. In this study, we examine the less understood roles of VOCs in plant-fungal relationships. Phylogenetically and ecologically diverse strains of Fusarium oxysporum, a fungal species complex that often resides in the rhizosphere of assorted plants, produce volatile compounds that augment shoot and root growth of Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco. Growth responses of A. thaliana hormone signaling mutants and expression patterns of a GUS reporter gene under the auxin-responsive DR5 promoter supported the involvement of auxin signaling in F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement. In addition, 1-naphthylthalamic acid, an inhibitor of auxin efflux, negated F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement in both plants. Comparison of the profiles of volatile compounds produced by F. oxysporum strains that differentially affected plant growth suggests that the relative compositions of both growth inhibitory and stimulatory compounds may determine the degree of plant growth enhancement. Volatile-mediated signaling between fungi and plants may represent a potentially conserved, yet mostly overlooked, mechanism underpinning plant-fungus interactions and fungal niche adaption.
Fatouros, Nina E; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Pashalidou, Foteini G; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E
Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant's volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels.
Bitas, Vasileios; McCartney, Nathaniel; Li, Ningxiao; Demers, Jill; Kim, Jung-Eun; Kim, Hye-Seon; Brown, Kathleen M.; Kang, Seogchan
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have well-documented roles in plant-plant communication and directing animal behavior. In this study, we examine the less understood roles of VOCs in plant-fungal relationships. Phylogenetically and ecologically diverse strains of Fusarium oxysporum, a fungal species complex that often resides in the rhizosphere of assorted plants, produce volatile compounds that augment shoot and root growth of Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco. Growth responses of A. thaliana hormone signaling mutants and expression patterns of a GUS reporter gene under the auxin-responsive DR5 promoter supported the involvement of auxin signaling in F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement. In addition, 1-naphthylthalamic acid, an inhibitor of auxin efflux, negated F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement in both plants. Comparison of the profiles of volatile compounds produced by F. oxysporum strains that differentially affected plant growth suggests that the relative compositions of both growth inhibitory and stimulatory compounds may determine the degree of plant growth enhancement. Volatile-mediated signaling between fungi and plants may represent a potentially conserved, yet mostly overlooked, mechanism underpinning plant-fungus interactions and fungal niche adaption. PMID:26617587
Khaling, Eliezer; Papazian, Stefano; Poelman, Erik H; Holopainen, Jarmo K; Albrectsen, Benedicte R; Blande, James D
When plants are exposed to ozone they exhibit changes in both primary and secondary metabolism, which may affect their interactions with herbivorous insects. Here we investigated the performance and preferences of the specialist herbivore Pieris brassicae on the wild plant Brassica nigra under elevated ozone conditions. The direct and indirect effects of ozone on the plant-herbivore system were studied. In both cases ozone exposure had a negative effect on P. brassicae development. However, in dual-choice tests larvae preferentially consumed plant material previously fumigated with the highest concentration tested, showing a lack of correlation between larval preference and performance on ozone exposed plants. Metabolomic analysis of leaf material subjected to combinations of ozone and herbivore-feeding, and focussing on known defence metabolites, indicated that P. brassicae behaviour and performance were associated with ozone-induced alterations to glucosinolate and phenolic pools.
Oberle, B.; Grace, J.B.; Chase, J.M.
Aim: Species richness has been observed to increase with productivity at large spatial scales, though the strength of this relationship varies among functional groups. In forests, canopy trees shade understorey plants, and for this reason we hypothesize that species richness of canopy trees will depend on macroclimate, while species richness of shorter growth forms will additionally be affected by shading from the canopy. In this study we test for differences in species richness-productivity relationships (SRPRs) among growth forms (canopy trees, shrubs, herbaceous species) in small forest plots. Location: We analysed 231 plots ranging from 34.0?? to 48.3?? N latitude and from 75.0?? to 124.2?? W longitude in the United States. Methods: We analysed data collected by the USDA Forest Inventory and Analysis program for plant species richness partitioned into different growth forms, in small plots. We used actual evapotranspiration as a macroclimatic estimate of regional productivity and calculated the area of light-blocking tissue in the immediate area surrounding plots for an estimate of the intensity of local shading. We estimated and compared SRPRs for different partitions of the species richness dataset using generalized linear models and we incorporated the possible indirect effects of shading using a structural equation model. Results: Canopy tree species richness increased strongly with regional productivity, while local shading primarily explained the variation in herbaceous plant richness. Shrub species richness was related to both regional productivity and local shading. Main conclusions: The relationship between total forest plant species richness and productivity at large scales belies strong effects of local interactions. Counter to the pattern for overall richness, we found that understorey herbaceous plant species richness does not respond to regional productivity gradients, and instead is strongly influenced by canopy density, while shrub species
Salemaa, Maija; Derome, John; Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko; Nieminen, Tiina; Vanha-Majamaa, Ilkka
Macronutrient (N, P, K, Mg, S, Ca), heavy metal (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Ni, Cd, Pb) and Al concentrations in understorey bryophytes, lichens and vascular plant species growing in Scots pine forests at four distances from the Harjavalta Cu-Ni smelter (0.5, 2, 4 and 8 km) were compared to those at two background sites in Finland. The aim was to study the relationship between element accumulation and the distribution of the species along a pollution gradient. Elevated sulfur, nitrogen and heavy metal concentrations were found in all species groups near the pollution source. Macronutrient concentrations tended to decrease in the order: vascular plants>bryophytes>lichens, when all the species groups grew on the same plot. Heavy metal concentrations (except Mn) were the highest in bryophytes, followed by lichens, and were the lowest in vascular plants. In general, vascular plants, being capable of restricting the uptake of toxic elements, grew closer to the smelter than lichens, while bryophytes began to increase in the understorey vegetation at further distances from the smelter. A pioneer moss (Pohlia nutans) was an exception, because it accumulated considerably higher amounts of Cu and Ni than the other species and still survived close to the smelter. The abundance of most of the species decreased with increasing Cu and Ni concentrations in their tissues. Cetraria islandica, instead, showed a positive relationship between the abundance and Cu, Ni and S concentrations of the thallus. It is probable that, in addition to heavy metals, sporadically high SO(2) emissions have also affected the distribution of the plant species.
Fatouros, Nina E.; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T.; Pashalidou, Foteini G.; van Loon, Joop J. A.; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E.
Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant’s volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels. PMID:22912893
Stout, Jane C.; Casey, Leanne M.
Invasive alien flowering plants may affect native plant pollinator interactions and have knock on impacts on populations of native plants and animals. The magnitude of these impacts, however, may be modified by the relative abundance of the invasive plant and the number of flowers it presents.We tested this by examining the structure of insect-flower interaction networks in six sites with increasing levels of invasion by Rhododendron ponticum in Ireland.Neither flower-visiting insect abundance, species richness nor diversity were related to R. ponticum flower abundance, but the composition of insect communities was. The total number of flowers in a site increased with the relative abundance of R. ponticum flowers but the number of co-flowering native plant species in these sites was low (<6), making interaction networks relatively small.As a result, changes in interaction network properties (connectance, interaction evenness and network level specialisation), which correlated with R. ponticum flower abundance, were a result of the small network size rather than due to changes in the resilience of networks.Overall, we conclude that the impacts of invasive alien plants on native plant-pollinator interactions are not only species specific, but site specific, according to the abundance of flowers produced by both the invasive and the native plants.
Abreha, Kibrom B; Alexandersson, Erik; Vossen, Jack H; Anderson, Peter; Andreasson, Erik
Pathogen attack and the plant's response to this attack affect herbivore oviposition preference and larval performance. Introduction of major resistance genes against Phytophthora infestans (Rpi-genes), the cause of the devastating late blight disease, from wild Solanum species into potato changes the plant-pathogen interaction dynamics completely, but little is known about the effects on non-target organisms. Thus, we examined the effect of P. infestans itself and introduction of an Rpi-gene into the crop on host plant preference of the generalist insect herbivore, Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). In two choice bioassays, S. littoralis preferred to oviposit on P. infestans-inoculated plants of both the susceptible potato (cv. Desiree) and an isogenic resistant clone (A01-22: cv. Desiree transformed with Rpi-blb1), when compared to uninoculated plants of the same genotype. Both cv. Desiree and clone A01-22 were equally preferred for oviposition by S. littoralis when uninoculated plants were used, while cv. Desiree received more eggs compared to the resistant clone when both were inoculated with the pathogen. No significant difference in larval and pupal weight was found between S. littoralis larvae reared on leaves of the susceptible potato plants inoculated or uninoculated with P. infestans. Thus, the herbivore's host plant preference in this system was not directly associated with larval performance. The results indicate that the Rpi-blb1 based resistance in itself does not influence insect behavior, but that herbivore oviposition preference is affected by a change in the plant-microbe interaction.
Background The important greenhouse gas (GHG) methane is produced naturally in anaerobic wetland soils. By affecting the production, oxidation and transport of methane to the atmosphere, plants have a major influence upon the quantities emitted by wetlands. Different species and functional plant groups have been shown to affect these processes differently, but our knowledge about how these effects are influenced by abiotic factors such as water regime and temperature remains limited. Here we present a mesocosm experiment comparing eight plant species for their effects on internal transport and overall emissions of methane under contrasting hydrological conditions. To quantify how much methane was transported internally through plants (the chimney effect), we blocked diffusion from the soil surface with an agar seal. Results We found that graminoids caused higher methane emissions than forbs, although the emissions from mesocosms with different species were either lower than or comparable to those from control mesocosms with no plant (i.e. bare soil). Species with a relatively greater root volume and a larger biomass exhibited a larger chimney effect, though overall methane emissions were negatively related to plant biomass. Emissions were also reduced by lowering the water table. Conclusions We conclude that plant species (and functional groups) vary in the degree to which they transport methane to the atmosphere. However, a plant with a high capacity to transport methane does not necessarily emit more methane, as it may also cause more rhizosphere oxidation of methane. A shift in plant species composition from graminoids to forbs and/or from low to high productive species may lead to reduction of methane emissions. PMID:24010540
Huang, Lin; Dong, Bi-Cheng; Xue, Wei; Peng, Yi-Ke; Zhang, Ming-Xiang; Yu, Fei-Hai
Soil is commonly composed of particles of different sizes, and soil particle size may greatly affect the growth of plants because it affects soil physical and chemical properties. However, no study has tested the effects of soil particle heterogeneity on the growth of clonal plants. We conducted a greenhouse experiment in which individual ramets of the wetland plant Bolboschoenus planiculmis were grown in three homogeneous soil treatments with uniformly sized quartz particles (small: 0.75 mm, medium: 1.5 mm, or large: 3 mm), one homogeneous treatment with an even mixture of large and medium particles, and two heterogeneous treatments consisting of 16 or 4 patches of large and medium particles. Biomass, ramet number, rhizome length and spacer length were significantly greater in the treatment with only medium particles than in the one with only large particles. Biomass, ramet number, rhizome length and tuber number in the patchy treatments were greater in patches of medium than of large particles; this difference was more pronounced when patches were small than when they were large. Soil particle size and soil particle heterogeneity can greatly affect the growth of clonal plants. Thus, studies to test the effects of soil heterogeneity on clonal plants should distinguish the effects of nutrient heterogeneity from those of particle heterogeneity.
Poisoning by Indigofera pascuori was recently reported in horses in the state of Roraima. It causes chronic signs of sleepiness, unsteady gait, severe ataxia, and progressive weight loss. Some animals are blind. Young horses are more affected than adults. After the end of plant consumption the anima...
Tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze] is an important economic crop, and drought is the most important abiotic stress affecting yield and quality. Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important phytohormone responsible for activating drought resistance. Increased understanding of ABA effects on tea plant unde...
Various factors affect intestinal absorption of cholesterol and plant sterols and stanols. Plant sterols and stanols are generally less absorptive than cholesterol. Differential absorption rates among various plant sterols and stanols have been also reported. Although it was suggested that differential absorption among cholesterol and various plant sterols was determined by difference in excretion rates of sterols and stanols through ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC) G5/ABCG8 of intestinal cells, our study suggests that affinity for and solubility in bile salt micelles can be important determinants for differential absorption of plant sterols and stanols. It was also suggested that plant sterols were transiently incorporated into intestinal cells and then excreted to intestinal lumen through ABCG5/ABCG8. However, in a rat study, transient incorporation of sitosterol into intestinal cells was not observed, suggesting that sitosterol is differentiated from cholesterol at the incorporation site of intestinal cells. It is well established that plant sterols inhibit intestinal absorption of cholesterol and exert a hypocholesterolemic activity. Plant sterols are solubilized in bile salt micelles as cholesterol. Our study clearly showed that because the sterol-solubilizing capacity of bile salt micelles was limited, plant sterols solubilized in micelles reduced the solubility of cholesterol. This can be the major cause of inhibition of cholesterol absorption by plant sterols. Pancreatic cholesterol esterase accelerates intestinal absorption of unesterified cholesterol. Although it was suggested that cholesterol esterase accelerated esterification of cholesterol incorporated into intestinal cells and acted as a transporter at the surface of intestinal cells, our research revealed that the accelerated cholesterol absorption was caused by hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine in bile salt micelles. It is thought that hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine reduces the affinity of
Gründemann, Carsten; Garcia-Käufer, Manuel; Lamy, Evelyn; Hanschen, Franziska S; Huber, Roman
Isothiocyanates (ITC) from the Brassicaceae plant family are regarded as promising for prevention and treatment of cancer. However, experimental settings consider their therapeutic action without taking into account the risk of unwanted effects on healthy tissues. In the present study we investigated the effects of Eruca sativa seed extract containing MTBITC (Erucin) and pure Erucin from rocket plant on healthy cells of the human immune system in vitro. Hereby, high doses of the plant extract as well as of Erucin inhibited cell viability of human lymphocytes via induction of apoptosis to comparable amounts. Non-toxic low concentrations of the plant extract and pure Erucin altered the expression of the interleukin (IL)-2 receptor but did not affect further T cell activation, proliferation and the release of the effector molecules interferon (IFN)-gamma and IL-2 of T-lymphocytes. However, the activity of NK-cells was significantly reduced by non-toxic concentrations of the plant extract and pure Erucin. These results indicate that the plant extract and pure Erucin interfere with the function of human T lymphocytes and decreases the activity of NK-cells in comparable concentrations. Long-term clinical studies with ITC-enriched plant extracts from Brassicaceae should take this into account.
Nawab, Javed; Khan, Sardar; Shah, Mohammad Tahir; Khan, Kifayatullah; Huang, Qing; Ali, Roshan
Several anthropogenic and natural sources are considered as the primary sources of toxic metals in the environment. The current study investigates the level of heavy metals contamination in the flora associated with serpentine soil along the Mafic and Ultramafic rocks northern-Pakistan. Soil and wild native plant species were collected from chromites mining affected areas and analyzed for heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Fe, Mn, Co, Cu and Zn) using atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS-PEA-700). The heavy metal concentrations were significantly (p < 0.01) higher in mine affected soil as compared to reference soil, however Cr and Ni exceeded maximum allowable limit (250 and 60 mg kg(-1), respectively) set by SEPA for soil. Inter-metal correlations between soil, roots and shoots showed that the sources of contamination of heavy metals were mainly associated with chromites mining. All the plant species accumulated significantly higher concentrations of heavy metals as compared to reference plant. The open dumping of mine wastes can create serious problems (food crops and drinking water contamination with heavy metals) for local community of the study area. The native wild plant species (Nepeta cataria, Impatiens bicolor royle, Tegetis minuta) growing on mining affected sites may be used for soil reclamation contaminated with heavy metals.
Berger, Alvin; Jones, Peter JH; Abumweis, Suhad S
Plant sterols are naturally occurring molecules that humanity has evolved with. Herein, we have critically evaluated recent literature pertaining to the myriad of factors affecting efficacy and safety of plant sterols in free and esterified forms. We conclude that properly solubilized 4-desmetyl plant sterols, in ester or free form, in reasonable doses (0.8–1.0 g of equivalents per day) and in various vehicles including natural sources, and as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, are important dietary components for lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and maintaining good heart health. In addition to their cholesterol lowering properties, plant sterols possess anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenicity, and anti-oxidation activities, and should thus be of clinical importance, even for those individuals without elevated LDL cholesterol. The carotenoid lowering effect of plant sterols should be corrected by increasing intake of food that is rich in carotenoids. In pregnant and lactating women and children, further study is needed to verify the dose required to decrease blood cholesterol without affecting fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoid status. PMID:15070410
Organic matter is known to accumulate high amounts of metals/metalloids, enhanced during the process of decomposition by heterotrophic biofilms (with high fixation capacity for metals/metalloids). The colonization by microbes and the decay rate of the organic matter depends on different litter properties. Main litter properties affecting the decomposition of organic matter such as the nutrient ratios and the content of cellulose, lignin and phenols are currently described to be changed by silicon availability. But less is known about the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on elemental fixation during decay. Hence, this research focuses on the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on fixation of 42 elements during litter decay, by controlling the litter properties. The results of this experiment are a significantly higher metal/metalloid accumulation during decomposition of plant litter grown under low silicon availability. This may be explained by the altered litter properties (mainly nutrient content) affecting the microbial decomposition of the litter, the microbial growth on the litter and possibly by the silicon double layer, which is evident in leaf litter with high silicon content and reduces the binding sites for metals/metalloids. Furthermore, this silicon double layer may also reduce the growing biofilm by reducing the availability of carbon compounds at the litter surface and has to be elucidated in further research. Hence, low silicon availability during plant growth enhances the metal/metalloid accumulation into plant litter during aquatic decomposition.
He, Hanzi; de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Snoek, L. Basten; Schnabel, Sabine; Nijveen, Harm; Hilhorst, Henk; Bentsink, Leónie
Seed performance after dispersal is highly dependent on parental environmental cues, especially during seed formation and maturation. Here we examine which environmental factors are the most dominant in this respect and whether their effects are dependent on the genotypes under investigation. We studied the influence of light intensity, photoperiod, temperature, nitrate, and phosphate during seed development on five plant attributes and thirteen seed attributes, using 12 Arabidopsis genotypes that have been reported to be affected in seed traits. As expected, the various environments during seed development resulted in changed plant and/or seed performances. Comparative analysis clearly indicated that, overall, temperature plays the most dominant role in both plant and seed performance, whereas light has a prominent impact on plant traits. In comparison to temperature and light, nitrate mildly affected some of the plant and seed traits while phosphate had even less influence on those traits. Moreover, clear genotype-by-environment interactions were identified. This was shown by the fact that individual genotypes responded differentially to the environmental conditions. Low temperature significantly increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG1 and cyp707a1-1, whereas low light intensity increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG3 and NILDOG6. This also indicates that different genetic and molecular pathways are involved in the plant and seed responses. By identifying environmental conditions that affect the dormancy vs longevity correlation in the same way as previously identified naturally occurring loci, we have identified selective forces that probably shaped evolution for these important seed traits. PMID:25240065
He, Hanzi; de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Snoek, L Basten; Schnabel, Sabine; Nijveen, Harm; Hilhorst, Henk; Bentsink, Leónie
Seed performance after dispersal is highly dependent on parental environmental cues, especially during seed formation and maturation. Here we examine which environmental factors are the most dominant in this respect and whether their effects are dependent on the genotypes under investigation. We studied the influence of light intensity, photoperiod, temperature, nitrate, and phosphate during seed development on five plant attributes and thirteen seed attributes, using 12 Arabidopsis genotypes that have been reported to be affected in seed traits. As expected, the various environments during seed development resulted in changed plant and/or seed performances. Comparative analysis clearly indicated that, overall, temperature plays the most dominant role in both plant and seed performance, whereas light has a prominent impact on plant traits. In comparison to temperature and light, nitrate mildly affected some of the plant and seed traits while phosphate had even less influence on those traits. Moreover, clear genotype-by-environment interactions were identified. This was shown by the fact that individual genotypes responded differentially to the environmental conditions. Low temperature significantly increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG1 and cyp707a1-1, whereas low light intensity increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG3 and NILDOG6. This also indicates that different genetic and molecular pathways are involved in the plant and seed responses. By identifying environmental conditions that affect the dormancy vs longevity correlation in the same way as previously identified naturally occurring loci, we have identified selective forces that probably shaped evolution for these important seed traits.
Bargsten, A.; Andreae, M. O.; Meixner, F. X.
Within the framework of the EGER project (ExchanGE processes in mountainous Regions) soil samples have been taken from the spruce forest site "Weidenbrunnen" (Fichtelgebirge, Germany) in September 2008 to determine the NO exchange in the laboratory and for a series of soil analyses. The soil was sampled below different understorey vegetation covers: young Norway spruce, moss/litter, blueberries and grass. We investigated the net NO release rate from corresponding organic layers as well as from the A horizon of respective soils. Additionally we measured pH, C/N ratio, contents of ammonium, nitrate, and organic C, bulk density, the thickness of the organic layer and the quality of the organic matter. Net NO release rates (as well as the NO production and NO consumption rates) from the soil samples were determined by a fully automated laboratory incubation & fumigation system. Purified dry air passed five dynamic incubation chambers, four containing water saturated soil samples and one reference chamber. By this procedure, the soil samples dried out slowly (within 2-6 days), covering the full range of soil moisture (0-300% gravimetric soil moisture). To quantify NO production and NO consumption rates separately, soil samples were fumigated with zero-air (approx. 0 ppb NO) and air of 133 ppb NO. The chambers were placed in a thermostatted cabinet for incubation at 10 an 20Ë C. NO and H2O concentrations at the outlet of the five dynamic chambers were measured sequentially by chemiluminescence and IR-absorption based analyzers, switching corresponding valves every two minutes. Net NO release rates were determined from the NO concentration difference between soil containing and reference chambers. Corresponding measurements of H2O mixing ratio yielded the evaporation loss of the soil samples, which (referenced to the gravimetric soil water content before and after the incubation experiment) provided the individual soil moisture contents of each soil samples during the
Means, Mary M; Ahn, Changwoo; Korol, Alicia R; Williams, Lisa D
Wetland creation has become a commonplace method for mitigating the loss of natural wetlands. Often mitigation projects fail to restore ecosystem services of the impacted natural wetlands. One of the key ecosystem services of newly created wetlands is carbon accumulation/sequestration, but little is known about how planting diversity (PD) affects the ability of herbaceous wetland plants to store carbon in newly created wetlands. Most mitigation projects involve a planting regime, but PD, which may be critical in establishing biologically diverse and ecologically functioning wetlands, is seldom required. Using a set of 34 mesocosms (∼1 m(2) each), we investigated the effects of planting diversity on carbon storage potential of four native wetland plant species that are commonly planted in created mitigation wetlands in Virginia - Carex vulpinoidea, Eleocharis obtusa, Juncus effusus, and Mimulus ringens. The plants were grown under the four distinctive PD treatments [i.e., monoculture (PD 1) through four different species mixture (PD 4)]. Plant biomass was harvested after two growing seasons and analyzed for tissue carbon content. Competition values (CV) were calculated to understand how the PD treatment affected the competitive ability of plants relative to their biomass production and thus carbon storage potentials. Aboveground biomass ranged from 988 g/m(2) - 1515 g/m(2), being greatest in monocultures, but only when compared to the most diverse mixture (p = 0.021). However, carbon storage potential estimates per mesocosm ranged between 344 g C/m(2) in the most diverse mesocosms (PD 4) to 610 g C/m(2) in monoculture ones with no significant difference (p = 0.089). CV of E. obtusa and C. vulpinoidea showed a declining trend when grown in the most diverse mixtures but J. effusus and M. ringens displayed no difference across the PD gradient (p = 0.910). In monocultures, both M. ringens, and J. effusus appeared to store carbon as biomass more
Barba-Espín, G; Clemente-Moreno, M J; Alvarez, S; García-Legaz, M F; Hernández, J A; Díaz-Vivancos, P
We studied the effect of salicylic acid (SA) treatment on the response of pea plants to salinity. Sodium chloride (NaCl)-induced damage to leaves was increased by SA, which was correlated with a reduction in plant growth. The content of reduced ascorbate and glutathione in leaves of salt-treated plants increased in response to SA, although accumulation of the respective oxidised forms occurred. An increase in hydrogen peroxide also occurred in leaves of salt-exposed plants treated with SA. In the absence of NaCl, SA increased ascorbate peroxidase (APX; 100 μm) and glutathione-S transferase (GST; 50 μm) activities and increased catalase (CAT) activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Salinity decreased glutathione reductase (GR) activity, but increased GST and CAT activity. In salt-stressed plants, SA also produced changes in antioxidative enzymes: 100 μm SA decreased APX but increased GST. Finally, a concentration-dependent increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was induced by SA treatment in salt-stressed plants. Induction of PR-1b was observed in NaCl-stressed plants treated with SA. The treatment with SA, as well as the interaction between salinity and SA treatment, had a significant effect on PsMAPK3 expression. The expression of PsMAPK3 was not altered by 70 mm NaCl, but was statistically higher in the absence than in the presence of SA. Overall, the results show that SA treatment negatively affected the response of pea plants to NaCl, and this response correlated with an imbalance in antioxidant metabolism. The data also show that SA treatment could enhance the resistance of salt-stressed plants to possible opportunistic pathogen attack, as suggested by increased PR-1b gene expression.
Means, Mary M; Ahn, Changwoo; Noe, Gregory B
The resilience of constructed wetland ecosystems to severe disturbance, such as a mass herbivory eat-out or soil disturbance, remains poorly understood. In this study, we use a controlled mesocosm experiment to examine how original planting diversity affects the ability of constructed freshwater wetlands to recover structurally and functionally after a disturbance (i.e., aboveground harvesting and soil coring). We assessed if the planting richness of macrophyte species influences recovery of constructed wetlands one year after a disturbance. Mesocosms were planted in richness groups with various combinations of either 1, 2, 3, or 4 species (RG 1-4) to create a gradient of richness. Structural wetland traits measured include morphological regrowth of macrophytes, soil bulk density, soil moisture, soil %C, and soil %N. Functional wetland traits measured include above ground biomass production, soil potential denitrification, and soil potential microbial respiration. Total mesocosm cover increased along the gradient of plant richness (43.5% in RG 1 to 84.5% in RG 4) in the growing season after the disturbance, although not all planted individuals recovered. This was largely attributed to the dominance of the obligate annual species. The morphology of each species was affected negatively by the disturbance, producing shorter, and fewer stems than in the years prior to the disturbance, suggesting that the communities had not fully recovered one year after the disturbance. Soil characteristics were almost uniform across the planting richness gradient, but for a few exceptions (%C, C:N, and non-growing season soil moisture were higher slightly in RG 2). Denitrification potential (DEA) increased with increasing planting richness and was influenced by the abundance and quality of soil C. Increased open space in unplanted mesocosms and mesocosms with lower species richness increased labile C, leading to higher C mineralization rates.
Xu, Liangzheng; Niu, Junfang; Li, Chunjian; Zhang, Fusuo
The objective of the present study was to investigate the influence of a reduced maize root-system size on root growth and nitrogen (N) uptake and flow within plants. Restriction of shoot-borne root growth caused a strong decrease in the absorption of root: shoot dry weight ratio and a reduction in shoot growth. On the other hand, compensatory growth and an increased N uptake rate in the remaining roots were observed. Despite the limited long-distance transport pathway in the mesocotyl with restriction of shoot-borne root growth, N cycling within these plants was higher than those in control plants, implying that xylem and phloem flow velocities via the mesocotyl were considerably higher than in plants with an intact root system. The removal of the seminal roots in addition to restricting shoot-borne root development did not affect whole plant growth and N uptake, except for the stronger compensatory growth of the primary roots. Our results suggest that an adequate N supply to maize plant is maintained by compensatory growth of the remaining roots, increased N uptake rate and flow velocities within the xylem and phloem via the mesocotyl, and reduction in the shoot growth rate.
Mason, T J; French, K; Jolley, D
Different arrival order scenarios of native functional groups to a site may influence both resource use during development and final community structure. Arrival order may then indirectly influence community resistance to invasion. We present a mesocosm experiment of constructed coastal dune communities that monitored biotic and abiotic responses to different arrival orders of native functional groups. Constructed communities were compared with unplanted mesocosms. We then simulated a single invasion event by bitou (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata), a dominant exotic shrub of coastal communities. We evaluated the hypothesis that plantings with simultaneous representation of grass, herb and shrub functional groups at the beginning of the experiment would more completely sequester resources and limit invasion than staggered plantings. Staggered plantings in turn would offer greater resource use and invasion resistance than unplanted mesocosms. Contrary to our expectations, there were few effects of arrival order on abiotic variables for the duration of the experiment and arrival order was unimportant in final community invasibility. All planted mesocosms supported significantly more invader germinants and significantly less invader abundance than unplanted mesocosms. Native functional group plantings may have a nurse effect during the invader germination and establishment phase and a competitive function during the invader juvenile and adult phase. Arrival order per se did not affect resource use and community invasibility in our mesocosm experiment. While grass, herb and shrub functional group plantings will not prevent invasion success in restored communities, they may limit final invader biomass.
Nazareno, Alison G; Alzate-Marin, Ana L; Pereira, Rodrigo Augusto S
In this analysis, we attempt to understand how monoecy and dioecy drive spatial genetic structure (SGS) in plant populations. For this purpose, plants of the genus Ficus were used as a comparative model due to their particular characteristics, including high species diversity, variation in life histories, and sexual systems. One of the main issues we assessed is whether dioecious fig tree populations are more spatially genetically structured than monoecious populations. Using the Sp statistic, which allows for quantitative comparisons among different studies, we compared the extent of SGS between monoecious and dioecious Ficus species. To broaden our conclusions we used published data on an additional 27 monoecious and dioecious plant species. Furthermore, genetic diversity analyses were performed for two monoecious Ficus species using 12 microsatellite markers in order to strengthen our conclusions about SGS. Our results show that dioecy, more than monoecy, significantly contributes to SGS in plant populations. On average, the estimate of Sp was six times higher for dioecious Ficus species than monoecious Ficus species and it was two times higher in dioecious than monoecious plant species. Considering these results, we emphasize that the long-distance pollen dispersal mechanism in monoecious Ficus species seems to be the dominant factor in determining weak spatial genetic structure, high levels of genetic diversity, and lack of inbreeding. Although Ficus constitute a model species to study SGS, a more general comparison encompassing a wider range of plants is required in order to better understand how sexual systems affect genetic structure. PMID:24223285
Amy-Sagers, Cherisse; Reinhardt, Keith; Larson, Danelle M
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) are prevalent in aquatic systems, yet the fate and impacts on aquatic plants needs quantification for many compounds. We measured and detected sucralose (an artificial sweetener), fluoxetine (an antidepressant), and other PPCP in the Portneuf River in Idaho, USA, where Lemna minor (an aquatic plant in the environment and used in ecotoxicology studies) naturally occurs. Sucralose was hypothesized to negatively affect photosynthesis and growth of L. minor because sucralose is a chlorinated molecule that may be toxic or unusable for plant metabolism. A priori hypotheses were not created for fluoxetine due to lack of previous studies examining its impacts on plants. We conducted laboratory ecotoxicological assessments for a large range of concentrations of sucralose and fluoxetine on L. minor physiology and photosynthetic function. Frond green leaf area, root length, growth rate, photosynthetic capacity, and plant carbon isotopic composition (discrimination relative to a standard; δ(13)C) were measured among treatments ranging from 0 to 15000nmol/L-sucralose and 0-323nmol/L-fluoxetine. Contrary to our predictions, sucralose significantly increased green leaf area, photosynthetic capacity, and δ (13)C of L. minor at environmentally relevant concentrations. The increase of δ (13)C from sucralose amendments and an isotope-mixing model indicated substantial sucralose uptake and assimilation within the plant. Unlike humans who cannot break down and utilize sucralose, we documented that L. minor-a mixotrophic plant-can use sucralose as a sugar substitute to increase its green leaf area and photosynthetic capacity. Fluoxetine significantly decreased L. minor root growth, daily growth rate, and asexual reproduction at 323nmol/L-fluoxetine; however, ambiguity remains regarding the mechanisms responsible and the applicability of these extreme concentrations unprecedented in the natural environment. To our knowledge, this was
Whitham, T.G.; Martinsen, G.D.; Keim, P.; Floate, K.D.; Dungey, H.S. |; Potts, B.M.
Plant hybrid zones are dynamic centers of ecological and evolutionary processes for plants and their associated communities. Studies in the wild and in gardens with synthetic crosses showed that hybrid eucalypts supports the greatest species richness and abundances of insect and fungal taxa. In an updated review of 152 case studies of taxa associated with diverse hybridizing systems, there were 43 (28%) cases of hybrids being more susceptible than their parent species, 7 (5%) resistant, 35 (23%) additive, 35 (23%) dominant, and 32 (21%) showed no response to hybridization. Thus, most taxa respond to hybrids in ways that result in equal or greater abundance, and hybrids tend to accumulate the taxa of their parent species. These studies suggest that genetic-based plant traits affect the distribution of many species and that the variation in hybrids can be used as tools to examine the genetic components of community structure and biodiversity.
Schuldt, Andreas; Bruelheide, Helge; Durka, Walter; Eichenberg, David; Fischer, Markus; Kröber, Wenzel; Härdtle, Werner; Ma, Keping; Michalski, Stefan G; Palm, Wolf-Ulrich; Schmid, Bernhard; Welk, Erik; Zhou, Hongzhang; Assmann, Thorsten
Differences in herbivory among woody species can greatly affect the functioning of forest ecosystems, particularly in species-rich (sub)tropical regions. However, the relative importance of the different plant traits which determine herbivore damage remains unclear. Defence traits can have strong effects on herbivory, but rarely studied geographical range characteristics could complement these effects through evolutionary associations with herbivores. Herein, we use a large number of morphological, chemical, phylogenetic and biogeographical characteristics to analyse interspecific differences in herbivory on tree saplings in subtropical China. Unexpectedly, we found no significant effects of chemical defence traits. Rather, herbivory was related to the plants' leaf morphology, local abundance and climatic niche characteristics, which together explained 70% of the interspecific variation in herbivory in phylogenetic regression. Our study indicates that besides defence traits and apparency to herbivores, previously neglected measures of large-scale geographical host distribution are important factors influencing local herbivory patterns among plant species.
Wilder, Shawn M; Holway, David A; Suarez, Andrew V; Eubanks, Micky D
Many arthropods engage in mutualisms in which they consume plant-based foods including nectar, extrafloral nectar, and honeydew. However, relatively little is known about the manner in which the specific macronutrients in these plant-based resources affect growth, especially for carnivorous arthropods. Using a combination of laboratory and field experiments, we tested (1) how plant-based foods, together with ad libitum insect prey, affect the growth of a carnivorous ant, Solenopsis invicta, and (2) which macronutrients in these resources (i.e., carbohydrates, amino acids, or both) contribute to higher colony growth. Access to honeydew increased the production of workers and brood in experimental colonies. This growth effect appeared to be due to carbohydrates alone as colonies provided with the carbohydrate component of artificial extrafloral nectar had greater worker and brood production compared to colonies deprived of carbohydrates. Surprisingly, amino acids only had a slight interactive effect on the proportion of a colony composed of brood and negatively affected worker survival. Diet choice in the laboratory and field matched performance in the laboratory with high recruitment to carbohydrate baits and only slight recruitment to amino acids. The strong, positive effects of carbohydrates on colony growth and the low cost of producing this macronutrient for plants and hemipterans may have aided the evolution of food-for-protection mutualisms and help explain why these interactions are so common in ants. In addition, greater access to plant-based resources in the introduced range of S. invicta may help to explain the high densities achieved by this species throughout the southeastern United States.
Everard, Katherine; Seabloom, Eric W; Harpole, W Stanley; de Mazancourt, Claire
Abstract: Classic resource competition theory typically treats resource supply rates as independent; however, nutrient supplies can be affected by plants indirectly, with important consequences for model predictions. We demonstrate this general phenomenon by using a model in which competition for nitrogen is mediated by soil moisture, with competitive outcomes including coexistence and multiple stable states as well as competitive exclusion. In the model, soil moisture regulates nitrogen availability through soil moisture dependence of microbial processes, leaching, and plant uptake. By affecting water availability, plants also indirectly affect nitrogen availability and may therefore alter the competitive outcome. Exotic annual species from the Mediterranean have displaced much of the native perennial grasses in California. Nitrogen and water have been shown to be potentially limiting in this system. We parameterize the model for a Californian grassland and show that soil moisture-mediated competition for nitrogen can explain the annual species' dominance in drier areas, with coexistence expected in wetter regions. These results are concordant with larger biogeographic patterns of grassland invasion in the Pacific states of the United States, in which annual grasses have invaded most of the hot, dry grasslands in California but perennial grasses dominate the moister prairies of northern California, Oregon, and Washington.
Marques, Joana M; da Silva, Thais F; Vollu, Renata E; Blank, Arie F; Ding, Guo-Chun; Seldin, Lucy; Smalla, Kornelia
The hypothesis that sweet potato genotypes containing different starch yields in their tuberous roots can affect the bacterial communities present in the rhizosphere (soil adhering to tubers) was tested in this study. Tuberous roots of field-grown sweet potato of genotypes IPB-149 (commercial genotype), IPB-052, and IPB-137 were sampled three and six months after planting and analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and pyrosequencing analysis of 16S rRNA genes PCR-amplified from total community DNA. The statistical analysis of the DGGE fingerprints showed that both plant age and genotypes influenced the bacterial community structure in the tuber rhizosphere. Pyrosequencing analysis showed that the IPB-149 and IPB-052 (both with high starch content) displayed similar bacterial composition in the tuber rhizosphere, while IPB-137 with the lowest starch content was distinct. In comparison with bulk soil, higher 16S rRNA gene copy numbers (qPCR) and numerous genera with significantly increased abundance in the tuber rhizosphere of IPB-137 (Sphingobium, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Chryseobacterium) indicated a stronger rhizosphere effect. The genus Bacillus was strongly enriched in the tuber rhizosphere samples of all sweet potato genotypes studied, while other genera showed a plant genotype-dependent abundance. This is the first report on the molecular identification of bacteria being associated with the tuber rhizosphere of different sweet potato genotypes.
Glyphosate has been shown to affect the development of plant disease in several ways. Plants utilize phenolic and other shikimic acid pathway-derived compounds as part of their defense against pathogens, and glyphosate inhibits the biosynthesis of these compounds via its mode of action. Several studies have shown a correlation between enhanced disease and suppression of phenolic compound production after glyphosate. Glyphosate-resistant crop plants have also been studied for changes in resistance as a result of carrying the glyphosate resistance trait. The evidence indicates that neither the resistance trait nor application of glyphosate to glyphosate-resistant plants increases susceptibility to disease. The only exceptions to this are cases where glyphosate has been shown to reduce rust diseases on glyphosate-resistant crops, supporting a fungicidal role for this chemical. Finally, glyphosate treatment of weeds or volunteer crops can cause a temporary increase in soil-borne pathogens that may result in disease development if crops are planted too soon after glyphosate application. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
Mechant, E; Pauwels, E; Gobin, B
The broad mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks) is considered a major pest in potted azalea, Flanders' flagship ornamental crop of Rhododendron simsii hybrids. In addition to severe economic damage, the broad mite is dreaded for its increasing resistance to acaricides. Due to restrictions in the use of broad spectrum acaricides, Belgian azalea growers are left with only three compounds, belonging to two mode of action groups and restricted in their number of applications, for broad mite control: abamectin, milbemectin and pyrethrin. Although P. latus can be controlled with predatory mites, the high cost of this system makes it (not yet) feasible for integration into standard azalea pest management systems. Hence, a maximum efficacy of treatments with available compounds is essential. Because abamectin, milbemectin and pyrethrin are contact acaricides with limited trans laminar flow, only broad mites located on shoot tips of azalea plants will be controlled after spraying. Consequently, the efficacy of chemical treatments is influenced by the location and spread of P. latus on the plant. Unfortunately, little is known on broad mites' within-plant spread or how it is affected by climatic conditions like temperature and relative humidity. Therefore, experiments were set up to verify whether climate conditions have an effect on the location and migration of broad mites on azalea. Broad mite infected azalea plants were placed in standard growth chambers under different temperature (T:2.5-25°C) and relative humidity (RH:55-80%) treatments. Within-plant spread was determined by counting mites on the shoot tips and inner leaves of azalea plants. Results indicate that temperature and relative humidity have no significant effect on the within-plant spread of P. latus. To formulate recommendations for optimal spray conditions to maximize the efficacy of broad mite control with acaricides, further experiments on the effect of light intensity and rain are scheduled.
Dusza, Yann; Barot, Sébastien; Kraepiel, Yvan; Lata, Jean-Christophe; Abbadie, Luc; Raynaud, Xavier
Green roofs provide ecosystem services through evapotranspiration and nutrient cycling that depend, among others, on plant species, substrate type, and substrate depth. However, no study has assessed thoroughly how interactions between these factors alter ecosystem functions and multifunctionality of green roofs. We simulated some green roof conditions in a pot experiment. We planted 20 plant species from 10 genera and five families (Asteraceae, Caryophyllaceae, Crassulaceae, Fabaceae, and Poaceae) on two substrate types (natural vs. artificial) and two substrate depths (10 cm vs. 30 cm). As indicators of major ecosystem functions, we measured aboveground and belowground biomasses, foliar nitrogen and carbon content, foliar transpiration, substrate water retention, and dissolved organic carbon and nitrates in leachates. Interactions between substrate type and depth strongly affected ecosystem functions. Biomass production was increased in the artificial substrate and deeper substrates, as was water retention in most cases. In contrast, dissolved organic carbon leaching was higher in the artificial substrates. Except for the Fabaceae species, nitrate leaching was reduced in deep, natural soils. The highest transpiration rates were associated with natural soils. All functions were modulated by plant families or species. Plant effects differed according to the observed function and the type and depth of the substrate. Fabaceae species grown on natural soils had the most noticeable patterns, allowing high biomass production and high water retention but also high nitrate leaching from deep pots. No single combination of factors enhanced simultaneously all studied ecosystem functions, highlighting that soil-plant interactions induce trade-offs between ecosystem functions. Substrate type and depth interactions are major drivers for green roof multifunctionality.
Cárcamo, Héctor A; Herle, Carolyn E; Lupwayi, Newton Z
Adults of Sitona lineatus (pea leaf weevil, PLW) feed on foliage of several Fabaceae species but larvae prefer to feed on nodules of Pisum sativum L. and Vicia faba L. Indirectly, through their feeding on rhizobia, weevils can reduce soil and plant available nitrogen (N). However, initial soil N can reduce nodulation and damage by the weevil and reduce control requirements. Understanding these interactions is necessary to make integrated pest management recommendations for PLW. We conducted a greenhouse study to quantify nodulation, soil and plant N content, and nodule damage by weevil larvae in relation to soil N amendment with urea, thiamethoxam insecticide seed coating and crop stage. PLWs reduced the number of older tumescent (multilobed) nodules and thiamethoxam addition increased them regardless of other factors. Nitrogen amendment significantly increased soil available N (>99% nitrate) as expected and PLW presence was associated with significantly lower levels of soil N. PLW decreased plant N content at early flower and thiamethoxam increased it, particularly at late flower. The study illustrated the complexity of interactions that determine insect herbivory effects on plant and soil nutrition for invertebrates that feed on N-fixing root nodules. We conclude that effects of PLW on nodulation and subsequent effects on plant nitrogen are more pronounced during the early growth stages of the plant. This suggests the importance of timing of PLW infestation and may explain the lack of yield depression in relation to this pest observed in many field studies. Also, pea crops in soils with high levels of soil N are unlikely to be affected by this herbivore and should not require insecticide inputs.
Richter, Chesney K; Skulas-Ray, Ann C; Champagne, Catherine M; Kris-Etherton, Penny M
Proteins from plant-based compared with animal-based food sources may have different effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Numerous epidemiologic and intervention studies have evaluated their respective health benefits; however, it is difficult to isolate the role of plant or animal protein on CVD risk. This review evaluates the current evidence from observational and intervention studies, focusing on the specific protein-providing foods and populations studied. Dietary protein is derived from many food sources, and each provides a different composite of nonprotein compounds that can also affect CVD risk factors. Increasing the consumption of protein-rich foods also typically results in lower intakes of other nutrients, which may simultaneously influence outcomes. Given these complexities, blanket statements about plant or animal protein may be too general, and greater consideration of the specific protein food sources and the background diet is required. The potential mechanisms responsible for any specific effects of plant and animal protein are similarly multifaceted and include the amino acid content of particular foods, contributions from other nonprotein compounds provided concomitantly by the whole food, and interactions with the gut microbiome. Evidence to date is inconclusive, and additional studies are needed to further advance our understanding of the complexity of plant protein vs. animal protein comparisons. Nonetheless, current evidence supports the idea that CVD risk can be reduced by a dietary pattern that provides more plant sources of protein compared with the typical American diet and also includes animal-based protein foods that are unprocessed and low in saturated fat. PMID:26567196
Richter, Chesney K; Skulas-Ray, Ann C; Champagne, Catherine M; Kris-Etherton, Penny M
Proteins from plant-based compared with animal-based food sources may have different effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Numerous epidemiologic and intervention studies have evaluated their respective health benefits; however, it is difficult to isolate the role of plant or animal protein on CVD risk. This review evaluates the current evidence from observational and intervention studies, focusing on the specific protein-providing foods and populations studied. Dietary protein is derived from many food sources, and each provides a different composite of nonprotein compounds that can also affect CVD risk factors. Increasing the consumption of protein-rich foods also typically results in lower intakes of other nutrients, which may simultaneously influence outcomes. Given these complexities, blanket statements about plant or animal protein may be too general, and greater consideration of the specific protein food sources and the background diet is required. The potential mechanisms responsible for any specific effects of plant and animal protein are similarly multifaceted and include the amino acid content of particular foods, contributions from other nonprotein compounds provided concomitantly by the whole food, and interactions with the gut microbiome. Evidence to date is inconclusive, and additional studies are needed to further advance our understanding of the complexity of plant protein vs. animal protein comparisons. Nonetheless, current evidence supports the idea that CVD risk can be reduced by a dietary pattern that provides more plant sources of protein compared with the typical American diet and also includes animal-based protein foods that are unprocessed and low in saturated fat.
Cárcamo, Héctor A.; Herle, Carolyn E.; Lupwayi, Newton Z.
Adults of Sitona lineatus (pea leaf weevil, PLW) feed on foliage of several Fabaceae species but larvae prefer to feed on nodules of Pisum sativum L. and Vicia faba L. Indirectly, through their feeding on rhizobia, weevils can reduce soil and plant available nitrogen (N). However, initial soil N can reduce nodulation and damage by the weevil and reduce control requirements. Understanding these interactions is necessary to make integrated pest management recommendations for PLW. We conducted a greenhouse study to quantify nodulation, soil and plant N content, and nodule damage by weevil larvae in relation to soil N amendment with urea, thiamethoxam insecticide seed coating and crop stage. PLWs reduced the number of older tumescent (multilobed) nodules and thiamethoxam addition increased them regardless of other factors. Nitrogen amendment significantly increased soil available N (>99% nitrate) as expected and PLW presence was associated with significantly lower levels of soil N. PLW decreased plant N content at early flower and thiamethoxam increased it, particularly at late flower. The study illustrated the complexity of interactions that determine insect herbivory effects on plant and soil nutrition for invertebrates that feed on N-fixing root nodules. We conclude that effects of PLW on nodulation and subsequent effects on plant nitrogen are more pronounced during the early growth stages of the plant. This suggests the importance of timing of PLW infestation and may explain the lack of yield depression in relation to this pest observed in many field studies. Also, pea crops in soils with high levels of soil N are unlikely to be affected by this herbivore and should not require insecticide inputs. PMID:26106086
Fungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play important ecophysiological roles in mediating inter-kingdom signaling with arthropods but less is known about their interactions with plants. In this study, Arabidopsis thaliana was used as a model in order to test the physiological effects of 23 common vapor-phase fungal VOCs that included alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and other chemical classes. After exposure to a shared atmosphere with the 23 individual VOCs for 72 hrs, seeds were assayed for rate of germination and seedling formation; vegetative plants were assayed for fresh weight and chlorophyll concentration. All but five of the VOCs tested (1-decene, 2-n-heptylfuran, nonanal, geosmin and -limonene) had a significant effect in inhibiting either germination, seedling formation or both. Seedling formation was entirely inhibited by exposure to 1-octen-3-one, 2-ethylhexanal, 3-methylbutanal, and butanal. As assayed by a combination of fresh weight and chlorophyll concentration, 2-ethylhexanal had a negative impact on two-week-old vegetative plants. Three other compounds (1-octen-3-ol, 2-ethylhexanal, and 2-heptylfuran) decreased fresh weight alone. Most of the VOCs tested did not change the fresh weight or chlorophyll concentration of vegetative plants. In summary, when tested as single compounds, fungal VOCs affected A. thaliana in positive, negative or neutral ways. PMID:25045602
Si, Chuncan; Liu, Xueyan; Wang, Congyan; Wang, Lei; Dai, Zhicong; Qi, Shanshan; Du, Daolin
Several studies have shown that soil microorganisms play a key role in the success of plant invasion. Thus, ecologists have become increasingly interested in understanding the ecological effects of biological invasion on soil microbial communities given continuing increase in the effects of invasive plants on native ecosystems. This paper aims to provide a relatively complete depiction of the characteristics of soil microbial communities under different degrees of plant invasion. Rhizospheric soils of the notorious invasive plant Wedelia trilobata with different degrees of invasion (uninvaded, low-degree, and high-degree using its coverage in the invaded ecosystems) were collected from five discrete areas in Hainan Province, P. R. China. Soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microorganisms were assessed. Low degrees of W. trilobata invasion significantly increased soil pH values whereas high degrees of invasion did not significantly affected soil pH values. Moreover, the degree of W. trilobata invasion exerted significant effects on soil Ca concentration but did not significantly change other indices of soil physicochemical properties. Low and high degrees of W. trilobata invasion increased the richness of the soil fungal community but did not pose obvious effects on the soil bacterial community. W. trilobata invasion also exerted obvious effects on the community structure of soil microorganisms that take part in soil nitrogen cycling. These changes in soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microbial communities mediated by different degrees of W. trilobata invasion may present significant functions in further facilitating the invasion process.
Si, Chuncan; Liu, Xueyan; Wang, Congyan; Wang, Lei; Dai, Zhicong; Qi, Shanshan; Du, Daolin
Several studies have shown that soil microorganisms play a key role in the success of plant invasion. Thus, ecologists have become increasingly interested in understanding the ecological effects of biological invasion on soil microbial communities given continuing increase in the effects of invasive plants on native ecosystems. This paper aims to provide a relatively complete depiction of the characteristics of soil microbial communities under different degrees of plant invasion. Rhizospheric soils of the notorious invasive plant Wedelia trilobata with different degrees of invasion (uninvaded, low-degree, and high-degree using its coverage in the invaded ecosystems) were collected from five discrete areas in Hainan Province, P. R. China. Soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microorganisms were assessed. Low degrees of W. trilobata invasion significantly increased soil pH values whereas high degrees of invasion did not significantly affected soil pH values. Moreover, the degree of W. trilobata invasion exerted significant effects on soil Ca concentration but did not significantly change other indices of soil physicochemical properties. Low and high degrees of W. trilobata invasion increased the richness of the soil fungal community but did not pose obvious effects on the soil bacterial community. W. trilobata invasion also exerted obvious effects on the community structure of soil microorganisms that take part in soil nitrogen cycling. These changes in soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microbial communities mediated by different degrees of W. trilobata invasion may present significant functions in further facilitating the invasion process. PMID:24392015
Noto, Akana E; Shurin, Jonathan B
Species that occur along broad environmental gradients often vary in phenotypic traits that make them better adapted to local conditions. Variation in species interactions across gradients could therefore be due to either phenotypic differences among populations or environmental conditions that shift the balance between competition and facilitation. To understand how the environment (precipitation) and variation among populations affect species interactions, we conducted a common garden experiment using two common salt marsh plant species, Salicornia pacifica and Jaumea carnosa, from six salt marshes along the California coast encompassing a large precipitation gradient. Plants were grown alone or with an individual of the opposite species from the same site and exposed to one of three precipitation regimes. J. carnosa was negatively affected in the presence of S. pacifica, while S. pacifica was facilitated by J. carnosa. The strength of these interactions varied by site of origin but not by precipitation treatment. These results suggest that phenotypic variation among populations can affect interaction strength more than environment, despite a threefold difference in precipitation. Geographic intraspecific variation may therefore play an important role in determining the strength of interactions in communities.
Niu, C; Gilbert, E S
The specific biofilm formation (SBF) assay, a technique based on crystal violet staining, was developed to locate plant essential oils and their components that affect biofilm formation. SBF analysis determined that cinnamon, cassia, and citronella oils differentially affected growth-normalized biofilm formation by Escherichia coli. Examination of the corresponding essential oil principal components by the SBF assay revealed that cinnamaldehyde decreased biofilm formation compared to biofilms grown in Luria-Bertani broth, eugenol did not result in a change, and citronellol increased the SBF. To evaluate these results, two microscopy-based assays were employed. First, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was used to examine E. coli biofilms cultivated in flow cells, which were quantitatively analyzed by COMSTAT, an image analysis program. The overall trend for five parameters that characterize biofilm development corroborated the findings of the SBF assay. Second, the results of an assay measuring growth-normalized adhesion by direct microscopy concurred with the results of the SBF assay and CLSM imaging. Viability staining indicated that there was reduced toxicity of the essential oil components to cells in biofilms compared to the toxicity to planktonic cells but revealed morphological damage to E. coli after cinnamaldehyde exposure. Cinnamaldehyde also inhibited the swimming motility of E. coli. SBF analysis of three Pseudomonas species exposed to cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, or citronellol revealed diverse responses. The SBF assay could be useful as an initial step for finding plant essential oils and their components that affect biofilm formation and structure.
Sonnemann, Ilja; Hempel, Stefan; Beutel, Maria; Hanauer, Nicola; Reidinger, Stefan; Wurst, Susanne
Insect root herbivores can alter plant community structure by affecting the competitive ability of single plants. However, their effects can be modified by the soil environment. Root herbivory itself may induce changes in the soil biota community, and it has recently been shown that these changes can affect plant growth in a subsequent season or plant generation. However, so far it is not known whether these root herbivore history effects (i) are detectable at the plant community level and/or (ii) also determine plant species and plant community responses to new root herbivore attack. The present greenhouse study determined root herbivore history effects of click beetle larvae (Elateridae, Coleoptera, genus Agriotes) in a model grassland plant community consisting of six common species (Achillea millefolium, Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale, Holcus lanatus, Poa pratensis, Trifolium repens). Root herbivore history effects were generated in a first phase of the experiment by growing the plant community in soil with or without Agriotes larvae, and investigated in a second phase by growing it again in the soils that were either Agriotes trained or not. The root herbivore history of the soil affected plant community productivity (but not composition), with communities growing in root herbivore trained soil producing more biomass than those growing in untrained soil. Additionally, it influenced the response of certain plant species to new root herbivore attack. Effects may partly be explained by herbivore-induced shifts in the community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The root herbivore history of the soil proved to be a stronger driver of plant growth on the community level than an actual root herbivore attack which did not affect plant community parameters. History effects have to be taken into account when predicting the impact of root herbivores on grasslands.
Sonnemann, Ilja; Hempel, Stefan; Beutel, Maria; Hanauer, Nicola; Reidinger, Stefan; Wurst, Susanne
Insect root herbivores can alter plant community structure by affecting the competitive ability of single plants. However, their effects can be modified by the soil environment. Root herbivory itself may induce changes in the soil biota community, and it has recently been shown that these changes can affect plant growth in a subsequent season or plant generation. However, so far it is not known whether these root herbivore history effects (i) are detectable at the plant community level and/or (ii) also determine plant species and plant community responses to new root herbivore attack. The present greenhouse study determined root herbivore history effects of click beetle larvae (Elateridae, Coleoptera, genus Agriotes) in a model grassland plant community consisting of six common species (Achillea millefolium, Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale, Holcus lanatus, Poa pratensis, Trifolium repens). Root herbivore history effects were generated in a first phase of the experiment by growing the plant community in soil with or without Agriotes larvae, and investigated in a second phase by growing it again in the soils that were either Agriotes trained or not. The root herbivore history of the soil affected plant community productivity (but not composition), with communities growing in root herbivore trained soil producing more biomass than those growing in untrained soil. Additionally, it influenced the response of certain plant species to new root herbivore attack. Effects may partly be explained by herbivore-induced shifts in the community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The root herbivore history of the soil proved to be a stronger driver of plant growth on the community level than an actual root herbivore attack which did not affect plant community parameters. History effects have to be taken into account when predicting the impact of root herbivores on grasslands. PMID:23441201
Ormeño, Elena; Olivier, Romain; Mévy, Jean Philippe; Baldy, Virginie; Fernandez, Catherine
The use of composted biosolids as an amendment for forest regeneration in degraded ecosystems is growing since sewage-sludge dumping has been banned in the European Community. Its consequences on plant terpenes are however unknown. Terpene emissions of both Rosmarinus officinalis (a terpene-storing species) and Quercus coccifera (a non-storing species) and terpene content of the former, were studied after a middle-term exposure to compost at intermediate (50tha(-1): D50) and high (100tha(-1): D100) compost rates, in a seven-year-old post-fire shrubland ecosystem. Some chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (Fv/Fm, ETR, Phi(PSII)), soil and plant enrichment in phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) were monitored simultaneously in amended and non-amended plots in order to establish what factors were responsible for possible compost effect on terpenes. Compost affected all studied parameters with the exception of Fv/Fm and terpene content. For both species, mono- and sesquiterpene basal emissions were intensified solely under D50 plots. On the contrary leaf P, leaf N levels reached in D50 were partly responsible of terpene changes, suggesting that optimal N conditions occurred therein. N also affected ETR and Phi(PSII) which were, in turn, robustly correlated to terpene emissions. These results imply that emissions of terpene-storing and non-storing species were under nitrogen and chlorophyll fluorescence control, and that a correct management of compost rates applied on soil may modify terpene emission rate of plants, which in turn has consequences in air quality and plant defense mechanisms.
Schuerger, A. C.; Brown, C. S.; Sager, J. C. (Principal Investigator)
Plants were grown under light-emitting diode (LED) arrays with various spectra to determine the effects of light quality on the development of diseases caused by tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) on pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlectend:Fr.) Pollaci] on cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum Smith) on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). One LED (660) array supplied 99% red light at 660 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height) and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. A second LED (660/735) array supplied 83% red light at 660 nm and 17% far-red light at 735 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height). A third LED (660/BF) array supplied 98% red light at 660 nm, 1% blue light (BF) between 350 to 550 nm, and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. Control plants were grown under broad-spectrum metal halide (MH) lamps. Plants were grown at a mean photon flux (300 to 800 nm) of 330 micromoles m-2 s-1 under a 12-h day/night photoperiod. Spectral quality affected each pathosystem differently. In the ToMV/pepper pathosystem, disease symptoms developed slower and were less severe in plants grown under light sources that contained blue and UV-A wavelengths (MH and 660/BF treatments) compared to plants grown under light sources that lacked blue and UV-A wavelengths (660 and 660/735 LED arrays). In contrast, the number of colonies per leaf was highest and the mean colony diameters of S. fuliginea on cucumber plants were largest on leaves grown under the MH lamp (highest amount of blue and UV-A light) and least on leaves grown under the 660 LED array (no blue or UV-A light). The addition of far-red irradiation to the primary light source in the 660/735 LED array increased the colony counts per leaf in the S. fuliginea/cucumber pathosystem compared to the red-only (660) LED array. In the P. solanacearum/tomato pathosystem, disease symptoms were less severe in plants grown under the 660 LED array, but the
Schuerger, A C; Brown, C S
Plants were grown under light-emitting diode (LED) arrays with various spectra to determine the effects of light quality on the development of diseases caused by tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) on pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlectend:Fr.) Pollaci] on cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum Smith) on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). One LED (660) array supplied 99% red light at 660 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height) and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. A second LED (660/735) array supplied 83% red light at 660 nm and 17% far-red light at 735 nm (25 nm bandwidth at half-peak height). A third LED (660/BF) array supplied 98% red light at 660 nm, 1% blue light (BF) between 350 to 550 nm, and 1% far-red light between 700 to 800 nm. Control plants were grown under broad-spectrum metal halide (MH) lamps. Plants were grown at a mean photon flux (300 to 800 nm) of 330 micromoles m-2 s-1 under a 12-h day/night photoperiod. Spectral quality affected each pathosystem differently. In the ToMV/pepper pathosystem, disease symptoms developed slower and were less severe in plants grown under light sources that contained blue and UV-A wavelengths (MH and 660/BF treatments) compared to plants grown under light sources that lacked blue and UV-A wavelengths (660 and 660/735 LED arrays). In contrast, the number of colonies per leaf was highest and the mean colony diameters of S. fuliginea on cucumber plants were largest on leaves grown under the MH lamp (highest amount of blue and UV-A light) and least on leaves grown under the 660 LED array (no blue or UV-A light). The addition of far-red irradiation to the primary light source in the 660/735 LED array increased the colony counts per leaf in the S. fuliginea/cucumber pathosystem compared to the red-only (660) LED array. In the P. solanacearum/tomato pathosystem, disease symptoms were less severe in plants grown under the 660 LED array, but the
Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Sherrod, S.K.; Moldenke, A.
Invasion of the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum into stands of the native perennial grass Hilaria jamesii significantly reduced the abundance of soil biota, especially microarthropods and nematodes. Effects of invasion on active and total bacterial and fungal biomass were variable, although populations generally increased after 50+ years of invasion. The invasion of Bromus also resulted in a decrease in richness and a species shift in plants, microarthropods, fungi, and nematodes. However, despite the depauperate soil fauna at the invaded sites, no effects were seen on cellulose decomposition rates, nitrogen mineralization rates, or vascular plant growth. When Hilaria was planted into soils from not-invaded, recently invaded, and historically invaded sites (all currently or once dominated by Hilaria), germination and survivorship were not affected. In contrast, aboveground Hilaria biomass was significantly greater in recently invaded soils than in the other two soils. We attributed the Hilaria response to differences in soil nutrients present before the invasion, especially soil nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as these nutrients were elevated in the soils that produced the greatest Hilaria biomass. Our data suggest that it is not soil biotic richness per se that determines soil process rates or plant productivity, but instead that either (1) the presence of a few critical soil food web taxa can keep ecosystem function high, (2) nutrient loss is very slow in this ecosystem, and/or (3) these processes are microbially driven. However, the presence of Bromus may reduce key soil nutrients over time and thus may eventually suppress native plant success. ?? 2005 by the Ecological Society of America.
Xu, Jin; Yin, Hengxia; Liu, Xiaojing; Li, Xia
Cadmium contamination is a serious environmental problem for modern agriculture and human health. Salinity affects plant growth and development, and interactions between salt and cadmium have been reported. However, the molecular mechanisms of salinity-cadmium interactions are not fully understood. Here, we show that a low concentration of salt alleviates Cd-induced growth inhibition and increases Cd accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Supplementation with low concentrations of salt reduced the reactive oxygen species level in Cd-stressed roots by increasing the contents of proline and glutathione and down-regulating the expression of RCD1, thereby protecting the plasma membrane integrity of roots under cadmium stress. Salt supplementation substantially reduces the Cd-induced elevation of IAA oxidase activity, thereby maintaining auxin levels in Cd-stressed plants, as indicated by DR5::GUS expression. Salt supply increased Cd absorption in roots and increased Cd accumulation in leaves, implying that salt enhances both Cd uptake in roots and the root-to-shoot translocation of Cd. The elevated Cd accumulation in plants in response to salt was found to be correlated with the elevated levels of phytochelatin the expression of heavy metal transporters AtHMA1-4, especially AtHMA4. Salt alleviated growth inhibition caused by Cd and increased Cd accumulation also was observed in Cd accumulator Solanum nigrum.
Kato, Syou; Misawa, Kazuharu; Takahashi, Fumio; Sakayama, Hidetoshi; Sano, Satomi; Kosuge, Keiko; Kasai, Fumie; Watanabe, Makoto M; Tanaka, Jiro; Nozaki, Hisayoshi
Many of the genes that control photosynthesis are carried in the chloroplast. These genes differ among species. However, evidence has yet to be reported revealing the involvement of organelle genes in the initial stages of plant speciation. To elucidate the molecular basis of aquatic plant speciation, we focused on the unique plant species Chara braunii C. C. Gmel. that inhabits both shallow and deep freshwater habitats and exhibits habitat-based dimorphism of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA). Here, we examined the "shallow" and "deep" subpopulations of C. braunii using two nuclear DNA (nDNA) markers and cpDNA. Genetic differentiation between the two subpopulations was measured in both nDNA and cpDNA regions, although phylogenetic analyses suggested nuclear gene flow between subpopulations. Neutrality tests based on Tajima's D demonstrated diversifying selection acting on organelle DNA regions. Furthermore, both "shallow" and "deep" haplotypes of cpDNA detected in cultures originating from bottom soils of three deep environments suggested that migration of oospores (dormant zygotes) between the two habitats occurs irrespective of the complete habitat-based dimorphism of cpDNA from field-collected vegetative thalli. Therefore, the two subpopulations are highly selected by their different aquatic habitats and show prezygotic isolation, which represents an initial process of speciation affected by ecologically based divergent selection of organelle genes.
Zhang, Qing-Fei; Zheng, Si-Jun; Xia, Lei; Wu, Hai-Ping; Zhang, Ming-Li; Li, Ming-Sheng
The factor analysis on the relationships between excess noise attenuation (decrement after noise propagating 30 m) and 8 structural characteristics of 19 urban plant communities in Shanghai showed that all the plant communities had notable effects on reducing noise, and the noise attenuation ability of the communities was significantly higher than that of lawn (P < 0.01). The plant communities could be divided into three groups base on their noise attenuation ability, i.e., those of > or = 10 dB(A), 6-10 dB(A), and < or = 6 dB(A). The main factors affecting the noise attenuation ability of the communities were leaf area index, average bifurcate height, average height, coverage, and average canopy diameter, and their correlation coefficients with noise attenuation were 0.343, 0.318, 0.285, 0.226 and 0.193, respectively. These five factors had a cumulative contribution rate of 65.47%, suggesting that they should be considered in stress when designing urban greenbelt for noise reduction.
Khodai-Kalaki, Maryam; Andrade, Angel; Fathy Mohamed, Yasmine
ABSTRACT Burkholderia cenocepacia causes opportunistic infections in plants, insects, animals, and humans, suggesting that “virulence” depends on the host and its innate susceptibility to infection. We hypothesized that modifications in key bacterial molecules recognized by the innate immune system modulate host responses to B. cenocepacia. Indeed, modification of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) with 4-amino-4-deoxy-l-arabinose and flagellin glycosylation attenuates B. cenocepacia infection in Arabidopsis thaliana and Galleria mellonella insect larvae. However, B. cenocepacia LPS and flagellin triggered rapid bursts of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species in A. thaliana leading to activation of the PR-1 defense gene. These responses were drastically reduced in plants with fls2 (flagellin FLS2 host receptor kinase), Atnoa1 (nitric oxide-associated protein 1), and dnd1-1 (reduced production of nitric oxide) null mutations. Together, our results indicate that LPS modification and flagellin glycosylation do not affect recognition by plant receptors but are required for bacteria to establish overt infection. PMID:26045541
Gerofotis, Christos D.; Ioannou, Charalampos S.; Nakas, Christos T.; Papadopoulos, Nikos T.
Food quality shapes life history traits either directly or through response of individuals to additional environmental factors, such as chemical cues. Plant extracts used as food additives modulate key life history traits; however little is known regarding such effects for olfactory chemical cues. Exploiting an interesting experimental system that involves the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae) and the plant metabolite α-pinene we asked whether exposure of adults to this compound modulates adult longevity and female reproduction in similar manner in a stressful – dietary (protein) restricted (DR) and in a relaxed- full diet (FD) feeding environment. Accordingly, we exposed males and females to the aroma of α-pinene and measured lifespan and age-specific fecundity in the above two dietary contexts. Our results demonstrate that exposure to α-pinene increased longevity in males and fecundity in females only under dietary restricted conditions. In relaxed food conditions, females exposed to α-pinene shifted high egg-laying towards younger ages compared to non-exposed ones. This is the first report demonstrating that a plant compound affects key life history traits of adult olive flies through olfaction. These effects are sex-specific and more pronounced in dietary restricted adults. Possible underlying mechanisms and the ecological significance are discussed. PMID:27339862
Lemons, Alisha; Clay, Keith; Rudgers, Jennifer A
Mutualisms can strongly affect the structure of communities, but their influence on ecosystem processes is not well resolved. Here we show that a plant-microbial mutualism affects the rate of leaf litter decomposition using the widespread interaction between tall fescue grass (Lolium arundinaceum) and the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum. In grasses, fungal endophytes live symbiotically in the aboveground tissues, where the fungi gain protection and nutrients from their host and often protect host plants from biotic and abiotic stress. In a field experiment, decomposition rate depended on a complex interaction between the litter source (collected from endophyte-infected or endophyte-free plots), the decomposition microenvironment (endophyte-infected or endophyte-free plots), and the presence of mesoinvertebrates (manipulated by the mesh size of litter bags). Over all treatments, decomposition was slower for endophyte-infected fescue litter than for endophyte-free litter. When mesoinvertebrates were excluded using fine mesh and litter was placed in a microenvironment with the endophyte, the difference between endophyte-infected and endophyte-free litter was strongest. In the presence of mesoinvertebrates, endophyte-infected litter decomposed faster in microenvironments with the endophyte than in microenvironments lacking the endophyte, suggesting that plots differ in the detritivore assemblage. Indeed, the presence of the endophyte in plots shifted the composition of Collembola, with more Hypogastruridae in the presence of the endophyte and more Isotomidae in endophyte-free plots. In a separate outdoor pot experiment, we did not find strong effects of the litter source or the soil microbial/microinvertebrate community on decomposition, which may reflect differences between pot and field conditions or other differences in methodology. Our work is among the first to demonstrate an effect of plant-endophyte mutualisms on ecosystem processes under field
Zhou, Lin; Xu, Hui; Mischke, Sue; Meinhardt, Lyndel W; Zhang, Dapeng; Zhu, Xujun; Li, Xinghui; Fang, Wanping
Tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze] is an important economic crop, and drought is the most important abiotic stress affecting yield and quality. Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important phytohormone responsible for activating drought resistance. Increased understanding of ABA effects on tea plant under drought stress is essential to develop drought-tolerant tea genotypes, along with crop management practices that can mitigate drought stress. The objective of the present investigation is evaluation of effects of exogenous ABA on the leaf proteome in tea plant exposed to drought stress. Leaf protein patterns of tea plants under simulated drought stress [(polyethylene glycol (PEG)-treated] and exogenous ABA treatment were analyzed in a time-course experiment using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE), followed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS). Among the 72 protein spots identified by MALDI-TOF MS, 16 proteins were downregulated and two were upregulated by exogenous ABA. The upregulated proteins have roles in glycolysis and photosystem II stabilization. Twenty-one protein spots were responsive to drought stress and most participate in carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism, control of reactive oxygen species (ROS), defense, signaling or nucleic acid metabolism. The combined treatments of exogenous ABA and drought showed upregulation of 10 protein spots at 12 h and upregulation of 11 proteins at 72 h after initiation of drought stress. The results support the importance of the role that ABA plays in the tea plant during drought stress, by improving protein transport, carbon metabolism and expression of resistance proteins.
Martínez-López, Salvadora; Martínez-Sánchez, Maria Jose; García-Lorenzo, Maria Luz; Pérez-Sirvent, Carmen
fraction (oxidaizable medium extraction procedure). Arsenic concentration in leaves was positively correlated with the arsenic extracted by HCl, with the oxidizable-organic matter and sulfides fraction and with the arsenic extracted by Mehra-Jackson extraction. According to our results, As is accumulated in the leaves of the plants and is linked with iron oxides of these soils affected by mining activities.
Feng, Yi; Wratten, Steve; Sandhu, Harpinder; Keller, Michael
The light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana is a key pest of wine grapes in Australia. Two parasitoids, Dolichogenidea tasmanica and Therophilus unimaculatus, attack the larval stage of this pest. D. tasmanica is dominant in vineyards, whereas T. unimaculatus is mainly active in native vegetation. We sought to understand why they differ in their use of habitats. Plants are a major component of habitats of parasitoids, and herbivore-infested plants influence parasitoid foraging efficiency by their architecture and emission of volatile chemicals. We investigated how different plant species infested by E. postvittana could affect the foraging success of the two parasitoid species in both laboratory and field experiments. Four common host-plant species were selected for this study. In paired-choice experiments to determine the innate foraging preferences for plants, both parasitoid species showed differences in innate search preferences among plant species. The plant preference of D. tasmanica was altered by oviposition experience with hosts that were feeding on other plant species. In a behavioral assay, the two parasitoid species allocated their times engaged in various types of behavior differently when foraging on different plant species. For both parasitoids, parasitism on Hardenbergia violacea was the highest of the four plant species. Significantly more larvae dropped from Myoporum insulare when attacked than from the other three host-plant species, which indicates that parasitism is also affected by interactions between plants and host insects. In vineyards, parasitism by D. tasmanica was significantly lower on M. insulare than on the other three host-plant species, but the parasitism rates were similar among the other three plant species. Our results indicate that plants play a role in the habitat preferences of these two parasitoid species by influencing their foraging behavior, and are likely to contribute to their distributions among habitats. PMID
Feng, Yi; Wratten, Steve; Sandhu, Harpinder; Keller, Michael
The light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana is a key pest of wine grapes in Australia. Two parasitoids, Dolichogenidea tasmanica and Therophilus unimaculatus, attack the larval stage of this pest. D. tasmanica is dominant in vineyards, whereas T. unimaculatus is mainly active in native vegetation. We sought to understand why they differ in their use of habitats. Plants are a major component of habitats of parasitoids, and herbivore-infested plants influence parasitoid foraging efficiency by their architecture and emission of volatile chemicals. We investigated how different plant species infested by E. postvittana could affect the foraging success of the two parasitoid species in both laboratory and field experiments. Four common host-plant species were selected for this study. In paired-choice experiments to determine the innate foraging preferences for plants, both parasitoid species showed differences in innate search preferences among plant species. The plant preference of D. tasmanica was altered by oviposition experience with hosts that were feeding on other plant species. In a behavioral assay, the two parasitoid species allocated their times engaged in various types of behavior differently when foraging on different plant species. For both parasitoids, parasitism on Hardenbergia violacea was the highest of the four plant species. Significantly more larvae dropped from Myoporum insulare when attacked than from the other three host-plant species, which indicates that parasitism is also affected by interactions between plants and host insects. In vineyards, parasitism by D. tasmanica was significantly lower on M. insulare than on the other three host-plant species, but the parasitism rates were similar among the other three plant species. Our results indicate that plants play a role in the habitat preferences of these two parasitoid species by influencing their foraging behavior, and are likely to contribute to their distributions among habitats.
Kohout, Petr; Sýkorová, Zuzana; Bahram, Mohammad; Hadincová, Věroslava; Albrechtová, Jana; Tedersoo, Leho; Vohník, Martin
This study aimed to elucidate the relationship between ericaceous understorey shrubs and the diversity and abundance of ectomycorrhizal fungi (EcMF) associated with the invasive Pinus strobus and native Pinus sylvestris. Seedlings of both pines were grown in mesocosms and subjected to three treatments simulating different forest microhabitats: (a) grown in isolation and grown with (b) Vaccinium myrtillus or (c) Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Ericaceous plants did not act as a species pool of pine mycobionts and inhibited the ability of the potentially shared species Meliniomyces bicolor to form ectomycorrhizae. Similarly, Ericaceae significantly reduced the formation of Thelephora terrestris ectomycorrhizae in P. sylvestris. EcMF species composition in the mesocosms was strongly affected by both the host species and the presence of an ericaceous neighbour. When grown in isolation, P. strobus root tips were predominantly colonised by Wilcoxina mikolae, whereas those of P. sylvestris were more commonly colonised by Suillus and Rhizopogon spp. Interestingly, these differences were less evident (Suillus + Rhizopogon spp.) or absent (W. mikolae) when the pines were grown with Ericaceae. P. strobus exclusively associated with Rhizopogon salebrosus s.l., suggesting the presence of host specificity at the intrageneric level. Ericaceous plants had a positive effect on colonisation of P. strobus root tips by R. salebrosus s.l. This study demonstrates that the interaction of selective factors such as host species and presence of ericaceous plants may affect the realised niche of the ectomycorrhizal fungi.
Russell, Matthew B.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Schulz, Bethany K.; Woodall, Christopher W.; Domke, Grant M.; Bradford, John B.
The contribution of understorey vegetation (UVEG) to forest ecosystem biomass and carbon (C) across diverse forest types has, to date, eluded quantification at regional and national scales. Efforts to quantify UVEG C have been limited to field-intensive studies or broad-scale modelling approaches lacking field measurements. Although large-scale inventories of UVEG C are not common, species- and community-level inventories of vegetation structure are available and may prove useful in quantifying UVEG C stocks. This analysis developed a general framework for estimating UVEG C stocks by employing per cent cover estimates of UVEG from a region-wide forest inventory coupled with an estimate of maximum UVEG C across the US Lake States (i.e. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Estimates of UVEG C stocks from this approach reasonably align with expected C stocks in the study region, ranging from 0.86 ± 0.06 Mg ha-1 in red pine-dominated to 1.59 ± 0.06 Mg ha-1 for aspen/birch-dominated forest types. Although the data employed here were originally collected to assess broad-scale forest structure and diversity, this study proposes a framework for using UVEG inventories as a foundation for estimating C stocks in an often overlooked, yet important ecosystem C pool.
Zheng, Si-Jun; Snoeren, Tjeerd A L; Hogewoning, Sander W; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel
Optical plant characteristics are important cues to plant-feeding insects. In this article, we demonstrate for the first time that silencing the phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene, encoding a key enzyme in plant carotenoid biosynthesis, affects insect oviposition site selection behaviour. Virus-induced gene silencing employing tobacco rattle virus was used to knock down endogenous PDS expression in three plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassica nigra and Nicotiana benthamiana) by its heterologous gene sequence from Brassica oleracea. We investigated the consequences of the silencing of PDS on oviposition behaviour by Pieris rapae butterflies on Arabidopsis and Brassica plants; first landing of the butterflies on Arabidopsis plants (to eliminate an effect of contact cues); first landing on Arabidopsis plants enclosed in containers (to eliminate an effect of volatiles); and caterpillar growth on Arabidopsis plants. Our results show unambiguously that P. rapae has an innate ability to visually discriminate between green and variegated green-whitish plants. Caterpillar growth was significantly lower on PDS-silenced than on empty vector control plants. This study presents the first analysis of PDS function in the interaction with an herbivorous insect. We conclude that virus-induced gene silencing is a powerful tool for investigating insect-plant interactions in model and nonmodel plants.
Nuttens, A; Chatellier, S; Devin, S; Guignard, C; Lenouvel, A; Gross, E M
Aquatic systems in agricultural landscapes are subjected to multiple stressors, among them pesticide and nitrate run-off, but effects of both together have rarely been studied. We investigated possible stress-specific and interaction effects using the new OECD test organism, Myriophyllum spicatum, a widespread aquatic plant. In a fully factorial design, we used two widely applied herbicides, isoproturon and mesosulfuron-methyl, in concentration-response curves at two nitrate levels (219.63 and 878.52mg N-NO3). We applied different endpoints reflecting plant performance such as growth, pigment content, content in phenolic compounds, and plant stoichiometry. Relative growth rates based on length (RGR-L) were affected strongly by both herbicides, while effects on relative growth rate based on dry weight (RGR-DW) were apparent for isoproturon but hardly visible for mesosulfuron-methyl due to an increase in dry matter content. The higher nitrate level further reduced growth rates, specifically with mesosulfuron-methyl. Effects were visible between 50 and 500μgL(-1) for isoproturon and 0.5-5μgL(-1) for mesosulfuron-methyl, with some differences between endpoints. The two herbicides had opposite effects on chlorophyll, carotenoid and nitrogen contents in plants, with values increasing with increasing concentrations of isoproturon and decreasing for mesosulfuron-methyl. Herbicides and nitrate level exhibited distinct effects on the content in phenolic compounds, with higher nitrate levels reducing total phenolic compounds in controls and with isoproturon, but not with mesosulfuron-methyl. Increasing concentrations of mesosulfuron-methyl lead to a decline of total phenolic compounds, while isoproturon had little effect. Contents of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus changed depending on the stressor combination. We observed higher phosphorus levels in plants exposed to certain concentrations of herbicides, potentially indicating a metabolic response. The C:N molar ratio
Buckland-Nicks, Michael; Heim, Amy; Lundholm, Jeremy
Green roofs provide ecosystem services, including stormwater retention and reductions in heat transfer through the roof. Microclimates, as well as designed features of green roofs, such as substrate and vegetation, affect the magnitude of these services. Many green roofs are partially shaded by surrounding buildings, but the effects of this within-roof spatial environmental heterogeneity on thermal performance and other ecosystem services have not been examined. We quantified the effects of spatial heterogeneity in solar radiation, substrate depth and other variables affected by these drivers on vegetation and ecosystem services in an extensive green roof. Spatial heterogeneity in substrate depth and insolation were correlated with differential growth, survival and flowering in two focal plant species. These effects were likely driven by the resulting spatial heterogeneity in substrate temperature and moisture content. Thermal performance (indicated by heat flux and substrate temperature) was influenced by spatial heterogeneity in vegetation cover and substrate depth. Areas with less insolation were cooler in summer and had greater substrate moisture, leading to more favorable conditions for plant growth and survival. Spatial variation in substrate moisture (7%-26% volumetric moisture content) and temperature (21°C-36°C) during hot sunny conditions in summer could cause large differences in stormwater retention and heat flux within a single green roof. Shaded areas promote smaller heat fluxes through the roof, leading to energy savings, but lower evapotranspiration in these areas should reduce stormwater retention capacity. Spatial heterogeneity can thus result in trade-offs between different ecosystem services. The effects of these spatial heterogeneities are likely widespread in green roofs. Structures that provide shelter from sun and wind may be productively utilized to design higher functioning green roofs and increase biodiversity by providing habitat
Dötterl, Stefan; Vater, Marina; Rupp, Thomas; Held, Andreas
Floral scents play a key role in mediating plant-pollinator interactions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by flowers are used by flower visitors as olfactory cues to locate flowers, both from a distance and at close range. More recently it has been demonstrated that reactive molecules such as ozone can modify or degrade VOCs, and this may impair the communication between plants and their pollinators. However, it is not known whether such reactive molecules also may affect the olfactory system of pollinators, and thus not only influence signal transmission but perception of the signal. In this study, we used electroantennographic measurements to determine the effect of increased levels of ozone on antennal responses in western honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Linalool and 2-phenylethanol, both known to be involved in location of flowers by the bees, and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, a widespread green leaf volatile also detected by bees, were used. The results showed that ozone affected antennal responses to the different substances differently. Ozone decreased antennal responses to (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate, whereas responses to linalool and 2-phenylethanol were not influenced by ozone. Overall, the study does not provide evidence that pollination by honey bees is impaired by damage in the olfactory system of the bees caused by increased levels of ozone, at least when linalool and 2-phenylethanol are the attractive signals. However, the results also suggest that ozone can change the overall perception of an odor blend. This might have negative effects in pollination systems and other organismic interactions mediated by specific ratios of compounds.
Pestaña, Montserrat; Santolamazza-Carbone, Serena
In this work, by artificially reproducing severe (75%) and moderate (25%) defoliation on maritime pines Pinus pinaster in NW Spain, we investigated, under natural conditions, the consequences of foliage loss on reproduction, abundance, diversity and richness of the fungal symbionts growing belowground and aboveground. The effect of defoliation on tree growth was also assessed. Mature needles were clipped during April 2007 and 2008. Root samples were collected in June-July 2007 and 2008. Collection of sporocarps was performed weekly from April 2007 to April 2009. Taxonomic identity of ectomycorrhizal fungi was assessed by using the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of rDNA through the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, subsequent direct sequencing and BLAST search. Ectomycorrhizal colonization was significantly reduced (from 54 to 42%) in 2008 by 75% defoliation, accompanied with a decline in species richness and diversity. On the other hand, sporocarp abundance, richness and diversity were not affected by foliage loss. Some ECM fungal symbionts, which are assumed to have a higher carbon cost according to the morphotypes structure, were reduced due to severe (75%) defoliation. Furthermore, 75% foliage loss consistently depressed tree growth, which in turn affected the ectomycorrhizal growth pattern. Defoliation impact on ECM symbionts largely depends on the percentage of foliage removal and on the number of defoliation bouts. Severe defoliation (75%) in the short term (2 years) changed the composition of the ECM community likely because root biomass would be adjusted to lower levels in parallel with the depletion of the aboveground plant biomass, which probably promoted the competition among mycorrhizal types for host resources. The persistence of fungal biomass in mycorrhizal roots would be crucial for nutrient up-take and recovery from defoliation stress of the host plants.
Brütting, C; Hensen, I; Wesche, K
Worldwide, botanical gardens cultivate around 80,000 taxa, corresponding to approximately one-quarter of all vascular plants. Most cultivated taxa are, however, held in a small number of collections, and mostly only in small populations. Lack of genetic exchange and stochastic processes in small populations make them susceptible to detrimental genetic effects, which should be most severe in annual species, as sowing cycles are often short. In order to assess whether ex situ cultivation affects genetic diversity of annuals, five annual arable species with similar breeding systems were assessed with 42 in situ populations being compared to 20 ex situ populations using a random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis approach. Population sizes tended to be lower under ex situ cultivation and levels of genetic diversity also tended to be lower in four of the five species, with differences being significant in only two. Ex situ populations showed incomplete representation of alleles found in the wild. The duration of cultivation did not indicate any effect on genetic diversity. This implies that cultivation strategies resulted in different genetic structures in the garden populations. Although not unequivocally pronounced, differences nonetheless imply that conservation strategies in the involved gardens may need improvement. One option is cold storage of seeds, a practice that is not currently followed in the studied ex situ collections. This may reflect that the respective gardens focus on displaying living plant populations.
Field, David L.; Pickup, Melinda; Barrett, Spencer C. H.
Background and Aims Populations of dioecious flowering plants commonly exhibit heterogeneity in sex ratios and deviations from the equilibrium expectation of equal numbers of females and males. Yet the role of ecological and demographic factors in contributing towards biased sex ratios is currently not well understood. Methods Species-level studies from the literature were analysed to investigate ecological correlates of among-population sex-ratio variation and metapopulation models and empirical data were used to explore the influence of demography and non-equilibrium conditions on flowering sex ratios. Key Results The survey revealed significant among-population heterogeneity in sex ratios and this was related to the degree of sampling effort. For some species, sex-ratio bias was associated with the proportion of non-reproductive individuals, with greater male bias in populations with a lower proportion of individuals that were flowering. Male-biased ratios were also found at higher altitudes and latitudes, and in more xeric sites. Simulations and empirical data indicated that clonal species exhibited greater heterogeneity in sex ratios than non-clonal species as a result of their slower approach to equilibrium. The simulations also indicated the importance of interactions between reproductive mode and founder effects, with greater departures from equilibrium in clonal populations with fewer founding individuals. Conclusions The results indicate that sex-based differences in costs of reproduction and non-equilibrium conditions can each play important roles in affecting flowering sex ratios in populations of dioecious plants. PMID:23444124
Puntieri, Javier G.; Damascos, María A.; Llancaqueo, Yanina; Svriz, Maya
Background and aims Plants are regarded as populations of modules such as axes and growth units (GUs, i.e. seasonally produced axis segments). Due to their dense arrays of GUs, cushion plants may resemble crowded plant populations in the way the number of components (GUs in plants, individuals in populations) relates to their individual sizes. Methodology The morphological differentiation of GUs and its relationship with biomass accumulation and plant size were studied for the cushion subshrub Mulinum spinosum (Apiaceae), a widespread species in dry areas of Patagonia. In 2009, GUs were sampled from one-quarter of each of 24 adult plants. Within- and between-plant variations in GU length, diameter, number of nodes and biomass were analysed and related to whole-plant size. Principal results Each year, an M. spinosum cushion develops flowering GUs and vegetative GUs. Flowering GUs are larger, twice as numerous and contain two to four times more dry mass (excluding reproductive structures) than vegetative GUs. The hemispherical area of the cushions was positively correlated with the biomass of last-year GUs. The biomass of flowering GUs was negatively correlated with the density of GUs. Mulinum spinosum plants exhibited a notable differentiation between flowering and vegetative GUs, but their axes, i.e. the sequences of GUs, were not differentiated throughout the plants. Flowering GUs comprised a major proportion of each plant's photosynthetic tissues. Conclusions A decrease in the size of flowering GUs and in their number relative to the total number of GUs per plant, parallel to an increase in GU density, is predicted as M. spinosum plants age over years. The assimilative role of vegetative GUs is expected to increase in summer because of their less exposed position in the cushion. These GUs would therefore gain more from warm and dry conditions than flowering GUs. PMID:22476077
Fatima, K; Imran, A; Amin, I; Khan, Q M; Afzal, M
Plants coupled with endophytic bacteria hold great potential for the remediation of polluted environment. The colonization patterns and activity of inoculated endophytes in rhizosphere and endosphere of host plant are among the primary factors that may influence the phytoremediation process. However, these colonization patterns and metabolic activity of the inoculated endophytes are in turn controlled by none other than the host plant itself. The present study aims to determine such an interaction specifically for plant-endophyte systems remediating crude oil-contaminated soil. A consortium (AP) of two oil-degrading endophytic bacteria (Acinetobacter sp. strain BRSI56 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain BRRI54) was inoculated to two grasses, Brachiaria mutica and Leptochloa fusca, vegetated in crude oil-contaminated soil. Colonization patterns and metabolic activity of the endophytes were monitored in the rhizosphere and endosphere of the plants. Bacterial augmentation enhanced plant growth and crude oil degradation. Maximum crude oil degradation (78%) was achieved with B. mutica plants inoculated with AP consortium. This degradation was significantly higher than those treatments, where plants and bacteria were used individually or L. fusca and endophytes were used in combination. Moreover, colonization and metabolic activity of the endophytes were higher in the rhizosphere and endosphere of B. mutica than L. fusca. The plant species affected not only colonization pattern and biofilm formation of the inoculated bacteria in the rhizosphere and endosphere of the host plant but also affected the expression of alkane hydroxylase gene, alkB. Hence, the investigation revealed that plant species can affect colonization patterns and metabolic activity of inoculated endophytic bacteria and ultimately the phytoremediation process.
Kroes, A; Stam, J M; David, A; Boland, W; van Loon, J J A; Dicke, M; Poelman, E H
Plants are part of biodiverse communities and frequently suffer from attack by multiple herbivorous insects. Plant responses to these herbivores are specific for insect feeding guilds: aphids and caterpillars induce different plant phenotypes. Moreover, plants respond differentially to single or dual herbivory, which may cascade into a chain of interactions in terms of resistance to other community members. Whether differential responses to single or dual herbivory have consequences for plant resistance to yet a third herbivore is unknown. We assessed the effects of single or dual herbivory by Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and/or Plutella xylostella caterpillars on resistance of plants from three natural populations of wild cabbage to feeding by caterpillars of Mamestra brassicae. We measured plant gene expression and phytohormone concentrations to illustrate mechanisms involved in induced responses. Performance of both B. brassicae and P. xylostella was reduced when feeding simultaneously with the other herbivore, compared to feeding alone. Gene expression and phytohormone concentrations in plants exposed to dual herbivory were different from those found in plants exposed to herbivory by either insect alone. Plants previously induced by both P. xylostella and B. brassicae negatively affected growth of the subsequently arriving M. brassicae. Furthermore, induced responses varied between wild cabbage populations. Feeding by multiple herbivores differentially activates plant defences, which has plant-mediated negative consequences for a subsequently arriving herbivore. Plant population-specific responses suggest that plant populations adapt to the specific communities of insect herbivores. Our study contributes to the understanding of plant defence plasticity in response to multiple insect attacks.
Singh, Amit Kumar; Bashir, Tufail; Sailer, Christian; Gurumoorthy, Viswanathan; Ramakrishnan, Anantha Maharasi; Dhanapal, Shanmuhapreya; Grossniklaus, Ueli; Baskar, Ramamurthy
In humans, it is well known that the parental reproductive age has a strong influence on mutations transmitted to their progeny. Meiotic nondisjunction is known to increase in older mothers, and base substitutions tend to go up with paternal reproductive age. Hence, it is clear that the germinal mutation rates are a function of both maternal and paternal ages in humans. In contrast, it is unknown whether the parental reproductive age has an effect on somatic mutation rates in the progeny, because these are rare and difficult to detect. To address this question, we took advantage of the plant model system Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), where mutation detector lines allow for an easy quantitation of somatic mutations, to test the effect of parental age on somatic mutation rates in the progeny. Although we found no significant effect of parental age on base substitutions, we found that frameshift mutations and transposition events increased in the progeny of older parents, an effect that is stronger through the maternal line. In contrast, intrachromosomal recombination events in the progeny decrease with the age of the parents in a parent-of-origin-dependent manner. Our results clearly show that parental reproductive age affects somatic mutation rates in the progeny and, thus, that some form of age-dependent information, which affects the frequency of double-strand breaks and possibly other processes involved in maintaining genome integrity, is transmitted through the gametes. PMID:25810093
Ould-Ahmed, Marouf; Decau, Marie-Laure; Morvan-Bertrand, Annette; Prud'homme, Marie-Pascale; Lafrenière, Carole; Drouin, Pascal
Timothy (Phleum pratense L.) is an important grass forage used for pasture, hay, and silage in regions with cool and humid growth seasons. One of the factors affecting the nutritive value of this grass is the concentration of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), mainly represented by fructans. NSC concentration depends on multiple factors, making it hardly predictable. To provide a better understanding of NSC metabolism in timothy, the effects of maturity stage and nitrogen (N) fertilization level on biomass, NSC and N-compound concentrations were investigated in the tissues used for forage (leaf blades and stems surrounded by leaf sheaths) of hydroponically grown plants. Moreover, activities and relative expression level of enzymes involved in fructan metabolism were measured in the same tissues. Forage biomass was not altered by the fertilization level but was strongly modified by the stage of development. It increased from vegetative to heading stages while leaf-to-stem biomass ratio decreased. Total NSC concentration, which was not altered by N fertilization level, increased between heading and anthesis due to an accumulation of fructans in leaf blades. Fructan metabolizing enzyme activities (fructosyltransferase-FT and fructan exohydrolase-FEH) were not or only slightly altered by both maturity stage and N fertilization level. Conversely, the relative transcript levels of genes coding for enzymes involved in fructan metabolism were modified by N supply (PpFT1 and Pp6-FEH1) or maturity stage (PpFT2). The relative transcript level of PpFT1 was the highest in low N plants while that of Pp6-FEH1 was the highest in high N plants. Morevoer, transcript level of PpFT1 was negatively correlated with nitrate concentration while that of PpFT2 was positively correlated with sucrose concentration. This distinct regulation of the two genes coding for 6-sucrose:fructan fructosyltransferase (6-SFT) may allow a fine adequation of C allocation towards fructan synthesis in
Matijevic, Lana; Romic, Davor; Romic, Marija
Processes that control the mobility, transformation and toxicity of metals in soil are of special importance in the root-developing zone. For this reason, there is a considerable interest in understanding trace elements (TEs) behavior in soil, emphasising the processes by which plants take them up. Increased root-zone salinity can affect plant TEs uptake and accumulation in plant tissue. Furthermore, copper (Cu) complexation by soil organic matter (SOM) is an effective mechanism of Cu retention in soils, controlling thus its bioavailability. Therefore, a greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to study the effects of soil Cu contamination in a saline environment on faba bean (Vicia faba L.) element uptake. Treatment with NaCl salinity was applied (control, 50 mM NaCl and 100 mM NaCl) on faba bean plants grown in a control and in a soil spiked with Cu (250 and 500 mg kg(-1)). Low and high SOM content trial variants were studied. Cu accumulation occurred in faba bean leaf, pod and seed. Cu contamination affected plant element concentrations in leaves (Na, Ca, Mg, Mn), pod (Zn, Mn) and seed (Mn, Mo, Zn). Root-zone salinity also affected faba bean element concentrations. Furthermore, Cu contamination-salinity and salinity-SOM interactions were significant for pod Cu concentration, suggesting that Cu phytoavailability could be affected by these interactions. Future research will be focused on the mechanisms of Cu translocation in plant and adaptation aspects of abiotic stress.
Helander, M; Phillips, T; Faeth, S H; Bush, L P; McCulley, R; Saloniemi, I; Saikkonen, K
Many grass species are symbiotic with systemic, vertically-transmitted, asymptomatic Epichloë endophytic fungi. These fungi often produce alkaloids that defend the host against herbivores. We studied how environmental variables affect alkaloids in endophyte-infected tall fescue (Schedonorus phoenix) from three Northern European wild origins and the widely planted US cultivar 'Kentucky-31' (KY31). The plants were grown in identical common garden experiments in Finland and Kentucky for two growing seasons. Plants were left as controls (C) or given water (W), nutrient (N) or water and nutrient (WN) treatments. For 8-10 replications of each plant origin and treatment combination in both experiments, we analyzed ergot alkaloids, lysergic acid, and lolines. In Finland, tall fescue plants produced 50 % more ergot alkaloids compared to plants of the same origin and treatments in Kentucky. Origin of the plants affected the ergot alkaloid concentration at both study sites: the wild origin plants produced 2-4 times more ergot alkaloids than KY31, but the ergot alkaloid concentration of KY31 plants was the same at both locations. Overall lysergic acid content was 60 % higher in plants grown in Kentucky than in those grown in Finland. Nutrient treatments (N, WN) significantly increased ergot alkaloid concentrations in plants from Finland but not in plants from Kentucky. These results suggest that the success of KY31 in US is not due to selection for high ergot alkaloid production but rather other traits associated with the endophyte. In addition, the environmental effects causing variation in alkaloid production of grass-endophyte combinations should be taken into account when using endophyte-infected grasses agriculturally.
Lehndal, Lina; Ågren, Jon
Herbivory can negatively and selectively affect plant fitness by reducing growth, survival and reproductive output, thereby influencing plant population dynamics and evolution. Latitudinal variation in intensity of herbivory is common, but the extent to which it translates into corresponding variation in effects on plant performance is still poorly known. We tested the hypothesis that variation in the fitness-consequences of herbivory mirror differences in intensity of herbivory among three natural populations of the perennial herb Lythrum salicaria along a latitudinal gradient from southern to northernmost Sweden. We documented intensity of herbivory and examined its effect on survival, growth and reproductive output over two years by experimentally removing herbivores with insecticide. The intensity of herbivory and the effects of herbivory on plant fitness were strongest in the southern population, intermediate in the central population and weakest in the northern population. The mean proportion of the leaf area removed ranged from 11% in the southern to 3% in the northern population. Herbivore removal increased plant height 1.5-fold in the southern and 1.2-fold in the central population, the proportion plants flowering 4-fold in the southern and 2-fold in the central population, and seed production per flower 1.6-fold in the southern and 1.2-fold in the central population, but did not affect plant fitness in the northern population. Herbivore removal thus affected the relative fecundity of plants in the three populations: In the control, seed output per plant was 8.6 times higher in the northern population compared to the southern population, whereas after herbivore removal it was 2.5 times higher in the southern population. The results demonstrate that native herbivores may strongly affect the demographic structure of L. salicaria populations and thereby shape geographic patterns of seed production. They further suggest that the strength of herbivore
Muehe, E. Marie; Weigold, Pascal; Adaktylou, Irini J.; Planer-Friedrich, Britta; Kraemer, Ute; Kappler, Andreas
The remediation of metal-contaminated soils by phytoextraction depends on plant growth and plant metal accessibility. Soil microorganisms can affect the accumulation of metals by plants either by directly or indirectly stimulating plant growth and activity or by (im)mobilizing and/or complexing metals. Understanding the intricate interplay of metal-accumulating plants with their rhizosphere microbiome is an important step toward the application and optimization of phytoremediation. We compared the effects of a “native” and a strongly disturbed (gamma-irradiated) soil microbial communities on cadmium and zinc accumulation by the plant Arabidopsis halleri in soil microcosm experiments. A. halleri accumulated 100% more cadmium and 15% more zinc when grown on the untreated than on the gamma-irradiated soil. Gamma irradiation affected neither plant growth nor the 1 M HCl-extractable metal content of the soil. However, it strongly altered the soil microbial community composition and overall cell numbers. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons of DNA extracted from rhizosphere samples of A. halleri identified microbial taxa (Lysobacter, Streptomyces, Agromyces, Nitrospira, “Candidatus Chloracidobacterium”) of higher relative sequence abundance in the rhizospheres of A. halleri plants grown on untreated than on gamma-irradiated soil, leading to hypotheses on their potential effect on plant metal uptake. However, further experimental evidence is required, and wherefore we discuss different mechanisms of interaction of A. halleri with its rhizosphere microbiome that might have directly or indirectly affected plant metal accumulation. Deciphering the complex interactions between A. halleri and individual microbial taxa will help to further develop soil metal phytoextraction as an efficient and sustainable remediation strategy. PMID:25595759
Côrtes, M C; Gowda, V; Kress, W J; Bruna, E M; Uriarte, M
We characterized 10 microsatellite loci for the plant Heliconia acuminata from the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (Manaus, Brazil). Markers were screened in 61 individuals from one population and were found to be polymorphic with an average of eight alleles per locus. We found moderate to high levels of polymorphic information content, and observed and expected heterozygosities. All 10 markers are suitable for spatial genetic structure and parentage analyses and will be used for understanding H. acuminata dynamics across a fragmented landscape.
Desurmont, Gaylord A; Zemanova, Miriam A; Turlings, Ted C J
Terrestrial molluscs and insect herbivores play a major role as plant consumers in a number of ecosystems, but their direct and indirect interactions have hardly been explored. The omnivorous nature of slugs makes them potential disrupters of predator-prey relationships, as a direct threat to small insects and through indirect, plant-mediated effects. Here, we examined the effects of the presence of two species of slugs, Arion rufus (native) and A. vulgaris (invasive) on the survivorship of young Pieris brassicae caterpillars when feeding on Brassica rapa plants, and on plant attractiveness to the main natural enemy of P. brassicae, the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata. In two separate predation experiments, caterpillar mortality was significantly higher on plants co-infested with A. rufus or A. vulgaris. Moreover, caterpillar mortality correlated positively with slug mass and leaf consumption by A. vulgaris. At the third trophic level, plants infested with slugs and plants co-infested with slugs and caterpillars were far less attractive to parasitoids than plants damaged by caterpillars only, independently of slug species. Chemical analyses confirmed that volatile emissions, which provide foraging cues for parasitoids, were strongly reduced in co-infested plants. Our study shows that the presence of slugs has the potential to affect insect populations, directly via consumptive effects, and indirectly via changes in plant volatiles that result in a reduced attraction of natural enemies. The fitness cost for P. brassicae imposed by increased mortality in presence of slugs may be counterbalanced by the benefit of escaping its parasitoids.
Goodey, Nicole A; Florance, Hannah V; Smirnoff, Nicholas; Hodgson, Dave J
In some plant-insect interactions, specialist herbivores exploit the chemical defenses of their food plant to their own advantage. Brassica plants produce glucosinolates that are broken down into defensive toxins when tissue is damaged, but the specialist aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae, uses these chemicals against its own natural enemies by becoming a "walking mustard-oil bomb". Analysis of glucosinolate concentrations in plant tissue and associated aphid colonies reveals that not only do aphids sequester glucosinolates, but they do so selectively. Aphids specifically accumulate sinigrin to high concentrations while preferentially excreting a structurally similar glucosinolate, progoitrin. Surveys of aphid infestation in wild populations of Brassica oleracea show that this pattern of sequestration and excretion maps onto host plant use. The probability of aphid infestation decreases with increasing concentrations of progoitrin in plants. Brassica brassicae, therefore, appear to select among food plants according to plant secondary metabolite profiles, and selectively store only some compounds that are used against their own enemies. The results demonstrate chemical and behavioral mechanisms that help to explain evidence of geographic patterns and evolutionary dynamics in Brassica-aphid interactions.
Markovich, Oshry; Kafle, Dinesh; Elbaz, Moshe; Malitsky, Sergey; Aharoni, Asaph; Schwarzkopf, Alexander; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Morin, Shai
Generalist insects show reduced selectivity when subjected to similar, but not identical, host plant chemical signatures. Here, we produced transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants that over-express genes regulating the aliphatic- and indolyl- glucosinolates biosynthetic pathways with either a constitutive (CaMV 35S) or a phloem-specific promoter (AtSUC2). This allowed us to examine how exposure to high levels of aliphatic- or indolyl-glucosinolates in homogenous habitats (leaf cage apparatus containing two wild-type or two transgenic leaves) and heterogeneous habitats (leaf cage apparatus containing one wild-type and one transgenic leaf) affects host selection and performance of Bemsia tabaci, a generalist phloem-feeding insect. Data from homogenous habitats indicated that exposure to A. thaliana plants accumulating high levels of aliphatic- or indolyl-glucosinolates negatively affected the performance of both adult females and nymphs of B. tabaci. Data from heterogeneous habitats indicated that B. tabaci adult females selected for oviposition plants on which their offspring perform better (preference-performance relationship). However, the combinations of wild-type and transgenic plants in heterogeneous habitats increased the period of time until the first choice was made and led to increased movement rate on transgenic plants, and reduced fecundity on wild-type plants. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that both performance and selectivity of B. tabaci decrease in heterogeneous habitats that contain plants with closely-related chemical signatures.
Sheng, Zhonghua; Jiao, Guiai; Tang, Shaoqing; Luo, Ju; Hu, Peisong
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins have been shown to affect growth and development in plants. To further elucidate their role in these processes in rice, we isolated and characterized a rice mutant which exhibits dwarfism, reduced seed setting rate, defective floral organ, and small grains. Map-based cloning revealed that abnormal phenotypes were attributed to a mutation of the Fertilization Independent Endosperm 2 (OsFIE2) protein, which belongs to the PcG protein family. So we named the mutant as osfie2-1. Histological analysis revealed that the number of longitudinal cells in the internodes decreased in osfie2-1, and that lateral cell layer of the internodes was markedly thinner than wild-type. In addition, compared to wild-type, the number of large and small vascular bundles decreased in osfie2-1, as well as cell number and cell size in spikelet hulls. OsFIE2 is expressed in most tissues and the coded protein localizes in both nucleus and cytoplasm. Yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays demonstrated that OsFIE2 interacts with OsiEZ1 which encodes an enhancer of zeste protein previously identified as a histone methylation enzyme. RNA sequencing-based transcriptome profiling and qRT-PCR analysis revealed that some homeotic genes and genes involved in endosperm starch synthesis, cell division/expansion and hormone synthesis and signaling are differentially expressed between osfie2-1 and wild-type. In addition, the contents of IAA, GA3, ABA, JA and SA in osfie2-1 are significantly different from those in wild-type. Taken together, these results indicate that OsFIE2 plays an important role in the regulation of plant height and grain yield in rice. PMID:27764161
Jassey, Vincent E J; Chiapusio, Geneviève; Binet, Philippe; Buttler, Alexandre; Laggoun-Défarge, Fatima; Delarue, Frédéric; Bernard, Nadine; Mitchell, Edward A D; Toussaint, Marie-Laure; Francez, André-Jean; Gilbert, Daniel
Peatlands contain approximately one third of all soil organic carbon (SOC). Warming can alter above- and belowground linkages that regulate soil organic carbon dynamics and C-balance in peatlands. Here we examine the multiyear impact of in situ experimental warming on the microbial food web, vegetation, and their feedbacks with soil chemistry. We provide evidence of both positive and negative impacts of warming on specific microbial functional groups, leading to destabilization of the microbial food web. We observed a strong reduction (70%) in the biomass of top-predators (testate amoebae) in warmed plots. Such a loss caused a shortening of microbial food chains, which in turn stimulated microbial activity, leading to slight increases in levels of nutrients and labile C in water. We further show that warming altered the regulatory role of Sphagnum-polyphenols on microbial community structure with a potential inhibition of top predators. In addition, warming caused a decrease in Sphagnum cover and an increase in vascular plant cover. Using structural equation modelling, we show that changes in the microbial food web affected the relationships between plants, soil water chemistry, and microbial communities. These results suggest that warming will destabilize C and nutrient recycling of peatlands via changes in above- and belowground linkages, and therefore, the microbial food web associated with mosses will feedback positively to global warming by destabilizing the carbon cycle. This study confirms that microbial food webs thus constitute a key element in the functioning of peatland ecosystems. Their study can help understand how mosses, as ecosystem engineers, tightly regulate biogeochemical cycling and climate feedback in peatlands.
Xia, Binxin; Wang, Lihong; Nie, Lijun; Zhou, Qing; Huang, Xiaohua
Bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental endocrine disruptor, is an important industrial raw material. The wide use of BPA has increased the risk of BPA release into the environment, and it has become a new environmental pollutant. In this work, the ecological deleterious effects of this new pollutant on soybean roots at different growth stages were investigated by determining the contents of mineral elements (P, K, Ca, and Mg) and analyzing root activity and the activities of critical respiratory enzymes (hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, pyruvate kinase, and isocitrate dehydrogenase). Our results revealed that low dose (1.5mg/L) of BPA increased the levels of P, K, Mg, and Ca in soybean roots at different growth stages. Whereas, high doses (6.0 and 12.0mg/L) of BPA decreased the levels of P, K, and Mg contents in a dose-dependent manner. BPA had a promotive effect on the content of Ca in soybean roots. Synchronous observation showed that the aforementioned dual response to BPA were also observed in the root activity and respiratory enzyme activities. The effects of BPA on the mineral element contents, root activity and respiratory enzyme activities in soybean roots at different growth stages followed the order: flowering and podding stage>seed-filling stage>seedling stage (mineral element contents); seedling stage>flowering and podding stage>seed-filling stage (root activity and respiratory enzyme activities). In a word, the response of plant root activity and respiratory enzyme activities to BPA pollution is a pathway of BPA affecting mineral element contents in plant roots.
Mencuccini, M.; Hölttä, T.; Sevanto, S.; Nikinmaa, E.
Phloem transport of carbohydrates in plants under field conditions is currently not well understood. This is largely the result of the lack of techniques suitable for measuring phloem physiological properties continuously under field conditions. This lack of knowledge is currently hampering our efforts to link ecosystem-level processes of carbon fixation, allocation and use, especially belowground. On theoretical grounds, the properties of the transport pathway from canopy to roots must be important in affecting the link between carbon assimilation and respiration, but it is unclear whether their effect is partially or entirely masked by processes occurring in other parts of the ecosystem. One can also predict the characteristic time scales over which these effects should occur and, as consequence, predict whether the transfer of turgor and osmotic signals from the site of carbon assimilation to the sites of carbon use are likely to control respiration. We will present two sources of evidence suggesting that the properties of the phloem transport system may affect processes that are dependent on the supply of carbon substrate, such as root or soil respiration. Firstly, we will summarize the results of a literature survey on soil and ecosystem respiration where the speed of transfer of photosynthetic sugars from the plant canopy to the soil surface was determined. Estimates of the transfer speed could be grouped according to whether the study employed isotopic or canopy soil flux-based techniques. These two groups provided very different estimates of transfer times likely because transport of sucrose molecules, and pressure-concentration waves, in phloem differed. Secondly, we will argue that simultaneous measurements of bark and xylem diameters provide a novel tool to determine the continuous variations of phloem turgor in vivo in the field. We will present a model that interprets these changes in xylem and live bark diameters and present data testing the model
Wu, Gao-lin; Shang, Zhan-huan; Zhu, Yuan-jun; Ding, Lu-ming; Wang, Dong
Seed size has been advanced as a key factor that influences the dynamics of plant communities, but there are few empirical or theoretical predictions of how community dynamics progress based on seed size patterns. Information on the abundance of adults, seedlings, soil seed banks, seed rains, and the seed mass of 96 species was collected in alpine meadows of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (China), which had different levels of grazing disturbance. The relationships between seed-mass-abundance patterns for adults, seedlings, the soil seed bank, and seed rain in the plant community were evaluated using regression models. Results showed that grazing levels affected the relationship between seed size and abundance properties of adult species, seedlings, and the soil seed bank, suggesting that there is a shift in seed-size--species-abundance relationships as a response to the grazing gradient. Grazing had no effect on the pattern of seed-size-seed-rain-abundance at four grazing levels. Grazing also had little effect on the pattern of seed-size--species-abundance and pattern of seed-size--soil-seed-bank-abundance in meadows with no grazing, light grazing, and moderate grazing), but there was a significant negative effect in meadows with heavy grazing. Grazing had little effect on the pattern of seed-size--seedling-abundance with no grazing, but had significant negative effects with light, moderate, and heavy grazing, and the |r| values increased with grazing levels. This indicated that increasing grazing pressure enhanced the advantage of smaller-seeded species in terms of the abundances of adult species, seedlings, and soil seed banks, whereas only the light grazing level promoted the seed rain abundance of larger-seeded species in the plant communities. This study suggests that grazing disturbances are favorable for increasing the species abundance for smaller-seeded species but not for the larger-seeded species in an alpine meadow community. Hence, there is a clear
Roux, Fabrice; Mary-Huard, Tristan; Barillot, Elise; Wenes, Estelle; Botran, Lucy; Durand, Stéphanie; Villoutreix, Romain; Martin-Magniette, Marie-Laure; Camilleri, Christine; Budar, Françoise
Although the contribution of cytonuclear interactions to plant fitness variation is relatively well documented at the interspecific level, the prevalence of cytonuclear interactions at the intraspecific level remains poorly investigated. In this study, we set up a field experiment to explore the range of effects that cytonuclear interactions have on fitness-related traits in Arabidopsis thaliana. To do so, we created a unique series of 56 cytolines resulting from cytoplasmic substitutions among eight natural accessions reflecting within-species genetic diversity. An assessment of these cytolines and their parental lines scored for 28 adaptive whole-organism phenotypes showed that a large proportion of phenotypic traits (23 of 28) were affected by cytonuclear interactions. The effects of these interactions varied from slight but frequent across cytolines to strong in some specific parental pairs. Two parental pairs accounted for half of the significant pairwise interactions. In one parental pair, Ct-1/Sha, we observed symmetrical phenotypic responses between the two nuclear backgrounds when combined with specific cytoplasms, suggesting nuclear differentiation at loci involved in cytonuclear epistasis. In contrast, asymmetrical phenotypic responses were observed in another parental pair, Cvi-0/Sha. In the Cvi-0 nuclear background, fecundity and phenology-related traits were strongly affected by the Sha cytoplasm, leading to a modified reproductive strategy without penalizing total seed production. These results indicate that natural variation in cytoplasmic and nuclear genomes interact to shape integrative traits that contribute to adaptation, thereby suggesting that cytonuclear interactions can play a major role in the evolutionary dynamics of A. thaliana. PMID:26979961
Pannek, A; Duprè, C; Gowing, D J G; Stevens, C J; Diekmann, M
Anthropogenic eutrophication impacts ecosystems worldwide. Here, we use a vegetation dataset from semi-natural grasslands on acidic soils sampled along a gradient in north-western Europe to examine the response of species frequency to nitrogen (N) deposition, controlling for the effects of other environmental variables. A second dataset of acidic grasslands from Germany and the Netherlands containing plots from different time periods was analysed to examine whether the results of the spatial gradient approach coincided with temporal changes in the abundance of species. Out of 44 studied species, 16 were affected by N deposition, 12 of them negatively. Soil pH and phosphorus (P) influenced 24 and 14 species, respectively, predominantly positively. Fewer species were related to the soil contents of NO3(-) or NH4(+), with no significant differences between the number of positive and negative effects. Whereas the temporal change of species was unrelated to their responses to pH, species responding negatively to N deposition, soil P and NO3(-) showed a significant decline over time in both countries. Species that were negatively affected by high N deposition and/or high soil P also showed a negative temporal trend and could be characterised by short stature and slow growth. The results confirm the negative role of N deposition for many plant species in semi-natural acidic grasslands. The negative temporal trends of species sensitive to high N deposition and soil P values clearly show a need for maintaining low soil nutrient status and for restoring the formerly infertile conditions in nutrient-enriched grasslands.
Gaillardia plants exhibiting symptoms characteristic of viral and phytoplasmal diseases were collected at botanical gardens and floriculture farms in Lithuania. Cucumber mosaic virus was isolated from diseased plants exhibiting symptoms characterized stunting, color breaking and malformation of flo...
Hoffmann, Anna M; Noga, Georg; Hunsche, Mauricio
We investigated the influence of light quality on the vulnerability of pepper plants to water deficit. For this purpose plants were cultivated either under compact fluorescence lamps (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) providing similar photon fluence rates (95 µmol m(-2) s(-1)) but distinct light quality. CFL emit a wide-band spectrum with dominant peaks in the green and red spectral region, whereas LEDs offer narrow band spectra with dominant peaks at blue (445 nm) and red (665 nm) regions. After one-week acclimation to light conditions plants were exposed to water deficit by withholding irrigation; this period was followed by a one-week regeneration period and a second water deficit cycle. In general, plants grown under CFL suffered more from water deficit than plants grown under LED modules, as indicated by the impairment of the photosynthetic efficiency of PSII, resulting in less biomass accumulation compared to respective control plants. As affected by water shortage, plants grown under CFL had a stronger decrease in the electron transport rate (ETR) and more pronounced increase in heat dissipation (NPQ). The higher amount of blue light suppressed plant growth and biomass formation, and consequently reduced the water demand of plants grown under LEDs. Moreover, pepper plants exposed to high blue light underwent adjustments at chloroplast level (e.g., higher Chl a/Chl b ratio), increasing the photosynthetic performance under the LED spectrum. Differently than expected, stomatal conductance was comparable for water-deficit and control plants in both light conditions during the stress and recovery phases, indicating only minor adjustments at the stomatal level. Our results highlight the potential of the target-use of light quality to induce structural and functional acclimations improving plant performance under stress situations.
Li, Dexiao; Chen, Pengyin; Shi, Ainong; Shakiba, Ehsan; Gergerich, Rose; Chen, Yaofeng
Seven strains (G1 to G7) of soybean mosaic virus (SMV) and 3 resistance loci (Rsv1, Rsv3, and Rsv4) have been identified in soybean. The interaction of SMV strains and host resistance genes results in resistant (symptomless), susceptible (mosaic), or necrotic (leaf and stem necrosis) reactions. The necrotic reaction may be gene dosage dependent and influenced by temperature. Using a set of soybean isolines and hybrids containing homozygous or heterozygous alleles of rsv, Rsv1, Rsv1-n, Rsv3, or Rsv4, this study has explored the relationship of SMV-induced symptoms and resistance gene dosage at different temperatures. Results showed that SMV-inoculated plants carrying Rsv3 or Rsv4 were symptomless at both homozygous and heterozygous states at all temperature regimes. Threshold temperatures for symptoms changing from stem tip necrosis (STN) to mosaic were 30, 33, and 33 degrees C in G7-inoculated homozygous genotypes V94-3971(Rsv1) and PI 96983 (Rsv1) and G1-inoculated V262 (Rsv1-n), respectively. However, at the heterozygous state, threshold temperature was 30 degrees C in G7-inoculated V94-3971 x Essex F(1) for the symptom change from STN to mosaic, 31 degrees C in G7-inoculated Essex x PI 96983 F(1) from STN to mixture of necrosis and mosaic (N-M), and 32 degrees C in G1-inoculated V262 x Essex F(1) from N-M to mosaic. Incomplete necrosis was observed in the heterozygous state in G1-inoculated V262 x Essex F(1) and G7-inoculated PI 96983 x Essex F(1) where necrotic and mosaic symptoms were mixed. High temperature (37 degrees C) tends to mask the expression of mosaic symptoms in both homozygous and heterozygous plants. STN expression in response to temperature was affected by resistance gene, gene dosage, host genetic background, and specific SMV strains. Thus, Rsv3 and Rsv4 are a better choice as source of genetic resistance for breeding SMV-resistant cultivars.
Tahaei, Amirreza; Soleymani, Ali; Shams, Majid
Reduced seed germination is among the most important factors adversely affecting crop stand and subsequent plant growth. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill) is an important medicinal plant with poor seed germination rate, occasionally. It is accordingly pertinent to find methods which can enhance fennel seed germination and remove the barriers of dormancy breaking. The present experiments studied the effects of two different priming (cold moist stratification and osmopriming) and 14 dormancy breaking techniques (hormonal, osmopriming, biopriming, chemical priming, and hydropriming) on the seed germination and seedling growth of two different fennel genotypes under growth chamber conditions. In the first and second experiment, the priming techniques including the time lengths of cold moist stratification (0, 15, 30, and 45 days) and the concentrations of polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG6000, osmopriming at -0.99, -1.35, and -2.33 MPa) were used as the main plots. However, in both experiments, the dormancy breaking techniques and fennel genotypes were factorially combined and used as the subplots. Different seed- and seedling-related parameters including germination (%), plumule, radicle and seedling length, average germination time, rate and homogeneity of germination, and seed vigor index were determined. Both priming techniques were efficient on the enhancement of seed germination and seedling growth. Among the dormancy breaking techniques, Aminol Forte (biopriming), kadostim (biopriming), benzyl adenine + kinetin (biopriming), distilled water (hydropriming), gibberellin + kinetin (hormonal priming), and benzyl adenine + kinetin + gibberellin (biopriming) were the most effective ones. The related concentrations were equal to 100 mg/l, 10(-5) M, and 0.4 %. The fennel genotypes reacted significantly different under priming conditions. It is possible to enhance seed germination and seedling growth of fennel using priming and dormancy breaking
Caulfield, F.; Bunce, J.A. )
Beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (Huebner), larvae were placed on sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.) and pigweed (Amaranthus hybridus L.) plants in outdoor chambers in which the plants were growing at either the ambient ([approximately] 350 [mu]l liter[sup [minus]1]) or ambient plus 350 [mu]l liter[sup [minus]1] ([approximately] 700 [mu]l liter[sup [minus]1]) carbon dioxide concentration. A series of experiments was performed to determine if larvae reduced plant growth differently at the two carbon dioxide concentrations in either species and if the insect growth or survival differed with carbon dioxide concentration. Leaf nitrogen, water, starch, and soluble carbohydrate contents were measured to assess carbon dioxide concentration effects on leaf quality. Insect feeding significantly reduced plant growth in sugarbeet plants at 350 [mu]l liter[sup [minus]1] but not at 700 [mu]l liter[sup [minus]1] nor in pigweed at either carbon dioxide concentration. Larval survival was greater on sugarbeet plants at the elevated carbon dioxide concentration. Increased survival occurred only if the insects were at the elevated carbon dioxide concentration and consumed leaf material grown at the elevated concentration. Leaf quality was only marginally affected by growth at elevated carbon dioxide concentration in these experiments. The results indicate that in designing experiments to predict effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on plant-insect interactions, both plants and insects should be exposed to the experimental carbon dioxide concentrations, as well as to as realistic environmental conditions as possible.
Ulloa, Rita M; Raíces, Marcela; MacIntosh, Gustavo C; Maldonado, Sara; Téllez-Iñón, María T
The effect of jasmonic acid (JA) on plant growth and on calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK) activity and expression was studied in non-photoperiodic potato plants, Solanum tuberosum L. var. Spunta, grown in vitro. Stem cuttings were grown for 45 days (long treatment, LT) in MS medium with increasing concentrations of JA. For short treatments (ST) adult plants grown in MS were transferred for 1, 4 and 20 h to JA containing media. During the LT, low concentrations of JA promoted cell expansion and shoot elongation while higher concentrations caused growth inhibition. Under these conditions, treated plants showed root shortening and tuber formation was not induced. Morphological and histochemical studies using light microscopy and TEM analysis of leaves from treated plants revealed that JA also affected subcellular organelles of mesophyll cells. Peroxisomes increased in size and number, and an autophagic process was triggered in response to high concentrations of the hormone. CDPK activity, determined in crude extracts of treated plants (LT), was inhibited (up to 80%). Plant growth and CDPK inhibition were reverted upon transfer of the plants to hormone-free medium. Soluble CDPK activity decreased in response to JA short treatment. Concomitantly, a decline in the steady state levels of StCDPK2 mRNA, a potato CDPK isoform that is expressed in leaves, was observed. These data suggest that the phytohormone down-regulated the expression and activity of the kinase.
Adee, Eric; Hansel, Fernando D.; Ruiz Diaz, Dorivar A.; Janssen, Keith
Strip-till has been used at a large scale in east central Kansas as an alternative to earlier planting dates under a no-till system. To determine the effects of planting corn (Zea mays) under previously established strip-tilled fertilized rows, experiments were conducted on an Osage silty clay loam soil in 2006 and 2008 and on a Woodson silt loam soil in 2009, 2010, and 2011 using three different planting distances from the strip-tilled fertilized rows (0, 10, 20, and 38 cm) with a strip-till operation performed between 1 and 73 days before planting. The depth of the strip-till fertilizer application was 13–15 cm below the soil surface. Corn that was planted 10 cm from the fertilized row showed greater early season growth, higher plant population, and grain yield. Planting 20 and 38 cm from the center of the fertilized rows showed none of the benefits that are typically associated with strip-tillage system. Enough time should be allowed between the strip-till operation and planting to reach satisfactory soil conditions (e.g., moist and firm seedbed). Our results suggest that the best location for planting strip-tilled fertilized corn vary depending on soil and climatic conditions as well as the time between fertilizer application with the strip-till operation and planting. With fewer number of days, planting directly on the center of fertilized strip-till resulted in decreased plant population and lower grain yield. However, the greatest yield benefit across different planting conditions was attained when planting within 10 cm of the strip. PMID:27588024
Adee, Eric; Hansel, Fernando D; Ruiz Diaz, Dorivar A; Janssen, Keith
Strip-till has been used at a large scale in east central Kansas as an alternative to earlier planting dates under a no-till system. To determine the effects of planting corn (Zea mays) under previously established strip-tilled fertilized rows, experiments were conducted on an Osage silty clay loam soil in 2006 and 2008 and on a Woodson silt loam soil in 2009, 2010, and 2011 using three different planting distances from the strip-tilled fertilized rows (0, 10, 20, and 38 cm) with a strip-till operation performed between 1 and 73 days before planting. The depth of the strip-till fertilizer application was 13-15 cm below the soil surface. Corn that was planted 10 cm from the fertilized row showed greater early season growth, higher plant population, and grain yield. Planting 20 and 38 cm from the center of the fertilized rows showed none of the benefits that are typically associated with strip-tillage system. Enough time should be allowed between the strip-till operation and planting to reach satisfactory soil conditions (e.g., moist and firm seedbed). Our results suggest that the best location for planting strip-tilled fertilized corn vary depending on soil and climatic conditions as well as the time between fertilizer application with the strip-till operation and planting. With fewer number of days, planting directly on the center of fertilized strip-till resulted in decreased plant population and lower grain yield. However, the greatest yield benefit across different planting conditions was attained when planting within 10 cm of the strip.
Stohlgren, T.J.; Schell, L.D.; Vanden, Heuvel B.
(adjacent and distant 1000-m2 plots) in the same vegetation type overlapped just 48.6 ?? 3.6%, and the ungrazed plots and distant grazed plots overlapped 49.4 ?? 3.6%. Differences in vegetation and soils between grazed and ungrazed sites were minimal in most cases, but soil characteristics and elevation were strongly correlated with native and exotic plant diversity in the study region. For the 78 1000-m2 plots, 59.4% of the variance in total species richness was explained by percentage of silt (coefficient = 0.647, t = 5.107, P < 0.001), elevation (coefficient = 0.012, t = 5.084, P < 0.001), and total foliar cover (coefficient = 0.110, t = 2.104, P < 0.039). Only 12.8% of the variance in exotic species cover (log10cover) was explained by percentage of clay (coefficient = -0.011, t = -2.878, P < 0.005), native species richness (coefficient = -0.011, t = -2.156, P < 0.034), and log10N (coefficient = 2.827, t = 1.860, P < 0.067). Native species cover and exotic species richness and frequency were also significantly positively correlated with percentage of soil N at the 1000-m2 plot scale. Our research led to five broad generalizations about current levels of grazing in these Rocky Mountain grasslands: (1) grazing probably has little effect on native species richness at landscape scales; (2) grazing probably has little effect on the accelerated spread of most exotic plant species at landscape scales; (3) grazing affects local plant species and life-form composition and cover, but spatial variation is considerable; (4) soil characteristics, climate, and disturbances may have a greater effect on plant species diversity than do current levels of grazing; and (5) few plant species show consistent, directional responses to grazing or cessation of grazing.
Changes in the abiotic environment, as those expected under global warming, can influence plant mating systems through changes in floral traits that affect selfing. Herkogamy (spatial separation of male and female functions within a flower), dichogamy (temporal separation) and total flower number af...
Coyle, David R; Jordan, Michelle S; Raffa, Kenneth F
We investigated how host plant phenology and plant species affected longevity, reproduction, and feeding behavior of an invasive weevil. Phyllobius oblongus L. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is common in northern hardwood forests of the Great Lakes Region. Adults emerge in spring, feed on foliage of woody understory plants, and oviposit in the soil. Preliminary data indicate that adults often feed on sugar maple, Acer saccharum Marshall, foliage early in the season, then feed on other species such as raspberry, Rubus spp. Whether this behavior reflects temporal changes in the quality of A. saccharum tissue or merely subsequent availability of later-season plants is unknown. We tested adult P. oblongus in laboratory assays using young (newly flushed) sugar maple foliage, old (2-3 wk postflush) sugar maple foliage, and raspberry foliage. Raspberry has indeterminate growth, thus always has young foliage available for herbivores. Survival, oviposition, and leaf consumption were recorded. In performance assays under no-choice conditions, mated pairs were provided one type of host foliage for the duration of their lives. In behavioral choice tests, all three host plants were provided simultaneously and leaf area consumption was compared. Adults survived longer on and consumed greater amounts of young maple and raspberry foliage than old maple foliage. P. oblongus preferred young maple foliage to old maple foliage early in the season, however, later in the growing season weevils showed less pronounced feeding preferences. These results suggest how leaf phenology, plant species composition, and feeding plasticity in host utilization may interact to affect P. oblongus population dynamics.
Nogueira, Thiago Assis Rodrigues; deMelo, Wanderley José; Fonseca, Ivana Machado; Marques, Marcos Omir; He, Zhenli
A long-term experiment was carried out under field conditions in Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil, with the objective of evaluating the concentration of Ba in soil and in maize plants grown in a soil treated with sewage sludge for nine consecutive years. During 2005/2006, maize was used as test plants and the experimental design was in randomized complete blocks with four treatments and five replicates. Treatments consisted of: 0.0, 45.0, 90.0 and 127.5 t ha(-1) sewage sludge (dry basis). Sewage sludge application increased soil Ba concentration. Barium accumulated in the parts of maize plants were generally affected by the successive applications of sewage sludge to the soil. However, the concentration of Ba in maize grain did not exceed the critical levels of Ba for human consumption. Sewage sludge applied to soil for a long time did not affect dry matter and grain production, nevertheless had the similar effect of mineral fertilization.
Moreno, José M.; Parra, Antonio; Dannenmann, Michael; Ramírez, David A.; Diaz-Pines, Eugenio; Tejedor, Javier; Kitzler, Barbara; Karhu, Kristina; Resco, Victor; Povoas, Luciano
Predicted changes in the seasonality and amount of rainfall under a changing climate have the potential to dramatically alter ecosystem function and species composition. Moreover, in fire-prone ecosystems, the joint effects of fire and increasing aridity may create irreversible changes to the services these ecosystems provide. To understand the effects of increasing drought and fire in a Mediterranean shrubland, we implemented an automated rainfall manipulation system, with rain-out shelters which automatically fold and unfold when conditions are rainy and dry, respectively. In January 2009, we implemented five different treatments, where annual precipitation was reduced by diminishing summer rainfall from the long-term historical average, up to a 40% reduction, following IPCC scenarios. In September 2009, we uninstalled all the shelters to burn the different plots, and reinstalled the shelters immediately afterwards. In this talk, we will present the preliminary results of an integrated experiment which aims at understanding the concomitant effects of fire and different drought intensities on the species composition and greenhouse gas balance (CO2, N2O and CH4) of a Mediterranean shrubland. We observed that plant growth was more severely affected by drought in the more shallow-rooted, malacophyllous shrub (from 116 to -7.2 mg/g/d in Cistus ladanifer), than in a deeper-rooted heather (from 5.5 to 66.9 mg/g/day in Erica arborea). This growth response was mediated by species-specific differences in hydraulics, leaf morphology and photosynthetic gas exchange of each species. Analyses of changes in species composition after fire are currently undergoing. The precipitation reduction treatments exerted drought stress on CH4 oxidizing microorganisms and thus reduced the CH4 sink strength of the ecosystem during the pre-fire period. Furthermore, the net CH4 uptake at the soil-atmosphere interface was reduced by the fire for a period of at least one month. Pedosphere
Lech, Gregory P.; Reigh, Robert C.
Costs of compounded diets containing fish meal as a primary protein source can be expected to rise as fish meal prices increase in response to static supply and growing demand. Alternatives to fish meal are needed to reduce production costs in many aquaculture enterprises. Some plant proteins are potential replacements for fish meal because of their amino acid composition, lower cost and wide availability. In this study, we measured utilization of soybean meal (SBM) and soy protein concentrate (SPC) by Florida pompano fed compounded diets, to determine the efficacy of these products as fish meal replacements. We also calculated apparent digestibility coefficients (ADCs) for canola meal (CM), corn gluten meal (CGM), and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), following typical methods for digestibility trials. Juvenile Florida pompano were fed fish-meal-free diets containing graded levels of SBM and SPC, and weight gain was compared to a control diet that contained SBM, SPC, and fish meal. Fish fed diets that contained 25–30 percent SBM in combination with 43–39 percent SPC had weight gain equivalent to fish fed the control diet with fish meal, while weight gain of fish fed other soy combinations was significantly less than that of the control group. Apparent crude protein digestibility of CGM was significantly higher than that of DDGS but not significantly different from CM. Apparent energy digestibility of DDGS was significantly lower than CGM but significantly higher than CM. Findings suggested that composition of the reference diet used in a digestibility trial affects the values of calculated ADCs, in addition to the chemical and physical attributes of the test ingredient. PMID:22536344
Rimmerman, Neta; Juknat, Ana; Kozela, Ewa; Levy, Rivka; Bradshaw, Heather B; Vogel, Zvi
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive plant cannabinoid that is clinically used in a 1:1 mixture with the psychoactive cannabinoid Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the treatment of neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Our group previously reported that CBD exerts anti-inflammatory effects on microglial cells. In addition, we found that CBD treatment increases the accumulation of the endocannabinoid N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine (AEA), thus enhancing endocannabinoid signaling. Here we proceeded to investigate the effects of CBD on the modulation of lipid-related genes in microglial cells. Cell viability was tested using FACS analysis, AEA levels were measured using LC/MS/MS, gene array analysis was validated with real-time qPCR, and cytokine release was measured using ELISA. We report that CBD significantly upregulated the mRNAs of the enzymes sterol-O-acyl transferase (Soat2), which synthesizes cholesteryl esters, and of sterol 27-hydroxylase (Cyp27a1). In addition, CBD increased the mRNA of the lipid droplet-associated protein, perilipin2 (Plin2). Moreover, we found that pretreatment of the cells with the cholesterol chelating agent, methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MBCD), reversed the CBD-induced increase in Soat2 mRNA but not in Plin2 mRNA. Incubation with AEA increased the level of Plin2, but not of Soat2 mRNA. Furthermore, MBCD treatment did not affect the reduction by CBD of the LPS-induced release of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β. CBD treatment modulates cholesterol homeostasis in microglial cells, and pretreatment with MBCD reverses this effect without interfering with CBD's anti-inflammatory effects. The effects of the CBD-induced increase in AEA accumulation on lipid-gene expression are discussed.
Lech, Gregory P; Reigh, Robert C
Costs of compounded diets containing fish meal as a primary protein source can be expected to rise as fish meal prices increase in response to static supply and growing demand. Alternatives to fish meal are needed to reduce production costs in many aquaculture enterprises. Some plant proteins are potential replacements for fish meal because of their amino acid composition, lower cost and wide availability. In this study, we measured utilization of soybean meal (SBM) and soy protein concentrate (SPC) by Florida pompano fed compounded diets, to determine the efficacy of these products as fish meal replacements. We also calculated apparent digestibility coefficients (ADCs) for canola meal (CM), corn gluten meal (CGM), and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), following typical methods for digestibility trials. Juvenile Florida pompano were fed fish-meal-free diets containing graded levels of SBM and SPC, and weight gain was compared to a control diet that contained SBM, SPC, and fish meal. Fish fed diets that contained 25-30 percent SBM in combination with 43-39 percent SPC had weight gain equivalent to fish fed the control diet with fish meal, while weight gain of fish fed other soy combinations was significantly less than that of the control group. Apparent crude protein digestibility of CGM was significantly higher than that of DDGS but not significantly different from CM. Apparent energy digestibility of DDGS was significantly lower than CGM but significantly higher than CM. Findings suggested that composition of the reference diet used in a digestibility trial affects the values of calculated ADCs, in addition to the chemical and physical attributes of the test ingredient.
Gémes, Katalin; Mellidou, Ιfigeneia; Karamanoli, Katerina; Beris, Despoina; Park, Ky Young; Matsi, Theodora; Haralampidis, Kosmas; Constantinidou, Helen-Isis; Roubelakis-Angelakis, Kalliopi A
Polyamine (PA) homeostasis is associated with plant development, growth and responses to biotic/abiotic stresses. Apoplastic PA oxidase (PAO) catalyzes the oxidation of PAs contributing to cellular homeostasis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and PAs. In tobacco, PAs decrease with plant age, while apoplastic PAO activity increases. Our previous results with young transgenic tobacco plants with enhanced/reduced apoplastic PAO activity (S-ZmPAO/AS-ZmPAO, respectively) established the importance of apoplastic PAO in controlling tolerance to short-term salt stress. However, it remains unclear if the apoplastic PAO pathway is important for salt tolerance at later stages of plant development. In this work, we examined whether apoplastic PAO controls also plant development and tolerance of adult plants during long-term salt stress. The AS-ZmPAO plants contained higher Ca(2+) during salt stress, showing also reduced chlorophyll content index (CCI), leaf area and biomass but taller phenotype compared to the wild-type plants during salt. On the contrary, the S-ZmPAO had more leaves with slightly greater size compared to the AS-ZmPAO and higher antioxidant genes/enzyme activities. Accumulation of proline in the roots was evident at prolonged stress and correlated negatively with PAO deregulation as did the transcripts of genes mediating ethylene biosynthesis. In contrast to the strong effect of apoplastic PAO to salt tolerance in young plants described previously, the effect it exerts at later stages of development is rather moderate. However, the different phenotypes observed in plants deregulating PAO reinforce the view that apoplastic PAO exerts multifaceted roles on plant growth and stress responses. Our data suggest that deregulation of the apoplastic PAO can be further examined as a potential approach to breed plants with enhanced/reduced tolerance to abiotic stress with minimal associated trade-offs.
Rennenberg, H; Dannenmann, M; Gessler, A; Kreuzwieser, J; Simon, J; Papen, H
Forest ecosystems with low soil nitrogen (N) availability are characterized by direct competition for this growth-limiting resource between several players, i.e. various components of vegetation, such as old-growth trees, natural regeneration and understorey species, mycorrhizal fungi, free-living fungi and bacteria. With the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme climate events predicted in current climate change scenarios, also competition for N between plants and/or soil microorganisms will be affected. In this review, we summarize the present understanding of ecosystem N cycling in N-limited forests and its interaction with extreme climate events, such as heat, drought and flooding. More specifically, the impacts of environmental stresses on microbial release and consumption of bioavailable N, N uptake and competition between plants, as well as plant and microbial uptake are presented. Furthermore, the consequences of drying-wetting cycles on N cycling are discussed. Additionally, we highlight the current methodological difficulties that limit present understanding of N cycling in forest ecosystems and the need for interdisciplinary studies.
Bruinsma, Maaike; van Broekhoven, Sarah; Poelman, Erik H; Posthumus, Maarten A; Müller, Martin J; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel
Herbivore-induced plant defences influence the behaviour of insects associated with the plant. For biting-chewing herbivores the octadecanoid signal-transduction pathway has been suggested to play a key role in induced plant defence. To test this hypothesis in our plant-herbivore-parasitoid tritrophic system, we used phenidone, an inhibitor of the enzyme lipoxygenase (LOX), that catalyses the initial step in the octadecanoid pathway. Phenidone treatment of Brussels sprouts plants reduced the accumulation of internal signalling compounds in the octadecanoid pathway downstream of the step catalysed by LOX, i.e. 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and jasmonic acid. The attraction of Cotesia glomerata parasitoids to host-infested plants was significantly reduced by phenidone treatment. The three herbivores investigated, i.e. the specialists Plutella xylostella, Pieris brassicae and Pieris rapae, showed different oviposition preferences for intact and infested plants, and for two species their preference for either intact or infested plants was shown to be LOX dependent. Our results show that phenidone inhibits the LOX-dependent defence response of the plant and that this inhibition can influence the behaviour of members of the associated insect community.
Murrell, Ebony G; Cullen, Eileen M
Few studies compare how different soil fertilization practices affect plant mineral content and insect performance in organic systems. This study examined: 1) The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), larval response on corn (Zea mays L.) grown in field soils with different soil management histories; and 2) resilience of these plants to O. nubilalis herbivory. Treatments included: 1) standard organic--organically managed soil fertilized with dairy manure and 2 yr of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the rotation; 2) basic cation saturation ratio--organically managed soil fertilized with dairy manure and alfalfa nitrogen credits, plus addition of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) according to the soil balance hypothesis; and 3) conventional--conventionally managed soil fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. Corn plants were reared to maturity in a greenhouse, and then infested with 0-40 O. nubilalis larvae for 17 d. O. nubilalis exhibited negative competitive response to increasing larval densities. Mean development time was significantly faster for larvae consuming basic cation saturation ratio plants than those on standard organic plants, with intermediate development time on conventional plants. Neither total yield (number of kernels) nor proportion kernels damaged differed among soil fertility treatments. Soil nutrients differed significantly in S and in Ca:Mg and Ca:K ratios, but principal components analysis of plant tissue samples taken before O. nubilalis infestation showed that S, Fe, and Cu contributed most to differences in plant nutrient profiles among soil fertility treatments. Results demonstrate that different fertilization regimens can significantly affect insect performance within the context of organic systems, but the effects in this study were relatively minor compared with effects of intraspecific competition.
Shi, Yanyun; Liu, Xiangling; Li, Rui; Gao, Yaping; Xu, Zuopeng; Zhang, Baocai; Zhou, Yihua
The ribosome is the basic machinery for translation, and biogenesis of ribosomes involves many coordinated events. However, knowledge about ribosomal dynamics in higher plants is very limited. This study chose a highly conserved trans-factor, the 60S ribosomal subunit nuclear export adaptor NMD3, to characterize the mechanism of ribosome biogenesis in the monocot plant Oryza sativa (rice). O. sativa NMD3 (OsNMD3) shares all the common motifs and shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm via CRM1/XPO1. A dominant negative form of OsNMD3 with a truncated nuclear localization sequence (OsNMD3(ΔNLS)) was retained in the cytoplasm, consequently interfering with the release of OsNMD3 from pre-60S particles and disturbing the assembly of ribosome subunits. Analyses of the transactivation activity and cellulose biosynthesis level revealed low protein synthesis efficiency in the transgenic plants compared with the wild-type plants. Pharmaceutical treatments demonstrated structural alterations in ribosomes in the transgenic plants. Moreover, global expression profiles of the wild-type and transgenic plants were investigated using the Illumina RNA sequencing approach. These expression profiles suggested that overexpression of OsNMD3(ΔNLS) affected ribosome biogenesis and certain basic pathways, leading to pleiotropic abnormalities in plant growth. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that OsNMD3 is important for ribosome assembly and the maintenance of normal protein synthesis efficiency.
MacIvor, J Scott; Margolis, Liat; Puncher, Curtis L; Carver Matthews, Benjamin J
Supplemental irrigation systems are often specified on green roofs to ensure plant cover and growth, both important components of green roof performance and aesthetics. Properties of the growing media environment too can alter the assemblage of plant species able to thrive. In this study we determine how plant cover, above ground biomass and species diversity are influenced by irrigation and growing media. Grass and forb vegetative cover and biomass were significantly greater in organic based growing media but there was no effect of supplemental irrigation, with two warm season grasses dominating in those treatments receiving no supplemental irrigation. On the other hand, plant diversity declined without irrigation in organic media, and having no irrigation in inorganic growing media resulted in almost a complete loss of cover. Sedum biomass was less in inorganic growing media treatments and species dominance shifted when growing media organic content increased. Our results demonstrate that supplemental irrigation is required to maintain plant diversity on an extensive green roof, but not necessarily plant cover or biomass. These results provide evidence that planting extensive green roofs with a mix of plant species can ensure the survival of some species; maintaining cover and biomass when supplemental irrigation is turned off to conserve water, or during extreme drought.
Jia, Jujie; Dai, Zhicong; Li, Feng; Liu, Yanjie
Global environmental changes can create novel habitats, promoting the growth of alien plants that often exhibit broad environmental tolerance and high phenotypic plasticity. However, the mechanisms underlying these growth promotory effects are unknown at present. Here, we conducted a phylogenetically controlled meta-analysis using data from 111 published studies encompassing the responses of 129 alien plants to global warming, increased precipitation, N deposition, and CO2 enrichment. We compared the differences in the responses of alien plants to the four global environmental change factors across six categories of functional traits between woody and non-woody life forms as well as C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways. Our results showed that all four global change factors promote alien plant growth. Warming had a more positive effect on C4 than C3 plants. Although the effects of the four factors on the functional traits of alien plants were variable, plant growth was mainly promoted via an increase in growth rate and size. Our data suggest that potential future global environmental changes could further facilitate alien plant growth. PMID:27847511
Jia, Jujie; Dai, Zhicong; Li, Feng; Liu, Yanjie
Global environmental changes can create novel habitats, promoting the growth of alien plants that often exhibit broad environmental tolerance and high phenotypic plasticity. However, the mechanisms underlying these growth promotory effects are unknown at present. Here, we conducted a phylogenetically controlled meta-analysis using data from 111 published studies encompassing the responses of 129 alien plants to global warming, increased precipitation, N deposition, and CO2 enrichment. We compared the differences in the responses of alien plants to the four global environmental change factors across six categories of functional traits between woody and non-woody life forms as well as C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways. Our results showed that all four global change factors promote alien plant growth. Warming had a more positive effect on C4 than C3 plants. Although the effects of the four factors on the functional traits of alien plants were variable, plant growth was mainly promoted via an increase in growth rate and size. Our data suggest that potential future global environmental changes could further facilitate alien plant growth.
Yu, Zhenxing; Chen, Wenwen; Zhang, Qian; Yang, Haishui; Tang, Jianjun; Weiner, Jacob; Chen, Xin
It has been shown that plant biomass-density relationships are altered under extreme or stressed conditions. We do not know whether variation in biomass-density relationships is a direct result of stress tolerance or occurs via changes in plant-plant interactions. Here, we evaluated biomass-density relationships and neighbor effects in six plant species that differ in salt tolerance in a salt marsh, and conducted a literature review of biomass-density relationship under higher and lower stress levels. Our field study showed that both neighbor effects and the exponent of the biomass-density relationship (α) varied among plant species with different degrees of salt tolerance. There was a positive relationship between neighbor effects (measured as relative interaction index) and α-value among the tested species. The literature review showed that α and its variation increased under higher stress. Our results indicate that plant species with different salinity tolerance differ in the direction and strength of neighbor effects, resulting in variation in biomass-density relationships. Our results support the hypothesis that differences in biomass-density relationships among species are not due to differences in stress tolerance alone, they are mediated by changes in plant-plant interactions.
Nieto-Jacobo, Maria F; Steyaert, Johanna M; Salazar-Badillo, Fatima B; Nguyen, Dianne Vi; Rostás, Michael; Braithwaite, Mark; De Souza, Jorge T; Jimenez-Bremont, Juan F; Ohkura, Mana; Stewart, Alison; Mendoza-Mendoza, Artemio
Trichoderma species are soil-borne filamentous fungi widely utilized for their many plant health benefits, such as conferring improved growth, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance to their hosts. Many Trichoderma species are able to produce the auxin phytohormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and its production has been suggested to promote root growth. Here we show that the production of IAA is strain dependent and diverse external stimuli are associated with its production. In in vitro assays, Arabidopsis primary root length was negatively affected by the interaction with some Trichoderma strains. In soil experiments, a continuum effect on plant growth was shown and this was also strain dependent. In plate assays, some strains of Trichoderma spp. inhibited the expression of the auxin reporter gene DR5 in Arabidopsis primary roots but not secondary roots. When Trichoderma spp. and A. thaliana were physically separated, enhancement of both shoot and root biomass, increased root production and chlorophyll content were observed, which strongly suggested that volatile production by the fungus influenced the parameters analyzed. Trichoderma strains T. virens Gv29.8, T. atroviride IMI206040, T. sp. "atroviride B" LU132, and T. asperellum LU1370 were demonstrated to promote plant growth through volatile production. However, contrasting differences were observed with LU1370 which had a negative effect on plant growth in soil but a positive effect in plate assays. Altogether our results suggest that the mechanisms and molecules involved in plant growth promotion by Trichoderma spp. are multivariable and are affected by the environmental conditions.
Barcelo, J.; Poschenrieder, C. )
Metal toxicity causes multiple direct and indirect effects in plants which concern practically all physiological functions. In this review the effects of excess heavy metals and aluminum on those functions which will alter plant water relations are considered. After a brief comment on the metal effects in cell walls and plasma-lemma, and their consequences for cell expansion growth, the influences of high meal availability on the factors which regulate water entry and water exit in plants are considered. Emphasis is placed on the importance of distinguishing between low water availability in mine and serpentine soils and toxicity effects in plants which may impair the ability of a plant to regulate water uptake. Examples on water relations of both plants grown on metalliferous soil and hydroponics are presented, and the effects of metal toxicity on root growth, water transport and transpiration are considered. It is concluded that future research has to focus on the mechanisms of metal-induced inhibition of both root elongation and morphogenetic processes within roots. In order to understand the relation between metal tolerance and drought resistance better, further studies into metal tolerance mechanisms at the cell wall, membrane and vacuolar level, as well as into the mechanisms of drought resistance of plants adapted to metalliferous soils are required. 135 refs., 7 figs., 6 tabs.
D'Alessandro, Marco; Erb, Matthias; Ton, Jurriaan; Brandenburg, Anna; Karlen, Danielle; Zopfi, Jakob; Turlings, Ted C J
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by soil microorganisms influence plant growth and pathogen resistance. Yet, very little is known about their influence on herbivores and higher trophic levels. We studied the origin and role of a major bacterial VOC, 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD), on plant growth, pathogen and herbivore resistance, and the attraction of natural enemies in maize. One of the major contributors to 2,3-BD in the headspace of soil-grown maize seedlings was identified as Enterobacter aerogenes, an endophytic bacterium that colonizes the plants. The production of 2,3-BD by E. aerogenes rendered maize plants more resistant against the Northern corn leaf blight fungus Setosphaeria turcica. On the contrary, E. aerogenes-inoculated plants were less resistant against the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis. The effect of 2,3-BD on the attraction of the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris was more variable: 2,3-BD application to the headspace of the plants had no effect on the parasitoids, but application to the soil increased parasitoid attraction. Furthermore, inoculation of seeds with E. aerogenes decreased plant attractiveness, whereas inoculation of soil with a total extract of soil microbes increased parasitoid attraction, suggesting that the effect of 2,3-BD on the parasitoid is indirect and depends on the composition of the microbial community.
Xia, Ye; Yu, Keshun; Navarre, Duroy; Seebold, Kenneth; Kachroo, Aardra; Kachroo, Pradeep
Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a form of defense that provides resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens in plants. Previous work indicates a role for plastidial glycerolipid biosynthesis in SAR. Specifically, mutations in FATTY ACID DESATURASE7 (FAD7), which lead to reduced trienoic fatty acid levels and compromised plastidial lipid biosynthesis, have been associated with defective SAR. We show that the defective SAR in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) fad7-1 plants is not associated with a mutation in FAD7 but rather with a second-site mutation in GLABRA1 (GL1), a gene well known for its role in trichome formation. The compromised SAR in gl1 plants is associated with impairment in their cuticles. Furthermore, mutations in two other components of trichome development, GL3 and TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA1, also impaired cuticle development and SAR. This suggests an overlap in the biochemical pathways leading to cuticle and trichome development. Interestingly, exogenous application of gibberellic acid (GA) not only enhanced SAR in wild-type plants but also restored SAR in gl1 plants. In contrast to GA, the defense phytohoromes salicylic acid and jasmonic acid were unable to restore SAR in gl1 plants. GA application increased levels of cuticular components but not trichome formation on gl1 plants, thus implicating cuticle, but not trichomes, as an important component of SAR. Our findings question the prudence of using mutant backgrounds for genetic screens and underscore a need to reevaluate phenotypes previously studied in the gl1 background.
Fei, Minghui; Gols, Rieta; Zhu, Feng; Harvey, Jeffrey A.
Virtually all studies of plant-herbivore-natural enemy interactions focus on plant quality as the major constraint on development and survival. However, for many gregarious feeding insect herbivores that feed on small or ephemeral plants, the quantity of resources is much more limiting, yet this area has received virtually no attention. Here, in both lab and semi-field experiments using tents containing variably sized clusters of food plants, we studied the effects of periodic food deprivation in a tri-trophic system where quantitative constraints are profoundly important on insect performance. The large cabbage white Pieris brassicae, is a specialist herbivore of relatively small wild brassicaceous plants that grow in variable densities, with black mustard (Brassica nigra) being one of the most important. Larvae of P. brassicae are in turn attacked by a specialist endoparasitoid wasp, Cotesia glomerata. Increasing the length of food deprivation of newly molted final instar caterpillars significantly decreased herbivore and parasitoid survival and biomass, but shortened their development time. Moreover, the ability of caterpillars to recover when provided with food again was correlated with the length of the food deprivation period. In outdoor tents with natural vegetation, we created conditions similar to those faced by P. brassicae in nature by manipulating plant density. Low densities of B. nigra lead to potential starvation of P. brassicae broods and their parasitoids, replicating nutritional conditions of the lab experiments. The ability of both unparasitized and parasitized caterpillars to find corner plants was similar but decreased with central plant density. Survival of both the herbivore and parasitoid increased with plant density and was higher for unparasitized than for parasitized caterpillars. Our results, in comparison with previous studies, reveal that quantitative constraints are far more important that qualitative constraints on the performance of
Fitzpatrick, Ginny; Lanan, Michele C; Bronstein, Judith L
Mutualism is an often complex interaction among multiple species, each of which may respond differently to abiotic conditions. The effects of temperature on the formation, dissolution, and success of these and other species interactions remain poorly understood. We studied the thermal ecology of the mutualism between the cactus Ferocactus wislizeni and its ant defenders (Forelius pruinosus, Crematogaster opuntiae, Solenopsis aurea, and Solenopsis xyloni) in the Sonoran Desert, USA. The ants are attracted to extrafloral nectar produced by the plants and, in exchange, protect the plants from herbivores; there is a hierarchy of mutualist effectiveness based on aggression toward herbivores. We determined the relationship between temperature and ant activity on plants, the thermal tolerance of each ant species, and ant activity in relation to the thermal environment of plants. Temperature played a role in determining which species interact as mutualists. Three of the four ant species abandoned the plants during the hottest part of the day (up to 40 °C), returning when surface temperature began to decrease in the afternoon. The least effective ant mutualist, F. pruinosus, had a significantly higher critical thermal maximum than the other three species, was active across the entire range of plant surface temperatures observed (13.8-57.0 °C), and visited plants that reached the highest temperatures. F. pruinosus occupied some plants full-time and invaded plants occupied by more dominant species when those species were thermally excluded. Combining data on thermal tolerance and mutualist effectiveness provides a potentially powerful tool for predicting the effects of temperature on mutualisms and mutualistic species.
Mládek, Jan; Mládková, Pavla; Hejcmanová, Pavla; Dvorský, Miroslav; Pavlu, Vilém; De Bello, Francesco; Duchoslav, Martin; Hejcman, Michal; Pakeman, Robin J.
Background Current plant – herbivore interaction models and experiments with mammalian herbivores grazing plant monocultures show the superiority of a maximizing forage quality strategy (MFQ) over a maximizing intake strategy (MI). However, there is a lack of evidence whether grazers comply with the model predictions under field conditions. Methodology/Findings We assessed diet selection of sheep (Ovis aries) using plant functional traits in productive mesic vs. low-productivity dry species-rich grasslands dominated by resource-exploitative vs. resource-conservative species respectively. Each grassland type was studied in two replicates for two years. We investigated the first grazing cycle in a set of 288 plots with a diameter of 30 cm, i.e. the size of sheep feeding station. In mesic grasslands, high plot defoliation was associated with community weighted means of leaf traits referring to high forage quality, i.e. low leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and high specific leaf area (SLA), with a high proportion of legumes and the most with high community weighted mean of forage indicator value. In contrast in dry grasslands, high community weighted mean of canopy height, an estimate of forage quantity, was the best predictor of plot defoliation. Similar differences in selection on forage quality vs. quantity were detected within plots. Sheep selected plants with higher forage indicator values than the plot specific community weighted mean of forage indicator value in mesic grasslands whereas taller plants were selected in dry grasslands. However, at this scale sheep avoided legumes and plants with higher SLA, preferred plants with higher LDMC while grazing plants with higher forage indicator values in mesic grasslands. Conclusions Our findings indicate that MFQ appears superior over MI only in habitats with a predominance of resource-exploitative species. Furthermore, plant functional traits (LDMC, SLA, nitrogen fixer) seem to be helpful correlates of forage quality
Muñoz, Romualdo; Quiles, María José
This work studies the effects of water deficit and heat, as well as the involvement of chlororespiration and the ferredoxin-mediated cyclic pathway, on the tolerance of photosynthesis to high light intensity in Hibiscus rosa-sinensis plants. Drought and heat resulted in the down–regulation of photosynthetic linear electron transport in the leaves, although only a slight decrease in variable fluorescence (Fv)/maximal fluorescence (Fm) was observed, indicating that the chloroplast was protected by mechanisms that dissipate excess excitation energy to prevent damage to the photosynthetic apparatus. The incubation of leaves from unstressed plants under high light intensity resulted in an increase of the activity of electron donation by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) and ferredoxin to plastoquinone, but no increase was observed in plants exposed to water deficit, suggesting that cyclic electron transport was stimulated by high light only in control plants. In contrast, the activities of the chlororespiration enzymes (NADH dehydrogenase (NDH) complex and plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX)) increased after incubation under high light intensity in leaves of the water deficit plants, but not in control plants, suggesting that chlororespiration was stimulated in stressed plants. The results indicate that the relative importance of chlororespiration and the cyclic electron pathway in the tolerance of photosynthesis to high illumination differs under stress conditions. When plants were not subjected to stress, the contribution of chlororespiration to photosynthetic electron flow regulation was not relevant, and another pathway, such as the ferredoxin-mediated cyclic pathway, was more important. However, when plants were subjected to water deficit and heat, chlororespiration was probably essential. PMID:23470922
Fitzpatrick, Ginny; Lanan, Michele C.; Bronstein, Judith L.
Mutualism is an often-complex interaction among multiple species, each of which may respond differently to abiotic conditions. The effects of temperature on the formation, dissolution, and success of these and other species interactions remain poorly understood. We studied the thermal ecology of the mutualism between the cactus Ferocactus wislizeni and its ant defenders (Forelius pruinosus, Crematogaster opuntiae, Solenopsis aurea, and Solenopsis xyloni) in the Sonoran Desert, USA. The ants are attracted to extrafloral nectar produced by the plants and in exchange protect the plants from herbivores; there is a hierarchy of mutualist effectiveness based on aggression toward herbivores. We determined the relationship between temperature and ant activity on plants, the thermal tolerance of each ant species, and ant activity in relation to the thermal environment of plants. Temperature played a role in determining which species interact as mutualists. Three of the four ant species abandoned the plants during the hottest part of the day (up to 40°C), returning when surface temperature began to decrease in the afternoon. The least effective ant mutualist, F. pruinosus, had a significantly higher critical thermal maximum than the other three species, was active across the entire range of plant surface temperatures observed (13.8-57.0°C), and visited plants that reached the highest temperatures. F. pruinosus occupied some plants full-time and invaded plants occupied by more dominant species when those species were thermally excluded. Combining data on thermal tolerance and mutualist effectiveness provides a potentially powerful tool for predicting the effects of temperature on mutualisms and mutualistic species. PMID:25012597
Fuchslueger, L.; Bahn, M.; Fritz, K.; Hasibeder, R.; Richter, A.
There is growing evidence that climate extremes may affect ecosystem carbon dynamics more strongly than gradual changes in temperatures or precipitation. Climate projections suggest more frequent heat waves accompanied by extreme drought periods in many parts of Europe, including the Alps. Drought is considered to decrease plant C uptake and turnover, which may in turn decrease belowground C allocation and potentially has significant consequences for microbial community composition and functioning. However, information on effects of drought on C dynamics at the plant-soil interface in real ecosystems is still scarce. Our study aimed at understanding how summer drought affects soil microbial community composition and the uptake of recently assimilated plant C by different microbial groups in grassland. We hypothesized that under drought 1) the microbial community shifts, fungi being less affected than bacteria, 2) plants decrease belowground C allocation, which further reduces C transfer to soil microbes and 3) the combined effects of belowground C allocation, reduced soil C transport due to reduced soil moisture and shift in microbial communities cause an accumulation of extractable organic C in the soil. Our study was conducted as part of a rain-exclusion experiment in a subalpine meadow in the Austrian Central Alps. After eight weeks of rain exclusion we pulse labelled drought and control plots with 13CO2 and traced C in plant biomass, extractable organic C (EOC) and soil microbial communities using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Drought induced a shift of the microbial community composition: gram-positive bacteria became more dominant, whereas gram-negative bacteria were not affected by drought. Also the relative abundance of fungal biomass was not affected by drought. While total microbial biomass (as estimated by total microbial PLFA content) increased during drought, less 13C was taken up. This reduction was pronounced for bacterial biomarkers. It reflects
Bettini, Priscilla P; Marvasi, Massimiliano; Fani, Fabiola; Lazzara, Luigi; Cosi, Elena; Melani, Lorenzo; Mauro, Maria Luisa
Insertion of Agrobacterium rhizogenes rolB gene into plant genome affects plant development, hormone balance and defence. However, beside the current research, the overall transcriptional response and gene expression of rolB as a modulator in plant is unknown. Transformed rolB tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cultivar Tondino has been used to investigate the differential expression profile. Tomato is a well-known model organism both at the genetic and molecular level, and one of the most important commercial food crops in the world. Through the construction and characterization of a cDNA subtracted library, we have investigated the differential gene expression between transgenic clones of rolB and control tomato and have evaluated genes specifically transcribed in transgenic rolB plants. Among the selected genes, five genes encoding for chlorophyll a/b binding protein, carbonic anhydrase, cytochrome b6/f complex Fe-S subunit, potassium efflux antiporter 3, and chloroplast small heat-shock protein, all involved in chloroplast function, were identified. Measurement of photosynthesis efficiency by the level of three different photosynthetic parameters (Fv/Fm, rETR, NPQ) showed rolB significant increase in non-photochemical quenching and a, b chlorophyll content. Our results point to highlight the role of rolB on plant fitness by improving photosynthesis.
Gibbs, Melanie; Van Dyck, Hans; Breuker, Casper J
With global climate change, rainfall is becoming more variable. Predicting the responses of species to changing rainfall levels is difficult because, for example in herbivorous species, these effects may be mediated indirectly through changes in host plant quality. Furthermore, species responses may result from a simultaneous interaction between rainfall levels and other environmental variables such as anthropogenic land use or habitat quality. In this eco-evolutionary study, we examined how male and female Pararge aegeria (L.) from woodland and agricultural landscape populations were affected by the development on drought-stressed host plants. Compared with individuals from woodland landscapes, when reared on drought-stressed plants agricultural individuals had longer development times, reduced survival rates and lower adult body masses. Across both landscape types, growth on drought-stressed plants resulted in males and females with low forewing aspect ratios and in females with lower wing loading and reduced fecundity. Development on drought-stressed plants also had a landscape-specific effect on reproductive output; agricultural females laid eggs that had a significantly lower hatching success. Overall, our results highlight several potential mechanisms by which low water availability, via changes in host plant quality, may differentially influence P. aegeria populations relative to landscape structure.
Yeh, H W; Wang, W M
The stable isotope composition of the light elements (i.e., H, C, N, O and S) of organic samples varies significantly and, for C, is also unique and distinct from that of inorganic carbon. This is the result of (1) the isotope composition of reactants, (2) the nature of the reactions leading to formation and post-formational modification of the samples, (3) the environmental conditions under which the reactions took place, and (4) the relative concentration of the reactants compared to that of the products (i.e., [products]/[reactants] ratio). This article will examine the carbon isotope composition of terrestrial plant materials and its relationship with the above factors. delta13C(PDB) values of terrestrial plants range approximately from -8 to -38%, inclusive of C3-plants (-22 to -38%), C4-plants (-8 to -15%) and CAM-plants (-13 to -30%). Thus, the delta13C(PDB) values largely reflect the photosynthesis pathways of a plant as well as the genetics (i.e., species difference), delta13C(PDB) values of source CO2, relevant humidity, CO2/O2 ratios, wind and light intensity etc. Significant variations in these values also exist among different tissues, different portions of a tissue and different compounds. This is mainly a consequence of metabolic reactions. Animals mainly inherit the delta13C(PDB) values of the foods they consume; therefore, their delta13C(PDB) values are similar. The delta13C(PDB) values of plant materials, thus, contain information regarding the inner workings of the plants, the environmental conditions under which they grow, the delta13C(PDB) values of CO2 sources etc., and are unique. Furthermore, this uniqueness is passed on to their derivative matter, such as animals, humus etc. Hence, they are very powerful tools in many areas of research, including the ecological and environmental sciences.
Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo
The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity.
Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo
The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity. PMID:26197473
Fischer, Christine; Britta, Merkel; Nico, Eisenhauer; Christiane, Roscher; Sabine, Attinger; Stefan, Scheu; Anke, Hildebrandt
Background and aims: In this study we analyzed the influences of plant community characteristics, soil texture and earthworm presence on infiltration rates on a managed grassland plant diversity experiment assessing the role of biotic and abiotic factors on soil hydrology. Methods: We measured infiltration using a hood infiltrometer in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density (earthworm extraction) nested in plots of different plant species richness (1, 4, and 16), plant functional group number and composition (1 to 4; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs) in early summer (June) and autumn (September, October) 2011. Results: The presence of certain plant functional groups such as grasses and legumes influenced infiltration rates and this effect enhanced during the growing season. Infiltration was significantly higher in plots containing legumes than in plots without, and it was significantly lower in the presence of grasses than in their absence. In early summer, earthworm presence and biomass increased the infiltration rates, independently of plant species richness. In October, plant species richness only affected infiltration rates in reduced earthworm plots. At the end of the growing season earthworm populations were negatively influenced by grasses and positively by legumes. In September, infiltration rates were positive related to the proportion of finer grains. The correlation disappears when removing all plots containing legumes from the sample. For all measurements the infiltration rates decreases from early summer to autumn at the matric potentials at pressure zero and -0.02 m, but not for smaller macropores at matric potentials -0.04 and -0.06m. Conclusions: Considering infiltration rates as ecosystem function, this function will largely depend on the ecosystem composition and season, not on biodiversity per se. Our results indicate that biotic factors are of overriding influence for shaping infiltration rates mainly for larger macropores
Microbial composition in a deep saline aquifer in the North German Basin -microbiologically induced corrosion and mineral precipitation affecting geothermal plant operation and the effects of plant downtime
Lerm, Stephanie; Westphal, Anke; Miethling-Graff, Rona; Alawi, Mashal; Seibt, Andrea; Wolfgramm, Markus; Würdemann, Hilke
The microbial composition in fluids of a deep saline geothermal used aquifer in the North German Basin was characterized over a period of five years. The genetic fingerprinting techniques PCR-SSCP and PCR-DGGE revealed distinct microbial communities in fluids produced from the cold and warm side of the aquifer. Direct cell counting and quantification of 16S rRNA genes and dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrA) genes by real-time PCR proved different population sizes in fluids, showing higher abundance of Bacteria and sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) in cold fluids compared to warm fluids. Predominating SRB in the cold well probably accounted for corrosion damage to the submersible well pump, and iron sulfide precipitates in the near wellbore area and topside facility filters. This corresponded to a lower sulfate content in fluids produced from the cold well as well as higher content of hydrogen gas that was probably released from corrosion, and maybe favoured growth of hydrogenotrophic SRB. Plant downtime significantly influenced the microbial biocenosis in fluids. Samples taken after plant restart gave indications about the processes occurring downhole during those phases. High DNA concentrations in fluids at the beginning of the restart process with a decreasing trend over time indicated a higher abundance of microbes during plant downtime compared to regular plant operation. It is likely that a gradual drop in temperature as well as stagnant conditions favoured the growth of microbes and maturation of biofilms at the casing and in pores of the reservoir rock in the near wellbore area. Furthermore, it became obvious that the microorganisms were more associated to particles then free-living. This study reflects the high influence of microbial populations for geothermal plant operation, because microbiologically induced precipitative and corrosive processes adversely affect plant reliability. Those processes may favourably occur during plant downtime due to enhanced
Zhang, Bo; Chen, Hao-Wei; Mu, Rui-Ling; Zhang, Wang-Ke; Zhao, Ming-Yu; Wei, Wei; Wang, Fang; Yu, Hui; Lei, Gang; Zou, Hong-Feng; Ma, Biao; Chen, Shou-Yi; Zhang, Jin-Song
The NIMA-related kinases (NEKs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases involved largely in cell cycle control in fungi, mammals and other eukaryotes. In Arabidopsis, NEK6 is involved in the regulation of epidermal cell morphogenesis. However, other roles of NEK6 in plants are less well understood. Here we report functions of NEK6 in plant growth, development and stress responses in Arabidopsis. NEK6 transcripts and proteins are induced by ethylene precursor ACC and salt stress. Expression of other NEK genes except NEK5 is also responsive to the two treatments. Overexpression and mutant analysis disclose that the NEK6 gene increases rosette growth, seed yield and lateral root formation. However, NEK6 appears to play a negative role in the control of seed size. The gene also promotes plant tolerance to salt stress and osmotic stress in its overexpressing plants. The NEK6 gene may achieve its function through suppression of ethylene biosynthesis and activation of CYCB1;1 and CYCA3;1 expression. Our present study reveals new functions of the NEK6 gene in plant growth and stress tolerance, and manipulation of NEK6 may improve important agronomic traits in crop plants.
De La Fuente, Leonardo; Parker, Jennifer K.; Oliver, Jonathan E.; Granger, Shea; Brannen, Phillip M.; van Santen, Edzard; Cobine, Paul A.
Xylella fastidiosa is a plant pathogenic bacterium that lives inside the host xylem vessels, where it forms biofilm believed to be responsible for disrupting the passage of water and nutrients. Here, Nicotiana tabacum was infected with X. fastidiosa, and the spatial and temporal changes in the whole-leaf ionome (i.e. the mineral and trace element composition) were measured as the host plant transitioned from healthy to diseased physiological status. The elemental composition of leaves was used as an indicator of the physiological changes in the host at a specific time and relative position during plant development. Bacterial infection was found to cause significant increases in concentrations of calcium prior to the appearance of symptoms and decreases in concentrations of phosphorous after symptoms appeared. Field-collected leaves from multiple varieties of grape, blueberry, and pecan plants grown in different locations over a four-year period in the Southeastern US showed the same alterations in Ca and P. This descriptive ionomics approach characterizes the existence of a mineral element-based response to X. fastidiosa using a model system suitable for further manipulation to uncover additional details of the role of mineral elements during plant-pathogen interactions. This is the first report on the dynamics of changes in the ionome of the host plant throughout the process of infection by a pathogen. PMID:23667547
van Loon, Marloes P; Schieving, Feike; Rietkerk, Max; Dekker, Stefan C; Sterck, Frank; Anten, Niels P R
How plants respond to climate change is of major concern, as plants will strongly impact future ecosystem functioning, food production and climate. Here, we investigated how vegetation structure and functioning may be influenced by predicted increases in annual temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration, and modeled the extent to which local plant-plant interactions may modify these effects. A canopy model was developed, which calculates photosynthesis as a function of light, nitrogen, temperature, CO2 and water availability, and considers different degrees of light competition between neighboring plants through canopy mixing; soybean (Glycine max) was used as a reference system. The model predicts increased net photosynthesis and reduced stomatal conductance and transpiration under atmospheric CO2 increase. When CO2 elevation is combined with warming, photosynthesis is increased more, but transpiration is reduced less. Intriguingly, when competition is considered, the optimal response shifts to producing larger leaf areas, but with lower stomatal conductance and associated vegetation transpiration than when competition is not considered. Furthermore, only when competition is considered are the predicted effects of elevated CO2 on leaf area index (LAI) well within the range of observed effects obtained by Free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments. Together, our results illustrate how competition between plants may modify vegetation responses to climate change.
Aarssen, Lonnie W.; Schamp, Brandon S.; Wight, Stephanie
According to traditional theory, success in competition between plant species generally involves a 'size-advantage'. We predicted therefore that plants with larger body size should impose greater limits on the number of species — especially relatively small ones — that can reside within their immediate neighbourhoods. Species composition was compared within local neighbourhoods surrounding target plants of different sizes belonging to one of the largest herbaceous species found within old-field vegetation in eastern Ontario Canada — Centaurea jacea. Resident species density was generally greater within immediate 'inner' target neighbourhoods than within adjacent circular 'outer' neighbourhoods, and mean body size of resident neighbour species was unrelated to increases in target plant size. As target plant size increased, the proportion of resident neighbour species that were reproductive increased. Relatively big plants of C. jacea do not limit the number or the proportion of reproductive species that can coexist within their immediate neighbourhoods, nor do they cause local exclusion of relatively small species from these neighbourhoods. These results fail to support the 'size-advantage' hypothesis and are more consistent with the 'reproductive economy advantage' hypothesis: success under intense competition is promoted by capacity to recruit offspring that — despite severe suppression — are able to reach their minimum body size needed for reproduction, and hence produce grand-offspring for the next generation. The latter is facilitated by a relatively small minimum reproductive threshold size, which is generally negatively correlated with a relatively large maximum potential body size.
De La Fuente, Leonardo; Parker, Jennifer K; Oliver, Jonathan E; Granger, Shea; Brannen, Phillip M; van Santen, Edzard; Cobine, Paul A
Xylella fastidiosa is a plant pathogenic bacterium that lives inside the host xylem vessels, where it forms biofilm believed to be responsible for disrupting the passage of water and nutrients. Here, Nicotiana tabacum was infected with X. fastidiosa, and the spatial and temporal changes in the whole-leaf ionome (i.e. the mineral and trace element composition) were measured as the host plant transitioned from healthy to diseased physiological status. The elemental composition of leaves was used as an indicator of the physiological changes in the host at a specific time and relative position during plant development. Bacterial infection was found to cause significant increases in concentrations of calcium prior to the appearance of symptoms and decreases in concentrations of phosphorous after symptoms appeared. Field-collected leaves from multiple varieties of grape, blueberry, and pecan plants grown in different locations over a four-year period in the Southeastern US showed the same alterations in Ca and P. This descriptive ionomics approach characterizes the existence of a mineral element-based response to X. fastidiosa using a model system suitable for further manipulation to uncover additional details of the role of mineral elements during plant-pathogen interactions. This is the first report on the dynamics of changes in the ionome of the host plant throughout the process of infection by a pathogen.
Mumm, Roland; Poelman, Erik H.; Yang, Yue; Pichersky, Eran; Dicke, Marcel
The indirect defense mechanisms of plants comprise the production of herbivore-induced plant volatiles that can attract natural enemies of plant attackers. One of the often emitted compounds after herbivory is methyl salicylate (MeSA). Here, we studied the importance of this caterpillar-induced compound in the attraction of the parasitoid wasp Diadegma semiclausum by using a mutant Arabidopsis line. Pieris rapae infested AtBSMT1-KO mutant Arabidopsis plants, compromised in the biosynthesis of MeSA, were more attractive to parasitoids than infested wild-type plants. This suggests that the presence of MeSA has negative effects on parasitoid host-finding behavior when exposed to wild-type production of herbivore-induced Arabidopsis volatiles. Furthermore, in line with this, we recorded a positive correlation between MeSA dose and repellence of D. semiclausum when supplementing the headspace of caterpillar-infested AtBSMT1-KO plants with synthetic MeSA. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10886-010-9787-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:20407809
Roberts, D M; Besl, L; Oh, S H; Masterson, R V; Schell, J; Stacey, G
Transgenic plants were constructed that express two foreign calmodulins (VU-1 and VU-3 calmodulins) derived from a cloned synthetic calmodulin gene. VU-1 calmodulin, similar to endogenous plant calmodulin, possesses a lysine residue at position 115 and undergoes posttranslational methylation. VU-3 calmodulin is a site-directed mutant of VU-1 calmodulin that is identical in sequence except for the substitution of an arginine at position 115 and thus is incapable of methylation. Both calmodulin genes, under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, were expressed in transgenic tobacco. Foreign calmodulin protein accumulated in plant tissues to levels equivalent to that of the endogenous calmodulin. All transformed lines of VU-1 plants were indistinguishable from untransformed controls with respect to growth and development. However, all transformed lines of VU-3 plants were characterized by decreased stem internode growth, reduced seed production, and reduced seed and pollen viability. The data suggest that these phenotypes are the result of the expression of the calmodulin mutant rather than the position of transferred DNA insertion or the overall alteration of calmodulin levels. Analyses of the activity of the purified transgenic calmodulins suggest that calmodulin-dependent NAD kinase is among the potential targets that may have altered regulation in VU-3 transgenic plants. Images PMID:1325656
Guo, Mei; Rupe, Mary A; Dieter, Jo Ann; Zou, Jijun; Spielbauer, Daniel; Duncan, Keith E; Howard, Richard J; Hou, Zhenglin; Simmons, Carl R
Genes involved in cell number regulation may affect plant growth and organ size and, ultimately, crop yield. The tomato (genus Solanum) fruit weight gene fw2.2, for instance, governs a quantitative trait locus that accounts for 30% of fruit size variation, with increased fruit size chiefly due to increased carpel ovary cell number. To expand investigation of how related genes may impact other crop plant or organ sizes, we identified the maize (Zea mays) gene family of putative fw2.2 orthologs, naming them Cell Number Regulator (CNR) genes. This family represents an ancient eukaryotic family of Cys-rich proteins containing the PLAC8 or DUF614 conserved motif. We focused on native expression and transgene analysis of the two maize members closest to Le-fw2.2, namely, CNR1 and CNR2. We show that CNR1 reduced overall plant size when ectopically overexpressed and that plant and organ size increased when its expression was cosuppressed or silenced. Leaf epidermal cell counts showed that the increased or decreased transgenic plant and organ size was due to changes in cell number, not cell size. CNR2 expression was found to be negatively correlated with tissue growth activity and hybrid seedling vigor. The effects of CNR1 on plant size and cell number are reminiscent of heterosis, which also increases plant size primarily through increased cell number. Regardless of whether CNRs and other cell number-influencing genes directly contribute to, or merely mimic, heterosis, they may aid generation of more vigorous and productive crop plants.
He, Lei; Yang, Haishui; Yu, Zhenxing; Tang, Jianjun; Xu, Ligen; Chen, Xin
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important components of soil microbial communities, and play important role in plant growth. However, the effects of AMF phylogenetic groups (Glomeraceae and non-Glomeraceae) on host plant under various heavy metal levels are not clear. Here we conducted a meta-analysis to compare symbiotic relationship between AMF phylogenetic groups (Glomeraceae and non-Glomeraceae) and host plant functional groups (herbs vs. trees, and non-legumes vs. legumes) at three heavy metal levels. In the meta-analysis, we calculate the effect size (ln(RR)) by taking the natural logarithm of the response ratio of inoculated to non-inoculated shoot biomass from each study. We found that the effect size of Glomeraceae increased, but the effect size of non-Glomeraceae decreased under high level of heavy metal compared to low level. According to the effect size, both Glomeraceae and non-Glomeraceae promoted host plant growth, but had different effects under various heavy metal levels. Glomeraceae provided more benefit to host plants than non-Glomeraceae did under heavy metal condition, while non-Glomeraceae provided more benefit to host plants than Glomeraceae did under no heavy metal. AMF phylogenetic groups also differed in promoting plant functional groups under various heavy metal levels. Interacting with Glomeraceae, herbs and legumes grew better than trees and non-legumes did under high heavy metal level, while trees and legumes grew better than herbs and non-legumes did under medium heavy metal level. Interacting with non-Glomeraceae, herbs and legumes grew better than trees and non-legumes did under no heavy metal. We suggested that the combination of legume with Glomeraceae could be a useful way in the remediation of heavy metal polluted environment.
Piñero, María C; Pérez-Jiménez, Margarita; López-Marín, Josefa; Del Amor, Francisco M
The assimilation and availability of nitrogen in its different forms can significantly affect the response of primary productivity under the current atmospheric alteration and soil degradation. An elevated CO2 concentration (e[CO2]) triggers changes in the efficiency and efficacy of photosynthetic processes, water use and product yield, the plant response to stress being altered with respect to ambient CO2 conditions (a[CO2]). Additionally, NH4(+) has been related to improved plant responses to stress, considering both energy efficiency in N-assimilation and the overcoming of the inhibition of photorespiration at e[CO2]. Therefore, the aim of this work was to determine the response of sweet pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L.) receiving an additional supply of NH4(+) (90/10 NO3(-)/NH4(+)) to salinity stress (60mM NaCl) under a[CO2] (400μmolmol(-1)) or e[CO2] (800μmolmol(-1)). Salt-stressed plants grown at e[CO2] showed DW accumulation similar to that of the non-stressed plants at a[CO2]. The supply of NH4(+) reduced growth at e[CO2] when salinity was imposed. Moreover, NH4(+) differentially affected the stomatal conductance and water use efficiency and the leaf Cl(-), K(+), and Na(+) concentrations, but the extent of the effects was influenced by the [CO2]. An antioxidant-related response was prompted by salinity, the total phenolics and proline concentrations being reduced by NH4(+) at e[CO2]. Our results show that the effect of NH4(+) on plant salinity tolerance should be globally re-evaluated as e[CO2] can significantly alter the response, when compared with previous studies at a[CO2].
Neher, Deborah A; Asmussen, David; Lovell, Sarah Taylor
The spatial extent of the transported materials from three road types was studied in forest soil and vegetative communities in Vermont. Hypotheses were two-fold: 1) soil chemical concentrations above background environment would reflect traffic volume and road type (highway>2-lane paved>gravel), and 2) plant communities close to the road and near roads with greater traffic will be disturbance-tolerant and adept at colonization. Soil samples were gathered from 12 randomly identified transects for each of three road types classified as "highway," "two-lane paved," and "gravel." Using GIS mapping, transects were constructed perpendicular to the road, and samples were gathered at the shoulder, ditch, backslope, 10 m from the edge of the forest, and 50 m from road center. Sample locations were analyzed for a suite of soil elements and parameters, as well as percent area coverage by plant species. The main effects from roads depended on the construction modifications required for a roadway (i.e., vegetation clearing and topography modification). The cleared area defined the type of plant community and the distance that road pollutants travel. Secondarily, road presence affected soil chemistry. Metal concentrations (e.g., Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn) correlated positively with road type. Proximity to all road types made the soils more alkaline (pH 7.7) relative to the acidic soil of the adjacent native forest (pH 5.6). Roadside microtopography had marked effects on the composition of plant communities based on the direction of water flow. Ditch areas supported wetland plant species, greater soil moisture and sulfur content, while plant communities closer to the road were characteristic of drier upland zones. The area beyond the edge of the forest did not appear to be affected chemically or physically by any of the road types, possibly due to the dense vegetation that typically develops outside of the managed right-of-way.
Zhou, X B; Cébron, A; Béguiristain, T; Leyval, C
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) dissipation efficiency can be increased in the plant rhizosphere, but may be affected by various environmental factors. We investigated the effects of the watering regime and phosphorus concentration on PAH dissipation in the rhizosphere of mycorrhizal plants in a pot experiment. Two plant species, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), were co-cultured and inoculated with an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Glomus intraradices) in PAH (phenanthrene (PHE)=500 mg kg(-1), pyrene (PYR)=500 mg kg(-1), dibenzo(a,h)anthracene (DBA)=65 mg kg(-1)) spiked agricultural soil for 6 weeks. Treatments with different phosphorus concentrations and watering regimes were compared. The PHE dissipation reached 90% in all treatments and was not affected by the treatments. The major finding was the significant positive impact of mycorrhizal plants on the dissipation of high molecular weight PAH (DBA) in high-water low-phosphorus treatment. Such an effect was not observed in high-water high-phosphorus and low-water low-phosphorus treatments, where AM colonization was very low. A positive linear relationship was detected between PYR dissipation and the percentage of Gram-positive PAH-ring hydroxylating dioxygenase genes in high-water high-phosphorus treatments, but not in the other two treatments with lower phosphorus concentrations and water contents. Such results indicated that the phosphorus and water regime were important parameters for the dissipation of HMW-PAH.
De Frenne, Pieter; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Francisco; De Schrijver, An; Coomes, David A; Hermy, Martin; Vangansbeke, Pieter; Verheyen, Kris
Competition for light has profound effects on plant performance in virtually all terrestrial ecosystems. Nowhere is this more evident than in forests, where trees create environmental heterogeneity that shapes the dynamics of forest-floor communities(1-3). Observational evidence suggests that biotic responses to both anthropogenic global warming and nitrogen pollution may be attenuated by the shading effects of trees and shrubs(4-9). Here we show experimentally that tree shade is slowing down changes in below-canopy communities due to warming. We manipulated levels of photosynthetically active radiation, temperature and nitrogen, alone and in combination, in a temperate forest understorey over a 3-year period, and monitored the composition of the understorey community. Light addition, but not nitrogen enrichment, accelerated directional plant community responses to warming, increasing the dominance of warmth-preferring taxa over cold-tolerant plants (a process described as thermophilization(6,10-12)). Tall, competitive plants took greatest advantage of the combination of elevated temperature and light. Warming of the forest floor did not result in strong community thermophilization unless light was also increased. Our findings suggest that the maintenance of locally closed canopy conditions could reduce, at least temporarily, warming-induced changes in forest floor plant communities.
Davenport, Jon M; Riley, Alex W
Coexistence of organisms in nature is more likely when phenotypic similarities of individuals are reduced. Despite the lack of similarity, distantly related taxa still compete intensely for shared resources. No larger difference between organisms that share a common prey could exist than between carnivorous plants and animals. However, few studies have considered inter-Kingdom competition among carnivorous plants and animals. In order to evaluate interactions between a carnivorous plant (greater bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris) and a vertebrate (bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus) on a shared prey (zooplankton), we conducted a mesocosm experiment. We deployed two levels of bladderwort presence (functional and crushed) and measured bluegill responses (survival and growth). Zooplankton abundance was reduced the greatest in bluegill and functional bladderwort treatments. Bluegill survival did not differ among treatments, but growth was greatest with crushed bladderwort. Thus, bluegill growth was facilitated by reducing interference competition in the presence of crushed bladderwort. The facilitating effect was dampened, however, when functional bladderwort removed a shared prey. To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to experimentally demonstrate interactions between a carnivorous plant and a fish. Our data suggest that carnivorous plants may actively promote or reduce animal co-occurrence from some ecosystems via facilitation or competition.
Carter, Laura J; Williams, Mike; Böttcher, Christine; Kookana, Rai S
The detection of a range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the soil environment has led to a number of publications demonstrating uptake by crops, however very few studies have explored the potential for impacts on plant development as a result of API uptake. This study investigated the effect of carbamazepine and verapamil (0.005-10 mg/kg) on a range of plant responses in zucchini (Cucurbita pepo). Uptake increased in a dose-dependent manner, with maximum leaf concentrations of 821.9 and 2.2 mg/kg for carbamazepine and verapamil, respectively. Increased carbamazepine uptake by zucchini resulted in a decrease in above (<60%) and below (<30%) ground biomass compared to the controls (p < 0.05). At soil concentrations >4 mg/kg the mature leaves suffered from burnt edges and white spots as well as a reduction in photosynthetic pigments but no such effects were seen for verapamil. For both APIs, further investigations revealed significant differences in the concentrations of selected plant hormones (auxins, cytokinins, abscisic acid and jasmonates), and in the nutrient composition of the leaves in comparison to the controls (p < 0.05). This is some of the first research to demonstrate that the exposure of plants to APIs is likely to cause impacts on plant development with unknown implications.
Muljadi, E.; Samaan, Nader A.; Gevorgian, Vahan; Li, Jun; Pasupulati, Subbaiah
A wind power plant consists of a large number of turbines interconnected by underground cable. A pad-mount transformer at each turbine steps up the voltage from generating voltage (690 V) to a medium voltage (34.5 kV). All turbines in the plant are connected to the substation transformer where the voltage is stepped up to the transmission level. An important aspect of wind power plant (WPP) impact studies is to evaluate the short-circuit (SC) current contribution of the plant into the transmission network under different fault conditions. This task can be challenging to protection engineers due to the topology differences between different types of wind turbine generators (WTGs) and the conventional generating units. This paper investigates the short circuit behavior of a wind power plant for different types of faults. The impact of wind turbine types, the transformer configuration, and the reactive compensation capacitor will be investigated. The voltage response at different buses will be observed. Finally, the SC line currents will be presented along with its symmetrical components.
Muljadi, E.; Samaan, Nader A.; Gevorgian, Vahan; Li, Jun; Pasupulati, Subbaiah
A wind power plant consists of a large number of turbines interconnected by underground cable. A pad-mount transformer at each turbine steps up the voltage from generating voltage (690 V) to a medium voltage (34.5 kV). All turbines in the plant are connected to the substation transformer where the voltage is stepped up to the transmission level. An important aspect of wind power plant (WPP) impact studies is to evaluate the short-circuit (SC) current contribution of the plant into the transmission network under different fault conditions. This task can be challenging to protection engineers due to the topology differences between different types of wind turbine generators (WTGs) and the conventional generating units. This paper investigates the short circuit behavior of a wind power plant for different types of faults. The impact of wind turbine types, the transformer configuration, and the reactive compensation capacitor will be investigated. The voltage response at different buses will be observed. Finally, the SC line currents will be presented along with its symmetrical components.
McCullough, Sarah A; Endress, Bryan A
In recent years, the use of postfire mulch treatments to stabilize slopes and reduce soil erosion in shrubland ecosystems has increased; however, the potential effects on plant recovery have not been examined. To evaluate the effects of mulching treatments on postfire plant recovery in southern California coastal sage scrub, we conducted a field experiment with three experimental treatments, consisting of two hydromulch products and an erosion control blanket, plus a control treatment. The area burned in 2007, and treatments were applied to six plot blocks before the 2008 growing season. Treatment effects on plant community recovery were analyzed with a mixed effects ANOVA analysis using a univariate repeated measures approach. Absolute plant cover increased from 13 to 90% by the end of the second growing season, and the mean relative cover of exotic species was 32%. The two hydromulch treatments had no effect on any plant community recovery response variable measured. For the erosion control blanket treatment, the amount of bare ground cover at the end of the second growing season was significantly lower (P = 0.01), and greater shrub height was observed (P < 0.01). We conclude that postfire mulch treatments did not provide either a major benefit or negative impact to coastal sage scrub recovery on the study area.
Spokevicius, Antanas V; Southerton, Simon G; MacMillan, Colleen P; Qiu, Deyou; Gan, Siming; Tibbits, Josquin F G; Moran, Gavin F; Bossinger, Gerd
Cellulose microfibrils are the major structural component of plant secondary cell walls. Their arrangement in plant primary cell walls, and its consequent influence on cell expansion and cellular morphology, is directed by cortical microtubules; cylindrical protein filaments composed of heterodimers of alpha- and beta-tubulin. In secondary cell walls of woody plant stems the orientation of cellulose microfibrils influences the strength and flexibility of wood, providing the physical support that has been instrumental in vascular plant colonization of the troposphere. Here we show that a Eucalyptus grandisbeta-tubulin gene (EgrTUB1) is involved in determining the orientation of cellulose microfibrils in plant secondary fibre cell walls. This finding is based on RNA expression studies in mature trees, where we identified and isolated EgrTUB1 as a candidate for association with wood-fibre formation, and on the analysis of somatically derived transgenic wood sectors in Eucalyptus. We show that cellulose microfibril angle (MFA) is correlated with EgrTUB1 expression, and that MFA was significantly altered as a consequence of stable transformation with EgrTUB1. Our findings present an important step towards the production of fibres with altered tensile strength, stiffness and elastic properties, and shed light on one of the molecular mechanisms that has enabled trees to dominate terrestrial ecosystems.
Duetting, Patrick S; Ding, Hongjian; Neufeld, Jeffrey; Eigenbrode, Sanford D
This study examined the effects of the surface wax bloom of pea plants, Pisum sativum, on infection of pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum, by the fungal pathogen Pandora neoaphidis. In prior field surveys, a higher proportion of P. neoaphidis-killed pea aphids (cadavers) had been observed on a pea line with reduced wax bloom, as compared with a sister line with normal surface wax bloom. Laboratory bioassays were conducted in order to examine the mechanisms. After plants of each line infested with aphids were exposed to similar densities of conidia, the rate of accumulation of cadavers on the reduced wax line was significantly greater than on the normal wax bloom line; at the end of the experiment (13d), the proportion of aphid cadavers on the reduced wax line was approximately four times that on the normal wax bloom line. When plants were exposed to conidia first and then infested with aphids, the rate of accumulation of cadavers was slightly but significantly greater on the reduced wax line, and infection at the end of the experiment (16d) did not differ between the lines. When aphids were exposed first and then released onto the plants, no differences in the proportion of aphid cadavers were observed between the pea lines. Greater infection of pea aphid on reduced wax peas appears to depend upon plants being exposed to inoculum while aphids are settled in typical feeding positions on the plant. Additional experiments demonstrated increased adhesion and germination by P. neoaphidis conidia to leaf surfaces of the reduced wax line as compared with normal wax line, and this could help explain the higher infection rate by P. neoaphidis on the reduced wax line. In bioassays using surface waxes extracted from the two lines, there was no effect of wax source on germination of P. neoaphidis conidia.
Martínez Salvador, Martin; Mata-González, Ricardo; Morales Nieto, Carlos; Valdez-Cepeda, Ricardo
Agave salmiana is a native plant species harvested for the commercial production of mezcal ( Agave spirits) in the highlands of central Mexico. The objective of this study was to identify vegetation changes in natural communities where A. salmiana has been differentially harvested for commercial purposes. Three plant community categories were identified in the state of Zacatecas based on their history of A. salmiana utilization: short (less than 10 years of use), moderate (about 25 years), and long (60 or more years). Species cover, composition, and density were evaluated in field surveys by use category. A gradient of vegetation structure of the communities parallels the duration of A. salmiana use. A. salmiana density was greatest (3,125 plants ha-1) in the short-use areas and less (892 plants ha-1) in the moderate-use areas, associated with markedly greater density of shrubs (200%) and Opuntia spp. (50%) in moderate-use areas. The main shrubs were Larrea tridentata, Mimosa biuncifera, Jatropha dioica and Buddleia scordioides while the main Opuntia species were Opuntia leucotricha and Opuntia robusta. A. salmiana density was least (652 plants ha-1) in the long-use areas where shrubs were less abundant but Opuntia spp. density was 25% higher than in moderate-use areas. We suggest that shrubs may increase with moderate use creating an intermediate successional stage that facilitates the establishment of Opuntia spp. Long-term Agave use is generating new plant communities dominated by Opuntia spp. (nopaleras) as a replacement of the original communities dominated by A. salmiana (magueyeras).
Martínez Salvador, Martin; Mata-González, Ricardo; Morales Nieto, Carlos; Valdez-Cepeda, Ricardo
Agave salmiana is a native plant species harvested for the commercial production of mezcal (Agave spirits) in the highlands of central Mexico. The objective of this study was to identify vegetation changes in natural communities where A. salmiana has been differentially harvested for commercial purposes. Three plant community categories were identified in the state of Zacatecas based on their history of A. salmiana utilization: short (less than 10 years of use), moderate (about 25 years), and long (60 or more years). Species cover, composition, and density were evaluated in field surveys by use category. A gradient of vegetation structure of the communities parallels the duration of A. salmiana use. A. salmiana density was greatest (3,125 plants ha(-1)) in the short-use areas and less (892 plants ha(-1)) in the moderate-use areas, associated with markedly greater density of shrubs (200%) and Opuntia spp. (50%) in moderate-use areas. The main shrubs were Larrea tridentata, Mimosa biuncifera, Jatropha dioica and Buddleia scordioides while the main Opuntia species were Opuntia leucotricha and Opuntia robusta. A. salmiana density was least (652 plants ha(-1)) in the long-use areas where shrubs were less abundant but Opuntia spp. density was 25% higher than in moderate-use areas. We suggest that shrubs may increase with moderate use creating an intermediate successional stage that facilitates the establishment of Opuntia spp. Long-term Agave use is generating new plant communities dominated by Opuntia spp. (nopaleras) as a replacement of the original communities dominated by A. salmiana (magueyeras).
van de Water, P. K.; Barnum, E.
The effects of changing atmospheric CO2 on plant physiology mediate vegetation response to climate change. For example, growth chamber studies on short-lived plants show significant changes in plant morphology and physiological parameters such as changes in biomass and water-use efficiency (WUE; the amount of carbon assimilated to plant water-loss) as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increases from ˜200 p.p.m. to modern concentrations and beyond. Many modern studies show WUE increases linearly with rising atmospheric CO2 meaning that less water is expended for each unit of carbon assimilated. To test for the consistency of these findings with past, long-lived plants and in past communities growing under a similar range of atmospheric CO2 levels, macrofossils of select species were analyzed from packrat (Neotoma sp.) midden chronologies gathered throughout western North America. Measurement of and analysis for the stable isotope content of these macrofossils shows greater morphological and eco-physiological differences between species than expected from study results using growth chambers. For example, isotopic analysis shows long-standing associates, Pinus edulis and Juniperus spp. have significantly different WUE during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene. The WUE in Pinus edulis matches changes in atmospheric CO2 whereas Juniperus spp. does not. Yet over the same period, changes observed in Pinus flexilis needles from trees growing in cooler habitats above the pinyon-juniper woodlands are more similar to Juniperus spp. changes compared against trends in the more closely related Pinus edulis. Morphology changes occurring during this period include increased biomass and reduced stomata. These results show taxonomic differences in the morphological and physiological adaptation to changing CO2 concentrations. These responses need further assessment especially in light of their direct affect on plant-climate interactions.
This project aims to employ newly-developed chemical imaging techniques to measure, in real-time, the concentration, dynamics and spatial distribution of plant cell wall polymers during biomass growth with inoculation of transgenic symbiotic fungi, and to explore a new pathway of delivering detoxified metal to plant apoplast using transgenic symbiotic fungi, which will enhance metal accumulation from soil, and potentially these metals may in turn be used as catalysts to improve the efficiency of biomass conversion to biofuels. The proposed new pathway of biomass production will: 1) benefit metal and radionuclide contaminant mobility in subsurface environments, and 2) potentially improve biomass production and process for bioenergy
El-Kereamy, Ashraf; Bi, Yong-Mei; Mahmood, Kashif; Ranathunge, Kosala; Yaish, Mahmoud W.; Nambara, Eiji; Rothstein, Steven J.
Glutaredoxins (GRXs) are small glutathione dependent oxidoreductases that belong to the Thioredoxin (TRX) superfamily and catalyze the reduction of disulfide bonds of their substrate proteins. Plant GRXs include three different groups based on the motif sequence, namely CPYC, CGFS, and CC-type proteins. The rice CC-type proteins, OsGRX6 was identified during the screening for genes whose expression changes depending on the level of available nitrate. Overexpression of OsGRX6 in rice displayed a semi-dwarf phenotype. The OsGRX6 overexpressors contain a higher nitrogen content than the wild type, indicating that OsGRX6 plays a role in homeostatic regulation of nitrogen use. Consistent with this, OsGRX6 overexpressors displayed delayed chlorophyll degradation and senescence compared to the wild type plants. To examine if the growth defect of these transgenic lines attribute to disturbed plant hormone actions, plant hormone levels were measured. The levels of two cytokinins (CKs), 2-isopentenyladenine and trans-zeatin, and gibberellin A1 (GA1) were increased in these lines. We also found that these transgenic lines were less sensitive to exogenously applied GA, suggesting that the increase in GA1 is a result of the feedback regulation. These data suggest that OsGRX6 affects hormone signaling and nitrogen status in rice plants. PMID:26579177
Engel, C.; Weltzin, J.; Norby, R.
Plant community composition and ecosystem function may be altered by global atmospheric and climate change, including increased atmospheric [CO2], temperature, and varying precipitation regimes. We are conducting an experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) utilizing open-top chambers to administer experimental treatments of elevated CO2 (+300 ppm), warming (+ 3 degrees Celsius), and varying soil moisture availability to experimental plant communities constructed of seven common old-field species, including C3 and C4 grasses, forbs, and legumes. During 2004 we monitored plant community phenology (NDVI) and plant reproductive phenology. Early in the year, NDVI was greater in wet treatment plots, and was unaffected by main effects of temperature or CO2. This result suggests that early in the season warming is insufficient to affect early canopy development. Differences in soil moisture sustained throughout the winter and into early spring may constitute an important control on early canopy greenup. Elevated CO2 alleviated detrimental effects of warming on NDVI, but only early in the season. As ambient temperatures increased, elevated temperatures negatively impacted NDVI only in the dry plots. Wetter conditions ameliorate the effects of warming on canopy greenness during the warmer seasons of the year. Warming increased rates of bolting, number of inflorescences, and time to reproductive maturity for Andropogon virginicus (a C4 bunchgrass). Solidago Canadensis (a C3 late-season forb) also produced flowers earlier in elevated temperatures. Conversely, none of the C3 grasses and forbs that bolt or flower in late spring or early summer responded to temperature or CO2. Results indicate that warming and drought may impact plant community phenology, and plant species reproductive phenology. Clearly community phenology is driven by complex interactions among temperature, water, and CO2 that change throughout the season. Our data stresses the importance of
Michaud, J P; Stahlman, P W; Jyoti, J L; Grant, A K
We conducted a 2-yr study to determine the effects of crop density and weeds on levels of damage caused by stalk-boring insects in rain-fed sunflowers in west-central Kansas. Weed-free sunflower had higher seed weight and oil content in 2007, but not in 2006, but weeds did not affect infestation by stalk-boring insects in either year. High-density sunflower had lower estimated seed yield per unit area than low-density sunflower in both years, but percentage oil was slightly greater in the high-density treatment in 2006. Sunflowers were more heavily infested by larvae of Ataxia hubbardi Fisher, Cylindrocopturus adspersus (Leconte), and Pelochrista womanana (Kearfott) in 2006 than in 2007, ostensibly as a result of being planted earlier. Larvae of Dectes texanus LeConte appeared unaffected by planting date and were present in > 70% of plants in both years. Conditions during the period of crop maturity were much drier in 2006 than in 2007 and were associated with higher seed oil content and earlier and faster progression of stalk girdling by D. texanus larvae in both low- and high-density plots. There was also a strong effect of plant density on girdling behavior that seemed to be mediated by effects on soil moisture. Stalk girdling began earlier in high-density plots and a larger proportion of plants were girdled compared with low-density plots on all sampling dates in both years. Certain cultural tactics, in particular reduced plant spacing, have potential to delay the onset of girdling behavior by D. texanus larvae and thus mitigate losses that otherwise result from the lodging of girdled plants.
Bater, Christopher W; Coops, Nicholas C; Wulder, Michael A; Hilker, Thomas; Nielsen, Scott E; McDermid, Greg; Stenhouse, Gordon B
Critical to habitat management is the understanding of not only the location of animal food resources, but also the timing of their availability. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) diets, for example, shift seasonally as different vegetation species enter key phenological phases. In this paper, we describe the use of a network of seven ground-based digital camera systems to monitor understorey and overstorey vegetation within species-specific regions of interest. Established across an elevation gradient in western Alberta, Canada, the cameras collected true-colour (RGB) images daily from 13 April 2009 to 27 October 2009. Fourth-order polynomials were fit to an RGB-derived index, which was then compared to field-based observations of phenological phases. Using linear regression to statistically relate the camera and field data, results indicated that 61% (r (2) = 0.61, df = 1, F = 14.3, p = 0.0043) of the variance observed in the field phenological phase data is captured by the cameras for the start of the growing season and 72% (r (2) = 0.72, df = 1, F = 23.09, p = 0.0009) of the variance in length of growing season. Based on the linear regression models, the mean absolute differences in residuals between predicted and observed start of growing season and length of growing season were 4 and 6 days, respectively. This work extends upon previous research by demonstrating that specific understorey and overstorey species can be targeted for phenological monitoring in a forested environment, using readily available digital camera technology and RGB-based vegetation indices.
Background/Objectives: To compare the efficacy of single versus multiple doses of plant sterols on circulating lipid level and cholesterol trafficking. Subjects/Methods: A randomized, placebo-controlled, three-phase (6 days/phase) crossover, supervised feeding trial was conducted in 19 subjects. Sub...
Lee, William G; Tanentzap, Andrew J; Heenan, Peter B
The hypothesis that early plant radiations on islands dampen diversification and reduce habitat occupancy of later radiations via niche pre-emption has never, to our knowledge, been tested. We investigated clade-level dynamics in plant radiations in the alpine zone, New Zealand. Our aim was to determine whether radiations from older colonizations influenced diversification and community dominance of species from later colonizations within a common bioclimatic zone over the past ca 10 Myr. We used stem ages derived from the phylogenies of 17 genera represented in alpine plant communities in the Murchison Mountains, Fiordland, and assessed their presence and cover in 262 (5 × 5 m) vegetation plots. Our results show clear age-related community assembly effects, whereby congenerics from older colonizing genera co-occur more frequently and with greater cover per unit area than those from younger colonizing genera. However, we find no evidence of increased species richness with age of colonization in the alpine zone. The data support priority effects via niche pre-emption among plant radiations influencing community assembly.
Mitochondria have a central role in the production of cellular energy. The biogenesis and functioning of mitochondria depends on the expression of both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. One approach to investigating the role of nuclear-mitochondrial cooperation in plant growth and development is to identify combinations of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes that result in altered but sublethal phenotypes. Plants that have certain maize nuclear genotypes in combination with cytoplasmic genomes from more distantly-related teosintes can exhibit incompatible phenotypes, such as reduced plant growth and yield and cytoplasmic male sterility, as well as altered mitochondrial gene expression. The characterization of these nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions was the focus of this grant. The authors were investigating the effects of two maize nuclear genes, RcmI and Mct, on mitochondrial function and gene expression. Plants with the teosinte cytoplasms and homozygous for the recessive rcm allele are small (miniature) and-slow-growing and the kernels are reduced in size. The authors mapped this locus to molecular markers on chromosome 7 and attempted to clone this locus by transposon tagging. The effects of the nuclear-cytoplasmic interaction on mitochondrial function and mitochondrial protein profiles were also studied.
Hydraulically connected wetland microcosms vegetated with either Typha latifolia or Myriophyllum aquaticum were amended with an NH4NO3 and permethrin mixture to assess the effectiveness of both plant species in mitigating ecological effects of the pollutant mixture on phytoplankton (as chlorophyll a...
Flue Gas Desulfurization Gypsum (FGDG) is produced by reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from themo-electric coal-fired power plants. The most common practice of FGDG production may trap some of the Mercury (Hg) present in the coal that normally would escape as vapor in the stack gases. Concern for t...
von Rein, I; Kayler, Z E; Premke, K; Gessler, A
With the projected increase in drought duration and intensity in future, small water bodies, and especially the terrestrial-aquatic interfaces, will be subjected to longer dry periods with desiccation of the sediment. Drought effects on the plant-sediment microorganism carbon continuum may disrupt the tight linkage between plants and microbes which governs sediment carbon and nutrient cycling, thus having a potential negative impact on carbon sequestration of small freshwater ecosystems. However, research on drought effects on the plant-sediment carbon transfer in aquatic ecosystems is scarce. We therefore exposed two emergent aquatic macrophytes, Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia, to a month-long summer drought in a mesocosm experiment. We followed the fate of carbon from leaves to sediment microbial communities with (13) CO2 pulse labelling and microbial phospholipid-derived fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. We found that drought reduced the total amount of carbon allocated to stem tissues but did not delay the transport. We also observed an increase in accumulation of (13) C-labelled sugars in roots and found a reduced incorporation of (13) C into the PLFAs of sediment microorganisms. Drought induced a switch in plant carbon allocation priorities, where stems received less new assimilates leading to reduced starch reserves whilst roots were prioritised with new assimilates, suggesting their use for osmoregulation. There were indications that the reduced carbon transfer from roots to microorganisms was due to the reduction of microbial activity via direct drought effects rather than to a decrease in root exudation or exudate availability.
Xu, Xia; Polley, H Wayne; Hofmockel, Kirsten; Daneshgar, Pedram P; Wilsey, Brian J
Plant invasions are an increasingly serious global concern, especially as the climate changes. Here, we explored how plant invasions differed between native- and novel exotic-dominated grasslands with experimental addition of summer precipitation in Texas in 2009. Exotic species greened up earlier than natives by an average of 18 days. This was associated with a lower invasion rate early in the growing season compared to native communities. However, invasion rate did not differ significantly between native and exotic communities across all sampling times. The predictors of invasion rate differed between native and exotic communities, with invasion being negatively influenced by species richness in natives and by dominant species in exotics. Interestingly, plant invasions matched the bimodal pattern of precipitation in Temple, Texas, and did not respond to the pulse of precipitation during the summer. Our results suggest that we will need to take different approaches in understanding of invasion between native and exotic grasslands. Moreover, with anticipated increasing variability in precipitation under global climate change, plant invasions may be constrained in their response if the precipitation pulses fall outside the normal growing period of invaders.
Traditionally grown maturity group (MG) V and VI, and more recently adapted MG IV soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] cultivars, are subject to late-season drought conditions in the Midsouthern United States when planted in mid-May resulting in yield limitations. Thus, the use of earlier maturing culti...
Dowdall, M; Standring, W; Shaw, G; Strand, P
Recent assessments of global climate/environmental change are reaching a consensus that global climate change is occurring but there is significant uncertainty over the likely magnitude of this change and its impacts. There is little doubt that all aspects of the natural environment will be impacted to some degree. Soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides has long been a significant topic in radioecology, both for the protection of humans and the environment from the effects of ionising radiation. Even after five decades of research considerable uncertainty exists as to the interplay of key environmental processes in controlling soil-plant transfer. As many of these processes are, to a lesser or greater extent, climate-dependent, it can be argued that climate/environmental change will impact soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides and subsequent transfers in specific environments. This discussion attempts to highlight the possible role of climatic and climate-dependent variables in soil-to-plant transfer processes within the overall predictions of climate/environmental change. The work is speculative, and intended to stimulate debate on a theme that radioecology has either ignored or avoided in recent years.
Li-Byarlay, Hongmei; Pittendrigh, Barry R; Murdock, Larry L
Plants produce proteins such as protease inhibitors and lectins as defenses against herbivorous insects and pathogens. However, no systematic studies have explored the structural responses in the midguts of insects when challenged with plant defensive proteins and lectins across different species. In this study, we fed two kinds of protease inhibitors and lectins to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and alpha-amylase inhibitors and lectins to the cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus. We assessed the changes in midgut cell structures by comparing them with such structures in insects receiving normal diets or subjected to food deprivation. Using light and transmission electron microscopy in both species, we observed structural changes in the midgut peritrophic matrix as well as shortened microvilli on the surfaces of midgut epithelial cells in D. melanogaster. Dietary inhibitors and lectins caused similar lesions in the epithelial cells but not much change in the peritrophic matrix in both species. We also noted structural damages in the Drosophila midgut after six hours of starvation and changes were still present after 12 hours. Our study provided the first evidence of key structural changes of midguts using a comparative approach between a dipteran and a coleopteran. Our particular observation and discussion on plant-insect interaction and dietary stress are relevant for future mode of action studies of plant defensive protein in insect physiology.
Standard procedures exist for collection and chemical analyses of pyrethroid insecticides in environmental matrices. However, less detail is given for drying and potential storage methods of plant samples prior to analyses. Due to equipment and financial limitations, immediate sample analysis is n...
Zechmann, B; Zellnig, G; Urbanek-Krajnc, A; Müller, M
Styrian oil pumpkin seedlings (Cucurbita pepo L. subsp. pepo var. styriaca GREB: .) were treated for 48 h with 1 mM OTC (L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid) in order to artificially increase cellular glutathione content. They were inoculated with zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) 10 days later. The effects of OTC treatment and ZYMV infection on glutathione levels were examined at the subcellular level by immunogold labeling of glutathione using a transmission electron microscope (TEM). These effects were further tested at the whole-tissue level by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Such tests were carried out a) on roots, cotyledons and the first true leaves immediately after OTC treatment in order to analyze to which extent OTC increases glutathione levels in different cell compartments as well as in the whole organ; and b) in older and younger leaves and in roots three weeks after ZYMV inoculation in order to study how possible effects of OTC on symptom development would correlate with glutathione levels at the subcellular level and in the whole organ. Immunocytological and biochemical investigations revealed that, 48 h after OTC treatment, glutathione content had increased in all investigated organs, up to 144% in peroxisomes of cotyledons. Three weeks after ZYMV inoculation, glutathione labeling density had significantly increased within intact cells of infected leaves, up to 124% in the cytosol of younger leaves. Roots showed decreased amounts of glutathione in the TEM. Biochemical studies revealed that OTC treatment resulted in 41 and 51% higher glutathione content in older and younger ZYMV-infected leaves, respectively, in comparison to untreated and ZYMV-infected plants. Evaluation of symptom development at this point revealed that all untreated ZYMV-infected plants had symptoms, whereas only 42% of OTC-treated ZYMV-infected plants showed signs of symptoms. Quantification of ZYMV particles revealed that all organs of OTC-treated and ZYMV
Gong, Xiaoying; Schäufele, Rudi; Schnyder, Hans
The increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration has been shown to stimulate plant photosynthesis and (to a lesser extent) growth, thereby acting as a possible sink for the additional atmospheric CO2. However, this effect is dependent on the efficiency with which plants convert atmospheric carbon into biomass carbon, since a considerable proportion of assimilated carbon is returned to the atmosphere via plant respiration. As a core parameter for carbon cycling, carbon use efficiency of plants (CUE, the ratio of net primary production to gross primary production) quantifies the proportion of assimilated carbon that is incorporated into plant biomass. CUE has rarely been assessed based on measurements of complete carbon balance, due to methodological difficulties in measuring respiration rate of plants in light. Moreover, foliar respiration is known to be inhibited in light, thus foliar respiration rate is generally lower in light than in dark. However, this phenomenon, termed as inhibition of respiration in light (IRL), has rarely been assessed at the stand-scale and been incorporated into the calculation of CUE. Therefore, how CUE responses to atmospheric CO2 levels is still not clear. We studied CUE of sunflower stands grown at sub-ambient CO2 level (200 μmol mol-1) and elevated CO2 level (1000 μmol mol-1) using mesocosm-scale gas exchange facilities which enabled continuous measurements of 13CO2/12CO2 exchange. Appling steady-state 13C labeling, fluxes of respiration and photosynthesis in light were separated, and tracer kinetic in respiration was analyzed. This study provides the first data on CUE at a mesocosm-level including respiration in light in different CO2 environments. We found that CUE of sunflower was lower at an elevated CO2 level than at a sub-ambient CO2 level; and the ignorance of IRL lead to erroneous estimations of CUE. Variation in CUE at atmospheric CO2 levels was attributed to several mechanisms. In this study, CO2 enrichment i) affected the
Andrieu, Emilie; Dornier, Antoine; Rouifed, Soraya; Schatz, Bertrand; Cheptou, Pierre-Olivier
In fragmented habitats, one cause of the decrease of plant diversity and abundance is the disruption of plant-animal interactions, and in particular plant-pollinator interactions. Since habitat fragmentation acts both on pollinator behaviour and plant reproduction, its consequences for the stability of such interactions are complex. An extreme case of habitat fragmentation occurs in urbanised areas where suitable habitat (in the present study small patches around ornamental trees) is embedded in a highly unsuitable environment (concrete matrix). Based on simple experiments, we ask whether pollinators can adapt their foraging behaviour in response to the amount of available resources (flowers) in the fragments and their isolation, as predicted by the optimal foraging theory. To do so we analysed the effect of fragmentation on the behaviour of pollinators visiting Crepis sancta (L.) Bornm. (Asteraceae), which forms large populations in the countryside and patchy populations in urban environments. More precisely we studied pollinator visitation rates, capitulum visit durations, capitulum search durations and capitulum size choice. Pollinators chose larger capitula in both types of populations and their foraging behaviour differed between the two population types in three ways: (1) pollinator visits were lower in urban fragmented populations, perhaps due to the lower accessibility of urban patches; (2) capitulum visit durations were longer in urban fragmented populations, a possible compensation of energy lost during flights among patches; and (3) capitulum search durations where longer in urban fragmented populations, which may represent an increase in capitulum prospecting effort. We discuss the possible impacts of such differences for plant population functioning in the two types of populations.
Nieto-Jacobo, Maria F.; Steyaert, Johanna M.; Salazar-Badillo, Fatima B.; Nguyen, Dianne Vi; Rostás, Michael; Braithwaite, Mark; De Souza, Jorge T.; Jimenez-Bremont, Juan F.; Ohkura, Mana; Stewart, Alison
Trichoderma species are soil-borne filamentous fungi widely utilized for their many plant health benefits, such as conferring improved growth, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance to their hosts. Many Trichoderma species are able to produce the auxin phytohormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and its production has been suggested to promote root growth. Here we show that the production of IAA is strain dependent and diverse external stimuli are associated with its production. In in vitro assays, Arabidopsis primary root length was negatively affected by the interaction with some Trichoderma strains. In soil experiments, a continuum effect on plant growth was shown and this was also strain dependent. In plate assays, some strains of Trichoderma spp. inhibited the expression of the auxin reporter gene DR5 in Arabidopsis primary roots but not secondary roots. When Trichoderma spp. and A. thaliana were physically separated, enhancement of both shoot and root biomass, increased root production and chlorophyll content were observed, which strongly suggested that volatile production by the fungus influenced the parameters analyzed. Trichoderma strains T. virens Gv29.8, T. atroviride IMI206040, T. sp. “atroviride B” LU132, and T. asperellum LU1370 were demonstrated to promote plant growth through volatile production. However, contrasting differences were observed with LU1370 which had a negative effect on plant growth in soil but a positive effect in plate assays. Altogether our results suggest that the mechanisms and molecules involved in plant growth promotion by Trichoderma spp. are multivariable and are affected by the environmental conditions. PMID:28232840
Souza, Danielle G; Santos, Jean C; Oliveira, Marcondes A; Tabarelli, Marcelo
Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on specialist herbivores have been rarely addressed. Here we examine the structure of plant and galling insect assemblages in a fragmented landscape of the Atlantic forest to verify a potential impoverishment of these assemblages mediated by edge effects. Saplings and galling insects were recorded once within a 0.1-ha area at habitat level, covering forest interior stands, forest edges, and small fragments. A total of 1,769 saplings from 219 tree species were recorded across all three habitats, with differences in terms of sapling abundance and species richness. Additionally, edge-affected habitats exhibited reduced richness of both host-plant and galling insects at plot and habitat spatial scale. Attack levels also differed among forest types at habitat spatial scale (21.1% of attacked stems in forest interior, 12.4% in small fragments but only 8.5% in forest edges). Plot ordination resulted in three clearly segregated clusters: one formed by forest interior, one by small fragments, and another formed by edge plots. Finally, the indicator species analysis identified seven and one indicator plant species in forest interior and edge-affected habitats, respectively. Consequently, edge effects lead to formation of distinct taxonomic groups and also an impoverished assemblage of plants and galling insects at multiple spatial scales. The results of the present study indicate that fragmentation-related changes in plant assemblages can have a cascade effects on specialist herbivores. Accordingly, hyperfragmented landscapes may not be able to retain an expressive portion of tropical biodiversity.
McMurtrie, R. E.; Norby, R. J.; Franklin, O.; Pepper, D. A.
Short-term, direct effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on plant carbon gain are relatively well understood. There is considerable uncertainty, however, about longer-term effects, which are influenced by various plant and ecosystem feedbacks. A key feedback in terrestrial ecosystems occurs through changes in plant carbon (C) allocation patterns. For instance, if high CO2 were to increase C allocation to roots, then plants may experience positive feedback through improved plant nutrition. A second type of feedback, associated with decomposition of soil-organic matter, may reduce soil-nutrient availability at high CO2. This paper will consider mechanistic models of both feedbacks. Effects of high CO2 on plant C allocation will be investigated using a simple model of forest net primary production (NPP) that incorporates the primary mechanisms of plant carbon and nitrogen (N) balance. The model called MATE (Model Any Terrestrial Ecosystem) includes an equation for annual C balance that depends on light- saturated photosynthetic rate and therefore on [CO2], and an equation for N balance incorporating an expression for N uptake as a function of root mass. The C-N model is applied to a Free Air CO2 Exchange (FACE) experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, USA, where closed-canopy, monoculture stands of the deciduous hardwood sweetgum ( Liquidambar styraciflua) have been growing at [CO2] of 375 and 550 ppm for ten years. Features of this experiment are that the annual NPP response to elevated CO2 has averaged approximately 25% over seven years, but that annual fine-root production has almost doubled on average, with especially large increases in later years of the experiment (Norby et al. 2006). The model provides a simple graphical approach for analysing effects of elevated CO2 and N supply on leaf/root/wood C allocation and productivity. It simulates increases in NPP and fine-root production at the ORNL FACE site that are consistent
Harrison, Susan; Damschen, Ellen; Fernandez-Going, Barbara; Eskelinen, Anu; Copeland, Stella
Background and Aims Much evidence suggests that plant communities on infertile soils are relatively insensitive to increased water deficit caused by increasing temperature and/or decreasing precipitation. However, a multi-decadal study of community change in the western USA does not support this conclusion. This paper tests explanations related to macroclimatic differences, overstorey effects on microclimate, variation in soil texture and plant functional traits. Methods A re-analysis was undertaken of the changes in the multi-decadal study, which concerned forest understorey communities on infertile (serpentine) and fertile soils in an aridifying climate (southern Oregan) from 1949–1951 to 2007–2008. Macroclimatic variables, overstorey cover and soil texture were used as new covariates. As an alternative measure of climate-related change, the community mean value of specific leaf area was used, a functional trait measuring drought tolerance. We investigated whether these revised analyses supported the prediction of lesser sensitivity to climate change in understorey communities on infertile serpentine soils. Key Results Overstorey cover, but not macroclimate or soil texture, was a significant covariate of community change over time. It strongly buffered understorey temperatures, was correlated with less change and averaged >50 % lower on serpentine soils, thereby counteracting the lower climate sensitivity of understorey herbs on these soils. Community mean specific leaf area showed the predicted pattern of less change over time in serpentine than non-serpentine communities. Conclusions Based on the current balance of evidence, plant communities on infertile serpentine soils are less sensitive to changes in the climatic water balance than communities on more fertile soils. However, this advantage may in some cases be lessened by their sparser overstorey cover. PMID:25452247
seedheads). However, attack rates by the weevil Larinus minutus were actually higher on sprayed plants (infesting 88% of insecticide and 72% of...at Fort McCoy, WI over time to the main treatment effects of seed mix, activated carbon (AC), and insecticide (p-values in bold are significant at α...WI over time to the main effects of seed mix treatment, activated carbon (AC) treatment, and insecticide treatment. Those p-values in bold are
Wojnicz, Dorota; Kucharska, Alicja Z; Sokół-Łętowska, Anna; Kicia, Marta; Tichaczek-Goska, Dorota
Medicinal plants are an important source for the therapeutic remedies of various diseases including urinary tract infections. This prompted us to perform research in this area. We decided to focus on medicinal plants species used in urinary tract infections prevention. The aim of our study was to determine the influence of Betula pendula, Equisetum arvense, Herniaria glabra, Galium odoratum, Urtica dioica, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea extracts on bacterial survival and virulence factors involved in tissue colonization and biofilm formation of the uropathogenic Escherichia coli rods. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of plant extracts were performed. Antimicrobial assay relied on the estimation of the colony forming unit number. Hydrophobicity of cells was established by salt aggregation test. Using motility agar, the ability of bacteria to move was examined. The erythrocyte hemagglutination test was used for fimbriae P screening. Curli expression was determined using YESCA agar supplemented with congo red. Quantification of biofilm formation was carried out using a microtiter plate assay and a spectrophotometric method. The results of the study indicate significant differences between investigated extracts in their antimicrobial activities. The extracts of H. glabra and V. vitis-idaea showed the highest growth-inhibitory effects (p < 0.05). Surface hydrophobicity of autoaggregating E. coli strain changed after exposure to all plant extracts, except V. vitis-idaea (p > 0.05). The B. pendula and U. dioica extracts significantly reduced the motility of the E. coli rods (p < 0.05). All the extracts exhibited the anti-biofilm activity.
Li-Byarlay, Hongmei; Pittendrigh, Barry R.; Murdock, Larry L.
Plants produce proteins such as protease inhibitors and lectins as defenses against herbivorous insects and pathogens. However, no systematic studies have explored the structural responses in the midguts of insects when challenged with plant defensive proteins and lectins across different species. In this study, we fed two kinds of protease inhibitors and lectins to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and alpha-amylase inhibitors and lectins to the cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus. We assessed the changes in midgut cell structures by comparing them with such structures in insects receiving normal diets or subjected to food deprivation. Using light and transmission electron microscopy in both species, we observed structural changes in the midgut peritrophic matrix as well as shortened microvilli on the surfaces of midgut epithelial cells in D. melanogaster. Dietary inhibitors and lectins caused similar lesions in the epithelial cells but not much change in the peritrophic matrix in both species. We also noted structural damages in the Drosophila midgut after six hours of starvation and changes were still present after 12 hours. Our study provided the first evidence of key structural changes of midguts using a comparative approach between a dipteran and a coleopteran. Our particular observation and discussion on plant–insect interaction and dietary stress are relevant for future mode of action studies of plant defensive protein in insect physiology. PMID:27594789
Senilă, Marin; Levei, Erika A; Senilă, Lăcrimioara R; Oprea, Gabriela M; Roman, Cecilia M
The mercury (Hg) concentrations were evaluated in soils and perennial plants sampled in four districts of Baia Mare city, a historical mining and ore processing center in Northwestern Romania. The results showed that the Hg concentration exceeded the guideline value of 1.0 mg kg(-1) dry weight (dw) established by the Romanian Legislation, in 24 % of the analyzed soil samples, while the median Hg concentration (0.70 mg kg(-1) dw) was lower than the guideline value. However, Hg content in soil was generally higher than typical values in soils from residential and agricultural areas of the cities all over the world. The median Hg concentration was 0.22 mg kg(-1) dw in the perennial plants, and exceeded the maximum level of Hg (0.10 mg kg(-1)) established by European Directive 2002/32/EC for plants used in animal feed in order to prevent its transfer and further accumulation in the higher levels of food chain. No significant correlations were found between soil Hg and other analyzed metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn) resulted from the non-ferrous smelting activities, probably due to the different physicochemical properties, that led to different dispersion patterns.
Gupta, Nisha; Jain, S K
The use of plant extracts could be a useful alternative to synthetic fungicides in the post harvest handling of fruits and vegetables. The aim of this study was to access the efficacy of extracts obtained from four plants (neem, Pongamia, custard apple leaf and marigold flowers) on the extension of shelf life of mango fruits cv. Dashehri under two storage conditions (Cool store and ambient condition). The fruits were treated with 2 concentrations of each plant extracts (10 % and 20 %) were placed in perforated linear low density poly ethylene bags and stored in storage conditions viz., cool storage and ambient condition, respectively. The treatment of neem leaf extract in combination with cool storage gave encouraging results. Up to the end of the storage study the treatment combination of 20 % neem leaf extract and cool store completely inhibited the pathogens, and no spoilage was observed. There was minimum physiological loss in weight (6.24 %), minimum girth reduction (0.62 %), maximum ascorbic acid content (29.96 mg/ 100 g of pulp), maximum acidity (0.19 %), minimum pH (5.28), maximum total soluble solids (20.96 %), maximum total sugars (12.50 %), reducing sugars (4.12 %) and non- reducing sugars (7.96 %) and best organoleptic score (7.93/10) in this interaction. The inhibitory effect of neem leaf extract was ascribed to the presence of active principle azadirachtin.
Coleman-Derr, Devin; Desgarennes, Damaris; Fonseca-Garcia, Citlali; Gross, Stephen; Clingenpeel, Scott; Woyke, Tanja; North, Gretchen; Visel, Axel; Partida-Martinez, Laila P; Tringe, Susannah G
Desert plants are hypothesized to survive the environmental stress inherent to these regions in part thanks to symbioses with microorganisms, and yet these microbial species, the communities they form, and the forces that influence them are poorly understood. Here we report the first comprehensive investigation of the microbial communities associated with species of Agave, which are native to semiarid and arid regions of Central and North America and are emerging as biofuel feedstocks. We examined prokaryotic and fungal communities in the rhizosphere, phyllosphere, leaf and root endosphere, as well as proximal and distal soil samples from cultivated and native agaves, through Illumina amplicon sequencing. Phylogenetic profiling revealed that the composition of prokaryotic communities was primarily determined by the plant compartment, whereas the composition of fungal communities was mainly influenced by the biogeography of the host species. Cultivated A. tequilana exhibited lower levels of prokaryotic diversity compared with native agaves, although no differences in microbial diversity were found in the endosphere. Agaves shared core prokaryotic and fungal taxa known to promote plant growth and confer tolerance to abiotic stress, which suggests common principles underpinning Agave-microbe interactions.
Cabello, Susana; Lorenz, Cindy; Crespo, Sara; Cabrera, Javier; Ludwig, Roland; Escobar, Carolina; Hofmann, Julia
Sedentary endoparasitic nematodes of plants induce highly specific feeding cells in the root central cylinder. From these, the obligate parasites withdraw all required nutrients. The feeding cells were described as sink tissues in the plant's circulation system that are supplied with phloem-derived solutes such as sugars. Currently, there are several publications describing mechanisms of sugar import into the feeding cells. However, sugar processing has not been studied so far. Thus, in the present work, the roles of the sucrose-cleaving enzymes sucrose synthases (SUS) and invertases (INV) in the development of Heterodera schachtii were studied. Gene expression analyses indicate that both enzymes are regulated transcriptionally. Nematode development was enhanced on multiple INV and SUS mutants. Syncytia of these mutants were characterized by altered enzyme activity and changing sugar pool sizes. Further, the analyses revealed systemically affected sugar levels and enzyme activities in the shoots of the tested mutants, suggesting changes in the source-sink relationship. Finally, the development of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica was studied in different INV and SUS mutants and wild-type Arabidopsis plants. Similar effects on the development of both sedentary endoparasitic nematode species (root-knot and cyst nematode) were observed, suggesting a more general role of sucrose-degrading enzymes during plant-nematode interactions.
Wissuwa, Janet; Salamon, Jörg-Alfred; Frank, Thomas
Oribatid mites are one of the numerically dominant arthropod groups in soils. They play an important role in soil food webs via regulating the decomposition of organic matter and propagating microorganisms within the soil. To our knowledge, the influence of different plant functional groups on oribatid mites has not been studied in abandoned farmland with undisturbed succession before. The density and assemblage structure of oribatid mites in nine grassy arable fallows relative to three habitat age classes (2-3, 6-8, 12-15 years) and three selected plant species (legume: Medicago sativa, forb: Taraxacum officinale, grass: Bromus sterilis) were investigated in soil associated with single plants. Mite density declined marginally not significant with habitat age because of high abundances of the ubiquitous species Tectocepheus velatus sarekensis and Punctoribates punctum in young and mid-aged fallows and their subsequent decline in old fallows. Oribatid mite density and species assemblage were not affected by plant species. Only P. punctum had significantly higher densities in B. sterilis samples than in T. officinale samples due to a higher amount of fine roots. Distance-based linear models revealed that 65% of the variation in mite assemblage was explained by soil properties, soil type, exposition and geographic position, while habitat age was of minor importance. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the mite assemblage was best explained by soil organic and microbial carbon, water content and pH.
Nawab, Javed; Khan, Sardar; Shah, Mohammad Tahir; Qamar, Zahir; Din, Islamud; Mahmood, Qaisar; Gul, Nayab; Huang, Qing
This study aimed to investigate the lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in the soil and plants (medicinal and fodder) grown in chromite mining-affected areas, Northern Pakistan. Soil and plant samples were collected and analyzed for Pb and Cd concentrations using atomic absorption spectrometer. Soil pollution load indices (PLIs) were greater than 2 for both Cd and Pb, indicating high level of contamination in the study area. Furthermore, Cd concentrations in the soil surrounding the mining sites exceeded the maximum allowable limit (MAL) (0.6 mg kg(-1)), while the concentrations of Pb were lower than the MAL (350 mg kg(-1)) set by State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) for agriculture soil. The concentrations of Cd and Pb were significantly higher (P < 0.001) in the soil of the mining-contaminated sites as compared to the reference site, which can be attributed to the dispersion of toxic heavy metals, present in the bed rocks and waste of the mines. The concentrations of Pb and Cd in majority of medicinal and fodder plant species grown in surrounding areas of mines were higher than their MALs set by World Health Organization/Food Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO) for herbal (10 and 0.3 mg kg(-1), respectively) and edible (0.3 and 0.2 mg kg(-1), respectively) plants. The high concentrations of Cd and Pb may cause contamination of the food chain and health risk.
Wissuwa, Janet; Salamon, Jörg-Alfred; Frank, Thomas
Oribatid mites are one of the numerically dominant arthropod groups in soils. They play an important role in soil food webs via regulating the decomposition of organic matter and propagating microorganisms within the soil. To our knowledge, the influence of different plant functional groups on oribatid mites has not been studied in abandoned farmland with undisturbed succession before. The density and assemblage structure of oribatid mites in nine grassy arable fallows relative to three habitat age classes (2–3, 6–8, 12–15 years) and three selected plant species (legume: Medicago sativa, forb: Taraxacum officinale, grass: Bromus sterilis) were investigated in soil associated with single plants. Mite density declined marginally not significant with habitat age because of high abundances of the ubiquitous species Tectocepheus velatus sarekensis and Punctoribates punctum in young and mid-aged fallows and their subsequent decline in old fallows. Oribatid mite density and species assemblage were not affected by plant species. Only P. punctum had significantly higher densities in B. sterilis samples than in T. officinale samples due to a higher amount of fine roots. Distance-based linear models revealed that 65% of the variation in mite assemblage was explained by soil properties, soil type, exposition and geographic position, while habitat age was of minor importance. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the mite assemblage was best explained by soil organic and microbial carbon, water content and pH. PMID:26109839
Verslues, Paul E; Agarwal, Manu; Katiyar-Agarwal, Surekha; Zhu, Jianhua; Zhu, Jian-Kang
The abiotic stresses of drought, salinity and freezing are linked by the fact that they all decrease the availability of water to plant cells. This decreased availability of water is quantified as a decrease in water potential. Plants resist low water potential and related stresses by modifying water uptake and loss to avoid low water potential, accumulating solutes and modifying the properties of cell walls to avoid the dehydration induced by low water potential and using protective proteins and mechanisms to tolerate reduced water content by preventing or repairing cell damage. Salt stress also alters plant ion homeostasis, and under many conditions this may be the predominant factor affecting plant performance. Our emphasis is on experiments that quantify resistance to realistic and reproducible low water potential (drought), salt and freezing stresses while being suitable for genetic studies where a large number of lines must be analyzed. Detailed protocols for the use of polyethylene glycol-infused agar plates to impose low water potential stress, assay of salt tolerance based on root elongation, quantification of freezing tolerance and the use of electrolyte leakage experiments to quantify cellular damage induced by freezing and low water potential are also presented.
The analyses methods of Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC), hierarchical cluster analysis and diversity index were used to study the relevance between citrus huanglongbing (HLB) and the endophytic bacteria in different branches and leaves as well as roots of huanglongbing (HLB)-affected citrus tr...
Corn growth is affected due to oxygen deficiency and root death in a perched water table (PWT). The study objective was to evaluate a surface application of FGD gypsum (FGDG) and glyphosate (GLY) on nutrient uptake in corn with different drainage conditions. The experiment was conducted in greenhous...
Lundholm, Jeremy; MacIvor, J. Scott; MacDougall, Zachary; Ranalli, Melissa
Background Green roofs perform ecosystem services such as summer roof temperature reduction and stormwater capture that directly contribute to lower building energy use and potential economic savings. These services are in turn related to ecosystem functions performed by the vegetation layer such as radiation reflection and transpiration, but little work has examined the role of plant species composition and diversity in improving these functions. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a replicated modular extensive (shallow growing- medium) green roof system planted with monocultures or mixtures containing one, three or five life-forms, to quantify two ecosystem services: summer roof cooling and water capture. We also measured the related ecosystem properties/processes of albedo, evapotranspiration, and the mean and temporal variability of aboveground biomass over four months. Mixtures containing three or five life-form groups, simultaneously optimized several green roof ecosystem functions, outperforming monocultures and single life-form groups, but there was much variation in performance depending on which life-forms were present in the three life-form mixtures. Some mixtures outperformed the best monocultures for water capture, evapotranspiration, and an index combining both water capture and temperature reductions. Combinations of tall forbs, grasses and succulents simultaneously optimized a range of ecosystem performance measures, thus the main benefit of including all three groups was not to maximize any single process but to perform a variety of functions well. Conclusions/Significance Ecosystem services from green roofs can be improved by planting certain life-form groups in combination, directly contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. The strong performance by certain mixtures of life-forms, especially tall forbs, grasses and succulents, warrants further investigation into niche complementarity or facilitation as mechanisms
Robert S. Cherry
The sulfur-iodine process to make hydrogen by the thermochemical splitting of water is under active development as part of a U.S. Department of Energy program. An integrated lab scale system is currently being designed and built. The next planned stage of development is a pilot plant with a thermal input of about 500 kW, equivalent to about 30,000 standard liters per hour of hydrogen production. The sulfur-iodine process contains a variety of hazards, including temperatures up to 850 ºC and hazardous chemical species including SO2, H2SO4, HI, I2, and of course H2. The siting and design of a pilot plant must consider these and other hazards. This report presents an initial analysis of the hazards that might affect pilot plant design and should be considered in the initial planning. The general hazards that have been identified include reactivity, flammability, toxicity, pressure, electrical hazards, and industrial hazards such as lifting and rotating equipment. Personnel exposure to these hazards could occur during normal operations, which includes not only running the process at the design conditions but also initial inventory loading, heatup, startup, shutdown, and system flushing before equipment maintenance. Because of the complexity and severity of the process, these ancillary operations are expected to be performed frequently. In addition, personnel could be exposed to the hazards during various abnormal situations which could include unplanned phase changes of liquids or solids, leaks of process fluids or cooling water into other process streams, unintentional introducion of foreign species into the process, and unexpected side reactions. Design of a pilot plant will also be affected by various codes and regulations such as the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, various National Fire Protection Association Codes, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Newbury, H. John; Possingham, John V.
Using conventional methods it is impossible to extract RNA as uncomplexed intact molecules from the leaves of grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) and from a number of woody perennial species that contain high levels of reactive phenolic compounds. A procedure involving the use of high concentrations of the chaotropic agent sodium perchlorate prevents the binding of phenolic compounds to RNA during extraction. Analyses of the phenolics present in plant tissues used in these experiments indicate that there is a poor correlation between the total phenolic content and the complexing of RNA. However, qualitative analyses suggest that proanthocyanidins are involved in the tanning of RNA during conventional extractions. PMID:16660134
Cervantes, Felix A; Alvarez, Juan M
Potato virus Y (PVY) is vectored by several potato-colonizing and non-colonizing aphid species in a non-persistent manner and has a wide host range. It occurs naturally in several plant families. Myzus persicae and Macrosiphum euphorbiae are the most efficient potato-colonizing aphid vectors of PVY. Rhopalosiphum padi, a cereal aphid that migrates in large numbers through potato fields during the middle of the growing season, does not colonize potato plants but can transmit PVY. Hairy nightshade, Solanum sarrachoides, a prevalent annual solanaceous weed in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of the United States, is an alternative host for PVY and a preferred host for M. persicae and M. euphorbiae. Hence, hairy nightshade plants might play an important role as an inoculum source in the epidemiology of PVY. We looked at titre accumulation and distribution of PVY(O), PVY(N:O) and PVY(NTN) in S. sarrachoides and potato after aphid inoculation with M. persicae and studied the transmission of PVY(O) and PVY(NTN), by M. persicae, M. euphorbiae and R. padi from hairy nightshade to potato plants. Virus titre at different positions on the plant was similar in S. sarrachoides and potato plants with strains PVY(O) and PVY(N:O). Titres of PVY(NTN) were similar in S. sarrachoides and potato but differences in titre were observed at different positions within the plant depending on the plant phenology. Percentage transmission of PVY(NTN) by M. persicae and M. euphorbiae was twice as high (46 and 34%, respectively) from hairy nightshade to potato than from potato to potato (20 and 14%). Percentage transmission of PVY(O) by M. persicae and M. euphorbiae was not affected by the inoculum source. No effect of the inoculum source was observed in the transmission of either PVY strain by R. padi. These results show that hairy nightshade may be an equal or better virus reservoir than potato and thus, important in the epidemiology of PVY.
Liu, Fangchun; Xing, Shangjun; Ma, Hailin; Du, Zhenyu; Ma, Bingyao
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are important catalysts that regulate the functional properties of agricultural systems. However, there is little information on the effect of PGPR inoculation on the growth and nutrient accumulation of forest container seedlings. This study determined the effects of a growth medium inoculated with PGPR on the nutrient uptake, nutrient accumulation, and growth of Fraxinus americana container seedlings. PGPR inoculation with fertilizer increased the dry matter accumulation of the F. americana aerial parts with delayed seedling emergence time. Under fertilized conditions, the accumulation time of phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) in the F. americana aerial parts was 13 days longer due to PGPR inoculation. PGPR increased the maximum daily P and K accumulations in fertilized seedlings by 9.31 and 10.44 %, respectively, but had little impact on unfertilized ones. Regardless of fertilizer application, the root exudates, namely sugars, amino acids, and organic acids significantly increased because of PGPR inoculation. PGPR inoculation with fertilizer increased the root, shoot, and leaf yields by 19.65, 22.94, and 19.44 %, respectively, as well as the P and K contents by 8.33 and 10.60 %, respectively. Consequently, the N, P, and K uptakes increased by 19.85, 31.97, and 33.95 %, respectively. Hence, PGPR inoculation with fertilizer can be used as a bioenhancer for plant growth and nutrient uptake in forest container seedling nurseries.
Naveed, Muhammad; Roose, Tiina; Raffan, Annette; George, Timothy; Bengough, Glyn; Brown, Lawrie; Keyes, Sam; Daly, Keith; Hallett, Paul
Plant exudates are known to have a very large impact on soil physical properties through changes in mechanical and hydrological processes driven by long-chain polysaccharides and surface active compounds. Whilst these impacts are well known, the basic physical properties of these exudates have only been reported in a small number of studies. We present data for exudates obtained from barley roots and chia seeds, incorporating treatments examining biological decomposition of the exudates. When these exudates were added to a sandy loam soil, contact angle and drop penetration time increased exponentially with increasing exudate concentration. These wetting properties were strongly correlated with both exudate density and zero-shear viscosity, but not with exudate surface tension. Water holding capacity and water repellency of exudate mixed soil tremendously increased with exudate concentration, however they were significantly reduced on decomposition when measured after 14 days of incubation at 16C. Mechanical stability greatly increased with increasing exudate amendment to soils, which was assessed using a rheological amplitude sweep test near saturation, at -50 cm matric potential (field capacity) using indentation test, and at air-dry condition using the Brazilian test. This reflects that exudates not only attenuate plant water stress but also impart mechanical stability to the rhizosphere. These data are highly relevant to the understanding and modelling of rhizosphere development, which is the next phase of our research.
Vinson, Mark; Hestmark, Bennett; Barkworth, Mary E.
We evaluated the effects of long-term flow alteration on primary-producer assemblages. In 1962, Flaming Gorge Dam was constructed on the Green River. The Yampa River has remained an unregulated hydrologically variable river that joins the Green River 100 km downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam. In the 1960s before dam construction only sparse occurrences of two macroalgae, Cladophora and Chara, and no submerged vascular plants were recorded in the Green and Yampa rivers. In 2009–2010, aquatic plants were abundant and widespread in the Green River from the dam downstream to the confluence with the Yampa River. The assemblage consisted of six vascular species, Elodea canadensis, Myriophyllum sibiricum, Nasturtium officinale,Potamogeton crispus, Potamogeton pectinatus, and Ranunculus aquatilis, the macroalgae Chara and Cladophora, and the bryophyte, Amblystegium riparium. In the Green River downstream from the Yampa River, and in the Yampa River, only sparse patches of Chara and Cladophora growing in the splash zone on boulders were collected. We attribute the observed changes in the Green River to an increase in water transparency and a reduction in suspended and bed-load sediment and high flow disturbances. The lack of hydrophyte colonization downstream from the confluence with the Yampa River has implications for understanding tributary amelioration of dam effects and for designing more natural flow-regime schedules downstream from large dams.
Stanton-Geddes, John; Shaw, Ruth G.; Tiffin, Peter
Populations are often found on different habitats at different geographic locations. This habitat shift may be due to biased dispersal, physiological tolerances or biotic interactions. To explore how fitness of the native plant Chamaecrista fasciculata depends on habitat within, at and beyond its range edge, we planted seeds from five populations in two soil substrates at these geographic locations. We found that with reduced competition, lifetime fitness was always greater or equivalent in one habitat type, loam soils, though early-season survival was greater on sand soils. At the range edge, natural populations are typically found on sand soil habitats, which are also less competitive environments. Early-season survival and fitness differed among source populations, and when transplanted beyond the range edge, range edge populations had greater fitness than interior populations. Our results indicate that even when the optimal soil substrate for a species does not change with geographic range location, the realized niche of a species may be restricted to sub-optimal habitats at the range edge because of the combined effects of differences in abiotic and biotic effects (e.g. competitors) between substrates. PMID:22615745
Stanton-Geddes, John; Shaw, Ruth G; Tiffin, Peter
Populations are often found on different habitats at different geographic locations. This habitat shift may be due to biased dispersal, physiological tolerances or biotic interactions. To explore how fitness of the native plant Chamaecrista fasciculata depends on habitat within, at and beyond its range edge, we planted seeds from five populations in two soil substrates at these geographic locations. We found that with reduced competition, lifetime fitness was always greater or equivalent in one habitat type, loam soils, though early-season survival was greater on sand soils. At the range edge, natural populations are typically found on sand soil habitats, which are also less competitive environments. Early-season survival and fitness differed among source populations, and when transplanted beyond the range edge, range edge populations had greater fitness than interior populations. Our results indicate that even when the optimal soil substrate for a species does not change with geographic range location, the realized niche of a species may be restricted to sub-optimal habitats at the range edge because of the combined effects of differences in abiotic and biotic effects (e.g. competitors) between substrates.
Jones, D L; Quilliam, R S
Pyrolysis or combustion of waste wood can provide a renewable source of energy and produce byproducts which can be recycled back to land. To be sustainable requires that these byproducts pose minimal threat to the environment or human health. Frequently, reclaimed waste wood is contaminated by preservative-treated timber containing high levels of heavy metals. We investigated the effect of feedstock contamination from copper-preservative treated wood on the behaviour of pyrolysis-derived biochar and combustion-derived ash in plant-soil systems. Biochar and wood ash were applied to soil at typical agronomic rates. The presence of preservative treated timber in the feedstock increased available soil Cu; however, critical Cu guidance limits were only exceeded at high rates of feedstock contamination. Negative effects on plant growth and soil quality were only seen at high levels of biochar contamination (>50% derived from preservative-treated wood). Negative effects of wood ash contamination were apparent at lower levels of contamination (>10% derived from preservative treated wood). Complete removal of preservative treated timber from wood recycling facilities is notoriously difficult and low levels of contamination are commonplace. We conclude that low levels of contamination from Cu-treated wood should pose minimal environmental risk to biochar and ash destined for land application.
Esteban, Raquel; Barrutia, Oihana; Artetxe, Unai; Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Hernández, Antonio; García-Plazaola, José Ignacio
Photosynthetic pigment composition has been a major study target in plant ecophysiology during the last three decades. Although more than 2000 papers have been published, a comprehensive evaluation of the responses of photosynthetic pigment composition to environmental conditions is not yet available. After an extensive survey, we compiled data from 525 papers including 809 species (subkingdom Viridiplantae) in which pigment composition was described. A meta-analysis was then conducted to assess the ranges of photosynthetic pigment content. Calculated frequency distributions of pigments were compared with those expected from the theoretical pigment composition. Responses to environmental factors were also analysed. The results revealed that lutein and xanthophyll cycle pigments (VAZ) were highly responsive to the environment, emphasizing the high phenotypic plasticity of VAZ, whereas neoxanthin was very stable. The present meta-analysis supports the existence of relatively narrow limits for pigment ratios and also supports the presence of a pool of free 'unbound' VAZ. Results from this study provide highly reliable ranges of photosynthetic pigment contents as a framework for future research on plant pigments.
Vallianou, Ioanna; Hadzopoulou-Cladaras, Margarita
The control of hyperlipidemia plays a central role in cardiovascular disease. Previously, we have shown that camphene, a constituent of mastic gum oil, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) in the plasma of hyperlipidemic rats without affecting HMG-CoA reductase activity, suggesting that its hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic effects are associated with a mechanism of action different than that of statins. In the present study, we examine the mechanism by which camphene exerts its hypolipidemic action. We evaluated the effect of camphene on the de novo synthesis of cholesterol and TG from [14C]-acetate in HepG2 cells, along with the statin mevinolin. Camphene inhibited the biosynthesis of cholesterol in a concentration-dependent manner, and a maximal inhibition of 39% was observed at 100 μM while mevinolin nearly abolished cholesterol biosynthesis. Moreover, treatment with camphene reduced TG by 34% and increased apolipoprotein AI expression. In contrast, mevinolin increased TG by 26% and had a modest effect on apolipoprotein AI expression. To evaluate the mode of action of camphene, we examined its effects on the expression of SREBP-1, which affects TG biosynthesis and SREBP-2, which mostly affects sterol synthesis. Interestingly, camphene increased the nuclear translocation of the mature form of SREBP-1 while mevinolin was found to increase the amount of the mature form of SREBP-2. The effect of camphene is most likely regulated through SREBP-1 by affecting MTP levels in response to a decrease in the intracellular cholesterol. We propose that camphene upregulates SREBP-1 expression and MTP inhibition is likely to be a probable mechanism whereby camphene exerts its hypolipidemic effect. PMID:26784701
Vallianou, Ioanna; Hadzopoulou-Cladaras, Margarita
The control of hyperlipidemia plays a central role in cardiovascular disease. Previously, we have shown that camphene, a constituent of mastic gum oil, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) in the plasma of hyperlipidemic rats without affecting HMG-CoA reductase activity, suggesting that its hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic effects are associated with a mechanism of action different than that of statins. In the present study, we examine the mechanism by which camphene exerts its hypolipidemic action. We evaluated the effect of camphene on the de novo synthesis of cholesterol and TG from [14C]-acetate in HepG2 cells, along with the statin mevinolin. Camphene inhibited the biosynthesis of cholesterol in a concentration-dependent manner, and a maximal inhibition of 39% was observed at 100 μM while mevinolin nearly abolished cholesterol biosynthesis. Moreover, treatment with camphene reduced TG by 34% and increased apolipoprotein AI expression. In contrast, mevinolin increased TG by 26% and had a modest effect on apolipoprotein AI expression. To evaluate the mode of action of camphene, we examined its effects on the expression of SREBP-1, which affects TG biosynthesis and SREBP-2, which mostly affects sterol synthesis. Interestingly, camphene increased the nuclear translocation of the mature form of SREBP-1 while mevinolin was found to increase the amount of the mature form of SREBP-2. The effect of camphene is most likely regulated through SREBP-1 by affecting MTP levels in response to a decrease in the intracellular cholesterol. We propose that camphene upregulates SREBP-1 expression and MTP inhibition is likely to be a probable mechanism whereby camphene exerts its hypolipidemic effect.
Vanholme, Bartel; Vanholme, Ruben; Turumtay, Halbay; Goeminne, Geert; Cesarino, Igor; Goubet, Florence; Morreel, Kris; Rencoret, Jorge; Bulone, Vincent; Hooijmaijers, Cortwa; De Rycke, Riet; Gheysen, Godelieve; Ralph, John; De Block, Marc; Meulewaeter, Frank; Boerjan, Wout
To study the effect of short N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) oligosaccharides on the physiology of plants, N-ACETYLGLUCOSAMINYLTRANSFERASE (NodC) of Azorhizobium caulinodans was expressed in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The corresponding enzyme catalyzes the polymerization of GlcNAc and, accordingly, β-1,4-GlcNAc oligomers accumulated in the plant. A phenotype characterized by difficulties in developing an inflorescence stem was visible when plants were grown for several weeks under short-day conditions before transfer to long-day conditions. In addition, a positive correlation between the oligomer concentration and the penetrance of the phenotype was demonstrated. Although NodC overexpression lines produced less cell wall compared with wild-type plants under nonpermissive conditions, no indications were found for changes in the amount of the major cell wall polymers. The effect on the cell wall was reflected at the transcriptome level. In addition to genes encoding cell wall-modifying enzymes, a whole set of genes encoding membrane-coupled receptor-like kinases were differentially expressed upon GlcNAc accumulation, many of which encoded proteins with an extracellular Domain of Unknown Function26. Although stress-related genes were also differentially expressed, the observed response differed from that of a classical chitin response. This is in line with the fact that the produced chitin oligomers were too small to activate the chitin receptor-mediated signal cascade. Based on our observations, we propose a model in which the oligosaccharides modify the architecture of the cell wall by acting as competitors in carbohydrate-carbohydrate or carbohydrate-protein interactions, thereby affecting noncovalent interactions in the cell wall or at the interface between the cell wall and the plasma membrane. PMID:24664205
Blair, David P; McBurney, Lachlan M; Blanchard, Wade; Banks, Sam C; Lindenmayer, David B
Understanding the impacts of natural and human disturbances on forest biota is critical for improving forest management. Many studies have examined the separate impacts on fauna and flora of wildfire, conventional logging, and salvage logging, but empirical comparisons across a broad gradient of simultaneous disturbances are lacking. We quantified species richness and frequency of occurrence of vascular plants, and functional group responses, across a gradient of disturbances that occurred concurrently in 2009 in the mountain ash forests of southeastern Australia. Our study encompassed replicated sites in undisturbed forest (~70 yr post fire), forest burned at low severity, forest burned at high severity, unburned forest that was clearcut logged, and forest burned at high severity that was clearcut salvage logged post-fire. All sites were sampled 2 and 3 yr post fire. Mean species richness decreased across the disturbance gradient from 30.1 species/site on low-severity burned sites and 28.9 species/site on high-severity burned sites, to 25.1 species/site on clearcut sites and 21.7 species/site on salvage logged sites. Low-severity burned sites were significantly more species-rich than clearcut sites and salvage logged sites; high-severity burned sites supported greater species richness than salvage logged sites. Specific traits influenced species' sensitivity to disturbance. Resprouting species dominated undisturbed mountain ash forests, but declined significantly across the gradient. Fern and midstory trees decreased significantly in frequency of occurrence across the gradient. Ferns (excluding bracken) decreased from 34% of plants in undisturbed forest to 3% on salvage logged sites. High-severity burned sites supported a greater frequency of occurrence and species richness of midstory trees compared to clearcut and salvage logged sites. Salvage logging supported fewer midstory trees than any other disturbance category, and were distinctly different from
van Hengstum, Thomas; Hooftman, Danny A P; den Nijs, Hans C M; van Tienderen, Peter H
Greenhouses are a well-accepted containment strategy to grow and study genetically modified plants (GM) before release into the environment. Various containment levels are requested by national regulations to minimize GM pollen escape. We tested the amount of pollen escaping from a standard greenhouse, which can be used for EU containment classes 1 and 2. More specifically, we investigated the hypothesis whether pollen escape could be minimized by insect-proof netting in front of the roof windows, since the turbulent airflow around the mesh wiring could avoid pollen from escaping. We studied the pollen flow out of greenhouses with and without insect netting of two non-transgenic crops, Ryegrass (Loliummultiflorum) and Corn (Zea Mays). Pollen flow was assessed with Rotorod(®) pollen samplers positioned inside and outside the greenhouse' roof windows. A significant proportion of airborne pollen inside the greenhouse leaves through roof windows. Moreover, the lighter pollen of Lolium escaped more readily than the heavier pollen of Maize. In contrast to our expectations, we did not identify any reduction in pollen flow with insect netting in front of open windows, even under induced airflow conditions. We conclude that insect netting, often present by default in greenhouses, is not effective in preventing pollen escape from greenhouses of wind-pollinated plants for containment classes 1 or 2. Further research would be needed to investigate whether other alternative strategies, including biotic ones, are more effective. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10453-011-9237-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Wang, Jinniu; Xu, Bo; Wu, Yan; Gao, Jing; Shi, Fusun
Litters of reproductive organs have rarely been studied despite their role in allocating nutrients for offspring reproduction. This study determines the mechanism through which flower litters efficiently increase the available soil nutrient pool. Field experiments were conducted to collect plant litters and calculate biomass production in an alpine meadow of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. C, N, P, lignin, cellulose content, and their relevant ratios of litters were analyzed to identify their decomposition features. A pot experiment was performed to determine the effects of litter addition on the soil nutrition pool by comparing the treated and control samples. The litter-bag method was used to verify decomposition rates. The flower litters of phanerophyte plants were comparable with non-flower litters. Biomass partitioning of other herbaceous species accounted for 10-40 % of the aboveground biomass. Flower litter possessed significantly higher N and P levels but less C / N, N / P, lignin / N, and lignin and cellulose concentrations than leaf litter. The litter-bag experiment confirmed that the flower litters of Rhododendron przewalskii and Meconopsis integrifolia decompose approximately 3 times faster than mixed litters within 50 days. Pot experiment findings indicated that flower litter addition significantly increased the available nutrient pool and soil microbial productivity. The time of litter fall significantly influenced soil available N and P, and soil microbial biomass. Flower litters fed the soil nutrition pool and influenced nutrition cycling in alpine ecosystems more efficiently because of their non-ignorable production, faster decomposition rate, and higher nutrient contents compared with non-flower litters. The underlying mechanism can enrich nutrients, which return to the soil, and non-structural carbohydrates, which feed and enhance the transitions of soil microorganisms.
Ne'eman, Gidi; Ne'eman, Rina; Keith, David A; Whelan, Rob J
Vegetative resprouting, soil or canopy-stored seed banks, post-fire seed dispersal and germination are the major strategies by which plants regenerate after fires. Post-fire regeneration modes of plants are commonly based on the presence or absence of post-fire recruitment as well as the presence or absence of post-fire resprouting. High temperatures, smoke and ash are characteristics of fire and the post-fire environment. We hypothesized that heat, smoke, ash and pH will have differential effects on seed germination depending on species' post-fire regeneration strategies: serotinous vs. nonserotinous (which may have soil seed banks) and resprouters vs. nonresprouters (which may be obligate seeders). Here we examined the effects of these factors on the germination of 27 common east Australian species. Most serotinous species supported our hypothesis by showing no effect or reduced germination in response to heat. However, contrary to our prediction, all nonserotinous nonresprouting species also showed no effect or reduced germination in response to heat. Smoke, contrary to our hypothesis, had a negative or no effect on all serotinous and nonresprouting species, but no clear directional effect on serotinous and resprouting species. Supporting our hypotheses, ash and high pH showed positive or nonsignificant effects on the germination of all serotinous resprouting species, and a negative or no effect on nonserotinous resprouting species. However, contrary to our prediction, it had a negative or no effect on the serotinous nonresprouting species and no clear effect on nonserotinous nonresprouting species. We also discovered large differences in germination responses between conspecific populations that varied in their degree of resprouting. Although our data confirmed several of our predictions, the overall conclusion is that the responses of seeds to heat, smoke, ash and pH are not tightly associated with post-fire regeneration functional types.
Munier-Lamy, C; Deneux-Mustin, S; Mustin, C; Merlet, D; Berthelin, J; Leyval, C
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of plant species, especially of their rhizosphere soil, and of inoculation with an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus on the bioavailability of selenium and its transfer in soil-plant systems. A pot experiment was performed with a loamy clay soil and four plant species: maize, lettuce, radish and ryegrass, the last one being inoculated or not with an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (Glomus mosseae). Plant biomass and Se concentration in shoots and roots were estimated at harvest. Se bioavailability in rhizosphere and unplanted soil was evaluated using sequential extractions. Plant biomass and selenium uptake varied with plant species. The quantity of rhizosphere soil also differed between plants and was not proportional to plant biomass. The highest plant biomass, Se concentration in plants, and soil to plant transfer factor were obtained with radish. The lowest Se transfer factors were obtained with ryegrass. For the latter, mycorrhizal inoculation did not significantly affect plant growth, but reduced selenium transfer from soil to plant by 30%. In unplanted soil after 65 days aging, more than 90% of added Se was water-extractable. On the contrary, Se concentration in water extracts of rhizosphere soil represented less than 1% and 20% of added Se for ryegrass and maize, respectively. No correlation was found between the water-extractable fraction and Se concentration in plants. The speciation of selenium in the water extracts indicated that selenate was reduced, may be under organic forms, in the rhizosphere soil.
Martínez-Garza, Cristina; Saha, Sonali; Torres, Veronica; Brown, Joel S; Howe, Henry F
Variability in the size distributions of populations is usually studied in monocultures or in mixed plantings of two species. Variability of size distributions of populations in more complex communities has been neglected. The effects of seeding density (35 or 350 seeds/species/m2) and presence of small vertebrates on the variability of size distributions were studied for a total of 1,920 individuals of 4 species in replicated synthetic communities of 18 species in northern Illinois. End-of season height and above-ground biomass were measured for prairie perennials Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover), Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Desmanthus illinoensis (Illinois bundleflower) and Heliopsis helianthoides (early sunflower). Variability in biomass distribution of the four target species was twice as great at low than at high densities when small vertebrates were excluded. Our results suggest that inter- and intraspecific competition may affect all individuals more under high-density conditions, thereby reducing the variability in their biomass distributions within this community. This result, a consequence of plant-plant interaction, is obscured when small birds or mammals are present, presumably because either or both add variance that overwhelms the pattern.
Moreno, G.; Rolo, V.; Cubera, E.; López-Díaz, L.
environment much more than understorey usually can, but tree characteristics often confer them a clear competitive advantage and they can strongly out-compete understorey. The net balance of positive-negative interactions varies with the age of trees: while the balance can favor grasses face to seedlings, the contrary can be expected when tree grows. Similarly, while shrubs could favor seedling recruitment, shrubs could affect negatively tree growth and productivity. These changes should be taken into account for defining dehesa structure and determining management practices in order to optimize the use of physical and chemical resources that are spatially and temporally patchy. From our results, it is described how generally holm-oak trees favor understorey forage production through a direct positive effect of shade and improved soil fertility (facilitation). The rooting system together the slow-growing attitude of many oak species could determine a low competitive potential of oaks with herbaceous layer. Its low competitiveness together with its capacity to thrive in poor soils make oaks genre very suitable for long-term agroforestry systems in Iberian Peninsula. However, although a certain complementary uses of soil resources seems occur for trees and native grasses (very distinct root system profile), the potential benefit of trees has a small actual facilitative effect because the competitive use of soil water by trees overrides its positive effects, especially under semi-arid conditions. As consequence, the net balance of trees on pasture yield is very variably with situations where pasture yield is widely increased in the vicinity of the trees and others where the contrary is found. Tree clearance practiced in dehesas affects positively the development of the understory pasture, but also the single tree functions which take advantage of the low tree density characteristic of dehesas. Tree roots access water through a large volume of soil resources (especially water
Fraile, Aurora; Hily, Jean-Michel; Pagán, Israel; Pacios, Luis F; García-Arenal, Fernando
The acquisition by parasites of the capacity to infect resistant host genotypes, that is, resistance-breaking, is predicted to be hindered by across-host fitness trade-offs. All analyses of costs of resistance-breaking in plant viruses have focused on within-host multiplication without considering other fitness components, which may limit understanding of virus evolution. We have reported that host range expansion of tobamoviruses on L-gene resistant pepper genotypes was associated with severe within-host multiplication penalties. Here, we analyze whether resistance-breaking costs might affect virus survival in the environment by comparing tobamovirus pathotypes differing in infectivity on L-gene resistance alleles. We predicted particle stability from structural models, analyzed particle stability in vitro, and quantified virus accumulation in different plant organs and virus survival in the soil. Survival in the soil differed among tobamovirus pathotypes and depended on differential stability of virus particles. Structure model analyses showed that amino acid changes in the virus coat protein (CP) responsible for resistance-breaking affected the strength of the axial interactions among CP subunits in the rod-shaped particle, thus determining its stability and survival. Pathotypes ranked differently for particle stability/survival and for within-host accumulation. Resistance-breaking costs in survival add to, or subtract from, costs in multiplication according to pathotype. Hence, differential pathotype survival should be considered along with differential multiplication to understand the evolution of the virus populations. Results also show that plant resistance, in addition to selecting for resistance-breaking and for decreased multiplication, also selects for changes in survival, a trait unrelated to the host-pathogen interaction that may condition host range expansion.
Olsen, Siri L; Töpper, Joachim P; Skarpaas, Olav; Vandvik, Vigdis; Klanderud, Kari
Biotic interactions are often ignored in assessments of climate change impacts. However, climate-related changes in species interactions, often mediated through increased dominance of certain species or functional groups, may have important implications for how species respond to climate warming and altered precipitation patterns. We examined how a dominant plant functional group affected the population dynamics of four co-occurring forb species by experimentally removing graminoids in seminatural grasslands. Specifically, we explored how the interaction between dominants and subordinates varied with climate by replicating the removal experiment across a climate grid consisting of 12 field sites spanning broad-scale temperature and precipitation gradients in southern Norway. Biotic interactions affected population growth rates of all study species, and the net outcome of interactions between dominants and subordinates switched from facilitation to competition with increasing temperature along the temperature gradient. The impacts of competitive interactions on subordinates in the warmer sites could primarily be attributed to reduced plant survival. Whereas the response to dominant removal varied with temperature, there was no overall effect of precipitation on the balance between competition and facilitation. Our findings suggest that global warming may increase the relative importance of competitive interactions in seminatural grasslands across a wide range of precipitation levels, thereby favouring highly competitive dominant species over subordinate species. As a result, seminatural grasslands may become increasingly dependent on disturbance (i.e. traditional management such as grazing and mowing) to maintain viable populations of subordinate species and thereby biodiversity under future climates. Our study highlights the importance of population-level studies replicated under different climatic conditions for understanding the underlying mechanisms of climate
Miłobędzka, Aleksandra; Witeska, Anna; Muszyński, Adam
Filamentous population in activated sludge and key operational parameters of full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with bulking problems representative for Poland were investigated with quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Statistical analyses revealed few relationships between operational parameters and biovolume of filamentous bacteria. Sludge age was not only positively correlated with abundance of Chloroflexi (parametric correlation and principal component analysis (PCA)), but also differentiated Microthrix population (analysis of variance (ANOVA)). Phylum Chloroflexi and pH presented a negative relation during the study (PCA). ANOVA showed that pH of influent and sludge volume index (SVI) differentiated abundance of types 0803 and 1851 of Chloroflexi and candidate division TM7. SVI increased along with higher abundance of Microthrix (positive parametric and non-parametric correlations and positive relation in PCA). Biovolumes of morphotypes 0803 and 1851 of Chloroflexi were differentiated by organic matter in influent, also by nutrients in the case of Chloroflexi type 1851. Chemical and biological oxygen demands (COD and BOD5, respectively) were negatively correlated with Microthrix. COD also differentiated the abundance of Haliscomenobacter hydrossis. Results of the study can be used to prevent WWTPs from excessive proliferation of filamentous bacteria and operational problems caused by them--bulking and foaming of activated sludge.
Soto, Adriana; Hernández, Laura; Quiles, María José
Spathiphyllum wallisii plants were sensitive to temperature stress under high illumination, although the susceptibility of leaves to stress may be modified by root temperature. Leaves showed higher tolerance to high illumination, in both cold and heat conditions, when the roots were cooled, probably because the chloroplast were protected by excess excitation energy dissipation mechanisms such as cyclic electron transport. When the roots were cooled both the activity of electron donation by NADPH and ferredoxin to plastoquinone and the amount of PGR5 polypeptide, an essential component of cyclic electron flow around PSI, increased. However, when the stems were heated or cooled under high illumination, but the roots were heated, the quantum yield of PSII decreased considerably and neither the electron donation activity by NADPH and ferredoxin to plastoquinone nor the amount of PGR5 polypeptide increased. In such conditions, the cyclic electron flow cannot be enhanced by high light and PSII is damaged as a result of insufficient dissipation of excess light energy. Additionally, the damage to PSII induced the increase in both chlororespiratory enzymes, NDH complex and PTOX.
Pickup, M.; Field, D. L.; Rowell, D. M.; Young, A. G.
Understanding the relative importance of heterosis and outbreeding depression over multiple generations is a key question in evolutionary biology and is essential for identifying appropriate genetic sources for population and ecosystem restoration. Here we use 2455 experimental crosses between 12 population pairs of the rare perennial plant Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides (Asteraceae) to investigate the multi-generational (F1, F2, F3) fitness outcomes of inter-population hybridization. We detected no evidence of outbreeding depression, with inter-population hybrids and backcrosses showing either similar fitness or significant heterosis for fitness components across the three generations. Variation in heterosis among population pairs was best explained by characteristics of the foreign source or home population, and was greatest when the source population was large, with high genetic diversity and low inbreeding, and the home population was small and inbred. Our results indicate that the primary consideration for maximizing progeny fitness following population augmentation or restoration is the use of seed from large, genetically diverse populations. PMID:23173202
Rebocho, Alexandra B.
Plant development involves two polarity types: tissue cell (asymmetries within cells are coordinated across tissues) and regional (identities vary spatially across tissues) polarity. Both appear altered in the barley (Hordeum vulgare) Hooded mutant, in which ectopic expression of the KNOTTED1-like Homeobox (KNOX) gene, BKn3, causes inverted polarity of differentiated hairs and ectopic flowers, in addition to wing-shaped outgrowths. These lemma-specific effects allow the spatiotemporal analysis of events following ectopic BKn3 expression, determining the relationship between KNOXs, polarity, and shape. We show that tissue cell polarity, based on localization of the auxin transporter SISTER OF PINFORMED1 (SoPIN1), dynamically reorients as ectopic BKn3 expression increases. Concurrently, ectopic expression of the auxin importer LIKE AUX1 and boundary gene NO APICAL MERISTEM is activated. The polarity of hairs reflects SoPIN1 patterns, suggesting that tissue cell polarity underpins oriented cell differentiation. Wing cell files reveal an anisotropic growth pattern, and computational modeling shows how polarity guiding growth can account for this pattern and wing emergence. The inverted ectopic flower orientation does not correlate with SoPIN1, suggesting that this form of regional polarity is not controlled by tissue cell polarity. Overall, the results suggest that KNOXs trigger different morphogenetic effects through interplay between tissue cell polarity, identity, and growth. PMID:27553356
Topp, E.; Scheunert, I.; Attar, A.; Korte, F.
The uptake of /sup 14/C from various /sup 14/C-labeled organic chemicals from different chemical classes by barley and cress seedlings from soil was studied for 7 days in a closed aerated laboratory apparatus. Uptake by roots and by leaves via the air was determined separately. Although comparative long-term outdoor studies showed that an equilibrium is not reached within a short time period, plant concentration factors after 7 days could be correlated to some physicochemical and structural substance properties. Barley root concentration factors due to root uptake, expressed as concentration in roots divided by concentration in soil, gave a fairly good negative correlation to adsorption coefficients based on soil organic carbon. Barley root concentration factors, expressed as concentration in roots divided by concentration in soil liquid, gave a positive correlation to the n-octanol/water partition coefficients. Uptake of chemicals by barley leaves via air was strongly positively correlated to volatilization of chemicals from soil. Both root and foliar uptake by barley could be correlated well to the molecular weight of 14 chemicals. Uptake of chemicals by cress differed from that by barley, and correlations to physicochemical substance properties mostly were poor.
Richardson, Annis Elizabeth; Rebocho, Alexandra B; Coen, Enrico S
Plant development involves two polarity types: tissue cell (asymmetries within cells are coordinated across tissues) and regional (identities vary spatially across tissues) polarity. Both appear altered in the barley (Hordeum vulgare) Hooded mutant, in which ectopic expression of the KNOTTED1-like Homeobox (KNOX) gene, BKn3, causes inverted polarity of differentiated hairs and ectopic flowers, in addition to wing-shaped outgrowths. These lemma-specific effects allow the spatiotemporal analysis of events following ectopic BKn3 expression, determining the relationship between KNOXs, polarity, and shape. We show that tissue cell polarity, based on localization of the auxin transporter SISTER OF PINFORMED1 (SoPIN1), dynamically reorients as ectopic BKn3 expression increases. Concurrently, ectopic expression of the auxin importer LIKE AUX1 and boundary gene NO APICAL MERISTEM is activated. The polarity of hairs reflects SoPIN1 patterns, suggesting that tissue cell polarity underpins oriented cell differentiation. Wing cell files reveal an anisotropic growth pattern, and computational modeling shows how polarity guiding growth can account for this pattern and wing emergence. The inverted ectopic flower orientation does not correlate with SoPIN1, suggesting that this form of regional polarity is not controlled by tissue cell polarity. Overall, the results suggest that KNOXs trigger different morphogenetic effects through interplay between tissue cell polarity, identity, and growth.
Einsiedl, Florian; Radke, Michael; Maloszewski, Piotr
The occurrence of two pharmaceuticals, ibuprofen and diclofenac, in a vulnerable karst groundwater system was investigated. The hydrogeology of the karst system was identified by collecting 3H samples in groundwater over 27 years and by performing tracer tests. The isotopes and tracer data were interpreted by mathematical modeling to estimate the mean transit time of water and to characterize the hydrogeological flow paths in the groundwater system. By this approach, a mean 3H transit time of 4.6 years for the fissured-porous karst aquifer was determined, whereas the fast flowing water in the conduit system showed a mean transit time of days. Both pharmaceuticals which infiltrated along sinkholes and small streams into the karst system were detected in concentrations of up to approximately 1 μg/L in effluent water of the wastewater treatment plants. Diclofenac was present in most samples collected from four springs discharging the karst groundwater to the rivers Altmühl and Anlauter in concentrations between 3.6 and 15.4 ng/L. In contrast, ibuprofen was rarely detected in groundwater. The results of this study suggest that both pharmaceuticals move into the fractured system of the karst system and go into storage. Thus dilution processes are the dominant control on the concentrations of both pharmaceuticals in the fractured system, whereas biodegradation is likely less important.
Einsiedl, Florian; Radke, Michael; Maloszewski, Piotr
The occurrence of two pharmaceuticals, ibuprofen and diclofenac, in a vulnerable karst groundwater system was investigated. The hydrogeology of the karst system was identified by collecting (3)H samples in groundwater over 27years and by performing tracer tests. The isotopes and tracer data were interpreted by mathematical modeling to estimate the mean transit time of water and to characterize the hydrogeological flow paths in the groundwater system. By this approach, a mean (3)H transit time of 4.6 years for the fissured-porous karst aquifer was determined, whereas the fast flowing water in the conduit system showed a mean transit time of days. Both pharmaceuticals which infiltrated along sinkholes and small streams into the karst system were detected in concentrations of up to approximately 1 microg/L in effluent water of the wastewater treatment plants. Diclofenac was present in most samples collected from four springs discharging the karst groundwater to the rivers Altmühl and Anlauter in concentrations between 3.6 and 15.4 ng/L. In contrast, ibuprofen was rarely detected in groundwater. The results of this study suggest that both pharmaceuticals move into the fractured system of the karst system and go into storage. Thus dilution processes are the dominant control on the concentrations of both pharmaceuticals in the fractured system, whereas biodegradation is likely less important.
Levine, J.M.; McEachern, A.K.; Cowan, C.
A major challenge in forecasting the ecological consequences of climate change is understanding the relative importance of changes to mean conditions vs. changes to discrete climatic events, such as storms, frosts, or droughts. Here we show that the first major storm of the growing season strongly influences the population dynamics of three rare and endangered annual plant species in a coastal California (USA) ecosystem. In a field experiment we used moisture barriers and water addition to manipulate the timing and temperature associated with first major rains of the season. The three focal species showed two- to fivefold variation in per capita population growth rates between the different storm treatments, comparable to variation found in a prior experiment imposing eightfold differences in season-long precipitation. Variation in germination was a major demographic driver of how two of three species responded to the first rains. For one of these species, the timing of the storm was the most critical determinant of its germination, while the other showed enhanced germination with colder storm temperatures. The role of temperature was further supported by laboratory trials showing enhanced germination in cooler treatments. Our work suggests that, because of species-specific cues for demographic transitions such as germination, changes to discrete climate events may be as, if not more, important than changes to season-long variables.
Mauritz, M.; Lipson, D.; Cleland, E. E.
Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns, which will change the timing and amount of plant resources. Precipitation patterns determine water and nitrogen (N) availability, because water stimulates microbial N turnover and N transport. In order for plants to utilize water and N, they must coincide with the phenology and meet physiological requirements of the plant. As resource supply shifts, differences in species' ability to acquire resources will affect plant community composition. Semiarid ecosystems, such as shrublands in Southern California, are particularly sensitive to shifts in precipitation because they are severely water limited. This study takes advantage of the altered phenology and resource demands presented by invasive annual grasses in a native semiarid shrubland. The goal is to understand how altered precipitation patterns affect plant N uptake. Rainfall levels were manipulated to 50% and 150% of ambient levels. It is expected that higher rainfall levels promote annual grass invasion because grasses have higher water and N requirements and begin to grow earlier in the season than shrubs. A 15N tracer was added with the first rain event and plant samples were collected regularly to track the movement of N into the plants. Net soil N accumulation was determined using resin bags. Invasive grasses altered the timing and amount of N uptake but amount of rainfall had less effect on N distribution. 15N was detected sooner and at higher level in grasses than shrubs. 24hours after the first rain event 15N was detectable in grasses, 15N accumulated rapidly and peaked 2 months earlier than shrubs. Shrub 15N levels remained at pre-rain event levels for the first 2 months and began to increase at the beginning of spring, peak mid-spring and decline as the shrubs entered summer dormancy. One year later 15N levels in annual grass litter remained high, while 15N levels in shrubs returned to initial background levels as a result of resorption. 15N
Morawo, Tolulope; Fadamiro, Henry
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by herbivore-damaged plants can guide parasitoids to their hosts. The quantity and quality of VOC blends emitted by plants may be affected by the duration of plant damage by herbivores, which could have potential ramifications on the recruitment of competing parasitoids. We used two parasitoid species, Microplitis croceipes and Cotesia marginiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), to address the question of whether duration of plant damage affects parasitoid use of plant VOCs for host location. Both wasp species are larval endoparasitoids of Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), an important pest of cotton. Attraction of the two parasitoid species to odors emitted by undamaged (UD), fresh (6 h infestation) damage (FD), and old (24 h infestation) damage (OD) cotton plants infested by H. virescens larvae was investigated using a headspace volatile collection system coupled with four-choice olfactometer bioassay. Both sexes of M. croceipes showed a preference for FD- and OD-plant odors over UD-plants. On the other hand, more C. marginiventris females were attracted to UD- and FD-plants than to OD-plants. GC/MS analyses showed qualitative and quantitative differences in the VOC profiles of UD, FD, and OD-plants, which may explain the observed preferences of the parasitoids. These results suggest a temporal partitioning in the recruitment of M. croceipes and C. marginiventris to H. virescens-damaged cotton, and may have potential implications for interspecific competition between the two parasitoid species.
van der Honing, Hannie S; van Bezouwen, Laura S; Emons, Anne Mie C; Ketelaar, Tijs
Lifeact is a novel probe that labels actin filaments in a wide range of organisms. We compared the localization and reorganization of Lifeact:Venus-labeled actin filaments in Arabidopsis root hairs and root epidermal cells of lines that express different levels of Lifeact: Venus with that of actin filaments labeled with GFP:FABD2, a commonly used probe in plants. Unlike GFP:FABD2, Lifeact:Venus labeled the highly dynamic fine F-actin in the subapical region of tip-growing root hairs. Lifeact:Venus expression at varying levels was not observed to affect plant development. However, at expression levels comparable to those of GFP:FABD2 in a well-characterized marker line, Lifeact:Venus reduced reorganization rates of bundles of actin filaments in root epidermal cells. Reorganization rates of cytoplasmic strands, which reflect the reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, were also reduced in these lines. Moreover, in the same line, Lifeact:Venus-decorated actin filaments were more resistant to depolymerization by latrunculin B than those in an equivalent GFP:FABD2-expressing line. In lines where Lifeact: Venus is expressed at lower levels, these effects are less prominent or even absent. We conclude that Lifeact: Venus reduces remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis in a concentration-dependent manner. Since this reduction occurs at expression levels that do not cause defects in plant development, selection of normally growing plants is not sufficient to determine optimal Lifeact expression levels. When correct expression levels of Lifeact have been determined, it is a valuable probe that labels dynamic populations of actin filaments such as fine F-actin, better than FABD2 does.
Wojtowicz, Todd; Compson, Zacchaeus G; Lamit, Louis J; Whitham, Thomas G; Gehring, Catherine A
The effects of plant genetics on predators, especially those not living on the plant itself, are rarely studied and poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated the effect of plant hybridization and genotype on litter-dwelling spiders. Using an 18-year-old cottonwood common garden, we recorded agelenid sheet-web density associated with the litter layers of replicated genotypes of three tree cross types: Populus fremontii, Populus angustifolia, and their F1 hybrids. We surveyed 118 trees for agelenid litter webs at two distances from the trees (0-100 and 100-200 cm from trunk) and measured litter depth as a potential mechanism of web density patterns. Five major results emerged: web density within a 1-m radius of P. angustifolia was approximately three times higher than within a 1-m radius of P. fremontii, with F1 hybrids having intermediate densities; web density responded to P. angustifolia and F1 hybrid genotypes as indicated by a significant genotype × distance interaction, with some genotypes exhibiting a strong decline in web density with distance, while others did not; P. angustifolia litter layers were deeper than those of P. fremontii at both distance classes, and litter depth among P. angustifolia genotypes differed up to 300%; cross type and genotype influenced web density via their effects on litter depth, and these effects were influenced by distance; web density was more sensitive to the effects of tree cross type than genotype. By influencing generalist predators, plant hybridization and genotype may indirectly impact trophic interactions such as intraguild predation, possibly affecting trophic cascades and ecosystem processes.
Hungate, Eric A.; Earley, Eric J.; Boussy, Ian A.; Turissini, David A.; Ting, Chau-Ti; Moran, Jennifer R.; Wu, Mao-Lien; Wu, Chung-I; Jones, Corbin D.
Many insects feed on only one or a few types of host. These host specialists often evolve a preference for chemical cues emanating from their host and develop mechanisms for circumventing their host’s defenses. Adaptations like these are central to evolutionary biology, yet our understanding of their genetics remains incomplete. Drosophila sechellia, an emerging model for the genetics of host specialization, is an island endemic that has adapted to chemical toxins present in the fruit of its host plant, Morinda citrifolia. Its sibling species, D. simulans, and many other Drosophila species do not tolerate these toxins and avoid the fruit. Earlier work found a region with a strong effect on tolerance to the major toxin, octanoic acid, on chromosome arm 3R. Using a novel assay, we narrowed this region to a small span near the centromere containing 18 genes, including three odorant binding proteins. It has been hypothesized that the evolution of host specialization is facilitated by genetic linkage between alleles contributing to host preference and alleles contributing to host usage, such as tolerance to secondary compounds. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the effect of this tolerance locus on host preference behavior. Our data were inconsistent with the linkage hypothesis, as flies bearing this tolerance region showed no increase in preference for media containing M. citrifolia toxins, which D. sechellia prefers. Thus, in contrast to some models for host preference, preference and tolerance are not tightly linked at this locus nor is increased tolerance per se sufficient to change preference. Our data are consistent with the previously proposed model that the evolution of D. sechellia as a M. citrifolia specialist occurred through a stepwise loss of aversion and gain of tolerance to M. citrifolia’s toxins. PMID:24037270
The growth of wheat germ roots exposed to heavy metal salts (ZnSO4) was studied experimentally and theoretically. During the experiment the plant seeds were preliminarily treated with an experimental microbial association. As a result, data were obtained about the decrease of the inhibiting effect of zinc on the growth of wheat germ roots where the seeds had been treated with the microbial association. To understand such effect, calculations were made to reveal the specific growth rate of a germ root depending on the inhibitor concentration with and without microorganism association treatment. It was shown that in case with the wheat germ roots the seeds of which had been treated with the microorganisms the inhibition constant (kI = 45 MPC (Maximum Permissible Concentration) was higher than in the case with the roots growing out of the seeds that hadn't been treated with the microorganisms (kI = 32 MPC). One of possible reasons for the decrease of growth inhibition of wheat germ roots by zinc salt is the protective function of microorganism's treatment of the seeds. To verify and confirm the experimental results, a mathematical model was created imitating the interaction between wheat germ roots and microbial association exposed to an inhibitor. Investigation of the model proved that the microbial association has a positive effect on the growth of wheat germ roots exposed to an inhibitor. The experimental and theoretical results agreed quantitatively. It was found out that the increase of the inhibitor concentration led to the effect of maximum relief of zinc inhibiting impact. The work is supported by grants Yenissei 07-04-96806.
Chen, Yun-Shiuan; Chesson, Peter; Wu, Ho-Wei; Pao, Shang-Hung; Liu, Jian-Wei; Chien, Lee-Feng; Yong, Jean W H; Sheue, Chiou-Rong
The presence of foliar variegation challenges perceptions of leaf form and functioning. But variegation is often incorrectly identified and misinterpreted. The striking variegation found in juvenile Blastus cochinchinensis (Melastomataceae) provides an instructive case study of mechanisms and their ecophysiological implications. Variegated (white and green areas, vw and vg) and non-variegated leaves (normal green leaves, ng) of seedlings of Blastus were compared structurally with microtechniques, and characterized for chlorophyll content and fluorescence. More limited study of Sonerila heterostemon (Melastomataceae) and Kaempferia pulchra (Zingiberaceae) tested the generality of the findings. Variegation in Blastus combines five mechanisms: epidermal, air space, upper mesophyll, chloroplast and crystal, the latter two being new mechanisms. All mesophyll cells (vw, vg, ng) have functional chloroplasts with dense thylakoids. The vw areas are distinguished by flatter adaxial epidermal cells and central trichomes containing crystals, the presence of air spaces between the adaxial epidermis and a colorless spongy-like upper mesophyll containing smaller and fewer chloroplasts. The vw area is further distinguished by having the largest spongy-tissue chloroplasts and fewer stomata. Both leaf types have similar total chlorophyll content and similar F v/F m (maximum quantum yield of PSII), but vg has significantly higher F v/F m than ng. Variegation in Sonerila and Kaempferia is also caused by combined mechanisms, including the crystal type in Kaempferia. This finding of combined mechanisms in three different species suggests that combined mechanisms may occur more commonly in nature than current understanding. The combined mechanisms in Blastus variegated leaves represent intricate structural modifications that may compensate for and minimize photosynthetic loss, and reflect changing plant needs.
Weber, Jerzy; Gwizdz, Marta; Jamroz, Elzbieta; Debicka, Magdalena; Kocowicz, Andrzej
In this study the effect of fly ash dumping site of the electric power plant on the surrounding soil environment was investigated. The fly ash dumping site collect wastes form brown coal combustion of Belchatow electric power station, central Poland. The dumping site is surrounding by forest, where pine trees overgrow Podzols derived from loose quartz sands. The soil profiles under study were located at a distance of 50, 100, 400 and 500 m from the dumping site, while control profiles were located 8 km away from the landfill. In all horizons of soil profiles the mpain hysico-chemical and chemical properties were determined. The humic substances were extracted from ectohumus horizons by Shnitzer's method, purified using XAD resin and freeze-dried. The fulvic acids were passed through a cation exchange column and freeze-dried. Optical density, elemental composition and atomic ratios were determined in the humic and fulvic acids. Organic carbon by KMnO4 oxidation was also determined in the organic soil horizons. The fly ash from the landfill characterized by high salinity and strong alkaline reaction (pH=10), which contributed significantly to the changes of the pH values in soils horizons. The alkalization of soils adjacent to the landfill was found, which manifested in increasing of pH values in the upper soil horizons. The impact of the landfill was also noted in the changes of the soil morphology of Podzols analysed. As a result of the alkalization, Bhs horizons have been converted into a Bs horizons. Leaching of low molecular humus fraction - typical for podzolization - has been minimized as a result of pH changes caused by the impact of the landfill, and originally occurring humic substances in the Bhs horizon (present in the control profiles) have been probably transported out of the soil profile and then into the groundwater.
Torabinejad, Javad; Donahue, Janet L; Gunesekera, Bhadra N; Allen-Daniels, Matthew J; Gillaspy, Glenda E
Myoinositol synthesis and catabolism are crucial in many multiceullar eukaryotes for the production of phosphatidylinositol signaling molecules, glycerophosphoinositide membrane anchors, cell wall pectic noncellulosic polysaccharides, and several other molecules including ascorbate. Myoinositol monophosphatase (IMP) is a major enzyme required for the synthesis of myoinositol and the breakdown of myoinositol (1,4,5)trisphosphate, a potent second messenger involved in many biological activities. It has been shown that the VTC4 enzyme from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) has similarity to IMP and can hydrolyze l-galactose 1-phosphate (l-Gal 1-P), suggesting that this enzyme may be bifunctional and linked with two potential pathways of plant ascorbate synthesis. We describe here the kinetic comparison of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) recombinant VTC4 with d-myoinositol 3-phosphate (d-Ins 3-P) and l-Gal 1-P. Purified VTC4 has only a small difference in the V(max)/K(m) for l-Gal 1-P as compared with d-Ins 3-P and can utilize other related substrates. Inhibition by either Ca(2+) or Li(+), known to disrupt cell signaling, was the same with both l-Gal 1-P and d-Ins 3-P. To determine whether the VTC4 gene impacts myoinositol synthesis in Arabidopsis, we isolated T-DNA knockout lines of VTC4 that exhibit small perturbations in abscisic acid, salt, and cold responses. Analysis of metabolite levels in vtc4 mutants showed that less myoinositol and ascorbate accumulate in these mutants. Therefore, VTC4 is a bifunctional enzyme that impacts both myoinositol and ascorbate synthesis pathways.
Carassay, Luciano R; Bustos, Dolores A; Golberg, Alberto D; Taleisnik, Edith
Tipburn in lettuce is a physiological disorder expressed as a necrosis in the margins of young developing leaves and is commonly observed under saline conditions. Tipburn is usually attributed to Ca(2+) deficiencies, and there has very limited research on other mechanisms that may contribute to tipburn development. This work examines whether symptoms are mediated by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Two butter lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) varieties, Sunstar (Su) and Pontina (Po), with contrasting tipburn susceptibility were grown in hydroponics with low Ca(2+) (0.5 mM), and with or without 50 mM NaCl. Tipburn symptoms were observed only in Su, and only in the saline treatment. Tipburn incidence in response to topical treatments with Ca(2+) scavengers, Ca(2+) transport inhibitors, and antioxidants was assessed. All treatments were applied before symptom expression, and evaluated later, when symptoms were expected to occur. Superoxide presence in tissues was determined with nitro blue tetrazolium (NBT) and oxidative damage as malondialdehyde (MDA) content. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities were assayed. Under control and saline conditions, tipburn could be induced in both varieties by topical treatments with a Ca(2+) scavenger (EGTA) and Ca(2+) transport inhibitors (verapamil, LaCl(3)) and reduced by supplying Ca(2+) along with a ionophore (A 23187). Tipburn symptoms were associated with locally produced ROS. O(2)(·-) and oxidative damage significantly increased in leaf margins before symptom expression, while topical antioxidant applications (Tiron, DPI) reduced symptoms in treated leaves, but not in the rest of the plant. Antioxidant enzyme activity was higher in Po, and increased more in response to EGTA treatments, and may contribute to mitigating oxidative damage and tipburn expression in this variety.
Drake, J.M.; Cleland, E.E.; Horner-Devine, M. C.; Fleishman, E.; Bowles, C.; Smith, M.D.; Carney, K.; Emery, S.; Gramling, J.; Vandermast, D.B.; Grace, J.B.
The relationship between ecosystem processes and species richness is an active area of research and speculation. Both theoretical and experimental studies have been conducted in numerous ecosystems. One finding of these studies is that the shape of the relationship between productivity and species richness varies considerably among ecosystems and at different spatial scales, though little is known about the relative importance of physical and biological mechanisms causing this variation. Moreover, despite widespread concern about changes in species' global distributions, it remains unclear if and how such large-scale changes may affect this relationship. We present a new conceptual model of how invasive species might modulate relationships between primary production and species richness. We tested this model using long-term data on relationships between aboveground net primary production and species richness in six North American terrestrial ecosystems. We show that primary production and abundance of non-native species are both significant predictors of species richness, though we fail to detect effects of invasion extent on the shapes of the relationship between species richness and primary production.
Hentati, Olfa; Oliveira, Vanessa; Sena, Clara; Bouji, Mohamed Seddik Mahmoud; Wali, Ahmed; Ksibi, Mohamed
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ecotoxicological effects of olive mill waste (OMW) on soil habitat function. To this end, soil samples from OMW evaporating ponds (S1-S5) located at Agareb (Sfax, Tunisia) and a reference soil (R) were collected. The effects of OMW on the springtails Folsomia candida (F.c.), the earthworm species Eisenia fetida (E.f.), Enchytraeus crypticus (E.c.) reproduction and on the soil living microbial communities were investigated. E.f. reproduction and tomato growth assays were performed in the reference soil amended with 0.43 to 7.60 % (wOMW/wref-soil) mass ratios of dried OMW. Changes in microbial function diversity were explored using sole-carbon-source utilization profiles (BiologEcoPlates(®)). E.f. absolutely avoided (100 %) the most polluted soil (S4) while the F.c. moderately avoided (37.5 ± 7.5 %) the same soil. E.c. reproduction in S4 was significantly lower than in S1, S2, S3 and S5, and was the highest in R soil. Estimated effect concentration EC50 for juveniles' production by E.f., and for tomato fresh weight and chlorophyll content were 0.138, 0.6 and 1.13 %, respectively. Community level physiological profiles (CLPPs) were remarkably different in R and S4 and a higher similarity was observed between soils S1, S2, S3 and S5. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that differences between soil microbial functional diversity were mainly due to high polyphenol concentrations, while the salinity negatively affected E.c. reproduction in OMW contaminated soils. These results clearly reflect the high toxicity of dried OMW when added to agricultural soils, causing severe threats to terrestrial ecosystem functions and services provided by invertebrates and microbial communities.
Perkins, L E; Cribb, B W; Hanan, J; Zalucki, M P
The distribution and movement of 1st instar Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae on whole garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants were determined in glasshouse trials. This economically-important herbivore attacks a wide variety of agricultural, horticultural and indigenous plants. To investigate the mechanisms underlying larval intra-plant movement, we used early-flowering and wild-type plant genotypes and placed eggs at different vertical heights within the plants, one egg per plant. Leaf water and nitrogen content and cuticle hardness were measured at the different plant heights. Of 92 individual larvae, 41% did not move from the node of eclosion, 49% moved upwards and 10% moved downwards with the distance moved being between zero and ten plant nodes. Larvae from eggs placed on the lower third of the plant left the natal leaf more often and moved further than larvae from eggs placed in the middle or upper thirds. The low nutritive value of leaves was the most likely explanation for more movement away from lower plant regions. Although larvae on flowering plants did not move further up or down than larvae on non-flowering plants, they more often departed the leaflet (within a leaf) where they eclosed. The final distribution of larvae was affected by plant genotype, with larvae on flowering plants found less often on leaflets and more often on stipules, tendrils and reproductive structures. Understanding intra-plant movement by herbivorous insects under natural conditions is important because such movement determines the value of economic loss to host crops. Knowing the behaviour underlying the spatial distribution of herbivores on plants will assist us to interpret field data and should lead to better informed pest management decisions.
Xue, Wei; Huang, Lin; Dong, Bi-Cheng; Zhang, Ming-Xiang; Yu, Fei-Hai
Environments are patchy in not only abiotic factors but also biotic ones. Many studies have examined effects of spatial heterogeneity in abiotic factors such as light, water and nutrients on the growth of clonal plants, but few have tested those in biotic factors. We conducted a greenhouse experiment to examine how patchy distributions of competitors affect the growth of a rhizomatous wetland plant Bolboschoenus planiculmis and whether such effects depend on the density of the competitors. We grew one ramet of B. planiculmis in the center of each of the experimental boxes without competitors (Schoenoplectus triqueter), with a homogeneous distribution of the competitors of low or high density, and with a patchy distribution of the competitors of low or high density. The presence of competitors markedly decreased the growth (biomass, number of ramets, number of tubers and rhizome length) of the B. planiculmis clones. When the density of the competitors was low, the growth of B. planiculmis did not differ significantly between the competitor patches and competitor-free patches. However, when the density of the competitors was high, the growth of B. planiculmis was significantly higher in the competitor-free patches than in the competitor patches. Therefore, B. planiculmis can respond to patchy distributions of competitors by placing more ramets in competition-free patches when the density of competitors is high, but cannot do so when the density of competitors is low. PMID:24205165
Kegge, Wouter; Ninkovic, Velemir; Glinwood, Robert; Welschen, Rob A. M.; Voesenek, Laurentius A. C. J.; Pierik, Ronald
Background and Aims Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play various roles in plant–plant interactions, and constitutively produced VOCs might act as a cue to sense neighbouring plants. Previous studies have shown that VOCs emitted from the barley (Hordeum vulgare) cultivar ‘Alva’ cause changes in biomass allocation in plants of the cultivar ‘Kara’. Other studies have shown that shading and the low red:far-red (R:FR) conditions that prevail at high plant densities can reduce the quantity and alter the composition of the VOCs emitted by Arabidopsis thaliana, but whether this affects plant–plant signalling remains unknown. This study therefore examines the effects of far-red light enrichment on VOC emissions and plant–plant signalling between ‘Alva’ and ‘Kara’. Methods The proximity of neighbouring plants was mimicked by supplemental far-red light treatment of VOC emitter plants of barley grown in growth chambers. Volatiles emitted by ‘Alva’ under control and far-red light-enriched conditions were analysed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). ‘Kara’ plants were exposed to the VOC blend emitted by the ‘Alva’ plants that were subjected to either of the light treatments. Dry matter partitioning, leaf area, stem and total root length were determined for ‘Kara’ plants exposed to ‘Alva’ VOCs, and also for ‘Alva’ plants exposed to either control or far-red-enriched light treatments. Key Results Total VOC emissions by ‘Alva’ were reduced under low R:FR conditions compared with control light conditions, although individual volatile compounds were found to be either suppressed, induced or not affected by R:FR. The altered composition of the VOC blend emitted by ‘Alva’ plants exposed to low R:FR was found to affect carbon allocation in receiver plants of ‘Kara’. Conclusions The results indicate that changes in R:FR light conditions influence the emissions of VOCs in barley, and that these altered emissions
Li, Wenhui; Shi, Yali; Gao, Lihong; Liu, Jiemin; Cai, Yaqi
The occurrence and distribution of eight quinolones, nine sulfonamides, and five macrolides were investigated in sewage sludge from 45 wastewater treatment plants in 23 cities in China. Among all the antibiotics considered, quinolones were the dominant antibiotics detected in all samples [total concentrations up to 8905 μg/kg, dry weight (dw)], followed by macrolides (85.1 μg/kg, dw), and sulfonamides (22.7 μg/kg, dw). High concentrations of quinolones in sewage sludge indicated that antibiotics are widely used and extensive pollutants in China. Significant differences were observed for the total concentrations of antibiotics in sludge samples among the 45 WWTPs. To evaluate the potential factors affecting the antibiotic levels in sewage sludge, wastewater and sludge characteristics, as well as the operational conditions and treatment techniques in WWTPs were investigated. The results indicated that the antibiotic levels in sewage sludge depend to a great extent on wastewater characteristics. Significant correlation between total organic carbon (TOC) and total concentrations of antibiotics was also found in studied WWTPs, indicating that TOC could affect the sludge adsorption capability to the antibiotics to some extent. Moreover, the relation between treatment techniques and the total concentrations of antibiotics in sludge showed that antibiotic levels in sludge increased with longer solid retention time.
Ishii, Takeaki; Ito, Kazuo; Kato, Shigeaki; Tsubokura, Masaharu; Ochi, Sae; Iwamoto, Yukihide; Saito, Yasutoshi
Bone health was assessed for inhabitants of an area affected by the Fukushima nuclear plant incident. Osteoporotic patients, who had been treated with active vitamin D3 and/or bisphosphonate at Soma Central Hospital before the Fukushima incident, were enrolled. Changes in bone turnover markers and bone mineral density were retrospectively analyzed. Serum levels of a bone resorption marker, serum type I collagen cross-linked N-telopeptide were decreased in all the treated groups, whereas those of a bone formation marker, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, were increased. Accordingly, bone mineral density, estimated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, was increased in the lumbar spine of all groups, but bone mass increase in the proximal femur was detected only in the group treated with the two agents in combination. From the degree of these parameter changes, the antiosteoporotic treatments looked effective and were equivalent to the expected potency of past observations. At this stage, the present study implies that the Fukushima nuclear incident did not bring an acute risk to bone health in the affected areas.
Nguyen Dinh, Sy; Sai, Than Zaw Tun; Nawaz, Ghazala; Lee, Kwanuk; Kang, Hunseung
Despite the increasing understanding of the regulation of chloroplast gene expression in plants, the importance of intron splicing and processing of chloroplast RNA transcripts under stress conditions is largely unknown. Here, to understand how abiotic stresses affect the intron splicing and expression patterns of chloroplast genes in dicots and monocots, we carried out a comprehensive analysis of the intron splicing and expression patterns of chloroplast genes in the coffee plant (Coffea arabica) as a dicot and rice (Oryza sativa) as a monocot under abiotic stresses, including drought, cold, or combined drought and heat stresses. The photosynthetic activity of both coffee plants and rice seedlings was significantly reduced under all stress conditions tested. Analysis of the transcript levels of chloroplast genes revealed that the splicing of tRNAs and mRNAs in coffee plants and rice seedlings were significantly affected by abiotic stresses. Notably, abiotic stresses affected differently the splicing of chloroplast tRNAs and mRNAs in coffee plants and rice seedlings. The transcript levels of most chloroplast genes were markedly downregulated in both coffee plants and rice seedlings upon stress treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that coffee and rice plants respond to abiotic stresses via regulating the intron splicing and expression of different sets of chloroplast genes.
Luan, Yunxia; Wang, Baosheng; Zhao, Qian; Ao, Guangming; Yu, Jingjuan
Plant architecture determines grain production in rice (Oryza sativa) and is affected by important agronomic traits such as tillering, plant height, and panicle morphology. Many key genes involved in controlling the initiation and outgrowth of axillary buds, the elongation of stems, and the architecture of inflorescences have been isolated and analyzed. Previous studies have shown that SiPf40, which was identified from a foxtail millet (Setaria italica) immature seed cDNA library, causes extra branches and tillers in SiPf40-transgenic tobacco and foxtail millet, respectively. To reconfirm its function, we generated transgenic rice plants overexpressing SiPf40 under the control of the ubiquitin promoter. SiPf40-overexpressing transgenic plants have a greater tillering number and a wider tiller angle than wild-type plants. Their root architecture is modified by the promotion of lateral root development, and the distribution of xylem and phloem in the vascular bundle is affected. Analysis of hormone levels showed that the ratios of indole-3-acetic acid/zeatin (IAA/ZR) and IAA/gibberellic acid (IAA/GA) decreased in SiPf40-transgenic plants compared with wild-type plants. These findings strongly suggest that SiPf40 plays an important role in plant architecture.
Liu, C Y; Jiang, X; Yang, X L; Song, Y
Reductive dechlorination is a crucial pathway for HCB degradation, the applications of organic materials and nitrogen can alter microbial activity and redox potential of soils, thus probably influence HCB dechlorination. To evaluate hexachlorobenzene (HCB) dechlorination as affected by organic fertilizer (OF) and urea applications in planted paddy soils, a pot experiment was conducted in two types of soils, Hydragric Acrisols (Ac) and Gleyi-Stagnic Anthrosols (An). After 18 weeks of experiment, HCB residues decreased by 28.2-37.5% of the initial amounts in Ac, and 42.1-70.9% in An. The amounts of HCB metabolites showed that dechlorination rates in An were higher than in Ac, which was mainly attributed to the higher pH and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content of An. Both in Ac and An, the additions of 1% and 2% OF had negative effect on HCB dechlorination, which was probably because excessive nitrogen in OF decreased degraders' activity and the degradation of organic carbon in OF accepted electrons. The application of 0.03% urea could enhance HCB dechlorination rates slightly, while 0.06% urea accelerated HCB dechlorination significantly both in Ac and An. It could be assumed that urea served as an electron donor and stimulated degraders to dechlorinate HCB. In addition, the methanogenic bacteria were involved in dechlorination process, and reductive dechlorination in planted paddy soil might be impeded for the aerenchyma and O(2) supply into the rhizosphere. Results indicated that soil types, rice root system, methanogenic bacteria, OF and urea applications all had great effects on dechlorination process.
Chia, Taipau; Hsu, Ching Yi; Chen, Hsiu Ling
In Taiwan, secondary copper smelters and zinc recovery plants primarily utilize recovering metal from scrap and dross, and handles mostly fly ash and slag with high temperature to produce ZnO from the iron and steel industry. The materials may contain organic impurities, such as plastic and organic chloride chemicals, and amounts of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) are produced during the smelting process. Therefore, secondary metal recovery industries are major emission sources of PCDD/Fs, which may have been demonstrated to elicit oxidative stress and to involve the production of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA). Many studies have also indicated that the intake of antioxidants, smoking, age and exposure to environmental pollutants may be implicated to DNA damage or lipid peroxidation. This study therefore aims to elucidate the roles of occupational exposure like joining the smelting work, age, smoking and alcohol status, and antioxidant intake on oxidative damage in secondary metal recovery workers in Taiwan. 73 workers were recruited from 2 secondary metal recovery plants. The analysis of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) in urine, DNA strand breakage (comet assay) and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in blood samples were completed for all of the workers. The results showed that the older subjects exhibited significantly lower levels of 8-OH-dG and MDA than younger subjects. Our investigation also showed that working departments were in related to plasma MDA and DNA strand breakage levels of nonsmokers, however, the observation become negligible in smokers. And it is implicated that cigarette type might affect 8-OH-dG levels in secondary metal recovery workers. Since, adding to results above, the MDA level in production workers was significantly higher than those in managerial departments, it is important for the employers to make efforts on improving occupational environments or serving protective equipments to protect workers
Zhang, Ning; Xie, Yong-Dun; Guo, Hui-Jun; Zhao, Lin-Shu; Xiong, Hong-Chun; Gu, Jia-Yu; Li, Jun-Hui; Kong, Fu-Quan; Sui, Li; Zhao, Zi-Wei; Zhao, Shi-Rong; Liu, Lu-Xiang
Gibberellin (GA) is essential for determining plant height. Alteration of GA content or GA signaling results in a dwarf or slender phenotype. Here, we characterized a novel wheat mutant, quick development (qd), in which GA regulates stem elongation but does not affect mature plant height. qd and wild-type plants did not exhibit phenotypic differences at the seedling stage. From jointing to heading stage, qd plants were taller than wild-type plants due to elongated cells. However, wild-type and qd plants were the same height at heading. Unlike wild-type plants, qd plants were sensitive to exogenous GA due to mutation of Rht-B1. With continuous GA stimulation, qd seedlings and adult plants were taller than wild-type. Thus, the GA content of qd plants might differ from that of wild-type during the growth process. Analysis of GA biosynthetic gene expression verified this hypothesis and showed that TaKAO, which is involved in catalyzing the early steps of GA biosynthesis, was differentially expressed in qd plants compared with wild-type. The bioactive GA associated gene TaGA20ox was downregulated in qd plants during the late growth stages. Measurements of endogenous GA content were consistent with the gene-expression analysis results. Consistent with the GA content variation, the first three basal internodes were longer and the last two internodes were shorter in qd than in wild-type plants. The qd mutant might be useful in dissecting the mechanism by which GA regulates stem-growing process, and it may be serve as a GA responsive semi-dwarf germplasm in breeding programs.
Huanglongbing (HLB)-affected citrus often display zinc deficiency symptoms. In this study, supplemental zinc was applied to citrus to determine its effect on Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) titer, HLB symptoms, and leaf microbiome. HLB-affected citrus were treated with various amounts of zi...
Schumann, P.B.; Bacigalupa, G.A.; Kosiewicz, S.T.; Sinkule, B.J.
A number of key regulatory drivers affect the nature, scope, and timing of Los Alamos National Laboratory`s (LANL`s) plans for mixed transuranic (MTRU) waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which are planned to commence as soon as possible following WIPP`s currently anticipated November, 1997 opening date. This paper provides an overview of some of the key drivers at LANL, particularly emphasizing those associated with the hazardous waste component of LANL`s MTRU waste (MTRU, like any mixed waste, contains both a radioactive and a hazardous waste component). The key drivers discussed here derive from the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and its amendments, including the Federal Facility Compliance Act (FFCAU), and from the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act (NMHWA). These statutory provisions are enforced through three major mechanisms: facility RCRA permits; the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, set forth in the New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 20, Chapter 4, Part 1: and compliance orders issued to enforce these requirements. General requirements in all three categories will apply to MTRU waste management and characterization activities at both WIPP and LANL. In addition, LANL is subject to facility-specific requirements in its RCRA hazardous waste facility permit, permit conditions as currently proposed in RCRA Part B permit applications presently being reviewed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NNED), and facility-specific compliance orders related to MTRU waste management. Likewise, permitting and compliance-related requirements specific to WIPP indirectly affect LANL`s characterization, packaging, record-keeping, and transportation requirements for MTRU waste. LANL must comply with this evolving set of regulatory requirements to begin shipments of MTRU waste to WIPP in a timely fashion.
Kato, Kazuhisa; Maruyama, Shinichiro; Hirai, Tadayoshi; Hiwasa-Tanase, Kyoko; Mizoguchi, Tsuyoshi; Goto, Eiji; Ezura, Hiroshi
One of the ultimate goals of plant science is to test a hypothesis obtained by basic science and to apply it to agriculture and industry. A plant factory is one of the ideal systems for this trial. Environmental factors affect both plant yield and the accumulation of recombinant proteins for industrial applications within transgenic plants. However, there have been few reports studying plant productivity for recombinant protein in closed cultivation systems called plant factories. To investigate the effects of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) on tomato fruit yield and the accumulation of recombinant miraculin, a taste-modifying glycoprotein, in transgenic tomato fruits, plants were cultivated at various PPFs from 100 to 400 (µmol m(-2) s(-)1) in a plant factory. Miraculin production per unit of energy used was highest at PPF100, although miraculin production per unit area was highest at PPF300. The commercial productivity of recombinant miraculin in transgenic tomato fruits largely depended on light conditions in the plant factory. Our trial will be useful to consider the trade-offs between the profits from production of high-value materials in plants and the costs of electricity.
Porcel, Rosa; Gómez, Manuel; Kaldenhoff, Ralf; Ruiz-Lozano, Juan Manuel
We investigated in two tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plant lines (wildtype or antisense mutant) whether impairment in expression of the plasma membrane aquaporin gene (NtAQP1) affects the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal colonisation pattern or the symbiotic efficiency of AM fungi. These two objectives were investigated under well-watered and drought stress conditions. Both plant lines had a similar pattern of root colonisation under well-watered and drought stress conditions. In contrast, under drought stress, AM wildtype plants grew faster than mycorrhizal antisense plants. Plant gas exchange also appeared to depend on the expression of NtAQP1 and parallelled the determined growth increments. The implications of enhanced symplastic water transport via NtAQP1 for the efficiency of the AM symbiosis under drought stress conditions are further discussed.
Keeley, J.E.; Fotheringham, C.J.; Baer-Keeley, M.
Plant community diversity, measured as species richness, is typically highest in the early post-fire years in California shrublands. However, this generalization is overly simplistic and the present study demonstrates that diversity is determined by a complex of temporal and spatial effects. Ninety sites distributed across southern California were studied for 5 years after a series of fires. Characteristics of the disturbance event, in this case fire severity, can alter post-fire diversity, both decreasing and increasing diversity, depending on life form. Spatial variability in resource availability is an important factor explaining patterns of diversity, and there is a complex interaction between landscape features and life form. Temporal variability in resource availability affects diversity, and the diversity peak in the immediate post-fire year (or two) appears to be driven by factors different from subsequent diversity peaks. Early post-fire diversity is influenced by life-history specialization, illustrated by species that spend the bulk of their life cycle as a dormant seed bank, which is then triggered to germinate by fire. Resource fluctuations, precipitation in particular, may be associated with subsequent post-fire diversity peaks. These later peaks in diversity comprise a flora that is compositionally different from the immediate post-fire flora, and their presence may be due to mass effects from population expansion of local populations in adjacent burned areas. ?? 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Clergeot, Pierre-Henri; Schuler, Herwig; Mørtz, Ejvind; Brus, Maja; Vintila, Simina; Ekengren, Sophia
Pathogenic isolates of Pyrenochaeta lycopersici, the causal agent of corky root rot of tomato, secrete cell death in tomato 1 (CDiT1), a homodimeric protein of 35 kDa inducing cell death after infiltration into the leaf apoplast of tomato. CDiT1 was purified by fast protein liquid chromatography, characterized by mass spectrometry and cDNA cloning. Its activity was confirmed after infiltration of an affinity-purified recombinant fusion of the protein with a C-terminal polyhistidine tag. CDiT1 is highly expressed during tomato root infection compared with axenic culture, and has a putative ortholog in other pathogenic Pleosporales species producing proteinaceous toxins that contribute to virulence. Infiltration of CDiT1 into leaves of other plants susceptible to P. lycopersici revealed that the protein affects them differentially. All varieties of cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) tested were more sensitive to CDiT1 than those of currant tomato (S. pimpinellifolium). Root infection assays showed that varieties of currant tomato are also significantly less prone to intracellular colonization of their root cells by hyphae of P. lycopersici than varieties of cultivated tomato. Therefore, secretion of this novel type of inducer of cell death during penetration of the fungus inside root cells might favor infection of host species that are highly sensitive to this molecule.
Tsunoda, Tomonori; Kachi, Naoki; Suzuki, Jun-Ichirou
We examined how the volume and temporal heterogeneity of water supply changed the vertical distribution and mortality of a belowground herbivore, and consequently affected plant biomass. Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae) seedlings were grown at one per pot under different combinations of water volume (large or small volume) and heterogeneity (homogeneous water conditions, watered every day; heterogeneous conditions, watered every 4 days) in the presence or absence of a larva of the belowground herbivorous insect, Anomala cuprea (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). The larva was confined in different vertical distributions to top feeding zone (top treatment), middle feeding zone (middle treatment), or bottom feeding zone (bottom treatment); alternatively no larva was introduced (control treatment) or larval movement was not confined (free treatment). Three-way interaction between water volume, heterogeneity, and the herbivore significantly affected plant biomass. With a large water volume, plant biomass was lower in free treatment than in control treatment regardless of heterogeneity. Plant biomass in free treatment was as low as in top treatment. With a small water volume and in free treatment, plant biomass was low (similar to that under top treatment) under homogeneous water conditions but high under heterogeneous ones (similar to that under middle or bottom treatment). Therefore, there was little effect of belowground herbivory on plant growth under heterogeneous water conditions. In other watering regimes, herbivores would be distributed in the shallow soil and reduced root biomass. Herbivore mortality was high with homogeneous application of a large volume or heterogeneous application of a small water volume. Under the large water volume, plant biomass was high in pots in which the herbivore had died. Thus, the combinations of water volume and heterogeneity affected plant growth via the change of a belowground herbivore.
Wang, Xianzhong; Taub, Daniel R; Jablonski, Leanne M
Reproduction is an important life history trait that strongly affects dynamics of plant populations. Although it has been well documented that elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere greatly enhances biomass production in plants, the overall effect of elevated CO2 on reproductive allocation (RA), i.e., the proportion of biomass allocated to reproductive structures, is little understood. We combined meta-analysis with graphical vector analysis to examine the overall effect of elevated CO2 on RA and how other environmental factors, such as low nutrients, drought and elevated atmospheric ozone (O3), interacted with elevated CO2 in affecting RA in herbaceous plants. Averaged across all species of different functional groups and environmental conditions, elevated CO2 had little effect on RA (-0.9%). RA in plants of different reproductive strategies and functional groups, however, differed in response to elevated CO2. For example, RA in iteroparous wild species decreased by 8%, while RA in iteroparous crops increased significantly (+14%) at elevated CO2. RA was unaffected by CO2 in plants grown with no stress or in low-nutrient soils. RA decreased at elevated CO2 and elevated O3, but increased in response to elevated CO2 in drought-stressed plants, suggesting that elevated CO2 could ameliorate the adverse effect of drought on crop production to some extent. Our results demonstrate that elevated CO2 and other global environmental changes have the potential to greatly alter plant community composition through differential effects on RA of different plant species and thus affect the dynamics of natural and agricultural ecosystems in the future.
Vossen, Tessa; Towns, Alexandra; Ruysschaert, Sofie; Quiroz, Diana; van Andel, Tinde
Folk perceptions of health and illness include cultural bound syndromes (CBS), ailments generally confined to certain cultural groups or geographic regions and often treated with medicinal plants. Our aim was to compare definitions and plant use for CBS regarding child health in the context of the largest migration in recent human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We compared definitions of four CBS (walk early, evil eye, atita and fontanels) and associated plant use among three Afro-Surinamese populations and their African ancestor groups in Ghana, Bénin and Gabon. We expected plant use to be similar on species level, and assumed the majority to be weedy or domesticated species, as these occur on both continents and were probably recognized by enslaved Africans. Data were obtained by identifying plants mentioned during interviews with local women from the six different populations. To analyse differences and similarities in plant use we used Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) and a Wald Chi-square test. Definitions of the four cultural bound syndromes were roughly the same on both continents. In total, 324 plant species were used. There was little overlap between Suriname and Africa: 15 species were used on two continents, of which seven species were used for the same CBS. Correspondence on family level was much higher. Surinamese populations used significantly more weedy species than Africans, but equal percentages of domesticated plants. Our data indicate that Afro-Surinamers have searched for similar plants to treat their CBS as they remembered from Africa. In some cases, they have found the same species, but they had to reinvent the largest part of their herbal pharmacopeia to treat their CBS using known plant families or trying out new species. Ideas on health and illness appear to be more resilient than the use of plants to treat them.
Vossen, Tessa; Towns, Alexandra; Ruysschaert, Sofie; Quiroz, Diana; van Andel, Tinde
Folk perceptions of health and illness include cultural bound syndromes (CBS), ailments generally confined to certain cultural groups or geographic regions and often treated with medicinal plants. Our aim was to compare definitions and plant use for CBS regarding child health in the context of the largest migration in recent human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We compared definitions of four CBS (walk early, evil eye, atita and fontanels) and associated plant use among three Afro-Surinamese populations and their African ancestor groups in Ghana, Bénin and Gabon. We expected plant use to be similar on species level, and assumed the majority to be weedy or domesticated species, as these occur on both continents and were probably recognized by enslaved Africans. Data were obtained by identifying plants mentioned during interviews with local women from the six different populations. To analyse differences and similarities in plant use we used Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) and a Wald Chi-square test. Definitions of the four cultural bound syndromes were roughly the same on both continents. In total, 324 plant species were used. There was little overlap between Suriname and Africa: 15 species were used on two continents, of which seven species were used for the same CBS. Correspondence on family level was much higher. Surinamese populations used significantly more weedy species than Africans, but equal percentages of domesticated plants. Our data indicate that Afro-Surinamers have searched for similar plants to treat their CBS as they remembered from Africa. In some cases, they have found the same species, but they had to reinvent the largest part of their herbal pharmacopeia to treat their CBS using known plant families or trying out new species. Ideas on health and illness appear to be more resilient than the use of plants to treat them. PMID:25372485
Klaiber, J; Dorn, S; Najar-Rodriguez, A J
Plants growing under elevated CO2 concentration may acclimate by modifying chemical traits. Most studies have focused on the effects of environmental change on plant growth and productivity. Potential effects on chemical traits involved in resistance, and the consequences of such effects on plant-insect interactions, have been largely neglected. Here, we evaluated the performance of two Brassica specialist herbivores from contrasting feeding guilds, the leaf-feeding Pieris brassicae and the phloem-feeding Brevicoryne brassicae, in response to potential CO2-mediated changes in primary and major secondary metabolites (glucosinolates) in Brassica oleracea. Plants were exposed to either ambient (400 ppm) or elevated (800 ppm) CO2 concentrations for 2, 6, or 10 weeks. Elevated CO2 did not affect primary metabolites, but significantly increased glucosinolate content. The performance of both herbivores was significantly reduced under elevated CO2 suggesting that CO2-mediated increases in constitutive defense chemistry could benefit plants. However, plants with up-regulated defenses could also be subjected to intensified herbivory by some specialized herbivores, due to a chemically-mediated phagostimulatory effect, as documented here for P. brassicae larvae. Our results highlight the importance of understanding acclimation and responses of plants to the predicted increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the concomitant effects of these responses on the chemically-mediated interactions between plants and specialized herbivores.
David, Aaron S; Seabloom, Eric W; May, Georgiana
Microbial symbionts inhabit tissues of all plants and animals. Their community composition depends largely on two ecological processes: (1) filtering by abiotic conditions and host species determining the environments that symbionts are able to colonize and (2) dispersal-limitation determining the pool of symbionts available to colonize a given host and community spatial structure. In plants, the above- and belowground tissues represent such distinct habitats for symbionts that we expect different effects of filtering and spatial structuring on their symbiont communities. In this study, we characterized above- and belowground communities of fungal endophytes--fungi living asymptomatically within plants--to understand the contributions of filtering and spatial structure to endophyte community composition. We used a culture-based approach to characterize endophytes growing in leaves and roots of three species of coastal beachgrasses in dunes of the USA Pacific Northwest. For leaves, endophyte isolation frequency and OTU richness depended primarily on plant host species. In comparison, for roots, both isolation frequency and OTU richness increased from the nutrient-poor front of the dune to the higher-nutrient backdune. Endophyte community composition in leaves exhibited a distance-decay relationship across the region. In a laboratory assay, faster growth rates and lower spore production were more often associated with leaf- than root-inhabiting endophytes. Overall, our results reveal a greater importance of biotic filtering by host species and dispersal-limitation over regional geographic distances for aboveground leaf endophyte communities and stronger effects of abiotic environmental filtering and locally patchy distributions for belowground root endophyte communities.
Hernandez, Maria E; Mitsch, William J
Denitrification potential (DP) and organic matter (OM) in soils were compared in three different vegetation communities-emergent macrophyte, open water, and forested edge-in two 10-yr-old created riverine wetlands. Organic matter, cold water-extractable organic matter (CWEOM), anaerobic mineralizable carbon (AnMC), and DP varied significantly (P<0.05) among vegetation communities. The surface (0 to 9 cm) soils in the emergent macrophyte community (EMC) showed highest DP (0.07+/-0.01 mg N h-1 kg-1), OM (84.90+/-5.60 g kg-1), CWEOM (1.12+/-0.20 g kg-1), and AnMC (1.50+/-0.10 mg C h-1 kg-1). In the deeper layer (9 to 18 cm), DP and CWEOM (0.04+/-0.01 mg N h-1 kg-1 and 1.13+/-0.20 g kg-1, respectively) were significantly higher in the open water community (OWC) than in the emergent macrophyte and forested edge communities. Plant introduction did not affect DP or OM content and characteristics. After 10 yr of wetland development, mean DP increased 25-fold in the surface layer (from 0.002 to 0.053 mg N h-1 kg-1); OM content more than doubled to 90.80+/-19.22 g kg-1, and CWEOM and HWEOM increased 2.5 and 2.7 times respectively from 1993 (prewetland conditions) to 2004. Humic acids were the most abundant form of OM in 2004 and 1993 samples. Significant (P<0.05) positive relationships between DP and OM, CWEOM, and AnMC were found in the surface layer; in the 9- to 18-cm layer, significant positive relationships were found between DP and CWEOM and AnMC.
Yilmaz, Hatice; Yilmaz, Osman Yalçın; Akyüz, Yaşar Feyza
Species distribution modeling was used to determine factors among the large predictor candidate data set that affect the distribution of Muscari latifolium, an endemic bulbous plant species of Turkey, to quantify the relative importance of each factor and make a potential spatial distribution map of M. latifolium. Models were built using the Boosted Regression Trees method based on 35 presence and 70 absence records obtained through field sampling in the Gönen Dam watershed area of the Kazdağı Mountains in West Anatolia. Large candidate variables of monthly and seasonal climate, fine-scale land surface, and geologic and biotic variables were simplified using a BRT simplifying procedure. Analyses performed on these resources, direct and indirect variables showed that there were 14 main factors that influence the species' distribution. Five of the 14 most important variables influencing the distribution of the species are bedrock type, Quercus cerris density, precipitation during the wettest month, Pinus nigra density, and northness. These variables account for approximately 60% of the relative importance for determining the distribution of the species. Prediction performance was assessed by 10 random subsample data sets and gave a maximum the area under a receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) value of 0.93 and an average AUC value of 0.8. This study provides a significant contribution to the knowledge of the habitat requirements and ecological characteristics of this species. The distribution of this species is explained by a combination of biotic and abiotic factors. Hence, using biotic interaction and fine-scale land surface variables in species distribution models improved the accuracy and precision of the model. The knowledge of the relationships between distribution patterns and environmental factors and biotic interaction of M. latifolium can help develop a management and conservation strategy for this species.
Covino, Stefano; Svobodová, Katerina; Cvancarová, Monika; D'Annibale, Alessandro; Petruccioli, Maurizio; Federici, Federico; Kresinová, Zdena; Galli, Emanuela; Cajthaml, Tomás
The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of chopped wheat straw (CWS), ground corn cobs (GCC) and commercial pellets (CP), as inoculum carriers, on both growth and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) degradation performances of Dichomitus squalens, Pleurotus ostreatus and Coprinus comatus. A historically-contaminated soil (HCS) and creosote-treated shavings (CTS) from the Sobeslav wood preservation plant, characterized by different relative abundances of the PAH bioavailable fractions, were used to assess the contaminated matrix effect and its interaction with both carrier and fungal strain. In HCS, best results were obtained with CP-immobilized P. ostreatus, which was able to deplete benzo[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbF), benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkF) and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) by 69.1%, 29.7%, 39.7%, 32.8% and 85.2%, respectively. Only few high-molecular mass PAHs such as BbF, BkF and BaP were degraded beyond their respective bioavailable fractions and this effect was confined to a limited number of inoculants. In CTS, only phenanthrene degradation exceeded its respective bioavailability from 1.42 to 1.86-fold. Regardless of both inoculum carrier and fungal species, degradation was positively and significantly (P<0.001) correlated with bioavailability in fungal microcosms on HCS and CTS and such correlation was very similar in the two matrices (R(adj)(2) equal to 0.60 and 0.59, respectively). The ability of white-rot fungi to degrade certain PAHs beyond their bioavailability was experimentally proven by this study. Although CTS and HCS considerably differed in their physico-chemical properties, PAH contents and contaminant aging, the relationship between degradation and bioavailability was not significantly affected by the type of matrix.
Yang, Minggui; Yang, Qingyong; Fu, Tingdong; Zhou, Yongming
The GRAS proteins are a family of transcription regulators found in plants and play diverse roles in plant growth and development. To study the biological roles of GRAS family genes in Brassica napus, an Arabidopsis LAS homologous gene, BnLAS and its two homologs were cloned from B. napus and its two progenitor species, Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea. Relatively high levels of BnLAS were observed in roots, shoot tips, lateral meristems and flower organs based on the analysis of the transcripts by quantitative RT-PCR and promoter-reporter assays. Constitutive overexpression of BnLAS in Arabidopsis resulted in inhibition of growth, and delays in leaf senescence and flowering time. A large portion of transgenic lines had darker leaf color and higher chlorophyll content than in wild type plants. Interestingly, water lose rates in transgenic leaves were reduced, and transgenic plants exhibited enhanced drought tolerance and increased recovery after exposed to dehydration treatment. The stomatal density on leaves of the transgenic plants increased significantly due to the smaller cell size. However, the stomatal aperture on the leaves of the transgenic plants reduced significantly compared with wild type plants. More epidermal wax deposition on transgenic leaves was observed. Furthermore, several genes involved in wax synthesis and regulation, including CER1, CER2, KCS1 and KCS2, were upregulated in the transgenic plants. Our results indicate a potential to utilize BnLAS in the improvement of drought tolerance in plants.
Narbona, Eduardo; Dirzo, Rodolfo
Background and Aims Monoecious plants have the capacity to allocate resources separately to male and female functions more easily than hermaphrodites. This can be advantageous against environmental stresses such as leaf herbivory. However, studies showing effects of herbivory on male and female functions and on the interaction with the plant's pollinators are limited, particularly in tropical plants. Here, the effects of experimental defoliation were examined in the monoecious shrub Croton suberosus (Euphorbiaceae), a wasp-pollinated species from a Mexican tropical dry forest. Methods Three defoliation treatments were applied: 0 % (control), 25 % (low) or 75 % (high) of plant leaf area removed. Vegetative (production of new leaves) and reproductive (pistillate and staminate flower production, pollen viability, nectar production, fruit set, and seed set) performance variables, and the abundance and activity of floral visitors were examined. Key Results Defoliated plants overcompensated for tissue loss by producing more new leaves than control plants. Production of staminate flowers gradually decreased with increasing defoliation and the floral sex ratio (staminate : pistillate flowers) was drastically reduced in high-defoliation plants. In contrast, female reproductive performance (pistillate flower production, fruit set and seed set) and pollinator visitation and abundance were not impacted by defoliation. Conclusions The asymmetrical effects of defoliation on male and female traits of C. suberosus may be due to the temporal and spatial flexibility in the allocation of resources deployed by monoecious plants. We posit that this helps to maintain the plant's pollination success in the face of leaf herbivory stress. PMID:20519239
Doubková, Pavla; Sudová, Radka
Serpentine soils have naturally elevated concentrations of certain heavy metals, including nickel. This study addressed the role of plant origin (serpentine vs. non-serpentine) and symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in plant Ni tolerance. A semi-hydroponic experiment involving three levels of Ni and serpentine and non-serpentine AMF isolates and populations of a model plant species (Knautia arvensis) revealed considerable negative effects of elevated Ni availability on both plant and fungal performance. Plant growth response to Ni was independent of edaphic origin; however, higher Ni tolerance of serpentine plants was indicated by a smaller decline in the concentrations of photosynthetic pigments and restricted root-to-shoot Ni translocation. Serpentine plants also retained relatively more Mg in their roots, resulting in a higher shoot Ca/Mg ratio. AMF inoculation, especially with the non-serpentine isolate, further aggravated Ni toxicity to host plants. Therefore, AMF do not appear to be involved in Ni tolerance of serpentine K. arvensis plants.
El-Tantawy, E M
This study was carried out during the summer seasons of 2007 and 2008 at the Experimental Farm of Environmental Agric. Sci. Fac., El-Arish, North Sinai, Egypt to study the effect of organic manures such as farmyard manure (FYM), and goat manure and spraying with some amendment substances; viz, chitosan and aminofort on growth, yield and some traits of fruit quality of tomato plants (pH and TSS%) under sandy soil conditions. The data revealed that tomato plants fertilized by goat manure and FYM, respectively as well as spraying of chitosan and aminofort significantly increased all vegetative parameters (plant height and number of both branches and leaves/plant), fresh and dry weight of different plant organs(roots, branches, leaves, and total of both fresh and dry weight of plant), photosynthetic pigments, yield/plant and marketable yield/feddan, but diseased yield (expressed in fruits infected by blossom end rot) was increased as a result of application of organic manures compared to control treatments. Meanwhile, application of chitosan decreased the diseased yield. On the other hand, pH and TSS (%) were not significantly affected.
Background Induced defense responses to herbivores are generally believed to have evolved as cost-saving strategies that defer the fitness costs of defense metabolism until these defenses are needed. The fitness costs of jasmonate (JA)-mediated defenses have been well documented. Those of the early signaling units mediating induced resistance to herbivores have yet to be examined. Early signaling components that mediate herbivore-induced defense responses in Nicotiana attenuata, have been well characterized and here we examine their growth and fitness costs during competition with conspecifics. Two mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), salicylic acid (SA)-induced protein kinase (SIPK) and wound-induced protein kinase (WIPK) are rapidly activated after perception of herbivory and both kinases regulate herbivory-induced JA levels and JA-mediated defense metabolite accumulations. Since JA-induced defenses result in resource-based trade-offs that compromise plant productivity, we evaluated if silencing SIPK (irSIPK) and WIPK (irWIPK) benefits the growth and fitness of plants competiting with wild type (WT) plants, as has been shown for plants silenced in JA-signaling by the reduction of Lipoxygenase 3 (LOX3) levels. Results As expected, irWIPK and LOX3-silenced plants out-performed their competing WT plants. Surprisingly, irSIPK plants, which have the largest reductions in JA signaling, did not. Phytohormone profiling of leaves revealed that irSIPK plants accumulated higher levels of SA compared to WT. To test the hypothesis that these high levels of SA, and their presumed associated fitness costs of pathogen associated defenses in irSIPK plants had nullified the JA-deficiency-mediated growth benefits in these plants, we genetically reduced SA levels in irSIPK plants. Reducing SA levels partially recovered the biomass and fitness deficits of irSIPK plants. We also evaluated whether the increased fitness of plants with reduced SA or JA levels resulted from
Introduction- Mycorrhizae symbiosis is a universal phenomenon in nature that promotes plant growth and food quality in most plants, especially, under phosphorus deficiency and water stress. Objective- The objective of this study was to assess the effects of mycorrhizal symbiosis on changes in the le...
While it is generally accepted that dense stands of plants exacerbate epidemics caused by foliar pathogens, there is little experimental evidence to support this view. We grew model plant communities consisting of wheat and wild oats at different densities and proportions and exp...
Marigold, is one of the most popular annual ornamental plants. Both the short-statured cultivars (Tagetes patula L.) and the taller cultivars (T. erecta L.) are used as container plants, in landscape and garden settings. Tagetes erecta varieties make excellent cut and dried flowers for the florist...
While it is generally accepted that dense stands of plants exacerbate epidermics caused by foliar pathogens, there is little experimental evidence to support this view. We grew model plant communities consisting of wheat and wild oats at different densities and proportions and ex...
Martin-Ortigosa, Susana; Valenstein, Justin S; Sun, Wei; Moeller, Lorena; Fang, Ning; Trewyn, Brian G; Lin, Victor S-Y; Wang, Kan
Applying nanotechnology to plant science requires efficient systems for the delivery of nanoparticles (NPs) to plant cells and tissues. The presence of a cell wall in plant cells makes it challenging to extend the NP delivery methods available for animal research. In this work, research is presented which establishes an efficient NP delivery system for plant tissues using the biolistic method. It is shown that the biolistic delivery of mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSN) materials can be improved by increasing the density of MSNs through gold plating. Additionally, a DNA-coating protocol is used based on calcium chloride and spermidine for MSN and gold nanorods to enhance the NP-mediated DNA delivery. Furthermore, the drastic improvement of NP delivery is demonstrated when the particles are combined with 0.6 μm gold particles during bombardment. The methodology described provides a system for the efficient delivery of NPs into plant cells using the biolistic method.
Grytsyuk, N; Arapis, G; Perepelyatnikova, L; Ivanova, T; Vynograds'ka, V
Heavy metals (Cu, Cd, Pb, Zn) effect on the productivity of forage crops (clover and perennial cereal grasses) and their accumulation in plants, depending on the concentration of these elements in a soil, has been studied in micro-field experiments on three types of soil. The principle objective was to determine regularities of heavy metals migration in a soil-plant system aiming the estimation of permissible levels of heavy metals content in soils with the following elaboration of methods, which regulate the toxicants transfer to plants. Methods of field experiments, agrochemical and atomic absorption analysis were used. Results were statistically treated by Statistica 6.0, S-Plus 6. Experimental results have shown that the intensity of heavy metals accumulation in plants depends on the type of the soil, the species of plants, the physicochemical properties of heavy metals and their content in the soil. Logarithmic interdependency of heavy metals concentration in soils and their accumulation in plants is suggested. However, the strong correlation between the different heavy metals concentrations in the various soils and the yield of crops was not observed. Toxicants accumulation in crops decreased in time.
Pilling, J; Willmitzer, L; Bücking, H; Fisahn, J
Two pectin methyl esterases (PMEs; EC 184.108.40.206) from Solanum tuberosum were isolated and their expression characterised. One partial clone ( pest1) was expressed in leaves and fruit tissue, while pest2 was a functional full-length clone and was expressed ubiquitously, with a preference for aerial organs. Potato plants were transformed with a chimeric antisense construct that was designed to simultaneously inhibit pest1 and pest2 transcript accumulation; however, reduction of mRNA levels was confined to pest2. The decrease in pest2 transcript was accompanied by up to 50% inhibition of total PME activity, which was probably due to the reduction of only one PME isoform. PME inhibition affected plant development as reflected by smaller stem elongation rates of selected transformants when compared with control plants, leading to a reduction in height throughout the entire course of development. Expansion rates of young developing leaves were measured simultaneously by two displacement transducers in the direction of the leaf tip (proximal-distal axis) and in the perpendicular direction (medial-lateral axis). Significant differences in leaf growth patterns were detected between wild-type and transgenic plants. We suggest that these visual phenotypes could be correlated with modifications of ion accumulation and partitioning within the transgenic plants. The ion-binding capacities of cell walls from PME-inhibited plants were specifically modified as they preferentially bound more sodium, but less potassium and calcium. X-ray microanalysis also indicated an increase in the concentration of several ions within the leaf apoplast of transgenic plants. Moreover, quantification of the total content of major cations revealed differences specific for a given element between the leaves of PME-inhibited and wild-type plants. Reduced growth rates might also be due to effects of PME inhibition on pectin metabolism, predominantly illustrated by an accumulation of galacturonic acid
Li, Fengcheng; Zhang, Mingliang; Guo, Kai; Hu, Zhen; Zhang, Ran; Feng, Yongqing; Yi, Xiaoyan; Zou, Weihua; Wang, Lingqiang; Wu, Changyin; Tian, Jinshan; Lu, Tiegang; Xie, Guosheng; Peng, Liangcai
Rice is a major food crop with enormous biomass residue for biofuels. As plant cell wall recalcitrance basically decides a costly biomass process, genetic modification of plant cell walls has been regarded as a promising solution. However, due to structural complexity and functional diversity of plant cell walls, it becomes essential to identify the key factors of cell wall modifications that could not much alter plant growth, but cause an enhancement in biomass enzymatic digestibility. To address this issue, we performed systems biology analyses of a total of 36 distinct cell wall mutants of rice. As a result, cellulose crystallinity (CrI) was examined to be the key factor that negatively determines either the biomass enzymatic saccharification upon various chemical pretreatments or the plant lodging resistance, an integrated agronomic trait in plant growth and grain production. Notably, hemicellulosic arabinose (Ara) was detected to be the major factor that negatively affects cellulose CrI probably through its interlinking with β-1,4-glucans. In addition, lignin and G monomer also exhibited the positive impact on biomass digestion and lodging resistance. Further characterization of two elite mutants, Osfc17 and Osfc30, showing normal plant growth and high biomass enzymatic digestion in situ and in vitro, revealed the multiple GH9B candidate genes for reducing cellulose CrI and XAT genes for increasing hemicellulosic Ara level. Hence, the results have suggested the potential cell wall modifications for enhancing both biomass enzymatic digestibility and plant lodging resistance by synchronically overexpressing GH9B and XAT genes in rice.
Alimohammadi, Mohammad; de Silva, Kanishka; Ballu, Clarisse; Ali, Nawab; Khodakovskaya, Mariya V
The phosphoinositol pathway is one of the major eukaryotic signalling pathways. The metabolite of the phosphoinositol pathway, inositol- (1,4,5) trisphosphate (InsP(3)), is a regulator of plant responses to a wide variety of stresses, including light, drought, cold, and salinity. It was found that the expression of InsP 5-ptase, the enzyme that hydrolyses InsP(3), also dramatically affects the levels of inositol phosphate metabolites and the secondary metabolites in transgenic tomato plants. Tomato plants expressing InsP 5-ptase exhibited a reduction in the levels of several important inositol phosphates, including InsP(1), InsP(2), InsP(3), and InsP(4). Reduced levels of inositol phosphates accompanied an increase in the accumulation of phenylpropanoids (rutin, chlorogenic acid) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the transgenic fruits of tomato plants. The enhanced accumulation of these metabolites in transgenic tomato plants was in direct correspondence with the observed up-regulation of the genes that express the key enzymes of ascorbic acid metabolism (myo-inositol oxygenase, MIOX; L-galactono-γ-lactone dehydrogenase, GLDH) and phenylpropanoid metabolism (chalcone synthase, CHS1; cinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate transferase, HCT). To understand the molecular links between the activation of different branches of plant metabolism and InsP(3) reduction in tomato fruits, the expression of transcription factors known to be involved in light signalling was analysed by real-time RT-PCR. The expression of LeHY5, SIMYB12, and LeELIP was found to be higher in fruits expressing InsP 5-ptase. These results suggest possible interconnections between phosphoinositol metabolism, light signalling, and secondary metabolism in plants. Our study also revealed the biotechnological potential for the genetic improvement of crop plants by the manipulation of the phosphoinositol pathway.
Hemrová, Lucie; Knappová, Jana; Münzbergová, Zuzana
Background Field translocation experiments (i.e., the introduction of seeds or seedlings of different species into different localities) are commonly used to study habitat associations of species, as well as factors limiting species distributions and local abundances. Species planted or sown in sites where they naturally occur are expected to perform better or equally well compared to sites at which they do not occur or are rare. This, however, contrasts with the predictions of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis and commonly reported intraspecific negative plant-soil feedback. The few previous studies indicating poorer performance of plants at sites where they naturally occur did not explore the mechanisms behind this pattern. Aims and Methods In this study, we used field translocation experiments established using both seeds and seedlings to study the determinants of local abundance of four dominant species in grasslands. To explore the possible effects of intraspecific negative plant-soil feedback on our results, we tested the effect of local species abundance on the performance of the plants in the field experiment. In addition, we set up a garden experiment to explore the intensity of intraspecific as well as interspecific feedback between the dominants used in the experiment. Key Results In some cases, the distribution and local abundances of the species were partly driven by habitat conditions at the sites, and species performed better at their own sites. However, the prevailing pattern was that the local dominants performed worse at sites where they naturally occur than at any other sites. Moreover, the success of plants in the field experiment was lower in the case of higher intraspecific abundance prior to experimental setup. In the garden feedback experiment, two of the species performed significantly worse in soils conditioned by their species than in soils conditioned by the other species. In addition, the performance of the plants was significantly
Cifelli, Christopher J.; Houchins, Jenny A.; Demmer, Elieke; Fulgoni, Victor L.
Diets rich in plant foods and lower in animal-based products have garnered increased attention among researchers, dietitians and health professionals in recent years for their potential to, not only improve health, but also to lessen the environmental impact. However, the potential effects of increasing plant-based foods at the expense of animal-based foods on macro- and micronutrient nutrient adequacy in the U.S. diet is unknown. In addition, dairy foods are consistently under consumed, thus the impact of increased dairy on nutrient adequacy is important to measure. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to use national survey data to model three different dietary scenarios to assess the effects of increasing plant-based foods or dairy foods on macronutrient intake and nutrient adequacy. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2010 for persons two years and older (n = 17,387) were used in all the analyses. Comparisons were made of usual intake of macronutrients and shortfall nutrients of three dietary scenarios that increased intakes by 100%: (i) plant-based foods; (ii) protein-rich plant-based foods (i.e., legumes, nuts, seeds, soy); and (iii) milk, cheese and yogurt. Scenarios (i) and (ii) had commensurate reductions in animal product intake. In both children (2–18 years) and adults (≥19 years), the percent not meeting the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) decreased for vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin E, folate and iron when plant-based foods were increased. However the percent not meeting the EAR increased for calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D in this scenario. Doubling protein-rich plant-based foods had no effect on nutrient intake because they were consumed in very low quantities in the baseline diet. The dairy model reduced the percent not meeting the EAR for calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, and protein, while sodium and saturated fat levels increased. Our modeling shows that increasing plant
Cifelli, Christopher J; Houchins, Jenny A; Demmer, Elieke; Fulgoni, Victor L
Diets rich in plant foods and lower in animal-based products have garnered increased attention among researchers, dietitians and health professionals in recent years for their potential to, not only improve health, but also to lessen the environmental impact. However, the potential effects of increasing plant-based foods at the expense of animal-based foods on macro- and micronutrient nutrient adequacy in the U.S. diet is unknown. In addition, dairy foods are consistently under consumed, thus the impact of increased dairy on nutrient adequacy is important to measure. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to use national survey data to model three different dietary scenarios to assess the effects of increasing plant-based foods or dairy foods on macronutrient intake and nutrient adequacy. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010 for persons two years and older (n = 17,387) were used in all the analyses. Comparisons were made of usual intake of macronutrients and shortfall nutrients of three dietary scenarios that increased intakes by 100%: (i) plant-based foods; (ii) protein-rich plant-based foods (i.e., legumes, nuts, seeds, soy); and (iii) milk, cheese and yogurt. Scenarios (i) and (ii) had commensurate reductions in animal product intake. In both children (2-18 years) and adults (≥19 years), the percent not meeting the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) decreased for vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin E, folate and iron when plant-based foods were increased. However the percent not meeting the EAR increased for calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D in this scenario. Doubling protein-rich plant-based foods had no effect on nutrient intake because they were consumed in very low quantities in the baseline diet. The dairy model reduced the percent not meeting the EAR for calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, and protein, while sodium and saturated fat levels increased. Our modeling shows that increasing plant
Liu, Xiaozhu; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Chao; Tian, Zhihong; Li, Jianxiong
Plants transport photoassimilates from source organs to sink tissues through the phloem translocation pathway. In the transport phloem, sugars that escape from the sieve tubes are released into the apoplasmic space between the sieve element/companion cell complex (SE/CC) and phloem parenchyma cells (PPCs) during the process of long-distance transport. The competition for sugar acquisition between SE/CC and adjoining PPCs is mediated by plasma membrane translocators. YFP-tagged AtSWEET4 protein is localized in the plasma membrane, and PromoterAtSWEET4-GUS analysis showed that AtSWEET4 is expressed in the stele of roots and veins of leaves and flowers. Overexpression of AtSWEET4 in Arabidopsis increases plant size and accumulates more glucose and fructose. By contrast, knock-down of AtSWEET4 by RNA-interference leads to small plant size, reduction in glucose and fructose contents, chlorosis in the leaf vein network, and reduction in chlorophyll content in leaves. Yeast assays demonstrated that AtSWEET4 is able to complement both fructose and glucose transport deficiency. Transgenic plants of AtSWEET4 overexpression exhibit higher freezing tolerance and support more growth of bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola NPS3121. We conclude that AtSWEET4 plays an important role in mediating sugar transport in axial tissues during plant growth and development. PMID:27102826
Chebli, Youssef; Pujol, Lauranne; Shojaeifard, Anahid; Brouwer, Iman; van Loon, Jack J W A; Geitmann, Anja
Plants are able to sense the magnitude and direction of gravity. This capacity is thought to reside in selected cell types within the plant body that are equipped with specialized organelles called statoliths. However, most plant cells do not possess statoliths, yet they respond to changes in gravitational acceleration. To understand the effect of gravity on the metabolism and cellular functioning of non-specialized plant cells, we investigated a rapidly growing plant cell devoid of known statoliths and without gravitropic behavior, the pollen tube. The effects of hyper-gravity and omnidirectional exposure to gravity on intracellular trafficking and on cell wall assembly were assessed in Camellia pollen tubes, a model system with highly reproducible growth behavior in vitro. Using an epi-fluorescence microscope mounted on the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the European Space Agency, we were able to demonstrate that vesicular trafficking is reduced under hyper-gravity conditions. Immuno-cytochemistry confirmed that both in hyper and omnidirectional gravity conditions, the characteristic spatial profiles of cellulose and callose distribution in the pollen tube wall were altered, in accordance with a dose-dependent effect on pollen tube diameter. Our findings suggest that in response to gravity induced stress, the pollen tube responds by modifying cell wall assembly to compensate for the altered mechanical load. The effect was reversible within few minutes demonstrating that the pollen tube is able to quickly adapt to changing stress conditions.
Klabi, Rim; Bell, Terrence H; Hamel, Chantal; Iwaasa, Alan; Schellenberg, Mike; Raies, Aly; St-Arnaud, Marc
Adding inorganic P- and N-fixing legumes to semi-arid grasslands can increase forage yield, but soil nutrient concentrations and plant cover may also interact to modify soil fungal populations, impacting short- and long-term forage production. We tested the effect of plant assemblage (seven native grasses, seven native grasses + the domesticated N-fixing legume Medicago sativa, seven native grasses + the native N-fixing legume Dalea purpurea or the introduced grass Bromus biebersteinii + M. sativa) and soil P concentration (addition of 0 or 200 P2O5 kg ha(-1) at sowing) on the diversity and community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and total fungi over two consecutive years, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and ITS amplicons. Treatment effects were stronger in the wet year (2008) than the dry year (2009). The presence of an N-fixing legume with native grasses generally increased AM fungal diversity, while the interaction between soil P concentration and plant assemblage modified total fungal community structure in 2008. Excluding interannual variations, which are likely driven by moisture and plant productivity, AM fungal communities in semi-arid grasslands appear to be primarily affected by plant assemblage composition, while the composition of other fungi is more closely linked to soil P.
Véron, Vincent; Panserat, Stéphane; Le Boucher, Richard; Labbé, Laurent; Quillet, Edwige; Dupont-Nivet, Mathilde; Médale, Françoise
Incorporation of a plant blend in the diet can affect growth parameters and metabolism in carnivorous fish. We studied for the first time the long-term (1 year) metabolic response of rainbow trout fed from first feeding with a plant-based diet totally devoid of marine ingredients. Hepatic enzymes were analyzed at enzymatic and molecular levels, at 3, 8 and 24 h after the last meal to study both the short-term effects of the last meal and long-term effects of the diet. The results were compared with those of fish fed a control diet of fish meal and fish oil. Growth, feed intake, feed efficiency and protein retention were lower in the group fed the plant-based diet. Glucokinase and pyruvate kinase activity were lower in the livers of trout fed the plant-based diet which the proportion of starch was lower than in the control diet. Glutamate dehydrogenase was induced by the plant-based diet, suggesting an imbalance of amino acids and a possible link with the lower protein retention observed. Gene expression of delta 6 desaturase was higher in fish fed the plant-based diet, probably linked to a high dietary level of linolenic acid and the absence of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils. Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase expression was also induced by plant-based diet because of the low rate of cholesterol in the diet. Changes in regulation mechanisms already identified through short-term nutritional experiments (<12 weeks) suggest that metabolic responses are implemented at short term and remain in the long term.
The impact of rater bias and assessment method on hypothesis testing was studied for different experimental designs for plant disease assessment using balanced and unbalanced data sets. Data sets with the same number of replicate estimates for each of two treatments are termed ‘balanced’, and those ...
Terrestrial molluscs and insect herbivores play a major role as plant consumers in a number of ecosystems, but their direct and indirect interactions have hardly been explored. The omnivorous nature of slugs makes them potential disrupters of predator-prey relationships, as a direct threat to small ...
Xu, Liang; Zhou, Zhen-Feng
The effects of physiological integration on clonal plants growing in aquatic and terrestrial habitats have been extensively studied, but little is known about the role in the extension of amphibious clonal plants in the heterogeneous aquatic-terrestrial ecotones, especially when the water environments are polluted by heavy metals. Ramets of the amphibious clonal herb Alternanthera philoxeroides were rooted in unpolluted soil and polluted water at three concentrations of Cu. The extension of populations from unpolluted terrestrial to polluted aqueous environments mainly relied on stem elongation rather than production of new ramets. The absorbed Cu in the ramets growing in polluted water could be spread horizontally to other ramets in unpolluted soil via physiological integration and redistributed in different organs. The performances of ramets in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats were negatively correlated with Cu intensities in different organs of plants. It is concluded that physiological integration might lessen the fitness of connected ramets in heterogeneously polluted environments. The mechanical strength of the stems decreased with increasing Cu levels, especially in polluted water. We suggest that, except for direct toxicity to growth and expansion, heavy metal pollution might also increase the mechanical risk in breaking failure of plants.
Xu, Liang; Zhou, Zhen-Feng
The effects of physiological integration on clonal plants growing in aquatic and terrestrial habitats have been extensively studied, but little is known about the role in the extension of amphibious clonal plants in the heterogeneous aquatic-terrestrial ecotones, especially when the water environments are polluted by heavy metals. Ramets of the amphibious clonal herb Alternanthera philoxeroides were rooted in unpolluted soil and polluted water at three concentrations of Cu. The extension of populations from unpolluted terrestrial to polluted aqueous environments mainly relied on stem elongation rather than production of new ramets. The absorbed Cu in the ramets growing in polluted water could be spread horizontally to other ramets in unpolluted soil via physiological integration and redistributed in different organs. The performances of ramets in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats were negatively correlated with Cu intensities in different organs of plants. It is concluded that physiological integration might lessen the fitness of connected ramets in heterogeneously polluted environments. The mechanical strength of the stems decreased with increasing Cu levels, especially in polluted water. We suggest that, except for direct toxicity to growth and expansion, heavy metal pollution might also increase the mechanical risk in breaking failure of plants. PMID:28272515
Xu, Liang; Zhou, Zhen-Feng
The effects of physiological integration on clonal plants growing in aquatic and terrestrial habitats have been extensively studied, but little is known about the role in the extension of amphibious clonal plants in the heterogeneous aquatic-terrestrial ecotones, especially when the water environments are polluted by heavy metals. Ramets of the amphibious clonal herb Alternanthera philoxeroides were rooted in unpolluted soil and polluted water at three concentrations of Cu. The extension of populations from unpolluted terrestrial to polluted aqueous environments mainly relied on stem elongation rather than production of new ramets. The absorbed Cu in the ramets growing in polluted water could be spread horizontally to other ramets in unpolluted soil via physiological integration and redistributed in different organs. The performances of ramets in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats were negatively correlated with Cu intensities in different organs of plants. It is concluded that physiological integration might lessen the fitness of connected ramets in heterogeneously polluted environments. The mechanical strength of the stems decreased with increasing Cu levels, especially in polluted water. We suggest that, except for direct toxicity to growth and expansion, heavy metal pollution might also increase the mechanical risk in breaking failure of plants.
Brachiaria species are cultivated worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates as the main forage source for ruminants. Numerous tropical and warm-season grasses cause hepatogenous photosensitization, among them several species of Brachiaria. Steroidal saponins present in these plants may be respo...
Wu, Shengyang; Xie, Yurong; Guo, Xiuping; Sheng, Peike; Wang, Juan; Wu, Chuanyin; Wang, Haiyang; Wan, Jianmin
As a fundamental and dynamic cytoskeleton network, microfilaments (MFs) are regulated by diverse actin binding proteins (ABPs). Villins are one type of ABPs belonging to the villin/gelsolin superfamily, and their function is poorly understood in monocotyledonous plants. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a rice (Oryza sativa) mutant defective in VILLIN2 (VLN2), which exhibits malformed organs, including twisted roots and shoots at the seedling stage. Cellular examination revealed that the twisted phenotype of the vln2 mutant is mainly caused by asymmetrical expansion of cells on the opposite sides of an organ. VLN2 is preferentially expressed in growing tissues, consistent with a role in regulating cell expansion in developing organs. Biochemically, VLN2 exhibits conserved actin filament bundling, severing and capping activities in vitro, with bundling and stabilizing activity being confirmed in vivo. In line with these findings, the vln2 mutant plants exhibit a more dynamic actin cytoskeleton network than the wild type. We show that vln2 mutant plants exhibit a hypersensitive gravitropic response, faster recycling of PIN2 (an auxin efflux carrier), and altered auxin distribution. Together, our results demonstrate that VLN2 plays an important role in regulating plant architecture by modulating MF dynamics, recycling of PIN2, and polar auxin transport. PMID:26486445
Cora, Jose; Marcelo, Adolfo
Plant residues are considered the primarily resource for soil organic matter (SOM) formation and the amounts and properties of plant litter are important controlling factors for the SOM quality. We determined the amounts, quality and decomposition rate of plant residues and the effects of summer and winter crop sequences on soil organic C (TOC) content, both particulate organic C (POC) and mineral-associated organic C (MOC) pools and humic substances in a Brazilian Rhodic Eutrudox soil under a no-tillage system. The organic C analysis in specifics pools used in this study was effective and should be adopted in tropical climates to evaluate the soil quality and the sustainability of various cropping systems. Continuous growth of soybean (Glycine max L. Merrill) on summer provided higher contents of soil POC and continuous growth of maize (Zea mays L.) provided higher soil humic acid and MOC contents. Summer soybean-maize rotation provided the higher plant diversity, which likely improved the soil microbial activity and the soil organic C consumption. The winter sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp), oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke) enhanced the soil MOC, a finding that is attributable to the higher N content of the crop residue. Sunn hemp and pigeon pea provided the higher soil POC content. Sunn hemp showed better performance and positive effects on the SOM quality, making it a suitable winter crop choice for tropical conditions with a warm and dry winter.
D'Apuzzo, Enrica; Valkov, Vladimir Totev; Parlati, Aurora; Omrane, Selim; Barbulova, Ani; Sainz, Maria Martha; Lentini, Marco; Esposito, Sergio; Rogato, Alessandra; Chiurazzi, Maurizio
We report here the first characterization of a GLNB1 gene coding for the PII protein in leguminous plants. The main purpose of this work was the investigation of the possible roles played by this multifunctional protein in nodulation pathways. The Lotus japonicus LjGLB1 gene shows a significant transcriptional regulation during the light-dark cycle and different nitrogen availability, conditions that strongly affect nodule formation, development, and functioning. We also report analysis of the spatial profile of expression of LjGLB1 in root and nodule tissues and of the protein's subcellular localization. Transgenic L. japonicus lines overexpressing the PII protein were obtained and tested for the analysis of the symbiotic responses in different conditions. The uncoupling of PII from its native regulation affects nitrogenase activity and nodule polyamine content. Furthermore, our results suggest the involvement of PII in the signaling of the nitrogen nutritional status affecting the legumes' predisposition for nodule formation.
Braun Miyara, Sigal; Ezra, David
Plant-parasitic nematodes form one of the largest sources of biotic stress imposed on plants, and are very difficult to control; among them are the obligate parasites, the sedentary root-knot nematodes (RKNs)–Meloidogyne spp.–which are extremely polyphagous and exploit a very wide range of hosts. Endophytic fungi are organisms that spend most of their life cycle within plant tissue without causing visible damage to the host plant. Many endophytes secrete specialized metabolites and/or emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that exhibit biological activity. Recently, we demonstrated that the endophytic fungus Daldinia cf. concentrica secrets biologically active VOCs. Here we examined the ability of the fungus and its VOCs to control the RKN M. javanica both in vitro and greenhouse experiments. The D. cf. concentrica VOCs showed bionematicidal activity against the second-stage juveniles (J2s) of M. javanica. We found that exposure of J2s to fungal volatiles caused 67% reduction in viability, and that application of a synthetic volatile mixture (SVM), comprising 3-methyl-1-butanol, (±)-2-methyl-1-butanol, 4-heptanone, and isoamyl acetate, in volumetric ratio of 1:1:2:1 further reduced J2s viability by 99%. We demonstrated that, although each of the four VOCs significantly reduced the viability of J2s relative to the control, only 4-heptanone elicited the same effect as the whole mixture, with nematicidal activity of 90% reduction in viability of the J2s. Study of the effect of the SVM on egg hatching demonstrated that it decreased eggs hatching by 87%. Finally, application of the SVM to soil inoculated with M. javanica eggs or J2s prior to planting susceptible tomato plants resulted in a significantly reduced galling index and fewer eggs produced on each root system, with no effect on root weight. Thus, D. cf. concentrica and/or SVM based on fungal VOCs may be considered as a novel alternative approach to controlling the RKN M. javanica. PMID:27997626
Nájera, Victoria A; González, María Cruz; Pérez-Ruiz, Juan Manuel; Cejudo, Francisco Javier
The NTRC gene encodes a NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase with a joint thioredoxin domain, exclusive of photosynthetic organisms. An updated search shows that although most species harbor a single copy of the NTRC gene, two copies were identified in different species of the genus Solanum, Glycine max and the moss Physcomitrella patens. The phylogenetic analysis of NTRCs from different sources produced a tree with the major groups of photosynthetic organisms: cyanobacteria, algae and land plants, indicating the evolutionary success of the NTRC gene among photosynthetic eukaryotes. An event of alternative splicing affecting the expression of the NTRC gene was identified, which is conserved in seed plants but not in algae, bryophytes and lycophytes. The alternative splicing event results in a transcript with premature stop codon, which would produce a truncated form of the enzyme. The standard splicing/alternative splicing (SS/AS) transcripts ratio was higher in photosynthetic tissues from Arabidopsis, Brachypodium and tomato, in line with the higher content of the NTRC polypeptide in these tissues. Moreover, environmental stresses such as cold or high salt affected the SS/AS ratio of the NTRC gene transcripts in Brachypodium seedlings. These results suggest that the alternative splicing of the NTRC gene might be an additional mechanism for modulating the content of NTRC in photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic tissues of seed plants.
Ozel, Cigdem Alev; Khawar, Khalid Mahmood; Mirici, Semra; Ozcan, Sebahattin; Arslan, Orhan
Habitat destruction has resulted in the extinction of many plant species from the earth, and many more face extinction. Likely, the annual endemic Mediterranean knapweed ( Centaurea tchihatcheffii) growing in the Golbasi district of Ankara, Turkey is facing extinction and needs urgent conservation. Plant tissue culture, a potentially useful technique for ex situ multiplication, was used for the restoration of this ill-fated plant through seed germination, micropropagation from stem nodes, and adventitious shoot regeneration from immature zygotic embryos. The seeds were highly dormant and very difficult to germinate. No results were obtained from the micropropagation of stem nodes. However, immature zygotic embryos showed the highest adventitious shoot regeneration on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium, containing 1 mg l-1 kinetin and 0.25 mg l-1 NAA. Regenerated shoots were best rooted on MS medium containing 1 mg l-1 IBA and transferred to the greenhouse for flowering and seed set. As such, the present work is the first record of in vitro propagation of critically endangered C. tchihatcheffii, using immature zygotic embryos, and is a step forward towards conservation of this indigenous species.
Lin, Yongwen; Qasim, Muhammad; Hussain, Mubasher; Akutse, Komivi Senyo; Avery, Pasco Bruce; Dash, Chandra Kanta; Wang, Liande
Some herbivore-induced-plant volatiles (HIPVs) compounds are vital for the functioning of an ecosystem, by triggering multi-trophic interactions for natural enemies, plants and herbivores. However, the effect of these chemicals, which play a crucial role in regulating the multi-trophic interactions between plant-herbivore-entomopathogenic fungi, is still unknown. To fill this scientific gap, we therefore investigated how these chemicals influence the entomopathogenic fungi growth and efficacy. In this study, Lipaphis erysimi induced Arabidopsis thaliana HIPVs were collected using headspace system and detected with GC-MS, and then analyzed the effects of these HIPVs chemicals on Lecanicillium lecanii strain V3450. We found that the HIPVs menthol and methyl salicylate at 1 and 10 nmol·ml−1 improved many performance aspects of the fungus, such as germination, sporulation, appressorial formation as well as its pathogenicity and virulence. These findings are not only important for understanding the multi-trophic interactions in an ecosystem, but also would contribute for developing new and easier procedures for conidial mass production as well as improve the pathogenicity and virulence of entomopathogenic fungi in biological pest management strategies. PMID:28079180
Lin, Yongwen; Qasim, Muhammad; Hussain, Mubasher; Akutse, Komivi Senyo; Avery, Pasco Bruce; Dash, Chandra Kanta; Wang, Liande
Some herbivore-induced-plant volatiles (HIPVs) compounds are vital for the functioning of an ecosystem, by triggering multi-trophic interactions for natural enemies, plants and herbivores. However, the effect of these chemicals, which play a crucial role in regulating the multi-trophic interactions between plant-herbivore-entomopathogenic fungi, is still unknown. To fill this scientific gap, we therefore investigated how these chemicals influence the entomopathogenic fungi growth and efficacy. In this study, Lipaphis erysimi induced Arabidopsis thaliana HIPVs were collected using headspace system and detected with GC-MS, and then analyzed the effects of these HIPVs chemicals on Lecanicillium lecanii strain V3450. We found that the HIPVs menthol and methyl salicylate at 1 and 10 nmol·ml‑1 improved many performance aspects of the fungus, such as germination, sporulation, appressorial formation as well as its pathogenicity and virulence. These findings are not only important for understanding the multi-trophic interactions in an ecosystem, but also would contribute for developing new and easier procedures for conidial mass production as well as improve the pathogenicity and virulence of entomopathogenic fungi in biological pest management strategies.
Pearse, Ian S; Bastow, Justin L; Tsang, Alia
Introduced plants may out-compete natives by belowground allelopathic effects on soil communities including the symbionts of native plants. We tested for an allelopathic effect of an introduced crucifer, Raphanus sativus, on a common neighboring legume, Lupinus nanus, on the legume's rhizobium affiliates, and on the broader soil community. In both field observations and a greenhouse experiment, we found that R. sativus decreased the density of nodules on L. nanus roots. However, in the greenhouse experiment, R. sativus soils only decreased the density of small, likely non-beneficial rhizobium nodules. In the same experiment, R. sativus soils decreased fungivorous nematode abundance, though there was no effect of R. sativus introduction on fungal density. In the greenhouse experiment, R. sativus soils had a net positive effect on L. nanus biomass. One explanation of this effect is that R. sativus introduction might alter the mutualistic/parasitic relationship between L. nanus and its rhizobial associates with a net benefit to L. nanus. Our results suggest that introduced brassicas can quickly alter belowground communities, but that the net effect of this on neighboring plants is not necessarily negative.
Lin, Yongwen; Qasim, Muhammad; Hussain, Mubasher; Akutse, Komivi Senyo; Avery, Pasco Bruce; Dash, Chandra Kanta; Wang, Liande
Some herbivore-induced-plant volatiles (HIPVs) compounds are vital for the functioning of an ecosystem, by triggering multi-trophic interactions for natural enemies, plants and herbivores. However, the effect of these chemicals, which play a crucial role in regulating the multi-trophic interactions between plant-herbivore-entomopathogenic fungi, is still unknown. To fill this scientific gap, we therefore investigated how these chemicals influence the entomopathogenic fungi growth and efficacy. In this study, Lipaphis erysimi induced Arabidopsis thaliana HIPVs were collected using headspace system and detected with GC-MS, and then analyzed the effects of these HIPVs chemicals on Lecanicillium lecanii strain V3450. We found that the HIPVs menthol and methyl salicylate at 1 and 10 nmol·ml(-1) improved many performance aspects of the fungus, such as germination, sporulation, appressorial formation as well as its pathogenicity and virulence. These findings are not only important for understanding the multi-trophic interactions in an ecosystem, but also would contribute for developing new and easier procedures for conidial mass production as well as improve the pathogenicity and virulence of entomopathogenic fungi in biological pest management strategies.
Schnitzer, Daniel; Seidel, Thorsten; Sander, Tim; Golldack, Dortje; Dietz, Karl-Josef
The plant vacuolar H(+)-ATPase takes part in acidifying compartments of the endomembrane system including the secretory pathway and the vacuoles. The structural variability of the V-ATPase complex as well as its presence in different compartments and tissues involves multiple isoforms of V-ATPase subunits. Furthermore, a versatile regulation is essential to allow for organelle- and tissue-specific fine tuning. In this study, results from V-ATPase complex disassembly with a chaotropic reagent, immunodetection and in vivo fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analyses point to a regulatory mechanism in plants, which depends on energization and involves the stability of the peripheral stalks as well. Lowering of cellular ATP by feeding 2-deoxyglucose resulted in structural alterations within the V-ATPase, as monitored by changes in FRET efficiency between subunits VHA-E and VHA-C. Potassium iodide-mediated disassembly revealed a reduced stability of V-ATPase after 2-deoxyglucose treatment of the cells, but neither the complete V(1)-sector nor VHA-C was released from the membrane in response to 2-deoxyglucose treatment, precluding a reversible dissociation mechanism like in yeast. These data suggest the existence of a regulatory mechanism of plant V-ATPase by modification of the peripheral stator structure that is linked to the cellular energization state. This mechanism is distinct from reversible dissociation as reported for the yeast V-ATPase, but might represent an evolutionary precursor of reversible dissociation.
Baldet, Pierre; Hernould, Michel; Laporte, Frédéric; Mounet, Fabien; Just, Daniel; Mouras, Armand; Chevalier, Christian; Rothan, Christophe
Changes in photoassimilate partitioning between source and sink organs significantly affect fruit development and size. In this study, a comparison was made of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) grown under a low fruit load (one fruit per truss, L1 plants) and under a standard fruit load (five fruits per truss, L5 plants), at morphological, biochemical, and molecular levels. Fruit load reduction resulted in increased photoassimilate availability in the plant and in increased growth rates in all plant organs analysed (root, stem, leaf, flower, and fruit). Larger flower and fruit size in L1 plants were correlated with higher cell number in the pre-anthesis ovary. This was probably due to the acceleration of the flower growth rate since other flower developmental parameters (schedule and time-course) remained otherwise unaffected. Using RT-PCR, it was shown that the transcript levels of CYCB2;1 (cyclin) and CDKB2;1 (cyclin-dependent kinase), two mitosis-specific genes, strongly increased early in developing flower buds. Remarkably, the transcript abundance of CYCD3;1, a D-type cyclin potentially involved in cell cycle regulation in response to mitogenic signals, also increased by more than 5-fold at very early stages of L1 flower development. By contrast, transcripts from fw2.2, a putative negative regulator of cell division in tomato fruit, strongly decreased in developing flower bud, as confirmed by in situ hybridization studies. Taken together, these results suggest that changes in carbohydrate partitioning could control fruit size through the regulation of cell proliferation-related genes at very early stages of flower development.
Karst, Amanda L; Lechowicz, Martin J
Broad-based studies of gymnosperms and angiosperms reveal consistent and functionally significant correlations among foliar traits such as leaf mass per area (LMA), maximum photosynthetic rate (A(area)), foliar nitrogen (N(area)), foliar chlorophyll (Chl) and leaf longevity. To assess the generality of these relationships, we studied 20 fern species growing in the understorey of a temperate deciduous forest. We found that foliar N(area) increases with LMA, and that foliar N(area) and A(area) are positively correlated with one another, as are foliar N(area) and Chl. The ferns in general have very low LMA compared with most seed plants; A(area), N(area) and Chl are below median values for seed plants but are not extreme. Species with overwintering fronds have significantly higher LMA than species with fronds that senesce at the end of the growing season, as well as a significantly higher C : N ratio in frond tissue and relatively high foliar N on an areal basis. Correlations among foliar traits associated with gas exchange in these forest understorey ferns are in accordance with patterns reported for seed plants, suggesting a high degree of functional constraint on the interrelationships among key elements in foliar design.
Zhou, Ying; Xia, Hui; Li, Xiao-Jie; Hu, Rong; Chen, Yun; Li, Xue-Bao
In the study, a gene encoding a putative ethylene response factor of AP2/EREBP family was isolated from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and designated as GhERF12. Sequence alignment showed that GhERF12 protein contains a central AP2/ERF domain (58 amino acids) with two functional conserved amino acid residues (ala14 and asp19). Transactivation assay indicated that GhERF12 displayed strong transcription activation activity in yeast cells, suggesting that this protein may be a transcriptional activator in cotton. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that GhERF12 expression in cotton was induced by ACC and IAA. Overexpression of GhERF12 in Arabidopsis affected seedling growth and development. The GhERF12 transgenic plants grew slowly, and displayed a dwarf phenotype. The mean bolting time of the transgenic plants was delayed for about 10 days, compared with that of wild type. Further study revealed that some ethylene-related and auxin-related genes were dramatically up-regulated in the transgenic plants, compared with those of wild type. Collectively, we speculated that GhERF12, as a transcription factor, may be involved in regulation of plant growth and development by activating the constitutive ethylene response likely related to auxin biosynthesis and/or signaling.
Zhang, Muqing; Powell, Charles A; Guo, Ying; Doud, Melissa S; Duan, Yongping
Huanglongbing (HLB) is the most devastating disease of citrus. The global citrus industry is in urgent need of effective chemical treatments for HLB control because of its rapid spreading worldwide. Due to the fastidious nature of the pathogens, and the poor permissibility of citrus leaf surfaces, effective screening of chemicals for the HLB control can be challenging. In this study, we developed a graft-based chemotherapy method to rapidly screen potential HLB-controlling chemical compounds. In addition, we improved transmission efficiency by using the best HLB-affected scion-rootstock combination, and demonstrated the HLB bacterial titer was the critical factor in transmission. The HLB-affected lemon scions had a high titer of HLB bacterium, survival rate (83.3%), and pathogen transmission rate (59.9%). Trifoliate, a widely used commercial rootstock, had the highest survival rate (>70.0%) compared with grapefruit (52.6%) and sour orange (50.4%). Using this method, we confirmed a mixture of penicillin and streptomycin was the most effective compounds in eliminating the HLB bacterium from the HLB-affected scions, and in successfully rescuing severely HLB-affected citrus germplasms. These findings are useful not only for chemical treatments but also for graft-based transmission studies in HLB and other Liberibacter diseases.
Killiny, Nabil; Almeida, Rodrigo P P
Vector transmission of bacterial plant pathogens involves three steps: pathogen acquisition from an infected host, retention within the vector, and inoculation of cells into susceptible tissue of an uninfected plant. In this study, a combination of plant and artificial diet systems were used to determine the importance of several genes on the initial adhesion and retention of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa to an efficient insect vector. Mutant strains included fimbrial (fimA and pilB) and afimbrial (hxfA and hxfB) adhesins and three loci involved in regulatory systems (rpfF, rpfC, and cgsA). Transmission assays with variable retention time indicated that HxfA and HxfB were primarily important for early adhesion to vectors, while FimA was necessary for both adhesion and retention. The long pilus protein PilB was not deficient in initial adhesion but may be important for retention. Genes upregulated under the control of rpfF are important for both initial adhesion and retention, as transmission rates of this mutant strain were initially low and decreased over time, while disruption of rpfC and cgsA yielded trends similar to that shown by the wild-type control. Because induction of an X. fastidiosa transmissible state requires pectin, a series of experiments were used to test the roles of a polygalacturonase (pglA) and the pectin and galacturonic acid carbohydrates on the transmission of X. fastidiosa. Results show that galacturonic acid, or PglA activity breaking pectin into its major subunit (galacturonic acid), is required for X. fastidiosa vector transmission using an artificial diet system. This study shows that early adhesion and retention of X. fastidiosa are mediated by different factors. It also illustrates that the interpretation of results of vector transmission experiments, in the context of vector-pathogen interaction studies, is highly dependent on experimental design.
Nascente, Adriano Stephan; de Filippi, Marta Cristina Corsi; Lanna, Anna Cristina; de Souza, Alan Carlos Alves; da Silva Lobo, Valácia Lemes; da Silva, Gisele Barata
Microorganisms are considered a genetic resource with great potential for achieving sustainable development of agricultural areas. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of microorganism application forms on the production of biomass, gas exchange, and nutrient content in upland rice. The experiment was conducted under greenhouse conditions in a completely randomized design in a factorial 7 × 3 + 1, with four replications. The treatments consisted of combining seven microorganisms with three application forms (microbiolized seed; microbiolized seed + soil drenched with a microorganism suspension at 7 and 15 days after sowing (DAS); and microbiolized seed + plant sprayed with a microorganism suspension at 7 and 15 DAS) and a control (water). Treatments with Serratia sp. (BRM32114), Bacillus sp. (BRM32110 and BRM32109), and Trichoderma asperellum pool provided, on average, the highest photosynthetic rate values and dry matter biomass of rice shoots. Plants treated with Burkolderia sp. (BRM32113), Serratia sp. (BRM32114), and Pseudomonas sp. (BRM32111 and BRM32112) led to the greatest nutrient uptake by rice shoots. Serratia sp. (BRM 32114) was the most effective for promoting an increase in the photosynthetic rate, and for the greatest accumulation of nutrients and dry matter at 84 DAS, in rice shoots, which differed from the control treatment. The use of microorganisms can bring numerous benefits of rice, such as improving physiological characteristics, nutrient uptake, biomass production, and grain yield.
Wise, Cody; Falardeau, Justin; Hagberg, Ingrid; Avis, Tyler J
Fengycin is an antimicrobial cyclic lipopeptide produced by various Bacillus subtilis strains, including strain CU12. Direct effects of fengycin include membrane pore formation and efflux of cellular contents leading to cell death in sensitive microorganisms. In this study, four plant pathogens were studied in order to elucidate the role of membrane lipids in their relative sensitivity to fengycin. Inhibition of mycelial growth in these pathogens varied considerably. Analysis of membrane lipids in these microorganisms indicated that sensitivity correlated with low ergosterol content and shorter phospholipid fatty acyl chains. Sensitivity to fengycin also correlated with a lower anionic/zwitterionic phospholipid ratio. Our data suggest that decreased fluidity buffering capacity, as a result of low ergosterol content, and higher intrinsic fluidity afforded by short fatty acyl chain length may increase the sensitivity of microbial membranes to fengycin. Our results also suggest that lower content in anionic phospholipids may increase fengycin insertion into the membrane through reduced electrostatic repulsion with the negatively charged fengycin. The intrinsic membrane lipid composition may contribute, in part, to the observed level of antimicrobial activity of fengycin in various plant pathogens.
Afzal, Muhammad; Yousaf, Sohail; Reichenauer, Thomas G; Kuffner, Melanie; Sessitsch, Angela
The combined use of plants and associated microorganisms has great potential for cleaning up soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Apart from environmental conditions the physicochemical properties of the soil are the main factors influencing the survival and activity of an inoculated strain as well as the growth of plants. This study examined the effect of different soil types (sandy, loamy sand and loam) on the survival, gene abundance and catabolic gene expression of two inoculated strains (Pseudomonas sp. strain ITRI53 and Pantoea sp. strain BTRH79) in the rhizosphere and shoot interior of Italian ryegrass vegetated in diesel contaminated soils. High colonization, gene abundance and expression in loamy soils were observed. By contrast, low colonization, gene abundance and absence of gene expression in sandy soil were found. The highest levels of genes expression and hydrocarbon degradation were seen in loamy soil that had been inoculated with BTRH79 and were significantly higher compared to those in other soils. A positive correlation was observed between gene expression and hydrocarbon degradation indicating that catabolic gene expression is necessary for contaminant degradation. These results suggest that soil type influences the bacterial colonization and microbial activities and subsequently the efficiency of contaminant degradation.
Tsubokura, Masaharu; Kato, Shigeaki; Nomura, Shuhei; Morita, Tomohiro; Sugimoto, Amina; Gilmour, Stuart; Kami, Masahiro; Oikawa, Tomoyoshi; Kanazawa, Yukio
Chronic internal radiation contamination accounts for a substantial fraction of long-term cumulative radiation exposure among residents in radiation-contaminated areas. However, little information is available on ongoing chronic internal radiation contamination among residents near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Using a whole body counter, internal radiation contamination levels among elementary and middle school students who commute to 22 schools located within Minamisoma city were assessed between May and July 2013 (26 to 28 mo after the disaster). Of 3,299 elementary and middle school students in the city, 3,255 individuals (98%) were screened through school health check-ups. Not a single student was detected with internal radiation contamination due to radioactive cesium. The study found no risk of chronic internal radiation exposure among residents near the crippled nuclear power plant. Current food inspection by local governments, volunteers, and farmers has been functioning well within Fukushima prefecture. However, food management by screening suspected contamination along with whole body counter screening are key public health interventions and should be continued to avoid further internal radiation exposure in radiation-contaminated areas.
Shikang, Shen; Fuqin, Wu; Yuehua, Wang
Plant-frugivore mutualism serves an important function in multiple ecological processes. Although previous studies have highlighted the effect of frugivore gut passage on fresh seed germinability, no study has investigated the effect on seed storage after frugivore gut passage. We used the endangered plant, Euryodendron excelsum, to determine the combined effects of frugivore gut passage and storage conditions on the germination percentage and rate of seeds. In particular, three treatments that included storage periods, storage methods, and seed types were designed in the experiment. We hypothesized that seeds that passed through the gut will exhibit enhanced germination capacity and rate during storage. Results showed that the final germination percentage decreased in seeds that passed through the gut, whereas the germination rate increased during seed storage. Germination decreased in most types of seeds under both dry and wet storage after 6 months compared with storage after 1 and 3 months. The results suggest that after frugivore gut passage, E. excelsum seeds cannot form persistent soil seed bank in the field, and were not suitable for species germplasm storage. These finding underscore that seeds that passed through frugivore gut have long-term impact on their viability and germination performance.
Rousseaux, M Cecilia; Ballaré, Carlos L; Scopel, Ana L; Searles, Peter S; Caldwell, Martyn M
We examined the effects of solar ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB) on plant-herbivore interactions in native ecosystems of the Tierra del Fuego National Park (southern Argentina), an area of the globe that is frequently under the Antarctic "ozone hole" in early spring. We found that filtering out solar UVB from the sunlight received by naturally-occurring plants of Gunnera magellanica, a creeping perennial herb, significantly increased the number of leaf lesions caused by chewing insects. Field surveys suggested that early-season herbivory was principally due to the activity of moth larvae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Manipulative field experiments showed that exposure to solar UVB changes the attractiveness of G. magellanica leaf tissue to natural grazers. In a laboratory experiment, locally caught moth caterpillars tended to eat more tissue from leaves grown without UVB than from leaves exposed to natural UVB during development; however, the difference between treatments was not significant. Leaves grown under solar UVB had slightly higher N levels than leaves not exposed to UVB; no differences between UVB treatments in specific leaf mass, relative water content, and total methanol-soluble phenolics were detected. Our results show that insect herbivory in a natural ecosystem is influenced by solar UVB, and that this influence could not be predicted from crude measurements of leaf physical and chemical characteristics and a common laboratory bioassay.
Shikang, Shen; Fuqin, Wu; Yuehua, Wang
Plant-frugivore mutualism serves an important function in multiple ecological processes. Although previous studies have highlighted the effect of frugivore gut passage on fresh seed germinability, no study has investigated the effect on seed storage after frugivore gut passage. We used the endangered plant, Euryodendron excelsum, to determine the combined effects of frugivore gut passage and storage conditions on the germination percentage and rate of seeds. In particular, three treatments that included storage periods, storage methods, and seed types were designed in the experiment. We hypothesized that seeds that passed through the gut will exhibit enhanced germination capacity and rate during storage. Results showed that the final germination percentage decreased in seeds that passed through the gut, whereas the germination rate increased during seed storage. Germination decreased in most types of seeds under both dry and wet storage after 6 months compared with storage after 1 and 3 months. The results suggest that after frugivore gut passage, E. excelsum seeds cannot form persistent soil seed bank in the field, and were not suitable for species germplasm storage. These finding underscore that seeds that passed through frugivore gut have long-term impact on their viability and germination performance. PMID:26109456
Duan, Jian J; Oppel, Craig
In laboratory assays, we evaluated the potential impact of host plant substrate types, host-parasitoid group sizes (densities), and parasitoid-to-host ratios on select fitness parameters of the larval endoparasitoid Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), newly introduced for biological control of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in the United States. Results from our study showed that offspring production and critical fitness parameters (body size and sex ratio) of T. planipennisi from parasitized emerald ash borer larvae are significantly influenced by host plant substrate type, host-parasitoid group size, parasitoid-to-host ratio, or a combination in the primary exposure assay. The number of both female and male T. planipennisi progeny was significantly greater when emerald ash borer larvae were inserted into tropical ash [Fraxinus uhdei (Wenz.) Lingelsh.] logs rather than green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica Marshall). When maintained at a constant 1:1 parasitoid-to-host ratio, assays with larger host-parasitoid group sizes (3:3-12:12) produced significantly greater numbers of both male and female offspring per parental wasp compared with those with the single host-parasitoid (1:1) group treatment. As the parasitoid-to-host ratio increased from 1:1 to 8:1 in the assay, the average brood size (number of offspring per parasitized emerald ash borer larva) increased significantly, whereas the average brood sex ratio (female to male) changed from being female-biased (6:1) to male-biased (1:2); body size of female offspring as measured by the length of ovipositor and left hind tibia also was reduced significantly. Based on these findings, we suggest that the current method of rearing T. planipennisi with artificially infested-emerald ash borer larvae use the tropical ash logs for emerald ash borer insertion, a larger (> or = 3:3) host-parasitoid group size and 1:1 parasitoid-to-host ratio in the primary
Baghour, M; Moreno, D A; Víllora, G; Hernández, J; Castilla, N; Romero, L
Three consecutive years of field experiments were conducted to investigate how different root-zone temperatures, manipulated by using different mulches, affect the phytoextraction of Ba, Cl, Sn, Pt and Rb in different organs of potato plants (roots, tubers, stems and leaves). Four different plastic covers were used (T1: transparent polyethylene; T2: white polyethylene; T3: white and black coextruded polyethylene, and T4: black polyethylene), using uncovered plants as control (T0). The different treatments had a significant effect on mean root zone temperatures (T0 = 16 degrees C, T1 = 20 degrees C, T2 = 23 degrees C, T3 = 27 degrees C and T4 = 30 degrees C) and induced a significantly different response in Ba, Cl, Sn, Pt and Rb concentration and accumulation. The T3 treatment gave rise to the greatest phytoextraction of Ba, Pt, Cl and Sn in the roots, leaflets and tubers. In terms of the relative distribution of the phytoaccumulated elements (as percentage of the total within the plant), Pt and Ba accumulated mainly in the roots whereas Rb, Sn and Cl accumulated primarily in tubers, establishing a close relationship between the biomass development of each organ and phytoaccumulation capacity of metals in response to temperature in the root zone.
Müller, Viola; Albert, Andreas; Barbro Winkler, J; Lankes, Christa; Noga, Georg; Hunsche, Mauricio
We investigated the effects of environmentally relevant dose of ultraviolet (UV)-B and photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) on saponin accumulation in leaves on the example of Centella asiatica L. Urban. For this purpose, plants were exposed to one of four light regimes i.e., two PAR intensities with or without UV-B radiation. The experiment was conducted in technically complex sun simulators under almost natural irradiance and climatic conditions. As observed, UV-B radiation increased herb and leaf production as well as the content of epidermal flavonols, which was monitored by non-destructive fluorescence measurements. Specific fluorescence indices also indicate an increase in the content of anthocyanins under high PAR; this increase was likewise observed for the saponin concentrations. In contrast, UV-B radiation had no distinct effects on saponin and sapogenin concentrations. Our findings suggest that besides flavonoids, also saponins were accumulated under high PAR protecting the plant from oxidative damage. Furthermore, glycosylation of sapogenins seems to be important either for the protective function and/or for compartmentalization of the compounds. Moreover, our study revealed that younger leaves contain higher amounts of saponins, while in older leaves the sapogenins were the most abundant constituents. Concluding, our results proof that ambient dose of UV-B and high PAR intensity distinctly affect the accumulation of flavonoids and saponins, enabling the plant tissue to adapt to the light conditions.
Dominguez, Pia Guadalupe; Frankel, Nicolas; Mazuch, Jeannine; Balbo, Ilse; Iusem, Norberto; Fernie, Alisdair R.; Carrari, Fernando
Asr (for ABA, stress, ripening) genes are exclusively found in the genomes of higher plants, and the encoded proteins have been found localized both to the nucleus and cytoplasm. However, before the mechanisms underlying the activity of ASR proteins can be determined, the role of these proteins in planta should be deciphered. Results from this study suggest that ASR is positioned within the signaling cascade of interactions among glucose, abscisic acid, and gibberellins. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) transgenic lines with reduced levels of ASR protein showed impaired glucose metabolism and altered abscisic acid and gibberellin levels. These changes were associated with dwarfism, reduced carbon dioxide assimilation, and accelerated leaf senescence as a consequence of a fine regulation exerted by ASR to the glucose metabolism. This regulation resulted in an impact on glucose signaling mediated by Hexokinase1 and Snf1-related kinase, which would subsequently have been responsible for photosynthesis, leaf senescence, and hormone level alterations. It thus can be postulated that ASR is not only involved in the control of hexose uptake in heterotrophic organs, as we have previously reported, but also in the control of carbon fixation by the leaves mediated by a similar mechanism. PMID:23302128
Slaughter, Lindsey C; McCulley, Rebecca L
Cool season grasses host multiple fungal symbionts, such as aboveground Epichloë endophytes and belowground arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and dark septate endophytes (DSEs). Asexual Epichloë endophytes can influence root colonization by AMF, but the type of interaction-whether antagonistic or beneficial-varies. In Schedonorus arundinaceus (tall fescue), Epichloë coenophiala can negatively affect AMF, which may impact soil properties and ecosystem function. Within field plots of S. arundinaceus that were either E. coenophiala-free (E-), infected with the common, mammal-toxic E. coenophiala strain (CTE+), or infected with one of two novel, non-toxic strains (AR542 NTE+ and AR584 NTE+), we hypothesized that (1) CTE+ would decrease AMF and DSE colonization rates and reduce soil extraradical AMF hyphae compared to E- or NTE+, and (2) this would lead to E- and NTE+ plots having greater water stable soil aggregates and C than CTE+. E. coenophiala presence and strain did not significantly alter AMF or DSE colonization, nor did it affect extraradical AMF hypha length, soil aggregates, or aggregate-associated C and N. Soil extraradical AMF hypha length negatively correlated with root AMF colonization. Our results contrast with previous demonstrations that E. coenophiala symbiosis inhibits belowground AMF communities. In our mesic, relatively nutrient-rich grassland, E. coenophiala symbiosis did not antagonize belowground symbionts, regardless of strain. Manipulating E. coenophiala strains within S. arundinaceus may not significantly alter AMF communities and nutrient cycling, yet we must further explore these relationships under different soils and environmental conditions given that symbiont interactions can be important in determining ecosystem response to global change.
Plant RNA editosomes modify cytidines (C) to uridines (U) at specific sites in plastid and mitochondrial transcripts. Members of the RNA-editing factor interacting protein (RIP) family and Organelle RNA Recognition Motif-containing (ORRM) family are essential components of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) editosome. ORRM2 and ORRM3 have been recently identified as minor mitochondrial editing factors whose silencing reduces editing efficiency at ∼6% of the mitochondrial C targets. Here we report the identification of ORRM4 (for organelle RRM protein 4) as a novel, major mitochondrial editing factor that controls ∼44% of the mitochondrial editing sites. C-to-U conversion is reduced, but not eliminated completely, at the affected sites. The orrm4 mutant exhibits slower growth and delayed flowering time. ORRM4 affects editing in a site-specific way, though orrm4 mutation affects editing of the entire transcript of certain genes. ORRM4 contains an RRM domain at the N terminus and a Gly-rich domain at the C terminus. The RRM domain provides the editing activity of ORRM4, whereas the Gly-rich domain is required for its interaction with ORRM3 and with itself. The presence of ORRM4 in the editosome is further supported by its interaction with RIP1 in a bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay. The identification of ORRM4 as a major mitochondrial editing factor further expands our knowledge of the composition of the RNA editosome and reveals that adequate mitochondrial editing is necessary for normal plant development. PMID:26578708
We investigated the transfer of canopy-intercepted radiocesium to the forest floor during 3 years following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The cesium-137 (Cs-137) contents in throughfall, stemflow, and litterfall were monitored in two coniferous stands (plantation of Japanese cedar) and a deciduous broad-leaved forest stand (Japanese oak with red pine). We also measured the ambient dose rate (ADR) at different heights in the forest using a survey meter and a portable Ge gamma-ray detector. Total Cs-137 deposition flux from the canopy to forest floor for the mature cedar, young cedar, and the mixed broad-leaved stands were 166 kBq/m2, 174 kBq/m2, and 60 kBq/m2, respectively. These values correspond to 38%, 40% and 13% of total atmospheric input after the accident. The ambient dose rate in forest exhibited height dependency and its vertical distribution varied with forest type and stand age. The ambient dose rate showed an exponential decrease with time for all the forest sites, however the decreasing trend differed depending on the height of dose measurement and forest type. The ambient dose rate at the canopy (approx. 10 m-height) decreased faster than that expected from physical decay of the two radiocesium isotopes, whereas those at the forest floor varied between the three forest stands. The radiocesium deposition via throughfall seemed to increase ambient dose rate during the first 200 days after the accident, however there was no clear relationship between litterfall and ambient dose rate since 400 days after the accident. These data suggested that the ambient dose rate in forest environment varied both spatially and temporally reflecting the transfer of radiocesium from canopy to forest floor. However, further monitoring investigation and analysis are required to determine the effect of litterfall on long-term trend of ambient dose rate in forest environments.
Taniguchi, Keisuke; Yoshimura, Kazuya; Sakaguchi, Aya; Yamamoto, Masayoshi; Onda, Yuichi
Due to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, radioactive materials including Cs-134 and Cs-137 were widely distributed in surrounded area. The radiocesiums have been transported in river networks. This study showed the monitoring results of radiocesium concentration in river waters and suspended sediments in Abukuma river basin and smaller coastal river catchments. The monitoring started at 6 sites from June 2011. Subsequently, additional 24 monitoring sites were installed between October 2012 and January 2013. Flow and turbidity (for calculation of suspended sediment concentration) were measured at each site, while suspended sediments and river water were collected every one or half month to measure Cs-134 and Cs-137 activity concentrations by gamma spectrometry. Activity concentrations of Cs-134 and Cs- 137 on suspended sediments were generally decreasing at all sites. The decreasing rate changed lower at about one year later from the accident. Activity concentration in river waters also showed the same tendency although there are only few data within 1 year from the accident. Activity concentrations measured at the same day are proportional to the mean catchment inventory. Therefore, the activity concentration can be normalized by the mean catchment inventory. The normalized activity can be fitted to following double exponential function: [At] = 1.551 exp (-5.265t) + 0.069 exp (-0.266 t), where t [year] is the time from the accident. There is no time evolution of Kd between suspended sediments and river water. Instead, Kd was varied spatially. Although the reason of the spatial variation is not clear for now, geology of the catchment (i.e. mineral composition of suspended particles) seems to relate to the variation.
Sanwal, Chandra Shekher; Kumar, Raj; Bhardwaj, S D
The integration of Andrographis paniculata under Pinus roxburghii (Chir pine) plantation has been studied to evaluate the growth and yield for its economic viability and conservation. It was grown on three topographical aspects, namely, northern, north-western, and western, at a spacing of 30 cm × 30 cm, followed by three tillage depths, namely, minimum (0 cm), medium (up to 10 cm), and deep (up to 15 cm) tillage. The growth parameters, namely, plant height and number of branches per plant, were recorded as significantly higher on western aspect and lowest on northern aspect except for leaf area index which was found nonsignificant. However under all tillage practices all the growth parameters in both understorey and open conditions were found to be nonsignificant except for plant height which was found to be significantly highest under deep tillage and lowest under minimum tillage. The study of net returns for Andrographis paniculata revealed that it had positive average annual returns even in understorey conditions which indicate its possible economic viability under integration of Chir pine plantations. Hence net returns can be enhanced by integrating Andrographis paniculata and this silvimedicinal system can be suggested which will help utilizing an unutilized part of land and increase total productivity from such lands besides conservation of the A. paniculata in situ.
Sanwal, Chandra Shekher; Bhardwaj, S. D.
The integration of Andrographis paniculata under Pinus roxburghii (Chir pine) plantation has been studied to evaluate the growth and yield for its economic viability and conservation. It was grown on three topographical aspects, namely, northern, north-western, and western, at a spacing of 30 cm × 30 cm, followed by three tillage depths, namely, minimum (0 cm), medium (up to 10 cm), and deep (up to 15 cm) tillage. The growth parameters, namely, plant height and number of branches per plant, were recorded as significantly higher on western aspect and lowest on northern aspect except for leaf area index which was found nonsignificant. However under all tillage practices all the growth parameters in both understorey and open conditions were found to be nonsignificant except for plant height which was found to be significantly highest under deep tillage and lowest under minimum tillage. The study of net returns for Andrographis paniculata revealed that it had positive average annual returns even in understorey conditions which indicate its possible economic viability under integration of Chir pine plantations. Hence net returns can be enhanced by integrating Andrographis paniculata and this silvimedicinal system can be suggested which will help utilizing an unutilized part of land and increase total productivity from such lands besides conservation of the A. paniculata in situ. PMID:27563482
Konoplev, A. V.; Golosov, V. N.; Yoschenko, V. I.; Nanba, K.; Onda, Y.; Takase, T.; Wakiyama, Y.
Presented are results of the study of radiocesium vertical distribution in the soils of the irrigation pond catchments in the near field 0.25 to 8 km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP, on sections of the Niida River floodplain, and in a forest ecosystem