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J. Efrain Ramirez-Benitez, Ibis Vargas Paredes, Luis F. Cuevas Glory, Enrique Sauri Duch, Victor M. Moo Huchin, Sara Solis Pereira and Gabriel Lizama Uc

Plant-essential oils have been considered as an important source of bioactive molecules like antimicrobials, analgesics, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogen agents. Biological functions of plant extracts from the genus Capsicum are unknown. In the present work, non-polar fractions of ripe and unripe fruits of Capsicum chinense Jacq. Cultivar (cv.) Jaguar and Criollo were obtained by hexane-batch extraction and tested for antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacterial strain Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922), Gram-positive bacterial strains Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 29212), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (ATCC 12228), and yeast Candida albicans (ATCC 90028). Non-polar fractions from ripe fruits for both cv. exhibited greater antimicrobial activity compared to unripe fruits. Implication of numbered FFA’s on observed antimicrobial activity are discussed.

Mast Ram Dhiman, Siddharth Moudgil, Chander Parkash, Raj Kumar, Sandeep Kumar, S.S. Sindhu and Arun Agarwal

Interploidy crosses between Lilium lancifolium (3x) and Asiatic lily cultivar ‘Brunello’ (4x) were attempted for creating genetic variability and to analyse the progenies for different ploidy levels. Experimental results revealed that most of the crosses attempted were developed into fruits, confirming that male-sterile triploid lilies can be used as the female parent for crossing with a suitable male parent. Wide variation in chromosome numbers (28 to 38) was obtained in different plant progenies, indicating that aneuploidy is generated by 3x × 4x crosses. The nuclear DNA content analysis of 13 plant progenies showed that the 2C nuclear DNA content has increased (range = 32.60 pg to 41.32 pg) as compared to Lilium lancifolium, while it was found lower than the cultivar ‘Brunello. Further, morphological characterization of different plant progenies revealed significant differences among themselves, which confirmed the dependence of these traits on cultivars ploidy level. Therefore, present findings will be instrumental for development of new Lilium cultivars with high aesthetic value and utility.

D.R. Bhardwaj, Sharmistha Pal and Pankaj Panwar

In this paper we investigated how succession has altered soil properties in relation to plant biomass and litter characteristics in mid Himalayan region of India. The natural forest with four succession phases were identified. The early stages are (1) pure Pinus roxburghii forest of coniferous shade intolerant species (2) middle stage is a Pinus roxburghii + Quercus leucotricophora (60: 40) forest with combination of coniferous and deciduous species (3) later stage is a Quercus leucotricophora + Pinus roxburghii (60: 40) and (4) climax stage is a Pure Quercus leucotricophora forest of shade tolerant deciduous broadleaf species. The soil samples were collected from surface (0–15 cm) and subsurface (15–30 cm and 30–45 cm) levels. The soil properties showed gradual improvement with progress in succession phases. Our study shows that, there was a substantial increase in level of soil organic carbon and nitrogen from early to climax phase. Soil pH was significantly lower in early succession phase. The highest available nitrogen was under climax (pure oak) and least in early phase (pure pine) (402 and 347 Kg ha–1 in surface soil, respectively). The concentration of very labile carbon (fraction 1) was highest in climax and least in early stage. The highest biomass accumulation was in climax (pure oak, 420.6 Mgha–1), followed by oak + pine (348.7 Mgha–1) and least in pine + oak (299.3 Mgha–1). Out of 4 stages, shrub biomass was maximum in early (pure pine) (20.5 M Mgha–1), being 6.57% of total biomass and least in climax (pure oak) (10.7 Mgha–1), being 2.54% of total biomass. Further, the labile carbon pools showed a strong positive correlation with total biomass at different succession stages. The recalcitrant carbon pool had significant negative correlation with biomass. Hence, the study suggests that, this increase in soil organic carbon, nitrogen and soil fertility parameters are in accordance to changes in biomass and litter fall characteristics with progress in forest succession.

Ahmet Pişkin

This study was carried out in the Konya Experiment Station experimental plots of the Directorate of Sugar Research Institute of the Turkish Sugar Factories Corporation from 2005 to 2010, with first two years being the transition period, for the purpose of investigating the effect of manure on sugar beet yield and quality in production of organic sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.). Trials were organized into a randomized block design with 4 replications in the same plot. The experiments evaluated manure application, chemical fertilizer application and control (growing plants with no fertilizer). The study investigated sugar beet root yield, sugar concentration, white sugar concentration and white sugar yield. According to the 3 year experimental results, 69.8–83.3% of the white sugar in chemical fertilizer treatment achieved by sheep manure treatment. Despite some reduction in sugar beet yield values, it is evident that manure may be used effectively in the production of organic sugar beet in accordance with an organic production system.

Tao Deng, Richard J. Abbott, Wenqing Li, Hang Sun and Sergei Volis

Historical processes during the Quaternary are likely to have left a signature on the geographical distribution of intraspecific genetic variation. In particular, high genetic uniqueness could be expected within glacial refugia for multiple species. We aimed to test this for plants in China and whether multi-species hotspots of genetic diversity are good indicators of glacial refugia in this region. From chloroplast DNA haplotype data for 116 species we calculated two local genetic diversity metrics for each species: haplotype genetic richness and genetic uniqueness. From these two, only uniqueness could reliably identify refugia, whereas richness may indicate either glacial refugia or areas recolonized by genetic lineages from different refugia in the postglacial period. Our results suggest the occurrence of numerous cryptic refugia and their likely importance in the maintenance and evolution of the Chinese flora, and indicate that an approach that locates geographic hotspots of genetic diversity data can reliably identify refugia.

Nili Anglister, Yoram Yom-Tov and Uzi Motro

The Mediterranean coastal dune habitat of Israel is diminishing rapidly, mostly due to massive urbanization, changes in habitat characteristics caused by dune stabilization and the presence of Acacia saligna, an invasive species brought to Israel for the purpose of dune stabilization. In this study we document the effect of sand stabilization on the composition of small mammal communities in the Ashdod-Nizzanim sands, Israel. We analyzed differences in species diversity and abundance for species of rodents in four types of habitat: unstable (mobile) sand dune, semi-stabilized dune, inter-dune depression and a plot of the invasive Acacia saligna. Rodent communities were found to undergo gradual changes concurrently with the stabilization of the sands. The mobile dune was the only habitat in which the strict psammophiles Jaculus jaculus and Gerbillus pyramidum were captured in abundance. No species commensal with human were captured neither in the mobile nor in the semi-stabilized dunes. However, in the inter-dune depression there was quite a large representation of Mus musculus, a rodent commensal with humans. The Acacia saligna plot had the lowest number of captures and the lowest rodent biomass calculated, with Mus musculus composing nearly half of the captures. The results of this study demonstrate that stabilization of the sands in Ashdod-Nizzanim area is associated with the disappearance of psammophile rodents and the appearance of species commensal with humans. In order to preserve the habitat for psammophile rodents, measures should be taken to halt the spread of acacia and the continuing stabilization of the sands.

Jitendriya Panigrahi, Saikat Gantait and Illa C. Patel

The present study formulates a method for comprehensive production of vasicinone, a quinazoline alkaloid, from multiple plant parts of in vitro and in-field-grown Justicia beddomei. HPTLC analysis of plant parts was executed with methanolic extract using toluene: butanol: butyl acetate (9:0.5:0.5; v/v/v) as the solvent system. Validation of methodology was accomplished using TLC plates (silica gel 60 F254-pre-coated aluminium sheet) following the ICH manual to maintain accuracy, precision and repeatability with a linearity ranging 2–6 μg/spot. Validation data offers precision to the methodology adapted in the present study (LOD 1 μg/spot and LOQ 3 μg/spot). It was evident that in vitro samples produced relatively higher levels of vasicinone than that of their in-field counterparts. The highest vasicinone (2.07±0.025% of dry weight) production was quantified from in vitro stem, signifying a new resource for the production of vasicinone from identified parts of in vitro and in-field propagated J. beddomei plants.

Subhash Chander, Rajasekharan P.E. and Reju M. Kurian

Annona cv. ‘Arka Sahan’ essentially needs assisted pollination with sugar apple pollen for commercial fruit production. However, there is no perfect synchronization in flowering of the pollen source sugar apple cv. Balanagar with that of cv. ‘Arka Sahan’. So, an attempt was made to store the pollen of the former to assure its availability as and when cv. ‘Arka Sahan’ flowers need to be pollinated. In vitro pollen germination was assessed using different concentrations of sucrose (5%, 10% and 15%) with and without boric acid (100 ppm). Pollen collected on the second day of anthesis showed maximum germination (43.47%) in 5% sucrose + 100 ppm boric acid while those collected on first day of anthesis did not show any germination. Pollen collected at different times of the day showed a rapid decrease in pollen germination from maximum germination at 6 am (36.55%) to no germination at 2 pm. The maximum pollen germination was in 10% sucrose + 100 ppm boric acid combination for the stored pollen as well as pollen collected during late hours of the day. Pollen stored under varying temperatures lost viability within 1 month at 4°C while pollen stored at −196°C in liquid nitrogen retained germination for 2 months. Pollen germination and pollen tube growth were progressively reduced with storage time. Structure of stored pollen examined using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), revealed deformed and shriveled pollen structure. The results of this study indicated that the Annona pollen tends to be viable for a period of 2 months.

Yifan Chen, Qian Bai, Funan Ruan and Shuchai Su

The Pistacia chinensis Bunge is traditionally dioecious, and the female trees are more required to grow in practice for oil seed production. The discovery of monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in North China provided good raw materials to study the sex differentiation process. The objective of this study was to identify the differently expressed proteins in flower buds in two key sex differentiation phases in monoecious P. chinensis Bunge. Morphological observation and paraffin section were used to determine the key phenophases, and label-free quantitative technique was used for proteomic analysis. The results showed that the proteins related to oxidative stress resistance up-regulated while proteins involved in photosynthesis down-regulated during the female primordium differentiation in bisexual flower buds of the monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in early March, while proteins related to oxidative stress resistance, ribosome activity, and photosynthetic function up-regulated during the male primordium differentiation in bisexual flower buds of the monoecious P. chinensis Bunge in late May. The most up-regulated proteins all involved in the photosynthesis pathway in both kind of flower buds in late May compared to those in early March, and the down-regulated proteins all involved in the ribosome pathway. The identified differentially expressed proteins such as the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutases may be possible molecular markers for sex determination in monoecious P. chinensis Bunge.

Sachin Kumar Vaid, Prakash Chandra Srivastava, Satya Pratap Pachauri, Anita Sharma, Deepa Rawat, Bhupendra Mathpal, Shailesh Chandra Shankhadhar and Arvind Kumar Shukla

Large scale deficiency of Zn results in low crops yields and the problem of Zn malnutrition in humans and livestock. To economize crop production on Zn deficient soils, two-year field experiments were undertaken with two wheat varieties to evaluate the performance of seed inoculation with a consortium of three bacterial strains in combination with varying doses of Zn fertilizer applied to 1 year rice crop on yields, Zn concentration and Zn uptake of wheat. Seed coating of wheat with bacterial consortium significantly increased grain yields, Zn concentration and uptake in grains and straw and total Zn uptake over the control. It also helped to increase the apparent recoveries of soil applied Zn fertilizer to 1 year rice by succeeding wheat crops and DTPA extractable Zn in soil after 2 year wheat in comparison to the control. Seed inoculation in combination with low dosage of Zn also significantly decreased phytic acid: Zn ratio but increased methionine concentration in wheat grains.