Scholarly Works, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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  • Pasture Biomass Estimation Using Ultra-High-Resolution RGB UAVs Images and Deep Learning
    Vahidi, Milad; Shafian, Sanaz; Thomas, Summer; Maguire, Rory (MDPI, 2023-12-13)
    The continuous assessment of grassland biomass during the growth season plays a vital role in making informed, location-specific management choices. The implementation of precision agriculture techniques can facilitate and enhance these decision-making processes. Nonetheless, precision agriculture depends on the availability of prompt and precise data pertaining to plant characteristics, necessitating both high spatial and temporal resolutions. Utilizing structural and spectral attributes extracted from low-cost sensors on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) presents a promising non-invasive method to evaluate plant traits, including above-ground biomass and plant height. Therefore, the main objective was to develop an artificial neural network capable of estimating pasture biomass by using UAV RGB images and the canopy height models (CHM) during the growing season over three common types of paddocks: Rest, bale grazing, and sacrifice. Subsequently, this study first explored the variation of structural and color-related features derived from statistics of CHM and RGB image values under different levels of plant growth. Then, an ANN model was trained for accurate biomass volume estimation based on a rigorous assessment employing statistical criteria and ground observations. The model demonstrated a high level of precision, yielding a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.94 and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 62 (g/m2). The evaluation underscores the critical role of ultra-high-resolution photogrammetric CHMs and red, green, and blue (RGB) values in capturing meaningful variations and enhancing the model’s accuracy across diverse paddock types, including bale grazing, rest, and sacrifice paddocks. Furthermore, the model’s sensitivity to areas with minimal or virtually absent biomass during the plant growth period is visually demonstrated in the generated maps. Notably, it effectively discerned low-biomass regions in bale grazing paddocks and areas with reduced biomass impact in sacrifice paddocks compared to other types. These findings highlight the model’s versatility in estimating biomass across a range of scenarios, making it well suited for deployment across various paddock types and environmental conditions.
  • Quantitative texture analysis comparison of three legumes
    Miller, Rebekah; Duncan, Susan; Yin, Yun; Zhang, Bo; Lahne, Jacob (Frontiers, 2023-06-19)
    A validated texture-analysis method to evaluate product quality in frozen or cooked legumes is needed to support high-quality vegetable production but is not currently established in the literature. Peas, lima beans, and edamame were investigated in this study due to similar market use as well as growth in plant-based protein consumption in the United States. These three legumes were evaluated after three different processing treatments (blanch/freeze/thaw (BFT); BFT+microwave heat (BFT+M); BF+stove-top cooking (BF+C)), using both compression and puncture analysis following an American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) texture analysis method and moisture testing following an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard method. Texture analysis results showed differences between legumes and processing methods. Compression analysis identified more differences between treatments within product type than puncture for both edamame and lima beans indicating compression might be more sensitive to texture changes in these products. Implementation of a standard texture method for legume vegetables for growers and producers would provide a consistent quality check to support efficient production of high-quality legumes. Due to the sensitivity obtained from the compression texture method in this work, compression should be considered for future research into a robust method to evaluate edamame and lima bean textures throughout the growing and production processes.
  • A suberized exodermis is required for tomato drought tolerance
    Cantó-Pastor, A.; Kajala, K.; Shaar-Moshe, L.; Manzano, C.; Timilsena, P.; De Bellis, D.; Gray, S.; Holbein, J.; Yang, H.; Mohammad, S.; Nirmal, N.; Suresh, K.; Ursache, R.; Mason, G. A.; Gouran, M.; West, D. A.; Borowsky, A. T.; Shackel, K. A.; Sinha, N.; Bailey-Serres, J.; Geldner, N.; Li, Song; Franke, R. B.; Brady, S. M. (Springer, 2024-01-02)
    Plant roots integrate environmental signals with development using exquisite spatiotemporal control. This is apparent in the deposition of suberin, an apoplastic diffusion barrier, which regulates flow of water, solutes and gases, and is environmentally plastic. Suberin is considered a hallmark of endodermal differentiation but is absent in the tomato endodermis. Instead, suberin is present in the exodermis, a cell type that is absent in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we demonstrate that the suberin regulatory network has the same parts driving suberin production in the tomato exodermis and the Arabidopsis endodermis. Despite this co-option of network components, the network has undergone rewiring to drive distinct spatial expression and with distinct contributions of specific genes. Functional genetic analyses of the tomato MYB92 transcription factor and ASFT enzyme demonstrate the importance of exodermal suberin for a plant water-deficit response and that the exodermal barrier serves an equivalent function to that of the endodermis and can act in its place.
  • Diversity and ice nucleation activity of Pseudomonas syringae in drone water samples from eight lakes in Austria
    Hanlon, Regina; Jimenez-Sanchez, Celia; Benson, James; Aho, Ken; Morris, Cindy; Seifried, Teresa; Bolah, Philipp; Grothe, Hinrich; Schmale, David G. III (PeerJ, 2023-11-28)
    Bacteria from the Pseudomonas syringae complex (comprised of at least 15 recognized species and more than 60 different pathovars of P. syringae sensu stricto) have been cultured from clouds, rain, snow, streams, rivers, and lakes. Some strains of P. syringae express an ice nucleation protein (hereafter referred to as ice+) that catalyzes the heterogeneous freezing of water. Though P. syringae has been sampled intensively from freshwater sources in the U.S. and France, little is known about the genetic diversity and ice nucleation activity of P. syringae in other parts of the world. We investigated the haplotype diversity and ice nucleation activity at −8 ◦C (ice+) of strains of P. syringae from water samples collected with drones in eight freshwater lakes in Austria. A phylogenetic analysis of citrate synthase (cts) sequences from 271 strains of bacteria isolated from a semi-selective medium for Pseudomonas revealed that 69% (188/271) belonged to the P. syringae complex and represented 32 haplotypes in phylogroups 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 15. Strains within the P. syringae complex were identified in all eight lakes, and seven lakes contained ice+ strains. Partial 16S rDNA sequences were analyzed from a total of 492 pure cultures of bacteria isolated from non-selective medium. Nearly half (43.5%; 214/492) were associated with the genus Pseudomonas. Five of the lakes (ALT, GRU, GOS, GOL, and WOR) were all distinguished by high levels of Pseudomanas (p ≤ 0.001). HIN, the highest elevation lake, had the highest percentage of ice+ strains. Our work highlights the potential for uncovering new haplotypes of P. syringae in aquatic habitats, and the use of robotic technologies to sample and characterize microbial life in remote settings.
  • Life Cycle of the Root-knot Nematodes with Narration
    Eisenback, Jonathan D. (2023-10-12)
    Life Cycle of the Root-knot Nematodes with Narration
  • Life Cycle of the root-knot nematode (3rd printing)
    Eisenback, Jonathan D. (Society of Nematologists Education Committee, 2023-06-30)
    Educational poster.
  • Cellular insights of beech leaf disease reveal abnormal ectopic cell division of symptomatic interveinal leaf areas
    Vieira, Paulo; Kantor, Mihail R.; Jansen, Andrew; Handoo, Zafar A.; Eisenback, Jonathan D. (Public Library of Science, 2023-10-05)
    The beech leaf disease nematode, Litylenchus crenatae subsp. mccannii, is recognized as a newly emergent nematode species that causes beech leaf disease (BLD) in beech trees (Fagus spp.) in North America. Changes of leaf morphology before emergence from the bud induced by BLD can provoke dramatic effects on the leaf architecture and consequently to tree performance and development. The initial symptoms of BLD appear as dark green, interveinal banding patterns of the leaf. Despite the fast progression of this disease, the cellular mechanisms leading to the formation of such aberrant leaf phenotype remains totally unknown. To understand the cellular basis of BLD, we employed several types of microscopy to provide an exhaustive characterization of nematode-infected buds and leaves. Histological sections revealed a dramatic cell change composition of these nematode-infected tissues. Diseased bud scale cells were typically hypertrophied and showed a high variability of size. Moreover, while altered cell division had no influence on leaf organogenesis, induction of cell proliferation on young leaf primordia led to a dramatic change in cell layer architecture. Hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the different leaf cell layers, coupled with an abnormal proliferation of chloroplasts especially in the mesophyll cell layers, resulted in the typical interveinal leaf banding. These discrepancies in leaf cell structure were depicted by an abnormal rate of cellular division of the leaf interveinal areas infected by the nematode, promoting significant increase of cell size and leaf thickness. The formation of symptomatic BLD leaves is therefore orchestrated by distinct cellular processes, to enhance the value of these feeding sites and to improve their nutrition status for the nematode. Our findings thus uncover relevant cellular events and provide a structural framework to understand this important disease.
  • ARGem: a new metagenomics pipeline for antibiotic resistance genes: metadata, analysis, and visualization
    Liang, Xiao; Zhang, Jingyi; Kim, Yoonjin; Ho, Josh; Liu, Kevin; Keenum, Ishi M.; Gupta, Suraj; Davis, Benjamin; Hepp, Shannon L.; Zhang, Liqing; Xia, Kang; Knowlton, Katharine F.; Liao, Jingqiu; Vikesland, Peter J.; Pruden, Amy; Heath, Lenwood S. (Frontiers, 2023-09-15)
    Antibiotic resistance is of crucial interest to both human and animal medicine. It has been recognized that increased environmental monitoring of antibiotic resistance is needed. Metagenomic DNA sequencing is becoming an attractive method to profile antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), including a special focus on pathogens. A number of computational pipelines are available and under development to support environmental ARG monitoring; the pipeline we present here is promising for general adoption for the purpose of harmonized global monitoring. Specifically, ARGem is a user-friendly pipeline that provides full-service analysis, from the initial DNA short reads to the final visualization of results. The capture of extensive metadata is also facilitated to support comparability across projects and broader monitoring goals. The ARGem pipeline offers efficient analysis of a modest number of samples along with affordable computational components, though the throughput could be increased through cloud resources, based on the user’s configuration. The pipeline components were carefully assessed and selected to satisfy tradeoffs, balancing efficiency and flexibility. It was essential to provide a step to perform short read assembly in a reasonable time frame to ensure accurate annotation of identified ARGs. Comprehensive ARG and mobile genetic element databases are included in ARGem for annotation support. ARGem further includes an expandable set of analysis tools that include statistical and network analysis and supports various useful visualization techniques, including Cytoscape visualization of co-occurrence and correlation networks. The performance and flexibility of the ARGem pipeline is demonstrated with analysis of aquatic metagenomes. The pipeline is freely available at
  • Sustainable Production of Tomato Using Fish Effluents Improved Plant Growth, Yield Components, and Yield in Northern Senegal
    Diatta, Andre A.; Manga, Anicet G. B.; Bassène, César; Mbow, Cheikh; Battaglia, Martin; Sambou, Mariama; Babur, Emre; Uslu, Ömer Süha (MDPI, 2023-10-26)
    Aquaculture and agriculture integration is essential for maximizing water and land productivity in arid and semi-arid regions. Thus, the increase in global water scarcity and the dual use of water for crop and fish production has the potential to optimize water use, dispose of aquaculture wastes, provide additional nutrients to crops, and reduce inorganic fertilizer usage, thus maximizing farm productivity. This greenhouse study was conducted to determine the effects of fish effluents on the growth, yield parameters, and yield of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.). The experiment was carried out in a randomized complete block design with six replications. The 13 treatments consisted of three irrigation water types (river water—control, Nile tilapiaOreochromis niloticus, African sharptooth catfish—Clarias gariepinus), four fertilizers (chicken manure, cow manure, sheep manure; recommended rate of NPK—280 kg ha−1 of 10-10-20), and six mixed treatments with fish effluent and 50% of the applied rate of manure alone. Results showed that irrigation with C. gariepinus effluent increased the stem diameter by 21%, the number of flowers by 88%, the fruit number by 50%, the fruit diameter by 24%, the mean fruit weight by 34%, and total fruit weight of tomato by 96% compared to NPK treatments. These effects were more evident when C. gariepinus was mixed with poultry, cow, and sheep manures, which resulted in significantly greater values than recommended rates of NPK. The higher productivity observed from the combined use of C. gariepinus and manure treatments (133% increase, on average) compared to NPK treatments was related to the continuous supply of nutrients and the increase of yield parameters. Therefore, the combined use of C. gariepinus effluent and manure can be a viable alternative for smallholder farmers, for whom inorganic fertilizers are often neither affordable nor available.
  • Estimation of Bale Grazing and Sacrificed Pasture Biomass through the Integration of Sentinel Satellite Images and Machine Learning Techniques
    Vahidi, Milad; Shafian, Sanaz; Thomas, Summer; Maguire, Rory (MDPI, 2023-10-18)
    Quantifying the forage biomass in pastoral systems can be used for enhancing farmers’ decision-making in precision management and optimizing livestock feeding systems. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of integrating Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with machine learning techniques to estimate the aboveground biomass and forage quality of bale grazing and sacrificed grassland areas in Virginia. The workflow comprised two steps, each addressing specific objectives. Firstly, we analyzed the temporal variation in spectral and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) variables derived from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 time series images. Subsequently, we evaluated the contribution of these variables with the estimation of grassland biomass using three machine learning algorithms, as follows: support vector regression (SVR), random forest (RF), and artificial neural network (ANN). The quantitative assessment of the models demonstrates that the ANN algorithm outperforms the other approaches when estimating pasture biomass. The developed ANN model achieved an R2 of 0.83 and RMSE of 6.68 kg/100 sq. meter. The evaluation of feature importance revealed that VV and VH polarizations play a significant role in the model, indicating the SAR sensor’s ability to perceive changes in plant structure during the growth period. Additionally, the blue, green, and NIR bands were identified as the most influential spectral variables in the model, underscoring the alterations in the spectrum of the pasture over time.
  • Measuring Tree Diameter with Photogrammetry Using Mobile Phone Cameras
    Ahamed, Aakash; Foye, John; Poudel, Sanjok; Trieschman, Erich; Fike, John (MDPI, 2023-10-10)
    Tree inventories are a cornerstone of forest science and management. Inventories are essential for quantifying forest growth rates, determining biomass and carbon stock variation, assessing species diversity, and evaluating the impacts of both forest management and climate change. Recent advances in digital sensing technologies on mobile phones have the potential to improve traditional forest inventories through increased efficiency in measurement and transcription and potentially through increasing participation in data collection by non-experts. However, the degree to which digital sensing tools (e.g., camera-enabled smartphone applications) can accurately determine the tree parameters measured during forest inventories remains unclear. In this study, we assess the ability of a smartphone application to perform a user-assisted tree inventory and compare digital estimates of tree diameter to measurements made using traditional forestry field sampling approaches. The results suggest that digital sensing tools on mobile phones can accurately measure tree diameter (R2 = 0.95; RMSE = 2.71 cm compared to manual measurements) while saving time during both the data-collection stage and data-entry stage of field sampling. Importantly, we compare measurements of the same tree across users of the phone application in order to determine the per-user, per-tree, and per-species uncertainty associated with each form of measurement. Strong agreement between manual and digital measurements suggests that digital sensing technologies have the potential to facilitate the efficient collection of high-quality and auditable data collected by non-experts but with some important limitations compared to traditional tree measurement approaches. Most people in the world own a smartphone. Enabling accurate tree inventory data collection through mobile phones at scale can improve our understanding of tree growth and biomass accumulation and the key factors (e.g., climate change or management practices) that affect these processes, ultimately advancing forest science and management.
  • Impact of Land Use/Cover Changes on Soil Erosion by Wind and Water from 2000 to 2018 in the Qaidam Basin
    Cao, Xue; Cheng, Yuzhuo; Jiao, Juying; Jian, Jinshi; Bai, Leichao; Li, Jianjun; Ma, Xiaowu (MDPI, 2023-09-30)
    Assessing the impact of land use and land cover change (LUCC) on soil erosion by wind and water is crucial for improving regional ecosystem services and sustainable development. In this study, the Revised Wind Erosion Equation (RWEQ) and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) were used to reveal changes in the extent of soil erosion by wind and water in the Qaidam Basin from 2000 to 2018 and the impact of LUCC on them. From 2000 to 2018, with global climate change, the areas and intensities of soil erosion by wind decreased, whereas those of soil erosion by water increased. With increased human activities, approximately 12.96% of the total area underwent conversion of the type of use: the areas of cropland, woodland, grassland, and construction land increased, whereas the areas of shrubbery, desert, and other unused land decreased. Land use/cover changes are positive to the soil erosion of water but negative to the soil erosion of wind. Among them, the changes in vegetation coverage of other unused land and grassland contributed to 83.19% of the total reduction in soil erosion by water. Converting other unused land to grassland reduced the total reductions in soil erosion by wind by 94.69%. These results indicate that the increase in vegetative cover and area of grasslands in the Qaidam Basin had a positive impact on the reduction in soil erosion. It is recommended that the arrangement of grasses, shrubs, and trees be optimized to prevent compound erosion by wind and water for protecting regional ecological environments.
  • In the wind: Invasive species travel along predictable atmospheric pathways
    Pretorius, Ilze; Schou, Wayne C.; Richardson, Brian; Ross, Shane D.; Withers, Toni M.; Schmale, David G. III; Strand, Tara M. (Wiley, 2023-04)
    Invasive species such as insects, pathogens, and weeds reaching new environments by traveling with the wind, represent unquantified and difficult-to-manage biosecurity threats to human, animal, and plant health in managed and natural ecosystems. Despite the importance of these invasion events, their complexity is reflected by the lack of tools to predict them. Here, we provide the first known evidence showing that the long-distance aerial dispersal of invasive insects and wildfire smoke, a potential carrier of invasive species, is driven by atmospheric pathways known as Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS). An aerobiological modeling system combining LCS modeling with species biology and atmospheric survival has the potential to transform the understanding and prediction of atmospheric invasions. The proposed modeling system run in forecast or hindcast modes can inform high-risk invasion events and invasion source locations, making it possible to locate them early, improving the chances of eradication success.
  • Pangenomic analysis identifies structural variation associated with heat tolerance in pearl millet
    Yan, Haidong; Sun, Min; Zhang, Zhongren; Jin, Yarong; Zhang, Ailing; Lin, Chuang; Wu, Bingchao; He, Min; Xu, Bin; Wang, Jing; Qin, Peng; Mendieta, John Pablo; Nie, Gang; Wang, Jianping; Jones, Chris S. S.; Feng, Guangyan; Srivastava, Rakesh K. K.; Zhang, Xinquan; Bombarely, Aureliano; Luo, Dan; Jin, Long; Peng, Yuanying; Wang, Xiaoshan; Ji, Yang; Tian, Shilin; Huang, Linkai (Nature Portfolio, 2023-03)
    Pearl millet is an important cereal crop worldwide and shows superior heat tolerance. Here, we developed a graph-based pan-genome by assembling ten chromosomal genomes with one existing assembly adapted to different climates worldwide and captured 424,085 genomic structural variations (SVs). Comparative genomics and transcriptomics analyses revealed the expansion of the RWP-RK transcription factor family and the involvement of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-related genes in heat tolerance. The overexpression of one RWP-RK gene led to enhanced plant heat tolerance and transactivated ER-related genes quickly, supporting the important roles of RWP-RK transcription factors and ER system in heat tolerance. Furthermore, we found that some SVs affected the gene expression associated with heat tolerance and SVs surrounding ER-related genes shaped adaptation to heat tolerance during domestication in the population. Our study provides a comprehensive genomic resource revealing insights into heat tolerance and laying a foundation for generating more robust crops under the changing climate. A graph-based pan-genome constructed using de novo genome assemblies of ten pearl millet accessions adapted to different climates worldwide identifies structural variations and their contribution to heat tolerance in pearl millet.
  • Growth, yield, and yield stability of canola in the Northern Great Plains of the United States
    Arinaitwe, Unius; Clay, Sharon A.; Nleya, Thandiwe (Wiley, 2023-03)
    Canola (Brassica napus L.) may diversify wheat-based cropping systems in the Northern Great Plains. However, agronomic adaptability and stability of high-yielding genotypes have not been widely evaluated over the diverse environmental conditions of South Dakota (SD). A 2-year field experiment was conducted in two contrasting environments (Brookings-eastern SD and Pierre-Central SD) to evaluate genotypes (10 in 2019 and 12 in 2020) for days to 50% flower, lodging, pods plant(-1), seed yield, 1000-seed weight, and yield stability. Seed yield for all genotypes in Brookings averaged 1961 and 1740 kg ha(-1), in 2019 and 2020, respectively, whereas at Pierre, yields averaged 1470 and 858 kg ha(-1). Seed oil concentration was greater at Brookings (456 and 406 g kg(-1) in 2019 and 2020, respectively) than at Pierre (356 g kg(-1) in 2019). The additive main effects and multiplicative interaction model (AMMI) evaluated eight genotypes across locations and years for genotype x environment (GE) interactions and stability. Environment was the most dominant cause of variation among genotypes, explaining 67.7%, 41.4%, and 45.7%, of the variations in pods plant(-1), 1000-seed weight, and seed yield, respectively, whereas GE explained most of the remaining variation. A combination of AMMI-1 biplots and AMMI stability values found variability in genotypic response to environments for seed yield suggesting cultivar recommendations should be environment specific.
  • Physiological Comparison of Two Salt-Excluder Hybrid Grapevine Rootstocks under Salinity Reveals Different Adaptation Qualities
    Gajjar, Pranavkumar; Ismail, Ahmed; Islam, Tabibul; Darwish, Ahmed G.; Moniruzzaman, Md; Abuslima, Eman; Dawood, Ahmed S.; El-Saady, Abdelkareem M.; Tsolova, Violeta; El-Kereamy, Ashraf; Nick, Peter; Sherif, Sherif M.; Abazinge, Michael D.; El-Sharkawy, Islam (MDPI, 2023-09-13)
    Like other plant stresses, salinity is a central agricultural problem, mainly in arid or semi-arid regions. Therefore, salt-adapted plants have evolved several adaptation strategies to counteract salt-related events, such as photosynthesis inhibition, metabolic toxicity, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation. European grapes are usually grafted onto salt-tolerant rootstocks as a cultivation practice to alleviate salinity-dependent damage. In the current study, two grape rootstocks, 140 Ruggeri (RUG) and Millardet et de Grasset 420A (MGT), were utilized to evaluate the diversity of their salinity adaptation strategies. The results showed that RUG is able to maintain higher levels of the photosynthetic pigments (Chl-T, Chl-a, and Chl-b) under salt stress, and hence accumulates higher levels of total soluble sugars (TSS), monosaccharides, and disaccharides compared with the MGT rootstock. Moreover, it was revealed that the RUG rootstock maintains and/or increases the enzymatic activities of catalase, GPX, and SOD under salinity, giving it a more efficient ROS detoxification machinery under stress.
  • Brewer’s Spent Grain with Yeast Amendment Shows Potential for Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation of Weeds and Pythium irregulare
    Liu, Danyang; Samtani, Jayesh; Johnson, Charles; Zhang, Xuemei; Butler, David M.; Derr, Jeffrey (MDPI, 2023-08-08)
    Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is a promising alternative to chemical fumigation for controlling soilborne plant pathogens and weeds. This study investigated the impact of brewer’s spent grain (BSG), a locally available carbon source, on various weed species and the oomycete pathogen Pythium irregulare in ASD. Two greenhouse studies were conducted using BSG and yeast at full and reduced rates in a completely randomized design with four replicates and two runs per study. In both studies, ASD treatments significantly decreased the seed viability of all weed species and the Pythium irregulare inoculum, while promoting higher cumulative anaerobicity compared to the non-treated control. The addition of yeast had a notable effect when combined with BSG but not with rice bran. When used in reduced carbon rates, yeast supplementation enhanced the efficacy of BSG, providing comparable control to the full rate for most weed species, including redroot pigweed, white clover, and yellow nutsedge. Interestingly, no ASD treatment affected the soil temperature. Furthermore, BSG treatments caused higher concentrations of volatile fatty acids compared to ASD with rice bran and the non-treated control. This finding suggests that the inclusion of yeast in ASD shows potential for reducing the carbon input required for effective soil disinfestation.
  • Determining Genetic Markers and Seed Compositions Related to High Test Weight in Glycine max
    Shea, Zachary; Singer, William M.; Rosso, Luciana; Song, Qijian; Zhang, Bo (MDPI, 2023-08-19)
    Test weight, one of the primary indicators of soybean seed quality, is measured as the amount of soybean seeds in kilograms that can fit into one hectoliter. The price that growers receive for their soybean is dependent on test weight. Over the past 50 years, growers have observed a decreasing trend in test weight. Therefore, it is imperative to understand better the relationship between soybean test weight and other traits to enable breeders to select parental lines with high test weights in breeding programs to ensure the grower’s profitability. The objectives of the study were to identify genetic markers associated with high test weight in soybean and to determine the correlation between high test weight and five important seed composition traits (protein, oil, sucrose, raffinose, and stachyose content). Maturity group IV and V germplasms from the USDA soybean germplasm collection were grown in Blacksburg and Warsaw in Virginia from 2019 to 2021 and were measured for all of the above traits. Results show that test weight values ranged from 62–77 kg/hL over the three years. Multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with high test weight were found on chromosome (Chr.) 15 along with a couple on chromosome 14, and 11 candidate genes were found near these SNPs. Test weight was found to be significantly negatively correlated with oil content, inconsistently correlated with protein content in all environments, and negatively correlated but not significantly with all three sugars except for raffinose in Blacksburg 2019. We concluded that the genes that underlie test weight might be on chromosome 15, and the validated associated SNPs might be used to assist breeding selection of test weight. Breeders should pay special attention to test weight while selecting for high oil content in soybean due to their negative correlation.
  • The impact of nitrogen treatment and short-term weather forecast data in irrigation scheduling of corn and cotton on water and nutrient use efficiency in humid climates
    Sangha, Laljeet; Shortridge, Julie; Frame, William (Elsevier, 2023-06)
    Irrigation adoption is increasing in humid regions to offset short-term dry periods, especially at the peak of the growing season. Low soil moisture at the peak growth stage impacts yield and limits the plant's capacity to uptake nitrogen, resulting in low nutrient use efficiency (NUE). However, heavy rainfall on fields with supple-mental irrigation may result in waterlogging and surface runoff, leading to nutrient leaching and runoff. This ultimately can lead to lower NUE, poor water use efficiency (WUE), reduced yields, and water quality impacts. This makes irrigation management challenging in humid regions, as irrigators must avoid both limited and excess water conditions. This field study aimed to develop and test an irrigation management methodology using real-time soil water availability, crop physiological status, water needs, and short-term weather forecasts information from National Weather Service. A rule-based approach determined by soil moisture depletion and short-term weather forecasts was used to trigger irrigation to avoid both stress and excess water conditions. This method was tested in two years of field trials in Suffolk, Virginia to quantify its impacts on yield, NUE, WUE, and financial returns in corn and cotton under four nitrogen application treatments. The relative impact of irrigation and nitrogen treatment was quantified using mixed effects models. The yield, NUE and WUE were impacted by both precipitation and irrigation patterns. Significantly different yields were observed under Nrates treatments for both corn and cotton. The trends of economic returns were similar to yield and were significantly different between recent and historic prices. This study also discusses the impacts of reliability and practical challenges of using Weather Informed irrigation in a field study.
  • Effect of temperature and heat units on zoysiagrass response to herbicides during post-dormancy transition
    Craft, Jordan M.; Godara, Navdeep; Brewer, John R.; Askew, Shawn D. (Cambridge University Press, 2023-04)
    In the transition zone, turfgrass managers generally utilize the dormancy period of warm-season turfgrass to apply herbicides for managing winter annual weeds. Although this weed control strategy is common in bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], it has been less adopted in zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) due to variable turfgrass injury during post-dormancy transition. Previous research reported that air temperature could affect weed control and crop safety from herbicides. Growth-chamber studies were conducted to evaluate zoysiagrass response to glyphosate and glufosinate as influenced by three different temperature regimes during and after treatment. A field research study was conducted at four site-years to assess the influence of variable heat-unit accumulation on zoysiagrass response to seven herbicides. In the growth-chamber study, glufosinate injured zoysiagrass more than glyphosate and reduced time to reach 50% green cover reduction, regardless of the rate, when incubated for 7 d under different temperature levels. When green zoysiagrass sprigs were incubated for 7 d at 10 C, the rate of green cover reduction was slowed for both herbicides; however, green cover was rapidly reduced under 27 C. After treated zoysiagrass plugs having 5% green cover were incubated at 10 C for 14 d, glyphosate-treated plugs reached 50% green cover in 22 d, similar to nontreated plugs but less than the 70 d required for glufosinate-treated plugs. Zoysiagrass response to glyphosate was temperature dependent, but glufosinate injured zoysiagrass unacceptably regardless of temperature regime. Diquat, flumioxazin, glufosinate, and metsulfuron + rimsulfuron injured zoysiagrass at 200 or 300 growing-degree days at base 5 C (GDD(5C)) application timings, but foramsulfuron and oxadiazon did not injure zoysiagrass regardless of GDD(5C). The relationship of leaf density to green turf cover is dependent on zoysiagrass mowing height, and both metrics are reduced by injurious herbicides. Research indicates that glufosinate injures zoysiagrass more than glyphosate, and the speed and magnitude of herbicide injury generally increase with temperature.