Integrative Plant Science Professional Masters Projects

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 49
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    Horticulture Advancements for Dwarf Plum (Prunus domestica L.) as a Potential Space Crop Candidate
    Shelton, Annie; Dardick, Chris; Mattson, Neil (2024)
    Previous research has identified FT Plums as a space crop candidate, but more research on practical horticultural management is required to increase their technical readiness level (TRL) for spaceflight suitability. Given the ongoing shift towards indoor farming and further advancements in space agriculture, it is imperative to develop Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) methodologies tailored to woody species to facilitate further progression in the field. Here, we advance the terrestrial and spaceflight TRL of FT Plums by investigating far-red (FR) supplementation on fruit production. The results of this study will provide advancements in FT Plums TRL and provide insights for indoor tree cultivation for terrestrial and spaceflight applications.
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    Enhancing Quality and Optimizing Protection: Cost Analysis of Grapevine Greenhouse Cultivation and Management
    Xie, Xingyu (2024)
    As the wine industry continues to evolve, various wine regions like New Zealand, China, Australia, and South Africa are seizing the opportunity to produce premium wines. However, some countries and areas are still facing issues such as cold stress or climate change with their grape growing. For example, temperature and humidity can limit the wine styles and grape varieties that can be made and grown in the Finger Lakes region, even though it is one of the biggest wine regions in the US. To overcome these challenges, a greenhouse that is specifically designed for grapevines may be a solution. It can help with temperature control, wind protection, and berry optimization, and even provide an opportunity for more countries, such as Russia, to make their region-wise stylistic wine in such a controlled environment. This experiment designed a one-acre glass greenhouse with a Smart-Dyson trellis system. The overall estimated cost of establishment is $827640, and the utility and labor costs for one year are $33805. With an estimated 5 tons of yield, the profit for one year if made into wine is $192995. By calculation, a minimum of 4.5 years if starting with mature vines is needed to get positive net income. For a commercial greenhouse in a cooler region, high tunnels might be a better choice, while in cold regions or simply for research and protection purposes, a glass greenhouse is recommended for its better control and full protection.
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    FERONIA, balance of the good and bad: Analysis and Review
    Lyu, Zhuoran (2024)
    FERONIA (FER) was identified more than twenty years ago as a key regulator of female fertility in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). Along with 16 other closely related proteins, FER forms a distinct clade within the Arabidopsis superfamily of receptor-like kinases, having an extracellular domain for signal perception and a cytoplasmic domain that phosphorylates target molecules and induces cellular responses to incoming signals. In particular, FER is unique due to its multiple missions in controlling plant growth, immunity, and reproduction. There have been many recent (As of April 2024) advances in the FER regulation pathways, unveiling its positive and negative roles in immunity. This review aims to discuss how FER functions as a balance regulating key components in the FER pathway-peptides, proteins, reactive oxygen species, and hormones-and present a brief outlook for future research.
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    Studies of the Impact of Drought Stress on Pollen Shedding and Silk Development in Maize (Zea Mays L.) to Assist Selection of Stress Tolerance Hybrids Based on Phenotypic Traits
    Chen, Jialiang (2024)
    Maize (Zea mays L.) is the most valuable commodity crop in the United States and is second to rice in the world. With the upcoming challenges of extreme climates due to global warming, further study of abiotic stresses, including drought stress, are necessary to develop improved approaches for the selection of maize hybrids for stress tolerance. Understanding the performance under drought stress of the important growth stages, pollinating and silking, is critical for improving reproductive success of pollination and yield potential and in breeding hybrids with stress tolerance. This study investigated the impact of water stress on pollen shedding patterns, pollen quantity, pollen viability, and silk+ear growth across eight different hybrids. Assessment of pollen viability with tetrazolium compounds indicated unstable reactions and was inconsistent. However, the analysis of pollen quantity and silk growth provided direction and insights for breeding selection. By analyzing with two-way ANOVA and Emmeans functions through R studio on the pollen weight from the pollen shedding period, results showed that there was a significant difference of pollen weight among hybrids (F(7df)=2.605, p=0.0534) and treatments (F(1df)=6.165, p=0.0245). Drought significantly increased pollen weight in hybrids 11, 2, and 20, and hybrid 18 had high pollen weight in both control and stress conditions. In addition, drought reduced ear and silk growth and various silk and ear growth rates across hybrids. Among hybrids, 11, 13, 15, and 16 had greater silk+ear growth rate under drought stress. These observations provide insight regarding phenotypic traits in maize for drought stress tolerance breeding selection.
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    Hemp Crop Profile
    Dobbs, Matthew; Grab, Heather; Zuefle, Marion (2024)
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    Non-invasive detection of nitrogen deficiency in Cannabis sativa using Raman spectroscopy
    Antoszewski, Graham (2023)
    Proper crop management requires rapid detection methods of abiotic and biotic stresses to ensure plant health and final product yield. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is an emerging economically and environmentally sustainable crop, capable of yielding extensive biomass with low input. Nitrogen deficiency in hemp significantly reduces plant growth, affecting photosynthetic capacity and leading to a precipitous drop in overall biomass. A real-time, non- destructive detection method, such as Raman spectroscopy, is therefore critical to identify nitrogen deficiency in living hemp plant tissue for fast crop remediation. A two-part hydroponic experiment was conducted to investigate portable Raman spectroscopy as a viable hemp nitrogen deficiency detection method, and to compare the technique’s predictive ability against a hand- held SPAD chlorophyll meter. Raman scans show characteristic spectral markers indicating nitrogen deficiency corresponding to vibrational modes of carotenoids, an essential pigment for photosynthesis. Raman spectra and SPAD were used to train separate nitrogen deficiency discrimination models. Findings show a Raman-based model can consistently predict nitrogen within 4 days of deficiency treatment onset across trials, while SPAD could only differentiate nitrogen deficiency in the second trial when deficiency was more visible. Raman spectroscopy is capable of identifying nitrogen deficiency prior to visible symptoms in hemp. Implications of the research go beyond nitrogen deficiency – it bolsters the repertoire of plant stresses in which Raman spectroscopy provides non-invasive chemical information to hemp cultivators.
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    Automatic Segmentation of Crops in UAV Images
    Zheng, Yuanyuan (2023)
    Remote sensing imagery has been increasingly utilized in agricultural production due to its convenience and cost-effectiveness. However, traditional methods for crop segmentation require significant time and manual effort. Therefore, this research proposed the use of threshold segmentation and deep learning techniques to achieve automatic crop segmentation in UAV images and evaluated their performance. Specifically, this research utilized image threshold segmentation, a custom UNet network, Deeplabv3+ and segment anything model(SAM) with multiple prompts. The results showed that the Intersection over Union (IoU) for threshold segmentation was 0.58. The IoU for UNet was 0.70, and for DeepLabV3+ it was 0.76. The IoU achieved by SAM with points prompt was 0.89, demonstrating superior crop segmentation performance. However, the masks generated using SAM automatic mask generation and a bounding box with a point prompt couldn’t segment crops effectively.
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    Apply Immuno-FISH in Zea Maize
    Wen, Xin (2023)
    The process of meiosis, a fundamental mechanism in plant sexual reproduction, orchestrates the creation of germ cells with genetically diverse homologous chromosomes, primarily through the intricate event of crossing-over (CO). CO plays a pivotal role in promoting genetic variation by enabling the exchange of genetic material among chromosomes. Despite DNA Double Strand Breaks (DSBs) initiating chromosome recombination, not all DSB events culminate in COs. This study seeks to revolutionize the CO process in plants to expedite plant breeding and produce novel genotypes harboring traits unattainable through traditional methods. In pursuit of this goal, transgenic Zea mays lines have been developed, introducing a bespoke recombinant protein, Cas9:SPO11. This engineered protein is adept at guiding DSBs to precise chromosome regions during meiosis, imparting a degree of control over the recombination landscape. Our hypothesis posits that these targeted regions, under the influence of Cas9:SPO11, experience heightened recombination rates compared to their wild-type counterparts. The innovation lies in the potential to channel recombination events towards desired genomic loci, thereby creating new avenues for directed trait incorporation. The present study is poised to investigate the anticipated increase in CO events at the designated target loci in the transgenic lines when contrasted with the natural recombination pattern of wild-type maize. This investigation hinges on a multimodal approach, combining the power of Immuno-Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (Immuno-FISH) with protein immunolabeling. These techniques afford visualization of chromosome dynamics, elucidating the spatial and temporal aspects of the recombination process. The research aligns with a significant body of literature emphasizing the indispensability of CO in generating genetic diversity and facilitating adaptive evolution. Moreover, the role of DSBs as initiators of recombination events has been underscored by studies in various organisms, including model plant species. The exploration of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in the context of enhancing recombination dynamics is an emerging avenue, with diverse applications ranging from basic research to agricultural innovation. As the scope of plant breeding broadens to address contemporary challenges, such as climate resilience and nutritional enhancement, the ability to strategically modulate recombination events offers an enticing proposition. The outcomes of this study could revolutionize crop improvement strategies, allowing for the accelerated development of plant varieties with desirable traits. Ultimately, this research underscores the potential of leveraging genetic recombination mechanisms to usher in a new era of precision agriculture.
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    A Non-invasive Guide to Approximating the Ages of Historical Trees in the Northeastern Landscape
    Zier, Jenna (2023)
    Understanding the ages of trees and their historical significance has the potential to encourage the public to think critically about the resiliency of plants in the natural world. A common method for approximating the ages of trees used in public gardens is dendrochronology coring. The main issue with this technique is that it requires that the tree be cored to get this data, opening it up to diseases or pests. This process also requires professional equipment that is not accessible to the general public. As people begin to learn how to determine the age of a tree without cutting into it, they may become less likely to remove it from their home lawns. What if we could all learn how to approximate the ages of the trees around us in a simple, practical way? Children and adults could learn the same method and alter the way they think about historical trees. Trees can have their ages approximated using several different best practices including the examination of certain characteristics distinctive to old trees, as well as using a formula by the International Society of Arboriculture. By utilizing methodologies from highly respected public gardens, as well as best practices from other professionals in the field, a comprehensive public guide to aging significant trees when historical records are not present was created to promote the appreciation for legacy trees. We should all strive to gain a better perspective on the magnitude of our natural environment, but in a simple, digestible way. This guide will be shared with public gardens to try to impact the appreciation of historical trees by the public.