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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Characterization, Etiology, and Disease Management for Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Improvement of grafted watermelon transplant survival as a result of size and starch increases over time caused by rootstock fatty alcohol treatment Part II

item Daley, S -
item Wechter, William
item Hassell, Richard -

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Treatment of cucurbit rootstock material with fatty alcohol resulted in an increased cotyledon and hypocotyl size. In addition, total soluble sugars and starch concentrations both significantly increased after application of the fatty alcohol. The result of using these treated rootstocks in grafted plants was a significant increase in grafting success, as well as, allowance for the removal of cotyledons prior to grafting. The removal of the cotyledons prior to grafting resulted in a significant decrease in rootstock regrowth, a major limiting factor in reducing workload in production grafting. This method will be of great interest to producers and transplant suppliers working to supply economical grafted plants to the cucurbit industry.

Technical Abstract: Fatty alcohol treatments can be used to eliminate the meristem of cucurbit (Family Cucurbitaceae) rootstocks which prevents regrowth when grafting, but the effects of the treatment on the rootstock have not been documented. Two rootstock types, ‘Emphasis’ bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) and ‘Carnivor’ interspecific hybrid squash (Cucurbita maxima × C. moschata) commonly used in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) grafting significantly increased in cotyledon and hypocotyl size over 21 d after treatment with a 6.25% fatty alcohol emulsion. There was a significant increase in total soluble sugar (glucose, sucrose, and fructose) content for each rootstock hypocotyl and cotyledon. Starch concentrations of hypocotyls and cotyledons also increased significantly in both rootstocks. This increase in stored energy could greatly increase the success rate of the grafting process. Increased rootstock energy reserves could overcome the need for keeping the rootstock cotyledon intact when grafting.

Last Modified: 9/4/2015
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