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Winthrop B. Phippen and James E. Simon

A plant regeneration protocol was successfully developed for basil (O. basilicum L.). Explants from 1-month-old seedlings yielded the highest frequency of regeneration of shoots (37%) with an average number of 3.6 shoots per explant. Calli and shoot induction were initiated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with thidiazuron (TDZ) (4 mg/L) for ≈30 days. Shoot induction and development was achieved by refreshing the induction medium once after 14 days. The most morphogenetically responsive explants were basal leaf explants from the first fully expanded true leafs of greenhouse-grown basil seedlings. Developing shoots were then rooted on MS media in the dark without TDZ. Within 20 days, rooted plantlets were transferred and acclimatized under greenhouse conditions where they developed normal morphological characteristics. This is the first report of a successful in vitro regeneration system for basil through primary callus. The establishment of a reliable regeneration procedure is critical when developing a transformation protocol for enhancing the production of basil for insect and disease resistance and improved essential oil constituents.

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Anna Whipkey, James E. Simon, and Jules Janick

NewCROP ( is a crop resource online program that serves Indiana, the United States, and the world. This crop information system provides useful resources to encourage and assist new rural-based industries and to enhance agricultural sustainability and competitiveness. The NewCROP site currently averages 150,000 hits per month. Indiana CropMAP is the first module in a proposed nationwide, site-specific, retrievable system that will serve the crop information needs of individual growers, marketers, processors, government agencies, cooperative extension personnel, and industry. For each county in Indiana, users can access the most recent US agriculture statistics, county extension offices, lists of crops that are currently grown, recommended alternate crops, and experimental crops. Detailed crop information, much of it specific to Indiana, can be accessed directly or through a crop search. The New Crop Compendium CD-ROM was produced by the Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The New Crop Compendium CD-ROM, a searchable resource of new crop information, was edited by Jules Janick and Anna Whipkey and contains the entire text and figures from the proceedings of the three National New Crop Symposia: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.). 1990. Advances in New Crops. Timber Press, Portland, Ore.; J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.). 1993. New Crops. Wiley, New York; and J. Janick (ed.). 1996. Progress in New Crops. ASHS Press, Alexandria, Va. The New Crop Compendium provides a valuable source of information on new, specialty, neglected, and underutilized crops for scientists, growers, marketers, processors, and extension personnel. It employs an intuitive, easy to use interface. Purchase information can be found at the following url:

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Denys J. Charles and James E. Simon

Essential oils were extracted from leaves, flowers, and stems of Ocimum basilicurn, O. kilimandscharicum, and O. micranthum by solvent extraction, hydrodistillation, and steam distillation for essential oil content and the oil analyzed by GC and GC/MS for composition. While the yield of essential oil was consistently higher from steam distillation than hydrodistillation, a similar number of compounds was recovered from both hydrodistillation and steam distillation. Though the relative concentration of the major constituents was similar by both methods, the absolute amounts were higher with steam distillation. Essential oil content and composition varied by plant species and plant part. Essential oil content was highest in flowers for O. basilicum and in leaves for O. micranthum. No significant differences were observed in essential oil yield and relative concentration of major constituents using fresh or dry samples and using samples from 75 g to 10 g of dry plant tissue. While minor differences between hydrodistillation and steam distillation were observed, both methods resulted in high yields and good recovery of essential oil constituents. Hydrodistillation is a more-rapid and simpler technique than steam and permits the extraction of essential oil where steam is not accessible.

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Thomas H. Boyle, Lyle E. Craker, and James E. Simon

Plants of rosemary [Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)] were grown in pots containing a soilless (1 sphagnum peat:1 perlite) or soil-based (1 sphagnum peat: 1 perlite:1 field soil) growing medium and fertilized with either 12N-5.2P-12.5K controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) at 9.0 g/pot; constant liquid fertilization (LF) with 20N4.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter; constant LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot; weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter; or weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot. Constant LF plus CRF generally reduced plant height and depressed shoot fresh weight relative to other fertilizer regimes. Essential oil content was highest in plants receiving weekly LF. Plants grown in the soil-based mix were shorter, shoot fresh and dry weight tended to be lower, and essential oil yield was higher when compared to plants grown in the soilless mix. Satisfactory growth was obtained in both media when rosemary plants were fertilized with 12N-5.2P-12.5K CRF at 9.0 g/pot or weekly LF with 20N<.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter.

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Alison R. Cutlan, John E. Erwin, and James E. Simon

Parthenolide, a biologically active sesquiterpene lactone found in feverfew [Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz. Bip.], has been indirectly linked to the antimigraine action of feverfew preparations. Commercial products of feverfew leaves vary widely in parthenolide content (0-1.0%/g dwt). No comprehensive studies have quantified parthenolide variation among feverfew populations or cultivars, and whether morphological traits are correlated with this natural product. In this study, 30 feverfew accessions were examined for parthenolide content, morphological traits, and seed origin. Statistically significant differences in parthenolide levels were found among the populations studied. Parthenolide content ranged from (0.012% ± 0.017 to 2.0% ± 0.97 /g dwt) as determined by HPLC-UV-MS. Higher parthenolide levels tended to be in wild material (0.41% ± 0.27) as opposed to cultivated material (0.19% ± 0.09). Parthenolide levels correlated with flower morphology: disc flower (0.49% = B1 0.36), semi-double (0.38% ± 0.13), double (0.29% ± 0.16), and pompon-like flower (0.22 ± 0.14). Leaf color also appeared to be indicative of parthenolide levels, with the light-green/golden leafed accessions showing significantly higher parthenolide content than darker-leafed varieties, but whether this was due to inadvertent original selection of a high parthenolide-containing golden leaf selection is not yet known. This study does show that further selection for improved horticultural attributes and natural product content is promising to improve feverfew lines for the botanical/ medicinal plant industry.

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Amots Hetzroni, Denys J. Charles, and James E. Simon

A nondestructive electronic sensory system (electronic sniffer) that responds to volatile gases emitted by fruit during ripening was developed. It is based upon a single semi-conductor gas sensor placed within a rigid plastic cup equipped with a gas inlet to flush the head between samples. This gas sensor reacts with the range of reductive gases such as the aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by the ripening melon fruit. The sensor cup is placed on the exterior of the fruit and the change in electrical conductivity is recorded. In 1994, we examined the electronic sniffer as a tool to nondestructively determine ripeness in `Superstar', `Mission', and `Makdimon' melons. Fruits were manually classified into five ripeness stages based on external appearance and slip stage. Melons were first sampled nondestructively for color, weight, size, and slip stage, and then subjected to the electronic sniffer. Then, fruit volatiles, flesh firmness, and total soluble solids were measured. The electronic sniffer was able to accurately classify melons into three ripeness classes: unripe, half-ripe, and ripe for `Superstar' and `Mission'. The sniffer was only able to separate ripe from over-ripe in `Makdimon', which is known to become over-ripe and deteriorate rapidly. Using the sniffer as a tool to nondestructively measure ripeness and its potential application in fruit quality will be discussed.

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Meny Benady, Amots Hetzroni, James E. Simon, and Bruce Bordelon

We have developed an electronic sensor (“sniffer”) that measures fruit ripeness rapidly and nondestructively by measuring the aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by ripening fruit. In this study, we evaluated the potential of using the fruit ripeness sniffer in the quality sorting of blueberries. Blueberries were first visually classified into four distinct ripeness classes: unripe; half-ripe; ripe; and over-ripe and quantitatively measured for color, firmness, TSS, and sugar acid ratio. Ripeness classification accuracy with the sniffer matched or exceeded that of all other ripeness indices. The sniffer differentiated unripe, ripe and over-ripe berries within one second, but could not distinguish between the unripe and half-ripe class. Detection of l-2 damaged or 1-2 soft fruit spiked within a large container of 24-37 high quality ripe fruit was also achieved, but required a response time of 10 seconds. Electronic sensing of aromatic volatiles may be a useful new technique in the grading and sorting of blueberries.

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Jules Janick, James E. Simon, Anna Whipkey, and Ben Alkire

NewCROP (New Crops Resource On-line Program) is an Internet resource ( developed by the Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products to deliver instant topical information on the subject of fiber, energy, and specialty crops. NewCROP includes CropSEARCH (an index to food and feed crops of the world, including taxonomic information, uses, and economic importance), FactSHEETS (in-depth articles on selected crops), NewCROP Import–Export (importation permits, phytosanitation certificates, quarantine and inspection information), Organizations (listings of crop organizations, societies, and interest groups), FamineFOODS (includes about 1250 species that are consumed in times of food scarcity), and FarmMARKET (listing locations of United States farmers' markets). The web site also includes new crop bibliographies, directories of new crop researchers, announcements of pertinent up-coming symposia and crop conventions, the New Crop Center newsletters, and activities of the Indiana Center for New Crops. A search engine is provided for quick information retrieval from the system. An electronic bulletin board, NewCROP LISTSERV is maintained for posting queries and messages to subscribers. We are planning to incorporate material from three books (>1930 pages and 6000 index entries) derived from New Crops symposia and published as Advances in New Crops (1990), New Crops (1993), and Progress in New Crops (1996). The NewCROP digital information program is interlinked with FAO's EcoCROP system and the Australian New Crops Programme, as part of a developing world-wide crop information network.

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Ali O. Sari, Mario R. Morales, and James E. Simon

Low and erratic seed germination presents a major production problem in the medicinal plants that collectively are called echinacea or purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia and E. pallida). In this study, nine seed lots of each E. pallida and E. angustifolia from a wide variety of commercial sources and germplasm collections were collected and treated with a solution of 1.0 mm [144.5 mg·L-1 (ppm)] ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphoric acid) to determine whether ethephon would sufficiently improve seed germination to be used by industry to improve the quality of echinacea seed. Applicationof ethephon increased seed germination in both E. pallida and E. angustifolia seed lots regardless of seed sources. The increase in germination by ethephon in eight seed lots of E. pallida and four seed lots in E. angustifolia were statistically significant compared to the nontreated control seeds. The increases in germination were also significant across seed lots for both species. Average germination increases across all seed lots were 1271 and 29% for E. pallida and E. angustifolia, respectively. Average germination of ethephon treated-untreated control seed lots was 76% to 27% and 79% to 62% for E. pallida and E. angustifolia, respectively.

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Christian Cabral Velho, Denys J. Charles, and James E. Simon