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  • Author or Editor: James E. Simon x
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Molecular markers were used to assess genetic diversity in basil (Ocimum L. spp., Lamiaceae). Using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis, 11 primers generated 98 polymorphic bands, ranging from 300 to 2,000 base pairs, that discriminated among 37 accessions across nine Ocimum spp. Means of genetic similarities within Ocimum spp. showed that the domesticated species, O. minimum L. (0.887), O. basilicum L. (0.769), and O. ×citriodorum Vis. (0.711) had highest similarity indices within species, while the nondomesticated, O. americanum L. (0.580), O. gratissimum L. (0.408), and O. kilimandscharicum Guerke (0.559) showed the lowest similarity. RAPD results indicated that O. minimum should not be considered a distinct species but rather a variety of O. basilicum. Consistent clusters among all but one of the O. ×citriodorum spp., all containing citral as the major constituent, were identified using bootstrap analysis. RAPD analysis was useful in discriminating among Ocimum spp., although within species resolution will require a higher number of polymorphic bands.

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The purpose of this study was to predict Latinos', consumers from Mexico and Puerto Rico, willingness to buy ethnic produce recently introduced or new to market. Specifically, we analyzed and compared socioeconomic characteristics of 542 Mexican and Puerto Rican consumers and expressed value judgments on their willingness to buy ethnic produce that has been recently introduced or new to market. This study was based on a primary data set collected from interviewing 542 Latino consumers (Mexico and Puerto Rico origin). A bilingual questionnaire was prepared in Spanish and English for Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in 16 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia) and Washington, DC. Attributes that contributed toward willingness to buy new ethnic produce include respondent's expenditure on total produce and ethnic produce, perceptions such as the importance of store availability, language, willingness to buy locally grown, organic, genetically modified, and country of origin labeled produce items. This information will assist market intermediaries and farmers better understand Latino consumers' (Mexico and Puerto Rico group) perceptions and factors that drive willingness to buy ethnic produce that is recently introduced or new to market.

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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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NewCROP (New Crops Resource On-line Program) is an Internet resource (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop) 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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A study was initiated at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center to demonstrate the effect of transplant age and transplanting date on the scheduling of melon harvests. Muskmelon (Cucumis melo cv. Superstar) was seeded into #38 growing trays with Jiffy-mix media. Seeding dates were such that 14 and 21 day old seedlings were transplanted April 25, May 9, 17 and 24. The plants were grown on black plastic with trickle irrigation Marketable fruit were harvested starting on June 28 and continuing through August 12. Neither transplant age or date had a significant effect on the number of fruit harvested or on total yield. However, each transplant date showed a distinctive harvest peak beginning June 30 for the April 26 transplant then June 7, 14 and 21 for each successive transplant date.

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The rate of outcrossing in basil [eight accessions of Ocimum basilicum L. and one accession purported to be O. kilimandscharicum Guerke (`Juicy Fruit')] was estimated using a purple seedling marker in `Dark Opal' (O. basilicum). There were two patterns of outcrossing: `Picollo' and four sources of `Cinnamon' basil had outcrossing rates between 19.9% and 32.8%, while `Lemon', PI 368699, PI 174284, and a Purdue selection named `Juicy Fruit' had outcrossing rates between 1.6% and 3.4%.

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Echinacea pallida, one of the three medicinal Echinacea species native to North America, is generally wildcrafted, and low and uneven seed germination are obstacles to its widespread cultivation. Nonstratified E. pallida seeds were treated with 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 to increase seed germination. Treated seeds were directly germinated at 25 °C and 25/15 °C (14/10h) or stored at 5 and 10 °C for 4, 8, and 12 weeks before germination at the same temperatures. Seed germination across treatments was higher at 25 °C (19%) than at 25/15 °C (14%). Application of 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 significantly increased seed germination rate and total seed germination of nonstratified seeds of E. pallida and resulted in 44%, 50%, and 63% total seed germination, respectively, while untreated control seeds germinated at only 9%. The effect of GA3 as a germination stimulant increased with cold storage, with maximum germination (83%) occurring after seeds were treated with 4500 mg/L GA3 and an 8-week cold storage period at 10 °C. The effect of cold storage periods of 4, 8, and 12 weeks and cold storage temperatures of 5 and 10 °C on seed germination were generally similar. Seeds collected from the upper rows of the seed heads germinated significantly higher (10.6%) than those collected from the lowest seed rows (2.4%).

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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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Recent developments in electronic odor-sensing technology has opened the opportunity for non-destructive, rapid, and objective assessment of food quality. We have developed an electronic sensor (electronic sniffer) that measures aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by fruits and fruit products. The ability of our sniffer to detect contamination in fruit juice was tested using tomato juice as a model system. Tomato juice was extracted from cultivar Rutgers and divided into eight glass jars of 300 g juice each. The jars were divided into two treatments: the control jars contained tomato juice mixed with 0.15% sorbic acid to suppress microbial growth, and the experimental jars contained only tomato juice. All the jars were placed open, on a counter top in the laboratory for 8 days. The juice was tested daily with the electronic sniffer and for pH. The total volatiles in the headspace of the juice was extracted on alternating days via dynamic headspace method using charcoal traps, analyzed by gas chromatography, and confirmed by GC/mass spectometry. The results indicate that the sniffer is able to detect differences between the two treatments 4 days after the tomato juice was exposed to ambient atmosphere. The electronic sniffer output for the control juice showed a monotonous decline, while the output for the experimental juice exhibited a sharp incline after day four. This sensor output correlated well with the total volatiles.

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