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Yael Edan and James E. Simon

The spatial distribution patterns of five melon cultivars (Cucumis melo L. var. reticulatus) were evaluated by measuring XY coordinates of ripe fruit locations in the field. Fruit ripeness distribution over time was also evaluated for three cultivars by measuring the number of ripe fruit, fruit mass, and location over time. Spatial distribution curves for distances between fruit clusters and individual fruit from cluster centroids varied between clusters and were derived for each cultivar from the best fit curves based on chi-square analysis from the two-dimensional spatial fruit distribution. These equations can be used for predicting actual fruit locations in the field. Ripeness distribution patterns indicated that, while the exact duration of the effective harvesting period is cultivar-dependent, the ripeness trend for each of the cultivars was similar. Spatial distribution patterns vary among melon cultivars and must be recognized in the design of automated harvesting systems.

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Denys J. Charles and James E. Simon

The curry plant [Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don in Loudon ssp. italicum or H. angustifolium (Lam.) DC (Asteraceae)], a popular ornamental herb with a curry-like aroma, was chemically evaluated to identify the essential oil constituents responsible for its aroma. Leaves and flowers from greenhouse-grown plants were harvested at full bloom. Essential oils were extracted from the dried leaves via hydrodistillation and the chemical constituents analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and GC/mass spectrometry. The essential oil content was 0.67% (v/w). Sixteen compounds were identified in the oil and included: neryl acetate (51.4%), pinene (17.2%), eudesmol (6.9%), geranyl propionate (3.8%),β-eudesmol (1.8%), limonene (1.7%), and camphene (1.6%). While the aroma of the curry plant is similar to that of a mild curry powder, the volatile chemical profile of the curry plant does not resemble that reported for commercial curry mixtures.

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Anna Whipkey, James E. Simon, and Jules Janick

NewCROP (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/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: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/compendium/order.html.

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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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Mario R. Morales and James E. Simon

`African Beauty', a new ornamental camphor basil cultivar, was developed through three cycles of selfing and selection from USDA accession PI 500942, originally collected in Zambia, Africa. `African Beauty' was field-evaluated and compared with PI 500942 (the original population), PI 500954 (another accession from Zambia), a camphor cultivar from Companion Plants, and three other related lines in 1997 and 1998. Most commercial camphor basils are tall (50 to 60 cm), late-flowering, and unattractive. Our goal was to develop a new cultivar that had a short stature (≈40 cm), an early flowering, and an attractive appearance. The outcome was `African Beauty', which has the following characteristics: plant height: 30 to 35 cm, plant spread: 50 to 55 cm, leaf length: 6.3 to 6.7 cm, days to flower: 76 days, inflorescence length: 25 cm, essential oil yield: 3 mL/100 g dw. The essential oil of `African Beauty' is also highly aromatic, with 72% camphor, 12% camphene, and 9% limonene. The plant is a fast-growing, semicompact aromatic plant that produces small leaves and large quantities of long and slender inflorescences that, when fully developed, curve at the tip like the tail of a cat. Blooming usually lasts from 20 to 25 days, when the plant looks most beautiful. `African Beauty' is an attractive ornamental that would be excellent as a garden border plant, or as an indoor potted plant.

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Roberto F. Vieira and James E. Simon

To determine the mode of inheritance of citral, linalool, methylchavicol, and methylcinnamate in basil, controlled crosses were made between chemotypes rich in each of these constituents. Four stable Ocimum basilicum populations selected for high methylcinnamate (79%), methylchavicol (95%), linalool (82%), and citral (65%) respectively, served as parents. Crosses were made using chemotypes rich in terpenes (linalool × citral), in phenylpropanoids (methylchavicol × methylcinnamate), and a third that combines chemotypes from both biosynthetic pathways (linalool × methylchavicol). True hybrids were selfed in isolation and one hundred F2 plants were analyzed for their oil composition. The parents, the F1 hybrids and the F2 generation of all plants were evaluated in a field trial under identical environmental conditions. Plants were harvested at full flowering, and dried at 380 °C. Identification of essential oil constituents were confirmed by GC/MS. The F2 segregation data for each major oil constituent trait will be examined by c2 analysis tests. Preliminary results indicate that methylcinnamate segregates in a 3:1 ratio, and is a dominant major gene. In the two crosses using methylcinnamate chemotype as a female parent, the F2 population segregates in 80:22 and 65:28 methylcinnamate:non-methylcinnamate plant types, with P = 0.42 and 0.25 and c2=0.64 and 1.29, respectively. Analysis of the other crosses are being processed, evaluating qualitative and quantitatively the presence or absence of each constituent in their F2 population.

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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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Renee G. Murray and James E. Simon

Essential oil content of Ocimum basilicum, cv. sweet basil, increases with plant maturity. The increase in essential oil content may correspond to the formation of glandular trichomes during leaf expansion. Greenhouse grown plants were harvested every 2 weeks. Leaves were grouped according to size, examined with a stereo microscope, and trichome densities compared. Results indicate that trichome formation continues throughout leaf expansion. In young basil plants, leaves ranged in size from 2-30cm2 Highest density (416 trichomes/cm2) occurred in leaves 2–6c m2. Prior to open bloom, leaves ranged in size from 2-49cm2. Highest density occurred in leaves 18-24c m2. In flowering plants leaves ranged in size from 2-34cm2, yet there was NSD in trichome density in leaves of different sizes. Analysis of the entire leaf surface of plants at each harvest showed the greatest density of trichomes in plants at full bloom (280 trichomes/c m2). All leaves have visible glandular trichomes. These glandular trichomes are most likely formed both prior to and during leaf expansion.

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Ben H. Alkire and James E. Simon

A 500 liter (130 gallon) stainless steel steam distillation unit has been built to extract volatile essential oils from aromatic plants. A 1.5 m × 0.75 m dia. steam vessel (hydrostatically tested @ 125 psi) serves as the distillation tank. Low pressure or high pressure steam is supplied by a diesel fuel fired boiler of 10 horsepower. The steam vessel can hold peppermint from plots of 25 m2 and extract approximately 100 ml of essential oil per distillation. The size of the tub was designed to provide oil in sufficient quantity for industrial evacuation or for pesticide residue analysis. Following the distillation, the vessel can be disconnected from the cold-water condenser and rotated on swivels to a horizontal position, permitting easy removal and re-filling of plant material. The entire extraction unit (vessel, condenser, boiler and oil collector) is suitable for mounting upon a trader, making it transportable to commercial farms or research stations. The extraction of peppermint and spearmint oils using this new system will be presented.

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Mario R. Morales and James E. Simon