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  • Author or Editor: Eric Burkhart x
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Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a medicinal forest herb native to Appalachia. Its roots and rhizomes are used as an antimicrobial and for the treatment of intestinal ailments. Three alkaloids–berberine, hydrastine, and canadine–are recognized as the major bioactive constituents in goldenseal. One important postharvest processing step for goldenseal is drying; however, it is not known how drying temperature influences the concentrations of these alkaloids. In this study, pre-emergent (dormant) goldenseal samples were freeze-dried or air-dried at six different temperatures (26.7 to 54.4 °C) to determine the relationship between drying temperature and alkaloid content in the rhizome and roots. High performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that berberine and hydrastine levels were unaffected by drying temperature, while canadine levels decreased as temperature increased (0.55% w/w on average when samples were freeze-dried, down to 0.27% w/w on average when dried at 54.4 °C). While canadine is the least abundant alkaloid of the three, it is known to have key antibacterial properties. Developing a more standardized drying protocol for goldenseal could lead to a more predictable phytochemical profile.

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The Center for Plasticulture's High Tunnel Research and Education Facility was established at Pennsylvania State University in 1999. Since its inception, applied research has been conducted at this facility by a team of researchers and extension specialists on the development of a new high tunnel design. The development of crop production recommendations for vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits and cut flowers grown in high tunnels has been a priority. To complement the applied research program, an aggressive extension education program was developed to extend information on the technology of high tunnels to county extension personnel, growers, industry representatives, students, master gardeners and the general public. The extension programming effort consisting of demonstration high tunnels, field days, tours, in-service training, publications and presentations made at winter meetings will be discussed in the report below.

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At the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) High Tunnel Research and Education Facility, a system of production of high-value horticultural crops in high tunnels has been developed that uses plastic mulch and drip irrigation. The Penn State system involves small-scale, plastic-application equipment that prepares and applies plastic mulch and drip-irrigation tape to individual raised beds. It differs from the production system developed by researchers at the University of New Hampshire in which drip-irrigation tape is manually applied to the soil surface and then the entire soil surface in the high tunnel is covered with a black plastic sheet. An overview of the production system used in the Penn State high tunnels is presented in this report.

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