A 50 g sample taken as a horizontal section from the mid-height of an onion bulb was blended with 100 g water for 1 min in a closed plastic mason jar. A 0.5 ml of a headspace sample was drawn and injected into a Perkin Elmer 8500 GC equipped with FPD for detection of sulfur compounds. The major volatiles tentatively identified in onion were thiopropanal S-oxide, methyl propyl disulfide, dipropyl disulfide, and propyl allyl disulfide.
We observed significant variation of peak pattern and height depending on position in a bulb, among bulbs within variety, and between varieties. These results seemed to comply well with taste test. There were no significant correlations between total peak height and bulb weight, soluble solids, or pyruvate concentration in juice extract. Our investigation suggested that this procedure provided better understanding and measurement of onion pungency than pyruvate analysis.
The Habanero pepper, a distinct cultigen of Capsicum chinense, has become increasingly popular in American markets due to its unique flavor and aroma. It is extremely pungent compared to other commonly cultivated hot peppers. This attribute restricts its culinary uses. The objective of the Habanero pepper improvement project was to breed for important flavor compounds in the absence of genes involved in capsaicin synthesis. Intensive selection in large breeding populations was carried out to identify individual plants producing fruit with good aroma and flavor and low capsaicin concentrations. An initial cross was made between a non-pungent selection of C. chinense out of PI 543188 and a highly pungent, typical Habanero pepper from Yucatan. A series of sib-selections following a single backcross of a non-pungent F2 individual to the Habanero line were carried out in field and greenhouse plantings at Weslaco. Six subsequent generations of inbreeding resulted in a highly uniform, novel variety-TAM Mild Habanero (TMH). The fruit of TMH is very similar in size and shape to the recurrent parent. Color is yellow-orange as opposed to the deep orange of the Yucatan Habanero (YH), but aroma and flavor are extremely similar. In contrast, total capsaicin concentration of TMH fruit at Weslaco averaged 154 μg·g-1, compared to 12,704 μg·g-1 for the YH. Field trials conducted in south Texas showed that TMH consistently matured about 10 days earlier, had significantly higher levels of beta-carotene (7.6 μg·g-1 compared to <0.5 μg·g-1 in YH) and out-yielded YH by 25%. These traits make TMH an ideal cultivar for Fall production in south Texas.
Inner scales excised from dormant bulbs of the short-day `Texas Grano 1015Y' onion (Allium cepa L.) were cultured in vitro and leaf growth was examined. Light promoted leaf growth, but no differences in leaf growth were observed for media pH between 4 and 7. Leaf growth rate in darkness was highest at 24C, reduced at 15C, and greatly reduced at SC. Kinetin promoted leaf growth at 1, 10, and 100 μm. IAA was effective at 1 and 10 μM, but not at 0.1 and 100 μm. GA3 promoted growth at 0.1 μM. No inhibitory effects of ABA on leaf growth could be detected. Chemical names used: 1-H-indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellic acid (GA3), 6-furfurylaminopurine (Kinetin).
Globe artichoke [Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus (L.) Fiori] has been recently introduced as a specialty crop in southwest Texas. Marketable yield, yield components, quality, and phenolic compounds of artichoke heads were investigated in response to three irrigation [50%, 75%, and 100% crop evapotranspiration (ETc)] regimes and four nitrogen (0 to 10, 60, 120, and 180 kg·ha−1) rates under subsurface drip irrigation. Field experiments were conducted over three seasons (2005–2006, 2006–2007, and 2007–2008) at Uvalde, TX. Irrigation was more effective than nitrogen (N) rates to optimize crop yield and head quality. Marketable yields significantly increased at 100% ETc compared with 75% and 50% ETc, whereas a 20% to 35% yield reduction occurred at 50% ETc across seasons. This yield reduction was associated with a decrease in both number of marketable heads and head weight and with reductions in plant physiological responses as measured in the last season. The lack of yield responses to N rates was in part the result of high pre-plant soil NO3-N and NH4-N levels. Total phenolics and chlorogenic acid of artichoke heads increased as the harvesting season progressed and were highest at 50% ETc during mid- and late harvests in one season. Based on these results, we estimate that under these environmental conditions, ≈700 mm (for a bare soil system) of water inputs and 120 kg·ha−1 or less of N (rate depending on soil available N) appear sufficient to obtain high marketable yields, superior size, and nutritional head quality of artichokes.
At the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, plant breeding has produced pepper lines with enhanced beneficial phytochemical levels. TAM `Dulcito' is a new jalapeño cultivar with no detectable levels of capsaicin, but increased levels of lutein. In greenhouse cultivation, it contained 122 ppm of this important human health-related compound, which aids in prevention of macular degeneration. This is a significant improvement over popular cultivars, such as `Grande', which contained 25 ppm or less. In addition to improved lutein levels, `Dulcito' also possesses resistance to three important potyviruses: TEV, PepMoV, and PVY. In field trials at Weslaco, Texas, `Dulcito' outyielded both TAM `Mild Jalapeño 2', and `Mitla'. This new cultivar produces a concentrated set of large, thick-fleshed fruit with few cuticular cracks. Because of its lack of pungency, it should be useful for the processing industry. TAM `Tropic Bell' is a medium-sized, blocky bell with enhanced levels of both ascorbic acid and lutein compared to other cultivars. Grown under greenhouse conditions, it contained 100 ppm lutein compared to 6 ppm in `Jupiter'. It also contained 660 ppm ascorbic acid at the green stage, compared to less than 100 ppm for three commercial bell cultivars tested. `Tropic Bell' produced yields equal to both `Valiant' and `Summer Sweet' commercial hybrids at Weslaco. Fruit of `Tropic Bell' were slightly smaller than the hybrid cultivars. TAM `Tropic Bell' possesses resistance to the same three potyviruses as `Dulcito' and demonstrated excellent tolerance to Phytophthora capsici in a controlled inoculation. These two new cultivars will be useful for production in locations with high potyvirus pressure or as specialty market items for health-conscious consumers.