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Kevin Crosby*, Daniel Leskovar and Kil Sun Yoo

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.

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Kil Sun Yoo and Leonard M. Pike

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Kil Sun Yoo and Leonard M. Pike

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.

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Kevin M. Crosby, Daniel I. Leskovar and Kil Sun Yoo

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Kil Sun Yoo, Leonard M. Pike and B. Greg Cobb

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).

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Kil Sun Yoo, Leonard M. Pike and Brian K. Hamilton

A simple and fast method for measuring low boiling point (LBP) volatile terpenoids in carrots (Daucus carota L.) was developed by using a direct headspace sampling technique. Seven LBP terpenoid compounds were separated with high sensitivity and consistency via gas chromatography. High boiling point terpenoids above terpinolene were not well characterizable. Standard compounds showed highly linear responses up to 10 μg.g-1, with a detection limit of 0.01 μg.g-1. We confirmed that high α- and β-pinene and/or total terpenoids contributed to harsh or oily flavors. Up to 40 samples can be analyzed in an 8-h day using this method, compared to 10 samples using previous methods.

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Togo Shinohara, Shinsuke Agehara, Kil Sun Yoo and Daniel I. Leskovar

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.

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Bhimanagouda S. Patil, Leonard M. Pike and Kil Sun Yoo

The aglycone, or free quercetin, and total quercetin content of 75 cultivars and selections was analyzed by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Quercetin glycosides were hydrolyzed into aglycones. Total quercetin content in yellow, pink, and red onions varied from 54 to 286 mg·kg-1 fresh weight in different onion entries grown during 1992. White onions contained trace amounts of total quercetin. Free quercetin content in all the onions was low (< 0.4 mg·kg-1) except in `20272-G' (12.5 mg·kg-1 fresh weight). Bulbs stored at 5, 24, and 30C and controlled atmosphere (CA) for 0,1,2,3,4, and 5 months showed a most marked change in total quercetin content at 24C compared to other treatments, with a rise in mid-storage followed by a drop. Storage at 5 and 30C also demonstrated a similar change. However, total quercetin content did not vary significantly in bulbs stored at CA for 5 months. We conclude that genetic and storage factors affect quercetin content on onions.