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  • Author or Editor: Robert C. Cochran x
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A natural product known as taxol has been approved by the FDA for treatment of ovarian and breast cancers. In addition, preliminary clinical studies have shown encouraging results when using taxol to treat melanomas, lung, head, and neck cancers. Ornamental yews have been identified as a potential renewable source of taxol and related taxanes. Commercial nurseries were surveyed during Summer and Fall 1991 as a basis for estimating populations of Taxus cultivars currently growing in the United States. Clippings of selected cultivars were sampled from nursery fields in Ohio and Michigan to estimate expected clippings yields as a function of cultivar and cultivar age. More than 30 million Taxus plants were reported to be grown by the 19 major nurseries that responded to the survey. About 88% of all Taxus plants reported in the survey were grown in the three-state area of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Taxus × media `Densiformis', `Hicksii', and `Brownii' were found to be grown by nearly all nurseries in the survey; more than half grew T. × media `Wardii' and T. cuspidata `Capitata', while other well-known cultivars seem to have been specialties of one or two nurseries. Annual clippings yields on a dry-weight basis (db) ranged from ≈20 g/plant to 140 g/plant. Expected yields were found to be very dependent upon plant age and cultivar. Taxus × media `Hicksii' appeared to be the most ideal ornamental yew that could provide a renewable source of taxol because of immediate availability and potential for mechanical harvesting of upright clippings. An estimated 3000 to 4000 ovarian cancer patients could be treated annually with the taxol currently available for extraction from T. × media `Hicksii' clippings.

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Fruit from 8 `Hayward' kiwifruit vineyards in central California were harvested at 2 week intervals after soluble solids content (SSC) reached 6% and subjected to 4 and 6 months of storage at 0°C in an ethylene free environment. Macro-nutrients were analyzed from leaf and fruit tissues. Leaf petiole N and NO3 --N were 2 to 3 times higher for vines that had softer fruit after long-term storage. Where the correlations were significant, fruit firmness and SSC were correlated negatively with N, P, K, Cl, and N/Ca and positively with Ca and Mg of leaf and fruit tissues. The significance of the correlations depended on the harvest maturity and growing locations. Soil nitrogen application increased Mg and reduced Ca and Cl in lamina but did not influence macro-nutrients in fruit tissues.

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Fruit from 8 `Hayward' kiwifruit vineyards in central California were harvested at 2 week intervals after soluble solids content (SSC) reached 6% and subjected to 4 and 6 months of storage at 0°C in an ethylene free environment. Fruit characteristics at harvest and postharvest performance varied considerably among locations. Fruit stored for 6 months had the same fresh weight, less flesh firmness and higher SSC, than the 4 months storage. Later harvested fruit had greater fruit flesh firmness and higher SSC after storage. SSC after storage was predictable based on ripe soluble solids content (RSSC) at harvest. Summer pruning reduced while soil nitrogen application increased fruit SSC.

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