The role of plant pigments in human health has been under intense scrutiny recently. Anthocyanin pigments have been shown to be powerful antioxidants and may contribute to other areas of human health. In red and black raspberry, Rubus idaeus and Rubus occidentalis, respectively, no less than eight different anthocyanin pigments have been identified. However, the genetics controlling the presence and ratios of the different pigments is poorly understood. Various researchers have identified four loci that impart fruit pigment deficiencies and three loci that affect the pigment ratios. The underlying gene function of these loci is not known. Efforts are under way to map two pigment deficiency loci in red raspberry using bulked segregant analysis. Screening with 800 random primers has produced two markers with >90% and two with >80% correlation to one loci. For the other loci, 10 markers with >80% correlation have been identified. Mapping is ongoing with the first linkage map for raspberry to be presented. Populations to test allelism between sources of pigment deficiency are being evaluated for further mapping of loci of the anthocyanin production pathway. Data on cloning of genes in the anthocyanin pathway based on database sequences with degenerative primers for further elucidation a anthocyanin production in raspberry will be presented.
Calcium has been linked to disease resistance in fruits and vegetables. The effects of calcium nutrition on six hydroponically grown tomato cultivars (`Switch', `Match', `Blitz', `Caruso', `Trust', and `Celebrity') were evaluated in the fall of 1996. Disease resistance and yield were measured for plants grown in either perlite or pine bark mulch. Plants were fertilized with a 5N–11P–26K water-soluble fertilizer solution containing micronutrients and either 60, 120, or 185 mg·L–1 calcium. Disease resistance was determined by measuring disease lesion diameters on mature green harvested fruit 3 to 5 days after inoculating with Botrytis cinerea Pers.: Fr. There was no significant difference in disease when evaluated by medium, cultivar, or calcium treatment. Foliar analysis by Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrophotometer (ICAP) indicated that leaf calcium content ranged from 27,000 to 54,000 μg·g–1 dry weight (leaf above fifth flower cluster), but was not significantly different when analyzed by medium, cultivar, or calcium treatment. There was no significant difference in marketable yield due to medium or calcium treatment. Among cultivars, `Trust' had the highest marketable yield at 2.7 kg per plant, which was significantly different from `Celebrity' at 1.6 kg per plant. This experiment suggests that a cheaper medium (pine bark) and lower calcium levels can be utilized in fall tomato production.