People unaware of the great differences among horticultural crops often regard fruits and vegetables each as a homogeneous group when considering requirements for implementation and support of breeding programs. Each fruit and vegetable crop is different enough, and of sufficient importance, to merit individual consideration. Although the total dollar value or hectarage grown are measures of economic worth of a crop, other factors must be considered when determining the importance of horticultural crops either singularly or as a group. Generally horticultural crops require more intensive culture than field crops, and thus are grown with greater risk which is rewarded by a higher per acre value. The contributions of the horticultural crops to our daily diets are far greater than economic values indicate. The USD A task group (Senti Committee) on GRAS status of new plant cultivars pointed out that fruits and vegetables provide 90% of the Vitamin C, 50% of the Vitamin A, 30% of the B6, 25% of the magnesium, 20% of the thiamin, and 18% of the riboflavin and niacin in the United States food supply. Research support for horticultural crops must reflect, in part, their dietary importance rather than solely their dollar value.
Insecticidal crystal protein fragments (ICPFs) of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) encoded by cryIA(c) gene were shown in diet incorporation studies to be lethal to codling moth (CM; Cydia pomonella) the key insect pest for walnut. However transformed walnut tissues expressing cryIA(c) with Bt codon usage patterns and native DNA sequence revealed very low levels of expression in planta. To correct this problem synthetic versions of one of these genes, cryIA(c) was used to transform walnut tissue. A total of 61 individual transgenic embryo lines were obtained. 34% of these lines (21/61) were high expressors (“class A”) demonstrating 80 to 100% mortality of first in star CM larvae and displaying no further larval development. Twelve clones (20%) were designated “class B” and these showed a marked retardation of larval development and a mortality between 40 to 79%. Embryos from the remaining 28 lines designated “class C” (46%). although transformed, were indistinguishable from the control (untransformed embryos) and showed a mortality of 0 to 39%.
The vigorous growth habit and tolerances to heat, water, and acid stresses suggest cowpea as a candidate species for Controlled Ecological Life-Support Systems (CELSS). The low fat, high protein, moderate carbohydrate content of the edible leaves and seeds complement cereal grains in the vegetarian diets planned for CELSS. Cowpea canopy densities of 3.6, 7.2, 10.7, and 14.3 plants·m-2 were grown under CO2 levels of 400 or 1200 μl·l-1. Plants were grown in a deep-batch recirculating hydroponic system. pH was maintained at 5.5 by a pH controller with an in-line electrode. The nutrient solution was replaced as needed and sampled weekly for analysis by inductively coupled plasmaatomic emission spectrometry. Fluorescent lights provided 674±147 μmol·m-2s-1 PAR for an 8-hour photoperiod. Day/night temperature was maintained at 27/25°C. CO2 draw-down within the growth chamber was measured to calculate net photosynthesis. Power consumption was metered and canopy quantum efficiency was calculated. Crop yield rate (g·m-2·d-1). harvest index (% edible biomass), and yield efficiency (edible g·m-2·d-1·(nonedible g)-1) were determined to evaluate the productivity of cowpea for a CELSS. This study was supported by NASA Grant NAGW-2329.
One of the major misconceptions in contemporary society is the widespread belief that our food supply is unsafe. The public's perception of risk is quite different than scientific assessment of risk. While scientists see microbial contamination as the key issue (100 to 10,000X greater risk than from exposure to pesticide residues), consumers appear to be most concerned about the effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in the food they buy. Consumers equate “synthetic” with harmful or bad and “natural” with safe or good, yet they ignore the fact that 99.9% of all pesticides humans are exposed to are naturally occurring. Americans eat approximately 1.5 g. of natural pesticides per person per day, or about 10,000 times more than synthetic pesticide residues. Although few plant toxins have been tested for carcinogenicity so far, of those tested about half are rodent carcinogens. Contrary to public perception, environmental pollution accounts for only 2% of all cancers. By contrast, smoking, diet and other personal lifestyle choices account for more than 75%.
Passion fruit has become a popular addition to our diet and is currently grown in the United States. Passion fruit shelf life could be extended if green mature fruit can be induced to ripen after exposure to ethylene. Greenhouse grown purple passion fruits were harvested in a green mature stage 55 and 60 days after anthesis (DAA) and stored for 10 days at 10°C. After storage half of the fruits were treated with 10 ppm ethylene for 35 hours and stored at room temperature (21°C) for 48 hours. The juice of treated and non-treated fruit was analyzed for comparison with juice of vine-ripened fruit. Total soluble solids and pH of the juice did not differ in green mature fruits harvested 55 and 60 DAA.. compared to vine-ripened fruits (70-80 DAA). Sucrose content decreased and fructose and glucose increased after storage, regardless of ethylene treatment. Fruits harvested 55 and 60 DAA, with or without ethylene and stored for 10 days, developed the same sugar content, soluble solids and pH as those that ripened on the vine.
CowPea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) is a candidate species for inclusion in a space-deployed Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) because it contributes to a balanced diet with its moderate protein content, high complex carbohydrate content, and low fat content, and because leaves and unripe pods as well as dry seeds are edible. Pour harvest scenarios were compared in the experimental line IT84S-2246 under controlled conditions with and without CO2 enrichment. Plants kept vegetative by removal of flowers and periodically stripped of fully expanded leaves yielded as much as either mixed-harvest scenario in which leaves were stripped at either 1- or 2-week intervals until pods started forming. The 2-week harvest scenario outyielded the 1-week scenario by 15 to 25%. The seed-only control produced the same amount of seeds as the 2-week leaf harvest scenario, but had lower total edible biomass because leaves were not harvested. Under 1000 ppm CO2, all treatments yielded from 30 to 70% more edible biomass than under non-CO2-enriched conditions. Research sponsored by NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC 2-100.
Starch granules were extracted from maize (Zea mays L.) endosperm of mature F2 kernels of IA5125 × IA453 normal, amylose-extender (ae), dull (du) waxy (wx), and ae du wx and from ae du wx F2 kernels harvested at the fresh market stage of development. Samples were digested for 1.5 hours with hog pancreatic α- amylase and Rhizopus II amyloglucosidase. The mature and immature ae du wx samples were usually digested significantly more than the other 4 genotypes, while ae was digested significantly less than the others. Digestion of starch granules from mature and immature ae du wx kernels did not differ. The sweet corn background used had little effect, since our observations of the single mutant genotypes were similar to those in a dent background. Clearly, ae du wx starch granules do not reflect the reduced digestibility associated with ae, and thus cultivars homozygous for ae du wx are not inferior with respect to their ability to supply carbohydrates to the diet.
The importance of folic acid in the human diet has been recognized in recent years by major increases in government recommended allowances. Red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) is an important vegetable source of folic acid, however little is known about the extent of variation for native folic acid content in red beet germplasm. A total of 18 red beet entries, including 11 hybrids (F1) and seven open-pollinated cultivars (OP), were evaluated for free folic acid content (FFAC) in replicated field experiments during 1993 and 1994. Significant differences among entries were detected in all studies. FFAC ranged from 3.3 to 15.2 μg·g-1 on a dry mass basis. A significant entry × year interaction was detected. Changes in rank of entries between years were minimal among F1 hybrids, while the changes in rank among OP cultivars were large. These data demonstrate significant variability among cultivated red beet germplasm sources for FFAC. Entries with high FFAC may be useful for increasing levels of this vitamin in red beet.
Chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments were measured with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) during leaf development in kale (Brassicaoleracea L. var. acephala D.C). Lutein and β-carotene are two plant-derived carotenoids that possess important human health properties. Diets high in these carotenoids are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. Kale plants were growth-chamber grown in nutrient solution culture at 20 °C under 500 μmol·m-2·s-1 of irradiance. Pigments were measured in young (<1 week), immature (1-2 weeks), mature (2-3 weeks), fully developed (3-4 weeks) and senescing (>4 weeks) leaves. Significant differences were measured for all four pigments during leaf development. Accumulation of the pigments followed a quadratic trend, with maximum accumulation occurring between the first and third week of leaf age. The highest concentrations of lutein were recorded in 1- to 2-week-old leaves at 15.1 mg per 100 g fresh weight. The remaining pigments reached maximum levels at 2-3 weeks, with β-carotene at 11.6 mg per 100 g, chlorophyll a at 251.4 mg per 100 g, and chlorophyll b at 56.9 mg per 100 g fresh weight. Identifying changes in carotenoid and chlorophyll accumulation over developmental stages in leaf tissues is applicable to “baby” leafy greens and traditional production practices for fresh markets.
Vegetable crops can be significant sources of nutritionally important dietary carotenoids and Brassica vegetables are sources that also exhibit antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activity. The family Brassicaceae contains a diverse group of plant species commercially important in many parts of the world. The six economically important Brassica species are closely related genetically. Three diploid species (B. nigra, B. rapa, and B. oleracea) are the natural progenitors of the allotetraploid species (B. juncea, B. napus, and B. carinata). The objective of this study was to characterize the accumulation of important dietary carotenoid pigments among the genetically related Brassica species. The HPLC quantification revealed significant differences in carotenoid and chlorophyll pigment accumulation among the Brassica species. Brassica nigra accumulated the highest concentrations of lutein, 5,6-epoxy lutein, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin. The highest concentrations of beta-carotene and total chlorophyll were found in B. juncea. Brassica rapa accumulated the highest concentrations of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin. For each of the pigments analyzed, the diploid Brassica species accumulated higher concentrations, on average, than the amphidiploid species. Brassicas convey unique health attributes when consumed in the diet. Identification of genetic relationships among the Brassica species would be beneficial information for improvement programs designed to increase carotenoid values.