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Everardo Zamora, Santiago Ayala, Cosme Guerrero, Damian Martínez, and Francisco Rivas

The pod cactus (Opuntia sp.), a tender stem, has been consumed by Mexican people for centuries either as a fresh or boiled vegetable. Traditionally, Southern Mexico people consume this tender pod cactus in several traditional Mexican dishes. During recent years, an increase in nopalitos consumption by Sonoran people has been observed. People interested in a disciplined diet or people troubled with high cholesterol desire this peculiar vegetable. In Hermosillo, Mexico, people buy nopalitos in small plastic bags packages a pound of small cutting of tender pods from local supermarkets and mobile sellers. Usually, a nopalitos bag pound price is a range of $1.00 to $1.2 U.S. dollars in Hermosillo. Nopalitos production in Sonora, Mexico, is a seasonal. Nopalitos harvesting starts in early April and runs through late October. Because low temperatures start in late October, and continue during the winter season, there is no nopalitos production in Sonora. Hense, Sonoran producers are considerig building high tunnels, to provide more temperature control and to produce nopalitos during the winter. Most growers are low-income people that produce nopalitos in home gardens. This activity allows low-income growers to have nopalitos during most of the year, except during the winter. The current growing area production of 240 acres (170 ha) of tender pod cactus was recorded during 2005 in Sonora, of which a half is cultivated in home gardens. A potential yield production of nopalitos in Sonora is about of 40 tons per acre of tender pod cactus. In comparison to other crops, nopalitos production is a good alternative for small growers.

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Usha Rani Palaniswamy, Richard McAvoy, and Bernard Bible

Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA) are essential for normal human growth, development, and disease prevention. Purslane (Portulaca oleraceae L.) is an excellent source of the O3FA α-linolenic acid (LNA)—with higher concentrations than any green leafy-vegetable examined to date—and is being considered for cultivation (by USDA-ARS) in an effort to improve the balance of essential fatty acids in the western diet. Twenty-fi ve-day-old seedlings of both a green-leafed and a golden-leafed type of purslane were transplanted into a closed hydroponic system. Nitrogen, at 200 ppm, was provided as NO3 and NH4 forms to yield NO3: NH4 ratios of 1:0, 0.25:0.75, 0.5:0.5, and 0.75:0.25. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with five replications. The experiment was repeated. Young, fully expanded leaves were harvested 18 days after treatment initiation, frozen (–60°C), and then analyzed for fatty acids using gas chromatography. Although the two types of purslane did not differ in LNA concentration, the green-leafed purslane produced greater total dry mass than the golden-type. On a leaf dry mass basis, plants grown with a NO3:NH4 ratio of 0.5:0.5 produced 241% and 53% greater LNA than plants grown with NO3:NH4 ratios of 1:0 and 0.75:0.25, respectively. Plants grown with NO3:NH4 ratios of 1:0 and 0.25:0.75 produced similar leaf LNA concentrations. Total dry mass was not affected by the nitrogen treatments.

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Kirk D. Larson

Replant soil fumigation with mixtures of methyl bromide (MeBr) and chloropicrin (trichloronitromethane) is a standard practice for pest and disease control in fruit crop nurseries in California. The proposed phase-out of MeBr by the year 2001 requires that alternative soil sterilants be studied for nursery use. Therefore, on 5 April, 1993, three preplant soil treatments were applied to new strawberry ground: 1) MeBr/chloropicrin (67:33) at 392 kg/ha: 2) chloropicrin, a possible MeBr substitute. at 140 kg/ha: and 3) nonfumigation. The experimental design was a RCB: there were two plots (each 10′ × 15′) for each of two cultivars (`Chandler' and `Selva') for the 3 soil treatments in each of 3 blocks. Mother plants were planted 26 April, and plots were machine-harvested in October, 1993. All plants from each plot were uniformly graded, after which mean stolon yield per mother plant, mean crown diameters, and crown and root dry wts were determined. Cultivar effects and cultivar × treatment interactions were not observed, so data for the two cultivars were pooled. Stolon production per mother plant was greatest for trt 1 (18.56 stolons), intermediate for trt 2 (15.75 stolons), and least form 3 (7.89 stolons). For trt 3, crown dieters. and crown and root dry wts were reduced relative to those of trts 1 or 2. Stolons from all trts were planted in a fruit production field on 13 October, 1993. After two months, canopy diameters were greatest for plants from trt 1 (27.1 cm), intermediate for plants from trt 2 (26.2 cm) and least for plants from trt 3 (24.9 cm). The results indicate that, compared to standard soil fumigation with MeBr/chloropicrin. small, but significant, reductions in runner production and plant vigor can be expected following nursery soil fumigation with intermediate rates of chloropicrin.

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Salfina S. Mampa, Martin M. Maboko, Puffy Soundy, and Dharini Sivakumar

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris), commonly known as table beet, is used as a staple in the diet of many people through the consumption of the entire plant, leaf, and the root. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of nitrogen (N) application and leaf harvest percentage on the yield and quality of roots and leaves of beetroot. The treatment design was a randomized complete block design with five levels of N (0, 60, 90, 120, and 150 kg·ha−1) combined with three leaf harvest percentages (0, 30, and 50) and replicated three times. The first leaf harvest was initiated 35 days after transplanting (DAT) by removing the outer matured leaves and the second harvest occurred 80 DAT by removing all the leaves. The results showed increases in leaf and root yield with an increase in N application. Nitrogen application at 90 and 120 kg·ha−1 increased fresh leaf weight, leaf number, and fresh and dry root weight, including root diameter and length with the exception of leaf area which was significantly higher at 120 kg·ha−1 N. Magnesium and iron leaf content, and N root content were significantly improved by the application of 120 kg·ha−1 N. Leaf harvest percentage did not have a significant effect on leaf yield or leaf and root mineral content. However, dry root weight was significantly reduced by the 50% leaf harvest. Leaf harvest at 30% or 50% increased total protein content of the roots of beetroot, whereas an increase in N application decreased concentration of total proteins. Results demonstrate that leaf and root yield, as well as magnesium, zinc, and iron leaf content, increased with the application of 120 kg·ha−1 N, whereas 30% leaf harvest did not negatively affect root yield.

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Penelope Perkins-Veazie*, J.K. Collins, and Warren Roberts

Watermelons contain the carotenoids b-carotene, phytofluene, lycopene, and lutein. These carotenoids play an important role in plant oxidative protection and may serve to protect humans against oxidative assaults. Of the carotenoids, lycopene is the predominant pigment in red-fleshed melons (30-130 μg·g-1), b-carotene is present in small amounts (1-14 μg·g-1), and other carotenoids are present in minute amounts (1-3 μg·g-1). Seventy varieties were screened for lycopene content using scanning colorimetry, spectrophotometry, and HPLC techniques, and grouped as low, medium, high, or very high in lycopene. Pink-fleshed heirloom varieties such as Sweet Princess and Black Diamond contained low amounts of lycopene (<40 μg·g-1). A number of seeded and seedless varieties had medium amounts of lycopene (40-60 μg·g-1). Varieties in the high category (60-80 μg·g-1) were primarily seedless types, although `Dixie Lee', an open-pollinated, seeded variety had 69 μg·g-1, indicating that high lycopene content is not restricted to hybrid or seedless melon germplasm. Six selections were found to be very high in lycopene (>80 μg·g-1), including the minimelon Hazera 6008 (Extazy). Total carotenoids and carotenoid profiles were determined by HPLC for 23 varieties in 2003. Both seeded and seedless type melons had varieties high in bcarotene, lycopene, and total carotenoids. These results indicate that commercial watermelon varieties have a wide range in lycopene and b-carotene content, and that most commercially important varieties are high in lycopene and total carotenoids, providing important sources of phytonutrients to the human diet.

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Manuel C. Palada, Thomas J. Kalb, and Thomas A. Lumpkin

AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit international agricultural research institute whose mission is to reduce malnutrition and poverty among the poor through vegetable research and development. Over the past 30 years, AVRDC has developed a vast array of international public goods. The Center plays an essential role in bringing international and interdisciplinary teams together to develop technologies, empower farmers, and address major vegetable-related issues in the developing world. In its unique role, AVRDC functions as a catalyst to 1) build international and interdisciplinary coalitions that engage in vegetable and nutrition issues; 2) generate and disseminate improved germplasm and technologies that address economic and nutritional needs of the poor; 3) collect, characterize, and conserve vegetable germplasm resources for worldwide use; and 4) provide globally accessible, user-friendly, science-based, appropriate technology. In enhancing and promoting vegetable production and consumption in developing world, AVRDC's research programs contribute to increased productivity of the vegetable sector, equity in economic development in favor of rural and urban poor, healthy and more diversified diets for low-income families, environmentally friendly and safe production of vegetables, and improved sustainability of cropping systems. Recent achievements at AVRDC that greatly impact tropical horticulture in the developing world include virus-resistant tomatoes raising farmers income, hybrid sweet pepper breaking the yield barrier in the tropics, flood-resistant chili peppers opening new market opportunities, broccoli varieties for monsoon season, pesticide-free eggplant and leafy vegetable production systems and fertilizer systems that protect the environment. Beyond vegetable crops, AVRDC is playing an important role in expanding and promoting research and development efforts for high value horticultural crops, including fruit, ornamentals, and medicinal plants through its new Global Horticulture Initiative. AVRDC believes that horticulture crop production provides jobs and is an engine for economic growth. The important role AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center plays in developing and promoting tropical horticultural crops is discussed in this paper.

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Oleg Daugovish and Michi Yamomoto

California leads national strawberry fruit production with annual value in Ventura County alone near $300 million. Bird damage to fruit routinely accounts for 3–5% losses and may exceed 50% in some fields. Conventional bird control tools have limited or no effect on fruit damage and may contribute to noise pollution. A four-site study at Oxnard, Calif., from Jan. to Apr. 2005 (highest value fresh market season) showed that release of Peregrine, Saker, or Barbary falcons in combination with helium balloon launching (site 4) in response to fruit damage reduced fruit damage from 80–90% to 15–20% after 1 week. When fruit damage increased again (>20%) a repeated 1-week daily program completely reduced fruit damage during the rest of the season. Falconry alone at site 2 (near man-made structures) for two consecutive days reduced fruit damage from 70–80% to 10–20%, however, at site 3, near giant reed, three weeks of daily releases did not eliminate the damage, but confined it to the strawberry beds adjacent to reed shelter (reducing overall damage from 100% to 25–50%). High frequency of release is likely unfeasible and destruction of shelter habitat may be justified. Falconry alone before damage occurrence (site 1) seemed to prevent fruit damage; however, lack of birds and fruit damage before, during, and after releases made it difficult to draw conclusions about the success of the preventive program. In April, no fruit damage occurred even during bird presence suggesting the change in their diet. The study showed that seed-eating birds were the main pests at Oxnard, Calif., and that trained falcons can disperse them, thus, reducing fruit damage. The success of falconry was site-specific and depended on proximity of suitable habitat and availability of food sources for pest birds.

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Ann Marie Connor, Chad E. Finn, and Peter A. Alspach

Antioxidant compounds absorbed from our diet are thought to have a role in preventing chronic diseases that result from oxidative damage. Berry fruit have high levels of antioxidants, and further increases in antioxidant activity (AA) might be possible through breeding. We determined the AA, total phenolic content (TPH), and fruit weight in 16 blackberry and hybridberry (Rubus L.) cultivars harvested in New Zealand and Oregon in 2002 and 2003, to assess genetic and environmental variation. Both AA and TPH varied significantly between years within location, but not among cultivars or between locations per se. However, cultivar interactions with both location and year within location contributed to variation in both variates. In contrast, both cultivar and location contributed to variation in fruit weight, but years within location did not. However, the cultivar × year within location interaction was significant for this trait. Variance component distributions confirmed that cultivar and location effects together contributed little (<20%) to the total variation in either AA or TPH, while cultivar × environment interactions accounted for >50% of total variation in these traits. Cultivar and location effects together contributed ≈70% of the total variation observed in fruit weight. Phenotypic correlations were significant between AA and fruit weight (r = -0.44), and between TPH and fruit weight (r = -0.51). When adjusted for fruit weight, analyses for AA and TPH demonstrated that cultivar effects approached significance (P = 0.06) and accounted for ≈25% of total variance, while location effects accounted for none. Although the cultivars in this study had diverse interspecific backgrounds, utilization of various Rubus species in blackberry and hybridberry breeding is not uncommon, and our results demonstrating significant cultivar × environment interaction for AA and TPH should be applicable to breeding for high AA genotypes.

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Rolland Agaba, Phinehas Tukamuhabwa, Patrick Rubaihayo, Silver Tumwegamire, Andrew Ssenyonjo, Robert O.M. Mwanga, Jean Ndirigwe, and Wolfgang J. Grüneberg

The amount of genotypic and phenotypic variability that exists in a species is important for selection and initiating breeding programs. Yam bean is grown locally in tropical countries of the Americas and Asia for their tasty storage roots, which usually have low dry matter content. The crop was recently introduced in Uganda and other East and Central African countries to supplement iron (Fe) and protein content in diets. This study aimed to estimate genetic variability for root yield and quality traits among 26 yam bean accessions in Uganda. A randomized complete block design was used with two replications across two ecogeographical locations and two seasons during 2012 and 2013. Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to determine quality of storage root samples. Significant differences among genotypes were observed for all traits except root protein, zinc (Zn), and phosphorus contents. Genotypic variance components ( ) were significant for storage root fresh yield (SRFY), storage root dry matter (SRDM), storage root dry yield (SRDY), vine yield (VNY), fresh biomass yield (FBY), and storage root starch (STA) and Fe contents. For traits with significant the broad sense heritability estimates ranged from 58.4% for SRDY to 83.6% for FBY; and phenotypic coefficients of variation were high for SRFY (66%), SRDY (53.3%), VNY (60.5%), and FBY (59%), but low to medium for SRDM (22.6%), STA (15.1%), and Fe (21.3%). Similarly, the genotypic coefficients of variation were high for SRFY (56.7%), SRDY (53.3%), VNY (55%), and FBY (53.9%); and low for SRDM (20%), STA (12.4%), and Fe (17.8%). There were strong positive correlations between SRFY and both SRDY (r = 0.926) and FBY (r = 0.962), but low-to-moderate correlations among quality traits. It should be possible to breed for high dry matter yam beans by using low dry matter accessions due to the observed genetic variation ( = 9.3%2), which is important if the high dry matter Pachyrhizus tuberosus accessions (known as chuin) from Peru cannot be accessed. This study indicated substantial genetic variation for yield and quality traits in yam bean, demonstrating potential for adaptability to growing conditions and consumer needs in East and Central Africa and for genetic improvement through selection.

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Howard F. Harrison Jr, Trevor R. Mitchell, Joseph K. Peterson, W. Patrick Wechter, George F. Majetich, and Maurice E. Snook

Caffeoylquinic acid compounds are widespread in plants. They protect plants against predation and infection and may have several beneficial functions in the human diet. The contents of chlorogenic acid and the 3,4-, 3,5-, and 4,5- isomers of dicaffeoylquinic acid (DCQA) in the storage root tissues of 16 sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] genotypes were determined. Averaged over genotypes, the contents of the four compounds were highest in the cortex, intermediate in the stele, and lowest in the periderm. Among the genotypes, chlorogenic acid contents ranged from 16 to 212 μg·g−1 in periderm, from 826 to 7274 μg·g−1 in cortex, and from 171 to 4326 μg·g−1 in stele. The 3,5-DCQA isomer comprised over 80% of total DCQA. In most genotypes, 3,5-DCQA and chlorogenic acid contents were similar in cortex and stele tissues, but chlorogenic acid was lower than 3,5-DCQA in periderm tissue. Among the 16 genotypes, total DCQA contents ranged from 0 to 1775 μg·g−1 dry weight in periderm, from 883 to 8764 μg·g−1 in cortex, and from 187 to 4768 μg·g−1 in stele. The large differences found in a small germplasm collection suggest that selecting or breeding sweetpotato genotypes with high caffeoylquinic acid content is possible. The four caffeoylquinic acid compounds comprised over 3% of the dry weight of storage roots of the sweetpotato relative, bigroot morningglory [Ipomoea pandurata (L.) G.F.W. Meyer], indicating that it may be a good source for the compounds. The effect of DCQAs isolated from sweetpotato and I. pandurata tissue and caffeic and chlorogenic acid standards were tested in proso millet (Panicum milliaceum L.), Fusarium solani (Sacc.) Mart., and bacterial growth bioassays. Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and 3,5-DCQA were most inhibitory in millet and F. solani bioassays, but 3,5-DCQA was the least inhibitory compound in bacterial growth bioassays. Their activity in the bioassays suggests that the caffeoyl quinic acid compounds contribute to the allelopathic potential and resistance to root diseases of some sweetpotato clones.