Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Increasing the Shelf-Life of Cassava

19.07.2010
Crop scientists have identified several genetic mechanisms to improving the shelf-life of cassava roots. Long an unsolvable problem, the research has the potential to benefit the poorest of the poor, widening and strengthening the markets for cassava, reducing marketing costs, and losses along the marketing or value addition process.

The research team, led by Hernán Ceballos at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, identified four different sources of tolerance to a phenomenon known as post-harvest physiological deterioration. This process renders the cassava roots inedible and unmarketable a mere two to four days after harvesting.

This study started with an accident. A few roots from a cassava clone (belonging to a new high-carotene generation) were left on a shelf for more than two months between. When inspected these roots did not show any symptoms of deterioration. This result prompted the planning and execution of a study whose results are presented in the July-August 2010 edition of Crop Science, published by the Crop Science Society of America.

One source of tolerance was found in the only species of cassava native to the United States. A second source was induced by mutagenic levels of gamma rays which silenced one of the genes that cause the deterioration symptoms.

A third source was a group of high-carotene clones. The authors suggest that the antioxidant properties of carotenoids protect the roots from deterioration, which is basically an oxidative process. Finally, tolerance was also observed in a waxy-starch mutant. The researchers believe that the waxy-starch gene is co-located next to a tolerance gene, and resistance to deterioration is not directly caused by the mutant gene.

“This kind of discovery includes sources from wild relatives of cassava, which supports the need for germplasm collections,” says lead researcher Hernán Ceballos. “It also has new sources of tolerance induced through mutagenesis or exposed through inbreeding, which is a rather new thing for cassava. Finally, some of the tolerance comes from the anti-oxidant properties of high carotene cassava. But mostly this is very important for women who sell cassava roots in markets throughout Africa or Latin America who will not necessarily lose their products if they fail to sell them within a day or two after harvest.”

The economic relevance of these discoveries is expected to be huge. Cassava is one of the most important staple crops worldwide, and is the most important in many arid regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa. It can produce reasonable root yields under adverse climatic and soil conditions, and offers the advantage of a flexible harvesting date, allowing farmers to keep the roots in the ground until needed. In addition to the important role cassava plays in food security, there is a growing demand for cassava roots by the starch, food, animal feed, and ethanol processing industries.

The results of this study suggest that tolerance to post-harvest physiological deterioration can be found in different sources, and they seem to be acting through different biochemical/genetic mechanisms. They also highlight the importance of germplasm collections and their screening, the usefulness of inbreeding cassava (in search of recessive traits) and the potential of induced mutations, particularly with the advent of molecular tools.

Future research will focus on finding additional sources of tolerance and identifying molecular markers linked to those traits. This will allow for early identification of tolerant varieties, overcoming the current limitations of cassava research, which involve growing large numbers of roots to obtain sufficient data.

This study will go a long way towards addressing bottlenecks that prevent cassava having a larger impact on the livelihoods of the communities that depend on it, as identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Global Cassava Initiative, which culminated in 2000. It concluded that cassava could become the raw material base for an array of processed products and contribute to agricultural transformation and economic growth in developing countries.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/abstracts/50/4/1333.

Crop Science is the flagship journal of the Crop Science Society of America. Original research is peer-reviewed and published in this highly cited journal. It also contains invited review and interpretation articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in crop science. For more information, visit http://crop.scijournals.org

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org
http://www.crops.org

Further reports about: Cassava Science TV agriculture crop crop science genetic mechanism molecular genetic

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>