By contrast, when asparagus plants are cut too long, the sugar level is depleted and the quality declines. Wageningen UR researchers are working on a computer programme to advise asparagus growers on the best possible moment to stop harvesting.
Starting asparagus harvesting as early as possible is one thing, but it is quite another to reliably stop harvesting at the most opportune moment.
Asparagus are basically stems that are still under the soil, without any leaves above. This is why growing asparagus stems costs the plant such an enormous amount of energy. Plants have to store that energy in their roots during the previous year, which is why growers cannot just continue harvesting the stems. Cutting too long means that there will be insufficient energy left in the roots to obtain enough stems above the ground. These stems grow needles (the leaves) that the asparagus plant uses to create sugars, which are then stored in the roots to be used during the next season.
The traditional saying that asparagus should not be cut after 24 June, Saint John’s Day, no longer applies. Growers are able to start harvesting much earlier in the year than was previously the case. This is made possible, for example, by using the residual heat of an energy unit to heat the soil. What has not changed, however, is the need to stop cutting at the right time. Farmers aim to stop at the optimal moment: not too late and not too soon.
The sugar level of the roots is therefore a key factor in the vitality of these plants. Unfortunately, the sugar level as an absolute value is an insufficient indicator of when to stop cutting. The main indicator is the reduction in sugar levels, which is why Wageningen UR is partnering with the Geisenheim Research Station in Germany to develop a computer programme that will assist Dutch asparagus growers in determining the precise moment to stop cutting. The growers regularly measure the sugar level of the roots with a simple device, which does not take much time. Based on the results, the computer programme gives advice on when to stop cutting asparagus.
The computer programme is called Aspire and will be tested on ten Dutch asparagus farms during the 2008 season. The researchers expect that this pilot will offer a sufficient basis for widespread use in the 2009 season.
Jac Niessen | alfa
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences