Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carrots of Color: Pallette of Phytochemicals Provided Through Texas Research

31.03.2005


Dr. Leonard Pike, left, and research assistant Michael Faries sort through more than 250 bushels of red, yellow, maroon and orange carrots to prepare for this year’s breeding crop. Pike, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station vegetable breeder, hopes to develop a variety of carrot packed with all the essential phytochemicals known to prevent human disease. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Kathleen Phillips)


In the late 1980s, Dr. Leonard Pike stood at a roadside vegetable market in Russia and watched a produce man chop, chop, chop much like a butcher slicing deli meat. When he was finished, the thin, yellow medallions under his knife were gathered up like poker chips, weighed in a bag, and handed to the customer.

"He was cutting carrots. They sold them sliced, even back then. I thought that was fascinating," said Pike, a horticulturist who was in Russia on a seed-collecting mission for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Besides the novelty of slicing carrots for sale, Pike was struck by the lemon yellow color of Russian carrots, cousins to the common orange varieties in the United States. Before he left that country, Pike gathered up some Russian seed to deposit in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s world seed collection.



His selection of more than 20 years ago now may be parlayed into sliced carrots for the U.S. market within the next couple of years. Pike eventually obtained some yellow carrot seed for his own planting trials and harvested the crop about a month ago. A Texas processing company is gearing up to package that and other vegetable novelties.

In a processing room at Texas A&M University recently, Pike’s yellow yield were stacked up against maroon, red and improved orange carrots for strenuous tests to see which would make it to the next step in breeding.

"The interest now is more than the color," said Pike, known for developing popular produce such as the 1015 onion and Beta Sweet maroon carrots. "Each of those colors indicates that a certain phytochemical is present. My goal is to get one carrot that has them all."

Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds that prevent disease. Pike hopes to pack lutein, carotene, anthocyanin and lycopene into one carrot, regardless of what color -- or color combination -- the carrot turns out to be. Each of those compounds has been shown to ward off various diseases and improve health.

Breeding a better carrot is important, he said, because adding value to something people already eat plenty of means they could be healthier. Americans eat more than 5 pounds of carrots a year, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Deciding which carrots to keep in the breeding program is no small effort. Pike, research assistant Michael Faries and several students first washed the 250 bushels harvested from a South Texas field, sorted for conformity, tasted for flavor and finally sliced off a chunk to analyze for sugar and phytochemical content.

From that, some 80 bushels will planted by mid-April in selectively arranged cages designed around individual hives of honeybees to allow carrots to pollinate without crossing with unintended varieties.

The process will be narrowed next year, and with the luck of a good growing season, carrots could begin to show up in grocery stores in another year.

Kathleen Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>