Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sustainably grown garlic

05.11.2009
Research offers guidelines for farmers, variety for consumers

Consumer interest in new and diverse types of garlic is on the rise. Fueled by factors including the growth of the "local foods" movement, interest in world cuisines, and widespread reports touting its numerous health benefits, demand for high-quality, locally grown garlic is increasing throughout the U.S.

While most grocery stores in carry the familiar white, "softneck" garlic (which is most often imported), varieties of "hardneck" garlic in colorful hues of purple, magenta, pink, and white are becoming more available at local vegetable stands and through direct-marketing programs. The results of a recent study of 10 garlic cultivars can help farmers identify niche regional markets and offer new, in-demand garlic varieties to consumers.

Hundreds of garlic (Allium sativum L.) cultivars are available from seed companies, retailers, and germplasm collections. Increasingly, growers purchase bulbs from nonlocal sources and are often disappointed by unpredictable yields. Garlic bulbs resulting from seed stock purchased in other regions may not display the characteristics—such as bulb size, shape, and color—featured in the catalogs.

Gayle M. Volk of the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Fort Collins, and David Stern of the Garlic Seed Foundation authored a study designed to determine which garlic traits are stable and which traits vary depending on where the garlic is grown. According to the study published in a recent issue of HortScience and funded primarily by the Northeast Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education program, prior research has shown that traits such as clove number, clove skin coloration, and topset number are representative of cultivar type across growth locations, whereas "phenotypic" traits such as bulb wrapper color, bulb size, and bulb elemental composition are specific to sites.

Ten diverse garlic cultivars ('Ajo Rojo', 'Chesnok', 'German White', 'Inchelium', 'Purple Glazer', 'Red Janice', 'Sakura', 'Siberian', 'Silverwhite', and 'Spanish Roja') were grown at 12 locations in the United States and Canada for the study. One cultivar representing each of the 10 garlic types was selected to best capture the genetic diversity available within Allium sativum.

In 2005, garlic bulbs obtained from producers in Washington were distributed to 10 garlic growers who practiced sustainable production methods with minimal or no chemical inputs. Small-scale garlic farmers were provided with planting stocks from the same original sources and were asked to grow them on their farms for two consecutive years using their best practices.

At each location, 16 cloves per cultivar were planted in each of three replicate plots. Bulbs were harvested when the lower one-third to one-half of the leaves on the plants had dried. Six to eight bulbs of each cultivar grown in each plot were sent to Fort Collins for data collection and analysis. In Fall 2006, bulbs produced at each farm were replanted and grown for a second season at the same farm (except for a change in the Colorado farm and the addition of a farm in Ontario, Canada). Quality of planting stock, bulb characteristics, bulb wrapper color, bulb yield, clove characteristics and bulb elemental composition were analyzed. Growers also provided feedback for the study using digital documentation, surveys, planting notes, and harvest notes.

Among the significant findings: bulb wrapper color and bulb size were determined to be "highly dependent" on location and cultivar. "It was not surprising to find that bulb size and circumference were highly site-dependent and correlated. Bulb wrapper color is also highly site-specific, supporting evidence reported by marketers that bulb color is more determined by growth environment than cultivar types", Volk stated.

The research offers promise for savvy consumers interested in more locally grown, fresh garlic varieties. "As consumers start to recognize and request garlic types by name, information about which traits define specific cultivars and which traits are highly variable will be valuable for successful marketing of new garlic cultivars", explained Volk.

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/44/5/1238

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application.

Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ashs.org

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>