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 New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>