Monthly Archives: March 2013

Genetic Solutions in Maize Nutritional Content

English: Maize/corn kernels

English: Maize/corn kernels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to genes an environment ineract to affect nutrition?

USDA and University of Florida Horticultural Sciences researchers characterized the mineral nutritional content of maize recombinant inbred lines to identify quantitative trait loci impacting kernel quality in a broad set of environments. This research identifies several key genes that can be used to biofortify  corn for improved nutritional content.  The UF work was performed by the laboratory of Dr. Mark Settles.

Baxter IR, Gustin JL, Settles AM, Hoekenga OA (2013) Ionomic Characterization of Maize Kernels in the Intermated B73 × Mo17 Population. Crop Science 53: 208-220. 

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Keeping the Pipes Clear

cbfrontiers130513The vessels that move water around the plant are subject to blockage with air, and specialized mechanisms are in place to repair air embolisms.  Such mechanisms are critical to survival during periods of environmental stress, such as drought.

Long-distance transport of water in the plant’s plumbing is dependent upon many factors working together, including the anatomical basis of the pipes themselves.

UF Horticultural Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Craig Brodersen has examined the literature in this area, and the results are published in Frontiers in Plant Science.

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“Best Paper” for Managing Water to Limit Nitrogen Leaching

Pepperfield.jpg

Dr. Lincoln Zotarelli and colleages recieved the 2013 Best Paper Award for their work,  “Irrigation Scheduling for Green Bell Peppers Using Capacitance Soil Moisture Sensors”.   The study examined the relationship between nitrogen retentinon and irrigation timing intervals, as determined by soil mositure sensor/controllers. The study showed that the sensors decreased water use, cut nitrogen leaching, and did not affect yields, making their application potentially of great beneift to growers and the environment.  The award will be presented at the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2013, May 19 – 23, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Tomato Flavor Publication Among UF’s Best

In 2012 the work by Tieman et al detailed the interaction between components of the tomato (volatiles, sugars, acids) and human liking.  The results show that a surprising array of factors contribute to the sensory experience and were published in the prestigous journal Current Biology.

The work was recognized by UF-IFAS as one of the most outstanding “high-impact” papers.  The authors will be recognized at the 6th Annual UF/IFAS Research Awards Ceremony in April.

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Dr. Paul Lyrene Recognized for Continued Advances

Horticultural Sciences Emeritus Professor Dr. Paul Lyrene is the winner of the Professor Emeritus Research Award, given for continued contributions to research after retirement. Dr. Lyrene “retired” in 2009, yet he has been instrumental in the continued success and expansion of the blueberry breeding program. He continues to publish research in the area, with several papers in 2012 and one in this month’s Hortscience. He recently commented that it has been an especially productive time because now he has the freedom to work without the burdens of administering an academic breeding program.  Dr. Lyrene will receive the 2013 Professor Emeritus Research Award at the 2013 IFAS Research Awards Ceremony on April 25. Dr. Lyrene’s successes anchor a substantial blueberry industry in the State of Florida.  The blueberry breeding program continues to move foward with new, innovative cultivars that meet Florida’s many challenges, ensuring high-quality berries for years to come.

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Hort Sci Researcher Recognized for Post-Doc Training

Associate Professor and Interim Chair  Kevin Folta was recently recognized for his work training and promoting postdoctoral researchers.

The Postdoc Mentoring and Career Building program trains UF postdocs on professional skills (grant writing, paper writing), management and communications.  Read more here. 

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UF Breeders Recognized with Fruit Cultivar Award

The January 2013 issue of HortScience lists a 25-year summary of outstanding fruits bred and recognizes the scientists that invented them.

‘Flordaprince’ peach and ‘Sharpblue’ blueberry won the award – both were the groundbreaking cultivars that enabled production of commercial quality peach and blueberry fruit in Florida.  These were the first successful low-chill cultivars released from the respective programs, and were the trailblazers for what is now a worldwide industry based on Florida-developed genetics.

“Flordaprince” peach was developed by Drs. Wayne Sherman, Paul Lyrene, Ralph Sharpe, John Mortensen.  The “Sharpblue” blueberry was developed by Drs. Ralph Sharpe and Wayne Sherman

These examples are representative of how our faculty have re-written the rules in fruit breeding leading to great varieties with significant US and international impact.

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