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Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago

An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favorable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago.

Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

In an article published in the New Phytologist journal, these scientists have studied the evolution of dormancy in seeds using a unique data group. This included the features of dormancy in more than 14,000 species. It is the result of Carol and Jerry Baskin’s work, the co-authors of this publication, who have been studying latency since the 60s.

The analyses conducted by this team of researchers have established that dormancy is as old as seeds themselves. In other words, the oldest among all seeds already had dormancy. ‘Of all possible types of dormancy, the oldest one already featured very sophisticated adjustments to environmental conditions,” according to the coordinator of this project, Rafael Rubio de Casas, a researcher from the Environment Department at the University of Granada, and the only Spaniard involved in this research.

Producing new species

The results of this project indicate that plants without dormancy tend to be less capable of diversification, i.e. to produce new species. “This can be due to the fact that dormancy facilitates that germination only takes place at the optimal moment, in spite of changes in the environment, due either to weather phenomena, or whether due to the fact that the seeds reach a new location after dispersal. This adjustment of the plant cycle to the new environment can reduce the probability of a particular species to become extinct,” Rubio de Casas pointed out.

Dormancy does not simply involve that seeds do not germinate when it is too hot or too cold, since under those conditions it is the environment itself which precludes germination. “What dormancy does is make sure that the seeds do not germinate even when conditions are favorable, which precludes germination after a summer storm, or during a few warm days in winter,” the U. of Granada researcher added.

However, not all plants have dormant seeds. Actually, many species of plants simply germinate at the moment when their seeds are exposed to favouable conditions. Besides, it appears that plants can acquire and lose the dormancy of their seeds in a relatively fast way as a result of natural selection.

“For instance, in the case of cultivated plants, dormancy is one of the first features that appear to have been lost over the domestication process, and for this reason the date for sowing is such an important parameter in farming,” according to Rubio de Casas.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Aussie Listeria Tests Led to Recall of Likely Already Consumed California Fruit

Back in the day, before the fresh fruit and produce industry managed to kill it, the Microbiological Data Program (MDP) came under fire from growers for not providing timely results, sometimes resulting in recalls of fruit that consumers had already eaten.

That was 18 months ago and MDP — the joint venture of about 10 state labs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — dried up Dec. 31, 2012, when Congress withheld funding for the program, which cost only about $ 5 million a year. MDP did about 80 percent of the fresh fruit and vegetable testing in the U.S. and has not been replaced. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did the remaining 20 percent of the fruit tests.

FDA Fresh Fruit and Produce Testing, 2009-13

Fiscal Year Sum of Unique Samples
2009

6243

2010

5967

2011

5882

2012

5174

2013

7592

Total

30858

FDA fruit tests, including both domestically grown and imported produce, amount to only a tiny slice of the fruit and vegetables we consume. And the summer’s largest fruit recall to date illustrates how fresh produce is still being consumed ahead of the tests results — in those few instances where testing exists.

While MDP is gone, other parties doing independent testing on fresh fruits and vegetables are at least some foreign importers. In this case, American consumers can send their thank-you notes to the Aussies.

An Australian importer on July 10 confirmed trace amounts of Listeria in fruit from California’s Wawona Packing Co. It would take nine more days — most taken up waiting for additional laboratory testing — before the Cutler, CA, company opted to order the recall for fruit packed between June 1 and July 12.

Ironically, the Aussie importer’s test of just three peaches found each with traces of Listeria that are within the tolerance levels for both Australia and New Zealand. But once Wawona learned of the results, it had another problem: FDA has a zero-tolerance policy for Listeria.

So the company hired a private laboratory to take additional samples, both inside its packing facility and from its fruit. Wawona shut down packing operations July 12 while it waited for the lab results to be returned. During the next five days, until July 17 when the lab returned Listeria-positive test results from two peaches and one nectarine, the packing company conducted additional cleaning and sanitation for all packing equipment and facilities.

The lab did not quantify the Listeria levels on the fruit that tested positive, so Wawona asked for further testing, which came back negative. Also, none of the environmental samples from equipment and inside the packinghouse were positive.

Wawona, however, went ahead with the recall because it said it felt compelled to do so by FDA’s zero-tolerance policy. The company continues to insist that it believes the actual risk to public health from the recalled fruit is “very low.” And 72 hours after the initial recall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there were no Listeria cases associated with the Wawona fruit recall.

June and early July California-grown fruit was likely mostly consumed before the recall was announced due to testing lagging behind the fast delivery the fresh products require. In that sense, the Aussie importer was no better than MDP in getting ahead of the fruit crop.

However, it’s way too early to blow the all-clear horn because Listeria, a stubborn pathogen that withstands both heat and cold, also has a long incubation period. It can take up to 70 days after infection to the onset of illness. That means fruit consumed in June can make someone sick in September.

Food Safety News

“Many companies are already switching over to Egyptian red onions”

Next week, first grapes from Egypt at Kohl Fruit Trading
“Many companies are already switching over to Egyptian red onions”

Two weeks ago, the company Kohl Fruit Trading, from Bleiswijk, started selling the first red onions from Egypt. “The good crop and weather conditions have resulted in a good harvest. Calibres are smaller, but the volumes and quality are fine,” says Geoffrey Kohl. The importer says that prices have started at a good level. “Traditionally, consumers switch over to Egyptian onions as soon as the Dutch produce no longer meets the necessary quality standards; a switch which many have already made.”

Kohl Fruit delivers the onions to a wide range of European customers. According to Geoffrey, there are no plans for an acreage expansion. “Red onions are traditionally a very big crop in Egypt and I do not see an immediate need for expansion.” There are, according to Geoffrey, numerous agents and producers on the market that claim to be the largest in the country; “that’s why I regularly travel there to see what is going on behind the scenes. We have been working together with most of our suppliers for years and thus we already know what to expect.”

Next week, Kohl Fruit Trading will also receive the first batches of Egyptian grapes, starting with the white seedless and quickly followed by the red seedless. “There have been a lot of Indian grapes for a long time on the market, but their season is coming to an end and there certainly is market demand for Egyptian grapes,” concludes Geoffrey.


For more information:
Geoffry Kohl
Kohl Fruit Trading B.V.
Klappolder 191
2665 MP Bleiswijk, The Netherlands
Tel: 010-26 63 25 5
[email protected]
www.kftrading.nl

Publication date: 5/26/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Chicken from China? Your Seafood is Already Being Processed There

(This editorial was co-written by Nancy Huehnergarth and Bettina Siegel.)

Thanks to our Change.org petition (307,000-plus signatures and rising), millions of Americans have learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is about to allow U.S chickens to be sent to China for processing and then shipped back to the U.S. for human consumption.

This arrangement is particularly alarming given China’s appalling food safety record and the fact that there will be no on-site USDA inspectors in those plants. In addition, American consumers will never know that chicken processed in China is in foods like chicken soup or chicken nuggets because there’s no requirement to label it as such.

One frequent refrain we’ve heard is that no U.S. company will ever ship chicken to China for processing because it doesn’t make economic sense. This was precisely the claim made by Tom Super, spokesman for the National Chicken Council, in a recent Houston Chronicle article about our petition:

“Economically, it doesn’t make much sense,” Super said. “Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the United States, pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that.”

Well, guess what? It clearly does make economic sense because this process is already being used for U.S. seafood. According to the Seattle Times, domestically caught Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab are currently being processed in China and shipped back to the U.S., all because of significant cost savings:

“…  fish processors in the Northwest, including Seattle-based Trident Seafoods, are sending part of their catch of Alaskan salmon or Dungeness crab to China to be filleted or de-shelled before returning to U.S. tables.

“There are 36 pin bones in a salmon and the best way to remove them is by hand,” says Charles Bundrant, founder of Trident, which ships about 30 million pounds of its 1.2 billion-pound annual harvest to China for processing. “Something that would cost us $ 1 per pound labor here, they get it done for 20 cents in China.”

Considerably lower Chinese labor costs are what make the arrangement profitable, even when factoring in round-trip shipping costs over 14,000 miles. Here’s how it works:

The fish are de-headed and gutted on the ship in the Bering Sea, then frozen and sent to China, says Douglas Forsyth, Premier Pacific’s president. Once there, they are boned, skinned and cut into portions of 2 ounces to 6 ounces, he says …

Even factoring in 20 cents a pound in transportation costs, processing in China is still cheaper for the most labor-intensive fish, says Trident’s Bundrant.

So let’s turn back to the question of U.S. chicken.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that American poultry processors are typically paid a little more than $ 11 per hour on average. While we could find no analogous statistics for Chinese poultry workers, this recent news account of a fire at a Chinese poultry processing plant quotes a worker as saying he earns 2,000 yuan ($ 326) per month, or between $ 1-2 per hour.

So, under the Pacific salmon/Dungeness crab model, it seems perfectly plausible that American poultry suppliers will find it makes good economic sense to ship U.S. chicken all the way to China and back for processing.

But, as we state in our petition (along with co-petitioner Barbara Kowalcyk), good economic sense should never trump valid concerns about food safety. And China’s food safety system, which is decades behind ours, can only be described as horrific, as evidenced by just some of the more recent food safety scandals in that country:

Now that it’s clear that processing U.S. chicken in China makes sense economically, it’s even more critical that Congress, President Obama, and his administration stop chicken from, or processed in, China from reaching our supermarkets and the meals we feed our schoolchildren by:

(1) Ensuring that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program; and

(2) Preventing funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the United States.

If you haven’t signed and shared our Change.org petition, please take a moment to add your signature. Every name that’s added puts pressure on our legislators to put the health and safety of America’s children ahead of the interests of food manufacturers. Thank you.

Food Safety News

Trade group says antibacterial soap claims already proven

A rule proposed by the FDA would require manufacturers of soap making antibacterial claims to prove their products are safe and have germ-killing capabilities — proof the American Cleaning Institute says the agency has had for years. The FDA cites a lack of evidence that antibacterial products are more effective germ killers than plain soap and water. The rule would apply to hand soaps and body washes, excluding hand sanitizers, wipes and antibacterial products used in health care …

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Supermarket News

The next best thing is already here

NEW ORLEANS — The hottest new trend is already around, it just hasn’t gotten hot yet.

Boiled down, that was the message delivered at the Oct. 19 general session by keynote speaker Peter Sheahan during the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit, here.

Sheahan, who has written extensively about capitalizing on trends, is a best-selling author and the chief executive officer of ChangeLabs. He and his team have researched many different change trends in business and have determined that when companies are caught by surprise it is typically because they made false assumptions about emerging trends. It was not that the trends weren’t evident.

For example, Henry Ford is credited with changing the world in 1908 when he began mass producing automobiles. But Ford did not invent the automobile. Sheahan said that by 1901, there were 78,000 cars on the road. What Ford did was make an assumption about a trend better than anyone else.

“Change is actually really slow — until it is not,” Sheahan said.

He and his team have looked at many different revolutionary changes and discovered that by and large, they evolved very slowly until they took off. He said that is undoubtedly what is going to happen with the next big thing. It’s already out there in the fringes somewhere. Someone has figured it out. At some point, the adoption rate will be tremendous and some companies will be left behind.

Sheahan said a successful leader is someone who can look at what is already going on and get ahead of the curve. It is not necessarily the person who invents the newest thing.

He listed many different examples, including computers, iPads and cell phones. It took someone to take an existing product and turn it into a marketable item that people just couldn’t live without. Tablet computers, he said, were around for years before Apple created the iPad and sold millions of units almost overnight.

“Change is actually really slow — until it is not,” he repeated.

Sheahan said the key to this kind of thinking is to question assumptions. And he said the best time to do that is when your company or product is riding a wave, because there is almost certainly something on the fringe that is going to eventually knock your product from the top rung.

The ChangeLabs executive said one of the keys to creating the right thinking within a company is collaboration. He used Sony as an example of a firm that was perfectly situated to capitalize when the listening of music transitioned from a physical disc to a small machine, such as an MP3 or an iTouch, that could play thousands of hours of music without a disc.

Sony had a great brand. The firm’s researchers had tested the MP3-type technology and knew it would work. They had the licenses for a lot of music and were experts in video technology. But instead of introducing a technologically advanced MP3 player, Sony put its eggs in the mini-disc basket. That was a tremendous miscalculation that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sony’s chief executive later blamed miscommunication for the company missing that great opportunity. All the pieces were there to produce a great product, but there was no collaboration between divisions — and apparently no leader with the foresight to steer the boat in the right direction.

Sheahan best illustrated his viewpoint with a story about 16-time world chess champion Gary Kasparov, who said his most difficult matches came during his run toward the third title. The first time he won was by introducing a new strategy and being aggressive. The second time competitors had still not caught up with his genius and he won with more of the same strategy.

By the third year, Kasparov knew he had to not only create a new strategy but also unlearn his own strategy. And most importantly, when things weren’t going well, he had to trust his intellect and stay true to his new course. He did so and came out on top once again.

Sheahan calls the desire to abandon new ideas and stick with what got you there the “gravity of success.” He believes this “visceral pull to go back” to previous successes prevents many companies from seeing trends and changing with the times.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines