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US: Pomegranate market to heat up this month

US: Pomegranate market to heat up this month

Fast movement of fresh pomegranates this year could result in fewer supplies available later this month, which could, in turn, make for higher prices. While supplies from California usually last into the January, this year’s supplies could be stretched by Christmas.

“It’s been a very good season this year, with very good retail demand,” said David Anthony of Ruby Fresh. “It allowed us to sell a lot of our pomegranates quickly, so we expect to be finished with pomegranates by Christmas.” Anthony added that they will continue to have packaged arils available into March, at which point they’ll transition to Wonderful supplies from Peru.

“There should be no taste difference between Wonderful pomegranates from California and those from Peru,” Anthony explained, “because we took California trees and planted them in Peru.” Expanded acreage in Peru is part of Ruby Fresh’s growth plan, which has seen the company expand by 25% each year for the last several years. One of the biggest drivers of that growth has been the demand for their fresh arils.

“Our biggest mover this year has been the four-ounce and five-ounce aril cups,” said Anthony. “People really like them because they’re a good snack to have on the go, so we have seen exponential growth with the aril cups.”

For more information:
David Anthony
Ruby Fresh
Tel: +1 (559) 933-0340
[email protected]
www.rubyfresh.com 

Publication date: 12/9/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Breeding soybeans that can tolerate heat, drought

Hot, dry conditions can wreak havoc on a field of soybeans. According to the National Center for Soybean Technology, “drought is the greatest threat to profitability.”

Work underway at South Dakota State University may change that.

Assistant professor Jai Rohila of the biology and microbiology department is uncovering the molecular mechanisms that lead to drought and heat tolerance. This will help breeders develop soybean varieties that can survive heat and drought.

“Ultimately our goal is to help the farmers in the field,” Rohila said.

To do this, he is working with University of Minnesota soybean breeder Jim Orf, who provided Rohila with two varieties of soybeans, one that has greater tolerance to hot, dry conditions, and another that is susceptible. The project, which began in 2010, is supported by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

“Drought and heat are very complicated,” Rohila said, because multiple genes affect the plant’s physiological and biochemical response to environmental stressors. “I am going to build a bridge between the physiology and the gene discovery.”

By comparing the two soybean varieties, Rohila and graduate student Aayudh Das hope to identify the key genes that lead to increased tolerance. Genes regulate the expression of proteins and chemical signaling pathways that determine the plant’s response to heat and lack of water.

“We study not one gene at a time, but many,” said Rohila. “With a global approach, we can nail down many molecular players at a single time.”

Das has found 90 proteins that are differentially expressed during drought and heat conditions in the tolerant variety. These proteins then interact with enzymes that affect the plant’s metabolism including its ability to produce carbohydrates, lipids and various metabolites including amino acids.

A drought-stressed soybean plant, for instance, closes its pores or stomata to prevent water from escaping; however, this action has a cost — it limits the plant’s ability to take in carbon dioxide and ultimately to make the carbohydrates it needs, Das explained.

In comparing enzyme levels in the two soybean varieties, he identified two enzymes which are up regulated significantly in the variety that performs better under heat stress.

“Up regulation of these enzymes also protects other enzymes,” he said, which then helps the plant tolerate heat. “This was an unexpected discovery.”

Though the researchers have more work to do, Das explained that the next step will be to see if overexpressing these enzymes can further protect the soybean plant.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

US (CA): Heat pushes back start of pomegranate season

Though many growers in California were anticipating a quick start to the pomegranate season, hot, dry conditions have pushed back harvesting. Picking is now expected to begin next week.

“People were saying this season could be early, but right now it looks like it could be just on time or even a little delayed,” said David Anthony of Ruby Fresh Pomegranates. “We expect to start Monday, October 6, but the season remains delayed due to a severe drought and high heat.” Warm weather has been a roadblock because pomegranates require cool night temperatures to achieve the right colour. Pomegranates don’t gain colour once they’ve been picked, so growers are hesitant to harvest their crop until the fruit achieves just the right colour. Dry conditions have also delayed picking because of the toll they’ve taken on trees.

“A tree goes into survival mode when it’s stressed,” said Anthony. “The drought has been stressing the trees, so the combination of that and the heat has slowed down the ability of fruit to colour and gain size.” With no fruit out of California yet, demand is high in anticipation of supplies that will come later this month.

“There’s a lot of demand right now,” explained Anthony. “So the market will be strong when the season begins, then them market will stabilize when there are good supplies during the second half of October.”

For more information:

David Anthony

Ruby Fresh Pomegranates

+1 559 933 0340

FreshPlaza.com

Climate: Meat turns up the heat as livestock emit greenhouse gases

Eating meat contributes to climate change, due to greenhouse gasses emitted by livestock. New research finds that livestock emissions are on the rise and that beef cattle are responsible for far more greenhouse gas emissions than other types of animals. It is published by Climactic Change.

Carbon dioxide is the most-prevalent gas when it comes to climate change. It is released by vehicles, industry, and forest removal and comprises the greatest portion of greenhouse gas totals. But methane and nitrous oxide are also greenhouse gasses and account for approximately 28 percent of global warming activity.

Methane and nitrous oxide are released, in part, by livestock. Animals release methane as a result of microorganisms that are involved in their digestive processes and nitrous oxide from decomposing manure. These two gasses are responsible for a quarter of these non-carbon dioxide gas emissions and 9 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions overall.

The research team, including Dario Caro, formerly of Carnegie and now at the University of Siena in Italy, and Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, estimated the greenhouse gas emissions related to livestock in 237 countries over a nearly half a century and found that livestock emissions increased by 51 percent over this period.

They found a stark difference between livestock-related emissions in the developing world, which accounts for most of this increase, and that released by developed countries. This is expected to increase further going forward, as demand for meat, dairy products, and eggs is predicted by some scientists to double by 2050. By contrast, developed countries reached maximum livestock emissions in the 1970s and have been in decline since that time.

“The developing world is getting better at reducing greenhouse emissions caused by each animal, but this improvement is not keeping up with the increasing demand for meat,” said Caro. “As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from livestock keep going up and up in much of the developing world.”

Breaking it down by animal, beef and dairy cattle comprised 74 percent of livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions, 54 percent coming from beef cattle and 17 percent from dairy cattle. Part of this is due to the abundance of cows, but it is also because cattle emit greater quantities of methane and nitrous oxide than other animals. Sheep comprised 9 percent, buffalo 7 percent, pigs 5 percent, and goats 4 percent.

“That tasty hamburger is the real culprit,” Caldeira said. “It might be better for the environment if we all became vegetarians, but a lot of improvement could come from eating pork or chicken instead of beef.”

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

US (CA): Heat throws off tomato picking, affects volumes

Warm weather in some of California’s tomato-growing regions has sped up harvesting of the tomato crop there. With accelerated maturation throwing off growers’ planning, the spurts and gaps in production have affected pricing.

“We had a good start to the season, and then the heat came along,” said Todd Giardina of The Dimare Company in Newman, California. “As conditions got hotter, the tomatoes grew faster.” Accelerated maturation threw off the timing of many growers, who typically harvest their tomatoes on a 90-day cycle. But warm weather brought on more supplies sooner than expected and could cause gaps in production later in the season. Giardina noted that the past three weeks have seen low prices, in the range of $ 3 to $ 5 per 25-pound case, which is lower than the $ 7 to $ 10 per case growers were seeing this time last year.

“The reason for the prices is that there’s too much product,” said Giardina. “The harvest has been pushed up, so there will be gaps and swings in production.”

For more information:

Todd Giardina

The DiMare Company

+1 209 862 2872

FreshPlaza.com

US (CA): Heat affects Central Valley grapes

Several weeks of high temperatures in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley have affected table grapes in the region. The heat has had an effect on the sugar content, maturation and colouring.

High temperatures in the valley have reached or topped 100 degrees for most of the month of July, and that intense heat has sped up fruit maturation. The lack of water the state’s growers have had to deal with has also compounded the situation. As Nick Dulcich, of Sunlight International, explained, the drought means there’s less water for vineyards, and dry conditions in the fields have augmented the heat’s effects.

“We usually run water down the furrow in the middle of the rows and get grass growing in between,” said Dulcich. “But because we have less water due to the drought, the soil is dry in the field and there’s no absorption of that heat, so it’s just pure heat on that dirt. It’s stopped the colour, it’s advancing the sugars and some varieties are coming abnormally early.” He pointed to the Princess variety as an example of the effects of the heat. While that variety doesn’t usually come on until August, this year Sunlight will be done with the Princess by July 22 – a full two weeks before it’s usually available. In addition to speeding up maturity, the heat has also been upping sugars.

“Brix for Summer Royal grapes are usually around 18 or 19,” noted Dulcich, “but we’ve measured them at 27 this year, which is unheard of.” While sugars may be up, the timing to get good colouring on the grapes has been thrown off.

“We’ve got fruit that’s got 15 percent colour and 19 brix, and if the fruit doesn’t get the right colour it doesn’t make it to market,” said Dulcich. “We’re worried because, if you look at Scarlet Royals, they have 60 percent colour and a lot more sugar than you’d think. It’s a timing thing, and the heat hit at a time when it affects colour.”

For more information:

Nick Dulcich

Sunlight International

+1 661 792 6360

FreshPlaza.com

US (CA): Heat affects Central Valley grapes

Several weeks of high temperatures in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley have affected table grapes in the region. The heat has had an effect on the sugar content, maturation and colouring.

High temperatures in the valley have reached or topped 100 degrees for most of the month of July, and that intense heat has sped up fruit maturation. The lack of water the state’s growers have had to deal with has also compounded the situation. As Nick Dulcich, of Sunlight International, explained, the drought means there’s less water for vineyards, and dry conditions in the fields have augmented the heat’s effects.

“We usually run water down the furrow in the middle of the rows and get grass growing in between,” said Dulcich. “But because we have less water due to the drought, the soil is dry in the field and there’s no absorption of that heat, so it’s just pure heat on that dirt. It’s stopped the colour, it’s advancing the sugars and some varieties are coming abnormally early.” He pointed to the Princess variety as an example of the effects of the heat. While that variety doesn’t usually come on until August, this year Sunlight will be done with the Princess by July 22 – a full two weeks before it’s usually available. In addition to speeding up maturity, the heat has also been upping sugars.

“Brix for Summer Royal grapes are usually around 18 or 19,” noted Dulcich, “but we’ve measured them at 27 this year, which is unheard of.” While sugars may be up, the timing to get good colouring on the grapes has been thrown off.

“We’ve got fruit that’s got 15 percent colour and 19 brix, and if the fruit doesn’t get the right colour it doesn’t make it to market,” said Dulcich. “We’re worried because, if you look at Scarlet Royals, they have 60 percent colour and a lot more sugar than you’d think. It’s a timing thing, and the heat hit at a time when it affects colour.”

For more information:

Nick Dulcich

Sunlight International

+1 661 792 6360

FreshPlaza.com

US (CA): Extreme heat and birds threaten Valley grapes

US (CA): Extreme heat and birds threaten Valley grapes

Some Valley growers are in a race against time. The heat is ripening grapes on the vine while labourers work shorter hours because of the high heat. Bright reflective foil strips fly over a Madera vineyard to keep the birds away from the red flame seedless grapes.

Michelle Shackelford of Robert Johnson Farms explained, “Hopefully the wind scares the birds away by flapping the tape.” But Shackelford said the strips don’t keep enough of the hungry birds away. “No, they don’t. It lasts for about a day. Helps for about a day.”

Fortunately the grape crop was healthy and heavy. Shackelford said the red flame harvest started a little early this year. In another week all of the bunches will be a nice red colour because of the intense heat.

Michelle said, “This heat is pushing them to colour. They’re colouring much faster.”

The leafy canopy helps protect the grapes from sunburn as does the grass growing in each row. Shackelford said, “Grapes need circulation, air circulation to prevent mildew growth but on top they like a nice umbrella.”

Shackelford added the hot streak will damage some of her varieties.

“It’s also going to impact I think the Thompson crop, “said Shackelford. “I think we’re going to see some burn on 5-10% of the crop.”

The red flames are sold locally at The Market and Whole Foods under the Robert Johnson Farms label as well as the Jenelle brand, which combines the names of Michelle and her sister Jennifer.

Please click here to view the video report.

Source: abc30.com

Publication date: 7/9/2014


FreshPlaza.com

US (CA): Extreme heat and birds threaten Valley grapes

US (CA): Extreme heat and birds threaten Valley grapes

Some Valley growers are in a race against time. The heat is ripening grapes on the vine while labourers work shorter hours because of the high heat. Bright reflective foil strips fly over a Madera vineyard to keep the birds away from the red flame seedless grapes.

Michelle Shackelford of Robert Johnson Farms explained, “Hopefully the wind scares the birds away by flapping the tape.” But Shackelford said the strips don’t keep enough of the hungry birds away. “No, they don’t. It lasts for about a day. Helps for about a day.”

Fortunately the grape crop was healthy and heavy. Shackelford said the red flame harvest started a little early this year. In another week all of the bunches will be a nice red colour because of the intense heat.

Michelle said, “This heat is pushing them to colour. They’re colouring much faster.”

The leafy canopy helps protect the grapes from sunburn as does the grass growing in each row. Shackelford said, “Grapes need circulation, air circulation to prevent mildew growth but on top they like a nice umbrella.”

Shackelford added the hot streak will damage some of her varieties.

“It’s also going to impact I think the Thompson crop, “said Shackelford. “I think we’re going to see some burn on 5-10% of the crop.”

The red flames are sold locally at The Market and Whole Foods under the Robert Johnson Farms label as well as the Jenelle brand, which combines the names of Michelle and her sister Jennifer.

Please click here to view the video report.

Source: abc30.com

Publication date: 7/9/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Mann Packing’s marketing activities heat up summer sales

Mann Packing is heating up sales with its annual Summer Slaw Spectacular promotion, along with a new seasonal “Summer Fun” fresh vegetable tray.Manns-US

Instant Redeemable Coupons will be applied to packages of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad beginning mid-June through Independence Day. Consumers will save $ 0.55 per package.

“This is one of Mann’s most successful promotions historically with more than 200,000 impressions delivered over the peak slaw season and Fourth of July holiday,” Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation, said in a press release. “We are expecting double-digit redemption nearing 20 percent.”

Mann-Summer-SlawMann’s latest seasonal tray — with a “Summer Fun” graphic design — will be available in the United States and Canada in 18-ounce and 40-ounce sizes from the end of May through August 2014.

“Our tray business is strong and we want to continue to offer our retail partners occasion-based products that generate incremental sales, as well as in-and-out opportunities,” St. George said. “The high-impact graphics are attention-getters, and consumers love the convenience of grabbing a fresh, healthy item that’s easy to take to summertime events and activities, and is always a crowd pleaser.”

More information about Mann’s Summer Fun tray, annual Summer Slaw Spectacular and other promotions is available at www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Mann Packing’s marketing activities heat up summer sales

Mann Packing is heating up sales with its annual Summer Slaw Spectacular promotion, along with a new seasonal “Summer Fun” fresh vegetable tray.Manns-US

Instant Redeemable Coupons will be applied to packages of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad beginning mid-June through Independence Day. Consumers will save $ 0.55 per package.

“This is one of Mann’s most successful promotions historically with more than 200,000 impressions delivered over the peak slaw season and Fourth of July holiday,” Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation, said in a press release. “We are expecting double-digit redemption nearing 20 percent.”

Mann-Summer-SlawMann’s latest seasonal tray — with a “Summer Fun” graphic design — will be available in the United States and Canada in 18-ounce and 40-ounce sizes from the end of May through August 2014.

“Our tray business is strong and we want to continue to offer our retail partners occasion-based products that generate incremental sales, as well as in-and-out opportunities,” St. George said. “The high-impact graphics are attention-getters, and consumers love the convenience of grabbing a fresh, healthy item that’s easy to take to summertime events and activities, and is always a crowd pleaser.”

More information about Mann’s Summer Fun tray, annual Summer Slaw Spectacular and other promotions is available at www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Mann Packing’s marketing activities heat up summer sales

Mann Packing is heating up sales with its annual Summer Slaw Spectacular promotion, along with a new seasonal “Summer Fun” fresh vegetable tray.Manns-US

Instant Redeemable Coupons will be applied to packages of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad beginning mid-June through Independence Day. Consumers will save $ 0.55 per package.

“This is one of Mann’s most successful promotions historically with more than 200,000 impressions delivered over the peak slaw season and Fourth of July holiday,” Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation, said in a press release. “We are expecting double-digit redemption nearing 20 percent.”

Mann-Summer-SlawMann’s latest seasonal tray — with a “Summer Fun” graphic design — will be available in the United States and Canada in 18-ounce and 40-ounce sizes from the end of May through August 2014.

“Our tray business is strong and we want to continue to offer our retail partners occasion-based products that generate incremental sales, as well as in-and-out opportunities,” St. George said. “The high-impact graphics are attention-getters, and consumers love the convenience of grabbing a fresh, healthy item that’s easy to take to summertime events and activities, and is always a crowd pleaser.”

More information about Mann’s Summer Fun tray, annual Summer Slaw Spectacular and other promotions is available at www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Mann Packing’s marketing activities heat up summer sales

Mann Packing is heating up sales with its annual Summer Slaw Spectacular promotion, along with a new seasonal “Summer Fun” fresh vegetable tray.Manns-US

Instant Redeemable Coupons will be applied to packages of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad beginning mid-June through Independence Day. Consumers will save $ 0.55 per package.

“This is one of Mann’s most successful promotions historically with more than 200,000 impressions delivered over the peak slaw season and Fourth of July holiday,” Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation, said in a press release. “We are expecting double-digit redemption nearing 20 percent.”

Mann-Summer-SlawMann’s latest seasonal tray — with a “Summer Fun” graphic design — will be available in the United States and Canada in 18-ounce and 40-ounce sizes from the end of May through August 2014.

“Our tray business is strong and we want to continue to offer our retail partners occasion-based products that generate incremental sales, as well as in-and-out opportunities,” St. George said. “The high-impact graphics are attention-getters, and consumers love the convenience of grabbing a fresh, healthy item that’s easy to take to summertime events and activities, and is always a crowd pleaser.”

More information about Mann’s Summer Fun tray, annual Summer Slaw Spectacular and other promotions is available at www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Mann Packing’s marketing activities heat up summer sales

Mann Packing is heating up sales with its annual Summer Slaw Spectacular promotion, along with a new seasonal “Summer Fun” fresh vegetable tray.Manns-US

Instant Redeemable Coupons will be applied to packages of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw and Rainbow Salad beginning mid-June through Independence Day. Consumers will save $ 0.55 per package.

“This is one of Mann’s most successful promotions historically with more than 200,000 impressions delivered over the peak slaw season and Fourth of July holiday,” Kim St. George, director of marketing and innovation, said in a press release. “We are expecting double-digit redemption nearing 20 percent.”

Mann-Summer-SlawMann’s latest seasonal tray — with a “Summer Fun” graphic design — will be available in the United States and Canada in 18-ounce and 40-ounce sizes from the end of May through August 2014.

“Our tray business is strong and we want to continue to offer our retail partners occasion-based products that generate incremental sales, as well as in-and-out opportunities,” St. George said. “The high-impact graphics are attention-getters, and consumers love the convenience of grabbing a fresh, healthy item that’s easy to take to summertime events and activities, and is always a crowd pleaser.”

More information about Mann’s Summer Fun tray, annual Summer Slaw Spectacular and other promotions is available at www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Climate change: Improving heat tolerance in trees

Is it possible to improve tolerance of trees to high temperatures and other types of stress derived of climate change? A research group of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), led by Luis Gómez, a professor of the Forestry School and the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP), is studying the tolerance of trees using molecular and biotechnological tools. The research work was published in the last issue of the journal Plant Physiology.

The obtained poplars in this project, with the collaboration of the Universidad de Málaga, are significantly more tolerant to high temperatures than the control trees. These trees are also more tolerant to drought, to the presence of weed-killer, to in vitro and ex vitro crops, to contamination and other ways of abiotic stress that have an applied interest for forestry. This work is a continuation of a project started by of a research team of the UPM a decade ago. This study focuses on mechanisms that plant cells use to protect themselves from stress factors.

Due to the human pressure on forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is promoting intensive plantations as an alternative to meet the global demand of wood and other products. Besides, plantations have social and economic benefits (job creation, wealth and rural development). This model change has significant ecological consequences.

The role of forests is essential for climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation, amongst others. A documentary “El Bosque Protector,” co-produced by the UPM and available on “A la Carta” of RTVE shows the result of this study. Tree farming plantations as a realistic alternative will be possible if the current yield significantly increases. But, global warming hinders this goal due to the losses in the agricultural sector for the last decade. Besides, a recent multidisciplinary study published in Nature Climate Change journal reveals that global warming is also accelerating deforestation of the planet.

“The genetic and biochemistry complexity of the tolerance mechanisms to high temperatures has hindered positive results so far,” said Luis Gómez. “Our work confirms that it is possible to obtain positive results if we focus on fundamental protective mechanisms which are present in living beings. They are so fundamental that the obtained poplars in this work can resist other stress factors.” Due to economic losses associated to these factors, this work of the researchers of UPM can contribute to increase yields and, consequently to mitigate the current pressure on forests.

This research group has funding from the National R&D Plan, the Activity Program of the Research Groups from the Community of Madrid and the LIFE+ Programmeof the European Union.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Manipulating heat, drought tolerance in cowpeas

Cowpeas, known as black-eyed peas in the U.S., are an important and versatile food legume grown in more than 80 countries. Texas A&M University scientists are working to map the genes controlling drought and heat tolerance in recent varieties.

New and improved varieties of cowpeas have numerous adaptive traits of agronomic importance, such as 60-70 day maturity, drought tolerance, heat tolerance, aphid resistance and low phosphorus tolerance, said Dr. Meiping Zhang, Texas A&M AgriLife Research associate research scientist in College Station.

Under a National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant of $ 500,000, Zhang and other Texas A&M scientists will take advantage of the recently developed DNA sequencing technology to map and ultimately clone the genes controlling drought and heat tolerance for molecular studies and deployment of these genes in other crops, she said.

Joining Zhang on the project are Dr. Hongbin Zhang, Texas A&M professor of plant genomics and systems biology and director of the Laboratory for Plant Genomics and Molecular Genetics; Dr. B.B. Singh, a visiting scholar and cowpea breeder with the Texas A&M soil and crop sciences department; and Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M associate professor of physiological and molecular genetics, all in College Station.

The goal of the study is to develop single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNP markers, the latest DNA marker technology, enabling efficient manipulation of heat and drought tolerances in cowpeas and related species, Zhang said.

Cowpeas were chosen for the study because they are a high protein grain, vegetable, fodder and high nitrogen-fixing legume that can be intercropped with corn, cotton and other crops in many countries, including the U.S., Zhang said.

“We know it is highly tolerant to drought, heat and several other biotic and abiotic stresses,” she said. “This research will use high-throughput site-associated DNA sequencing to map the genes controlling drought and heat tolerance and to develop SNP markers, enabling efficient manipulation of heat and drought tolerances in cowpea and related species.”

Zhang said they have already developed a mapping population of 110 recombinant inbred lines from a cross of two cowpea lines that are highly tolerant or susceptible to both drought and high temperature. This population is being augmented into more than 200 recombinant inbred lines for the new project.

“We will not only map drought and heat tolerant genes, but also develop a platform for mapping genes controlling several other biotic and abiotic stress tolerances such as aphid resistance and low phosphorus tolerance, both of which are also of extreme significance for agricultural production of many crops.”

The drought and heat tolerant genes, once defined and cloned, will significantly advance understanding of the molecular basis underlying plant tolerances to these stresses, Zhang said.

This will help researchers design tools to effectively combine multiple traits into new cultivars adapted to the globally changing climate in this and related crops, thus supporting the long-term genetic improvement and sustainability of U.S. agriculture and food systems, she said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas AgriLife Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Pasteurization: How Heat Keeps Pathogens at Bay

When Louis Pasteur developed and patented the process of pasteurization in the 1860s, it had nothing to do with milk. He was more concerned with keeping beer from spoiling.

But, by the turn of the century, this method of preservation had been adapted to address common water- and milk-borne diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, severe streptococcal infections, typhoid fever and other foodborne illnesses.

Pasteurizing milk became routine in the U.S. starting in the 1920s. Today, a number of other products on grocery store shelves, including eggs and juices, are also pasteurized.

While pasteurization doesn’t kill all the microorganisms in our food, it does greatly reduce the number of pathogens so that they are unlikely to cause disease. And, like with Pasteur’s beer, it reduces spoilage organisms, extending our food’s “shelf life.”

The method of pasteurization simply involves heating food (usually a liquid) to a specific temperature for a certain length of time and then immediately cooling it. Manufacturers use various time-temperature combinations when treating their products.

“Vat pasteurization” means milk is heated to 63 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, but “your normal pasteurization is probably going to be for 15 seconds at 72 degrees [Celsius],” says Michele Jay-Russell, a veterinarian and food safety specialist at the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at University of California, Davis. This is called “high-temperature short-time” (HTST) processing, or flash pasteurization.

At the most extreme, there’s “ultra pasteurization,” which could involve heating to 138 degrees C for 2 seconds. This variation sterilizes food and allows for products to be on shelves instead of the refrigerated section of the grocery store (think boxed milk).

The specific temperatures allotted for pasteurization are based on the ability to kill the most heat-resistant of pathogens, Jay-Russell says. Campylobacter will die pretty quickly at 72 degrees C, she says, but processors need higher temperatures to kill Q fever.

“If you can kill that off, you’ve killed off everything else,” Jay-Russell adds.

Of course, pasteurization is in the news these days because of the debate about raw milk.

The market is growing of consumers seeking unprocessed foods or those wanting to support small farms. And advocates of raw milk defend it for a number of reasons, particularly arguing that pasteurization reduces the nutritional and health benefits of milk.

But, without pasteurization, E. coli, Campylobcater and Salmonella can be much more prevalent in the milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products reported between 1998 and 2011. Among the victims, there were 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations and two deaths.

Milk is a real breeding ground for pathogens, Jay-Russell says.

“If you get Salmonella or E. coli on a lettuce leaf, it’s not a happy environment for that bacteria. If you put just a couple of cells into raw milk, it’s like a culture medium,” she says.

Because raw milk can be particularly dangerous for young children whose immune systems are especially susceptible to infection, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement in December stating that pregnant women, infants and children should only consume pasteurized milk and milk products.

The health benefits that proponents say are removed by pasteurization “have not been clearly demonstrated in evidence-based studies and, therefore, do not outweigh the risks of raw milk consumption,” the AAP said. “Substantial data suggest that pasteurized milk confers equivalent health benefits compared with raw milk, without the additional risk of bacterial infections.”

“You have to take steps to keep the risk as minimal as possible,” Jay-Russell says.

Food Safety News

BSU ROTC, Mountain Home Air Force Base heat up gameday for BSU-Air Force Academy competition

In anticipation of the competition between Boise State Broncos and Air Force Academy Falcons at BSU Bronco Stadium on Friday, Sept. 13, teams representing Boise State ROTC and nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base will come together in a fierce but friendly battle in the second “Grill-Off” sponsored by USA Onions.

Held just outside the stadium in a large-footprint tent with Weber grill products and local food items to add to the competitive spirit, the pre-game grilling contests draw upwards of 10,000 visitors to the tent. jumbo-and-rubyJumbo and Ruby, mascots for USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, appear at each of the spiritied “Grill-Off” competitions held pre-game at Boise State home football games this fall. (Photo courtesy of USA Onions)The Boise State ROTC and Mountain Home Air Force contest is expected to “ignite tailgate excitement for football fans,” according to Sherise Jones, marketing director for USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee.

The Friday grill-off features a military theme and provides a “Salute to the All-American Burger.” The event gets under way at 3 p.m. at the Ford Fan Zone with grilled onion samples, a Weber grill giveaway sweepstakes and a visit from the USA Onion mascots Jumbo and Ruby. The grill-off commences at 4 p.m. when Boise State ROTC and members of the Mountain Home Air Force Base Force Support Squadron “fire up their grills for a sizzling head-to-head barbeque battle,” Jones said.

She said both teams will utilize their own recipe for the all-American burger, which will be served to three judges who declare winners for the best use of USA Onions and best overall burger.  

Well-known food bloggers Tammilee and John Tillison will be on hand for the judging, as well as a representative from the Idaho’s Veterans Home in Boise.

“Members of the Boise State ROTC are chomping at the bit to put their team’s backyard barbeque skills up against the honed cooking technique of the Mountain Home Air Force Base Force Support Squadron,” she said.  “Boise State ROTC has already predicted a win and claims they will have plenty of ROTC cheerleaders on hand to spark team enthusiasm and wow the judges.”

But she added that MHAFB “has a few tricks up their sleeve and intends to stick to their motto, ‘Aim High! Fly-Fight-Win!’”

Jones went on to say, “USA Onions is ecstatic that the Boise State ROTC and MHAFB agreed to participate in this week’s USA Onion Grill-Off competition.  Since our goal is to establish the USA Onion Grill-Off as college football’s premier tailgating event series, this matchup will go far to earn that status.”

Jones noted that USA Onions is the branding identity for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, representing 36 shippers and 300 onion growers who ship more than a billion pounds of onions from the Treasure Valley. Some of the onion fields are less than 20 miles from Bronco Stadium, she added

Jones said, “The Grill-Off is designed to increase USA Onion consumption, encourage healthy grilling and provide the ultimate college football tailgating experience.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Heat treatments and the postharvest quality of fresh-cut spinach

Heat treatments and the postharvest quality of fresh-cut spinach

Recently, several studies have demonstrated that a heat shock by using hot water washing at temperature ranging from 37 to 55 °C for a treatment duration from 30 sec to 3 minutes can improve the postharvest quality of spinach and rocket leaves. It has been shown that the heat treatments delay the leaf yellowing that is the major cause of quality loss during the shelf-life, which varies from 5 to 10 days according to the quality of raw material at harvest, postharvest treatments and storage conditions.

UK scientists of Harper Adams University (Newport, Stropshire TF10 8NB) carried out a study on spinach 1) to optimize the water temperature and the duration of hot water postharvest treatment and 2) to determine the effects of the heat treatment set previously on the shelf-life and on the biochemical response of spinach leaves.

For the first part of the study, spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) cultivar ‘Toucan’ was used, the leaves were subjected to hot water (40, 45 or 50 °C) treatment for 0, 30, 60 or 120 seconds by using a water bath with distilled water and stainless steel baskets, subsequently leaves were washed with cold water at 4°C for 120 sec, dried, packaged and stored under dark at 4°C for 10 days. Analyzing the results, the scientists established that the maximum hot water temperature and duration before spinach was damaged was 45°C for 60 seconds.

For the second part of the study, spinach leaves were subjected to hot water treatment at 45°C for 0 seconds (unheated, control) or 60 seconds by using a water bath with distilled water and stainless steel baskets, subsequently leaves were washed with cold water at 4°C for 120 sec, dried, packaged and stored under dark at 4°C for 10 days. Comparing heated leaves, treated immediately after harvest, with unheated leaves, the scientists found that the heat treatment accelerated the leaf senescence during storage at 4°C. Heated leaves were significantly lighter and more yellow than unheated leaves (Table 1).

Table 1. Effect of hot water applied at 45°C for 0 sec (unheated, control) or 60 sec (heated) on leaf color changes during the storage of spinach leaves at 4°C for 10 days.
Click here to enlarge.

The hot water treatment did not increase the shelf-life of spinach, prolong tissue quality (Figure 1) or either maintain or increase the total ascorbic acid content (Figure 2). This study has showed that hot water treatments have limited commercial application for quality improvement of spinach leaves.

Figure 1. Effect of hot water applied at 45°C for 0 sec (unheated, control) or 60 sec (heated) on solute leakage in spinach leaves after 5 and 10 days of storage at  4°C.

Figure 2. Effect of hot water applied at 45°C for 0 sec (unheated, control) or 60 sec (heated) on total ascorbic acid (AsA, ascorbic acid + DHA, dehydroascorbic acid) in spinach leaves after 5 and 10 days of storage at 4°C.

Source: Glowacz M., Mogren L.M., Reade J.P.H., Cobb A.H., Monaghan J.M., “Can hot water treatments enhance or maintain postharvest quality of spinach leaves?“, Postharvest Biology and Technology, 2013, 81: 23-28. Further info: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925521413000392

Publication date: 8/29/2013
Author: Emanuela Fontana
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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