ASHS Press Releases

American Society for Horticultural Science

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ASHS Press Releases
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Method streamlines collection while maintaining genetic diversity

COLUMBUS, OH -- Reseachers at The Ohio State University have demonstrated that Target Region Amplification Polymorphism, or TRAP, is an effective method for preserving the important genetic diversity of ornamental flower collections.

Pelargonium, commonly know as geranium, are some of the most popular flowers the world. So popular, in fact, that the Royal Horticultural Society listed more than 3,000 varieties of geranium in their 2004 distribution catalogue. Sold in hanging baskets, flats and decorative pots, geranium plants accounted for more than $206 million in wholesale revenue in the U.S. during 2004. Essential oils from some scented geraniums are finding new uses in perfumes and food flavorings.

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Underrated root crop celebrated during 2008 "International Year of the Potato"



Orange-fleshed sweet potato.
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WASHINGTON, DC -- Sweetpotatoes, often misunderstood and underrated, are receiving new attention as a life-saving food crop in developing countries. According to the International Potato Center (www.cipotato.org), more than 95 percent of the global sweetpotato crop is grown in developing countries, where it is the fifth most important food crop. Despite its name, the sweetpotato is not related to the potato. Potatoes are tubers (referring to their thickened stems) and members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant. Sweetpotatoes are classified as "storage roots" and belong to the morning-glory family.

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"Bhut Jolokia" Confirmed by Guiness World Records as Hottest Chile Pepper in the World



Fruits of Bhut Jolokia on plants grown in the field at the Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center.
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LAS CRUCES, NM -- Researchers at New Mexico State University recently discovered the world’s hottest chile pepper. Bhut Jolokia, a variety of chile pepper originating in Assam, India, has earned Guiness World Records’ recognition as the world’s hottest chile pepper by blasting past the previous champion Red Savina. In replicated tests of Scoville heat units (SHUs), Bhut Jolokia reached one million SHUs, almost double the SHUs of Red Savina, which measured a mere 577,000.

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Innovations in soilless growing methods can aid greenhouse growers

ATHENS, GREECE -- A recent study of an ancient growing medium has implications for advancing growth and yield of greenhouse crops grown in soilless conditions.

Greek research scientists Dr. George Gizas and Dr. Dimitrios Savvas recently conducted trials of four grades of pumice to determine the most effective particle size for growing ornamental plants and vegetables in soilless conditions. Pumice, an inert mineral of volcanic origin, has been used for centuries as a growing medium. Readily available in many countries including Italy, Greece, Israel, and Iceland, pumice is relatively inexpensive and can be disposed of without harming the environment.

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Appearance is key in consumer buying decisions



Golden Delicious Apple photograph presented to survey participants depicting 0% (U), 1% (V), 3% (W), 5% (X), 7% (Y), and 9% (Z) coverage of cosmetic damage.
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AMES, IA -- A research study published in the October 2007 issue of HortScience found that consumers don't like blemishes—on apples, that is. The study of consumer values led by Chengyan Yue, PhD, Assistant Professor of Horticultural Science & Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, found that low tolerance for cosmetically damaged apples impacts consumers' purchasing decisions.

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