Presenter: Susie Walden
Advisor: Dr. Matt Kleinhenz
SAC members: Dr. Peter Ling, Dr. Joe Scheerens, Dr. Colleen Spees
Proposal Type: MS Proposal
Title of Presentation: Microclimate effects on the yield and composition of fall and spring grown leafy vegetables
Abstract: Consistent consumption of nutritious, fresh vegetables is a cornerstone of healthy diets. Data suggest that antioxidant capacity, a key component of nutritional value, declines with time after harvest. Supplies of locally grown fresh vegetables – food with the briefest harvest to consumption interval and, possibly, greatest antioxidant capacity – are typically seasonal in mid to upper latitudes, including the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. From fall to spring, people there usually can only consume unprocessed vegetables long after they were harvested. Semi-protected production, especially in high tunnels, lengthens the period of time during which consumers in mid- to upper-latitudes can access freshly harvested vegetables higher in antioxidant capacity. That said, low temperatures and light levels slow crop growth; also, certain temperature-light combinations may limit the accumulation of compounds responsible for antioxidant capacity. Concentrations of these compounds hinge on the relative rates of primary and secondary metabolism. In this research, we ask if these rates can be manipulated over short periods of time so that marketable yield and nutritional value can be maximized. An agricultural film and fabric and enclosures of different sizes are being used at specific stages within choi and lettuce fall and early spring production periods to create microclimates near the crops. We expect these temporal microclimates to alter the balance between biomass and phytonutrient accumulation. What is learned through this research will enhance scientists’ understanding of crop-environment interactions and growers’ abilities to manage them for their own and consumers’ benefit.
Presenter: Tylar Fisk
Advisors: Joe Scheerens and Matt Kleinhenz
SAC members: Joe Scheerens, Matt Kleinhenz, Josh Blakeslee, and Jim Metzger
Proposal Type: MS Proposal
Title of Presentation: Graft Combination Impacts on Capsicum Scion Fruit Quality
Abstract: The bell pepper industry is valued at over $6,000,000 annually. Although the climatic and edaphic environments among production areas vary, many of the obstacles faced by producers are similar, such as barriers to production, biotic assault, and abiotic stresses. Some of these challenges include temperature stress, pests, pathogens, toxic environments, poor nutrition, and poor plant growth. In other vegetable crop industries, production using grafted plants has resolved some of these issues. However, the effect of grafting on fruit quality has proven to be inconsistent and when it is detrimental, the graft combination may be commercially unviable. Because the information concerning grafted Capsicum is incomplete, this project will focus on characterizing the effect of rootstock on scion performance and more specifically on fruit quality using a wide range of pepper phenotypes. The overarching hypothesis is that grafting can be successfully used without negatively impacting either the horticultural performance or the fruit quality of the scion. The objectives will be as follows: 1) evaluate general horticultural behavior in field; 2) determine general fruit quality; 3) quantify fruit secondary products; 4) assess fruit sensory characteristics. The first year will focus on the quality examination of graft combinations using commercial cultivars as rootstocks. The second year will focus on novel graft combinations using germplasm rootstocks that display desirable qualities such as disease resistance.