Scientists Working On Improved Kale
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Scientists are working on a new variety of kale aiming for improved consumer satisfaction.
Horticulture professor Philip Griffiths from Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science along with his graduate student Hannah Swegarden are on a program to identify the different leaf shapes, colors, flavors and textures favored by consumers, and breed for those traits.
For plant breeders, the main area of focus would be traits of importance for plant production, such as resistance to disease, pests and drought. For consumers, culinary and aesthetic qualities of vegetables are more important.
Kale is the member of the species Brassica oleracea, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, among others. According to Griffiths, the natural genetic diversity available in the species gives opportunities to further develop and promote a nutritionally important crop.
Griffiths has been working with kale for years, and decided to see if they could develop strains to benefit farmers and consumers alike.
In their research, the scientists organized a focus group in September as the first step, with 14 people who like and consume kale, to study about the likes and dislikes about kale. The scientists are also gathering feedback from seed producers, growers, and supermarket managers. These information will be used to breed for consumer quality traits.
The research is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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