• 79°

Research Campus professor receives grant for broccoli research

KANNAPOLIS — Dr. Allan Brown recently received a grant for his broccoli research at the North Carolina Research Campus.
Brown, assistant professor with the Department of Horticultural Science and the Plants for Human Health Institute, seeks to breed broccoli with increased lutein levels to fight age-related eye problems.
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has awarded him a $155,525 grant for his work. A matching fund portion of the grant was funded by the Monsanto Company.
A new N.C. State University study under way at the Plants for Human Health Institute at the N.C. Research Campus is focused on enhanced levels of lutein in broccoli, according to a research campus press release.
Lutein, an antioxidant, is also found in leafy greens such as kale and spinach. It is associated with lowering risks for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. The condition affects around 10 percent of those 66 to 74 years old, and increases to 30 percent for those aged 75 to 85. Because of the growing aging population, it is increasingly affecting a larger number of people.
Brown’s plan is to develop plant material through hybridization with wild broccoli. He will then evaluate the new broccoli material to determine its stability and genetic potential for enhanced levels of lutein and beta-carotene. His objective is to determine whether increased levels of these antioxidants will transfer to commercial production.
“We believe we have the potential to increase lutein levels in commercial broccoli two-fold,” Brown said in the press release. “As part of our work we expect to identify molecular markers that will significantly reduce the time and resources required to produce an enhanced broccoli.”
A similar strategy by Monsanto, in conjunction with the John Innes Centre and the Institute of Food Research, both in the United Kingdom, led to the release of “Beneforte” broccoli in 2010. This cultivar contains two to three times the compound known as sulforaphane. Researchers in the United Kingdom used conventional breeding methods.
Brown, who will also use conventional plant breeding methods, believes he can produce broccoli that is even more of a superfood than is now the case, with enhanced levels of compounds that fight cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration.
The project is expected to span two years and will include field trials in multiple locations in the state. In addition to comparing high lutein plants with currently available broccoli hybrids and studying how transferable the trait is, Brown will provide evaluations on the potential impact breeding would have on important quality traits such as head size, compactness, color, uniformity and harvest maturity of the product.
Broccoli is a $742 million a year industry in the U.S. Most of it gets shipped to North Carolina from the West Coast. Most broccoli in the U.S. is harvested from hybrid cultivars specifically developed for California production environments.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: Two men rob convenience store at gunpoint

Business

Brewery, second-floor restaurant planned for downtown China Grove

Local

Sonny Allen, former mayor of Salisbury, dies at age 90

Education

RCCC names Student Excellence Award finalists

Local

City approves permit for child care center near downtown

Business

Deadline approaches to apply for Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Rowan program

Landis

Landis removed from Local Government Commission’s watch list

Local

YSUP Rowan launches month-long drug use prevention campaign

Education

Shoutouts

Education

RSS reports man impersonating summer meals worker

Local

County ponders plumbing replacement to completely eliminate lead in Dukeville

High School

High school baseball: Round 2 for South, East

College

College baseball: Former East slugger Chandler Blackwelder commits to North Greenville

News

High Rock Lake Association calls for entries in Fourth of July dock decorating contest

Sports

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball selected NBA Rookie of the Year

Education

Horizons summer camp takes students on mission to Mars

Nation/World

Congress approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

News

Veterans’ tax exemption expanded in bill clearing NC House

News

Appeals court refuses to reinstate N Carolina abortion ban

Kannapolis

Ryan Dayvault drops out of Kannapolis mayoral race

Local

City adopts nondiscrimination ordinance for employees, entities receiving city services

Crime

Blotter: Shots fired after truck chases car off interstate

Crime

I-85 road rage incident results in assault, child abuse charges

Crime

China Grove man arrested for sex crimes involving woman with disabilities