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Heat-tolerant broccoli for the future


Traditionally, broccoli is a cool-weather crop. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are looking to change that by developing new varieties that grow in warm temperatures.

ARS plant geneticist Mark Farnham and his team in Charleston, South Carolina, have developed and characterized the genetic sources of broccoli's heat tolerance. Theoretical and Applied Geneticspublished these results in March 2017.

The team, led by ARS geneticist Sandra Branham, evaluated a group of broccoli plants Farnham developed for the ability to tolerate heat stress and identified genetic markers associated with heat resistance.

An important finding from this research is that the resistance trait is controlled by many genes. Now, public and private broccoli breeders are interested in using these markers to help speed development of heat-tolerant broccoli.

Farnham is working with scientists at *land-grant universities along the Eastern Seaboard who are growing his broccoli in warm-temperature field trials. Once they verify that his broccoli will do well under adverse conditions, the broccoli will become available for research purposes or for use by commercial seed companies and breeders.

Encountering high temperatures is the main factor limiting where and when broccoli is grown. Heat-tolerant broccoli will expand future growing possibilities, helping to meet demand for this nutritious vegetable.

Total U.S. annual broccoli consumption (fresh and frozen) grew from about 1 pound per person in the 1960s to about 8 to 9 pounds per person today. One cup of broccoli provides more than 100 percent of our daily requirement for vitamins C and K and is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.


*A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of higher education in the United States designated by a state to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890.


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位於南卡羅來納州查爾斯頓(Charleston)農業研究局的植物遺傳學家Mark Farnham和他的研究團隊發現並鑑別出青花菜的耐熱基因,並且將其研究結果發表於20173月的「國際植物育種研究雜誌-理論與應用遺傳學」期刊中。由農業研究局遺傳學專家Sandra Branham領導的研究團隊針對Farnham篩選出的一組耐熱性青花菜進行評估,並鑑別出與耐熱性相關的基因標誌。該研究的重要發現是耐熱的特性會受到許多基因控制。現今,公部門和私人單位中的青花菜育種者對於使用這些基因標誌來加速耐熱性青花菜的開發十分感興趣。

Farnham目前正在與美國東岸各個授田大學(land-grant universities)的科學家合作,這些科學家正致力於在溫暖氣候地區進行青花菜的田間試驗。一旦他們的試驗能確認這些青花菜在不利的條件下依然生長良好,就能提供給種苗公司和育種人員作為研究或販賣之用。遭遇高溫環境是限制青花菜生長的主要因素,因此未來將可能擴大耐熱性青花菜的種植,進而補足這類營養蔬菜的市場需求。1960年代至今,美國每年新鮮和冷凍青花菜的每人消費總量從1磅增加到89磅。一杯青花菜(156)能提供我們超過100%的日常所需維生素C和維生素K,而且是很好的纖維、維生素A、葉酸和鉀的來源。