Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Release New Variety Of Asparagus

Date:
February 15, 2006
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
UC Riverside researchers have released a new variety of asparagus that offers a higher yield than previous varieties of the vegetable and boasts an excellent spear quality, marked by a high percentage of marketable spears. Named "DePaoli" after William P. DePaoli, the first manager of the California Asparagus Commission who long supported the asparagus breeding program in the state, the superior hybrid marks the third time that UCR has released a new variety of the vegetable.

The DePaoli asparagus, a new variety released by UCR, offers a higher yield of spears than other varieties of the vegetable.
Credit: Photo credit: M. Roose

UC Riverside researchers have released a new variety of asparagus that offers a higher yield than previous varieties of the vegetable and boasts an excellent spear quality, marked by a high percentage of marketable spears. Higher yield of marketable spears reduces the impact of high land and labor costs, thereby making the asparagus more profitable without raising consumer prices.

Named "DePaoli" after William P. DePaoli, the first manager of the California Asparagus Commission who long supported the asparagus breeding program in the state, the superior hybrid marks the third time that UCR has released a new variety of the vegetable, the most recent being 1982.

"Particularly now, the asparagus industry in this country needs new varieties of the vegetable -- varieties that can compete with those produced in other countries where labor cost is low, such as Peru and Mexico," said Mikeal Roose, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and the leader of the asparagus breeding project. "Indeed, Neil Stone, a staff research associate at UCR, and I are working on other promising hybrids that are in trial at the moment, some of which may have even better yields than DePaoli."

Currently, UCR is cultivating the DePaoli variety in a field near campus. The first test of the new variety, which involves evaluation of yield, spear quality, and other traits, was started in 1990. A full harvest of DePaoli was obtained three years after planting. To ensure that the new variety was not susceptible to disease, it was then harvested for a few additional years.

"DePaoli has gone through at least a dozen trials, but we need to keep the trials going for a while longer because it may be affected by weather or diseases that only occur occasionally," Roose said. "It will take several years before significant amounts of this new variety appear in the market."

Asparagus, a perennial vegetable, has both male and female plants. In the case of DePaoli, first a male parent and a female parent are selected for their good characteristics including spear size, spear quality, yield, and disease tolerance. Next, these plants are crossed and the resulting hybrids are evaluated for yield, spear quality and other essential traits. When two parents that produce good hybrid offspring have been identified, a large number of the male and female parent plants are produced by cloning using tissue culture methods. The male and female plants are then planted in an isolated field. Bees pollinate the females, leading to seed production. These seeds are then sold and planted by farmers who produce the spears consumers eventually will buy. "The first commercial harvest of seeds has only just been completed," Roose said.

DePaoli asparagus is similar in taste to previous varieties of asparagus. Currently, the UCR research team is working on producing improved varieties of the vegetable by incorporating new approaches in their research.

"One path we may take is to identify 'supermale' plants that produce only male offspring when hybridized with a female. Such male varieties are used in Europe and other parts of the US, but have not been successful in California," Roose said. "Male plants produce more spears than female plants because the latter expend energy in order to produce seeds, resulting in lower yields. For male varieties to be successful, we must identify a supermale that produces hybrids with good quality spears. Another current activity for our research is to incorporate tools from molecular genetics to improve the efficiency of asparagus breeding."

Asparagus, which is a Greek word meaning stalk or shoot, grows best in sandy, well-drained soils. The plant can be productive for 15 years or more. Asparagus spears grow from a crown -- the root system of an asparagus plant that is grown from seed. The crown is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils. Spears grow from buds in the crown, and, if not harvested, branch out to form the "fern" which is the feathery green leaves and stems of the plant. Spears are not usually harvested until plants are two years old in order to allow the crown to become large and healthy. During spring and the early summer of the third year, the crown produces spears, which are harvested for about 6-9 weeks.

A nutrient-rich food, asparagus was cultivated first more than 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region. It was first planted in California in the 1850s.

###

Besides Roose and Stone, retired UCR faculty Frank Takatori and Vern Lippert were involved in the project, which was supported by the California Asparagus Commission.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "Researchers Release New Variety Of Asparagus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060215090527.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2006, February 15). Researchers Release New Variety Of Asparagus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060215090527.htm
University of California - Riverside. "Researchers Release New Variety Of Asparagus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060215090527.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins