Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene bank expedition to collect seeds of wild spinach in the Trans Caucasus

Date:
May 25, 2011
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
In late May, researchers from the Netherlands and local research institutes in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia will be searching for wild spinach seeds. Their main interest is Spinacia tetrandra, a wild spinach that is related to the spinach we are familiar with in shops today. It seems likely that the wild spinach has properties that will be of considerable valuable for breeding and research into this vegetable. The expedition will take approximately four weeks and hopefully provide scientists with scores of seed samples.

Researcher Chris Kik collecting seeds of leek.
Credit: Image courtesy of Wageningen University and Research Centre

In late May, employees from Wageningen UR's Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) and local research institutes in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia will be searching for wild spinach seeds. Their main interest is Spinacia tetrandra, a wild spinach that is related to the spinach we are familiar with in shops today. It seems likely that the wild spinach has properties that will be of considerable valuable for breeding and research into this vegetable. The expedition will take approximately four weeks and hopefully provide scientists with scores of seed samples.

Related Articles


"The Trans Caucasus is an important region of origin for spinach," says Chris Kik, 'treasurer' of the Dutch gene bank's vegetable crops. "The wild species Spinacia tetrandra is closely related to the spinach we know grows there, for example. Another wild species, Spinacia turkestanica, grows in Central Asia and we can justifiably call these two regions the 'gene centre' of spinach. The plants of these wild spinach species probably have highly valuable properties for spinach breeding. We hope to find wild spinach that has extra resistance against pathogens and plagues, for instance, which would enable us to make food production securer and more sustainable."

By collecting wild spinach CGN is also contributing to the conservation of their biodiversity, especially as the environments in which they grow are so vulnerable. "In Central Asia, the wild spinach grows close to non-fertilised and non-irrigated land," adds Kik. "Once farmers start fertilising and irrigating this land to realise higher yields, the species will be at risk of becoming extinct. In addition to storing the seeds, we are ensuring that the quantity and quality of the seeds are conserved. This way we can prevent the seed samples collected, also known as accessions, and their valuable properties from disappearing for good."

Global gene banks currently only contain around 30 accessions of the two abovementioned wild spinach species. This small number hinders the development of both new spinach varieties and the innovative research. For this reason Kik visited Uzbekistan and Tajikistan already back in 2008 to collect Spinacia turkestanica. Kik: "We eventually managed to collect around 70 accessions and, in cooperation with breeding companies and institutes, are now studying how valuable the material is for breeding and research."

Most consumers only know one type of spinach; the one sold in our shops. While it is easy to recognise the different varieties of apples, for instance, this is not the case with spinach. Kik: "And yet there are many different varieties of spinach available. The spinach we buy has been adapted to meet the current demands of consumers, traders and breeders. It has to suit the preferred taste, be easy to quick-freeze, and so on. These requirements are constantly changing and the question is whether breeding companies have a spinach variety that meets future demands. If not they will have to develop new types, which will make it very important to crossbreed with wild varieties to add 'new blood' and develop spinach with other properties than those seen in stores today."

The Dutch gene bank has many seeds of vegetable crops, and is one of the leading vegetable gene banks in the world. It houses over 400 different spinach accessions, from modern varieties and landraces to wild species, making the Dutch gene bank the world's largest for spinach. The seeds are used for breeding and research at companies and institutes the world over and CGN receives around 350 requests for spinach accessions a year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Gene bank expedition to collect seeds of wild spinach in the Trans Caucasus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105838.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2011, May 25). Gene bank expedition to collect seeds of wild spinach in the Trans Caucasus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105838.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Gene bank expedition to collect seeds of wild spinach in the Trans Caucasus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525105838.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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