[NAFEX] FW: Fruit and Vegetable Bounty Is Well Protected

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Thu Jun 5 11:22:57 EDT 2003

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2003 08:36:06 -0400
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Fruit and Vegetable Bounty Is Well Protected

Fruit and Vegetable Bounty Is Well Protected


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Sharon Durham, (301) 504-1611, sdurham at ars.usda.gov
June 5, 2003

Fruit and vegetable growers who have to contend with drought, floods,
viruses and other pest problems have a genetic ally in an Agricultural
Research Service laboratory in Griffin, Ga.

There, the ARS Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU) serves
as an invaluable resource for farmers facing tough growing conditions.
PGRCU, part of the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), maintains a
varied collection of plant genetic resources, including legumes,
sweetpotatoes, peppers, squash, annual clover, eggplant and sorghum,
among others. Led by research leader Gary Pederson, the unit holds more
than 82,000 plant samples called accessions.

In the last three years, PGRCU has sent more than 110,000 plant
germplasm samples to domestic and foreign growers and to researchers. By
maintaining a repository of plant germplasm, it's possible for varieties
used in the past in similar environmental conditions to be used now or
in the future, as conditions dictate.

Growing conditions vary every year. Each plant variety thrives in
specific, preferred conditions. Thanks to the efforts of a consortium of
labs that make up the NPGS, the varieties are available--and will remain
so--to researchers, educators and producers.

The researchers who are germplasm curators have the very important task
of safeguarding samples of all agriculturally important crops. Through a
national network, samples of crop plants are maintained as a means of
safeguarding agriculture's productive capacity as well as for filling
worldwide requests. However, keeping the seeds and plant samples alive
takes work. 

For example, samples stored as seed are dried, cleaned and packaged
before being put in cold or freezer storage. Some seeds, such as clover
and sorghum, can last for 30 or 40 years in freezer storage. Each
accession is entered into the Germplasm Resources Information Network
(GRIN) database, operated by the GRIN Database Management Unit, in
Beltsville, Md.

More information on this research is in the June 2003 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine, available the World Wide Web at:

ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of

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