Crops and Agroenvironmental Sciences 1
Non Technical Summary
Two typical vegetable crops in Puerto Rico are tropical pumpkin (a type of winter squash) and a small, aromatic pepper (locally called a "sweet chili pepper"). Pumpkin is consumed on a daily basis in Puerto Rico and sweet chili pepper is an important condiment in regional dishes. Local growers face many challenges in the production of these vegetable crops. Farmers need varieties with desirable traits including good yield and fruit quality, pest resistance and good flavor and nutritional attributes in order to profitably grow vegetables and to provide consumers with the high quality products they demand. Our research aims to develop and release improved tropical pumpkin and sweet chili pepper varieties for use by farmers and gardeners. We will do this by studying how certain genes provide resistance in tropical pumpkin to important viral diseases affecting growers in Puerto Rico. These genes will be incorporated into new varieties using classical plant breeding methods. We will evaluate and document the nutritional content and physical characteristics of tropical pumpkin and sweet chili pepper varieties. We will develop and test a new dried sweet chili pepper value-added product that could provide growers with additional market possibilities. Finally, throughout the duration of this project we will carry out user surveys on purchasing, use and consumption of vegetables, and surveys on acceptance of new sweet chili pepper and pumpkin varieties and products. This information will help to guide researchers during development of new varieties and well as provide growers and marketers of pumpkin and pepper with useful marketing information.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
1. Develop and release improved tropical pumpkin and sweet chili pepper lines, cultivars and germplasm. 2. Characterize known resistances in tropical pumpkin germplasm to key viruses of the Potyviridae and use this resistance in cultivar improvement. 3.Carry out organoleptic and nutritional characterization of current and new tropical pumpkin and sweet chili pepper germplasm. 4. Develop and test a dried sweet chili pepper value-added product. 5. Carry out user surveys on purchasing, use and consumption of vegetables, and surveys on acceptance of new sweet chili pepper and pumpkin varieties and products.
Potyvirus resistant tropical pumpkin materials will be evaluated in trials during years 1 and 2. Previously developed lines and OP varieties will be crossed to form new populations. A pedigree selection scheme will be used from the F2 to the F5 generation, advancing 1 to 2 generations per year. Fruit size and shape, flesh thickness and Undergraduate students in agricultural economics courses and graduate students will be recruited to assist with survey work. Efforts that will cause a change of knowledge include presentations at scientific conferences, informal interactions and discussions with other research scientists and publications in professional journals. Growers will be informed of the availability of new varieties at commodity meetings and in field demonstrations. Seed of new tropical pumpkin and sweet chili pepper varieties will be distributed to growers. Survey results will be shared with participants (growers, wholesalers, retailers, etc. of vegetables) as well as with other scientists. Methods of producing new dried pepper products will be demonstrated and published.