Brainfood: Ultra-processed food, Micronutrients, Wheat breeding, Bambara groundnut breeding, Seed longevity, Sheep diversity, Switchgrass ploidy, Seed services, Jersey in Africa, Wine history, Austronesian dispersal

An apple story a day…

Well, that’s odd. The rush of stories about apples usually happens in the autumn. And yet, just in the past couple of days, quite apart from the tweet about Korbinian Aigner, I have come across:

  1. An excellent roundup from the Apples & People newsletter.
  2. A pointer to a webpage on the history of American apples.
  3. News of newly-bred hypoallergenic varieties.

Oh, and since I have you here, might as well also say that there’s been an update from GRIN-U. No new resources specifically on apples lately, but there’s been a few in the past.

New online training in plant genetic resources

An important announcement from Patrick F. Byrne, Professor Emeritus of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Colorado State University.

  1. Three 1-credit graduate level courses will be available online from Colorado State University in Fall semester, 2022. The courses deal with the origins and structure of plant genetic diversity; the principles and methods for conserving that diversity; and strategies for using genetic resources in plant breeding. The courses, costs, and registration information are described at http://pgrcourse.colostate.edu/ and a flyer is attached to this message.
  2. A number of new learning materials are available on the GRIN-U repository (https://grin-u.org/). These include videos on cowpea, sorghum, tomato, and potato; virtual tour videos of USDA’s National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation; ebooks on crop wild relatives and a crop science virtual field tour; and infographics explaining USDA’s National Plant Germplasm System and the role of botanic gardens in conserving plant genetic resources. The videos are also available on the YouTube channel youtube.com/GRINUEducation. We hope these materials are useful to you in your teaching or outreach activities.
  3. We are looking for success stories on the use of plant genetic resources for plant breeding or plant genetics research. If you have a story to tell, please consider filling out and submitting the attached template.

The materials described here were funded by a grant from the USDA-NIFA Higher Education Challenge Grant Program to Colorado State University, Iowa State University, and USDA-ARS.

Nibbles: Crop change, Chinese chocolate, Food system, Eating local, Heritage wheat, NTFPs, Distinguished ethnobotanist, Pumpkins, Garum recipe, Fermentation, Archaea, NBPGR interview

  1. IFAD says farmers might need to change crops. Farmers unavailable for comment as presumably they’re too busy changing crops.
  2. Case in point: China moves into cacao.
  3. The food system is at the centre of all our ills. But I’m not sure switching from maize to sorghum is going to cut it.
  4. And neither will watching those food miles, alas.
  5. Example of a farmer changing crops, watching food miles and diversifying the food system.
  6. I suppose we could also just eat more trees?
  7. We’ll need ethnobotanists for that.
  8. And there’s clearly plenty of pumpkins out there.
  9. Maybe garum would go well with some of those NTFPs, and pumpkins.
  10. Do they teach garum at Fermentation School?
  11. Whoa, I did not realize archaea in the vertebrate gut feed on bacterial fermentation products.
  12. And let’s not forget to put everything in genebanks before it’s too late so we have a chance to do all of the above.