Black Females Absorb Calcium More Efficiently
Compared to their white counterparts, young black women enter adulthood with
stronger bones, according to a new ARS study. This difference may explain why
black women have lower rates of developing osteoporosis later in life. The
study examined 89 girls51 white 38 blackages 5 to 16. The black
girls absorbed calcium more efficiently and formed new bone at a greater rate.
The findings suggest that recommended calcium intakes may need to be tailored
to particular groups. Moreover, none of the 89 girls met recommended daily
calcium intakes: three to four servings of calcium-rich foods for children ages
6 to 10, increasing to four to five servings at age 11.
Nutrition Research Center, 1100 Bates St., Houston, Texas; phone (713)
Jasmine Blocks Sprouting of Stored Potatoes
Jasmine fragrance could waft away problem of spuds that sprout in storage
bin. ARS has patented this use of jasmonates, the compounds that lend aroma to
jasmine flowers and perfumes. Sprouting lowers potato quality, as consumers
know if they've ever kept store-bought spuds in the drawer too long. In large
potato storage facilities, sprouting causes multimillion-dollar losses. Only
one sprout-inhibiting compound is commercially available. But, ARS scientists
found that jasmonates performed as well, delaying sprouting for months.
Edward C Lulai, USDA-ARS
Crop Science Laboratory, Fargo, ND, 58105-5677; phone (701) 239-1352, Fax:
Carambolas, Arkin variety.
ARS Method Wins OK to Ship Florida Carambola to Japan
ARS researchers have helped turn carambola, a fruit from southeast Asia,
into a profitable Florida crop that now appears headed to Japan. Carambola can
be eaten fresh by itself or as a sweet, succulent accent for salads. When eaten
dried, the star-shaped cross sections of the fruit also make a tasty novelty
food. An ARS scientist helped develop the most popular cultivar, Arkin, from
seed he collected in Malaysia in 1972. But Florida growers couldn't ship
carambola to California, a state where many Asian immigrants have fond
carambola memories. The reason: No approved method existed to keep Florida
carambola from carrying hitchhiking Caribbean fruit flies that could threaten
California citrus. But in October 1989, an ARS-developed cold treatment won
approval. It involved holding the fruit at 34 degrees F for 15 days (later
reduced to 12). California shipments began almost immediately. By 1992, they
totaled 800,000 pounds valued at over $1 million. Then Hurricane Andrew struck,
devastating the crop. It's recovering, and Florida's largest carambola
packerBrooks Tropicals, Inc., in Homesteadprojects shipping about
$250,000 worth to California and Arizona in 1995. Soon, Florida carambola may
show up in Japan. Earlier this year, Japan approved their importation after
they undergo ARS' cold treatment.
Horticulture Research Station, 13601 Old Cutler Road, Miami FL 33158; phone
Red Yeast Could Put Salmon in the Pink
Farm-raised salmon need carotenoids, vitamin A-like compounds, to develop
the desirable pinkish color. Now ARS scientists have found that strains of a
carotenoid-making red yeast can be grown on what's left after making ethanol
from corn. The leftovers include thin stillage, condensed distiller's soluble,
and corn gluten feed. The main carotenoid made by the Phaffia rhodozyma
yeast is astaxanthin. This pigment puts the pink in flamingoes and stream
trout, as well as farm-reared salmon. Further research could make the yeast a
natural, less expensive astaxanthin source compared to shrimp byproduct meal in
U.S. aquaculture and to synthetic astaxanthin in Europe, Chile, and Japan. The
Food and Drug Administration is considering a petition for using Phaffia
to make astaxanthin.
Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N. University St,
Peoria, IL, 61604-3999; phone (309) 681-6377, fax: (309) 681-6040.
"Science Update" was published in the
December 1995 issue
of Agricultural Research magazine.