story to find out more.
Hassan Melouk and peanut breeder Kelly Chenault display a peanut plant they
developed that has increased resistance to Sclerotinia blight. Click
the image for more information about it.
New Initiative May Lead to Better Peanuts
Pons April 10, 2006
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Stillwater, Okla., are an
integral part of a new initiative to improve the peanut.
The researchers, with ARS
Peanut and Other Field Crops Research Unit, are joining the Oklahoma Peanut
Commission and state research and extension professionals in a new,
wide-ranging program to produce disease-resistant plants with tasty, fresh and
healthful peanuts for consumers.
Melouk and biologist
Chenault lead the ARS team. According to their research leader,
Porter, the new program fortifies and expands the ARS unit's efforts to
enhance, through breeding, peanut plants' genetic diversity, and to develop
superior peanut products.
The new initiative, which was started in response to recent declines
in peanut production in southern Plains states, can help growers meet an
increasing demand for peanuts through economical, sustainable and
environmentally compatible management strategies, as well as spur improved crop
production that allows for less pesticide use and greater product value,
quality and safety, according to Porter.
This united effort will benefit from the continuation of Melouk's work
on combining traits of peanut plants that resist diseases with those that boost
oleic acid content. Studies have shown that oleic acidwhich staves off
deterioration and gives peanut products longer shelf lifemay promote a
lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Melouk is working with peanut lines from Bolivia and Ecuador that
resist Sclerotinia blight and may be a boon to breeding in the United
States. His previous work with Oklahoma
State and Texas A&M universities
generated cultivars that resist the blight. Some of the cultivars also produce
oil with high oleic acid content.
The new initiative will also benefit from Chenaults
breakthroughs on the genetic front with disease-resistant peanut plants. Her
goal is to someday integrate disease-resistance genes into susceptible peanut
about the research in the April issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.