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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Potassium (K) Fertilizer Source Effects on Crop Yield and Quality: Adding Value and Increasing End-Product Return on Investment

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this project is to conduct analysis on dry matter, starch, tannin and total protein contents, vitamin C and total capsaicin concentrations, color, and firmness on sorghum (grain) potato (tubers) and chili pepper (fruit) from plants fertilized with different potassium salts. In addition this project will address ARS goals: conducting research with Industry (Sirius Minerals Plc.) in collaboration with a minority scientist from a minority serving University (Texas A&M-Kingsville). This objective supports are in-house project which is to enhance post-harvest flavor and nutritional quality and overall marketability of important fruit and vegetable crops with specific reference to evaluating the effects of pre-harvest production (e.g. potassium fertilization) and post-harvest processing and storage treatments on fruit nutritional and quality maintenance and/or enhancement of Capsicum pepper and other selected horticultural crops.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will acquire economic-yield (tissue) from three plant sources: grain sorghum (grain), chili peppers (fruit), and potatoes (tubers) from Texas A&M and perform quality analyses on fruit: firmness, surface color, K content, dry matter content, vitamin C, and total capsaicin; tuber: dry matter, K content, starch, protein and vitamin C; grain: dry matter, K content, starch, protein, and tannin contents, hardness, germinability, purity and color.


3.Progress Report:

Major progress has been made, primarily with respect to peppers. The Co-PI at Texas A&M, after numerous deliberations with Sirus Minerals, Ltd., UK revised the project to focus more on a greater diversity of potassium (K) fertilizer forms and less on the three crops (sorghum, potatoes and peppers) of interest to studying only peppers. Texas A&M grew both fall 2012 and spring 2013 crop of peppers which were sent to the USDA-ARS BARC Food Quality Laboratory (USDA, ARS, FQL) for analyses of fruit firmness, surface color, potassium (K) content, dry matter content, vitamin C, and total capsaicinoids. All quality measurements and accompanying analyses of variance on potassium application were delivered to the Co-PI. It is unclear if an additional fall crop of peppers will be sent to USDA, ARS, FQL.

The progress of this project has been closely monitored by the ADODR via frequent contact with the co-PI via conference calls, face to face meetings and e-mails.


Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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