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IFAFS: Project Description
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Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) Project 2000-04258:
Design and Assessment of Nutritionally Enhanced Carrots With Unusual Pigments
Simon, P.W., Clevidence, B.A., McGiffen, M.E., Tanumihardjo, S.A., Novotny, J., Britz, S.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Vegetable Crops Research Unit, Madison, Wisconsin
Grant Number: 00-52102-9697; $750,000; 48 months
Subcontractors: University of California, Riverside, University of Wisconsin

The orange color of modern carrots is due to carotenoid pigments that are a source of vitamin A for U.S. consumers. Other naturally occurring pigments, which impart health benefits, are found in rare carrot strains, making them an unusual purple, red, or yellow color. We have initiated the development of dark orange carrots as well as strains with these unusual colors for production in the U.S. To enhance their appeal to consumers, the culinary quality of these carrots (sweetness and mild flavor) needs to be improved. Moreover, consumers need more information about pigment bioavailability and health benefits of nutritionally enhanced carrots. The goals of this project are to develop and field test high pigment carrots with improved culinary quality and to measure potential health benefits of carrot pigments in human feeding trials. High pigment strains of each color type will be developed with improved sweet and mild flavor, complete with molecular markers to track color genes. Pigment absorption and characterization of the metabolism and interaction of resulting bioactive compounds will be provided. An evaluation of non-genetic factors such as field conditions and location, which influence pigment accumulation, in diverse U.S. production climates will also be provided. The developed nutrition and production information on new carrot strains will be conveyed to growers and consumers. Since the project involves the collaboration with carrot industry leaders, there is a high potential that this integrated project will result in the development, evaluation and production of nutritionally enhanced carrots for an educated industry and consuming public.

Additional Information, a Current Progress Report and List of Publications: CRIS 0191119

January 10, 2003