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Science in Your Shopping Cart - The Podcast

Episode 2: Apples - Ripe for the Picking

Apples are as American as apple pie. Let's look at some cool innovations and research that ARS scientists are conducting to ensure those apples in your shopping cart are fresh, tasty, cost-friendly, and high quality.

Audio Podcast (30 min)
Posted Sept 22, 2020

Play Now » Full podcast
| YouTube | Transcript

Part 1: Apple Rootstocks

Did you know that the apple you're eating right now probably came from a rootstock developed by ARS? Our scientists are breeding new rootstocks that are more resistant to pests and diseases, that bear more delicious fruit, and are more ideal for apple growers to pick and prune

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Part 2: Apple Sorting Machine

ARS researchers have developed an in-field apple sorting machine that not only improves apple picking efficiency, but also scans and grades apples. Think of it as a 21st century solution to apple picking and harvesting.

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Part 3: Precision Sprayer

These days, we are all more conscious of pesticide spraying, especially growers who rely on this method for keeping pests off their crops. ARS scientists have developed a revolutionary laser-guided sprayer to apply precise amounts of pesticide to their crops, cutting down significantly on the amount of pesticide sprayed onto fruits and vegetables.

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Part 4: Snack Break

Ready for a snack break? Then sink your teeth into this apple trivia. You'll finally be able to answer the question, "What does a 200-year old apple tree and a train have in common?"


Part 5: Mysterious Disease

Apple growers have a mystery on their hands. Something is killing popular dwarf apple trees, but researchers are unsure if the cause is environmental, viral, soil-based, or something else. ARS scientists are on the case!

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Part 6: Rapid Breeding

The apple industry is a highly impactful business for the U.S. Growers are always looking for new varieties that are not only tasty but more resistant to disease outbreaks and environmental stressors that can severely reduce apple production. However, developing new varieties can take decades before they appear in your grocery market. ARS researchers have developed rapid breeding techniques to drastically speed up the process, bringing those new varieties of apples to your shopping cart much sooner than before.

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