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Vegetable Improvement Newsletter No. 11, February 1969
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Compiled by H.M. Munger, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

1. Summary of Comments on Questionnaire

Sixty-seven persons responded to the questionnaire, and 42% of these made some comment.

Several persons felt the patents system was not the only desirable regulatory system, but certification was not felt to be ideal either. Some indicated the present voluntary systems or a limited generation (5-year protection) was preferable to a patent system. Others wanted licensing of varieties with a royalty, with stock seed supplied b the originator.

Some contrasting opinions were made both for and against patenting cross pollinated crops. Others stated inbreds should be patented as they need protection as much as varieties. In contrast, some persons said only distinct varieties should be patented.

There was a general concern that the patent system would reduce germ plasm exchange and this was a major objection to such a system. Likewise, there was concern that more government bureaucracy would develop and it was hoped that if a patent system became law it would be without government regulation or enforcement (enforcement only through the courts). In particular, patents should be granted without government decisions on whether the variety merited the patenting but only that it was different.

It was suggested patents would encourage use of inferior non-patented varieties and that patents would encourage use of inferior non-patented varieties and that patents were not needed as superior varieties would come to the fore anyway.

Some public breeders expressed the opinion that patents were unnecessary for them an a voluntary acknowledgement would be adequate, and they also felt patents might delay releases. In contrast, it was suggested compensation by both public institutions and private breeders was necessary to pay for research and this necessitates a paten system.

The term uniqueness, used in Question 6, as a basis for a new variety caused considerable complaint. This term was agreed on at the discussion at Davis on plant patents. It may have more meaning in the flower seed trade than for vegetables, and certainly a new vegetable will not sell if its unique character is of no economic value. However, the term uniqueness implies that the variety is different from any other which is necessary for a patent to be granted.

It appears that protection is desired but not necessarily by means of patents, that government regulation must definitely be avoided and germ plasm exchange not be hindered, and in conclusion it appears that public and private breeders have a very similar outlook.

2. Hermaphroditism in Asparagus

L.C. Peirce

University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

In 1964 Peirce and Currence reported on a genetic study of perfect flowering in several asparagus crosses. The simplest interpretation was not placing genes for this trait on the X chromosomes. Similar crosses since that time have yielded generally comparable data. However, in the original studies and in subsequent work there were enough inconsistencies to dictate caution in interpretation.

Cytogenic work in Germany by Brigitte Zilm and by H.Beeskow has recently identified the probable sex chromosomes (XY) as a satellite pair No. 10. All perfect flowering types investigated appeared to the XY or YY, not XX. On this cytogenetic basis, the genetic data suggest certain XX or YY types to be inviable, according to Zilm, due to structural changes in the Satellite. Investigation of such structural changes and of their relationship with disturbed genetic ratios would require genetic markers not now available. Tests in New Hampshire with marker genes governing stem color and pollen/berry color have shown independence from the sex chromosomes. Useful markers are not plentiful in this species.

Regardless of the clouded cytogenetic and genetic picture, perfect flowering can be exploited, particularly in inbreeding. Development of superior all male Hybrids is still a possibility, although instability of the sex expression may be a problem not only in the resulting hybrid but also in parental lines.

Literature Cited

  1. Peirce, L.C. and T.M. Currence. 1962. Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.80: 368-376.3
  2. Beeskow, H.1967. Z. Pflanzenzuchtg 57:254-283.
  3. Zilm, Brigitte. 1966. Z. Pflanzenzuchtg 56:1-26.

3. Method for Estimating Chipping Quality of Single Potato Tubers

B.B. Chubey

Research Station, Morden, Manitoba, Canada

A method for evaluating chipping quality using filter paper discs saturated with potato juice has been developed at the Morden Research Station. Tubers are cut longitudinally and a filter paper disc is inserted between tow cut surfaces of each tuber. The tow parts are pressed together firmly to ensure complete saturation of the filter paper. The moistened discs are fried in a deep fat fryer. The color of the fried discs is remarkably similar to that of actual chips. A correlation of + .929 was obtained between the L values of chips and fried filter paper discs from corresponding tubers. This new method offers a rapid evaluation of chipping quality of single tubers while retaining the tubers in viable form. Sample identification is simplified by directly writing on the filter paper discs.

4. An Amphidiploid Brassica Nigra x B. Oleracea (n= 17)

O.H. Pearson

Cornell University, Ithaca New York

Interest in the possibility of finding a cytoplasmic male sterile in other crops than corn, carrot, onion and pepper has been keen for a number of years. The concept that this results form a cytoplasm-genome interaction appears well founded. About 6 years ago at SRS Seeds in Hollister, California, the above cross was made. The F1 was completely sterile, no metaphase plates were found, degeneration apparently occurring in the early prophase stages. Several of the F1 plants were treated with colchicine, and branches of tetraploid tissue located by guard cell measurements. These were crossed with broccoli, with varying degrees of success. From one of these progenies, a stable, highly self fertile population emerged, which Dr. C.M. Rick found to be a n=17 line. It is not a backcross to broccoli.

Brassica carinata is described on taxonomic grounds as being the naturally occurring amphidiploid of this hybrid. However there is no way at the moment for determining the cytoplasm in B. carinata, -- it could have been from a B. oleracea plant. Thus this material with known cytoplasm may be useful in establishing B. Oleracea types with B. nigra cytoplasm. Fully fertile, stable broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts can be derived after not more than two backcrosses with strong selection pressure.

The plant is weed-like, vigorous, with dark green, lobed, hairy leaves, annual habit, and with good fertility will grow over six feet tall. it could be a noxious weed. The pods are spreading small Brassica type with long valved ovaries and a short style. IT is highly self fertile, and emasculation must be complete when crosses are attempted.

Seed of this material is available to interested breeders on request.

5. A Green Stem Mutation in Sweet Pepper

E. A. Kerr

Horticultural Research Institution of Ontario, Vineland Station, Canada

The seedlings of most pepper cultivars have considerable anthocyanin in the hypocotyl. In the spring of 1968 a breeding line, Vineland 68-72, was observed to have colored and green hypocotyls in the ratio of 3:1. This indicates a simple recessive mutation although the appropriate crosses have not been made. The line produces a large plant with sparse foliage. The fruits are rather small, pointed, pendant, green ripening to red, and have very thick walls. The line is probably not sufficiently productive for commercial production but the mutation may be useful in genetic studies or as marker. Seed was saved from a plant showing this mutation and is available on request.

6. A Note on the Use of Acridine Compounds For Plant Breeders

O.H. Pearson and G.R. Fink

Cornell University, Ithaca New York

In continuing studies of the instability of fruit form in Butternut squash during 1968, an exploratory test was grown using acridine compounds. These materials have been used in preventing the replication of certain extra-chromosomal types of DNA, especially the sex factors, in bacterial cells. (Hirota, Y. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 46:57-64). We do not know of nay successful attempts to use these materials on plants.

Seed of Butternut was germinated at room temperature on towel paper, wet only as needed with fresh solutions of Acriflavine HCl ranging from 0.1mg/1 to 50 mg/l, or with ACridine Orange from 50 mg/l to 200mg/l. for a period of seven days. the seedlings at this time were expanding their cotyledons and lateral roots were developing. A slight toxicity was shown in the strongest solution of acriflavine HCl. They were then planted in soil in 2 x 2" bands, and watered only with appropriate solutions for 20 days when they were set in the field. Control plants were similarly grown and handled, watered with tap water.

A series planted directly in soil and watered until filed planting with either 250 mg/l of acriflavine HCl or 500 mg/l Acridine Orange was similarly grown in the same greenhouse as the others and similar tap water control was provided.

Because this was an exploratory test, populations were small, ranging from 47 to 84 plants per treatment. Statistical analysis of the treated block of eight levels of treatments or materials compared to the control block did show differences significant at the 3% level.

Our reason for this prompt and possibly premature description of methods is to bring before breeders as possible tool in unraveling the inheritance in some of the twilight areas in plant breeding. Apparently the acridine compounds are not highly toxic to plants, and at least in this material, if presented during the early growth stages may be active within the plant. In bacteria there is no evidence that these chemicals are mutagenic.

7. Predicting Nature of Pericarp from Texture of the Cob Glumes

Stuart N. Smith, Consultant

808 E. Lincoln Way, Rte. # 2, Ames, Iowa 50010

Breeders are constantly seeding any means which will allow them to forecast desirable characteristics from visible factors on the parents. Pericarp tenderness in sweet corn at advanced stages is especially important to breeders producing varieties for fresh market or garden use. This is because processors usually harvest their varieties at the ideal stage for tenderness, assuming the variety has developed far enough to make harvest at that stage profitable. Fresh corn and especially garden corn is often harvested as long as the crop is edible; therefore, enduring pericarp tenderness is very important here. Several years of studying correlation of the cob chaff and the tenderness at advanced maturity indicate a good degree of correlation. When the glumes on the cob are very soft when shelling the seed ears, the progeny tend to be free from harsh, tough, objectionable pericarp. This was noticed at first in pure lines along with the reverse situation that rough, heavy chaff showed up the following year in tough pericarp at advanced stages.

Further work indicates that where tough and tender parents are crossed, the segregates with soft chaff tend to have more tender pericarp than those with harsh, heavy cob glumes. This allows for some basis for discarding sister lines out of segregating progenies before they are planted.

8. High Tomatine Tomato Breeding Lines

J.C. Gilbert and N. Mohanakumaran

University of Hawaii, Honolulu

The alkaloid, tomatine, occurs in higher concentration sin the roots of bacterial wilt resistant tomato lines selected in the tomato breeding program in Hawaii than in the B.W. susceptible lines. THe pathogen, Pseudomonas solanacearum, is inhibited but not killed by 450 ppm of tomatine in vitro. The roots (gross tissue) or resistant lines show well over 400 ppm and tend to increase their tomatine content following infection with this bacteria. Roots of susceptible varieties have only 100-300 ppm of tomatine. Older plants exceed 1,000ppm of tomatine in the roots. Bacterial wilt susceptible plants allow their tomatine content to drop following infection and soon die. During hot weather (88?F - 92?F ) at low elevations in Hawaii the bacterial wilt resistance seems to be less effective than at higher elevations or during 70-80?F winter seasons at low elevations. It has been observed that when a plant in a bacterial wilt resistant line dies of this disease in hot weather, its tomatine content has first declined rapidly for some reason. This resistance to bacterial wilt is now being used by growers in ares with 60-85? F weather and includes the use of high tomatine selections for rootstocks. These are grafted with scions from the popular multiple resistant F1 hybrids to produce plats with a combination of bacterial wilts resistance and resistance to eight other diseases plus hybrid vigor.

The high tomatine lines are available in true breeding combinations now with added resistance to rot knot, Fusarium wilt (race 1), Stemphylium solani and Spotted wilt virus (SW-1). Spider mite resistance was added to some of the high tomatine, bacterial wilt tolerant lines this year and this available in a determinate plant type (Hawaii 7526). Three distinct levels of true breeding bacterial wilt resistance were observed here in the B.W. breeding program. H.E.S 7526 has an intermediate level of B.W. resistance and was derived from a cross with the spider mite-root knot resistant variety "Kalohi." There is evidence that the highest tomatine levels are associated with resistance to other root pathogens here in addition to bacterial wilt.

The original source of this material included Hawaii 5808-2, a selection made after eight generations of tests with L. pimpinellifolium P.I. 127805A

9. Another Device for the Collection and Application of Tomato Pollen

H.M. Munger

Plant Breeding Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Angell and Robbins (V.I.N. 10:10) described the use of gelatin capsules for the collection, storage and application of tomato pollen in making artificial cross pollinations. They suggested that glass vials would be superior to gelatin capsules if some of suitable size could be found.

During the past few months we have been using pollen collection tubes which have the advantages of glass vials some additional advantages. These are made from plastic hypodermic syringes of mean milliliter size. The end of the syringe is cut off in order to make the diameter uniform. The plastic can be cut readily if it is heated slightly. This modified syringe thus becomes equivalent to a small capsule or vial with a moveable bottom. The capacity can be increased by withdrawing the plunger, and small amounts of pollen adhering to the inside of the device can be pushed to the end by plunger and used very efficiently in making pollinations.

We have used a separated collector for each male parent and labeled it with a gummed label. The collectors are stored in a tightly-covered glass jar with plugged the ends with cotton but it would be more satisfactory to have a closure that would go on the outside of the tube. We have not yet found the right sort of cap for doing this.

On seeing this device Dr. C. Petrescu, who has done some hybridization of tomatoes in Romania, remarked that he had not made something very similar by using a short piece of glass tubing with cotton on the end of a matchstick as a plunger.

10. Nature of Mutations in Tomato Floral Work

T.O. Graham

University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario

Three new floral colors have been located at Guelph. The first two are Pasionato (Orange) and Kanatto (brown). The third floral color has a distinct greenish tinge. This last has bronzy-red fruit when the peel is yellow in color, and purplish colored fruit when the peel is colorless or clear. It was proven in 1967 that the intensity of floral color could be used as marker in the field to indicate the intensity of colors in the fruit. (Bali, Graham and Zitnak).

This year an additional color was located, namely green colored flowers which later run to brown. This new type color is correlated with intense rich crimson in the flesh of he fruit. It traces to line G-68-3 of the variety High Crimson (V.I.N. 7:15). This stock from 1961 to 1967 had yellow flowers. In the winter of 1967- 68 it mutated to orange flower. In 1968 it mutated form orange to green flowers which later turn to brown.

11. Valuable Tomato Types From Weslaco, Texas and Beaverlodge, Alberta

T.O. Graham

University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario

The Cold Set, Outdoor seeder variety when field seeded is limited to areas south of a line drawn from 20 miles north of Montreal to 20 miles north of Perry Sound, Ontario. Earlier maturing varieties are being developed by Dr. R.E. Harris, Beaverlodge Experiment Station in the Peace River district of Alberta, based on selection for rapid branching and fruiting on the lower nodes. After two generations of selection beginning in 1962 for these characters in the Beaverlodge line 48-2111-B at Guelph, 20 plants of 50 observed had three or fewer leaves below the first fruiting truss. The first and second truss on many plants aborted. Earliness in these stocks may be due to such heavy branching and fruiting on the lower nodes that apical dominance on the main stem is weakened. The energy of the plant is suppressed, resulting in a new type of overall ripening. Paste-type varieties from Weslaco, Texas, which bear heavily on the lower branches, provide excellent fruit coverage and ripen quickly once they start, were crossed with the Beaverlodge (B E S) strains. These Texas stocks set freely under both high and low temperatures. Eight lines of B E S origin and five progenies of Texas crosses are available and have already been widely sampled. These are:

Beaverlodge Lines

Date first ripe

1. B E S 52-03 x Bounty (48-2111-A) Chanasyk Early

Aug. 3

2. B E S 52-03 x Bounty (48-2111-B)

Aug. 9

3. B E S 56-1 (48-17-1221)

Aug. 8

4. B E S 6703 (56-1 / Fireball x 56-1)

Aug. 10

5. B E S 6709 (Fireball / 56-1 x Fireball)

Aug. 12

6. B E S 6713 (Fireball x 56-1 / 56-1)

100% ripe Aug. 17

7. B E S 6714 (Fireball x 56-1 / 56-1)

100% ripe Aug. 17

8. B E S 6715 (Fireball x 56-1 / 56-1)

100% ripe Aug. 17

F1 material from crosses made at Guelph

Date first ripe

9. Texas W229S67 x ( B E S 56-1 - 48-17-1221)

Aug. 11

10. Texas La Pinta x " "

Aug. 20

11. Texas La Bonita x " "

Aug. 13

12. Texas TT151 x ( B E S 56-1 - 48-17-1221)

Aug. 13

13. Texas W231S67 x ( B E S 56-1 - 48-17-1221)

Aug. 11


Cold Set Aug. 20


Fireball Aug. 24

Full details regarding this material, and seed samples, can be secured by writing Dr. Graham for a copy of the mimeograph from which this abstract was prepared. (O.H. Pearson)

12. The Role of the Plant Introduction Service in Filling Requests for Seed Samples By Breeders in Other Countries

W. C. Barnes

Clemson University Truck Experiment Station, Charleston, S.C.

Plant breeders owe a debt of gratitude to the Plant Introduction section of the U.S.D.A. Their work can be aided and breeders' efforts to send seed abroad simplified by using the services. Plant Introduction uses contacts in other countries to obtain seed for U.S. breeders and the more contacts they have the better. It is easier for them to get samples to breeders abroad as postal authorities, stick fingers, et al., are more likely to send an official U.S. government communication to its proper destination.

As each new variety or genetic source becomes available for distribution we at the Clemson Truck Station send a small lot to Mrs. M.L. Haines, USDA Plant Inspection Station, 14th & Independence Ave.,S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250. When requests are received for seed they are forwarded to Mrs. Haines. This is time and expense saving to us and gives Plant Introduction a name that is indebted to them hence more likely to help when something is needed from that part of the globe.

Perhaps a brief description of the seed stock would be of help. Plant Introduction frequently forwards requests to us for seed of varieties we did not develop because they do not have a list.

13. Help Your Committee By Using Simple Names

W.C. Barnes

Clemson University Truck Experiment Station, Charleston, S.C.

The ASTA-ASHS Vegetable Variety List has made great progress in the relative short period it has been operating. Most of the new varieties are being submitted promptly and many of the old ones are being added.

There has been a marked improvement in names. The two committees urged, and at times used a little brow beating, to largely eliminate the long names so prevalent in the not too distant past. Most names are now short, simple, easy to spell and usually one word. Dropping of the "hybrid" as a part of a variety name has also been widely accepted.

The request that firm or institutional names not be used as part of a variety name has gained considerable headway but not universal acceptance. Commercial breeders have probably been more cooperative than experiment station breeders. The addition of "Siwash" to a variety name is supposed to advertise the fact dear old "Siwash U." developed it. This lengthens the name thereby taking more time and space to write it and if the dear old U. releases very many it adds to the confusion of names. The advertising value is questionable since seed catalogs, etc., state who developed the public releases. If the variety gains acceptance most growers know who did the job, and on the other hand so many of our "children" die in infancy there are a lot of tombstones with dear ole Siwash on them to remind everyone we did not succeed.

There have been intimations on the part of control officials that if the naming muddle was not straightened out voluntarily there would be regulatory control. This we definitely wish to avoid; thus it behooves public as well as private plant breeders to accept the ASTA-ASHS Committee recommendations that firm, institutional, nick or trade names not be used as part of a variety name.

14. Release Procedures for Vegetable Varieties

H.M. Munger

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Of the many vegetable varieties named and released each year from both public and private sources, a few attain large volume and continuing distribution by the entire vegetable seed industry. Others, of course, drop by the wayside rather quickly with few regrets from anyone except the originator. Between these extremes are varieties that serve a useful purpose in limited areas of adaptation or meet special market needs, Such a variety often cannot be handled economically by more than a few seedsmen, and if released to the seed trade generally by a public plant breeder, it may be unprofitable to everyone and dropped completely. The identical variety developed privately would have a much greater chance of success, because initially the originator would have the entire market for it, and it is not so likely to be multiplied by other seedsmen until demand for it is established.

Public breeders, including myself, have mostly adhered to a policy of unrestricted release of our varieties to the vegetable seed trade, and I still favor doing this if there appears to be a reasonable chance of sufficient usage of the variety. Even though predictions about the future of any variety at the time of its release are notoriously risky, there are a good many varieties for which we can be quite sure that the volume is unlikely to be very great, at least initially. For such varieties a restricted release may be in the best interest of the seed trade, the originator, and , most importantly, the prospective user. The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station has recently announced a policy for restricted release of varieties "that will have little or no chance of success if released and distributed on an unrestricted basis,...." They invited companies to submit proposals to obtain and exclusive release agreement for Fortune Tall Fescue. This is a pattern of release that deserves careful study by vegetable breeders.

Stimulated by this example we have been developing a similar proposal for the release of certain vegetable varieties developed by the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University. Its main features include:

(1) Determination that the best interests of all concerned would be served best by restricted release of a certain variety.

(2) Giving seedsmen an opportunity to submit proposals for obtaining exclusively the foundation seed of the variety for an introductory period of years.

(3) Acceptance by the College of the proposal considered most likely to result in success for the variety, based on a company's interest in the variety, its willingness to assume some risks in multiplying it before demand is known, ability to obtain broadly-based trials by growers, and intent to promote the variety.

(4) Release to other seedsmen of non-pedigree seed for trial and breeding purposes and eventually a general offering of foundation seed if sufficient demand developed.

Basically this proposal aims to give seedsmen the same incentive to develop a market for a publicly developed variety that he would have for his own. An additional feature is that it should also give some reward for effort put into pre-release trials of prospective new varieties, those companies conducting the best trials being the most likely to have enough first-hand knowledge to present acceptable proposals for the better varieties.

15. Uncatalogued Vegetable Varieties Available for Trial in 1969

This list is aimed at facilitating the exchange of information about potential new varieties, or new varieties which have not yet appeared in catalogues. Persons conducting vegetable variety trials who wish seed of items on this list should request samples from the sources indicated.

It is the responsibility of the person sending out seed to specify that it is for trial only, or any other restriction he may want to place on its use.

Crops are listed alphabetically. For each entry the following information is given: Designation, source of trial samples, outstanding characteristics, variety suggested for comparison (not given separately if mentioned in description), status of variety (preliminary trial, advanced trial, to be released, or released) and contributor of information if different from source of trial samples. Where several samples are listed consecutively from one source, the address is given only for the first.

16. Stocks Desired