Crop Biotech Update

ARS Scientists to Make Salads Healthier

April 27, 2022

Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are taking advantage of the latest tools and techniques in genomics to beef up the nutritive value of onions and carrots, and make future salads even more nutritious.

Philipp Simon, who leads the ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit, is working with his team to boost the beta carotene content of carrots. Beta carotene is a vital pigment that makes carrots orange in color and when this is consumed, it is converted into vitamin A, which has numerous benefits for human health and wellbeing. They are also seeking ways to increase the phytonutrients in onion to help lessen the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer.

The researchers are using genomic mapping techniques to pinpoint markers that can indicate the presence of a particular gene or genes that will help boost the phytonutrients in carrots and onions. They are also looking for markers linked to agronomic characteristics such as pest and disease resistance to help farmers reduce production costs and improve consumers' health at the same time.

Read more from ARS.

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