Healthful crop research begins at North Carolina greenhouses

08/07/2012 12:46:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

broccoli breedingCourtesy North Carolina State UniversityOne of the new 3,300-square-foot greenhouses allows Allan Brown to try to develop a 'super broccoli."North Carolina State University's Plants for Human Health Institute has begun research in three new greenhouses near its life sciences center in Kannapolis.

The facility will allow researchers to study mostly fruits and vegetables and how to improve them to benefit human health, according to a news release.

The $340,000 complex comprises 10,000 square feet among the three greenhouses.

One houses broccoli-breeding trials conducted by Allan Brown, an applied molecular geneticist.

His goal is to develop a "super broccoli" with better flavor and cancer-fighting properties, among other traits.

Another greenhouse is home to 200 varieties of strawberries.

There, Jeremy Pattison, the institute's strawberry breeder, is able to conduct disease-resistant trials since the greenhouse is isolated from commercial strawberry fields.

Those making the disease-resistant cut at the greenhouse will be moved to the Piedmont Research Station, Salisbury, for agronomic evaluation of traits, such as yield, size and color.

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