A Washington State University-led team has received a grant to develop a plan for breeding raspberries that will meet consumer and breeder needs through the use of a “breeding roadmap.” Two scientists from the WSU Puyallup campus and one scientist from the Pullman campus will be leading the national effort.
“We were the ones that came up with the idea, so we are writing the proposal and the grant came to us to head the effort,” said Catherine Daniels, the project's pesticide coordinator.
Along with the other two WSU scientists, she will be working with other collaborators at universities from across the country, including Brigham Young University, North Carolina State University, Cornell University and even one from out of the country.
“We have 12 people on the team. Three of them are here at WSU, and one of the twelve is in Canada,” Daniels said.
The planning grant received by the team totals $49,506, Daniels said. The money will be used to host two workshops, traveling expenses, webcams for videoconferencing and other supplies.
The objective of the team is to create a breeding roadmap that will meet three aspects of the plant: the plant health needs, such as resistances to insects, consumer needs, including taste and health factors, and breeder needs, which must be fulfilled in order to identify both the consumer and plant health needs, she said.
The research team will be holding a public workshop in January with the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association, so the plant growers, breeders and marketers can offer input about what aspects of the plant they feel should be looked at, Daniels said.
This information, along with published documents on the main plant issues, will be given to molecular scientists on the team who will propose ways to meet the demands and in turn will have the breeders on the team plan how the plants will be planted, she said.
Pat Moore, scientist and professor at the Department of Horticulture in Puyallup, will be in charge of the breeding aspects of the raspberries, identifying the most important traits to have in the plant. He feels the grant will benefit both consumers and plant breeders.
“These grants will allow plant breeders to develop new raspberry cultivars that would have flavor that the consumer will prefer either as fresh raspberries or in a raspberry product,” Moore said. “Also, by developing cultivars that meet the grower's needs, raspberries would be more available and at a competitive price.”
Carolyn Ross, associate professor in the School of Food Science, is conducting taste panels for consumers and trained panelists to determine the most desirable sensory properties.
“Panelists will taste the raspberries and describe their sensory properties, including if they are sweet, sour or bitter, their juiciness, seediness and aftertaste,” Ross said.
She is hosting a taste panel open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 9 in Food Science and Human Nutrition Buildings 148 where anyone can come and taste frozen raspberries and give their input, Ross said. Participants will also receive a coupon for Ferdinand's.
The team is able to collaborate through the use of technologies such as Adobe Connect, SharePoint and videoconferencing using the school's Academic Media Services, Daniels said.
The roadmap proposal is expected to be completed at the end of 2012, she said. If the proposal is accepted, the team will receive additional funding to continue their research in 2013 as a five-year proposal. To develop a new cultivar, however, will take quite some time.
“It takes about 14 years to get a raspberry cultivar ready to go from the time you first do a cross between the male and female parent to when you've got the plant ready to send out to the propagators,” Daniels said.