News Items of Interest
Ornamentals: blue hibiscus
Dr. Dariusz Malinowski, Texas AgriLife Research plant physiologist and forage agronomist in Vernon, has been working for four years to create a blue-flowering winter-hardy hibiscus. A blue pigment does not exist in this hibiscus species, but in the world of ornamentals, "blue" is interpreted to have a wide range of hues. Most ornamental blues have a more purple or lavender cast. Now Malinowski has managed to breed a hibiscus flower with the illusive color. He had one plant bloom with almost blue flowers, a significant breakthrough in efforts to create a blue hibiscus cultivar. Malinowski will use this plant as a parent in his breeding project this summer, with the goal to stabilize the blue color in full sunlight and increase flower size.
Ornamentals: winter-hardy hibicsus
Unique winter-hardy hibiscus plants, with very large blooms and an unusual range of colors, are being created at AgriLife Research in Vernon. Presently, commercial cultivars come basically in three colors - white, red and pink. With his hibiscus breeding program that started as a hobby, Dr. Dariusz Malinowski, Texas AgriLife Research plant physiologist and forage agronomist, has created many more colors, ranging from lavender or mauve, different shades of fuchsia and pinks, to plum and an almost burgundy color.
East Texas breeder developed turfgrass used on World Cup soccer fields
To rescue soccer fields being used for the World Cup in South Africa, grounds managers used Panterra, a turfgrass bred and developed near Overton in East Texas by Dr. Lloyd Nelson, Texas AgriLife Research small-grains breeder. AgriLife Research released Panterra in 2003, licensing seed production to Barenbrug USA, Inc., which uses Panterra in its SOS grass blend. SOS stands for Super Over Seeding, and is a blend of Panterra and a perennial ryegrass cultivar.
Texas AgriLife Research Wheat Improvement Programs
PVP rights enforced
Steve and Randy Riffel of Stockton, KS, were caught in the illegal sale of Jagger and Santa Fe wheat. They settled for $150,000. Under the settlement agreement, Kansas Wheat Alliance and WestBred have the right to inspect all of the Riffel’s business and farming records and premises for the next 3 years and if the Riffels are caught selling KWA or WestBred seed illegally again they will pay $35.50 for every 50-pound unit of seed they sell.
South Dakota State University enforces PVP rights over the spring wheat varieties Traverse and Briggs, and has instituted five lawsuits in federal court to enforce laws governing wheat varieties using the Plant Variety Protection Act. The lawsuits have been filed in order to protect producers in South Dakota and in the Upper Midwest who act in accordance with the Plant Variety Protection Act. The lawsuits allege that five particular producers knowingly sold or offered the seed for sale without legal authority, without proper seed certification or without legitimate seed dealer licenses.
The action taken by the South Dakota Board of Regents is part of a much larger industry-wide PVP educational and enforcement effort that includes other notable public, taxpayer-funded research universities such as Kansas State University, Colorado State University and Oklahoma State University.
Peanut Allergy: Possible Therapy
Peanut allergy is common, potentially severe, even life-threatening, and causes an impaired quality of life. Pilot studies in oral immunotherapy have shown that it is possible to desensitize children to the allergen by giving very small daily doses of peanut flour to peanut allergic children over a number of weeks. This therapy, NOT to be attempted at home, greatly expanded the children’s tolerance and provided protection against accidental ingestion. They were able to eat up to 10 peanuts without ill effect, which is more than they would encounter during accidental exposure. Doctors are optimistic that the children have lost their peanut allergy. More rigorous research is under way to confirm the pilot study.