When you reach for an apple in the grocery store, do you choose a crisp sweet blushing AmbrosiaTM, a juicy aromatic Salish®, or a tart bright red and green McIntosh? Is it taste that guides you, colour, or something else? Are you someone who can’t wait to try the latest apple variety, or do you prefer the apple you already know? Understanding what drives consumer choice is important knowledge for the science teams that breed new apples, allowing them to select traits that will lead to superior fruit and a robust apple industry.
The Science of Summerland: Highlights from a Research and Development Centre
Learn about intriguing discoveries made by research teams in the heart of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, at one of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s coast-to-coast network of research and development centres. Find out about the work these teams do to grow and develop a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
Could we consider the unassuming raspberry a superfood? When Dr. Kelly Ross took a closer look at raspberries, she found evidence of their potential to enhance human health and benefit diabetics. Dr. Ross and her team, David Godfrey and Lana Fukumoto, were pursuing an emerging line of research that looks at polysaccharides, a group of carbohydrates, found in cell walls inside fruit. These compounds were previously believed to be indigestible by humans, so were largely ignored in assessments of the health benefits of fruit.
The popular Ambrosia™ apple, named for “food of the gods” in Greek mythology, makes up a third of the apples grown in BC, generating a farm gate value of over $12.5M. With a sweet honey flavour and light flesh that is slow to brown, it lives up to its name and can still be crisp, juicy and full of flavour in the middle of winter, as long as the apples do not succumb to a common storage disorder known as soft scald. Soft scald has plagued growers of susceptible apple varieties and challenged scientists searching for solutions, so it is exciting that a research team at Agriculture and Agri-
Scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of why most fruit extracts don’t show the same health benefits compared to eating the entire fruit. The same phenomenon occurs with vegetables. It is very difficult to capture the full benefit of the original food. Dr. Kelly Ross at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Summerland believes that the plant cell walls may be hiding the missing ingredients.