North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) recently received an extensive cabbage germplasm collection for its research program. Monsanto Company gifted the collection to the university.
“The private to public transition of an advanced vegetable breeding program is unique,” says Dr. Allan Brown, a researcher with the Plants for Human Health Institute. “To our knowledge, this cabbage germplasm collection represents the last large-scale cabbage breeding program in the U.S. We intend to utilize this generous gift to address the needs of cabbage growers in North Carolina by developing new and improved varieties that will increase demand and expand production.”
The material includes germplasm from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The collection, previously managed by Monsanto cabbage breeder Dr. Glen Ruttencutter, consists primarily of blue-green to green varieties, but also includes red and Savoy cabbages. The collection has the potential to provide resistance to key diseases such as black rot and Fusarium yellows.
The breeding lines have been developed and evaluated at locations throughout the country including North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Quality, flavor, and disease resistance were the initial priorities of this program. Brown says that he will continue evaluations throughout North Carolina, the fifth leading cabbage-producing state with a crop value of more than $14 million.
“A collaborative effort within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences involving the Department of Horticultural Science, the Plants for Human Health Institute, and North Carolina MarketReady will include an outreach program with growers that will allow us to assess and prioritize needs in the coastal plains and the western regions of the state where most cabbage is produced,” he said. “We also plan to collaborate with fellow institutions and private industry to help make North Carolina State University a leader in cabbage breeding.”
“Monsanto is pleased to contribute cabbage germplasm to North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the NCRC,” said Consuelo Madere, Monsanto’s Global Vegetable and Asia Commercial lead. “We sell cabbage seed under our Seminis brand in several world areas,” she said, “and we are delighted that the Institute will be working at NCRC to develop cabbage varieties well suited to the local production needs in North Carolina. It’s a great example of public and private efforts coming together at the campus.”