Good Fruit Grower

July 1

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Page 12 of 39 GOOD FRUIT GROWER JULY 2014 13 facilitated these strong connections. Sandefur calls him "the bridge," the person with one foot in the laboratory and one foot in the field, spearheading the links between genetics, genomics, and breeding. Before RosBREED, Peace had already worked to develop what was one of the first fruit quality DNA tests, the endoPG-6 test men- tioned previously. Grad students Clark says that one of the key contributions of Ros- BREED was in training what will be the new generation of plant breeders. As the University of Minnesota apple breeder Dr. Jim Luby put it, "The engine of RosBREED has been a cohort of 21 breeding trainees pursuing grad- uate degrees while embedded in demonstration breed- ing programs at universities across the U.S." Sandefur, of course, is one of those. He is now working on his doctorate at Washington State University, under Dr. Peace. "Dr. Clark wanted me to expand my horizons," Sandefur said. Raised in Arkansas and taking his bache- lor's and master's there, he says, "I was drawn to Wash- ington State University, which is on the forefront of new molecular research and has strong industry financial support"—through the $34-million endowment funded by Washington fruit growers. Another graduate student seeking a doctorate while working on breeding peaches is Alexandra Salgado, from Santiago, Chile, working with Clark in Arkansas on valu- able peach traits, including the elusive slow-melting texture. Also working with Clark is Terrence Frett, who came to Arkansas to work for his doctorate after cutting his teeth at Clemson in Gasic's program. A fourth is Jona- than Fresnedo, a student from Mexico who is seeking his doctorate while working with Gradziel at the University of California, Davis. "Without RosBREED, I would not have met Cameron Peace and had the opportunity to finish my graduate work at WSU," Sandefur said. "I also would not have met the other breeding trainees who I now work with on proj- ects and look forward to working with later in my career." "Let me tell you, as we complete the RosBREED proj- ect, this aspect of the project has been more than good, it has been outstanding," Clark said. "I can only comment at this point on the impact of the breeder trainees on the project, but really this is all about an investment in the future, and this investment will pay tremendous returns to plant breeding in the future as the careers of the train- ees unfold and their impacts are made." Book chapter Perhaps the biggest feather in Sandefur's hat is his name in first position on a 60-plus-page paper in the 562- page publication, Volume 41 of Horticultural Reviews. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, Horticultural Reviews has been, since 1979, edited by world-renowned horti- culturist Dr. Jules Janick, who has been a Purdue Uni- versity faculty member since graduating from Cornell University in 1951. "He was interested in this new information about peach texture, and he approached Dr. Clark and Dr. Peace about it," Sandefur said. "They said, this is a proj- ect for Paul. Again, I was at the right place at the right time." Sandefur is co-author of the chapter called "Peach Texture," along with Clark and Peace. The chapter covers all the information on what are now five flesh types, a section on ripening and enzyme effects on peach texture, and a section that involves growers and their practices. Production and handling also have effects on peach texture, the writers say—including irrigation, pruning, nutrient management, handling, and cold storage. The major concern is avoiding or limiting mealiness. "Unlike apples and bananas, peaches are generally not considered a convenient fruit," the authors write in the peach texture chapter. "The inconvenience of the peach fruit, particularly its soft, easily bruised flesh, short storage life, and high incidence of damage has contributed to its flat consumption rate in recent years." Annual per capita consumption of fresh peaches is about 4.5 pounds, compared to about 16 pounds for apples and 24 pounds for bananas. The results of the RosBREED project, the peach breeders think, will change that. • "This investment will pay tremendous returns to plant breeding in the future." —Dr. John Clark

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