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   Broccoli That Can Take the Heat
by Sharon Durham, ARS Office of Communications.
Posted: Friday, September 1, 2017 at 9:04AM EDT

Broccoli is becoming more popular with the American consumer, providing plenty of nutrients in the diet. But it isn’t easy getting this cool-weather vegetable to your table. Broccoli producers face many factors that impede getting their crop to market—including unexpected temperature fluctuations and excessive heat. Heat stress while broccoli’s florets are developing can reduce crop yield and quality, cutting into the crop’s $800 million U.S. market value.

Broccoli has been grown in Europe for centuries, but it has only been grown in the United States since the late 1800s, when it was probably introduced by Italian immigrants. Although California is the major producing state, broccoli is grown in nearly every other state, especially along the eastern seaboard.

The likelihood of high-temperature stress occurring in a given location or season is the main factor limiting where and when the crop can be grown. Breeding heat-tolerant broccoli cultivars could extend the growing season, expand production areas, and increase resilience to fluctuating temperatures, but efforts to do this have been limited by a lack of knowledge about the genetics of heat tolerance.

 To read the rest of the story, please go to: USDA AgResearch Magazine


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