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CAHNRS Department of Horticulture Genomics Lab

WSU researchers receive the 2021 Commercialization Gap Fund

The Office of Commercialization has awarded 10 Washington State University researchers with the Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF).

Amit Dhingra received an award for  “Field Evaluation of Fruit Quality with Glycine Betaine:” The patented innovation is the novel use of glycine betaine, a natural certified organic plant metabolite, as a pre-harvest or at harvest technology to delay the development of pear fruit. To enable commercial-scale application, there is a need for farm-scale replicated trials. Funding will enable the collection of generation farm-level data and market adoption.

Read more about the 2021 Commercialization Gap Fund projects here.

Restart the Ripening Clock

A genetic discovery leads to a new compound that could kick-start pear ripening and shows potential in sliced pears.

For more than a decade, Washington State University geneticist Amit Dhingra has been trying to figure out the underlying genetics of pear ripening in order to design postharvest products that could deliver consistent fruit quality.

A series of research projects that began with trying to understand the seemingly unpredictable impacts of 1-MCP (1-methylcyclopropene, which blocks ethylene receptors) on pears and find postharvest products that would deliver consistent fruit quality are now starting to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, Dhingra said, with new tools to spur ripening and a genetic understanding of how and why they work.

Read the full story by Kate Prengaman here.

Dhingra honored for mentoring undergraduate researchers

Amit Dhingra, associate professor of genomics and biotechnology at Washington State University, has been honored by the Council on Undergraduate Research for his long-term commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers.

Dhingra received the CUR’s Biology Division Mid-Career Mentor Award from among nominees from about 750 participating universities. In the past 11 years, Dhingra has mentored nearly 100 undergraduates in 32 majors hailing from 16 U.S. universities. Many of those students, as evidenced by his Undergraduate Student Collective website, have gone on to science-related careers, won awards or otherwise found ways to make significant contributions to society.

Read the rest of this article by Brian Clark here.

For the love of huckleberries

Starting in late summer, national forests in Northwestern states like Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho fill with eager berry hunters hoping to find a cache of dark maroon huckleberries.  Read the rest of this NPR article here.

Hunting Down the Lost Apples of the Pacific Northwest – New York Times

The New York Times recently published a story by Kirk Johnson about lost apples of the Pacific Northwest. Johnson’s story features apple detective David Benscoter’s and others effort to preserve knowledge of old apple varieties that, as Johnson writes, “might have something to teach us… about evolution or climate, in looking at the qualities that kept a particular tree going despite the odds.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Technologies on the Shelf

2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug’s establishment of the World Food Prize organization. This year World Food Prize hosted the 2016 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, held October 12-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.

In a World Food Prize side event, WSU Associate Professor Amit Dhingra presented on the forthcoming paper:Technologies on the Shelf. The series keynote paper is part of a Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) 12 paper project, The Need for Agricultural Innovation to Sustainably Feed the World by 2050, investigating methods to advance global food security.

More information on CAST can be found at this web site, CAST-science