Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Leafy Vegetable Crop Germplasm Committee
August 30, 2004 – Montreal, Quebec

Attendees: Becky Grube (Chair), Larry Robertson, James McCreight, Ryan Hayes, Larry Knerr, Beiquan Mou, Pieter Egelmeers, Darryn Gibson, Johan Schut, Maria Jose Truco, Aad van der Arend, Ales Lebeda, Ed Ryder, Kees de Jong, Arnaud Thabuis, David Brenner, Oswaldo Ochoa, Erik Wilkins, Teddy Morelock, George Kuo, Grace Romero, Lynn Brandenberger, Brigitte Maisonneuve, Russel Nagata

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm by Becky Grube. Following introduction of committee members and guests, the minutes of the October 3, 2002 meeting were approved.

Crop Reports

Larry Robinson distributed a written report on the status of the Apium (celery) collection. There remain 68 accessions at the National Seed Storage Laboratory that are not backed up at the Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, NY. Following regeneration of these accessions they will be inventoried at Geneva. Fifteen accessions were produced in 2004 with another 22 accessions scheduled for production in 2005. Of the Geneva collection 4 have been deactivated and 24 may need to be deactivated if regeneration fails. Eight accessions require regeneration due to <60% viability. After 2005 work will commence to backup the 131 accessions that are not backed up at the National Center for Genetic Resource Preservation; following this initial round there will be a need to regenerate at least half of all accessions for a comprehensive backup at NCGRP. There has been a low but consistent level of orders for distribution of the germplasm since 2002.

David Brenner presented the Cichorium (endive, chicory) germplasm report on behalf of Kathy Reitsma. 80% of the Cichorium collection is available and backed up in Ft. Collins, and the remainder will be targeted for the coming year. A growout of available accessions is ongoing currently. There has been interest in the collection from researchers at U. Mass. and U. Nebraska for evolutionary studies and evaluating suitability for various industrial uses.

A comment from an audience member indicated the Nebraska project is quite similar to northern European industrial uses of Chicory that are already at commercialization level.

Reitsma posed a question via Grube about C. endivia x C. intybus crosses. Ryder commented that Charlie Rick published this work in ~1953 in ASHS journal. A comment from the audience indicated that the cross is possible but difficulties arise after the F 1, including interspecific irregularities in the F 2 and F 3

A second question concerned whether results from the Nebraska project would be reported in GRIN (Genetic Resources Information Network). David responded that this topic was not addressed specifically but probably would.

David Brenner then continued by presenting the Spinacia (spinach) germplasm status. A written report was provided to the audience. Highlights of the report included the cooperative effort between Sakata Seeds America and USDA-ARS in regeneration efforts. There remain 14 accessions to regenerate, which will be done by Sakata within the next 12 months. Currently 92% of the collection is available, mainly due to Sakata’s willingness to assist in the regeneration effort. The collection has not required any production in several past years due to the seed availability from Sakata and USDA-ARS efforts.

A significant problem has occurred with seed dormancy and erratic germination resulting in over a month between first and last seedling emergence. A literature search revealed that removing or mechanically damaging the pericarp may lessen dormancy. An audience comment suggested soaking in deionized water for 24 hours at 4-5 C o, decanting, rinsing with deionized water once or twice, then placing on moistened filter paper in a Petri dish and back into 4-5 C o and keeping relative humidity at 60-70%. After two to four days radical emergence should occur.

For acquisition, interest is high in additional samples but developing agreement with the Chinese government has been problematic (see new business). Also there is disagreement whether China contains wild Spinacia as a new on-line resource indicates none present.

For evaluation, ten new descriptors have been entered into GRIN from Dr. Grusak’s work on mineral nutrition at Baylor University College of Medicine. Consistent comments from industry for disease resistance descriptors are noted. A request was made for discussion of preferred data format for disease descriptors. Industry response included a statement that CGN / Genebank has a set of descriptors for the Dutch genebank and this set might serve as a conversation point between U.S. curators and CGN curators. Theo van Hintum was mentioned as a contact at CGN.

Pathology comments for spinach included notification of the industry of confirmation of Races 7, 9, 10 of Downy Mildew being present in California, while Race 8 remains in Europe.

In Barbara Hellier’s absence, Grube reviewed the Lactuca (lettuce) germplasm status written report. There were 724 packets distributed from Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman from July 2003 to July 2004. There were 68 seed packets sent to international scientists.

Three named cultivars were acquired for the collection since July 2003. Twenty five accessions were increased with the short term plan to regenerate wild species accessions and those with low germination.

Pullman retains the “official” germplasm collection while USDA-ARS Salinas retains a “working” collection which consists of more named cultivars and fewer PI lines. There is an issue with “heirloom” varieties that reside only in Salinas. An effort should be made to funnel all requests for seed through Pullman and a note at the end of every publication indicating seed may be obtained via Pullman may alleviate Salinas sampling from their working inventory.

Descriptors for Lactuca were discussed. In a Czech journal (English language) there exist 96 morphological characters with detailed drawings. The Plant Genetic Resources newsletter also contains information on an EU project that was completed in June 2004 on a set of basic descriptors.

Other Reports

  1. FY2003 Evaluation - Stemphylium leaf spot in spinach: Beiquan Mou stated that funding for this had been received and growth chamber had been purchased but problems with virulent strains had delayed the research. New isolates from Washington State University will be used when testing commences in October 2004.
  2. FY2003 Exchange - Spinacia: Mou indicated this project has not received funding. Agreement between Chinese and U.S. governments on native germplasm exchange is pending. Work with Chinese curator is pending until USDA responds. Concern about presence of wild species (see crop report).
  3. FY2003 Exploration – Beta: In Hellier’s absence no details on whether this effort in Greece by Panella and Hannan generated any Lactuca.
  4. CGC Chair Meeting: Grube reported that the Crop Report was updated in January2004; the last update was recorded in 1999. A new Crop Vulnerability Statement must be submitted by September 30, 2004. This must discuss (1) genetic uniformity of current crop, (2) identify and rank industry disease priorities and (3) assess current diversity of crop germplasm collections.

New Business

New Spinacia Descriptors: developed by Dr. Grusak (see crop report). The entire Spinacia collection was tested in growth chambers to avoid minor elements in dust. New descriptors approved by CGC.

FY2004 Evaluation – Verticillium wilt in lettuce: Funded from October 2004 to September 2005 and progress being made on greenhouse screening method.

FY2005 Evaluation: New proposals for evaluation are due by October 15, 2004 for funding October 2005 to September 2006.

FY2005 Exchange or Exploration: Thefunding deadline was July 2004; no proposals from Leafy Vegetables CGC or any other CGC. Consider making a proposal!

Crop Germplasm Survey: A three page written summary was presented by Grube.There were19 respondents. Crops with the highest response were lettuce and spinach. The top demand for expansion of the collection was spinach, with interest in lettuce. Specific targets were identified, with Chinese landraces and Georgia (Asiatic) being underrepresented. A question was raised whether this document would be helpful in supporting Evaluation/Exchange/Exploration projects proposed by CGC. The answer was although helpful the new Crop Vulnerability Statements would have a higher level of consideration.

Crop Vulnerability Statements: These statements will be used to assess proposals for Evaluation/Exchange/Exploration. Spinach – representatives felt that the genetic base of spinach was not necessarily narrow. It was noted that a high percentage of seed supply of commercial spinach cultivars is produced overseas in northern latitudes. Chicory / Endive – Narrow germplasm base puts these crops at risk. Celery – no representatives were present but a consensus among the group that Fusarium wilt of celery continues to be a risk to production of this crop. LettuceVerticillium wilt has the potential to cause significant damage to commercial crop production and is the most immediate threat to current U.S. industry.

Grube will amend the CVS and resend to CGC members for comments before mid September. CVS are due to National Program Staff by September 30, 2004.

Other Business

Upcoming leafy vegetable meetings include: National Spinach Conference in Texas, December 2004; ASHS in Nevada in July 2005; Eucarpia Leafy Conference in UK, Summer 2007.

Next meeting was proposed and accepted to be held during the ASHS Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 18-21, 2005. Meeting was adjourned 9:10 pm

Minutes respectfully submitted by Erik Wilkins on behalf of Leafy Vegetable CGC.