By the UF/IFAS Edamame Research Team
For the past 25 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service and University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have been developing vegetable soybean lines, known as edamame, adapted for the southern United States.
Research at the North Florida Research and Education Center has been conducted by a multi-disciplinary team that has been working together on all aspects of edamame production, from development to end-user applications.
“The edamame research is a great example of a team of researchers and extension faculty working together to introduce a new crop to vegetable producers,” said George Hochmuth, center director. “The team consists of a crop breeder, a production specialist and an extension agent, who is interested in the end use of the product. You have the entire spectrum covered from variety development to culinary use of the product.”
The UF/IFAS edamame lines were selected for pod yield, disease resistance, determinant growth habit, enhanced flavor and isoflavone chemistry. Isoflavone content, while beneficial to health, contributes to the bitter off-taste commonly found in standard soybean varieties. Decreasing the bitter flavor without eliminating the isoflavone content of the seed has been a focus.
Currently there are three experimental breeding lines at the center in Quincy. Two experimental lines are black-seeded and one is white-seeded. More than 100 additional breeding lines also are being evaluated for desirable flavor, seed yield, hila color and pest resistance. The center plans to release several cultivars for commercial production in the southern United States in 2006.
Vegetable soybeans are growing increasingly popular as a healthy snack or vegetable because of the benefits associated with lowering cholesterol, increasing dietary fiber and contribution of natural isoflavones to diets.
“This nutritious bean is great tasting and good for you,” said Monica Brinkley, the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Director for Liberty County. “Edamame contains isoflavone, which has been shown to have heart health benefits, containing about 38 percent protein, and is also rich in calcium, vitamin A and phytoestrogens.”
When compared with commercially available vegetable soybeans presently marketed in the country, Florida-developed lines have superior disease resistance and yield potential for the southeastern United States. Florida experimental vegetable soybean lines are classed as Maturity Group VII and VIII soybeans.
For more information on edamame and recipes, visit http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/edamame.htm.
Citrus Research and Education Center
A collection of online citrus greening and citrus canker resources is available on the CREC Web site. www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
GCREC is pleased to co-host the Cucurbit Production Workshop with the Hillsborough and Manatee County Extension Offices on Dec. 8. The meeting will cover crops such as watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and cucumbers. Vendors and sponsors will be available to answer questions about the latest control measures and what the future holds for these crops. For more information, contact Alicia Whidden at (813) 744-5519 or Phyllis Gilreath at (941) 722-4524. CEUs and CCAs credits have been approved. http://gcrec.ifas.ufl.edu
Everglades Research and Education Center
Thomas Spreen, Professor UF/IFAS Food & Resource Economics Dept., will present a First Friday Seminar on Dec. 2. The title of his presentation is “Free Trade Agreements and Their Impact on the US Sugar Industry.” Seminars begin at 10:45 a.m. and are free and open to the public. http://erec.ifas.ufl.edu
Indian River Research and Education Center
Mark Ritenour’s research at the IRREC has been with the evaluation and recovery of flowering, fruit set, fruit quality and post-harvest storage life of fruit from hurricane impacted citrus trees. www.irrec.ifas.ufl.edu
North Florida Research and Education Center
A University of Florida pilot program is being conducted at the NFREC-Suwannee Valley as a “Virtual Greenhouse Hydroponic Tour.” The project takes video footage inside the greenhouse at various stages of the crop with more detailed footage of the main topics of hydroponics. The final virtual tour will be available on the web in the spring of 2006. http://nfrec-sv.ifas.ufl.edu
Tropical Research and Education Center
Florida Reps. Julio Robaina and J.C. Zapata recently visited the University of Florida’s TREC in Homestead to learn about programs at the center. http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu