The sensory representation of the external chemical world in the brain is a translation of chemical features into patterns of brain activity. It is the nature these patterns—how that are established by stimulant patterns, how they vary in a population, and ultimately how they interact with other brain functions, e.g. emotions (joy) or behavior (buying wine)—that is the object of our research. We study aroma perception in order to provide information about food composition to producers that will allow them to produce likable, healthy and more profitable products.
The primary focus of this project is to support the existing and expanding grape and wine industries in New York and other states east of the Rocky Mountains by increasing the abilities of grape producers and their advisers to manage infectious diseases that limit profitability and preclude sustainable production if not addressed adequately. Additionally, the project has several components that are applicable to the grape industry in the western U.S. and to those in overseas locations.
Apple replant disease occurs worldwide and was previously controlled by methyl bromide soil fumigation. We continue to evaluate non-chemical methods for controlling this serious disease problem, and studying the microbial bases for its causation and control. Our recent work has shown that several new rootstocks developed at Cornell have substantial resistance to this soil-borne disease, and may eliminate the need for soil fumigation.
The goal of this project is to identify grapevine volatile cues used by female grape berry moth, the key insect pest of grapes in the eastern United States, to locate host grapevines and use this knowledge to develop a lure and new trapping system to help grape growers monitor grape berry moth phenology and better time management decisions. We have developed a six-component synthetic lure, based on host volatiles produced by grape foliage, that is as attractive as live grape shoots in laboratory behavioral assays.
This is a horticulture-based project working on the needs of the dry bean and potato industries in New York.
Cold-hardy, disease-resistant wine grape varieties are helping fuel the rise of the grape and wine industry in New York and other regions of the U.S. Along with expansion of this agricultural industry comes a significant boost to the economy through tourism (retail, restaurants, winery visitors, hotels, tasting room sales of related products, etc.). There is continuing demand for new, high-quality wine grapes that can reduce pesticide applications, reduce the cost of production, and expand the range of sites on which grapes can be grown.