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 goal of my research program is to identify and evaluate multiple strategies than can be integrated to control weeds in vegetable and fruit crops. The strategies may be traditional (chemical, mechanical) or more unusual (cover crops, natural products, weed biology/ecology, crop rotations). The intention is to develop methods of ensuring continued production of healthy foods while maintaining economic sustainability for growers and the safety of the food supply and environment.
The Apple Physiology and Culture program at Cornell has developed over the past 20 years an integrated crop physiology approach with field experimentation and dynamic crop modeling that has substantially improved the understanding of the complex behavior of apple orchards in the variable environment. Outputs from the model are providing critical real-time quantitative information helping growers optimize their orchard management, especially control of the yield, for better profitability.
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.
We conduct a study at approximately three-year intervals to estimate the cost of establishing and producing vinifera grapes in Western NY, specifically the Finger Lakes region. A panel of vinifera producers is assembled to assist in providing estimates of the operations involved in establishing a vinifera vineyard in the Finger Lakes, the cost of establishment of the vineyard, and expected returns over the projected 25-year life of the investment.
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.
Selectable marker genes are widely used for the efficient transformation of crop plants. In most cases, selection is based on genes for antibiotic or herbicide resistance, which are most efficient. Due mainly to consumer and grower concerns, considerable effort has been put into developing strategies to eliminate marker genes from plants after transformation. However, these methods are generally of low efficiency.
Fungicide and antibiotic resistance in populations of apple can result in considerable production losses in the temperate production regions of New York and New England. This project endeavors to understand the prevalence and mechanisms of fungicide and antibiotic resistance in pathogens of apple at both the field level and the individual or molecular level.
Over 30 growers are successfully using the H-2A program in W.N.Y. with over 400 workers in the program. These thirty farms represent over 6,000 acres of fruit, bearing on average 850 bushels to the acre, at a value of over $41 million dollars to the farm, without the added value of storage, packing and marketing.There are many more growers exploring the use of this program for use next year because of the loss of workers during the fall of 2011.