Hybrid Seed Production Techniques for Cucurbita pepo in Organic Agricultural Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2007-33610-17993
Agency Tracking Number: 2007-00145
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
76 Quarry Rd., Wolcott, VT, 05680
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jodi Lew-Smith
 (802) 472-6174
Business Contact
 Jodi Lew-Smith
Title: Director of Research and Development
Phone: (802) 472-6174
Email: jodi@highmowingseeds.com
Research Institution
"Expanding demand for organic produce is driving a need for larger quantities of commercially-available organic seed. Concomitantly, organic producers wish to have the superior qualities realizable in first-generation (F1) hybrids for many crops. This SBIR project seeks to develop a cost-effective, commercial-scale process for producing organically-suitable F1 hybrid seed. In Phase I High Mowing Seeds will assess the objective for Cucurbita pepo (summer squashes, zucchini, pumpkins, certain winter squashes). Organically-appropriate methods for hybrid seed production in Cucurbita pepo typically require labor-intensive techniques such as hand-pollination or handemasculation of the female parent. Using the natural plant hormone ethylene, we propose to achieve more consistent results and eliminate 40-50% of the labor of producing organic hybrid seed. While ethylene gas use for this purpose is not specifically allowed under USDA National Organic Program Rules, ethylene is allowed for floral induction, post-harvest ripening, and degreening of certain fruits. With completion of this project, we believe a petition to the National Organic Standards Board for use of ethylene in hybrid seed production is highly likely to succeed. The broader outcome will be substantial increase in organic production with its attendant environmental benefits, improved vegetable varieties, and a significant opportunity for organic seed producers"

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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