- By domesticating wild plants to create our familiar crops we have
selected desirable traits like disease resistance, yield and flavour.
The Really Wild Veg project has been examining how significant these
changes have been by growing trial plots of three familiar crop plants
alongside their wild relatives. The project has focussed on three crop
species – cabbage, beet and radish – as all three are native Scottish
coastal plants. For more information about the species and varieties
grown in the trial and the participating community gardens see the 11th June blog update.
The Crop Wild Relatives are important because they hold genes that may be valuable in breeding new improved varieties. One area where the wild plants may show particular promise is in their nutritional qualities. A varied group of chemicals found in plants that are particularly important for human health are called bioactive phytochemicals. This group includes antioxidants and anthocyanins among many others and can help prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In order to investigate this interesting area further the Really Wild Veg project has teamed up with the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health. The Rowett’s lab in Aberdeen will analyse the samples supplied from across all five gardens that have participated in the trials. This will provide a picture of how the phytochemicals have changed their makeup and concentration as a result of domestication.
Friday, 27 September 2013
Re-Wild Your Plate!
An edible gardening project is looking to ancestral plants of modern vegetables for qualities of disease resistance, yield and flavour: