National Allium Research Conference

Onion and garlic scientists from around the nation will convene Dec. 7-8 to rehash the year's research on these popular food crops.

The National Allium Research Conference, hosted by Texas A&M University's Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, will be at the Hilton Hotel in College Station.

Allium is a family of plants that include onion, garlic, chive, leek and shallots, according to Dr. Kilun Yoo, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station scientist and conference organizer.

Production of onions and garlic is important in the U.S. not only because the two crops are heavily consumed but because of more recent findings about their health aspects, Yoo said.

"Onions, for example, contain quercetin, a flavinol linked to the prevention of colon cancer, based on animal studies," said Dr. Bhimu Patil, the vegetable and fruit center's director.

Quercetin levels vary due to genotype, growing location and type of bulb used, he noted.

Sessions during the two-day event will cover production, physiology, storage, pest management, flavor, genetics and breeding of alliums. Possible health advantages of onions and garlic will be covered as well, Yoo said, and onion thrips and iris yellow spot virus will be discussed in a special session.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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