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2018

Penn State Fine Flavor Cacao Visiting Scientist Program 2019-2020
March 21, 2019
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service, the Cacao and Chocolate Research Network (CCRN) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Visiting Scientist Program. The program will support visiting scientists to work with Penn State faculty and international collaborators to advance research that is critical to the development of the fine flavor cacao/chocolate industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These visiting scientists will spend six months at Penn State. Currently, the program is only accepting applications for economics research of the fine flavor cacao market. Exchanges will take place within the September 2019 to May 2020 timeframe, with exact dates to be determined jointly by the visiting scientist and his/her Penn State faculty mentor.
New Manuscript Published! Glucocorticoid receptor-regulated TcLEC2 expression triggers somatic embryogenesis in Theobroma cacao leaf tissue
November 30, 2018
Plant science faculty member named Styer Professor
September 26, 2018
Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was named the J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany.
New Manuscript
September 13, 2018
Congratulations to all authors and contributors! Transcriptomic analyses of cacao cell suspensions in light and dark provide target genes for controlled flavonoid production Adriana M. Gallego, Luisa F. Rojas, Oriana Parra, Héctor A. Rodriguez, Juan C. Mazo Rivas, Aura Inés Urrea, Lucía Atehortúa, Andrew S. Fister, Mark J. Guiltinan, Siela N. Maximova & Natalia Pabón-Mora Scientific Reports Volume 8, Article number: 13575 (2018)
Penn State Fine Flavor Cacao Visiting Scientist Program 2018-2019
September 2, 2018
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service, the Cacao and Chocolate Research Network (CCRN) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Visiting Scientist Program. The program will support five visiting scientists to work with Penn State faculty and international collaborators to advance research that is critical to the development of the fine flavor cacao/chocolate industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These visiting scientists will spend six months at Penn State or at a partner institution working on one of the following topic areas: advanced sensory evaluation, the fine flavor cacao market, or issues related to cadmium accumulation in cacao. Exchanges will take place within the January 2019 to May 2020 timeframe, with exact dates to be determined jointly by the visiting scientist and his/her Penn State faculty mentor.
Would You Eat These Futuristic Foods? FUTURE FRONTIERS FEATURE STORY Kira Peikoff June 29, 2018
July 3, 2018
Gene editing shows promise for improving the 'chocolate tree'
May 11, 2018
Use of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 could help to breed cacao trees that exhibit desirable traits such as enhanced resistance to diseases, according to plant scientists. The cacao tree, which grows in tropical regions, produces the cocoa beans that are the raw material of chocolate. Reliable productivity from cacao plants is essential to the multibillion-dollar chocolate industry, the economies of producing countries and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder cacao farmers. But each year, several plant diseases severely limit global production, with 20-30 percent of cocoa pods destroyed preharvest. CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It is a way to modify an organism's genome by precisely delivering a DNA-cutting enzyme, Cas9, to a targeted region of DNA. The resulting change can delete or replace specific DNA pieces, thereby promoting or disabling certain traits. Previous work in cacao identified a gene, known as TcNPR3, that suppresses the plant's disease response. The researchers hypothesized that using CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out this gene would result in enhanced disease resistance. The ultimate goals of the cacao research are to help raise the standard of living for smallholder growers and stabilize a threatened cocoa supply by developing plants that can withstand diseases, climate change and other challenges.
Science News for Students:
February 8, 2018
Increasingly, chocolate-makers turn to science Researchers are studying chocolate to boost its health benefits and produce more of this tasty treat