College of Agricultural Sciences
Germplasm management, plant breeding, fruits, ornamentals, development of new crops, organic agriculture.
The purpose of this project is to promote organic farming practices in Puerto Rico through the development of an organic seed program, vegetable variety trials under organic management, a demonstrative organic garden, organic crop care sheets, and a website dedicated to organic agriculture in Puerto Rico.
The objectives of this project are the acquisition, conservation, evaluation, documentation and distribution of plant germplasm. At present, there are 11 subprojects located at the experiment stations of Adjuntas, Corozal, Isabela, Juana Díaz and Lajas. Germplasm collections under this project include guava (Psidium guajava), plantain and banana (Musa sp.), African yam (Dioscorea sp.), cassava (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), cocoyam (Xanthosomas sp.), citrus (Citrus sp.), quenepa (Melicoccus bijugatus), maize (Zea mays), mango (Mangifera indica), sweet pepper (Capsicum frutescens), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).
Development of New Ornamental Crops for Puerto Rico (H-94-W)
The ornamental plant industry is one of the agricultural areas of fastest growth in the US, with a value of $13.8 billon in 2002. That same year, in Puerto Rico the value of ornamental plants overtook that of coffee and plantain, with a value of $66.5 million. The success of the ornamental plant industry depends to a large degree on the continual introduction of new plants, which create new options for consumers, generating interest and demand, and therefore promoting increased production. The objective of this research is the development of new cultivars of three species of tropical ornamental plants for Puerto Rico: Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Leandra krugii and Musa sp.
Evaluation of Production Characteristics and Fruit Quality of Quenepa for the Development of Superior Clones for Fresh Fruit and Industrial Uses (H-94-A)
The quenepa (Melicoccus bijugatus) is a fruit which is greatly appreciated in Puerto Rico, with an estimated production of 126,600 bunches and a value of $171,000 in 2002. Nevertheless, the majority of quenepa harvested in Puerto Rico is from wild trees, which haven't been selected for fruit quality and receive no horticultural care. These trees are also being eliminated as Puerto Rico becomes increasingly urbanized. In 2004, two experimental plantings of 18 quenepa clones, including 15 new clones, were established at the experiment stations of Lajas and Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico. We will be evaluating vegetative development, yield, and fruit quality characteristics of these selections, with the objective of selecting new varieties with superior characteristics both as fresh fruit and for processing.
Conventional agricultural practices can contribute to environmental degradation through the contamination of soil, water and food by pesticides, soil erosion and loss of fertility, and contamination of subterranean and surface bodies of water with chemical fertilizers. On the other hand, organic agriculture is a system of agricultural production which promotes soil fertility and productivity, biodiversity, the use of compost and other natural fertilizers, alternate methods for the control of pests and diseases that don't involve toxic chemicals, and the harmony and health of the soil, plants, animals, and humans. There are more than 2.5 million acres in the United States dedicated to organic agriculture, and the organic industry has a value of more than $11 billion ($25 billion worldwide). In this project, we will examine the effect of mulch and nine natural products for the control of insects and diseases in the production of organic watermelons.
A collaborative project with the University of Wisconsin Botany Greenhouses with the goal of conserving Amorphophallus titanum in a tropical rainforest environment similar to its native habitat.
The Heliconia Society International was designated as the "International Cultivar Registration Authority" (ICRA) for Heliconia in 2003. The purpose of an ICRA is to promote stability in cultivar nomenclature through the registration of cultivar names and the maintenance and publication of lists of all known cultivar names.
Brunner, B.R., G. Serrano Rodríguez, F.H. Ferwerda and L.I. Rivera. 2006. Fungicidal properties of Clausena excavata aqueous extracts. Puerto Rican Society for Agricultural Sciences Annual Meeting, 10 November 2006, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico.
Brunner, B.R., R. Vélez Colón, C.A. Flores y A. Cedeño Maldonado. 2006. Crecimiento vegetativo en 18 cultivares de quenepa (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq.). Puerto Rican Society for Agricultural Sciences Annual Meeting, 10 November 2006, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico.
Brunner, B.R., R. Vélez Colón, C.A. Flores and A. Cedeño Maldonado. 2006. Cultivar and location affect early vegetative development of quenepa (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq.). Annual Meeting Interamerican Society for Horticultural Science, 24-30 September 2006, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Poster
Roque, S.M., B. Brunner and A. Wszelaki. 2006. Alternativas para el manejo de
malezas en la producción de sandía orgánica tropical. Annual Meeting
Interamerican Society for Horticultural Science, 24-30 September 2006, San Juan,
Cabrera, I. and B.R. Brunner. 2006. Variedades de quenepa: Evaluación del germoplasma de Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq. en la Estación Experimental de Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico. (Book submitted for publication.)
Brunner, B. 2006. The heliconia checklist and register. Bull. Heliconia Society International 12(3/4):1-36.
Rivero, J.A. and B.R. Brunner. 2006. Arboles frutales exóticos y poco conocidos en Puerto Rico. Editorial Univ. P.R., Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Darnell, R.L., B. Brunner, H.E. Alvarado, J.G. Williamson, M. Plaza and E. Negrón. 2006. Annual, off-season raspberry production in warm season climates. HortTechnology 16(1):92-97.
Brunner, B.R. 2005. Registration of H. 'Crocodile' and H. 'Johnson Beharry V.C.' Bull. Heliconia Society International 12(2):16.
Crane, J.H., F. Zee, G.S. Bender, B. Faber, B. Brunner and C.L. Chia. 2003. Commercial Sapindaceae fruit production in the U.S.A. Second Lychee, Longan, Rambutan and Other Sapindaceae Symposium, 25-28 August 2003, Chiangmai, Thailand.
B. 2001. Registration of new heliconia cultivars. Part II. The registration
process. Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico Newsletter No. 4, December 2001.
B. 2001. Rambutan grafting experiments. Online publication, Quisqualis Rare
Fruit Website (http://www.quisqualis.com/01Ramb.html).
B. 2000. Puerto Rico y US Virgin Islands (Estados Unidos). p. 279-280. In:
H. Knudsen (ed.) Directorio de colecciones de germoplasma en América Latina y
el Caribe. Primera edición.
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), Rome.
F.W. and B. Brunner. 2000. Palms for development: Useful palms of the world and
their potential. Educational
Concerns for Hunger Organization, North Fort Myers, Florida.
Brunner, B.R. 2000. Recursos fitogenéticos de frutas tropicales en Puerto Rico. XLVI Reunión Anual del Programa Cooperativo Centroamericano para el Mejoramiento de Cultivos y Animales (PCCMCA), 1-5 May 2000, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Brunner, B. 2000. Registration of new heliconia cultivars. Part I. Taxonomy and the need for cultivar registration. Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico Newsletter, December 2000.
Cabrera, I. and B.R. Brunner. 2000. Evaluación fitogenética de variedades de Melicoccus bijugatus L. (quenepa) en Puerto Rico. XLVI Reunión Anual del Programa Cooperativo Centroamericano para el Mejoramiento de Cultivos y Animales (PCCMCA), 1-5 May 2000, San Juan, Puerto Rico.