Organic Spinach Trial Photos

spinach trial fieldspinach leaves

Left: Spinach trial field. Right: Smooth, semi-savoy and savoy spinach leaves.

Spinach bolt initiation

Left and right: Spinach bolting initiation.

spinach male flowersspinach female seed set

Left: Spinach male flowers. Right: Spinach female seed set.

Spinach seed in binspinach seed

Left: Spinach seed harvest. Right: Spinach seed.

Spinach Field Research in Texas

At the Uvalde, Texas research site, the second-year (2023-24) field evaluation of 315 USDA spinach accessions in the certified organic field was completed. The team completed pre- and post-harvest phenotyping that included chlorophyll content, Licor Li-600 measurements to measure the quantum yield of photosystem II, and yield/biomass assessment. Additionally, as  part of the ongoing research to identify natural variation in the photosynthetic performance across the USDA accessions, Dr. Benedict Analin carried out the daunting task of using the LI-6800 Portable Photosynthesis System (LI-COR, Lincoln, NE, USA) to measure leaf photosynthesis at the field level. This effort is critical to identify genetic regulators that are responsible for high photosynthesis through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The outcome of this research project will improve our understanding of the physiological and molecular mechanisms to maintain high photosynthesis, so that we can identify suitable germplasm to enhance the productivity of organic spinach. Benedict also looked at leaf traits such as area and petiole length and pigments such as chlorophylls, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.

Benedict Analin using a Li-6800 gas analyzer to quantify the photosynthetic performance of spinach germplasm in the field.

Benedict AnalinBenedict Analin using Li-6800 gas analyzer

Pre-Sowing Field Preparation. Staking the field with plot IDs. Photo credit: Dalton Thompson

Field staking

Left: Research Technician Dalton Thompson collecting soil samples with a soil augur. Right: Dalton collecting Li-600 data to measure the quantum yield of photosystem II.

Colecting Li-6800 data

Organic Spinach Field one month after Germination. Photo credit: Dalton Thompson

spinach trial, Uvalde site, 1 month after germination