Kevin Folta Laboratory
Lab Group, September 2016.
Plant productivity and product quality is an esquisite interplay between genetics and environment. We seek to understand both, and merge these areas to affect plant product quality, focusing mainly on small fruits. We utilize genomics-level gene discovery methods that integrate transcriptomics, analytical chemistry and genetics to hone predictions on candidate genes affecting fruit quality. Once identified, we can provide gold-standard functional validation using transgenic plants. When genes are functionally tied to traits, we then can search for genetic variability among existing genetic lines and help inform breeding decisions to produce more nutritious fruit with better flavors.
We're also interested in how light can modulate important plant traits like flavor, nutrition, shelf life and general quality. Our laboratory uses the newest technology in LED-based lighting to devise light "recipes" that can control key plant traits. Our goal is to adjust the flavors, nutrition and quality of plant-derived products using these inexpensive, non-chemical treatments.