HOUSTON — “Foods for Health” will be the theme for Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center’s meeting here June 6-8. The meeting will focus on research aimed at improving the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables through partnerships between plant breeders and medical researchers.
“With the epidemic of childhood obesity, the high number of cancer-related deaths, and other diet-related diseases, there is an urgent need for products that will aid in prevention of the ailments our society seems to suffer from,” said Dr. Leonard Pike, center director.
Registration and a research showcase will be 3-6 p.m. June 6 at the Crowne Plaza-Houston Medical Center Houston Room. Research from genetics to post- harvest techniques will be on display with many of the researchers on hand to discuss the efforts.
Also on display will be products with new and enhanced levels of phytochemicals, including several varieties of carrots, melons, mild/sweet onions and peppers. New technology and nutraceuticals related to foods for health will be on exhibit as well.
On June 7, sessions will be at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Steve Abrams, professor of pediatrics at the children’s research center, will talk about osteoporosis as a pediatric disease and why kids need calcium to form bones. Dr. Arthur Beaudet, the children’s center’s department of molecular and human genetics chair, will talk about the importance of folic acid.
Research updates will be given throughout the day by the genetics team, the health benefits team, and the food processing and quality team. A tour of the children’s nutrition center featuring the eating-behavior lab, the metabolic kitchen, plant physiology lab and 11th floor greenhouse will conclude the day’s sessions at 3-5 p.m. June 7.
The annual Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center’s dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. at Trevisio, on the top floor of the John P. McGovern Texas Medical Center Commons Building.
The center’s Industry Advisory Committee will meet on June 8 to review and discuss research activities.
Online registration, due by May 24, is available at http://vic.tamu.edu . For more information, call (979) 862-4521.