Carrots are the most important root vegetable in the UK. Over 700,000 tonnes are harvested annually, with a sales value of £290 million. British carrots are available amonst 12 months of the year - this is possible because there are production areas in different parts of the country and a range of production techniques are used to extend the season.
UK carrot growers face a number of challenges in growing the high quality produce required by the market. Pests and diseases such as cavity spot, carrot fly and nematodes cause blemishes resulting in loss of quality and produce.
Within the 'carrot' component of the VeGIN project we are proposing a programme that will support the development of sustainable production of carrot through underpinning R&D with the theme of “healthier roots through genetics”.
The initial task in in VeGIN was to develop a Carrot Diversity Set for use in assessing genetic variation for resistance to key pests and diseases. Details can be seen in the link on the right hand side of the page.The Carrot Diversity Set is a set half sib families and an S1 derived from germplasm managed by the UK Vegetable Genebank and other research lines
The Carrot Diversity Set has been grown out and basic morphological and image data collected in two field trials. Traits assessed included
- Root colour
- Leaf morphology
- Flowering time
- Growth habit
- Seedling vigour (laboratory-based tests)
The Carrot Diversity set has been used to investigate resistance to cavity spot, a disease caused by Pythium species. Data have been gathered from field trials and from lab, glasshouse and mesocosm experiments run by John Clarkson.
The Carrot component of VeGIN is led by Charlotte Allender.