This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the locations of Pacific genebanks. Click here to download a regional directory of genebanks in the Pacific, including information on their location, contact details and holdings.
Mr William Wigmore
Director of Research
Ministry of Agriculture
Department of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 96
Tel: (682) 28711-29720
Fax: (682) 21881
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Office of Economic Affairs
P.O. Box 1028
Federated States of Micronesia
Tel: (691) 3202400
Fax: (691) 3202127
Dr Lois Englberger
Island Food Community of Pohnpei
P.O. Box 2299
Federated States of Micronesia
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Director of Research
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
Koronivia Research Station
P.O. Box 77
Tel: (679) 3477044
Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
Dr Maurice Wong
Service du Developpement Rural
Tel: (689) 42 81 44
Fax: (689) 42 08 31
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Head, Research Section
Division of Agriculture
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
P.O. Box 267
Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
Fax: (686) 28121
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com
Mr Frederick Muller
Ministry of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 1727
Tel: (692) 6253206
Fax: (692) 6257471
Mr Herman Francisco
Bureau of Agriculture
Ministry of Resources & Development
P.O. Box 460
Tel: (680) 4881517
Fax: (680) 4881725
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Principal Scientist PGR
NARI Dry Lowlands Programme
Laloki Agricultural Research Station
P.O. Box 1828
National Capital District
Papua New Guinea
Tel: (675) 3235511
Fax: (675) 3234733
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Principal Crop Development Officer
Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
P.O. Box 1874
Tel: (685) 23416-20605
Fax: (685) 20607-23996
Mr Jimi Saelea
Director of Research
Department of Agriculture and Livestock
P.O. Box G13
Tel: (677) 27987
Mr Tony Jansen
Planting Materials Network
Kastom Gaden Association
Burns Creek, Honiara
P.O. Box 742
Tel: (677) 39551
Mr Finao Pole
Head of Research
Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
P.O. Box 14
Tel: (676) 23038
Fax: (676) 24271
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Head of Research
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
Private Mail Bag 040
Tel: (678) 22525
Fax: (678) 25265
Other CROP agencies
University of the South Pacific
Hawaiian native plants
Intellectual property rights
WWF South Pacific Program
Other Pacific organizations
Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
Te Puna web directory
Pacific Islands News
Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Travel
South Pacific travel
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| Posted 5:43 PM by Luigi
Lots of news from PohnpeiVarious bits of news from Dr Lois Englberger...
- Harriet Kuhnlein of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE) was here in Pohnpei to help us with our joint project with CINE, the Mand project. She also is working with FAO on a poster series on indigenous foods. There is one completed one titled International Decades of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Celebrating Diversity in Global Indigenous Food. We were very happy that Karat (banana) was included on this one! Harriet points out that this poster is on the CINE website http://www.cine.mcgill.ca. There is one for celebrating diversity in indigenous food in Asia and one for Africa, and there will be one on Pacific foods.
- Dr Mary Taylor has passed on to me an email titled “Green, yellow veg linked to healthier arteries” by News Archives. This provides helpful information to us in the Pacific. The article explains about a new study that shows that a diet rich in green and yellow vegetables could reduce the development of atherosclerosis by almost 40 per cent. This means that these foods provide important health benefits. So what is atherosclerosis? It is the process whereby fatty substances such as cholesterol and calcium form plaque on the inner lining of an artery, causing them to harden. If enough builds up the plaque can reduce blood flow through the artery, and if it ruptures blood clots can form, which can block the flow of blood to the heart and cause a heart attack, or stroke. The article explains that atherosclerosis occurs naturally in humans as part of the aging process, but certain factors including high blood cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes increase the risk. The researchers fed 53 mice a vegetable free control diet, and 54 mice a diet with 30 per cent replaced with freeze-dried peas, green beans, broccoli, corn, and carrots for sixteen weeks. The lead author of the study wrote this: “Increased vegetable consumption inhibits atherosclerosis progression through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways.” The researchers could not identify a mechanism, or indeed the active substances that confer these beneficial effects, but noted that the vegetables contained a variety of micronutrients, such as carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium that are potent antioxidants. Yellow-fleshed banana, giant swamp taro, pandanus and breadfruit varieties and other island foods are also rich in carotenoids and these other substances, so they are also important sources of antioxidants and part of this network of protective substances. If any of you would like more on this, let me know and I can send you the fuller report and source of information.
- Mortlocks Taro Documented, Collected, and Promoted, by Amy Levendusky. From May 15 to May 18, 2006, Dr Lois Englberger and Amy Levendusky of the Island Food Community of Pohnpei (IFCP) visited the islands of Ta and Satowan in the Mortlock Islands of Chuuk in order to study and promote the different varieties of Mortlockese giant swamp taro or pula, and other local foods. A total of 32 varieties of giant swamp taro were named, described, and photographed. The local name, any alternate name, stem color, if stem has thorns, corm color, corm size, corm texture, leaf shape, growth rate, and other pertinent comments were recorded. Planting material from 21 varieties was collected and brought back to plant in the taro genebank collection located at the Pohnpei Pilot Farm in Pohnlangas, Madolenihmw, a joint project of Pohnpei Agriculture of the Office of Economic Affairs and IFCP. The corms (or the part that you eat) of 9 different varieties were also collected to prepare as samples for analyzing for micronutrient content in laboratories in Fiji and Switzerland. On May 16, 2006, a workshop was held on Ta to identify the varieties of taro. Over 30 participants from the islands of Ta, Satowan, and Moch attended. Participants were given an important health message about how yellow-fleshed carotenoid-rich varieties of local foods including banana, breadfruit, pandanus and giant swamp taro can protect against vitamin A deficiency, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and anemia. A special emphasis was made on the carotenoid-rich Apuch fruit, Crataeva speciosa, which turns very yellow-orange when ripe and grows abundantly on the islands. This fruit was eaten and enjoyed in the past but now is neglected and few are eating it. It was explained that if Apuch fruit could be added to the diet again, especially to the diet of the children, they would receive great health benefits. Participants discussed about the shift from local foods to imported foods such as rice and canned meats. They were excited about starting a campaign to revive the production and consumption of local foods. After the discussing the relationship between local foods and health benefits, the rest of the workshop was dedicated to viewing taro plantlets and discussing the characteristics of the different varieties of taro. This project was supported by Pohnpei State Office of Economic Affairs and funded by the New Zealand Government. A special thanks is extended to Obet Mwarluk, Agriculture Extension Agent on Ta; Juda Amaraich, Mayor of Ta; Helbert Seilo, Rainer Sorryz, and Samuel Sammy of Ta, and Makies Mony of Satowan for providing the information used to document the different varieties of taro and for providing all the planting materials and sample corms. Appreciation is extended to Ryan Teelander, Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) on Ta, Jennifer Salzman, PCV on Satowan, and Adam Gustafson, PCV on Moch, for organizing the participants from their respective islands and in assisting facilitation for the workshop and special thanks too to Rainer Jimmy and Susie Lokopwe, Peace Corps Micronesia, for all their help in organizing this project.
- I am happy to share with you about the publication of a new paper titled “Carotenoid content of different edible pandanus fruit cultivars of the Republic of the Marshall Islands” by Englberger L, Aalbersberg W, Schierle J, Marks GC, Fitzgerald MH, Muller F, Jekkein A, Alfred J, and Vander Velde N in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 19, pages 484-494, 2006. It is available on-line at this website and here is the abstract:
As Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious problem in the Republic of theFor those of you who would like a pdf file of this paper, let me know and I am happy to send it. Unfortunately, there are a number of errors in the printed paper, and the journal greatly regrets about that. For example, the captions to Figures 2 and 4 are transposed, so that the preserved pandanus is described as a tree and the pandanus tree is described as preserved pandanus. However, to help correct this, the journal is publishing an Erratum in the following issue, and we are very thankful about that. Thanks again to all of you in the Marshall Islands and elsewhere assisting in this work!
Marshall Islands (RMI), it is important to identify locally-grown acceptable
sources of vitamin A. Pandanus fruit, a traditional Marshallese staple food, has yellow-orange coloration suggesting substantial carotenoid content.
However, few of the many Marshallese cultivars were previously analyzed for nutrient content. Thus, this study was conducted in order to identify
carotenoid-rich Marshallese pandanus cultivars that could be promoted to
alleviate VAD. Ethnography was used to select cultivars and assess
acceptability. Thirteen cultivars were analyzed by two laboratories for ?-
and ß-carotene and other carotenoids using high performance liquid
chromatography. The cultivars contained a range of carotenoid levels (21 to 902 µg ß-carotene/100 g), with higher levels in cultivars having deeper
yellow-orange colored fruit; 10 cultivars had significant levels meeting
estimated vitamin A requirements within normal consumption patterns. There was excellent agreement between the laboratories’ results. Pandanus has been increasingly neglected in recent years, but is still well-liked and
considered a Marshallese health food. The promotion of carotenoid-rich
culturally-acceptable pandanus cultivars could contribute to alleviating vitamin A, micronutrient, and chronic disease problems in the RMI and other Pacific contexts, particularly atoll islands, where pandanus is an important food.
- I would like to introduce you to Marilyn Knudson, a graduate student at the University of Guam Micronesian Studies program, who is very interested in pandanus. As part of her course work, she has written an essay titled “Pandanus tectorius in Micronesia: A Brief Overview of its Use and Importance”. She is happy to share it with anyone who is interested. Please contact her at this email address: email@example.com. She points out that Father Kayser’s booklet of ethnographic description of pandanus use in pre-World War 1 Nauru is an important resource on the topic and that it is rarely cited. In addition to her first essay on pandanus, she is now involved in writing a second one. Thank you again Marilyn for sharing with us about your first essay and we look forward to your next one too!
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