Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Dong Wang on Health Benefits of Pomegranates

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

As the demand for healthy food items increases, farmers are choosing from among a larger diversity of crops to grow. Dong Wang, research leader with the United States Department of Agriculture Research Service in Parlier, spoke at the 2015 UC Kearney Ag Research and Extension Center (KARE) & USDA-ARS Pomegranate Field Day last week.

Wang said “the International Society of Horticultural Sciences[1] organized a conference in 2013 on pomegranates and other minor fruits. Attendees from about 20 countries presented their pomegranate research findings on crop production, yield, quality, and genetic aspects of different species, including cultivars. They also presented findings relating to health benefits and the biochemistry of pomegranate products.”

Researchers and experts in California and around the world continue to explore producing a plant variety with the genetic potential for higher yield. And while increased marketable yield is important, Wang said researching pomegranate health benefits and phenolics—compounds with antioxidant propertiesmay be more beneficial than the absolute yield, “so people are researching multiple aspects of the topic.”

Dong Wang, research leader with the USDA-Agriculture Research Service in Parlier
Dong Wang, research leader with the USDA-Agriculture Research Service in Parlier

While the U.S. has a relatively small market for fresh pomegranates, pomegranate juice and secondary products, which are more common in the U.S., help to increase the fruit’s marketable yield. Wang explained some Americans eat fresh arils atop salads and other dishes, but those not-so-perfect on-the-surface pomegranates will still be desirable for the fresh market because they still contain beneficial compounds when processed. This research on phenolics, vitamins, and other compounds found in the fruit has been performed not only on the juice and the arils, but also in high-concentrate peels.

The International Society of Horticultural Sciences organized a conference in 2013 on pomegranates and other minor fruits. Conference attendees from about 20 countries presented their pomegranate research findings on crop production, yield, quality, and genetic aspects of different species, including cultivars. They also presented findings relating to health benefits and the biochemistry of pomegranate products.”

As a result of the 2013 International Society of Horticultural Sciences Conference in 2013 on pomegranates, Wang co-authored a proceedings book published by the International Society of Horticultural Sciences in July 2015. Co-written with Zhaohe Yuan, Nanjing Forestry University and Erik Wilkins, Paramount Farming Company, the volume, “Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Pomegranate and Minor Mediterranean Fruits,” covers the following major areas of research and state-of-the-art technology: Physiology and Biochemistry, Secondary Metabolism and Human Health, Integrated Pest Management and Disease Control, Marketing and Economics, Genetic Resources and Breeding, Cultivation Techniques, and Post-harvest Technology. According to the USDA, “The book serves as the largest collection of the most current knowledge on pomegranate science and technology in the world.”[2]

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[1] International Society of Horticultural Sciences

[2] USDA ARS

 

CA Grape & Tree Fruit League Changes Name to California Fresh Fruit Association

The California Grape & Tree Fruit League announces it has officially changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association – an identity its members believe better defines the broad types of commodities it represents.

The California Fresh Fruit Association will formally present its new name to executive and legislative officials in Sacramento, CA during its Annual Fruit Delivery on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. And to celebrate this important milestone, an evening reception will follow with government officials and California Fresh Fruit Association members at Esquire Grill (1213 K St., Sacramento, CA) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The membership-based organization is one of the oldest agricultural trade associations in California, dating back to1921 with the California Growers and Shippers Protective League and in 1936, with the California Grape Growers and Shippers Association. Together, these organizations merged into the California Grape & Tree Fruit League. Today marks another momentous occasion, as the association has become the California Fresh Fruit Association and continues to represent its members in all aspects of public policy.

The Association’s Strategic Planning Committee presented the possibility of a name change in 2013 upon the completion of its five-year strategic plan. Members were approached by the Board of Directors to consider a new name that would encompass more of the commodities it represents, such as fresh grapes, blueberries and deciduous tree fruits including: peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pears, apples, cherries, figs, kiwis, pomegranates and persimmons. In summary, the Association represents the state’s permanent fresh fruit crops with the exception of citrus and avocados.

With support from the Board of Directors and the organization’s nearly 350 members, the California Fresh Fruit Association proceeds with business as usual under its new name, advocating for fresh fruit growers, shippers and marketers in Sacramento, CA and Washington, D.C. The California Fresh Fruit Association’s headquarters will remain in Fresno, CA.

“While undergoing a name change is no easy task, little has changed as we’ve made sure to continue with our responsibilities as usual,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association. “As we began the process, we wanted to proceed with a name that accurately represents our members and the commodities they provide. We couldn’t be happier with our selection – California Fresh Fruit Association is exactly who we are and what we represent.”

 

About California Fresh Fruit Association

The California Fresh Fruit Association is the advocate for its members on a daily basis, which is made possible through the voluntary support of growers, shippers, marketers and associate members. The organization was created in 1936, mainly to negotiate railroad rates for shippers, and has since evolved into filling the industry’s need for public policy representation. Visit www.cafreshfruit.com or call (559) 226-6330 to learn more.