New Jersey is the nation?s second largest producer of highbush blueberries and the nation?s third largest producer of cranberries. In 2007, New Jersey-grown blueberries and cranberries brought in over $110 million in farm sales. Successful cultivation of blueberries and cranberries requires ongoing research to develop disease and insect resistant varieties and to develop environmentally-sound pest control management strategies. The Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research & Extension in Chatsworth, New Jersey supports growers in New Jersey, and nationally by: 1) breeding broadly adapted varieties with superior yield and improved fruit quality and pest resistance; 2) developing IPM technologies that minimize pesticide use, thereby decreasing environmental impacts, and; 3) investigating value-added products, including enhancement of beneficial health properties. The research programs at the Center address farm and environmental interests, at the state and national levels, by providing the advanced technology for the future sustainability of both crop industries, ensuring the competitiveness of growers in New Jersey and nationally. The Center maintains the largest blueberry/cranberry germplasm collection in the world, and over 80% of the highbush blueberry acreage in the United States and Canada is planted with varieties developed by the Center. In addition, the USDA-ARS National Blueberry Breeding Program is based at the PE Marucci Center. The Center is on the cutting edge of research of the benefits of blueberry and cranberry consumption and human health, including disease prevention. Researchers at the Center have identified and published on the properties of cranberries which prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberry constituents have been identified that show promise in preventing inflammation, cancer, heart disease and arthritis, as well resensitizing drug resistant ovarian cancer cells to drug therapy. This project enables the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to leverage funding from the state and the cranberry and blueberry industries to continue and extend these research programs. In the absence of this complementary Federal support, funding from these other sources would be severely compromised. In addition, federal funding has been critical in enabling the NJAES faculty to successfully secure competitive research funding for this research.
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