IGPNS Faculty Mentors

Irwin Goldman, Ph.D.

Irwin Goldman, Ph.D.1575 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Emphasis Groups:
Human Nutrition

Principal Research Interest:
Vegetable breeding and genetics, human health attributes of vegetable crops, history of plant breeding and genetics

Research Summary:

The general foci of research in the Goldman laboratory are horticultural approaches to characterization and manipulation of secondary compounds with medicinal and nutritional properties from the cross-pollinated vegetable crops onion (Allium cepa), red beet (Beta vulgaris), and carrot (Daucus carota). We have three main fields of study: horticulture and human health; vegetable crop genetics; and vegetable breeding.

Horticulture and human health have been linked for thousands of years. In recent years, medical scientists have made great strides toward the development of synthetic pharmaceuticals to treat human disease. These mono-molecular drugs have brought with them a new era in the eradication of disease and the promotion of human health. Nevertheless, at the same time, with the adoption of such drugs, human cultures have relied less on therapies derived primarily from the plants they cultivate, and in particular from food crops. The goal of work in our laboratory is to study secondary compounds from vegetable crops that may be associated with human health. We are most interested in how genes and horticultural environments interact to produce phenotypes that may be associated with human health. Most of our work has focused on organosulfur compounds from onion, carotenoids from carrot, and betalain pigments and folic acid from table beet.

Vegetable crop genetics: Carrot and beet quality attributes such as shape, color, texture, flavor, and appearance are of primary importance to the consumer. An understanding of the nature of their genetic control is necessary to assist in the development of a greater biological knowledge base for the crop and streamline breeding efforts. To complement these efforts, Dr. Goldman used a set of recombinant inbred lines to develop a high-density restriction fragment length polymorphism map of the tomato genome and identify and characterize quantitative trait loci influencing processing traits in tomato. From a genetic point of view, the tomato is the most well-characterized vegetable and thus offers the use of technologies not yet available to other crops. This work was among the first to use a well-defined set of recombinant inbred lines to dissect quantitative trait loci and may be viewed as a prelude to future molecular work with root crops such as carrot and beet.

The vegetable breeding program is divided into population improvement and inbred development efforts. Population improvement efforts are aimed at increasing the level of key processing and horticultural attributes in breeding populations through field, greenhouse, and laboratory quality and disease screening trials. Field screening for performance characteristics such as yield and maturity is accomplished at five locations across Wisconsin. Roots from all key carrot and beet breeding populations are processed in a canning factory located in the Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and evaluated by test panels for organoleptic properties.

In 1997, the first inbred lines from our breeding program were submitted to the Department of Horticulture for release to the seed industry. It is expected that the next five years will see the release of several new inbred lines in each of our three breeding programs.

Representative Publications:

Hovius,-M.H.Y.; Goldman,-I.L.; Parkin,-K.L. 2005. Flavor precursor [S-alk(en)yl-L-cystein sulfoxide] concentration and composition in onion plant organs and predictability of field white rot reaction of onions.
Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 130: 196-202.

Koch, T., and I.L. Goldman. 2005. Relationship of carotenoids and tocopherols in a sample of carrot root-color accessions and carrot germplasm carrying RP and rp alleles. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53:325-331.

Gaertner, V.L., and I.L. Goldman. 2005. Differential expression and accumulation of betalain pigment in response to recurrent selection in table beet. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 130:424-433.

Goldman, I.L. 2005. Breeding: Evolutionary Aspects. In Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. R.M. Goodman, ed. Marcel Dekker.

William H. Briggs and Irwin L. Goldman. 2006. Genetic Variation and Selection Response in Model Breeding Populations of Brassica rapa Following a Diversity Bottleneck. Genetics. 172:457-465