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Science drives horticulture's progress and profit

Dixon, G. R., Warrington, I. J., Drew, R. and Buck-Sorlin, G. (2014) Science drives horticulture's progress and profit. In: Dixon, G. R. and Aldous, D. E. (eds.) Horticulture: plants for people and places. Springer Science + Business Media, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 27-73. ISBN 9789401785778

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8578-5_2


Horticultural science linked with basic studies in biology, chemistry, physics and engineering has laid the foundation for advances in applied knowledge which are at the heart of commercial, environmental and social horticulture. In few disciplines is science more rapidly translated into applicable technologies than in the huge range of man’s activities embraced within horticulture which are discussed in this Trilogy. This chapter surveys the origins of horticultural science developing as an integral part of the 16th century “Scientific Revolution”. It identifies early discoveries during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries which rationalized the control of plant growth, flowering and fruiting and the media in which crops could be cultivated. The products of these discoveries formed the basis on which huge current industries of worldwide significance are founded in fruit, vegetable and ornamental production. More recent examples of the application of horticultural science are used in an explanation of how the integration of plant breeding, crop selection and astute marketing highlighted by the New Zealand industry have retained and expanded the viability of production which supplies huge volumes of fruit into the world’s markets. This is followed by an examination of science applied to tissue and cell culture as an example of technologies which have already produced massive industrial applications but hold the prospect for generating even greater advances in the future. Finally, examples are given of nascent scientific discoveries which hold the prospect for generating horticultural industries with considerable future impact. These include systems modeling and biology, nanotechnology, robotics, automation and electronics, genetics and plant breeding, and more efficient and effective use of resources and the employment of benign microbes. In conclusion there is an estimation of the value of horticultural science to society.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:56764
Publisher:Springer Science + Business Media

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