Ellen Peffley, Ph.D . Professor of Horticulture, Department of by ing15204


									Ellen Peffley, Ph.D.
Professor of Horticulture, Department of Plant and Soil Science

TTU, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Box 42122, Lubbock, TX 79409
   806.742.2637 I        806.742.1898

Dr. Ellen Peffley is a Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at
Texas Tech University. She has published numerous research articles and conference
proceedings, and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the
American Society for Horticultural Science: Southern Region, the Council for Agricultural Science
and Technology and others.

Q. Why do you research water issues?                and the industry reduces it to powder for use
Water is the number one limiting factor in          in its products.
agricultural production on the high plains of
Texas. Water is a precious and renewable            Q. Tell me about the tools or equipment
resource, globally speaking, but here               that you use.
regionally, it’s not so renewable. We in            We have a field breeding program so we
agriculture are good stewards of water since        use the usual land equipment such as
we use it wisely especially in the issue of         tractors, discs, ploughs, planters, and
plant production.                                   combines; we also use fertilizers and
                                                    pesticides. We have significant lab and
Q. Tell me about the theme of your                  greenhouse research. We have equipment
research.                                           for extracting and analyzing gum from pods;
We are interested in providing crops that           for analyzing the enzymes and DNA of
can be grown on the South Plains,                   various beeding lines to determine how
especially those of economic value such as          closely related they are; microscopes are
cotton or guar. Guar is a crop that has been        used to look at the trichomes (hair) on the
around for decades, but which has not been          guar leaves – the more trichomes the guar
grown in large acreage. It is wise to rotate        has, the more drought tolerant it can be. The
crops when you grow cotton and guar is an           greenhouse offers an alternative growing
ideal rotation crop as it helps to rebuild the      season to advance breeding lines and
soil. As a legume, it is able to be a net           harvest seed during the winter months.
nitrogen contributor to the soil. The second
positive for guar is that since it is a legume,     Q. Are there any noteworthy results that
the pathogens that attack cotton may not            you would like us to publicize?
attack guar. The third positive for guar is that    Texas Tech University is the first university
it can easily follow a hailed out cotton crop       to have guar lines issued Plant Variety
and finally, it is drought-tolerant.                Protection (PVP), which is similar to a
                                                    patent. Our research involves intellectual
Q. Why did you choose this research                 property and the PVP is one way to protect
area?                                               this investmen. There are two guar cultivars
A private company came to TTU, since it             being grown currently that are Texas Tech
had affiliations with the university, and asked     PVP lines.
us if we were interested in developing
improved varieties of guar. Guar has                Q. With whom do you collaborate?
multiple uses in several major industries: it is    I work with Dick Auld, Ph.D., another
used in the petroleum industry, for example,        professor here at Texas Tech and my
and is also used in products ranging from           industry colleagues.
baked goods and salad dressing to carpet
glue, cosmetics, and the dynamite industry.         Q. What is your favorite water fact?
In some cultures, the bean pod is used as           It’s great to swim in! ……but seriously, we
food, but it’s an effective laxative so you         also have NASA-funded hydroponic
need to be careful! Farmers sell the seed           research going on TTU, not just water
conservation. It’s very interesting to be a
part of it.

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