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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Masterson, Callie Blake  [1], Allison, Raven [1], Rico, Dana [1], Whittington, William [1], Randle, Breana [1], Peacock, Gregory [1], BAGHAI-RIDING, NINA LUCILLE [2], Smithhart, Charles [3].

Locally grown fruit retains its soil signature: An elemental study of regional variation in noncommercial jams and jellies.

The nutritional value of food is correlated with human health. Limiting elements in diets include calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, and more.  Students in Dr. Baghai-Riding’s 2017 Material and Method Class wanted to determine whether jams/jellies from different areas of the United States can be correlated with the soils in which they were grown. In this study, seven, noncommercial jams and jellies were purchased from farmers’ markets in six areas. Samples included blackberry jam and muscadine jelly from Cleveland, Mississippi,  strawberry preserves from Fredericksburg, Texas, grape jelly from Mills, Massachusetts, peach jam from Laurel, Virginia and Nampa, Idaho, and blue elderberry from the Sambucus Range, Lincoln Co., Nevada. Each jam or jelly sample was cooked on a hot plate for a week to remove water and volatiles as well as to consolidate minerals. Cooked samples were then divided into crucibles and placed in a Muffle Furnace for 24 hours at 1,000 °C to generate an ash.  Each ash sample was stored in a labeled plastic vial. Later, the ash samples were analyzed with an energy dispersive x-ray unit associated with the JEOL scanning electron microscope to determine elemental composition. The National Conservation Resource Service soil website ( was used to establish the local soil types that were associated with each sample. Overall, 21 elements were noted from the seven ash samples. Most of the elements were converted to oxides because of the intense heat generated by the furnace. Common elements included iron, aluminum, oxygen, and silicon. Chromium and phosphorous also occurred in most samples. However, six of the seven jams or jellies in this study had unique properties. Nickel occurred in the Nampa, Idaho sample which may be from mineral tailings when this area was a gold mining town. Calcium was abundant in the elderberry sample from Lincoln County, Nevada, which is probably due to limestone rich soils. The blackberry jam from Cleveland, Mississippi yielded vanadium, zirconium, and molybdenum perhaps from periodic flooding of the Mississippi River prior to levee construction.  The peach jam from Laurel, Virginia generated no discernible ash. Dr. Baghai-Riding’s class was excited by these results.  Future classes will expand this analysis to other areas of the United States, and will compare commercial jam/jelly products with those purchased from local vendors.

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Related Links:
The National Conservation Resource Service soil website

1 - Delta State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 3262 DSU, Cleveland, MS, 38733, USA
2 - Delta State University, Biological Sciences, Walters Room 116 A, Cleveland, MS, 38733, USA
3 - Delta State University, Chemistry and Physics, PO Box 3262 DSU, Cleveland, MS, 38733, USA

human health
soil types
scanning electron microscope

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT006
Abstract ID:746
Candidate for Awards:None

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