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Versatile alternative

January 17, 2021 | jqykayon | No Comments

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaTIFTON, Ga. — A cousin of camellias may become an alternative crop for Georgia farmers who are strapped by the prices of more conventional row crops, says a University of Georgia expert.The plant is Camellia oleifera Abel. A woody cousin of a favorite garden flower, it can be used to produce healthy cooking oils, livestock feed, makeup and other products.Tea Oil”It’s more commonly known in other parts of the world, namely China, as ‘tea oil camellia,'” said John Ruter, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences horticulturist who has been experimenting with the plant.It grows into a large bush with white flowers, he said. Native to China, it has been used there for more than a thousand years. It’s been commercially grown there on large plantations since 1949. Chinese farmers keep them pruned to about 8 feet.The crop is harvested in October and November. It requires a lot of labor to pick the fruit, Ruter said. But Georgia farmers grow other labor-intensive crops — vegetables, for instance.About 14 percent of the Chinese population uses tea oil for cooking. The oil is derived from the marble-sized seed the plant produces. The seed’s oil content is about 50 percent.Healthy and Tasty”The oil can be compared to, and has a lot of the characteristics of, olive oil,” Ruter said.It tastes much like olive oil, maybe a little sweeter. The oil is high in oleic acid. This healthy acid has been shown to reduce cholesterol. Tea oil has a higher smoke-out temperature than olive oil. Home and commercial cooks will like this, he said.You can do more than cook with it, though, Ruter said. From the seed hulls, you can extract saponin, which is used to make detergent and the foam for fire extinguishers. Triterpenoid saponin from the camellia can improve the immune functions in humans and animals, too.Soaps, hair oil, rustproof oil, paint, lipstick, antiwrinkle creams and fertilizer can all be made from extracts of the camellia.Most of the research on tea oil camellias comes from Chinese sources. But Ruter is looking to change that. Due to funding problems, China ended most of its tea oil research in 1990.Last month, Ruter went to China to visit with tea oil experts and scientists to learn how they grow the crop. The plant grows in soils very much like those of the southeastern United States, particularly Georgia.”It should be very much adaptable to this area,” he said.But finding the right species to do research on in the United States proved to be a challenge.Best SelectionRuter found two plants at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. He had another sent to him from a camellia expert in North Carolina. And believe or not, he found another growing in the backyard of a camellia enthusiast in Valdosta, Ga.Ruter is selecting plants from these four original seed sources at the UGA Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens in Savannah, Ga., and with a nursery grower in middle Georgia. He’s looking to develop the best types of tea oil camellias to grow for this area of the world.But the process takes time. “We’re starting at ground zero,” he said.Ruter can see tea oil being sold on grocery store shelves along with other oils.A new oilseed cooperative has started in Georgia. It plans to build a $55 million oil crushing and processing facility in Claxton, Ga.Through this facility, Georgia farmers could develop and market their own Georgia-grown tea oil, Ruter said. And that could be just the start for this multitalented crop in Georgia.last_img read more

first_img Published on February 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img As freshman roommates, Aleah Marrow and Maddie Kobelt became fast friends and shared countless laughs together in their South Campus apartment.Little did they know that their relationship would extend onto the court the next season.‘Right when we first met, we clicked really well off the court because we both liked to laugh a lot,’ Kobelt said. ‘That definitely carried over to the court. We smile a lot when we play together, regardless of the score. If there’s any tension or pressure we try to smile it off because we know that we always have each other’s back.’The countless hours that Marrow and Kobelt spent together last year helped set the foundation for the duo’s relaxed, loose style of play as doubles partners. Both players developed during their freshman campaigns and returned as experienced ‘bruisers’ in the Syracuse doubles lineup. If the No. 39 Orange wants to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament, it will need key contributions from the sophomore pair.Marrow and Kobelt have compiled a 7-5 record, including a 4-0 mark in Big East play, as they have continued to find their groove under head coach Luke Jensen’s aggressive coaching style.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd both players made large strides in development in their first year at Syracuse. Kobelt learned under senior Emily Harman. She paid attention to detail and emulated Harman’s intense play. Marrow took a similar path, learning the complexities of the doubles game by playing with senior Simone Kalhorn.When Jensen made his decision to pair Marrow and Kobelt together, the head coach knew it would take some time before the two players felt comfortable communicating with one another on the court.Kobelt, however, was optimistic that she and her old roommate could be successful against quality competition.‘When we started playing with each other, everything became so natural,’ Kobelt said. ‘Being able to have the relationship off the court, that friendship definitely helped smoothen the transition of playing with a new partner.’Marrow and Kobelt have also given Jensen a reason to smile. Their consistent play has filled a hole in the Orange doubles lineup, which lacked a competitive pairing.The duo was productive right out of the gates. In the season opener against a ranked South Florida squad, Marrow and Kobelt were again sharing laughs, this time under the shining Florida sun. Both players fed off each other’s energy, using their chemistry on the court to communicate and establish a sense of rhythm.Marrow and Kobelt won the only doubles game for the Orange in that USF match and haven’t looked back since.Jensen has been steadfast in his decision not to fiddle with his sophomore tandem. With an infusion of freshmen on the roster, Jensen said he has tried mixing and matching different doubles combinations to find what works best for the team.But he has left the Marrow-and-Kobelt pairing alone and has shown confidence in the two players who have played more doubles matches together than any other SU pair this season.And as the two players gain more repetition in doubles, their ability to compete at a high level will continue to rise.‘Our personalities clashed well,’ Marrow said. ‘We’re more of a silly pair, we know how to stay relaxed, but we know when to be serious when we play.‘It works with us, that’s just how our relationship is.’[email protected] last_img read more