The Carbohydrate Observatory uses a “citizen science approach,” the citizens being almond, pistachio and walnut growers who send us monthly wood and bark samples from their orchards to be analyzed for sugars and starch. The results are made available through a website that each grower has access to. He or she then track the carbohydrate levels of their nut trees throughout the year while pairing it with climate, management or pheneological events such as dormancy, pollination, bud break, flowering, fruiting, harvest and leaf drop. The goal is to have a better biological understanding of the role carbohydrates and use this massive data set as a tool to predict yield and understand environmental stresses such as lack of chilling hours and drought.
• Understand how annual patterns of starch and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) differ throughout the Central Valley, which will aid in the improvement of spring/fall management practices and our understanding of chilling requirements. • To develop a tool that uses starch and TNC levels as a predictor of yield for the following year and to understand variable crop yields. • Create an easy interactive map for growers to use that displays all of the data across the Central Valley.
07/07/2017 -- We reached first milestone - 250 sites
02/16/2017 -- Maciej and Anna are preparing CDFA Specialty Crop proposal to support scientific effort of the Carbohydrate Observatory, do not hesitate to let CDFA know you support it too.
Anna Davidson got stack in mud while collecting samples in rain near Fresno 01/17/2017. Ask her for a picture
Liquid handler arrived !!! Be first to get naming rights. It made its first plate on 01/16/2017.
Liquid handler will arrive in mid-January. It should increase precision of the carbohydrates analysis
Anna Davidson presented poster about Carbohydrate Observatory at the Almond Conference in Sacramento (2017). The interest among growers was overwhelming.
We bought small grinder to keep us afloat - $2550
Small setback - our grinder (~$6000) broke - all new measurements are on hold till we get it repaired or get a new one.
Our map interface (beta version) is life-online - now you can track changes in concentration of carbohydrates in twigs of almond, pistachio and walnut in CA
Over 50 participating farms and growers - Ask Anna how to join our Citizen science research project
Anna drove over 2000 miles in October
provides real time information on sugars and starch content in twigs of orchards participating in the citizen science project. This information is being used to conduct research on the role of carbohydrates in plant phenology, carbohydrate response to climate change, winter temperature etc.
can be used to
evaluate dynamic carbohydrate content in specific orchards. It should be used only as an information tool. Currently we do not
recommend using this tool to make management decisions. We anticipate that information collected over next few seasons will result
in transformative research progress allowing growers to use it as additional guidance in making decisions.
The beta version of map interface was coded by Jay Riggio. Sugar content analysis and related research is conducted by Anna Davidson and the Z-Lab
Each sample is ground into powder. Then a small amount (25 mg) is washed in 1 mL of water to dissolve all soluble carbohydrates.
Using a colorimetric method, the concentration of sugars is measured and compared to lab standards.
The remaining material (the pellet) is washed again several times, centrifuged, and is then prepared for the starch analysis.
The pellet is treated with two different enzymes that digest starch to form the soluble sugars. These are again measured in colorimeter.
The entire process to determine soluble sugars and starch takes three days with (80 samples can be done simultaneously).
Maciej (Dr. Z) Zwieniecki
Founder of the Carbohydrate Observatory
Dr. Anna Davidson
Manager of the Carbohydrate Observatory
Senior in Chemical Engineer
Freshman in Biotechnology with emphasis on plant biology and microbiology
Sophomore in Molecular and Cell Biology
almost an undergraduate student
Polysaccharide Circle (donation above $1000)
Disaccharide Circle (donation between $100 and $1000)
was first to support Carbohydrate Observatory
'...I am very interested in seeing the results from your carbohydrate mapping efforts...' D.Doll
Monosaccharide Circle (donation up to $100)
If you would like to contribute to the Carbhydrate Observatory Z-Lab research effort please contact Maciej Zwieniecki at firstname.lastname@example.org (gifts to UC Davis may be tax deductible). Donations support the Carbohydrate observatory, new equipment, financial support for undergraduate students and the creation of an endowment that would enrich plant physiology research in California. Checks should be written to UC Reagents marked with memo Zwieniecki Lab - Carbohydrate Observatory. Checks can be mailed to Maciej Zwieniecki, PES 2316, One Shields Ave, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616