A single breadfruit tree can produce 150 to 200 kilograms of nutritious fruit per year, representing a huge opportunity for areas of the world where food is scarce. And yet, historically, the trees have been difficult to reproduce and transport.
Dr. Susan Murch is changing all that, in collaboration with Diane Ragone at the Breadfruit Institute and with the help of her student Max Jones. In her lab, Dr. Murch’s team has learned how to grow the trees in bioreactors. Over the last few years, the lab has donated thousands of trees to tropical nations for food security, and is now partnered with the U.S. National Tropical Botanical Garden, the government of Samoa, and Cultivaris – a commercial horticultural company – to mass produce and distribute trees.
Breadfruit is only one aspect of Dr. Murch’s research – research in which her students, from undergrads to PhDs, play vital roles.