Sustainable Harvest Mechanisms for Ginkgo biloba Seeds for Medicine and Food
Researcher: Ryan Murphy
Ginkgo biloba is considered to be one of the best climatically adaptive species for the North Central Region. The species is highly resistant to disease, stress, and pests. However, female ginkgo trees may be considered undesirable due to the strong odor of the fleshy seed. In some cases, mature female ginkgo trees have been removed for this reason alone. Fortunately, there is growing local interest in assessing ginkgo seed as a valuable new crop. The annual worldwide market for ginkgo products is approximately US$3 billion. Much of the ginkgo market resides in Asian countries; however, there is considerable demand in the United States which is met by importing ginkgo products from overseas. Currently, there are no local commercially grown sources of ginkgo nuts available in Minnesota. The goal of this project is to assess the potential production, harvest, and processing of urban produced ginkgo seeds for sale to local and regional markets. The first step in this process is to assess the food safety and toxicity levels of ginkgo seeds collected from urban locations. If food safety is found to be of no concern, a recommendation can be made for the collection of urban grown ginkgo seeds, which will generate new income in communities with existing ginkgo trees as well as help in preserving this valuable component of the urban forest.
This project will (1) benefit residents and businesses in the Twin Cities metro area, (2) preserve urban tree canopy, (3) help Minnesota farmers who may be interested in the development of ginkgo as a new crop, and (4) serve as a model for other cities around the country.