MTSU research seeks to domesticate ginseng
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University has landed a $148,000 federal grant for a ginseng experiment.
According to a university news release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will help MTSU support planting up to 100 acres (40 hectares) of ginseng in Tennessee, depending on participation by growers. MTSU says this could add $4 million in farm profit annually once the harvest is normalized.
MTSU associate professor Iris Gao says ginseng usually takes seven years to grow outdoors, but the university's lab research is shortening growth time by around two years. The project will take place in MTSU labs and in remote Tennessee.
Gao says the program's ginseng will be sourced from wild stock and maintain the potency and market price of wild-grown ginseng.
Nineteen states, including Tennessee, can legally harvest and trade ginseng.