Kara Denee Salazar

Kara Denee Salazar
Mentor: Dr. Bala Rathinasabapathi
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
"I became involved in research to foster relationships with CALS faculty and to better understand the roll of IFAS in a Land-Grant University."


Horticultural Sciences


Soil and Water Science

Research Interests

  • Pepper Breeding
  • Plant Hormones
  • Sustainable Agriculture

Academic Awards

  • CALS Upper Division Honors Program
  • ASHA Collegiate Scholar Award
  • Charles and Thelma Scholarship
  • Dean's List


  • CALS Ambassador


  • St. Francis House Guest Chef
  • Food Packs for Homeless
  • School Backpack Programs

Hobbies and Interests

  • Gardening
  • Volunteer Work
  • Organic Education Programs
  • Community Food Systems

Research Description

Histological and Genetic Basis for Variation in Pericarp Thickness in Pepper Cultivars
To study the inheritance of fruit wall thickness we used a breeding population between Round of Hungary and Bulgarian Carrot. Round of Hungary (ROH) was chosen for its unique shape and visual appeal. Bulgarian Carrot (BUC) was chosen because it is phenotypically very different from ROH and we hypothesized that it would be easier to track the inheritance patterns of many different traits in these 2 cultivars. Digital light microscopy and wet sections will be done to document cellular structures and cell size in the fruit walls (pericarps) of ROH, BUC and F1 peppers. Cell size will be measured using a micrometer, determining either cellular diameter for round cells or cross section cellular area in non-round cells. Sections will be taken from multiple areas of the pericarps of representative fruits. Cell layers will then be counted to determine average number of layers in the pericarp of fruits from ROH and BUC. Additional data collected will include the thickness of: the following structures; cuticular wax, outer epidermis, hypodermis and number of layers in the hypodermis. Staining of sections will be done as needed to observe and record specific structures of interest.Preliminary results shows increased pericarp thickness of ROH is likely from greater cell size in ROH than BUC and there is not a statistically significant difference in the number of cell layers between ROH and BUC. The hypodermal layers are more difficult to puncture in BUC and F1 than in ROH; I believe this may have to do with the density of cells in this region. Continuing research will examine the use of growth regulators on fruit development.