The Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture (IHSM) La Mayora, based in the town of Algarrobo, in the Spanish province of Malaga, has carried out an analysis about the self-incompatibility between plum varieties in order to increase the production of the plantations. The study, directed by the head of Subtropical Fruits of the research center, Iñaki Hormaza, has made it possible to know more about the pollination needs of the varieties studied through molecular and microscopic techniques. This has involved the analysis of the flowers of 30 Japanese plum genotypes and of 24 European ones. The genetic material used in the study has come from different plum species of collections from Zaragoza, Tunisia and the island of La Palma.
About a year ago, scientists from La Mayora also participated in a study on apricots and other fruit trees; plant species which have developed a system of floral incompatibility that makes self-pollination (the process of creating seeds by pollinating a plant with its own pollen) unable to produce fruit. This is a strategy that many plants develop to favor cross-pollination and increase genetic diversity.
The study concluded that of the 92 varieties of apricot trees studied, approximately half are self-incompatible and therefore need to be planted with other varieties. Moreover, the self-incompatible varieties could be grouped into 11 incompatibility groups, which means that the varieties within each group cannot be planted together, since they are interincompatible. You have to combine one variety with another of any other incompatibility group, explained Hormaza. With this information, new plantations can be designed avoiding floral incompatibility issues.