The Argentinian province of Jujuy produces the first peaches and nectarines that are sold in the country's largest markets. This is due, among other factors, to the region's particular climate and the excellent location of its temperate valleys.
Thanks to this potential for the production of early fruit, researchers from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Jujuy are making progress in the genetic improvement of stone fruit trees with the objective of obtaining cultivars that stand out for their precocity, quality, yield and low requirement of cold hours.
According to Viviana Curzel, specialist in fruit trees at INTA Perico –Jujuy–, "We seek to obtain earlier cultivars with fruits of good size, color and flavor in order to expand the range of promising varieties. Our goal is to become a national leader in fruit trees with a low requirement of cold hours, with extra early and early harvests, and thus take advantage of the commercial window from September to November."
The tests carried out by the research group are allowing them to make progress in the genetic improvement of different varieties of peaches and nectarines. "In this campaign, eight crosses have been made, seven between peach varieties and one between nectarines," said the INTA researcher. A key aspect in this process is the particular treatment they give the seeds. "Given that the varieties have short production cycles (about 90 days between flowering and harvesting), they generate seeds whose embryos are immature," said Curzel, who explained that to ensure good results they use specific techniques such as zygote rescue or embryo culture.
"Good progress has been achieved in the projects that are underway," said the INTA specialist, adding that "we have obtained more than 2,300 pollinated flowers, 70% of fruit set and, to date, about 200 seeds sown under different treatments."
In the coming months, the research team that has pioneered the identification and selection of varieties for the region expects the development and growth of the first hybrids and to continue with the selection and dissemination work.
Source: INTA / revistachacra.com.ar