Scientists from the AGR-200 Research Group of the University of Almería, working in partnership with the nursery Vitalplant, have carried out a project on the “Influence of early sexing and papaya plant size on the production and quality of fruits grown in greenhouses in continental Europe”. They have thus managed to optimize the fruit's yield in Europe, improving the results of other continents.
Since hermaphrodite plants are the ones that produce the best fruits and are the ones demanded by consumers, the team of researchers managed to sex the papaya plants early through molecular techniques, obtaining hermaphrodite plants. This method would avoid having to withdraw the production of female plants from the market, which entails an economic cost and a waste of plant material, which could be solved with the grafting of hermaphrodite plants on female plants.
The facilities for horticultural plants in Almeria offer great possibilities to perform herbaceous graft work, as well as to obtain balanced plants with the right aerial biomass and root biomass ratio.
Depending on the production system chosen, the results in terms of yield ranged between 262.8 and 325.22 tons per hectare. These figures are higher to those obtained in other countries, such as Costa Rica, Mexico, India and the US (Florida). The experiment carried out served to conclude that the production obtained from plants that were sexed early and transplanted with a large root ball is superior to that reported from other continents when working with the same parameters.