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Ecuador: A variety of thornless blackberry gives new opportunities for producers

The lNlAP ANDIMORA-2013 is a thornless blackberry variety (Rubus glaucus Benth) that was developed from a mutation of the sexual seeds of Castilla blackberry with thorns, a plant of Andean origin, native to cold and moderate climates of the Ecuadorian and Colombian Andes. 

After a characterization and selection process, Ecuador's National Fruit Culture Program, executed by the lNlAP, presented this variety and made it available to farmers. The variety, which yields a high production, has a high quality and doesn't have thorns on its stems (which facilitates pruning and crop harvest) was presented as an alternative to the existing commercial cultivars with thorns, that do not have a specific genetic and business identity. 

In addition, the ANDIMORA variety, would allow blackberry producers to improve their economy, enhance food security and increase the supply of products for export from the Sierra. Additionally, the sensory and agro evidence shows that the variety has the features demanded by the market for fresh consumption and industrial use. 

According to information provided by the lNlAP, the National Fruit Culture Program conducted evaluations to see how the variety would adapt in three locations in the province of Tungurahua, at an altitude range of 2810-2950 meters above sea level and an average temperature of 12°C to 14°C. As reported, areas with similar characteristics are suitable for growing the variety.
The program also established plantations in the valleys of Cotacachi (2,400 meters above sea level and 15°C average) and Tumbaco (2,348 m and average 17°C) where a good initial crop development was observed. 

The fruit's weight ranges between 4.16 and 5.48 grams, i.e. a medium to large fruit. Meanwhile, its average length and diameter are 21.71 and 20.47 cm, respectively. 

In addition, the fruit has a rounded shape, with a 3.24 N firmness or texture, which is related to the delicacy of the fruit. 

Regarding the pulp's and seed's performance, when studied, the variety reached a value of 11.81% in seeds and 88.19% in pulp, a high number as the studies conducted by Esparza et al. in 2004 stated that the industry requires the blackberry pulp to yield a minimum of about 80%. 

In the case of soluble solids, INIAP ANDIMORA-2013 presents soluble solids with a value of 12.60 degrees Brix, a value that exceeds by far the standards of various countries. 

Regarding the fruit's nutrients, the variety presented 131.95 milligrams per 100 grams of vitamin C. It also has a high protein content, carbohydrates, reducing sugars, polyphenols, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese in relationship to several Castilla blackberry accessions evaluated. 

It's worth noting that the array density is of 1,666 plants per hectare. 

During storage at ambient temperatures (18°C, 60% RH), the fruits of INIAP ANDIMORA-2013, harvested with 50% E1 purple colour, and 75% (E2) purple colour, initiated a dehydrating process after 5 days, which quickly increased after the 7th day. 

"These results point out that under these storage conditions, high temperature and low relative humidity, the rate of transpiration of the fruit increases. Thus, to better preserve them, producers will need to keep them in cold storage and take measures to increase the relative humidity, "notes the variety's technical sheet. 

Furthermore, even though the fruit stored at ambient temperatures starts rotting after 5 days the rotting has a low incidence for E1 and E2. After 9 days, the rotting increases to nearly 20% so the fruit shouldn't be stored for more than 7 days to reduce losses. 

Under controlled conditions (1°C, 90% RH), the dehydration of the E1 and E2 fruit harvested is slow and starts after 6 days of storage, then increases after 12 days, and achieves higher rates of transpiration after 15 days. 

Meanwhile, in cold storage, the occurrence of rotting damage for the E2 amounts to 1% after 9 days and 2% after 15 days, while the E1 fruit records no decay in the two periods of conservation. Thus, this storage system reduces dehydration and the presence of postharvest diseases, and extends the storage time. 

"The lNlAP ANDIMORA-2013 blackberry variety has better features for storage, both at ambient temperatures and under controlled conditions, than two accessions of common Castilla blackberry. In the case of storage under ambient conditions, the fruit's ripeness influences its shelf life," states the document. 

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal
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