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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1995 Kazakhstan Apple Collection Mission
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Plant Collection Expedition to Kazakhstan
August 23 - September 16, 1995

Team Members:

Phillip L Forsline: Curator/Horticulturist, USDA-ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Geneva, NY

James J. Luby: Professor of Pomology and Plant Breeding, University of Minnesota

Elizabeth E. Dickson: Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Canada


Aimak Djangaliev: Prof.of BioSci, Academy of Sciences, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan

Adjunct Members:

Gary Britz: Product development officer, UNIFRUCO LTD, Bellville, South Africa

Taaibos Human: Fruit Breeder, INFRUTEC, Stellenbosch, South Africa

1995 Expedition Members

1995 Expedition Members. Back (L to R) Forsline, Luby, Human. Front (L to R) Dickson, Britz.

Date ---------Site----------Activity

8/23-23 -------------------- Travel to Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata) through Istanbul

8/25-27--------------------- Expeditions to Almaty area

8/28-29 ------- 95 ---------- 17-hour bus ride to Tarbagatai

8/29 - 9/1 ---- 95 ----------- Expeditions in Tarbagatai1995 map of Kazakhstan

9/2 ---------- A ------------- 8 hour bus ride to Topelevka

9/3-4 -------- A ------------- Expeditions in Topelevka

9/4 ---------- B ------------- 4 hour bus ride to Lepsinsk

9/5 ---------- B ------------- Expedition in Lepsinsk

9/6 -------------------------- 11 hour bus ride to Almaty

9/7 -------------------------- Visits with Kasakh Scientists

9/7-8 ------------------------ 15-hour train ride to Chimkent

9/8 ---------- E -------------- 3-hour 4-wheel drive vehicle ride to Karatau

9/8-10 ------- E -------------- Expeditions in Karatau

9/11 -------------------------- 3-hour ride back to Chimkent

9/11-12 ----------------------- 15-hour train ride to Almaty

9/12 --------- C/D ------------- Final expedition in Almaty area

9/13-14  ----------------------- Visits ex situ collection of Prof. Djangaliev and participate in Symposium on Genetic Resources of Kazakhstan with members of Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences; process plant material for transport

9/15-16 ------------------------ Travel Istanbul to USA

Purpose of Trip:

 Large Apples
A notably large sized apple found in the Tarbagatai mountains (site 95)
The objectives of this expedition were to: 1) collect germplasm of Malus sieversii in its center of diversity, supplementing collections made in 1989 and 1993 by broadening the range of collections and returning to areas that had sparse fruiting in 1993; 2) collect other crop species as found in association with apple and; 3) expand contacts with Kazakh scientists to develop plans for further ex situ collections and develop strategies for in situ conservation..

Executive Summary:

Discussing mission

Prof. Djangaliev and Phil Forsline discuss apples collected at site 95 in Tarbagatai.

The expedition of 23 August to 16 September, 1995, funded by USDA/ARS/NPGS, was the third collection trip for wild apple (Malus sieversii, closely related to domestic apple) to Central Asia since 1989. It is the most successful expedition based on the diversity of material and characterization data collected. Collections made in 1993 were limited due to low fruiting from that season's spring frost. This collection was also a very timely since the social/political situation in Kazakhstan was deteriorating rapidly and future trips are jeopardized. We collected in four of the same areas as 1993, but also went to the northernmost site for Malus sieversii (47°,16'N) where we found wild apple trees with the largest, highest quality fruit of any site explored thus far. Some elite selections were nearly 70 mm in diameter. Our strategy for collection of apple in the wild forests was twofold: 1) Random population sampling of 5 to 8 fruit/tree (average of 45 seed) from each of 30 trees in each site which appeared to be a unique ecosystem and 2) Selection of elite wild types (seed and occasionally scions) within these sites. Ten populations of 30 trees (5-8 fruit/tree) each were sampled which yielded 13,842 seeds. Additionally, 101 elite selections were made across all sites yielding 46,149 seeds and scions from 14 of the most elite types. In addition to the high quality collections in the northern area, we were equally excited about collections in a xerophytic area at 42°,52'N (the Karatau region) where trees were adapted to drought. This is also where fruit had excellent horticultural characteristics with tenacious qualities in an area with high heat units (indicating adaptation to areas with longer growing seasons). All collections were documented by 25 morphological descriptors along with associated site information. While in these areas, 25 additional accessions were collected representing 10 genera (16 species) with 9808 seeds. These were mostly fruit and nut species (from areas not collected previously) for other units in NPGS. Plans for in situ preservation and future cooperative projects were also developed with our cooperators.

Last Modified: 2/23/2011