Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Cocoa Producer's Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2006
Publication Date: 10/25/2007
Citation: Phillips, W.M., Mora, A., Johnson, E.S., Astorga, C. 2007. Recent efforts to improve the genetic and physical conditions of the international cacao collection at catie. Proceedings of the International Cocoa Producer's Conference. San Jose, Costa Rica Oct 9-14. pp. Vol I: 611-623.
Technical Abstract: CATIE’s International Cacao Collection was initiated in Turrialba, Costa Rica in 1944 as part of a strategy of the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Sciences (IICA) to promote the distribution and interchange of germplasm of valuable tropical crops. In 1978, the collection was catalogued by IBPGR (now IPGRI) as one of the two “International Cacao Collections”, and since 2004, it is under the auspice of FAO and covered by an international treaty for the protection of plant genetic resources. CATIE´s Collection has played an important role since the 1940’s up to date as basis for different efforts on cacao genetic improvement and the distribution and exchange of cacao germplasm within tropical America and with other cacao-producing regions around the world. Thus, the moniliasis resistant clones identified at CATIE were already transferred to the Reading Intermediate Cocoa Quarantine Station (UK) and to several countries in Latin American. A series of new efforts have been performed since 2001 to improve the genetic and physical conditions of this collection. From 2001 to 2005, it was totally renovated by replicating all clones into two new sites: La Montaña farm in Turrialba at 602 m.a.s.l., 2645 mm and 22.5 ºC, and La Lola Experimental farm in the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica at 40 m.a.s.l., 3560 mm, and 24.5 ºC. The objectives of the renovation were: avoid the presence of Rosellinia sp. an important problem in the former site; re-organize the collection; standardize the number of plants per accession; rejuvenate the old trees; maximize the utilization of the physical space and maintain the trees of each accessions in different sites as a protective measure. Although each site holds three trees per accession, the old collection will be kept as back for at least the next five years. The collection currently comprises 843 accessions with different origin. Introduction of new genotypes for its genetic enrichment has been a priority activity during the last three years, with more than 100 genotypes introduced from Reading, CIRAD (France), FHIA (Honduras) and other research institutes from Latin America. The other priority activity is the depuration of the collection by corroborating the identity of the genotypes and the identification of duplicates and off-types, activities that already were initiated with the collaboration of USDA.