Submitted to: Eucarpia Fruit Breeding Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2007
Publication Date: 9/16/2007
Citation: Ledbetter, C.A. 2007. The use of Central Asian apricot germplasm to improve fruit quality in California adapted apricots. Eucarpia Fruit Breeding and Genetics Symposium, 12th Annual Meeting, Zaragoza, Spain, September 16-20, 2007, (abstracts of meeting not published).
Technical Abstract: Fifty years of apricot breeding efforts at the Agricultural Research Service in Parlier, California has led to the development of ten new fresh market and processing varieties. During this period, consumer comments indicated that increased sugar and aroma would be desirable improvements in California produced apricots. In the early 1990’s, several sources of Central Asian apricot germplasm were imported and utilized in the breeding program to introduce genetic diversity and improve fruit quality. Both clonal and seedling-derived apricot germplasm were obtained from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. These Central Asian apricots were generally not well adapted to California’s environment, but some accessions did display significantly increased Brix levels, long fruit development periods, diverse fruit colors and shapes as well as other novel characteristics. As a group, Central Asian apricot germplasm is far too small-fruited for fresh markets in North America. First generation hybrids between California adapted apricots and Central Asian accessions were generally more productive than their Central Asian parents, but were still too small in fruit size to be directly usable. Second generation hybrids, obtained through intercrossing elite F1’s or through backcrosses to California adapted hybrids, are very diverse in both fruit and tree characteristics. Fruit sizes adequate for fresh marketing are obtainable in the second generation, and large-fruited clones having significantly elevated Brix levels are also observed. The fruit ripening season has been extended approximately two weeks later through breeding with Central Asian apricots, and forthcoming seedlings may extend the fruit ripening period even longer. Seedlings obtained to date as a result of breeding with Central Asian apricot germplasm demonstrate that significant enhancement of fruit quality traits can be obtained in two generations.