Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2010
Publication Date: 8/30/2010
Citation: Goenaga, R.J., Jenkins, D.A., Irish, B.M. 2010. The Tropical Fruit Research Program of the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station. HortScience. 45(8)S263.
Technical Abstract: Tropical and subtropical fruit crops are of major importance in commercial and subsistence agriculture. The globalization of the economy and the increased demand for healthy and more diverse food products have opened a large market for many of these fruit crops. Despite this fact, increased production of many tropical fruit crops is hindered by a lack of basic information on how physiological, entomological, horticultural, environmental, and pathological variables affect tropical fruit production systems and how these interact to influence yield and fruit quality. Promising germplasm of banana (Musa acuminata), mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota), papaya (Carica papaya), lychee (Litchi chinensis), longan (Dimocarpus longan), carambola (Averrhoa carambola), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), sapodilla (Manilkara zapota), atemoya (Annona squamosa x A. cherimola), and mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) are being introduced by USDA-ARS, characterized, and evaluated at various ecological zones in Puerto Rico for tolerance to abiotic/biotic stresses, yield, nutrient use efficiency, and scion/rootstock compatibility. An understanding of the response of tropical/subtropical fruit crops to abiotic/biotic stresses and agroenvironmental variables is critical to develop best management practices for the commercial production and marketing of non-traditional tropical/subtropical fruit crops. Results from recent research conducted by USDA-ARS in Puerto Rico with these crops are discussed herein.