Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The California almond industry produces over 80% of the world’s almonds with nearly 2 billion pounds harvested in 2011. Several dozen cultivars are grown, but the Nonpareil cultivar is dominant in both acreage and tonnage. Almond cultivars are categorized into defined marketing groups based on kernel appearance to facilitate promotion and sale. Market prices for the Nonpareil Marketing Group (NMG) are 30% higher than market prices for almonds in other marketing groups. Historically, the NMG has included three cultivars in addition to the Nonpareil cultivar. However, no objective standards exist to determine if new cultivars should also be included in this important marketing group. Hence, research objectives were twofold: 1) to determine the degree of kernel similarity between NMG cultivars; and 2) to identify nut/kernel characters that best discriminated NMG cultivars from other marketing group kernels. Nineteen nut and kernel characters from NMG cultivars were evaluated over two harvests along with cultivars Carmel and Padre representing other marketing groups. Principal component and discriminant analyses were used to identify the character set best separating NMG cultivars from other marketing groups and to determine cultivar misclassification rates between and within marketing groups. The four NMG cultivars varied significantly (p < 0.01) in all 19 measured characters. However, a clear distinction of NMG cultivars from Carmel and Padre was evident from a combined PCA utilizing eight of the 19 characters. By using these eight characters in a discriminant analysis, an overall cultivar misclassification rate of 26% was achieved, the vast majority being misclassification among NMG cultivars. The results provide an objective classification clearly distinguishing NMG from other marketing groups. These evaluations can be used to identify which marketing group is most appropriate for newly developed almond cultivars.