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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372019

Research Project: Quality, Shelf-life and Health Benefits for Fresh, Fresh-cut and Processed Products for Citrus and Other Tropical/Subtropical-grown Fruits and Vegetables

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Accelerating implementation of HLB tolerant hybrids as new commercial cultivars for fresh and processed citrus

item BALDWIN, ELIZABETH - Retired ARS Employee
item Stover, Eddie
item Driggers, Randall
item Bai, Jinhe
item Manthey, John
item Sun, Xiuxiu
item Ference, Christopher
item Plotto, Anne

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/2020
Publication Date: 7/15/2020
Citation: Baldwin, E.A., Stover, E.W., Driggers, R.E., Bai, J., Manthey, J.A., Sun, X.N., Ference, C.M., Plotto, A. 2020. Accelerating implementation of HLB tolerant hybrids as new commercial cultivars for fresh and processed citrus. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 132:177-181.

Interpretive Summary: Citrus greening disease of Huanglongbing has significantly reduced citrus production in Florida. This paper reports observations of fruit quality from the USDA, ARS citrus breeding program in Florida. Of 20 hybrids that showed degrees of tolerance to citrus greening, seven had flavor similar to orange and five had flavor similar to mandarin, as determined by a trained sensory panel. In contrast, some hybrids had excessive sourness and/or bitterness. Hybrids with good flavor will continue to be evaluated in the next 2-3 years.

Technical Abstract: Citrus greening or huanglongbing (HLB) has reduced citrus and especially orange yields, resulting in closure of packing houses and processing plants in Florida. To maintain the remaining packing and processing infrastructure, a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Citrus Disease Research and Extension (CDRE) grant was obtained to identify hybrids in breeding programs with HLB tolerance and commercial quality for either the fresh fruit or processed juice industry. The proposed research would also determine HLB resistance or tolerance DNA markers for marker-assisted breeding or use in transgenic programs. This paper will discuss the first season performance of some of these hybrids for their intrinsic flavor quality and similarity to either orange or mandarin, since both orange and mandarin are present in the hybrids’ genetic backgrounds. Both sensory and chemical evaluations for flavor were conducted. Several commercial cultivars were also harvested and evaluated for comparison. These hybrids were harvested once or multiple times over the season. Out of the twenty hybrids evaluated, seven exhibited orange similarity, and most scored relatively high for orange flavor in at least one harvest. One of these hybrids has since been released as ‘SunDragon’. Seven hybrids exhibited similarity to mandarin and/or mandarin flavor, with three that also had similarity to orange. Overall, the trial showed that there is much diversity in the breeding programs for flavor, sugars, acids and bitter limonoids. There is also potential for both HLB tolerance and commercial quality. Hybrids with HLB-tolerance and good flavor would be candidates for citrus juice blends.