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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 #379499

Research Project: Determination of Flavor and Healthful Benefits of Florida-Grown Fruits and Vegetables and Development of Postharvest Treatments to Optimize Shelf Life an Quality for Their Fresh and Processed Products

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Evaluation of 21 papaya (Carica papaya L.) accessions in southern Florida for fruit quality, aroma, plant height, and yield components

item BREWER, SARAH - University Of Florida
item Plotto, Anne
item Bai, Jinhe
item CRANE, JONATHAN - University Of Florida
item CHAMBER, ALAN - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/24/2021
Publication Date: 7/10/2021
Citation: Brewer, S., Plotto, A., Bai, J., Crane, J., Chamber, A. 2021. Evaluation of 21 papaya (Carica papaya L.) accessions in southern Florida for fruit quality, plant height, and yield components. Scientia Horticulturae. 288:110387.

Interpretive Summary: Papaya fruits can be classified into two categories: large, "Mexican" or "Formosan" fruit type, weighing more than two pounds, and small, "solo" type papaya (about 1 Lb), very sweet and with superior flavor. This study evaluated 21 papaya varieties of the two types, with yellow or red flesh. A few selections showed the best compromise of fruit yield, bearing height and fruit quality. They were two solo types, one red and one yellow, and a red large fruit type. Volatile analysis combined with olfactometry identified 25 volatlie compounds that may contribute to aroma.

Technical Abstract: Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a tropical, herbaceous plant valued for its rapid growth and delicious fruit. Papaya fruit quality is an important factor in driving consumer demand. Papaya fruits can be classified broadly into two categories including large, “Mexican” or “Formosan” type fruit typically weighing more than 1 kg, and small, solo-type papayas (~450-675 grams) that are very sweet and renowned for superior flavor. Agronomic performance including yield traits and fruit quality can vary depending on the genetics of the variety and growing conditions. Therefore, a study was designed to identify the highest performing varieties for production in southern Florida. A total of 21 papaya accessions were included in the study. In general, solo-type papayas were among the tallest accessions at first harvest reaching up to 244 cm tall for ‘Kapoho #1’ and with first fruit insertion heights up to 152 cm for ‘Kapoho #2’. N08-75, ‘Sunrise #2’, and ‘Sunset’ had higher average fruit numbers (43, 45, and 37 fruit per plant, respectively) than some of the larger fruited accessions like Saipan Red #1 (7 fruit per plant) throughout a six-month harvest period. The accessions with the highest fruit weights ranged from 1.48-2.13 kg for Brash Panama, HAES 7836, N07-24, Saipan Red #1, and Saipan Red #2. There were significant differences among the accessions for fruit quality traits including pH (4.55-5.13), titratable acidity (0.10-0.23%), and total soluble solids (8.9-14.5%). Quantification of 112 putatively identified and 12 unknown volatile compounds revealed terpenes as the most abundant components in 18 accessions, with linalool typically at the highest concentration. Gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) identified 25 volatiles that may contribute to aroma. Several of these compounds including butanoic acid, methyl butanoate, octanoic acid, and (E)-citral varied greatly in abundance among accessions. While papaya is generally considered to have a narrow genetic base, the variability observed for important fruit quality and agronomic traits suggests potential for expanded cultivation of elite germplasm and new opportunities for growing premium solo types in southern Florida.