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International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) 1993

Collection of Cold-Tolerant Opuntia Fruit Clones in Northern Mexico and Their Field Evaluation in Texas and Israel

Cold-Tolerant Opuntia Fruit Clones

Titre : Collection of Cold-Tolerant Opuntia Fruit Clones in Northern Mexico and Their Field Evaluation in Texas and Israel

Date/Durée : May 1, 1993 to April 30, 1995

Résumé
After obtaining some exciting preliminary data from RAPDs (DNA mapping) in Dr. Andre Paterson’s laboratory in College Station this winter, Dr. Xingong Wang returned to the Kingsville campus to begin hybridization and fruit analyses for this year’s cactus fruit crop. Despite adverse climatic conditions i.e. -7 C in January, severe hail Easter Sunday and excessive spring rains, postdoctoral research associate Dr. Wang hybridized nearly 500 fruit this spring. This was only possible due to the hybridization manipulation experiments conducted the previous year. The objective was to combine cold hardiness, low seediness, high yields, and high sugar concentrations. Over 200 seeds were from 20 of these crosses.

We were particularly gratified to have obtained seed from the cross involving the native spiny Opuntia lindheimerii and several of the commercial spineless fruit varieties. As the native variety is completely cold-hardy to this area (down to -20 C), it is reasonable to expect that a few progeny from crosses with non-cold-hardy Mexican fruit varieties and the native will possess good cold hardiness and good fruit quality. A few crosses are noteworthy. The cross 1279 by 1383 is interesting since 1279 is a spineless, large, red-fruited variety with small seeds, high yield, a dwarf-compact shape, good disease resistance but average sugar concentration. Clone 1383 is a spiny, yellow-fruited variety with excellent fruit firmness and high sugar, but is too tall and has disease problems. All crosses with 1319 and 1321 are of considerable interest since these Chilean clones have the greatest sugar concentration and the lowest seed size. Unfortunately these clones are very low yielding. Therefore combinations of these clones with high yielding varieties such as 1380 and 1277 should yield very interesting genetic materials. On June 28 we had a cactus field day in which about 100 local residents visited the plots, tasted cactus fruits and were provided free planting stock for their homes. A commercial organic citrus grower has since obtained planting stock to diversify his citrus plantings. He had found cactus of interest because cactus is more cold-hardy than citrus, cactus requires less water than citrus, and cactus fruits are ripe when no citrus is ripe thus permitting better utilization of packing facilities and personnel.

Partenaires : * Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project : * Partners :

Financement : Support for this project came from the USDA Forest Service

Présentation : IALC

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