Brazil: EMBRAPA launches several new fruit varieties

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Brazil: EMBRAPA launches several new fruit varieties

Hardier passionfruit, productive limes and adaptable acerola cherries are some of the latest releases to come out of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation's (EMBRAPA) plant breeding program.

Passionfruit are native to Brazil but diseases like cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus (CABMV) have evolved with them. However, the recently launched BRS Rubi do Cerrado variety has shown greater tolerance, along with higher Vitamin C content.

"The difference with the Cerrado Rubi BRS is that the levels of disease resistance are superior to the present crops available in the market," said Embrapa Cerrados researcher Fábio Faleiro.

"Achieving this result was possible with arduous breeding work, in which the first crosses were made in 1998."

The variety is recommended in the state of Mato Grosso and the Federal District (Brasilia), reaching productivity of up to 50 metric tons (MT) per hectare. It can be planted any time of year in different soils, but plantation is recommended during the dry period in regions with well-defined wet seasons.

This passionfruit cannot be adapted to regions that are subject to frosts or soaked soil.

EMBRAPA's new lime, the BRS Passos, has been developed from an acidic lime the group created in the 70s, noted for its high productivity at 60 metric tons (MT) per hectare, which is three times the national average.

The variety also has a low rate of floral abortion and a longer shelf life. The fruit is designed for the west-central part of Brazil, showing very responsive floral induction in the Federal District with ammonium sulfate or potassium chloride fertilization.

Around 89% of Brazil's limes go to the domestic market,  7% are destined for processing and 4% are sent overseas as exports.

Photo: Ricardo Moura

The institute's new acerola cherry is also highly productive and was developed in conjunction with company Nutrilite. The plant, known as BRS 366 Jaburu, yields 100kg (220lbs) of cherries each year, representing around 57MT per hectare.

"The BRS Jaburu produces close to 20% more than the second most productive, the Mineira crop," said Embrapa Agroindustrial Tropical researcher Francisco Vidal Neto.

Like EMBRAPA's new passionfruit, the BRS 366 Jaburu also has high Vitamin C levels. The objective is to pick the fruit green when these vitamin levels are double that of the ripe cherry.

The institute highlighted the crop's versatility, adapting well to manual and mechanized harvesting which gives it a competitive advantage over other cultivars.

The Jaburu also has seven productive cycles over the course of the year.

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