Argentine researchers look for better, sturdier peaches

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Argentine researchers look for better, sturdier peaches

In response to continuing difficulties faced by peach producers, Argentine researchers are working to improve the fruit's shelf life, as well as its quality and nutrional value.fabiana-drincovich

Argentina's National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (Conicet) has teamed up with Rosario's Universidad Nacional on the project to develop a sturdier fruit with greater resistance to damage, explained researcher Maria Fabiana Drincovich.

"The initiative was from a INTA San Pedro researcher in Buenos Aires that has worked for a long time in post-harvest trying to address producer problems and apply technology to improve post-harvest life and diminish frost damage," Drincovich said.

"This is how we started to develop the project, which consists in techniques to identify metabolites and proteins that can protect fruit from cold damage and improve post-harvest life."

The team has applied a variety of techniques, including the analysis of chemical compounds and proteins, to identify protective traits in the fruit.

"Now what we are doing with the improvement group from INTA San Pedro is analyzing the compound content to see how these distinct peach varieties vary so that we can collaborate on an improvement program," she said.

"We are analyzing the molecular role of proteins that we consider very important, in tomatoes as well. [Tomatoes] also suffer from freeze damage, so we are seeing how these compounds interact."

Based on this research, the team will select the peach varieties with the most beneficial properities for use in the improvement program.

"The final objective will be to develop a variety with better properties and quality in terms of post-harvest life and its sensory and nutritional qualities. The idea is to generate a variety with improved qualities that would be cultivated at distinct times of the year and could offer a good option to producers," the researcher said.

This year Drincovich was granted an award by  L'Oreal UNESCO for her work to prolong the shelf life of peaches and improve their quality. The award recognizes feats by women in science.

Photo: María Fabiana Drincovich


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