Advanced stony-hard peach and nectarine selections from CREA-FRF breeding program

A. Liverani, F. Brandi, I . Quacquarelli, S. Sirri, D. Giovannini
Although hundreds of new cultivars are released every year, the peach industry worldwide is still in search of cultivars yielding fruits combining excellent aesthetic and taste characteristics with long-life span on tree and in the post-harvest. Peaches and nectarines endowed with the stony-hard trait could meet such expectations, as they do not produce ethylene and undergo very limited flesh softening even when fully ripe. Obtaining elite stony-hard fleshed cultivars has been one of the goals of CREA-Forlì breeding activity since the early '90s. Since then, 36 different cross combinations have been performed, and more than 3,000 seedlings have been planted and evaluated so far. In order to minimize errors in the classification of individuals in stony-hard vs. non stony-hard - a not easy purpose even to well-trained evaluators - the phenotyping of progenies has been recently supported by the use of an instrumental device measuring the amount of ethylene released by fruits sampled at ripening time. At the beginning of the breeding programme, the progenitors carrying the stony-hard trait were characterized by insufficient qualitative traits for the European market standards. After more than 20 years of activity, a range of white- and yellow-fleshed stony-hard peach and nectarine selections have been developed, featured with extensive skin blush, sweet taste, medium-to-big size, freestone and clingstone, covering a large harvest calendar. Since 2014, this breeding programme has been partly funded by growers' associations, whose technical staff has contributed to develop and value such innovative genotypes. Trials are now in progress to assess the shelf-life and the potential export of the best advanced selections.
Liverani, A., Brandi, F., . Quacquarelli, I, Sirri, S. and Giovannini, D. 2017. Advanced stony-hard peach and nectarine selections from CREA-FRF breeding program. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1172:219-224
Prunus persica, ethylene production, shelf-life, keeping quality, firmness

Acta Horticulturae