C. Bester, K.R. Tobutt, E.L. Mansvelt, L.M. Blomerus, N. Jolly, W.-M. Pieterse, L. Smit , D. van Schalkwyk
The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) is mandated by the South African government to maintain and manage genetic resources important to South African agriculture as National Assets. ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij is responsible for managing nine genetic resources projects. The genebanks include field collections of various deciduous tree fruit crops, grapevines, olives, indigenous flowers of the Proteaceae and honeybush, in vitro collections of yeasts, fungi and bacteria as well as some tree fruit and berry crops in medium-term cold storage. The main purpose of the field genebanks is to conserve genetic diversity of fruits, grapes and indigenous crops, particularly in support of breeding programmes; the yeast collection contributes to oenological research; and the fungal and bacterial collections provide for research and diagnostics. Germplasm for inclusion in the genebanks is acquired in exchange with other collections or, in the case of indigenous crops, from the wild. The genebanks underpin ARC’s successful breeding programmes for fruit and flowers and for hybrid yeasts utilised by the local wine industry; and the micro-organism collections are used as reference cultures for diagnostic services. Protocols have been developed for medium-term in vitro storage of fruit and berry crops and these plants can be micro-propagated. The genebanks of the ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij form the backbone of the deciduous fruit industry and the emerging cut-flower fynbos and honeybush tea industries and contribute to the flourishing of horticulture in the Western Cape. Therefore the maintenance and expansion of the genebanks are of utmost importance and collecting, fingerprinting and developing of databases will become more important in the future.
Bester, C., Tobutt, K.R., Mansvelt, E.L., Blomerus, L.M., Jolly, N., Pieterse, W.-M., Smit , L. and van Schalkwyk, D. (2013). THE VALUE AND IMPACT OF THE ARC INFRUITEC-NIETVOORBIJ GENEBANKS. Acta Hortic. 1007, 975-980
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.1007.117
deciduous fruits, micro-organisms, fynbos, olives, yeast, in vitro

Acta Horticulturae