Update on CREA Centro di Ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura pear breeding program

G. Caracciolo, S. Sirri, G. Baruzzi
The pear breeding activity at CREA Centro di Ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura of Forlì (FC) started 50 years ago. The first controlled crossings were made in 1968 and seven cultivars were released: ‘Tosca’ (1993), ‘Carmenpvr’, ‘Normapvr’ and ‘Turandotpvr’ (2000), ‘Aidapvr’ and ‘Bohèmepvr’ (2003) and ‘Falstaffpvr’ (2012). In the past, the breeding program was financed by several public research projects. In the last ten years, the program has been co-funded by New Plant Consortium of Forlì which brings together three growers’ associations, Apofruit Italia, Orogel Fresco and Apoconerpo. The main objectives are: extension of the harvest calendar; production of high quality fruit with long shelf-life; improved resistance and/or tolerance to diseases, such as fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) and insects (Psilla pyri); delivery of optimum nutraceutical characteristics and aesthetic characteristics, like red skin and flesh. In recent years, the European trend has been focused on red-skin or red-blushed pears to diversify the market. The market needs new cultivars to diversify the product and to ensure the maintenance of high market shares. Interspecific hybrids (P. communis × P. pyrifolia) have become an interesting goal due to their organoleptic characteristics (very crispy, juicy and aromatic flesh). ‘Falstaff’ is the first cultivar released within the framework of the New Plant co-funded breeding activity. It is a red-skin pear cultivar, with harvest starting in early September (25-30 days after ‘Williams’ and at the same period as ‘Abate Fétel’) in Emilia-Romagna areas. The skin is yellow, with red over-colour on about 80% of the surface, which becomes very attractive during cold storage. Fruit taste improves during cold-storage, reaching excellent levels after three-four months, when it often has a peculiar, spicy aftertaste. For its commercial exploitation, a “club” managed by New Plant has been set up. Some of the most interesting selections at an advanced stage of evaluation will be described here.
Caracciolo, G., Sirri, S. and Baruzzi, G. (2021). Update on CREA Centro di Ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura pear breeding program. Acta Hortic. 1303, 29-36
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1303.5
Pyrus spp., ripening time, fruit quality, storability, red skin, disease resistance

Acta Horticulturae