Promising blood-fleshed peaches and nectarines from the CREA-Forlì breeding program
Due to their antioxidant properties and attractiveness, anthocyanin-rich peaches and nectarines (blood-flesh, bf) are increasingly considered in breeding programs worldwide. In Italy, the existence of populations featured with red-purple flesh has been documented since the XVI century. Today, this germplasm is represented by few accessions, mostly characterized by aromatic, sometimes bitter and astringent, soft melting fruit, very susceptible to handling injuries. In the middle of the 1990s, CREA-Forlì started a breeding program aimed at obtaining peaches and nectarines that combine the bf trait with superior aesthetic, taste and market quality traits. Accessions of the Italian germplasm and 'Italian Pillar' were used as sources of bf trait and crossed with ameliorative (more attractive appearance, firmer flesh, better taste) peach and nectarine cultivars. Forty-two crossing combinations and 1,560 seedlings have been obtained and evaluated. Of the two monogenic traits responsible for the bf phenotype in peach reported in the literature, our material carries the recessive one, associated with early (pit hardening stage) onset of the red-purple color on fruit, red pigmentation of the leaf mid-rib and some (8-20%) reduction in tree vigor. To date, four peaches and ten nectarines combining the bf trait with improved pomological characteristics have been selected. Three of them, selected during the 2016 season, appear to combine sweet (low-acid) taste with crispy texture and high keeping quality.
Giovannini, D., Quacquarelli, I., Brandi, F., Maltoni, M.L., Sirri, S. and Liverani, A. (2021). Promising blood-fleshed peaches and nectarines from the CREA-Forlì breeding program. Acta Hortic. 1304, 77-80
P. persica L. (Batsch.), anthocyanin, selections, germplasm, red flesh, red leaf mid-rib