Pomological and chemical diversity in a pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) germplasm collection from Southern European countries

J. Bartual, E. Zuriaga, T. Koka, M.J. Navarro, M. Ortiz, M.L. Badenes
Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is a species native to central Asia, from Iran and Turkmenistan to northern India. The Mediterranean area is considered a pomegranate diversity center after the dispersion of pomegranate to the West. In this sense, pomegranate was cultivated in ancient Egypt, early Greece, and Italy, and around the 4th century BC was introduced in other North Africa and southern European countries. Almost all the cultivars in the Mediterranean region are local types selected by farmers and maintained by vegetative propagation. In different parts of the world, ex situ collections indicate high genetic diversity among the germplasm. After a deeply and recent prospecting research in Spain and new plant material importation from other countries, a broader pomegranate germplasm collection with 260 accessions has been established in the Agricultural Experiment Station of Elche. In this study, we have used phenological observations, like morphological fruit and seed traits and physical and chemical parameters of juice (color, pH, titratable acidity, total solids content, maturity index) in order to assess the diversity of 49 accessions from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Albania, Greece, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, and Croatia. Our results demonstrate a great level of variation in the analyzed traits. Results revealed the feasible presence of different cultivars with the same name and identical cultivars with another name. Yield studies in Elche agronomical conditions point out accessions that scarcely set fruits, such as ‘Ermioni’ or ‘Albanese’, and contrastingly accessions such as ‘Mollar de Elche’ or ‘Gorda de Játiva’, presented high yields. Genetic analyses on in this collection are in progress.
Bartual, J., Zuriaga, E., Koka, T., Navarro, M.J., Ortiz, M. and Badenes, M.L. (2022). Pomological and chemical diversity in a pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) germplasm collection from Southern European countries. Acta Hortic. 1349, 1-8
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1349.1
cultivar, acidity, CIELab color, aril size, dendrogram, SST, maturity index

Acta Horticulturae