M. Lateur, C. Populer
A wide collection of old fruit tree cultivars was established progressively at the Plant Pathology Station Gembloux, Belgium, from 1975 onwards. Currently 1150 apple, 850 pear and 310 plum accessions are being maintained. The material is subjected to continuous evaluation for disease resistance and agronomic characters. The available data on a group of 194 apple cultivars which were observed continuously over eleven years show that approximately 10% of them exhibit resistance of a sufficient level to be of practical value in the case of scab on fruit and 4% in the case of powdery mildew on leaves and shoots. The results also show that reliable field screening for disease resistance requires a period of at least ten years after grafting.

The better performing cultivars are reintroduced in the nursery trade by the Station. Nine apple cvs, are now being sold to home - growers by the nurseries and some of these apple cvs are now also being planted by professional growers in Belgium. The results of the initial phase of a breeding programme to produce apple cultivars with durable resistance to disease derived from selected old cultivars are presented. The project is an illustration of how the preservation and evaluation of fruit tree genetic resources can lay the foundation of future breeding programmes.

Lateur, M. and Populer, C. (1994). VALORISATION OF FRUIT TREE GENETIC RESOURCES. Acta Hortic. 355, 163-172
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1994.355.17
apple, breeding, disease resistance, fruit tree genetic resources, Podosphaera leucotricha, powdery mildew, scab, screening, Venturia inaequalis

Acta Horticulturae