BREADFRUIT: DIVERSITY, CONSERVATION AND POTENTIAL
Breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae) is grown throughout the tropics yet only a few cultivars are found in most countries. Three species, A. altilis, A. camansi, and A. mariannensis, plus natural hybrids (A. altilis × A. mariannensis) make up the breadfruit complex. It is one of the crops covered by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and a breadfruit conservation strategy is being developed for the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Although an important staple crop in the Pacific with hundreds of recognized cultivars, breadfruit diversity is declining because of hurricane and drought damage and loss of cultural knowledge. Several ex situ collections were planted in the Pacific region in the 20th century, with materials widely exchanged. Provenance data are unavailable for most and those collections were neglected or abandoned. Actively managed breadfruit germplasm collections exist in Vanuatu, Samoa, the USDA National Plant Germplasm System, and the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Jamaica). The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in Hawaii manages a field genebank of breadfruit species and cultivars with 220 accessions from 18 Pacific Island groups, the Philippines, the Seychelles, Indonesia and Honduras. Research on the NTBG collection includes chromosome counts, isozyme and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analyses, morphological descriptors, seasonality and yields as well as nutritional composition and fruit quality sensory evaluation for 20 cultivars. In vitro propagation research is underway to develop methods to conserve and exchange breadfruit germplasm. Making the numerous good-quality flavorful cultivars more widely available will provide nutritious food and trees for sustainable agriculture, agroforestry, home gardens and income generation.
Ragone, D. (2007). BREADFRUIT: DIVERSITY, CONSERVATION AND POTENTIAL. Acta Hortic. 757, 19-30
Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus camansi, Artocarpus mariannensis, crop domestication, food security, plant genetic resources