THE IRTA-PFR PEAR SCION BREEDING PROGRAMME FOR HIGH FRUIT QUALITY
The pear production area in Spain was 27,954 ha in 2008 and is dominated by five old European cultivars, based on tonnage: Conference (35%), Blanquilla (28%), Limonera (9%) Williams (9%), Ercolini (9%) and others (14%). The pear industry needs new cultivars well suited to the warm growing conditions to enlarge the narrow range of cultivars currently available. Most new cultivars come from more temperate countries and many are not well adapted to the southern European production regions. To this aim, a joint Institut de Receca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA)-Plant and Food Research (PFR) pear scion breeding programme was started in 2002 with both public and private funding. The main breeding aim is to obtain new cultivars with a number of outstanding agronomic traits, such as high quality and tasteful fruit with juicy flesh, but without gritty texture. The main aim for skin colour is green, but those with complete russet or full red colour will also be selected. The pears need to have good size, and good handling and storage performance as well as a long shelf life. Some breeding lines are also aimed at early harvest. Populations have been raised mainly with a European pear genetic background, while some also have Japanese and Chinese pear in their pedigrees. With some 15,500 seedlings planted in selection plots at Gimenells, Lleida, Spain in 2010, the first 42 selections from the 2002-2004 families have been made in the period 2007 to 2009, based on 18 fruit attributes. There was a large range in fruiting and selection rates among families, indicating a genetic basis for the underlying differences in important fruit quality attributes and precocity observed among seedlings.
Batlle, I., Fontich, C., Lozano, L., Iglesias, I., Carbó, J., Bonany, J., White, A.G., Volz, R.K. and Brewer, L.R. (2011). THE IRTA-PFR PEAR SCION BREEDING PROGRAMME FOR HIGH FRUIT QUALITY . Acta Hortic. 909, 121-125
Pyrus, cultivar, breeding, controlled crosses, selection, fruit quality