CHARACTERIZATION AND EXPLOITATION OF MINOR POME FRUITS IN ITALY
Azarole (Crataegus azarolus L.), medlar (Mespilus germanica L.), and service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) are minor Pyrinae with a long tradition in Italy, but their cultivation for fruit production has been neglected in the past century. Old trees still survive as sparse plants in parks and gardens, near farmhouses or in abandoned fields. Erosion of genetic variability and loss of folk knowledge are consequences of this decline. Exploration started within the EU project GENRES 29 and continued thereafter in different areas of Italy, with the aims of identification, characterization and evaluation of accessions and collection of information about traditional and present use. A good amount of variability in pomological traits and fruit composition of azarole and service tree was found in Emilia Romagna and in the southern regions of Italy. Azarole accessions were clearly differentiated by sugars and organic acid profiles. Service tree fruits revealed a high content of fructose and a decrease of organic acids and polyphenols during ripening and bletting. These changes enable the processing into different products (cider in the unripe stage, and jams, liqueurs, schnaps in the bletted stage). The multipurpose potential may offer good opportunities of exploitation. Nevertheless, the perspectives of in situ conservation are presently uncertain, because of plant and farmer ageing.
Barbieri , C., Bignami, C., Cristofori , V., Paolocci, M. and Bertazza , G. (2011). CHARACTERIZATION AND EXPLOITATION OF MINOR POME FRUITS IN ITALY. Acta Hortic. 918, 953-959
azarole, Crataegus azarolus, medlar, Mespilus germanica, service tree, Sorbus domestica