CHARACTERISTICS AND SELECTION OF THE 'ALMAGRO' HEIRLOOM EGGPLANT AND POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT
Almagro eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is an heirloom native to the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha used for making pickles. Pickled Almagro eggplants from the Campo de Calatrava municipalities have a Protected Geograph¬ical Indication status, which has boosted its cultivation and importance in the last years. In order to make high quality pickles, fruits are harvested when the berry has not completed growth. An important characteristic of the Almagro eggplant is that fruits are covered by an acrescent calyx which at the time of harvest covers all or most of the fruit. Given the interest of this heirloom for the local development, we have been studying its characteristics and we have performed a selection and breeding programme. Our studies show that this variety presents specific morphological and composition features when compared to other similar eggplant varieties. The molecular characterization with AFLP and SSR markers shows that Almagro egg¬plant is different from other similar pickling varieties and that genetic variation exists within this heirloom, which allows the selection of the best materials. At the nutritional level, Almagro eggplant presents a high content in antioxidant phenolics and represents a source of variation for breeding programmes aimed at improving the bioactive constituents of eggplant. In this respect, we have made a selection (H15) which has low calyx prickliness and a high yield. Furthermore, we have initiated a backcross programme in order to develop new Almagro eggplant materials with lower prickliness. In this respect, marker assisted selection will be helpful in this programme in order to recover the genetic background of the Almagro eggplant.
Prohens, J., Muñoz-Falcón, J.E., Vilanova, S., Rodríguez-Burruezo , A., Plazas , M., Ribas, F. and Castro, A. (2012). CHARACTERISTICS AND SELECTION OF THE 'ALMAGRO' HEIRLOOM EGGPLANT AND POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT. Acta Hortic. 936, 385-392
characterization, molecular markers, participatory breeding, pickling eggplant, Protected Geographical Indication, Solanum melongena