THE SA PROCESSING PEACH BREEDING PROGRAMME: INTRODUCING MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES

W.-M. Pieterse
In South Africa, peaches are used for canning, drying and – to a lesser extent – juicing and jamming as well as for the fresh market. The origins of the South African canning peach industry can be traced back to a peach from St. Helena, which was the progenitor of the Transvaal yellow non-melting cling type peaches. A chance seedling of this type was released as ‘Kakamas’ in 1932. This cultivar and ‘Early Dawn’, a mutation of the English cultivar ‘Duke of York’, were extensively used as parents in the early days of the breeding programme, indicating a narrow genetic base of the founder cultivars. These cultivars, together with ‘Muir’ and ‘Elberta’, imported from America, served as parents for breeding drying types. Desirable traits for the processing industries are uniform firm fruit, without a prominent suture or fruit point, small stones without stone extensions and no red coloration in the stone cavity or on the skin, no browning, high sugar content, skin with less or no pubescence, and a prolonged cropping season; adaptation to medium to low chilling requirement is also important. Recent developments from the breeding programme include white-fleshed cling stone peaches for canning and yellow freestone nectarine cultivars suitable for drying. To address evolving industry needs, germplasm collections are being supplemented with material from foreign genebanks to expand the genetic base of the breeding programme. The intention is to use molecular markers to identify and characterise appropriate breeding parents. Diverse segregating breeding progenies are being developed to underpin genetic studies on fruit quality traits. Concomitantly, breeders are being trained in molecular and mapping techniques to infuse the breeding programme with a molecular genetic approach to cultivar development.
Pieterse, W.-M. (2013). THE SA PROCESSING PEACH BREEDING PROGRAMME: INTRODUCING MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES. Acta Hortic. 976, 445-447
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.976.62
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.976.62
Prunus persica, cultivar
English

Acta Horticulturae