Update on New Varieties Projects

Josh McGillVarieties

The Florida Citrus Commission on March 15 heard an update on four sponsored projects under the New Varieties Development and Management Corp. (NVDMC). Peter Chaires, NVDMC executive director, provided the updates:


1. The primary effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s Citrus Scion Breeding Program is to select varieties throughout the 2022–23 season that have commercial potential. To date, ARS has made 24 preliminary commercial quality selections that will require additional evaluation.

    2. Postharvest evaluations of promising new fresh citrus fruit selections are testing for external quality, internal quality and shelf life during storage. Mark Ritenour with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is running those evaluations.

    3. The UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center has identified 10 early-maturing Vernia clones; three of which showed superior health after nine years in the field with no psyllid control. They have all been propagated for further study.

    Additionally, two early-maturing OLL clones were propagated and offer real potential to replace Hamlin. Fourteen high-soluble-solids OLL clones were identified as well as two 20-year-old Hamlin trees in the Orie Lee Alligator Hamlin block. DNA fingerprint analysis indicates that both Hamlin trees were on two unique and unidentified zygotic rootstocks. Both Hamlin lines and the OLL lines have been propagated for further study. Multiple crosses have yielded embryos that currently are in tissue culture, and in various stages of development.

    Also, two W. Murcott+FG300 and W. Murcott+UF-03 were rescued by grafting. Pathogen-free trees will be produced and planted in a protective structure for use in future breeding efforts. These two parents transmit superior fruit quality traits to triploid progeny, including external fruit color, good size, flavor and the zipper-skin trait.

    4. The evaluation of seedling population by UF/IFAS has made six additional selections since October 2022 that are being evaluated. Trees are being grown out in a quarantine greenhouse and will be planted in a replicated test at the teaching orchard/grove in Gainesville in the spring of 2023.

    Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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