Genetic Variability in Partitioning to the Yield Component of Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.)

in HortScience

Biomass partitioning of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) was studied in seven clones and five hybrids in a replicated experiment in Bahia, Brazil. Over an 18-month period, a 7-fold difference in dry bean yield was demonstrated between genotypes, ranging from the equivalent of 200 to 1389 kg·ha-1. During the same interval, the increase in trunk cross-sectional area ranged from 11.1 cm2 for clone EEG-29 to 27.6 cm2 for hybrid PA-150 × MA-15. Yield efficiency increment (the ratio of cumulative yield to the increase in trunk circumference), which indicated partitioning between the vegetative and reproductive components, ranged from 0.008 kg·cm-2 for clone CP-82 to 0.08 kg·cm-2 for clone EEG-29. An examination of biomass partitioning within the pod of the seven clones revealed that the beans accounted for between 32.0% (CP-82) and 44.5% (ICS-9) of the pod biomass. The study demonstrated the potential for yield improvement in cacao by selectively breeding for more efficient partitioning to the yield component.

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