Performance of New Banana Germplasm in South Florida

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  • 1 University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Tropical Research and Education Center, 18905 SW 280th Street, Homestead, FL 33031-3314

In 1995, 37 new dessert and cooking bananas (Musa spp.) were introduced into South Florida for evaluation under local edaphic and environmental conditions. The number of pseudostems per mat, height at fruiting, and cycling time were determined during the first fruiting cycle, and bunch number and bunch weight were recorded from 1996 to 1998. A productivity index (PIX), calculated as 100 × mean bunch weight in kg/cycling time in days, was used to determine the productivity of the clones over time. Informal taste panels assessed the appearance and organoleptic qualities of fruit on a subjective 1 to 4 scale. In a separate experiment, the susceptibility of 30 of the clones to fusarium wilt, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, was assessed. Some of the most popular and productive clones were susceptible to fusarium wilt and are not recommended for production in areas that have a history of this disease. The dessert clones `Pisang Ceylan', FHIA01', FHIA02', and FHIA17' and the cooking accessions `Kandrian', `Kumunamba', and `Saba' resisted fusarium wilt, produced moderate to high yields (PIXs ≥ 1) of good to excellent fruit (mean ratings ≥ 3), and are recommended for use in all areas in Florida.

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