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

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape, School of Plant Sciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AS, UK
  • 2 Almirante Centre For Cocoa Studies, Fazenda Almirante, Cx. Postal 55 CEP 45653-000, Itajuipe, Bahia, Brazil
  • 3 Mars Inc., 6885 Elm Street, McLean, VA 22101

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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