The demand for tropical fruits has increased more than 40% during the last decade [Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2010] as consumers seek healthy and more diverse food products. Mamey sapote is native to Mexico and Central American countries as far south as northern Nicaragua (Balerdi and Shaw, 1998; Morton, 1987; Mossler and Crane, 2009). It is also cultivated in the Caribbean, Florida, and other tropical and subtropical regions of the world (Téllez et al., 2009). The tree thrives from sea level to 900 m in elevation and under an annual rainfall of ≈2000 mm. It adapts to a wide range of soil types including sandy or heavy soils; however, it does not withstand dry periods or waterlogged soils (Almeyda and Martin, 1976; Morton, 1987). Depending on the cultivar, fruit shape varies from round to elliptical; it has a leathery brown skin and contains one to three large seeds. Fruit pulp is sweet, soft, and orange or deep red in color when ripe, and it is consumed fresh or processed to prepare ice cream or milkshakes. The fruit is high in vitamins A and E, minerals, and carotenoid content [Alia-Tejacal et al., 2007; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2011]. The fruit has been shown not to be a host to the caribbean fruit fly [Anastrepha suspensa (Gould and Hallman, 2001)] or the west indian fruit fly [Anastrepha obliqua (Jenkins and Goenaga, 2007)], making its export possible to sites where these fruit flies are not present.
There is little information available on total production area of mamey sapote worldwide. Mexico is probably the largest producer with an estimated production of 16,000 Mg (Téllez et al., 2009), although small orchards are reportedly established in Spain, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, and India (Balerdi and Shaw, 1998). Florida and Puerto Rico are the only production areas in the United States with ≈140 ha (Mossler and Crane, 2009; Y. Aron, personal communication).
Commonly used cultivars for commercial production include Copan, Magaña, Andres-2, and Pantin (Balerdi and Shaw, 1998; Mossler and Crane, 2009). Production of fully mature trees of these cultivars is estimated to range from 200 to 500 fruit per year (Mossler and Crane, 2009). However, replicated field trials to evaluate these and other mamey sapote cultivars have been very limited. Further, very little is known on the agroenvironmental conditions and other factors that may limit productivity of mamey sapote (FAO, 1995). The objective of this study was to evaluate yield performance and fruit quality traits of six mamey sapote cultivars grown in two distinct agroenvironments.
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