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  • Author or Editor: J. Prohens x
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Tamarillo [Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt., Solanaceae] dark-red-, red-, and yellow-type fruit were sorted into two maturity stages (green and turning); dipped in ethephon at 0, 250, 500, or 750 mg·liter–1; and kept at 18 or 28C. Seven days later, fruit dipped in ethephon at 500 or 750 mg·liter–1 and stored at 28C showed a color score, maturity index, and ascorbic acid content similar to those tree-ripened, thus making it possible for harvesting to be advanced 36 days. Under these conditions, weight loss was always lower than 8.5%, resulting in only slight symptoms of shriveling that did not affect commercial quality. Postharvest ripening reduces the risk of crop failure, increases earliness, and concentrates harvesting. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Twenty-six clones of pepino (Solanum muricatum Aiton) were evaluated for yield, fruit weight, fruit shape (length to width ratio), soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), and ascorbic acid concentration (AAC) over two growing seasons: autumn-winter (AW) and spring-summer (SS). Significant differences were found for the effects of clone, season, and clon× season interaction for all traits, except in the case of season for fruit shape. Mean values for yield, SSC, and AAC were higher in the AW than in the SS season, while mean fruit weight and TA were lower. Many clones (13 in AW and six in SS) had a yield higher than 30 t·ha-1. Substantial genotypic variation was found for all traits studied except for SSC. Clones stable for all traits were detected over both seasons, except for SSC, where the differences between seasons were very high. The significant clone × season interaction for all traits indicates that selection of genotypes adapted specifically to either AW or SS seasons would maximize the response to selection. Broad sense heritabilities were highest for fruit shape and yield (>0.70), while SSC had the lowest values (0.39 in AW, 0.17 in SS, and almost 0 when considering both seasons combined). For the AW season, significant fruit weight-SSC and fruit weight-AAC genotypic correlations were detected; for the SS season the significant genotypic correlations were yield-SSC, fruit weight-TA, fruit shape-TA, and SSC-TA. Results suggest there are ample opportunities for improving several traits in this crop using intraspecific variation for adaptation to specific environments.

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Parthenocarpy in pepino (Solanum muricatum Aiton) can overcome poor fruit set caused by pollination deficiencies. In two families involving a parthenocarpic parent (Pp), a nonparthenocarpic parent (Pnp), and the generations Pp⊗, Pnp⊗, F1, BCp, BCnp, and F2, we studied three traits that are often confused: parthenocarpy, efficiency of parthenocarpy over seeded fruit set, and the degree of facultative parthenocarpy. Plants were trained to two stems (A and B). On stem A we emasculated six flowers per truss; three were pollinated and the other three were left unpollinated. We considered that a plant was parthenocarpic if it set one or more seedless fruit similar in size and shape to those seeded, and nonparthenocarpic if it only set seeded fruit. The efficiency of parthenocarpy over seeded fruit set was measured with a parthenocarpic fruit set index (PFSI), defined as twice the ratio of seedless to total fruit on stem A. In stem B all flowers were left to self-pollinate naturally. We quantified the degree of facultative parthenocarpy as the percentage of seedless fruit of the total. Parthenocarpy is controlled by one dominant gene for which we propose the symbol P. Parthenocarpic fruit set in the homozygote PP was as efficient as the seeded one (PFSI ≈ 1); in the heterozygote Pp it was less efficient (PFSI ≈ 0.6). The dose of gene P explained the differences found between generations for the PFSI and made it possible to predict the PFSI of a given generation from the proportions of PP and Pp genotypes. Although for the Pp hybrids parthenocarpic fruit set was less efficient than the seeded one, their ability to set seedless fruit in conditions of deficient pollination, together with their high degree of heterosis, makes them agronomically useful. The degree of facultative parthenocarpy seemed to be a complex trait with low heritability. In environments unfavorable for pollination, parthenocarpic genotypes set seedless fruit, thus ensuring crop production and yield stability. Using the degree of facultative parthenocarpy to classify plants for parthenocarpy is not recommended. Developing parthenocarpic cultivars can help spread this crop and stabilize yields.

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Wild relatives represent a source of variation for many traits of interest for eggplant (Solanum melongena) breeding, as well as for broadening the genetic base of this crop. However, interspecific hybridization with wild relatives has been barely used in eggplant breeding programs. As initiation of an introgression breeding program we performed 1424 interspecific hybridizations between six accessions of eggplant from the Occidental and Oriental groups and 19 accessions of 12 wild species from the primary (Solanum incanum and Solanum insanum), secondary (Solanum anguivi, Solanum dasyphyllum, Solanum lichtensteinii, Solanum linnaeanum, Solanum pyracanthos, Solanum tomentosum, and Solanum violaceum), and tertiary (Solanum elaeagnifolium, Solanum sisymbriifolium, and Solanum torvum) genepools. Fruit set, hybrid seed, and seed germination were obtained between Solanum melongena and all wild species of the primary and secondary genepools. The highest fruit set percentage and quantity of seeds per fruit were obtained with the two primary genepool species S. incanum and S. insanum as well as with some secondary genepool species, like S. anguivi, S. dasyphyllum, or S. lichtensteinii, although some differences among species were observed depending on the direction of the hybridization. For small-fruited wild species, the number of seeds per fruit was lower when using them as maternal parent. Regarding tertiary genepool species, fruit set was obtained only in interspecific hybridizations of eggplant with S. sisymbriifolium and S. torvum, although the fruit of the former were parthenocarpic. However, it was possible to rescue viable interspecific hybrids with S. torvum. In total we obtained 58 interspecific hybrid combinations (excluding reciprocals) between eggplant and wild relatives. Some differences were observed among S. melongena accessions in the degree of success of interspecific hybridization, so that the number of hybrid combinations obtained for each accession ranged between 7 (MEL2) and 16 (MEL1). Hybridity of putative interspecific hybrid plantlets was confirmed with a morphological trait (leaf prickliness) and 12 single nucleotide polymorphism markers. The results show that eggplant is amenable to interspecific hybridization with a large number of wild species, including tertiary genepool materials. These hybrid materials are the starting point for introgression breeding in eggplant and in some cases might also be useful as rootstocks for eggplant grafting.

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