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Improved nut species as crops in underdeveloped Mediterranean areas

The object of the project was to increase supply of underexploited nut species (walnut, almond, pistachio) by selection of plant material of superior agronomic performance. Two thousand outstanding walnut trees were selected in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, tested for cherry leaf roll virus and then grafted in their native country for observation in selection orchards. 37 of these selected trees were grafted and included in a European walnut germplasm centre in Caserta (Italy). An early nursery test for susceptiblity to bacteria was set up. A genetic study was initiated to evaluate heritability of characters such as lateral fruitfulness, late leafing, high nut and kernel quality and combining ability of parents. With respect to rootstocks for almond, 70 open pollinated progeny, 30 controlled crosses as well as 3 almond clones originated from in vitro culture were tested. In addition, several hybrids from almond x peach crosses were selected particularly for their ability to be propagated vegetatively. The selected seedlings and clones were evaluated for their resistance to nematodes and telluric diseases. A network of international rootstock trials for almond, to compare the performance of these various selections, was established. Observations were carried out on more than 60 male and female varieties of pistachio concerning vigour, flowering time, productivity and fruit quality. Four varieties were selected. Various grafting methods were tried in order to improve the techniques for vegetative propagation of selected varieties. Seed germination methods for the different species in the pistachio genus were studied with the aim of improving germination. The value as rootstocks of these different species was determined.

Reported by

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
BP 81
33883 Villenave d'Ornon
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