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Breeding Muscadine grapes in Arkansas, USA: a new initiative

Clark, J. R., Barchernger, D. W.
Acta horticulturae 2015 no.1082 pp. 95-98
Vitis rotundifolia, breeding, consumer acceptance, cultivars, disease resistance, flavor, fresh market, genotype, grapes, leaves, planting, seedlings, texture, vines, winter hardiness, Arkansas
‘Muscadine’ grape is a United States native grape commonly grown in the southeast and southwest regions of the country. ‘Muscadine’ breeding has been ongoing for many years, but programs have been reduced or eliminated in the previous 20 years and activity in breeding is less than in prior times. There is much to be improved with muscadines, particularly in traits that contribute to greater consumer acceptance of the fruit. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture initiated a muscadine breeding program in 2006 to develop improved quality cultivars for the fresh market. Major traits of interest include firm, non-slipskin texture, reduced skin thickness, excellent flavor, fruit and leaf shape diversification, increased dry stem scar, improved vine winter hardiness, and disease resistance. An emphasis is also being placed on postharvest storage of fruit and a postharvest protocol has been developed to identify superior storage potential genotypes. As of 2013, over 10,000 seedlings have been planted for field evaluation, resulting in 117 selections. Although the program has not released cultivars, several advanced selections have been identified for potential release.