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Pomological and physico-chemical characterization of Chrysophyllum cainito or "Caimito" seedlings grown in South Florida

Ayala-Silva, T., Gubbuk, H., Winterstein, M., Salas, A., Mustiga, G., Ledesma, N.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1216 pp. 59-64
Chrysophyllum cainito, acidity, brix, color, fruits, genetic variation, germplasm, marketing, orchards, pH, seedlings, seeds, total soluble solids, trees, Caribbean, Central America, Florida, Mexico
Chrysophyllum cainito or “Caimito” is a fruit native to the West Indies, but it is now distributed in many tropical areas throughout Central America and Mexico. Presently, most plant materials are from seed, inferring the existence of great genetic differences among individual seedling plants. Therefore, any seedling source of germplasm could serve as a potential source to expand production and marketing of this underutilized fruit. A total of 40 seedlings were evaluated based on fruit size. Parameters evaluated in these trials were the physical, chemical and morphological characteristics of thirty fruits per seedling tree. The characteristics evaluated were: fruit and seed weights, number of seeds, fruit length and diameter, pH, titrated acidity, Brix and color (luminosity (L), a*, b* Chroma and hue). Significant differences among the fruits assessed from the trees were observed. Fruit, and seed weights, pH, titrated acidity and Brix were the most representative traits in generating three groups. The selected seedling consisted of fruit materials that were larger (length 82.5 mm, diameter 76.1 mm), heavier (268.6 g), lower in seed number (5.2) and with the highest total soluble solids content (18.58 °Brix) than the other seedlings; and it included the only material with purple/reddish skin, the rest of the seedlings had a light-opaque purple color. The second and third group of seedlings included materials with less fruit weight (97 to 135 g) and size (61 to 69 mm of length or diameter), with intermediate and lower values for soluble solids (10.25 to 12.33 °Brix), and higher number of seeds (7.61) than the selected seedling. Based on several superior qualities of its fruits, one seedling Caimito has potential for selection and release to nurseries and orchards as a new, named variety.