South African Avocado Growers’ Association Yearbook 1987. 10:24-26.

Proceedings of the First World Avocado Congress

 

 

Avocado production and breeding in Mexico

 

S SANCHEZ COLIN and A BARRIENTOS PRIEGO
Centro de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnologicas del Aguacate en el Estado de Mexico (CICTAMEX), Apartado Postal 13 Toluca, Mex 50000 Mexico

 

SYNOPSIS

The avocado was already known in Mexico 12 000 years ago, and it is at present the leading avocado producer in the world; in 1985 the estimated production was 401 000 tons from a harvested area of 57 000 hectares. The avocado culture as a commercial activity is practised in 16 states; four of them produce significant amounts of avocado (Michoacan, Sinaloa, Puebla and Mexico). Of these four states Puebla has a limiting factor (shallow soils) and Sinaloa produces West Indian type avocados; only Michoacan and the state of Mexico have wide land resources and are known as the 'Avocado Belt of the Mexican Republic'. It has 1 347 000 hectares, similar in soil, quality and climate, The Scientific and Technological Research Center of Avocado in the State of Mexico (CICTAMEX) is carrying out a programme to produce new cultivars including intermediate and dwarf trees. These studies date back to 1953. In the first phase Colinmex, Colin V-101 and especially Colin V-33 were used and 21 of these trees have outstanding characteristics of quality and production. Selection of somatic dwarf mutants is also being done. At present three Fuerte and two Rincon dwarf mutants have been selected. (Of the selection of drawling rootstocks used up to the present, more than 20 dwarf trees have been selected from Colin V-33 seedlings.)

 

 

PRODUCTION

 

The avocado was already known in Mexico 12 000 years ago according to findings in caves of Tehuacan Valley, Puebla and since then has become part of the Mexican diet. This fruit is important to the country because of the high consumption by the people and its well-known high nutritive value. From the economic point of view it plays an important role in the Mexican agri­cultural sector.

 

Mexico is the leading producer of avocado in the world; in 1985 the estimated production was 401 000 tons from a harvested area of 57 000 ha. In the fifties, avocado orchards of culti­vars like Fuerte were established; this increased the national avocado pro­duction (Figure 1). In the beginning of the seventies, orchards of Hass were established, and this has become the leading cultivar in Mexico. Between 1970 and 1980 the avocado production has doubled (Figure 2) and has now stabilised.

 

In the Mexican Republic, avocado culture as a commercial activity is practised in 16 states; four of them produce significant amounts of fruit from different cultivars such as Hass, Fuerte, Bacon and others. These fruits have a good price on the market. Of these four states, Puebla has a limiting factor because of its shallow soils (Altixco, Puebla) and the incidence of pests and diseases (Phytophthora cin­namomi Rands), Sinaloa produces a great amount of West Indian type sold at a low price on the market; only Michoacan and the State of Mexico have wide land resources that are available and potentially adequate for avocado. These two states form part of the 'Avocado Belt of the Mexican Republic' which has an estimated area of 637 km by 21 km, with an area of 1 347 000 ha similar in the soil quality and climate. This belt has altitudes ranging from 1 500, 1 800 and 2 000 m and lies between the latitudes 18° 30' and 20° North (Figure 3).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BREEDING

Several studies have been carried out in Mexico for the selection of rootstocks which tolerate salinity (Salazar et al, 1982), high-lime induced chlorosis (Lopez et al, 1985), drought (Macias, 1981) and the disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands (Ga­lindo, 1984, pers com). Work has also been done on the selection of 'criollo'­type seedlings of the Mexican race (Mosqueda, 1983).

 

The Scientific and Technological Research Center of Avocado in the State of Mexico (CICTAMEX) carries out studies to solve the main problems of production and marketing of avo­cado. Another aim of this breeding programme is to obtain dwarf trees and trees with intermediate vigour with the idea of having more intensive plantings. Cultivation studies at this research centre date from 1953, when plots of Fuerte seedlings were established in Ixtapan de la Sal, State of Mexico. From these plots Colinmex and Colin V-101 suggest a variety of tree of interme­diate vigour, and Colin V-33, a dwarf tree with a high heritability (h2 = 0,7) (Barrientos & Sanchez, 1982) were selected (Figure 4). These trees were later planted in Coatepec Harinas, State of Mexico, where this research centre is located.

 

After this, seedlings of Hass, Fuerte, Boyce, Colin V-101 and especially of Colin V-33 were established. From the latter, we have selected more out­standing trees than from Hass, Fuerte and Boyce seedlings. We are now establishing seedlings of these selec­tions using a recurring selection scheme that includes the recombina­tion of selections to obtain new cultivars.

 

Eighty six trees have been selected out of more than 3 765 seedlings; to date 21 of these trees have outstanding characteristics of quality and produc­tion (Figures 5 and 6). Table 1 shows the harvesting season of some of these selections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Figure 4  A 16-year-old Colin V-33 dwarf avocado tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Figure 5  Two-year-old grafted tree of Colin V-33 seedling selection CICTAMEX 137 PLS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fig 6 Three-year-old graft 33 seedling selection CICTAMEX 148 PLS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fig 7 CICTAMEX 96 PJ, a 1 6-year-old Fuerte dwarf mutant; the scion is 2,05 m high.

 

 

 

 

TABLE 2  Growth characteristics of some dwarf avocado mutants.

 

Origin

Dwarf Mutant

Age (Years)

Trunk Circumference (cm)

Canopy Diameter (m)

Scion Height

(m)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuerte

160 PF1

11

29

1,45

1,29

Fuerte

119 PPaA

16

28

2,35

1,27

Fuerte

96 PJ

16

57

3,35

2,05

Rincon

13 PJ111

11

45

2,45

0,75

Rincon

121 PJIII

11

57

4,10

2,25

 

 

Besides the selection of seedling trees, some somatic dwarf mutants were selected. To date we have selected three Fuerte mutants (Fi­gure 7) and two Rincon mutants. These trees show a clear lack of apical dominance and a tendency to lateral growth.

 

To obtain natural hybridisation among cultivars or selections, multiple top-grafting is done on shoots of previously cut-back trees. The number of grafts per tree varies from two to nine different cultivars or selections, to generate populations in which we can continue practising recurring selection.

 

Studies are also carried out on the selection of dwarfing rootstock. Colin V­33 when used as an interstock, reduces the height of Fuerte scions by 43 per cent. For this purpose the selection is done on open-pollinated seedlings of Colin V-33. Up to now we have identified more than 20 dwarf trees. In some of these trees we have carried out studies on the bark/xylem rela­tionship and we have found that dwarf trees have more bark area (22,7 per cent) than tall trees where this propor­tion is only 12,9 per cent (Lopez & Barrientos, 1987).

 

REFERENCES

1   Barrientos P,F & Sanchez C,S, 1982. Height variability obtained from a new dwarf avocado tree population. Acata Horticulturae, 140, 163­ 168.

 

2   Lopez J,A, Alcalde B,S & Barrera G, JL, 1985. Comportamiento de aguacate Mexicano, Antil­lane y Guatemalteco en suelos con diferente contenido de carbonato de calcio bajo condiciones de invernadero. I congreso National de la Sociedad Mexicana de Cien­cias Horticolas. Sonora, Mexico. Resúmenes, 109 p.

 

3   Lopez J,A & Barrientos P,A, 1987. Selection de portainjertos enanizantes de aguacate (Persea americana Mill). I: Estudios de la relacidn corteza/xilema en tallos de segregantes del cv Colin V-33. II: congreso Nacional de la Sociedad Mexicana de Ciencias Horticolas. Guanajuato, Mexico. Resúmenes (En prensa).

 

4   Macias G,JL, 1981. Respuesta de dos razas de aguacate (Persea americana Mill) a tres regimenes de riego. Tesis de MC Colegio de Postgraduados. Chapingo, Mexico 124 p.

 

5   Mosqueda R, 1983. Situacidn actual de la utilizacidn del germoplasma y mejoramiento genetico de los principales frutales tropicales y subtropicales de Mexico. Rev Fitotecnia, 5, 157-168.

 

6   Salazar G,S, Borys N,W & Enriquez R,A, 1982. Caracterizacidn de plantas sobresalientes de aguacate (Persea americana Mill) a con­diciones de salinidad. IX congreso Nacional de Fitogenetica. Coahuila, Mexico. Resúmenes, 103 p.