New varieties due to climate change

Stephane Buffat

PSB Producción Vegetal, a stone fruit breeder company, is directing its research towards obtaining new varieties that respond to climate change

Stéphane Buffat, the company’s director, talked to Fruit Today euromagazine about the importance of this variety development in the different categories.

What are the problems regarding climate change for PSB?

Climate change does not only mean a lack of cold weather in the winter, but also that the winter starts later and later. This change can also be seen in the excess hours of heat (>25 degrees in October, >21 degrees in November, >18 degrees in December) that affects apricots more than nectarines, flat peaches or plums.

Excess heat in the summer (40-45°) for many days also has repercussions on the future apricot yield at the start of the floral differentiation and of the flower formation.

Specifically, what are the consequences for apricots?

The main consequences are a drop in production, greater heterogeneity in the ripening of the fruit and even the impossibility of producing fruit in some regions owing to the low yield.

What work is PSB doing to fight against this dramatic climate change?

PSB has been working on this subject for a long time, getting ahead of the problem that is about to occur. We have carried out a genetic improvement programme on low chilling, two-tone varieties of apricots that need fewer hours of cold and that are not adversely affected by excessive heat.

In recent years, we have found varieties, all of them self-fertilising, tolerant of Plum pox and with improved adaptation to climate change:

BORSALINO (TC11-170)               Ripening in Murcia: 20th-25th of April. Early flowering.

NESTOR                                             Ripening: 2/4 days after Colorado®. Early flowering.

DOMINO                                           Ripening: 8/10 days before Flopria®. Flowering at the same date as Flopria® or 2/3 days before.

What are PSB’s new projects?

In addition to a new range of totally red, very sweet apricots (Red Premium range) we have a complete range of flat nectarines with pistilar closing and spectacular flavour that cover the period from mid-May to September and finally, a range of flat peaches with white flesh and 100% closure.

What is the evolution of new varieties of other species launched by PSB in 2021?

Thanks to our technical team, who are specialised in variety innovation and genetic analysis, we have a revolutionary range of white and yellow-fleshed nectarines, sub-acid or balanced, sweet with 1 or 2 Brix degrees more than the previous nectarine varieties.

The new range of yellow-fleshed, sweet and sub-acid nectarines:

-COPACABANA                                Extra-early variety with early flowering and little demand for cold. Predominantly B and A calibres.

-IPANEMA                                         Early season. Medium-early flowering. Predominantly B and A calibres.

-CARACAS                                          Season: 4-5 days before Garofa®. Early flowering. Predominantly A and AA calibres. Little demand for cold. Spectacular variety.

-OMEGA                                             Ripening on the same date as Caracas®, but with a greater requirement for cold and with later flowering. Predominantly A calibre. Variety for regions where there is a risk of frost.                              

-ATANAIS                                           Big Top® season. It needs much less cold than the previous varieties for this season. Very sweet variety; it is going to be the reference for the season. Predominantly AA calibre.

-MATISS (5661-56)                          Ripening: 8/10 days after Big Top® (and Atanais®). Spectacular flavour and shape. An important new development for 2021.

-CLARISS                                             Luciana® season. A variety with slightly less need for cold than Luciana®. Phenomenal predominantly AA calibre and a spectacular shape with 100% colour.

-SUCULENTE(5785-3)                     Ripening: in between Clariss and Kinolea. A variety with a very pretty colour in the gap between these two references.

-KINOLEA                                           A reference variety for the month of August; great tolerance to Monilia. Significant firmness and a very pretty colour for the season.


The new range of white-fleshed sweet and sub-acid nectarines:


-DIAMENTINA                                  An extra-early variety with extra-early flowering that needs few hours of cold. Predominantly B calibre.

-ALTAMIRA                                        A variety with characteristics similar to Boreal, with an important potential. Predominantly A and AA calibres.

-BOREAL                                             A reference variety in early white-fleshed nectarines. Enormous potential. Predominantly Dominant AA calibre.

-TN272-23                                          Ripening: 8/10 days after Boreal. A new variety this season with great potential. Predominantly AA calibre.

-AMAPOLA                                        A new variety with a dark mauve colour, spectacular. Significant firmness and high production. Predominantly AA calibre.

-BURMA                                             Ripening: 8/10 days before Tifany®. A very productive variety. Predominantly A and AA calibres.

-TIFANY:                                             A reference variety at the beginning of August in the Lerida region. Firmness and excellent flavour. Predominantly AA and AAA calibres.

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