PSB Producción Vegetal is an international reference as a plant breeder of early and extra-early varieties in the entire stone fruit category
The Buffat family is an agricultural reference in the Region of Murcia. Linked to the sector’s development since 1996, at present it is carrying out studies on over 120,000 hybrids and its influence also extends around the world (Chile, South Africa, Europe, North African countries, the Middle East, etc.).
“A key aspect in our research is the fact that, as well as the hybridisation activity, we are producers of around 8,000 tonnes of fruit, and this allows us to have a real perspective of what is happening on the markets.” Stephane Buffat, executive and geneticist of the company states.
Red varieties of apricot
The French plant breeder’s road map includes the creation of red varieties with a high antioxidant power, along with ‘low chilling’ varieties. This ambitious plan is called the Red Premium project for red apricots, both due to their outer appearance and their red flesh.
The geneticist explains that “these are varieties adapted to the early production areas, very specially Murcia. It is a long process, in two stages: a first phase in which the fruit had a 100% red outer appearance, but its flesh was yellow (Totem, Cirano and Fuego) and a second phase in which we have achieved a differentiated fruit, not only due to its outer colouring, but also to its flesh, completely red and full of antioxidants. This phase has been consolidated with the Stromboli variety, the only red apricot in the world.
There are two other essential parameters in PSB’s variety improvement: the first one is the tolerance of some of its varieties to the sharka virus and the second one is obtaining self-fertilising varieties, which avoid important fluctuations in productivity. “Of course, the firmness, taste and size are criteria that we always take into consideration,” stresses the scientist.
The main characteristic of the study was the search for sweet varieties ready at the beginning of May. “We have made incredible progress with Boreal and Tifany, tolerant to monilia, but the challenge has been to find sweet varieties that are very productive and with good sizes.” In this line, Copacabana, Ipanema and Caracas stand out.
In platerinas, a fruit with which to date no suitable variety has been found, PSB will have its first harvest in 2020, with a good closure of the pistils and without any lenticel.