UC Riverside (UCR) recently entered into another partnership with Spain-based Eurosemillas S.A. that will bring new avocados to market. The $2.25 million UCR partnership will allow the university to move the most promising avocado scions and rootstocks into the next stage of development. The company is a global leader in the commercialization of agricultural products.
“They have partnered with UC Riverside to bring forward five different rootstocks and at least four varieties from the variety breeding program for avocados. So, we’re pretty excited,” said Mary Lu Arpaia, leader of the avocado varietal breeding program at UCR. “I think it’s going to provide a mechanism to getting this material as its released here in the United States also under test trial elsewhere in the world so that we learn more about how these trees respond to different environments.”
The two parties have a long history of collaboration, with Eurosemillas successfully commercializing a mandarin variety from the UCR citrus breeding program through a previous UCR partnership. Prior to the partnership announcement, staff from Eurosemillas had visited UCR multiple times to evaluate potential materials. Arpaia noted that they have a pretty good idea about some of the varieties that may be the first to be commercialized.
“We have two varieties that would mature and come off the trees prior to Hass. So, there’s potential then that they could extend the market window for California fruit,” Arpaia explained. “One variety is very Hass-like in terms of the fruit. It’s a little bit different; it’s distinct from Hass but it’s Hass-like. There’s another one that turns dark when it ripens but it’s a round fruit.”
Other varieties that show great potential include one that would mature later than the Hass variety. Each of the three varieties would overlap Hass but would offer a longer window of maturation both before and after the Hass season. There is also another Hass-like variety that shows potential but has one significantly different characteristic.
“The key thing on this one is that it’s a B flower type,” said Arpaia. “It can be planted as a pollinizer variety potentially for Lamb Hass or for GEM, or as people start planting Maluma, as a pollinizer for Maluma.”
The latest UCR partnership will help to expand consumer market diversity with these new varieties. The underlying goal will be to produce varieties that have the ability to thrive in various growing conditions, while producing optimal yields and high-quality fruit.