RIVERSIDE, Calif. Avocado, a significant fruit crop grown in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world, is threatened by Phytophthora root rot (PRR), a disease that has already eliminated commercial avocado production in many areas in Latin America and crippled production in Australia and South Africa. Just in California the disease is estimated to cost avocado growers approximately $30-40 million a year in production losses.
Research on developing PRR-tolerant rootstocks to manage the disease has been a major focus of avocado research at the University of California, Riverside since the 1950s. The latest research now comes from a team that has released three rootstocks, available for commercial propagation by nurseries, that demonstrate superior tolerance to PRR.
The research, scheduled to appear soon in the journal HortScience, describes the three avocado root-rot-tolerant varieties: Zentmyer, Steddom, and Uzi.
Zentmyer is an extremely vigorous and highly durable variety that is PRR-tolerant under most conditions. But it is not recommended for locations, such as some parts of California, where salt is a problem and often does not yield consistently under non-root-rot condition. Steddom has both a high PRR-tolerance and good salt tolerance. Uzi is highly tolerant to PRR, and its yields are high and usually consistent.
The Zentmyer rootstock is named after George Zentmyer, a pioneer avocado pathologist at UC Riverside and a collector of avocado germplasm (hereditary material). Steddom is named after a former graduate student at UCR. Uzi is named after an Israeli scientist.
"With the release of these high-performing rootstocks, avocado growers worldwide will have more options in choosing PRR-tolerant rootstocks to determine which ones perform better under their own growing conditions," said Greg W. Douhan, an assista
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside