We may soon have more than just Hass avocados to choose from when whipping up a batch of guacamole. The University of California, Riverside is planning to develop the next generation of avocado varieties.
The university will expand its avocado varietal breeding program by seeking partnerships with the private sector and launching the Avocado Variety Improvement Program (AVIP). Under the consortium, the program will advance new varieties of avocados that will meet the diverse global growing area requirements, exhibit better post-harvest characteristics, increase yields and expand consumer market diversity.
“Worldwide consumption of avocados has increased exponentially within the last decade, with no end in sight,” said Mary Lu Arpaia, head of the avocado varietal breeding program at UC Riverside. “It is the true global superfood of the future.”
Currently, there are only a few types of avocado grown for food, such as the venerable Hass variety. Researchers at UCR hope to breed the next generation of avocados, especially as the fruit continues to gain popularity across the globe.
The nearly 70-year-old avocado breeding program at UC Riverside houses one of the most elite collections of advanced breeding materials in the world. The goals of AVIP will include development of varieties not only for the fresh fruit market consumption, but also for commercial oil production, sugar production, and pharmaceutical uses.
UC Riverside is looking for global industry partners to participate in AVIP as a way to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the program for years to come. The partners would commit to provide funding for a minimum of 10 years in order to commercialize new avocado varieties developed by the program.