Chile developing fungus-resistant grapes
March 30th, 2011
A Chilean research consortium aims to create Thompson Seedless table grapes that are resistant to fungal disease, but the product is not yet near the commercialization stage.
The project has been undertaken by the Agricultural Investigation Institute (INIA), Fundación Chile, Agrícola Brown and Biofrutales.
Fundación Chile food biotechnology manager Sylvie Altman says the project is one of the most advanced in the world, thanks to an initiative in 1998 to bring a patent from the U.S. to develop attractive products for the market.
“This work is one of the most advanced in genetic transformation in the world of grapes,” she says.
Biofrutales general manager Carlos Cruzat says avoiding the attack of fungi is one of the most important aspects of managing table grape crops.
“To have genetically resistant varieties, the application of chemical products should be zero or very low, which together with a lower loss of fruit from this concept, translates to lower costs, better margins for the producer, and in the context of production it’s much cleaner,” he says.
Chile’s Agriculture Minister José Antonio Galilea recently made a field trip to the project site.