Capturing High Water Use Efficiency in Cold Hardy Fruit Cacti

Project Number: 
Project Duration: 
36 Months
May 1, 1996 to April 30, 1999
Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project: 
Texas A&M; University-Kingsville

Investigators (most current known information)

Research Scientist & Project Leader, Facultad de Agnomia y Agroindustrias, Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero, Av Belgrano (S) 1912 - 4200, Santiago del Estero, ARGENTINA
TEL: +54-385-214-499, FAX: +54-385-213-075
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Institute for Applied Research, ISRAEL

Proposal Abstract

Techniques were developed for emasculation, hybridization, and germination and the results were published. More than 500 fruit were hybridized from crosses to produce cactus with the objective of combining: high yields, high sugar-content fruits, low fruit seed contents, and increased cold hardiness. These progeny were germinated and transferred to the Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero, Argentina when all pending grant applications to continue the work were not approved. In December 1998, the progeny in Argentina were about 35 cm tall and ready to be planted with funding from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. DNA mapping studies using RAPDs strongly suggests that current Opuntia taxonomy which is based on presence or absence of spines may have little relationship with genetic affinities of the cactus. This grant also produced 6 journal articles, two volumes of the Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development, one video, two conferences of the Professional Association for Cactus Development in San Antonio and a cactus field day in June of 1997. This work is being continued in Argentina with Dr. Felker and Professor Ochoa and at Texas A&M; University-Kingsville with Dr. Robert Morgan.


Articles in Journals

Wang, X., P. Felker, M.D. Burrow and A.H. Paterson. 1999. "Assessment of genetic diversity among Opuntia genotypes, reflected by DNA markers." Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development.

Felker, P., G. Singh and O.P. Pareek. 1998. "Opportunities for development of dactus (Opuntia spp.) in India." Dryland agriculture symposium. Annals of Arid Zone 36:267-278.

Wang, X., P. Felker and A. Paterson. 1998. "Environmental influences on cactus pear fruit yield, quality and cold hardiness and development of hybrids with improved cold hardiness." Journal of the Professional Association for Cactus Development 2:48-59.


Support for this project came from the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service