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Twenty years of agronomic evaluation of wild cocoa trees (Theobroma cacao L.) from French Guiana

Lachenaud P., Paulin D., Ducamp M., Thévenin J.M.. 2007. Scientia Horticulturae, 113 : p. 313-321.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2007.05.016

Almost 500 clones of wild cocoa trees (Theobroma cacao L.) grown from pods collected in 1987 from wild mother-trees in the Camopi and Tanpok river basins (southeastern French Guiana) have been distributed in around fifteen cocoa producing countries since 1988. The name of those clones always bears the GU prefix (for "Guyane", i.e. French Guiana). All the germplasm of the same geographical origin present in the CIRAD collection at Paracou-Combi (Sinnamary, French Guiana), i.e. more than 1600 trees, has been abundantly studied for its morphological characterization, its agronomic assessment or its genetic diversity. Other assessment work, primarily on resistance to certain diseases, has been carried out by CIRAD in Montpellier, or in various countries by other organizations. In order to simplify the choice for breeders faced with a large number of GU clones and wishing to use some of them, an overview is presented here of the results obtained with this germplasm for various selection criteria such as productivity, the yield:vigour ratio (cropping efficiency), pod filling, bean size, resistance to pests and diseases, compatibility, sensory qualities, etc. The results obtained for resistance of this material to witches¿ broom disease and black pod rot show a globally high level of resistance, making the GU germplasm a new and major potential source of resistance to those diseases. The same seems to apply for resistance to mirid damage. The yield levels achieved in French Guiana, along with cropping efficiency, are noteworthy in some families. The first results acquired reveal a substantial heterosis effect when GU clones are hybridized with other groups. Given their distribution in several countries, the known individual qualities and performance of some GU clones present at the Reading quarantine station (UK) are indicated. A selection of clones that are of interest or promising for incorporation in breeding programmes is provided for each criterion. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; moniliophthora; phytophthora; caractère agronomique; clone; Évaluation; germplasm; résistance aux maladies; propriété technologique; plante sauvage; ressource naturelle; guyane française; france

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