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Progress of guayule trials in Europe (Spain and France) : early evaluation

Snoeck D., Van Loo E.N., Chapuset T., Visser P., Metral R., Calléja M., Lucas C., Tardan E., Palu S.. 2010. In : EU-PEARLS. The Future of Natural Rubber, Montpellier, October 14-15, 2010, Montpellier, France. s.l. : s.n., p. 1-11. The Future of Natural Rubber, 2010-10-14/2010-10-15, Montpellier (France).

The main objectives of the project were to define the potential for cultivation of guayule (Parthenium Argentatum) in Southern Europe and to assess the economical justification as an alternative source for natural rubber produced in Europe. The best available subsets of guayule lines from Arizona germplasm were collected from USDA, National germplasm and US Universities (Arizona, Texas). The seeds from the germplasm collection both in France and Spain were used to produce enough guayule plants for local field trials and to settle a guayule collection of selected accessions to produce seeds for European projects. The genetic diversity of 40 guayule imported varieties was tested in two locations: Murcia in Spain, and Montpellier in France. The results showed clear genetic differences. First results showed that Mexican varieties are best adapted to South of Spain. Germination rates of seeds produced by the project varied from 5% to 60% depending on origin, age, line and seeds cleaning. A fertilization and irrigation trial was set-up in Murcia and Montpellier in May 2009. Three levels of irrigation and 3 levels of fertilization were compared using AZ2 seeds as genetic material. In Montpellier, different levels of irrigation did not alter the growth, but less watering reduced the mortality rate. While in Murcia, watering resulted in significantly higher yields. The low rubber content (3.2% in March 2010) and a high mortality of the plants (> 60%) observed in Montpellier after the 2009-2010 winter showed that France is not yet adapted for commercial cultivation of guayule. Rubber content of guayule plants in Murcia (Spain) harvested was 7.4% in March 2010 (for 17-months-old plants). Less than 1% mortality was observed, and the average yields of the irrigation trial was above 10 tons of dry matter (i.e.: 700 kg/ha of rubber) after two years, showing that the area is fully adapted for commercial cultivation of guayule, provided good watering.

Mots-clés : parthenium argentatum; espagne; france

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