NEW VARIETIES OF MAQUI OPEN OPTION FOR CULTIVATION OF THE FRUIT

THE CLONES DEVELOPED BY OUR UNIVERSITY INVOLVING THE POSSIBILITY OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION OF THE DESIRED FRUIT ARE LEGALLY REGISTERED.



June 21, 2016

Our University, through the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG), published in the Official Journal requests for three maqui plant varieties, in order to disseminate the protection of the development generated by a multidisciplinary team, led by the researcher from the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Hermine Vogel.

This group worked for eight years on the project that allowed the selection of clones of maqui with superior production and industrial properties.

The method involved sampling fruits from nine natural populations of maqui, between the O'Higgins and Los Lagos Regions, where ten plants from each population were identified as having high anthocyanins content - phenolic compounds with antioxidant action - in the fruits. Afterwards, 68 pre-selected clones were cultivated to generate a clonal trial in five locations for three years, to identify clones with the best fruit production.

Beneficial

"These three maqui varieties will mean an important benefit to the community, since we have worked in the domestication of a wild plant, generating clones suitable for sustainable growing. This will decrease the wild predation of these fruits by the population, ending the current over-exploitation that damages the plant and, in the long run, it could cause genetic erosion", explained Hermine Vogel. She added that this situation would mean losing fruit and not having raw material to supply the industry.

Patricia Klein, Director of Technology Transfer in our Academic Institution, also talked about the benefits from the initiative: "the domestic industry will have a permanent and controlled production of a fruit that is highly required by national and international trade. Chile will stop selling only the quantity of collected maqui, since we will implement a differential production type for maqui that will allow us to generate a cash crop", she said. In that regard, she pointed out that the contribution of the Universidad de Talca is fundamental, "because, establishing a maqui cultivation system will allow us to supply the national and international agribusiness for the elaboration of all the products that are being made from maqui".

For his part, the chief of the SAG’s Seeds Division, Guillermo Aparicio, explained the formal aspects of the legal process: "when registering these varieties in the property registry, the Universidad de Talca acquires the exclusive right to produce and use maqui selections. Therefore, anyone who wants to multiply any of these three clones will have to ask for the authorization to the Institution. The development of these varieties of this species is a great contribution to the country, since it is in vogue to consume antioxidant-rich products, around the world."

Export

From this point of view, he said that it will be beneficial for the domestic industry to incorporate new varieties on the market, since they will have better yield potential and, eventually, could open export possibilities to the United States or Europe, due to the interest there in Chilean fruits, like maqui and blueberry.

In this regard, Hermine Vogel explained that the domestication of maqui from the varieties developed allows the industry to have access to raw material of quality. "Through cultivation we ca ensure the tons of fruits that the companies demand, which, in turn, will generate a significant change in the quality of maqui, as with the wild collection, heterogeneous fruits are harvested due to the variability of the soil and climate."

Another dimension of the project is the cultural contribution, underlined by Rayén Carimán, member of the Mapuche community of the Maule Region: "The Universidad de Talca has been very respectful of the Mapuche people, especially researcher Hermine Vogel, since her work has been focused on caring for and protecting what is a sacred tree for us. In that sense, I think that a good use has been given to this cloning, because this crop will help promote the agricultural heritage of lagging areas.

Likewise, Rayén Carimán raised the need to meet the new challenges about protecting the designation of origin of this genetic material.



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