Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa)
|Type||National research centre|
|Headquarters||Cruz das Almas, Brazil|
Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária is the Portuguese name of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, better known by its acronym Embrapa. Created in 1973, it is composed of 38 Research Centers, 3 Service Centers and 13 Central Divisions. Its work on bananas is conducted by the National Center for Research on Cassava and Fruit Crops (Embrapa Mandioca e Fruticultura).
Embrapa cassava and fruits
In addition to banana, Embrapa Mandioca e Fruticultura works on cassava, citrus, mango, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit and acerola. The center carries out studies in the areas of genetic improvement, biotechnology, crop management, pests and diseases, irrigation, plant physiology, post-harvest handling, soil fertility, plant nutrition, soil management and conservation, socioeconomics, statistics, food science and technology. It is also very active in the dissemination of knowledge and technologies for small, intermediate and large farmers, rural extension specialists, agroindustries and the academic community of research.
Embrapa Mandioca e Fruticultura maintains a field collection of about 400 accessions of wild and cultivated bananas. Half of the accessions are wild species, 100 or so are cultivars and the others are breeding lines1. Some 250 of these accessions are duplicated in vitro.
Banana genetic improvement
The banana genetic improvement programme has generated, recommended and distributed an array of cultivars and hybrids that are resistant to Fusarium wilt, black leaf streak or Sigatoka leaf spot, three of the most important banana diseases in Brazil. A Prata-type hybrid (Pacovan Ken) was released in 2001 and a Silk-type hybrid (Tropical) in 2003. It also developed another Prata-type hybrid, BRS Platina.
The research centre also has a programme for breeding ornamental bananas2.
Some synthetic hybrids developed by EMBRAPA
'PA 03-22', 'PC 12-05', 'PV 03-44'. These synthetic hybrids showed a good level of resistance to Fusarium wilt race 1 in field evaluation trials in Australia3.