Costa Rica: Scientists improve wild blueberries

With the help of biotechnology, UCR scientists have proposed to improve the wild blueberries and several species of fruits that grow naturally in the fields and mountains of our country to make them available to producers and consumers.

The research is carried out in the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory of the Center for Agronomic Research (CIA) of the University of Costa Rica and the Experimental Substation of Fraijanes.

The goal is to obtain larger fruits, since the main obstacle to the commercialization of wild blueberries is that they are very small, although they outweigh the imported varieties.

Dr. Arturo Brenes, coordinator of the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory explained the details of this project, from the Fraijanes Experimental Substation.

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The improved plants are grown in a greenhouse until they are ready to be planted in the Fraijanes Experimental Substation where the tests are carried out with the collaboration of the MSc. Patricia Quesada and the agricultural workers. Agronomy students from the UCR also participate.

The researchers will evaluate the behavior of the improved plants (tetraploids) next to the original species (diploid) under field conditions. It is expected that this crop will begin to bear fruit in two years, so that the results can be verified in the medium term.

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"With this we can make our own materials available to farmers in the highlands, but improved, so that they have new farming options" said Dr. Arturo Brenes, coordinator of the Laboratory.

In the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory of the CIA, polyploidization experiments are also carried out with other crops such as pink guava, tomato and wild strawberry, and other crops such as tomato tree, Colombian granadilla and blackberries of different varieties are micropopulated in order to offer new farming options for Costa Rican farmers.

Source: University of Costa Rica

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