Communication program for the passionfruit industry (PF13004)
Status: Completed project
Key research provider: Passionfruit Australia
What was it all about? Through its three-year run, this project delivered quarterly issues of The Passion Vine magazine, to keep Australian passionfruit growers and other industry stakeholders informed about the latest R&D and marketing activity, essential chemical updates, and other key industry news, market issues and reports. Through supply of this information, the ultimate goal has been to assist growers in making production decisions, and to build industry capacity, productivity and profitability.
The project has also maintained the www.passionfruitaustralia.org.au website, providing information about growing, product, supply, marketing and more.
Hort Innovation is currently contracting a new project to carry on communication activities for the industry.
National passionfruit breeding program (PF15000)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Southern Cross University
What’s it all about? Established in mid-2016, this three-year project with Southern Cross University is focused on the development and evaluation of new passionfruit varieties to ensure the sustainability of the industry. It is working towards the release of new commercial varieties before varietal decline affects the profitability of current ones such as Sweetheart and Misty Gem.
The project is also selecting and trialling new rootstocks, conducting Panama breeding and establishing an industry seedbank to conserve and enhance current passionfruit genetic material in Australia.
What’s the latest update? While no project update was due to Hort Innovation in the period since the last Hortlink, at the time of last reporting many crosses and selfs of passionfruit varieties had been carried out by the researchers, most recently for the new Panama and rootstock part of the program. The seed from these crosses and selfs was to be planted, to look for qualities the program is after. Later on, the project team will be seeking volunteers to be involved in wider trials here.
At the time of last reporting, the project team had also commenced the process of evaluating first-stage trial plants from last year – seedlings planted out in 2016 – to identify candidates for further trialing on growers’ properties. While doing this, the team was to be on the lookout for any crosses in which there is variation for traits of interest. These populations might be used in the future for developing DNA markers. The researchers were also set to look at the stage-two trials (grafted selections) from last year to see how they are performing. Initially they reported that there were a few good-looking vines from the 2016 seedlings in the Tom x Lacey crosses planted at Burringbar – with a hopeful eye being kept on these.
As reported in last Hortlink, an initial genetic linkage map had also been developed based on approximately 180 vines of the Tom x Lacey cross planted on two grower properties, and fruit was currently being assessed for pH, Brix, colour and other features. The goal is to see if DNA markers can be found on the linkage map that are associated with these traits. If the project team can find a few traits with good markers, then this should help in the future to select good candidate vines at seedling stage.
A commercialisation strategy meeting is scheduled before the end of the year.
Passionfruit industry minor use program (PF16000)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Hort Innovation
What’s it all about? Through this project, levy funds and Australian Government contributions are used to renew and apply for new minor use permits for the passionfruit industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at portal.apvma.gov.au/permits. Permit updates are also circulated in Hort Innovation’s Growing Innovation e-newsletter, which levy-paying members receive monthly. Not a member? Sign up to our membership program for free here.