Breadfruit Institute

Kalāheo, HI, United States

Breadfruit Institute

Kalāheo, HI, United States
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Zerega N.J.C.,Northwestern University | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute
Tropical Agriculture | Year: 2016

Breadfruit is a traditional, long-lived, staple tree crop that was domesticated in Oceania. Beginning in the late sixteenth century efforts were initiated to introduce breadfruit to other tropical regions. Today it is grown throughout the tropics, and the Caribbean is the second most important producer of breadfruit outside of Oceania. Despite its vast potential to increase food security, health, and income generation in tropical regions, breadfruit is an underutilized crop. A broad range of basic and applied research approaches will be critical to allow breadfruit to reach its potential. Plant genetic resources are the basis for food security, and the diversity they encompass will be the fodder for adaption to climate change and other stresses. Characterizing and conserving breadfruit genetic resources, including its wild relatives, will be at the core of the crop's success. This study uses nuclear and chloroplast microsatellite markers to examine 423 individuals of breadfruit from throughout Oceania, the Caribbean, India, and the Seychelles as well as wild relatives. The aim of this study is to compare levels of genetic diversity throughout the islands of breadfruit's native Oceania and beyond, assess the level of genetic diversity in breadfruit compared to its wild relatives and to other perennial crops, and assess the utility of microsatellite markers to differentiate among breadfruit cultivars. Findings suggest that there is a range in the levels of breadfruit genetic diversity across regions, with Melanesian breadfruit being among the most diverse. However, breadfruit from the Caribbean and other areas outside of Oceania demonstrate greater diversity than might be expected. Future efforts should focus on broadening the representation of breadfruit diversity (including its wild relatives) in research studies and in germplasm repositories, with samples from the Caribbean and Melanesian islands being important targets for further collection, conservation, and study.


Xing X.,Peking Union Medical College | Jones A.M.P.,University of Guelph | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute | Murch S.,University of British Columbia
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

During the process of plant domestication, below-groundcommunities are rarely considered.Somestudies have attempted to understand the changes in root symbionts owing to domestication, but little is known about howit influences mycorrhizal response in domesticated crops.We hypothesized that selection for above-ground traits may also result in decreased mycorrhizal abundance in roots. Breadfruit (Artocarpus sp.) has a long domestication history, with a strong geographical movement of cultivars from west to east across the Melanesian and Polynesian islands.Our results clearly show a decrease in arbuscular mycorrhizas (AMs) along a domestication gradient from wild to recently derived cultivars.We showed that the vesicular and arbuscular colonization rate decreased significantly in more recently derived breadfruit cultivars. In addition, molecular analyses of breadfruit roots indicated that AM fungal species richness also responded along the domestication gradient. These results suggest that human-driven selection for plant cultivars can have unintended effects on below-ground mutualists, with potential impacts on the stress tolerance of crops and long-term food security. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute
Tropical Agriculture | Year: 2016

The National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii has been involved in the conservation of breadfruit germplasm since 1977. The Breadfruit Institute was established in 2003 to promote the conservation and use of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) for food and reforestation. The Institute manages the largest and most diverse collection of breadfruit in the world, with more than 120 cultivars conserved in field genebanks. Many of these cultivars are rare in their native lands and recent cyclones have damaged or destroyed countless trees throughout Oceania. This collection provides unique opportunities to study this important staple crop. Research includes micropropagation, assessing genetic and morphological diversity, evaluation of nutritional composition, yield, fruit characteristics, and seasonality, insecticidal properties of male flowers, and soil mycorrhizal associations. Our research has identified nutrient-rich, productive cultivars that can make significant contributions to food security in the tropics. We provide an overview of our work to 1) collect and document breadfruit diversity and traditional uses in the Pacific Island, and 2) study the Breadfruit Institute's germplasm collection to enhance our understanding of this crop for conservation and utilization. An initiative to distribute selected cultivars for tree planting projects is discussed. To date, more than 60, 000 breadfruit trees have been distributed to 32 countries. This initiative involves collaboration with botanical gardens, university researchers, the private sector, and government and non-governmental agencies. Our work is discussed in the context of an exciting breadfruit renaissance-for food security, agricultural sustainability, and economic development-underway throughout the tropics. Efforts include: 1) identifying and conserving critical germplasm, 2) using fruit from existing trees and planting new trees, 3) public awareness campaigns and outreach programmes, 4) refining orchard management and agroforestry systems to maximize tree health, production and yields, 5) creating tree to table culinary programmes, and 6) developing, producing and marketing value-added products.


Jones A.M.P.,University of British Columbia | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia | Wiseman J.,DigitalMedia Hawaii Pacific | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution | Year: 2013

Over millennia of breadfruit cultivation, hundreds of named cultivars have been developed that display a high degree of morphological diversity. The current study was undertaken to evaluate morphological diversity within the National Tropical Botanical Garden's breadfruit germplasm collection, the largest and most diverse breadfruit collection in the world. A set of 57 standardized morphological descriptors including 29 leaf, 22 fruit, four seed, and two male inflorescence characteristics were used to describe and contrast 221 accessions of breadfruit including accessions of Artocarpus camansi Blanco, A. altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg, A. mariannensis Trécul, early generation A. altilis × A. mariannensis hybrids, and domesticated A. altilis × A. mariannensis hybrids. A morphological transition from heavily seeded fruit covered with flexible spines to fewer seeded, smoother skinned fruit of similar size was observed in the domestication of A. altilis from A. camansi. Further selection of true seedless, smooth-skinned cultivars of A. altilis appears to have occurred with human migrations from Melanesia into Polynesia. Cultivars from Micronesia exhibit morphological characteristics indicative of hybridization with the endemic species A. mariannensis. These data were used to generate a multi-access cultivar identification key on the Lucid platform that can be used to identify trees of known cultivars or to predict nearest cultivar relationships for previously undescribed cultivars. Overall, this study provides new insights into the morphological changes that occurred during domestication, helps visualize the diversity that exists across geographical regions, and provides a framework for cultivar identification and germplasm conservation. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Liu Y.,Columbia University | Jones A.M.P.,University of Guelph | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute
Fruits | Year: 2014

Introduction. Breadfruit, Artocarpus spp., is a staple crop with the potential to alleviate hunger and increase food security in tropical regions. Guidelines and recommendations for cultivar selection and production practices are now required for establishment of breadfruit in new areas. Materials and methods. To respond to this need for spreading breadfruit, our study quantified the growth, development, yield and seasonality of 24 breadfruit cultivars (26 trees) established in Kauai, Hawaii, over a 7-year period from 2006-2012. Individual production profiles were generated for each accessioned cultivar based on major agricultural factors. Results. Across all cultivars of breadfruit (A. altilis), an average of 269 fruits per year was produced by each tree with an average fruit weight of 1.2 kg. Based on the planting density of 50 trees×ha-1, this translates to an average projected yield of 5.23 t×ha-1 after 7 years. Hybrids (A. altilis × A. mariannensis) had a higher yield than breadfruit. The data of our article support the previously proposed hypothesis for predicting breadfruit seasonality. On average, the peak season occurred from July to November. Conclusions. Ma'afala, the first widely available commercial cultivar, started to bear fruit within 22 to 23 months of planting. Other cultivars with potential for commercial production include Toneno, White, Rotuma and Meinpadahk. © 2014 Cirad/EDP Sciences.


Turi C.E.,University of British Columbia | Liu Y.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2015

More than 80% of the world's hungry live in tropical and subtropical regions where small increases in the costs of imported food, fuel and fertilizer create periods of increased food insecurity. Over time, the traditional knowledge and the traditional crops of the region are being lost and diet-based diseases such as type II diabetes are increasing in frequency. Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg, has been a staple food and traditional crop in the Pacific for more than 3000 years and is now being cultivated for food security in the Caribbean and other tropical regions. While there is some evidence to suggest that a traditional diet based on breadfruit and other Pacific staples can prevent onset of type II diabetes, detailed scientific studies have not been conducted. One of the important issues is the wide variability in reported nutritional composition of the fruit in studies that included many different cultivars grown in widely different ecosystems. We conducted a review of the nutritional data to determine the best consensus for fruit nutrition. We identified 41 individual studies that provide some proximate, carbohydrate, vitamin and/or mineral data. A majority of the studies do not provide sufficient botanical data such as species, cultivar name, or descriptive information that would indicate the stage of maturity of the fruit or factors of the local environment such as soil composition or rainfall. Despite these shortcomings, compositional data for breadfruit suggests that it has potential to mitigate type II diabetes and obesity in Oceania and elsewhere in the tropics where breadfruit is grown. Further studies will identify specific elite cultivars recommended for this purpose. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Jones A.M.P.,University of British Columbia | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute
Economic Botany | Year: 2010

Diversity of Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae) Seasonality: A Resource for Year-Round Nutrition. Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg, is an important but underutilized staple crop cultivated throughout Oceania and much of the wet tropics. Indigenous peoples have selected and cultivated cultivars with different fruiting seasons to effectively extend fruit production for most of the year. In the present study, the seasonality of 219 breadfruit accessions originating from 17 Pacific island groups, the Seychelles, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and now growing in the National Tropical Botanical Garden's (NTBG) Kahanu Garden, Hana, Hawaii, were evaluated. The predominant season of male flower production for most cultivars was from May to September, and fruit was produced most frequently between August and January. However, there were differences in the duration of the fruiting season from year to year and among cultivars. Over the 10-year period, 14 cultivars did not reliably produce fruit; most of this group were 'ulu afa' trees collected from Tokelau. About 24 cultivars exhibited very little seasonality and produced fruit throughout the year. The rest of the cultivars could be clustered into seasonality groups with characteristic fruiting patterns. Comparison of literature values indicates that unlike Hawaii, the breadfruit season in most locations begins around the date the sun reaches zenith prior to the summer months and extends throughout the summer months. Five cultivars asexually propagated from the NTBG collection growing in Kiribati (1°28′ N) exhibit similar fruiting patterns as in Hawaii, except that they begin 2-3 months earlier. These data predict that cultivars with complementary fruiting seasons in Hawaii may experience a temporal shift in their seasonality but will maintain their compatibility when cultivated in different locations and could enable year-round fruit production in many regions. © 2010 The New York Botanical Garden.


Liu Y.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia
Amino Acids | Year: 2015

Protein deficiency has been observed as a leading cause of malnutrition and child death in the tropics. The current study evaluated the protein quality of 49 important breadfruit cultivars (41 Artocarpus altilis and 8 hybrids of A. altilis × A. mariannensis). While significant differences were found between cultivars, all varieties contained a full spectrum of the essential amino acids and are especially rich in phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The cultivar Ma'afala contained significantly higher total essential amino acid content than other varieties and higher-quality protein than staples such as corn, wheat, rice, soybean, potato, and pea. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Wien.


Hart M.M.,University of British Columbia | Gorzelak M.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia
Botany | Year: 2014

It is difficult to understand why arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities change over time. The role of host identity confounds our understanding of successional changes in AM fungal communities because hosts exert strong selective pressure on their root-associated microbes. In this study we looked at the AM fungi associated with a long-lived perennial breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg) to see how AM communities change over the life span of a single, long-lived host. Using 454 high-throughput sequencing, we found evidence that older trees had more AM fungal taxa than younger trees and were associated with different AM fungal communities, but these differences were not apparent early in the life cycle. Older trees were dominated by species of Rhizophagus, whereas younger trees and genets were dominated by species of Glomus. Some taxa were only detected in older trees (e.g., Funneliformis) or genets (e.g., Racocetra and Scutellospora), indicating that certain AM fungal taxa may serve as "indicators" of the successional age of the fungal community. These results provide important information about a poorly studied system and give insight into how AM communities change over longer time scales.


Jones A.M.P.,University of British Columbia | Baker R.,University of British Columbia | Ragone D.,Breadfruit Institute | Murch S.J.,University of British Columbia
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis | Year: 2013

Breadfruit ( Artocarpus altilis) is an underutilized staple crop that may be a good source of pro-vitamin A carotenoids (pVACs). The current study assessed the total carotenoid contents and carotenoid profiles of 94 cultivars of breadfruit and three related species to identify pVAC-rich germplasm and determine if total carotenoid content alone could be used for future screening efforts. Lutein, a non-pVAC, was the predominant carotenoid with an average of 45.0. μg/100. g fresh fruit (SE ± 4.80). The most abundant pVAC was β-carotene, with an average of 15.3. μg/100. g fresh fruit (SE ± 0.54). The ratio of lutein to pVACs varied considerably among cultivars, precluding the use of flesh color or total carotenoid measurements as valid screening methods to identify pVAC rich germplasm. The cultivar "Samoan 1" contained significantly more pVACs (61.9 ± 10.68. μg/100. g β-carotene, 22.9 ± 3.05. μg/100. g α-carotene, and 3.3 ± 1.66. μg/100. g β-cryptoxanthin) than other cultivars. Cooking the fruit resulted in higher measured pVAC contents. Consumption of a standard daily serving of boiled "Samoan 1" would provide 62-84% of the vitamin A requirement of an adult male or 43%-48% of the requirement of a pregnant woman. These data indicate the potential of breadfruit to improve food security and nutrition in the tropics. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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