A HIGH yielding pineapple (Ananas cosmosus) hybrid of superior quality has been developed by the scientists at the Pineapple Research Centre of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) at Mannuthi.
This new hybrid has added advantages of flesh colour, pleasant aroma, high TSS and total sugars and low acidity, and it has been released for commercial cultivation by KAU recently, according to Dr. K. V. Peter, Vice Chancellor, KAU.
Christened "Amritha", this hybrid is a derivative of the cross between Kew and Ripley Queen. "This is the first hybrid pineapple developed in India with the efforts of sixteen scientists over a period of 24 years in the Pineapple Research Centre at Vellanikkara," explained Dr. Peter.
Amritha has recorded a high yield of over 85 tonnes per hectare. Each fruit of this hybrid will weigh more than 2 kg. The fruit has single, small crown, and attractive golden yellow colour with desirable cylindrical shape.
It is firm with mild external aroma. The flesh is firm, non-fibrous crisp, yellow and has pleasant smell. The taste is very good with high TSS, high sugar content and low acidity. It has all the desirable traits recommended for export market, according to the scientists.
Hybridisation work was started at the centre with the objective of developing a better table variety, to combine the best features such as attractive colour, pleasant flavour, high sugar content and low acidity to the popular commercial variety Kew.
To obtain this, Kew was crossed with Ripley Queen, which had all the above characteristics excepting the good shape and size. Several crosses were made, and each seed from the crosses was maintained as a single line and then selection was effected. After rigorous selection and evaluation for so many years, the new hybrid Amritha was developed.
The fruit yield and shape of Amritha is comparable with the highest yielding, cylindrical fruit of the female parent Kew, and the fruit quality attributes such as flesh colour, flavour and sweetness matched those of the fruit of the male parent Ripley Queen.
Thus it fully met the breeding objectives to develop a new table variety by improving the quality of the commercially popular variety Kew, according to the scientists.
So far no pest and disease was noticed on this hybrid, and no physiological disorder was observed. It can be grown in double rows 70 cm apart leaving 30 cm between plants.
The ideal month for planting is May. It is found to suit all the pineapple growing tracts of Kerala.
It could be grown successfully in slightly acidic, well-drained soils at low elevations in areas with a temperature ranging between 15 to 30 degrees Celsius and rainfall ranging from 600 to 2500 mm.