Khem Basnet

University of New Hampshire

Sustainable Agriculture &Food Systems


Mentor: Dr. Iago Hale,  Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

The Effect of Pollen Source on Fruit Quality: An Investigation of the Xenia Effect in Kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta)

Kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta), a novel fruit of increasing global importance, has a long history of cultivation in the New England region. Native to eastern Asia, kiwiberry is well-adapted to the New England climate, making it a viable specialty crop for regional fruit growers. In 2013, a long-term breeding and research program was launched at the University of New Hampshire to develop the commercial potential of kiwiberry; and this proposed study has been designed to complement that program, specifically by investigating the role of pollen source on fruit quality. It is commonly thought that the fruit quality is solely determined by the genotype of female fruiting varieties. There is evidence in many fruits, however, including those of other species of larger kiwifruit family (Actinidia spp.), that pollen source can significantly influence fruit quality traits of importance to consumers, including berry color shape, size, taste and consistency in those traits. In the horticultural literature, the term used for immediate pollen effect on seeds and fruits is the “Xenia Effect”. If evidence of the Xenia Effect is demonstrated in kiwiberry, the development of superior male pollinating varieties will need to be integrated into the activities of the heretofore female-focused UNH breeding program. Such evidence may also present an opportunity to further improve fruit quality and uniformity facilitating the commercial success of prospective New England fruit producers.


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