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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Develop Sustainable Production System for Tropical Tree Crops and Assess Germplasm to Improve Cacao Sustainability

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops

Project Number: 8042-21000-278-01
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 01, 2012
End Date: Jun 01, 2015

Objective:
1. Assess cacao genotypes tolerant to abiotic stresses (soil acidity, irradiance, and drought), evaluate the effects of legume cover crops residues and NPK fertilizers on cacao yields and soil quality parameters, and to develop improved management systems that maintain or improve cacao yields and soil quality. 2. Select, establish, and evaluate Peruvian cacao germplasm accessions for genetic diversity and for improved agronomic traits. 3. Develop and optimize strategies for biological control of cacao diseases caused by Moniliophthora spp. An amendment to this agreement was implemented in 2014 to address additional critical needs of the Cooperator with regard to collecting specific data. To improve the accuracy of the analysis high quality DNA must be extracted in Peru from freshly harvested plant material. This analysis requires a robust method to extract DNA. To address this need it is in the best interest of the agency to provide DNA extraction kits and equipment to handle large numbers of samples. SPCL will send consumable DNA kits to the cooperator. Due to the projected use that these items will receive during this project, their value at that time, and the cost to return, it is in the best interest of ARS that the title of these items be vested with the Cooperator at the end of the subsequent agreement.

Approach:
1. Coordinate with ARS and ICT (Instituto de Cultivos Tropicales), Tarapoto, Peru and UNALM (Univ. Nacional Agraria La Molina), Lima, Peru in development of needed facilities and locations to implement greenhouse and field experiments and mutually acceptable research protocol. The agreement promotes international partnerships and cooperation with the USDA-ARS. 2. Develop greenhouse studies to evaluate native and international cacao clones tolerance to abiotic stresses (drought, light, soil acidity), establish field studies with cacao genotypes to develop improved environmentally sustainable management systems in selected cacao growing regions of Peru to evaluate their impact on soil quality parameters and yield of cacao, and further evaluate the effects of legume cover crops residues and NPK fertilizers on soil quality parameters and factors affecting yields of cacao. 3. Assess genetic diversity in wild populations and farmer selections of cacao using molecular markers. A core set of the germplasm then will be selected and evaluated in clonal gardens and farmers’ fields for agronomic traits. 4. Assess various biocontrol formulation for their ability to control plant diseases of cacao.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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