If like me you love the sweet orange flesh of a ripe Mango, then you will heave muttered, “about time too” as you came across this article. The most annoying thing about a Mango is the huge flat stone which dominates the centre of the fruit. Cutting the stone out is as hard as boning a shoulder of lamb, and certainly makes the prepared (and expensive) bags of Mango flesh a tempting option in the supermarket.
However that is all about to change…
A team of researchers led by V.B. Patel, chairman of the Horticulture Department at the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in India, have managed to breed a new cultivar of Mango, using hybrids of the cultivars ‘Ratna’ and ‘Alphonso’.
The seedless mango has been dubbed ‘Sindhu’ and trials are underway in different locations across India, according to India Today.
These trials with three year old trees have shown that ‘Sindhu’ is less fibrous than regular mangoes, has a yellowish pulp and weighs an average of 200 grams.
M.L. Choudhary, Vice Chancellor at Bihar Agriculture University has confirmed that the University plans to make the ‘Sindhu’ available to mango growers during the next season. “The seedless variety also has good export potential. The university would provide quality plants to Mango growers in 2015 to exploit the export market,” he added.
The production of what is known of as parthenocarpic fruit, (that is fruit that does not require pollination, fertilisation of ovules, and so the production of seed) revolutionised the desert grape industry with seedless grapes. Other parthenocarpic fruit include oranges and pears.
The stone or the seeds in a developing fruit serve a vital developmental function as they trigger the release of hormones including Gibberellic Acid, which encourages the growth and elongation of cells in developing fruit. The lack of a seed or stone results in lower levels of Gibberellic Acid and so the fruit does not develop.
This effect can be seen in apples (or strawberries) with poor pollination (and subsequent fertilisation) where fruit development is normal on the side of the fruit with developing seeds but stunted where pollination and subsequent fertilisation has not taken place. This results in lop sided apples and strawberries.
The team at Bihar Agriculture University will have had to overcome the lack of Gibberellic Acid in the developing fruit to produce this new cultivar, which could, if popular with consumers result in the replanting of Mango plantations in the Bihar state in India. National Horticulture Mission statistics for Bihar rank it third in Mango cultivation. To give an idea of the scale of the industry, Mango cultivation covers about 50 percent (a little over 38,000 hectares) of the total fruit area in the state. The produce last year was in the region of 1.5 million tonnes.
I for one cannot wait to be cutting into a fresh, juicy, ripe and totally stone free ‘Sindhu’…