Falque, M. and Lesdalons, C. and Eskes, A.B. (1996) Comparison of two cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) clones for the effect of pollination intensity on fruit set and seed content. Sexual Plant Reproduction, 9, 221-227. ISSN 0934-0882.
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s004970050035
We compared the influence of pollination intensity (PI) on fruit set and seed number per pod in two cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) clones, IFC5 (Forastero Lower-Amazon Amelonado), which is self-compatible and known to produce a high number of seeds per pod under open pollination, and SCA6 (Forastero Upper-Amazon), which is self-incompatible and known to produce a low number of seeds per pod under open pollination. With both clones, PI had a positive effect on fruit set, with the maximum rate requiring more than 150 pollen grains per pod. One-half of the maximum rate of fruit set was reached with 39 pollen grains per pod for SCA6, and 78 for IFC5. With SCA6, a significant positive effect of PI on seed number per pod was also observed, with maximum seed number requiring more than 200 pollen grains per pod. In contrast, seed numbers with IFC5 were approximately equal over the PI range 100-800 pollen grains per pod. Patterns of seed number per pod were compared after: (1) open insect pollination, (2) low-intensity hand pollination and (3) high-intensity hand pollination. The patterns obtained with IFC5 under open pollination showed a peak of 40-50 seeds per pod, whereas the distribution patterns were more even with SCA6. The pattern of seed number under open pollination was similar to that obtained with high-intensity hand pollination for IFC5, and with low-intensity hand pollination for SCA6. We concluded that the high number of seeds per pod observed with IFC5 under natural insect pollination may be explained by a high number of compatible self-pollen grains on the stigma and by a severe drop of low-pollinated flowers eliminating potential low-filled fruits. With SCA6, however, the number of compatible pollen grains deposited on the stigma was probably low under open pollination, and the flowers required lower pollen quantities to set fruit, which resulted in a high frequency of low seed numbers per fruit. This difference in the capacity to set low-seeded fruits might be considered as an adaptive trait related to the mode of reproduction [KEYWORDS: Theobroma cacao, pollination intensity, fruit set, seed set, self-compatibility]
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