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2019/11/01

CURRENT STUDIES IN PITAYA VIRAL DISEASES

Pitaya (Hylocereus spp.), also known as pitahaya or dragon fruit, is a perennial climbing epiphytic plant in the family of Cactaceae. This cactus plant is native to the forests of Mexico, Central and South America and is becoming a high-value tropical fruit crop in Taiwan. Commercially cultivated pitayas are mainly propagated from cuttings. If mother plants are infected with viruses, diseases can be spread easily. In 2001, the research team of Professor Ruey-Fen Liou at National Taiwan University (NTU) published the first paper of pitaya-infecting virus, Cactus virus X (CVX) which is a member of the genus Potexvirus, in Taiwan. They purified a CVX-Hu isolate, prepared its antiserum and developed the DAS-ELISA for CVX detection. In addition, they cloned and completely sequenced the CVX-Hu isolate. Liao et al. at Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute performed a pitaya disease survey and the result indicated that CVX was widespread in the pitayas and the infection incidence ranged
50%~90% in different areas of Taiwan and Kinman.
In 2005, we isolated a new NTU strain of CVX from the pitayas grown in the experimental farm at NTU, and obtained the complete genomic sequence of CVX-NTU. During 2006 to 2008, one potexvirus, Zygocactus virus X (ZyVX), was isolated and identified by our laboratory in the pitaya samples collected from the Yanmingshan orchard. This is the first report of ZyVX in Taiwan and also the first record of pitaya-infecting ZyMV. In addition, another potexvirus was isolated from the same batch of pitaya samples, and it was identified to be a new species of the genus Potexvirus. Because this new potexvirus was originally found in pitaya and thus named as Pitaya virus X (PiVX). The results of phylogenetic analyses on the full-length genomes of CVX, ZyVX-P39, PiVX-P37 and other published potexviruses demonstrated that all Cactaceae-infecting potexviruses belong to the same cluster. To study the distribution of CVX, ZyVX and PiVX in the pitaya field, we developed a multiplex RT-PCR method for field survey. Pitayas sampled from several production areas in Taiwan were investigated for the infection rate and distribution of potexviruses. The field survey results showed that CVX was indeed widespread; ZyVX was not present in Taichung and Changhua; PiVX existed in Taipei, Ilan, Taitung and Changhua. If we can use this multiplex RT-PCR to screen pitaya propagation materials, a certification program for virus-free pitayas can be established to provide high quality pitaya seedlings for farmers.
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2019/11/01

THE NEW STAR OF DRAGON FRUIT-" CANDY CANDY" HAS SWEET FLESH

The Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute successfully breed the new variety of dragon fruit- "Candy Candy", which brings the taste and visual sensation for consumers. In the future, it hopes to promote the Candy Candy to the world and be the special variety of dragon fruit representing Taiwan.
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2019/11/01

ANTHRACNOSE OF PITAYA (HYLOCEREUS SPP.) CAUSED BY COLLETOTRICHUM SPP., A NEW POSTHARVEST DISEASE IN TAIWAN

Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus, H. polyrhizus, and H. costaricensis) has been widely planted as a fruit crop in Taiwan in the past three decades. Field survey in pitaya orchards during 2009 to 2013 showed that anthracnose of pitaya caused by Colletotrichum spp. was one of the major postharvest diseases in Taiwan. Disease symptoms encompassed brown colored sunken spots with or without water-soaked necrosis on the harvested fruits skin after storing at room temperature for 5–10 d, which apparently shortening the marketable period and reducing the price of the harvested fruits. Based on morphological characteristics and ITS region sequences, at least three species of Colletotrichum isolated from diseased fruits of pitaya collected from orchards in Taiwan were identified, including C. truncatum and 2 species within each respective C. gloeosporioides and C. boninense species complex, with isolation frequencies of 21.8, 73.4, and 4.8%, respectively, during 2009 to 2013. However, to precisely discriminate the Collectotrichum species within each respective C. gloeosporioides and C. boninense species complex, further multi-locus phylogenetic analyses are mandatory in the future. This is the first report of anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum spp. as an important postharvest disease of pitaya in Taiwan.
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2019/11/01

PRESENT BREEDING STATUS AND PROSPECT OF TAIWAN PITAYA

Pitaya(Dragon fruit) is a fast developing fruit tree in recent years. Since introduction of overseas cultiva into Taiwan by farmers in 1983, it’s cultivation area according to Farming Annual statistic(2012) is approaching 1000 hectares. During these 30 years period, regardless out of interest or commercial purpose, some farmers have engaged in cross species hybrid breeding and cultiva selection, which make present variety in Taiwan abundant and diverse in the skin and the fruit pulp color.
First, to meet needs in pitaya breeding selection feature investigation and variety patent application, our branch office has referred to the data from graduate student of University of Taiwan and take the assignment as pitaya test examination organization. Up to 2013 year's end, `Chi Yun No. 1 - MiBao' has obtained the variety patent in 2010, `Shi Shan Hun ' is under the test examination process, More farmers are preparing for application.
At present among the pitaya's production variety, the white meat and the red meat variety are of equal importance, in which the output and the quality of white meat plants is more stable, the improvement space are few; but the red meat plants pollination is not so good, fruit size uneven and pre-mature dehiscent fruiting issue, and it’s cultivated variety is chaotic, difficult for farmers to choose. From 2009, our branch office has been working on dragon fruit variety breeding selection, expect to enable breeding of more variety in the color of skin and the fruit pulp, bigger fruit, short thorn or thornless, superior flavor, with fragrance, enduring in transportation to meet the planting needs of farmers. The breeding improvement uses breeding parent embody: the Vietnamese white meat variety , scarlet variety, the Milon variety and yellow skin and so on. From these 4 kind of parents to carry on the inter-species hybridization, during 101-103 primarily selected from 200 series 98-3, 3-4-5, 3-10-7, 4-12-5 with different pulp and skin color variety.
The future direction of Taiwan pitaya variety breeding selection, in addition to carrying on the existing red meat variety quality improvement, variety in different skin and pulp color might increase the market diversification and bring consumer fresh feeling, and the fruit of intergeneric hybrid taste more refreshing, might attract new group of consumers. Furthermore, there’s necessity in adjusting production time to selectively breeds the low sensitive variety to luminosity (temperature) is one of our directions, in order to avoid the production peak of summer by advancing or delaying fruiting time.
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2019/11/01

WORLD PITAYA PRODUCTION

Pitaya is native in tropical America, produced locally and popular in local market, some exported to North America and Europe. It is produced in Nicaragua (red pitaya), Columbia (yellow pitaya) and Ecuador (both red and yellow). After hundreds year, the pitaya is spread to most of tropical and subtropical area and become new potential fruit crop in past 3 decades. Professor Mizrahi led and started the pitaya research since 1984 in Israel. The achievement is significant and they have great contribution to the pitaya industry in the world. The products are exported mainly to Europe. Pitaya was introduced into Taiwan more than 300 years, however, the industry was only started after the introduction of new self-compatible varieties from Vietnam in 1980s. The pitaya area is about 1000 ha and the varieties and technology released here were further transferred to China and Southeast Asia. Pitaya has been in Vietnam more than hundreds years and recently boomed to 24.8 thousands ha and 486.6 thousand tons in 2012. Among them, 80% (20% of fruit and vegetables exported) was exported to China (71.5%) and other countries. The value of pitaya export was 0.203 billion in 2013. The main production area (some with Global GAP) is in BinhThuan and Tien Giang provinces (Southern Vietnam). First red flesh variety, Long Dinh 1, with red parent from Taiwan, was released by SOFRI in 2005. Lighting (15-25 days) is wide used to promote flower in Vietnam. Pitaya production in China, mainly in Guandong, Guanxi, and some extends to Guizou, increased rapidly in past decade and reached 10.9 thousand in 2013. Cold damage is the main problem in those northern area. Pitaya is produced in Thailand and Malaysia as well. However, humid climate induced serious pests and diseases which had hampered the pitaya industry in Malaysia. Most of varieties and technology either in China, Thailand or Malaysia are from introduced from Taiwan. Pitaya is a new and minor crop in Australia and USA. Several growers are interested and trying some introduced varieties. There are about 40 ha (62.2% in Northern Territory) and 750 tons of white pitaya were produced in Australia in 2014. In United States, pitaya is only produced in Hawaii, South California and Florida. There are some activities supported by Rare Fruit Association in these area.
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2019/10/25

STUDY ON MORPHOLOGY, BIOLOGY OF Thrips palmi AND EFFICIENCY OF DIFFERENT CONCENTRATION OF NEEM LEAF EXTRACT ON DRAGON FRUIT

A study on morphology and biology of Thrips palmi and effect of some insecticides and neem leaf extract on dragon
fruit was conducted at Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) and the dragon fruit farms at Duong
Xuan Hoi village, Chau Thanh district, Long An province from April 2016 to December 2017. The results showed
that the adult of Thrips palmi was light yellow, antennae of male had seven segments and eggs were milky white in
color. The life cycle of Thrips palmi completed in 14 - 22 days. The lab trial to study efficiency of nine concentrations
of neem leaf extract was conducted at Plant Protection Division-SOFRI; the results showed that two treatments of
neem leaf extract were highly effective against Thrips palmi with a concentration of 8% (80.83%) and 9% (84.64%) at
7 days after spraying in lab conditions. The results on field trial indicated that neem leaf extract at 8% concentration
was 77.91% efficient, which was as effective as Spinetoram, Imidacloprid, and Azadirachtin + Emamectin to control
Thrips palmi at field condition. The rate of “ring net” phenomenon of four treatments: Spinetoram, Imidacloprid,
Azadirachtin + Emamectin, and Azadirachta indica-neem leaf extract (12.75 - 17.43%) were low and significantly
different compared with the control (42.12%).
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2019/09/24

THE DRAGON FRUIT INDUSTRY AND IMPORT SITUATION IN JAPAN

Tropical fruits are getting more and more popular in Japan. Historically banana is the top imported product in Japan. Due to local production of tropical fruits such as mango, Japanese consumers have more chances to purchase tropical fruits. According to the government's statistics of fruits import, dragon fruit does not appear on the list as its current imported quantity is much less than that of others. In the case of vegetables, lots of varieties of tomatoes are distributed in Japan. Primary value of popular tomato is its brix, which is one of the preferences of Japanese consumers. In order to meet those demands, Japanese growers are developing new varieties to make their business profitable. Distributors are promoting those high value products as “fruit tomato.” In terms of distribution, JA, Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, has been handling fruits and vegetables in the local market in Japan. This conventional distribution system is still a major channel in Japan, however, imported materials are mainly procured by large trading companies and those products are distributed through distributors. In both cases, distribution channel takes longer to reach the consumers. Although banana is the top imported tropical fruit in Japan, avocado shows remarkable growth record in the last decade. Compounded annual growth rate of avocado import is more than 10%. Major reason for this growth is that variety of recipe is introduced to consumers and longer shelf life supports lead time of product distribution in Japan. Based on the current situation of popular fruits and vegetables, key success factor to develop dragon fruit market in Japan is to control quality, brix, shelf life, distribution channel and price.
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2019/09/24

DRAGON FRUIT PRODUCTION AND MARKETING IN INDONESIA: STANDARD QUALITY IN THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS

Dragon fruit, Hylocereus spp., is one of the introduced fruit crops in Indonesia. This plant became popular and cultivated since 2000. Red flesh dragon fruit variety is the most widely cultivated. Indonesia has two types of dragon fruit region based on flowering and fruiting seasons. The first type is the area near the equator, the flowering and fruiting season  occuring throughout the year. The second type of region is in the Southern Hemisphere, more than 5o S, with the flowering and fruiting season occuring from November to April. Most of Indonesian dragon fruit production are sold in the local markets and small portion for export markets. Some problems in production of dragon fruit include pests and diseases, and low productivity. Stem canker, caused by  Neoscytalidium dimidiatum, is the main disease which destroyed more than hundreds of hectares of dragon fruit orchard in Indonesia.  The enhancement of production and fruit quality are  done through  following the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), using resistant pests and disease, variety, and organic cultivation.  Reduction application of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers and increasing organic fertilizers must be promoted to the farmers. In order to fullfill export standards the dragon fruit orhards which have been applied with good production system should be registered. The main quality standard in the local market based on fruit size which were categorized as grade A (> 400 g) , B (200 - 400 g) and C (<200 g). Meanwhile, the quality standard for export market are depend on the importer country. Besides grade,  the quality standards for global market were free from  pests and diseases, no pesticide residue and post-harvest handling is done at registrated packing houses. To enhance dragon fruit quality standard, some importer countries have collaborated with Indonesian Agricultural Quarantine Agency (IAQA).
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2019/09/24

STATUS AND CHALLENGES OF DRAGON FRUIT PRODUCTION IN MALAYSIA

Dragon fruit or pitaya is a nutritious and exotic fruit that has gained a place in Malaysian fruit industry even though it was not native to this country. Dragon fruit can be harvested all-year round and it bears fruits after one year of planting. Potential yield of dragon fruit is estimated around 10 to 12 metric tons (mt) per hectare (ha) annually. Currently, there are about 680 ha of planted areas, which produce 6,407 mt or US$ 6 million in 2017. About 36% of Malaysian dragon fruit is for export market mainly to Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong with average export value of US$ 2 million for the past 5 years. Dragon fruit production area reaches highest peak in 2008 with 2200 hectares and its production reached highest in 2009 with 15,700 mt. In 2017 Johor and Melaka dominated 48% (325.2 ha) of the total planted area, followed by Selangor (80.1 ha) and Negeri Sembilan (68.2 ha). Like many other fruit crops, dragon fruits are susceptible to diseases. In Malaysia, the plants are sensitive to fungal, bacterial and viral infections, which can lead to several complex diseases namely, anthracnose, stem necrosis, stem canker, stem and fruit rot. There were several strategies which have been applied in Malaysia to prevent and control diseases on dragon fruit.
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