ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 93 Special Issue 1, July 2016 International Breadfruit Conference
Breadfruit for food and nutrition security in the 21st century
The National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii has been involved in the conservation of breadfruit germplasm since 1977. The Breadfruit Institute was established in 2003 to promote the conservation and use of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) for food and reforestation. The Institute manages the largest and most diverse collection of breadfruit in the world, with more than 120 cultivars conserved in field genebanks. Many of these cultivars are rare in their native lands and recent cyclones have damaged or destroyed countless trees throughout Oceania. This collection provides unique opportunities to study this important staple crop. Research includes micropropagation, assessing genetic and morphological diversity, evaluation of nutritional composition, yield, fruit characteristics, and seasonality, insecticidal properties of male flowers, and soil mycorrhizal associations. Our research has identified nutrient-rich, productive cultivars that can make significant contributions to food security in the tropics. We provide an overview of our work to 1) collect and document breadfruit diversity and traditional uses in the Pacific Island, and 2) study the Breadfruit Institute’s germplasm collection to enhance our understanding of this crop for conservation and utilization. An initiative to distribute selected cultivars for tree planting projects is discussed. To date, more than 60,000 breadfruit trees have been distributed to 32 countries. This initiative involves collaboration with botanical gardens, university researchers, the private sector, and government and non-governmental agencies. Our work is discussed in the context of an exciting breadfruit renaissance—for food security, agricultural sustainability, and economic development—underway throughout the tropics. Efforts include: 1) identifying and conserving critical germplasm, 2) using fruit from existing trees and planting new trees, 3) public awareness campaigns and outreach programmes, 4) refining orchard management and agroforestry systems to maximize tree health, production and yields, 5) creating tree to table culinary programmes, and 6) developing, producing and marketing value-added products.
Keywords: Keywords: Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus camansi, breadfruit, gluten-free flour, agrobiodiversity, crop genetic resources