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Morphological and agronomical characterization of eggplant genetic resources from the Sicily area


The eggplant is a vegetable crop widely grown throughout Sicily both in greenhouse and open field. This study was carried out by the Department of Agri-Environmental Systems at the University of Palermo in the Spring/Summer of 2011 in open fields. The aim of the study was to characterize 6 eggplant ecotypes (G1-G6) and three eggplant varieties (Birgah, Black bell and Viola di Firenze) from a morphological, phenological and production point of view, gathered from Sicily and the smaller islands. The genotypes G1 and G3 were found to be more productive than the varieties used in the test field. Ecotype G1 produced fruits which were dark violet and highly glossy, and produced the lowest percentage of discarded fruits, ecotype G2 had a high marketable fruit yield per plant, whereas populations G3, G5 and G6 were found to have a high average fruit weight. The 6 ecotypes were found to be highly non-uniform as regards both the plant and fruit morphological characteristics. Concerning the ratio between the fruit length and maximum diameter, ecotype G1 was found not to differ from G3 and, similarly, G5 was found to be not significantly different from G6. The ecotypes G1, G3, G5 and G6 produced higher or equal yields compared to the 3 varieties tested in the field study. The shorter period between the planting phenological stage and the flowering stage was found in ecotype G2. This earliness is also reflected in an earlier production stage with potential positive effects at commercial level