Breeding for Higher Carvone Production and Diversifying the Caraway Crop

As from 1984, caraway genetic improvement received a new impetus in the context of multidisciplinary research projects to create new, industrial, crops (Toxopeus and Bouwmeester 1993) amongst which caraway. The idea was to develop and market a potato sprout retarding agent on the basis of S-(+)-carvone, as found in caraway essential oil.

The main objective of breeding research was to attempt to increase carvone content of the seed whilst at least keeping up the existing seed yield level, and in this way improve carvone productivity.

However, being confronted with the annual plant material as from 1985, a programme to develop useful, well tested annual varieties was carried out. Finally, genetic variation was introduced and evaluated.

The following breeding research and variety development programmes were conducted. Recurrent Divergent Mass selection in the traditional, biennial 'Oldambt' landrace, RDMO, to study response to selection both for high and for low contents of oil and carvone. Develop biennial experimental varieties with higher contents Develop dependable spring caraway varieties Domesticate a winter caraway type capable of being sown in autumn Improve fertility and evaluation of the tetraploid population "SVP-4X". Evaluate germplasm collected in The Netherlands and southern Germany.

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