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Abstract

Pumpkin is one of the crops grown in Trinidad and Tobago with a competitive advantage in the export market. A sector analysis conducted in 2005 identified the instability of cultivars leading to irregular shapes and sizes as one of the major weakness affecting the export market. A survey of producers/exporters revealed that the main characteristics required for export were smooth, cream/green coloured skin with thick, yellow/orange, sweet flesh. A number of fruits were collected and evaluated for the desired physical and quality characters. A breeding programme was developed using a Phenotypic Assortive Mating Design and Mass Selection to improve the uniformity of the varieties grown in Trinidad and Tobago. The characterization/evaluation data collected for this project included the following: skin colour (primary, secondary), flesh thickness, colour, flavour, moisture, texture, fruit shape, weight, fruit skin texture, diameter, length, skin hardness, cavity diameter, number of seeds/fruit, flesh moisture, total soluble solids and % dry matter. After six generations of breeding and selection the variety CES STARZ was developed with 79.7% uniformity with respect to fruit shape, skin and flesh colour in addition to improvement in sweetness and dryness.

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