Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a popular and economically important tropical fruit. Its production in Kenya is practiced at both small and large scale. The major challenge is getting good planting materials and producing quality papaya fruits that meet international quality standards. Most producers use imported seeds, or farmer-selections which are of unknown quality. Researchers at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) recently developed new papaya hybrids through selection and cross breeding of local germplasms and Solo Sunrise. However, the quality of the new papaya hybrid fruits has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to evaluate morphological and nutritional characteristics of the new papaya hybrids. The fruits were collected at breaker stage from JKUAT’s Block A (research farm). Fruits size (weight, length and diameter), shelf-life and total soluble solid (TSS) content were evaluated. The papaya descriptor (IBPGR) and Standard for papaya (CODEX STAN183-1993) were used in size evaluation and classification. The hand held refractometer was used to determine TSS. Data on shelf-life were evaluated every two days for fruits stored at room temperature (25 ± 2ºC). The data were analyzed for variance (ANOVA) using GenStat software 14th edition and the mean separation conducted at 5% probability level using Duncan’s multiple range test (DMRT). The size of the new papaya hybrid fruits was classified as small, medium and large. The fruits shelf-life ranged from 4 to 11 days at room temperature, while the TSS varied from 7.4 to 12.3%. The new papaya fruits presented desirable traits for both the local and international markets. Thus, the new papaya hybrids have the potential for commercial production in Kenya.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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