By Karla Arboleda
The National Mango Board (NMB) funded an experiment at the University of Florida (UF) to look for better mangoes.
Jeff Brecht, professor of postharvest horticulture at UF, has been testing several mango varieties for their response to the exporting process, their postharvest storage potential and their sensitivity to chilling injury. The goal is to find mangoes better than the existing varieties in the market.
Currently, the most common mango in the United States is the Tommy Atkins variety that hails from Florida.
“The Mango Board is looking for new varieties that really taste good that consumers are going to get excited about,” Brecht said.
Brecht and his UF colleagues tested nine mango varieties while, most importantly, using Tommy Atkins as the control. Finding a quality variety that can handle hot water in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-required quarantine treatment is crucial.
“There’s been issues, especially if the mangoes are harvested earlier than the fruit that were used by the USDA scientists to develop the treatment,” Brecht says. “They can get a scald on the surface (and) they can get … cavities that open up inside the fruit.”
In order to keep up with the demand for mangoes in the United States, other countries export varieties like Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt and Kent. Brecht says the NMB hopes to promote mango consumption in the United States.
Additionally, the board hopes to find a variety that people can grow and ship successfully.
“Almost all of the mangoes that we eat in the U.S. are being imported from outside of the U.S.,” Brecht says. “Florida production is really tiny compared to the amount coming from Mexico, Central America and South America.”
Researchers at UF tested the following varieties for better quality:
- Kensington Pride (Australia)
- Duncan (Florida)
- Nam Doc Mai (Thailand)
- Young (Florida)
- Ott (California)
- Osteen (Florida)
- Edward (Florida)
- Glenn (Florida)
- Maha Chinook (Thailand)
Researchers at UF will soon test the following varieties for better quality:
- Tommy Atkins (Florida)
- Mallika (India)
- Rapoza (Hawaii)
- Southern Blush (Florida)
- Valencia Pride (Florida)
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