UCR OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS - The University of California, Riverside’s (UCR's) avocado scion breeding program began in the 1950’s and continues today under the guidance of Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia, Professor of Extension, Subtropical Horticulture. It has been a model avocado varietal breeding program worldwide and maintains one of the largest avocado germplasm collections in the world. UCR has patented and released eight new scion varieties since the 1980’s, most notably, ‘3-29-5’ (often referred to as “GEM”) in 2003 and ‘Lamb Hass’ in 1996.
UCR will officially release the ‘BL516’ avocado scion cultivar in June 2023, the second avocado cultivar released by UCR in the last twenty years. With its slender upright growth habit, ‘BL516’ offers avocado growers a next generation tree better adapted to the increasingly popular high-density plantings . It is a “B” flower type so it can serve as a pollinizer variety for ‘Hass’, '3-29-5' and other type “A” flower varieties. It matures slightly later than ‘Hass’ and during ripening, the fruit turns from an emerald green color to glossy black, similar to ‘Hass’ and in line with current consumer preferences, according to Arpaia. 'BL516' is pending protection in the United States for US Plant Patent and Plant Variety Protection (PVP). Luna UCR™ is the trademark and brand used in commerce associated with this promising variety. 'BL516’ was developed at UCR by Gray Martin, B.O. “Bob” Bergh, David Stottlemyer, Eric Focht, and Mary Lu Arpaia.
In 2020, UCR partnered with Eurosemillas, S.A. to sponsor the UCR avocado breeding programs to help the university deliver the most promising and advanced avocado scions and rootstocks in its collection to market. ‘BL516’ is the first scion cultivar to be released under this partnership. As the worldwide master licensee of 'BL516', Eurosemillas is positioned to lead the global commercialization of the variety, under Green Motion, an international platform established to accelerate the commercialization of UCR’s most promising and advanced avocado scions and rootstocks cultivars with partners in 15 countries.
Support for UCR’s avocado scion breeding program from the California avocado industry via the California Avocado Commission (CAC) dates to the 1950's and has provided millions of dollars in the scion breeding efforts through 2016. Keeping this in mind, California growers will receive a reduction in royalties paid for planting and production of ‘BL516’, giving them an advantage over international avocado growers. Furthermore, all eligible California growers will be granted a sublicense upon request and agreement of a sublicense from Eurosemillas, ensuring widespread availability of ‘BL516’ within the State.
Eurosemillas will host an in-person meeting on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) facility in Ventura, California, USA. The meeting will start at 9:00 AM PDT followed by a field visit to Brokaw Nursery. This gathering will provide industry professionals with a unique opportunity to learn firsthand of the potential of 'BL516' as a pollinizer variety and a new variety better adapted to high density plantings.
Looking ahead, UCR's avocado breeding program remains committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation. With ongoing research efforts and the Green Motion platform, UCR aims to streamline the commercialization process for its avocados, ensuring that future varieties continue to captivate markets and consumers alike.
"We are thrilled to introduce the 'BL516' variety, which showcases the direction of our program and the immense potential it holds for the avocado industry," said Arpaia.
For more information about the 'BL516' variety and UCR's pioneering avocado breeding program, please visit the UCR Avocado Information website.
For more information about sublicensing of the ‘BL516’ variety, please contact Eurosemillas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About UCR's Avocado Scion Breeding Program: UCR's avocado scion breeding program is at the forefront of developing avocado varieties through innovative research and breeding techniques. Currently led by Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia, the program is dedicated to revolutionizing the avocado industry by introducing varieties that deliver exceptional attributes, such as higher yields, improved quality, and enhanced disease resistance.
About Eurosemillas: Eurosemillas, S.A., headquartered in Cordoba, Spain, is a globally recognized leader in the commercialization of seed and plant innovations, committed to developing and commercializing exceptional varieties across a range of agricultural sectors. With expertise and a strategic network, Eurosemillas is dedicated to driving innovation, ensuring sustainable food production, and meeting the evolving needs of growers and consumers worldwide.