Breadfruit Institute

Breadfruit: Artocarpus altilis

Breadfruit tree

The breadfruit collection at the National Tropical Botanical Garden is being systematically studied to utilize and share this important plant genetic resource. A 10-year study of seasonality showed that a diverse planting of varieties can provide a steady supply of fruit for most of the year. Characterization and description of accessions include fruit weights, fruit and leaf descriptors, and yield estimates, and seasonality data. A searchable web-based database of the collection, with photographs and detailed information for over 100 varieties, is now available. Twenty varieties were evaluated for fruit quality and preliminary nutritional analyses were carried out. Detailed analyses of 100 varieties will be conducted to determine nutritional values. This project aims to identify specific varieties with unique micronutrient profiles and inform researchers, nutritionists, and world policy leaders of nutrient-rich breadfruit varieties that hold the potential to alleviate hunger. A major research initiative is developing propagation methods to conserve and distribute breadfruit varieties.

Some of the research projects undertaken by the Breadfruit Institute and collaborators include:

  • Developing in vitro (tissue culture) propagation methods for conservation and distribution of breadfruit varieties in collaboration with Dr Susan Murch, University of British Columbia, Okanagan.

  • Nutritional composition and fruit quality sensory evaluation for 20 breadfruit varieties in collaboration with Catherine Cavaletto, University of Hawaii.

  • Documenting bearing season and productivity.

  • Developing morphological descriptors, to help identify and describe breadfruit varieties.

  • Collecting, documenting, and conserving traditional breadfruit cultivars in Micronesia and Polynesia. Videographic documentation of cultural practices in Oceania in collaboration with Jim Wiseman, DigitalMedia Hawaii/Pacific.

Research on the National Tropical Botanical Garden breadfruit collection has also included: Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), isozyme analyses and chromosome counts, to assess genetic diversity and taxonomic relationships

Research initiatives are underway in the Pacific, Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere to develop breadfruit's potential.

 
Breadfruit collection at Kahanu Garden, Hana, Maui.

Breadfruit collection at Kahanu Garden, Hana, Maui.