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Read Why ARI’s Seedless Disease-Resistant Grape Variety is Attracting Farmers, Wine Companies

The grape variety, MACS 516 (ARI 516), was released and notified for production in 2021 in four grape-growing states: Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, according to Dr. Sujata Tetali of ARI's Genetics and Plant Breeding section.

Binita Kumari
The ARI-516 hybrid variety was created by crossing two species from the same genus Vitis, the Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca, and the beautiful seedless variety of Vitis labrusca.
The ARI-516 hybrid variety was created by crossing two species from the same genus Vitis, the Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca, and the beautiful seedless variety of Vitis labrusca.

A project to generate disease-resistant seedless grapes at Pune's Agharkar Research Institute, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has attracted not just farmers but also wine firms at a recently finished grape festival in Nashik.

As part of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research's All India Coordinated Research Project on Fruits, a multi-purpose grape variety has been produced.

The grape variety, MACS 516 (ARI 516), was released and notified for production in 2021 in four grape-growing states: Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, according to Dr. Sujata Tetali of ARI's Genetics and Plant Breeding section.

What’s special about it?

"This hybrid grape variety is resistant to fungal diseases and can be used to make juice, raisins, jams, and red wines. Farmers have taken to this type, and the area under cultivation and production in places like Nashik and Solapur in Maharashtra has increased by 100 acres," Dr. Tetali told The Indian Express.

Grover Zampa Vineyards in Nashik, for example, has purchased planting material from ARI.

"Our major goal was to create a disease-resistant cultivar." Dr. Prashant Dhakephalkar, the Director of ARI, added, "It is also being appreciated because of its unique flavor." The ARI-516 hybrid variety was created by crossing two species from the same genus Vitis, the Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca, and the beautiful seedless variety of Vitis labrusca.

At the 9th All India coordinated group discussion meeting on fruits, a book including details of many types kept at the farm at ARI in Hol village (85 km from Pune) was published last month.

"The ARI 516 variety is seeded, but because some people prefer seedless varieties, we created a seedless ARI 516 through mutation." It has small to medium bluish blackberries with one rudimentary seed in each berry, which are sweet and musky in flavor and contain 65 to 70% juice.

The berry output is about 15-20 tons per acre, and it is resistant to downy and powdery mildew disease, as well as anthracnose, a group of fungal diseases that affect a variety of plants.

A project on molecular characterization of a seedless mutant in the grape's variant ARI 516 and marker-assisted seedless selection in table grape breeding is also underway, according to Dr Tetali.

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