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Avocado History, Biodiversity and Production

Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB,volume 2)

Abstract

Avocado (Persea Americana Mill.) has been grown in the neotropics as far back as 10,000 BC. The species are scattered from northern Mexico through the southeastern United States, east through the West Indies and south through Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Avocado is a major tropical fruit originating in tropical America, including the eastern and central highlands of Mexico, Guatemala, Central America down to the northern parts of South America (Peru, Ecuador).

The most common name for this fruit is avocado, derived from the Spanish word “aguacate”, in turn derived from the Aztec words “Ahuacatl” and “ahoacaquahuitl” The earliest known written account of avocado in Europe is that of Martín Fernández de Enciso (c.1470–c.1528) in 1518 or in Suma De Geographia Que Trata De Todas Las Partidas Y Provincias Del Mundo in 1519. The first written record of the word ‘avocado’ in English was by Hans Sloane in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants. The plant was introduced to Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, the Levant in 1908 and South Africa and Australia in the late nineteenth century. Avocado has been classified into three distinct subspecies or major races: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian. According to FAO projections, the avocado harvest will amount to 3.9 million t in 2014. Latin America and the Caribbean are the main producing regions of the world, largely due to Chile because it is one of the largest exporters of avocado. Some of the main avocado producing countries are; Mexico, Chile, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, United States, Australia, South Africa and Israel. Global production of avocado in 2012 was estimated at 4,487,881 t. Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocados, representing over one-fourth of global production. Chile was the second largest producer in 2011 (330,000 t), accounting for nearly 7.5 % followed by Dominican Republic and Indonesia with about 6.0 % each and the USA ranked 8th in the world with approximately 3.15 % of the production.

Keywords

  • Avocado
  • Persea
  • Mexican
  • Guatemalan
  • West Indian

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Correspondence to Tomas Ayala Silva .

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Avocado has been the favored fruit of many people in Mesoamerica dating back to 10,000 BC. It is unique amongst the fruits and it is neither sweet nor bitter. Some superior cultivars have anise or nutty flavor. Today avocado brings pleasure to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Avocado made its first steps on the United States (CA and FL) market, and total consumption on last year was close to 600,000 t. Now a day’s quality enhancement of the fruit allows for long distance shipping in shorter periods of time. Avocado is consume now worldwide and the forecast is for consumption to increase. The increase in productivity has increased in the last decades and work including new biotechnology such as molecular markers, preservation in tissue culture and cryopreservation will assist with the breeding and improvement of the fruit. The nutritional importance of the avocado and its worth on promoting good health and the increasing use of its oils and secondary products for cosmetics will benefit the prospects for a significant increase in avocado consumption.

The outlook of the avocado breeding as a whole is increasing with new development of techniques and its full prospective have not yet been exploited given all genetic resources and new technology available.

Acknowledgements

The authors express their gratitude to the National Germplasm Repository, Miami, Florida for their support. We also would like to thank Dr. Ed Boza and Dr. Seth Finley for their useful comments and suggestions and Tomas Ayala Garcia for the graphics and pictures.

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Ayala Silva, T., Ledesma, N. (2014). Avocado History, Biodiversity and Production. In: Nandwani, D. (eds) Sustainable Horticultural Systems. Sustainable Development and Biodiversity, vol 2. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06904-3_8

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