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Seedless citrus – fruit demand high and breeding technology improving fast, but price point not there for farmers

  • In short: Demand for seedless fruit varieties is growing and experts say the genetic breeding technology needed to create them is rapidly improving.
  • But seedless crops can be harder to grow and making a profit can be difficult, with some saying the “price point just hasn’t been there”.
  • What next? A University of Queensland professor says all fruit and vegetables — including mangoes and avocadoes — have the potential to be seedless.

Picking out pesky pips and spitting out watermelon seeds is arguably the least enjoyable part of eating fresh fruit, but there’s good news for consumers — as seedy produce could one day cease to exist.

Among rows of flourishing citrus farms in Munduberra, two hours west of Bundaberg, Troy Emmerson grows around seven fruit varieties, and his lemon crop is entirely seedless.

“It’s just the more modern way to go, everybody wants to have a seedless piece of fruit,” Mr Emmerson said.

“Mandarins haven’t got a lot of seeds … there’s a [variety] which we export into Asia that have got quite a few seeds, but the rest of them are pretty well low-seeded.”

How is seedless fruit possible?

University of Queensland Professor of Innovation in Agriculture Robert Henry said seedless varieties dominated the consumer market, so the genetic breeding technology was highly sought after.

He said seedless produce was grown from cuttings of the original tree, so the seeds in certain produce essentially became redundant.

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Source: ABC

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