The Council of Agriculture’s Miaoli County agricultural research and extension station, in cooperation with National Chung Hsing University, has produced the first Taiwan-planted seedless Kyoho grapes.
The Kyoho grape, known for its large size, is a cross between the Ishihara and Centennial grape varieties and was first produced in Japan in 1937.
According to the station’s researcher Liu Yun-tsung (劉雲聰), 60 percent of Kyoho grapes in Japan are seedless, but the technique and the amount of pesticides used on the grapes planted in Taiwan were unable to render them seedless.
After three years of joint research with the university, the team was finally able to produce seedless Kyoho grapes grown in Taiwan, Liu said, adding that this year the station planted an experimental crop on a 293.4 ping (969.9m2) plot of land which yielded a harvest of 200kg.
“This is the first time that Taiwan has been able to produce a steady amount of seedless Kyoho grapes,” Liu said.
The key was to use gibberellic acid, a hormone found in plants, and streptomycin, an antibiotic drug, when the grapes are flowering, Liu said, adding that the process causes 95 percent of the grapes to become seedless.
A single grape from a crop harvested in summer could weigh between 9 and 14g, and the sweetness could reach as high as 18 degrees brix, the unit used to measure the sugar of an aqueous solution, Liu said.
“We currently estimate that we can double the production and we have already published the technique in agricultural journals and magazines for farmers to use free of charge,” Liu said.
The seedless Taiwan-grown Kyoho grapes will be sold for between NT$200 and NT$500 per kilo, Liu said, adding that two bunches of Japanese Kyoho seedless grapes usually cost over NT$1,000.