RESEARCH PROGRAMMES

1. High Quality Breeding
A special parental population of clones with very high sucrose content has been developed. These clones have potential Brix values up to 30.5 (expressed juice from whole cane) and sucrose % in juice of up to 25.3. They have been selected from a closed recurrent breeding programme that selects only for sugar content. This programme is a continuing process and has currently been through 4 cycles of selection. 

The progenies from the high quality breeding programme are used as parents in a commercial breeding programme.


2. Genetic Base Broadening
This programme was started in the 1960’s and has involved a large scale incorporation of new wild germplasm into the breeding programme. New genes from a large number of Saccharum spontaneum clones was combined with a Noble population that was derived from the germplasm collection and a Noble improvement programme carried out in  Barbados. Backcrosses from this programme have been used to incorporate vigour, disease resistance and ratooning ability into the breeding population.
 

3. High Biomass and Multipurpose Cane Varieties
More recently, early generation hybrids are being exploited for their ability to produce high yields of biomass and to maintain this production over several ratoon crops. They have been shown to contain up to 30% fibre. The potential of this material to breed new multi-purpose varieties is being explored. Such varieties could be used for energy generation (fibre as fuel for electricity generation), ethanol production, rum production and as a source of biomass for the generation of other by-products.

4. Maturity
Research is being conducted to determine the earliness in sugar accumulation in sugar cane varieties towards developing an extended crop cycle in our member countries especially where the intention is to produce electricity year round through co-generation. 
 
5. Breeding strategies and the genetic basis for important agronomic traits
Research is done on the development of more efficient breeding and selection strategies and where appropriate, the genetics of characters that become important in the breeding programmes.

Popular sugar cane varieties developed at WICSCBS and their cultivation scales