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An olive breeding program was started in Tunisia in 1993 in order mainly to improve the fatty acid composition of the local cultivar ‘Chemlali Sfax’. ‘Zeitoun Ennour’ is a new cultivar obtained from a cross between ‘Chemlali Sfax’ and the local dual-purpose use cultivar ‘Chemchali Gafsa’. The morphological study of this cultivar showed that eleven characters dealing with fruit and endocarp differed from ‘Chemlali Sfax’, mainly regarding to their respective weights. This new cultivar had the same sensitivity to Verticillium dahliae Kleb and earlier bearing than the original variety. Its olive production was considered as high as for ‘Chemlali Sfax’ but with partial self-compatibility and late maturity. The new cultivar realized a net improvement in comparison with the original cultivar particularly regarding its fatty acid composition with very high oleic acid content (>75 %) and low palmitic and linoleic acid contents (<10 %). The new cultivar was recently released and will be available for growers as soon as possible.
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