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    Coffee

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

Australia grows only the higher quality Arabica coffees (Coffea arabica) used in the specialty or roast and ground market (RIRDC 2003).  Coffea arabica, unlike many other coffee types is considered to be a self-fertile species, meaning it can set fruit from its own pollen; however, fruit set and quality have been experimentally shown to be higher with bee-mediated or manual pollination than with autonomous self-pollination (Manrique and Thimann 2002; McGregor 1976; Veddeler et al. 2008).  Wind is also considered a pollen vector in coffee pollination, however, the role played by insects, in particular honey bees, is considered predominant over wind (Klein et al. 2003). 

McGregor (1976) cites a number of studies conducted prior to the 1970s which demonstrated the benefits of having honey bees on a Arabica coffee crop during flowering, with increases in yield ranging from 9 to 82%.  More recently, a study by Klein et al. (2003) on the pollination of C. arabica showed a 12.3% increase in fruit set from bee pollination; with wind pollination resulting in a significantly lower fruit set.  The evidence leaves no doubt that C. arabica benefits from pollination by honey bees (Klein et al. 2003).

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