In the current global market, the development of novel products is important for staying competitive. The development of horticultural products often manifests as new cultivars. Gauging consumer interest is an important step in cultivar development because it is a resource-intensive process. The present study used an experimental auction to measure consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for novel fruit referred to as kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta) and explore consumer segmentation for their preferences. The mean WTP for 6-ounce packages of kiwiberries ranged from $1.63 to $2.19, depending on species and cultivar. Four groups of consumers were identified in relation to their WTP for kiwiberries. Using survey data, socio-demographic variables such as age, education, and neophobic attitudes were significantly different between the mixed kiwiberry price premium and kiwiberry discounting groups. These findings suggest that consumers with variety-seeking tendencies have a WTP for kiwiberries that is comparable to that for other berries. Marketing strategies for these groups are proposed.
Blueberries are prone to dehydration during storage. Firmness is one of the most critical quality attributes associated with this period, with the loss of water from the fruit representing the most significant limitation for the fresh market. Therefore, one of the great challenges is maintaining the quality characteristics of the fruit in shipments by sea, which can take up to 60 days when sent from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. The random arrangement of each fruit within a packaging unit (different proportions of the stem scar and cuticular surface exposed to the environment) represents an essential source of variation in the prediction of softening during the storage period. A special device, referred to as a dangler for accelerated dehydration (DAD), was designed to expose nearly the entire fruit surface to the environment and determine the impact of factors such as relative humidity and the role of the stem scar and cuticle on fruit water loss. Consequently, to evaluate the ability of DADs to find differences in fruit dehydration, blueberries sampled at early, peak, and late harvest dates were placed in DADs and exposed to three controlled levels of relative humidity (30%, 65%, and 96% relative humidity; 1.2 ± 0.7 °C) for 10 days. Berries within the DADs were untreated, immersed in hexane for 5 seconds to remove bloom, painted with quick-drying nail polish on the pedicel end to seal the stem scar or immersed in hexane for 5 seconds, and painted with quick-drying nail polish on the pedicel end. At each harvest, fruit weight loss was significantly affected by the fruit and RH treatments, as well as the interaction between them. A regression analysis of the control treatment indicated that water loss at lower relative humidities occurred faster in fruit from the first harvest. The results reveal that DADs can be used to characterize preharvest and postharvest stimuli at an individual level and within a short time (10 days).
Since the first occurrence of Huanglongbing (HLB) in the Florida commercial citrus industry in 2004, fruit yield and yield components of HLB-affected citrus have declined in endemically affected citrus tree groves. Optimal fertilization is thus critical for improving tree performance because nutrients are vital for tree growth and development, and play a significant role in tree disease resistance against various biotic and abiotic stresses. The objective of the current study was to determine whether leaf nutrient concentration, tree growth, yield, and postharvest quality of HLB-affected citrus trees were improved by the split application of nutrients. The four micronutrient application rates were used as fixed factors and the three nitrogen (N) rates were used as random factors for leaf nutrient analyses, tree growth, fruit yield, and postharvest analyses. Significant leaf manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) concentrations were detected when trees received foliar and soil-applied micronutrients regardless of the N rates. There was a strong regression analysis of leaf Mn and Zn nutrient concentration and nutrient rates with R2 : 0.61 and 0.59, respectively. As a result, a significant leaf area index associated with foliar and soil-applied micronutrient rates had a positive correlation with leaf area index and soil pH with R2 : 0.58 and 0.63 during the spring and summer seasons, respectively. Trees that received a moderate (224 kg·ha−1) N rate showed the least fruit decay percentage and total soluble solids (TSS) of 8% more than the lowest (168 kg·ha−1) and highest (280 kg·ha−1) N rates, even though fruit yield variations were barely detected as these micronutrients promoted vegetative growth. Moreover, the TSS to titratable acidity (TA) ratio of foliar and soil-applied micronutrient-treated trees showed 2% and 7% greater values than the foliar-only treated and control trees, respectively. Although micronutrients exacerbated stem-end rind breakdown (SERB), these nutrients significantly improved fruit storage when the fruits were stored for extended periods (8–11 weeks). Thus, moderate N rate, foliar (1×), and soil-applied (1×) micronutrient treatments improved tree growth, fruit postharvest, and fruit storage characteristics.
Organic apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) growers lack effective strategies to manage preharvest drop. For susceptible cultivars, yield losses caused by preharvest drop can exceed 30% at the beginning of harvest. To address this issue, a formulation of aminoethoxyvinylglyine (AVG) designed for organic use was developed and compared with a commercially available AVG formulation. We evaluated the effects and interactions of the AVG formulation and application number on preharvest drop and fruit maturity in 2017 and 2018. We selected 30 pairs of mature ‘Oregon Spur II Red Delicious’/‘M. 111’ trees planted at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC, USA. Trees were planted with spacing of 2.7 × 6.1 m, trained to a central leader, and received plant protectant sprays that adhered to local recommendations throughout the growing season. Both AVG formulations were applied at 132 mg⋅L−1 at 3 or 3 + 1 weeks before the anticipated harvest. An untreated control was also included for comparison. The experiment had six replicates and a randomized complete block design with a 2 × 2 augmented factorial treatment structure. A one-way analysis of variance was performed and single degree of freedom contrasts were used to compare treatment groups of interest. During both years, organic and conventional AVG were equally effective for reducing preharvest drop and delaying fruit softening and starch hydrolysis at harvest. During one year, increasing the number of applications of AVG reduced cumulative fruit drop, delayed fruit softening at harvest, and reduced internal ethylene concentrations. Inconsistencies in responses across years may be explained, in part, by abnormally warm temperatures observed in 2018. AVG approved for organic use appears to be a promising preharvest drop management technology with efficacy similar to that of conventional AVG.
Breadfruit marketing is limited by its rapid ripening and deterioration after harvest; therefore, improved postharvest practices may facilitate breadfruit marketing. This study examined the effect of harvest maturity and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on the postharvest quality of ‘Ma’afala’ breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). Breadfruit was harvested at 13, 15, and 17 weeks after flowering, and half of each harvest was treated with 1 μL⋅L−1 of 1-MCP for 20 hours. During storage, the weight of the fruit, hand feeling, skin color, respiration rate, and ethylene production rate were evaluated every other day until the fruit deteriorated. Compared with untreated fruit, 1-MCP treatment delayed the climacteric respiratory peak by 6 days (65% delay), delayed complete softening by 7 days (63% delay), and increased uniformity in the number of days to the climacteric respiratory peak and complete softening. Skin discoloration was delayed during the earliest harvest period by 5 days (108% delay). Picking breadfruit at early harvest maturity may be useful for preventing discoloration, and 1-MCP may be useful for preventing softening.
Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is one of the most commonly used warm-season turfgrasses in the southern areas and transition zone of the United States. Due to the increasing demand for water resources and periodic drought, it is important to improve the drought resistance of bermudagrass for water savings and persistence under drought stress. This study was conducted to determine whether experimental bermudagrass genotypes have improved drought resistance compared with the standard cultivars Tifway and Riley’s Super Sport (Celebration®) at Stillwater, OK. The trials were designed as randomized complete blocks with four replications in Expt. I and three replications in Expt. II. In each experiment, genotypes were subjected to progressive acute drought conditions using polyethylene waterproof tarps to exclude precipitation over a period of at least 72 d. Bermudagrass entries were evaluated for turfgrass quality, leaf firing, normalized difference vegetation index, and live green cover at least once each week during the dry-down. Substantial drought response variations were found in this study, and all parameters were positively and highly correlated. A turf performance index (TPI) was assembled based on the number of times an entry ranked in the top statistical group across all testing parameters on each date. ‘DT-1’ (TifTuf®) and OSU1221 had the top TPI in both experiments. Most of bermudagrass experimental genotypes had equal or greater TPI than the standard Tifway, showing improved drought resistance through breeding effects. The identification of superior drought resistance experimental genotypes provided useful information to breeders on cultivar release.
Recently, some commercial apple growers have been adopting hedging as an alternative or supplement to hand-pruning. With increasing labor costs across the United States, alternatives to hand-pruning and current training systems are being considered. One management strategy involves transitioning tall spindle trees to a narrow tree wall and simplifying labor-intensive activities of apple production, such as pruning, harvesting, and fruit thinning. The objective is to form the orchard system into a “fruiting wall” that makes fruit more visible and accessible, thus facilitating harvesting. Four management practices (tall spindle; narrow tree wall with manual pruning; narrow tree wall with dormant and summer hedging; and narrow tree wall with dormant hedging, summer hedging, and root pruning) were used to convert 12-year-old ‘Brak Fuji’ apple trees from the tall spindle training system to a narrow tree wall. Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet light levels within the canopies were improved by summer hedging, but they were still low for all treatments. Light within the canopy was improved most when root pruning was included. Specific leaf weight was not significantly impacted by hedging or root pruning. Detailed spur sampling showed that treatments had no effect on vegetative or reproductive growth on 2- to 3-year-old wood. Although dormant plus summer hedging alone did not affect shoot length, the combination of hedging and root pruning caused a significant reduction in terminal shoot length. Red fruit color was only improved with dormant hedging plus summer hedging plus root pruning. Compared with dormant plus summer hedging, dormant plus summer hedging plus root pruning improved fruit set and yield, but it reduced fruit size. Without root pruning, hedging had little effect on light, specific leaf weight, flower initiation, fruit set, and fruit quality. Conversion to narrow tree walls by manual pruning resulted in more poorly colored fruit and less highly colored fruit compared with maintaining the trees as tall spindles with manual pruning.