PHYTONUTRIENT EVALUATION OF STRAWBERRIES FROM FIELD AND GREENHOUSE PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENTS

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  • 1 1USDA–ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, WV 25430
  • | 2 2USDA–ARS, Sub-tropical Agricultural Research Center, Weslaco, TX 78596
  • | 3 3University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Dover, FL 33527
  • | 4 4USDA–ARS, South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, Lane, OK 74555
  • | 5 5USDA–ARS, Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, Little Rock, AR 72202

Fresh strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch) are readily available throughout the year with several new cultivars being successfully grown in diverse environmental conditions (e.g., field and greenhouse). Consumption of strawberries with higher nutritive values and antioxidant activity may contribute to improved human wellness. Phytonutrient contents and antioxidant activity was measured as oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) were assayed in berries (`Camarosa', `Diamante', and `Gaviota') sampled in January, February to March, and April to May from fields in Plant City, Fla., and Oxnard, Calif., and from a greenhouse in Kearneysville, WV. Strawberry cultivars varied in skin color, soluble solids, total phenolics, and anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, folic acid, and ORAC activity. Response to environment was cultivar dependent. All phytonutrient constituents were lower in `Diamante' berries compared to `Camarosa' and `Gaviota'. For all cultivars, berry ORAC activity declined as TSS increased, and ORAC activity was coincident with phenolic content. ORAC activity in berries fruit harvested from plants grown in a temperature-controlled greenhouse did not change during the January to May sampling period. For `Gaviota', ORAC activity in greenhouse-produced berries was the same as that of field-produced berries. Whereas greenhouse vs. field-gown `Camarosa' and `Diamante' berries ORAC was higher and lower respectively. These findings demonstrate that the environmental conditions in greenhouses in Kearneysville, W.Va., from winter to spring are adequate for `Camarosa' and `Gaviota' color development, but not for `Diamante' strawberries. Of the three cultivars, only `Camarosa' was highly productive (1.2 kg berries per plant), even in the greenhouse. Berries were high in ascorbic acid, folic acid, phenolic acid, anthocyanins, and ORAC activity.

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