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  • Author or Editor: James Luby x
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Dietary antioxidants may have a role in preventing some of the chronic diseases in humans resulting from free radical oxidation of lipids and other cellular components. Blueberries (Vaccinium L. sp.) are considered one of the best fresh fruit sources of antioxidants, and there is the potential to increase the antioxidant activity further through breeding. Thus, the variability of fruit antioxidant activity (AA) was examined among a set of 16 highbush and interspecific hybrid cultivars grown at locations in Minnesota (MN), Michigan (MI), and Oregon (OR) over 2 years (1998 and 1999) to determine effects of genotype, year, and location. Nine cultivars were common to all three locations in both years. Antioxidant activity, total phenolic content (TPH), and total anthocyanin content (ACY), were determined in triplicate samples from each genotype. Cultivars differed significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in AA, TPH, and ACY both within and over locations. The single location mean AA for all cultivars changed significantly between the 2 years in OR and in MI, while the single location mean for TPH differed between the 2 years in MN and MI. Changes in cultivar rank were significant for AA, TPH, and ACY between years within each location. Significant changes in rank for TPH and ACY were also noted between pairs of locations as well. Pearson's correlation for AA (based on cultivar means) appeared highest between MN and OR (r = 0.90) and MN and MI (r = 0.69) in 1998; correlations between locations for the combined years were 0.74 for MN and OR, 0.55 for MN and MI and 0.45 for MI and OR. For the group of nine cultivars, AA correlated well with TPH within each location, with r ranging from 0.67 to 0.95 for data from individual and combined years. Correlation of AA with ACY at each location was lower than that for AA with TPH, in both individual and combined years. This study demonstrates significant genotype× environment interaction for AA in blueberry.

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The primary goal of this research was to evaluate the relative importance of strawberry fruit quality and plant traits to strawberry producers. Previous studies focus on strawberry traits that impact postharvest quality and marketable yield; however, studies emphasizing the importance of these traits to strawberry producers are scarce. To investigate U.S. strawberry producer trait preferences, a series of audience surveys were conducted at four strawberry producer meetings across the United States. Results indicate that fruit firmness, fruit flavor, and fruit shelf life at retail were the most important fruit/plant traits to producers for a successful strawberry cultivar to possess. Growing state and producers’ years involved in the decision-making process of strawberry farms impacted the relative importance of the fruit/plant traits. This study directly contributes to a larger investigation of supply chain members’ trait preferences to improve the efficiency of Rosaceae fruit crop breeding programs and to increase the likelihood of new cultivar adoption. The overall project should result in a more efficient approach to new strawberry cultivar development and commercialization.

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Systematic studies of the relative importance of apple traits for U.S. apple producers to inform U.S. apple breeding programs have been lacking. To fill this gap, a series of audience surveys with instant feedback at five apple producer meetings across the United States was conducted. The traits included in this study were fruit crispness, juiciness, firmness, flavor, soluble solids concentration, sugar–acid balance, shelf life at retail, freedom from storage disorders, host plant disease resistance, and other fruit and tree traits provided by the producer. Producers rated fruit flavor and crispness as the most important traits for a successful apple cultivar. The relative importance assigned to traits was associated with growing location and producers’ years of experience in the decision-making process of managing apple orchards. This study contributes directly to a larger effort that provides breeding programs with systematic knowledge of trait preferences of supply chain members, including producers, and should result in a more targeted approach to developing and commercializing new apple cultivars.

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The effects of growing and storage locations and storage temperature on soft scald incidence of `Honeycrisp' apples were examined. In 1999 and 2000, fruits were produced at five different locations, harvested at two different times, and stored at two or five different storage locations. In 1999, fruits were stored at 0 or 2 °C. Soft scald was only observed in fruits from one growing location and primarily at 0 °C. More soft scald was observed from the second harvest than from the first. Scalded fruits were preclimacteric as determined by ethylene production rate, whereas fruits from the other locations were postclimacteric. In 2000, fruits from four of the growing locations developed soft scald, and soft scald incidence was not related to ethylene production rate. Scalded fruits had higher concentrations of phosphorus, boron, and magnesium, and lower concentrations of manganese than unaffected fruit. Development of soft scald was not related to fruit ethylene production rates, was dependent on growing location, increased with later harvest, and may be related to fruit elemental content.

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We conducted audience surveys at three major peach producer meetings across the United States. We found that the relative importance assigned to fruit quality and tree traits by producers varied across producers’ end markets. Fresh peach producers indicated fruit flavor and size were the most important fruit quality traits, whereas processed peach producers viewed fruit size, fruit firmness, and absence of split pits as being the most important traits for a successful peach cultivar. These results have potential to ensure that peach breeding programs are consonant with fresh and processed peach producers’ needs for fruit and tree traits.

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Incorporating DNA-informed breeding techniques can improve selection efficiency for desired traits as compared with conventional breeding methods that do not use DNA-informed techniques. Incorporation of DNA technologies requires additional costs associated with reagents, equipment, and labor. To elucidate the cost-effectiveness of DNA-informed breeding in perennial crops with multiple years per generation, we conducted a cost–benefit analysis examining incorporation of marker-assisted selection (MAS), a type of DNA-informed breeding, applied to an apple breeding program. Annual operational costs for a midwest apple breeding program were used to develop a simulation with inputs including itemized costs and per unit costs for procedures at each breeding program stage. Simulations compared costs of MAS breeding techniques to conventional breeding methods to identify the break-even point (BEP) where cost-savings associated with MAS equals the accrued additional costs. Additional sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine changes in laboratory costs, seedling maintenance costs, and seedling evaluation costs. We found the BEP for this program occurs when MAS results in a removal rate of 13.18%, and changes to other costs (i.e., maintenance costs) result in a smaller percent decrease to the overall program budget. Our findings are useful to perennial crop breeding programs in which managers are considering incorporating DNA-informed breeding techniques.

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Many studies of apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) softening have been done using cultivars that eventually become mealy. We wanted to determine whether observations in these studies would be seen in a cultivar that maintains its crispness. In this paper, we compared the texture, ultrastructure, and some physiological parameters of Honeycrisp, an apple cultivar introduced in 1991 by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, with its parents and Delicious. Sensory evaluations and instrumental texture measurements showed that `Honeycrisp' maintained a crisp texture from harvest through 6 months of cold storage, whereas its parents, `Macoun' and `Honeygold', softened over the same time period. Turgor potential, cell wall composition, and ultrastructural comparisons of the fruit were made. Cell turgor potentials of `Honeycrisp' and `Delicious' were similar and greater than those of `Macoun' and `Honeygold', and clearly correlated with firmness. There were no differences in cell wall neutral sugar composition, except for arabinose, which was not highly correlated with crispness. `Honeycrisp' fruit maintained cell wall integrity after 6 months of storage, while cell walls of `Macoun' and `Honeygold' deteriorated. These data show that it is important to compare more than one cultivar when studying crispness. Honeycrisp is a cultivar that maintains its crispness through long storage without controlled atmosphere conditions. After 6 months of storage, this crispness can be attributed to a maintenance of high turgor potential and cell wall integrity.

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MN55 is an apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) cultivar recently released by the University of Minnesota apple breeding program, with fruit marketed in the U.S. as Rave®. When stored for 4 months at 0 to 4 °C, MN55 fruit can develop several storage disorders, including skin dimpling. Skin dimpling incidence was greater for fruit harvested 1 week later than those harvested earlier. Dimpling was not alleviated by prestorage treatments of 1-methylcyclopropene or diphenylamine or by holding fruit at room temperature for 1 day before long-term cold storage. However, dimpling incidence was very low when fruit were stored at 6 to 7 °C. Because viruses have been implicated in other fruit dimpling disorders, the presence of viruses in MN55 leaves and fruit was studied. Apple stem pitting virus (ASPV) was detected by microscopy, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methodology, and high throughput sequencing (HTS) in peel of fruit from MN55 trees that exhibited skin dimpling after 4 months of storage at 0 to 1 °C. ASPV was also detected in supermarket-purchased fruit of other cultivars with noticeable skin dimpling. Although ASPV was not conclusively demonstrated to cause skin dimpling in our work, its prevalence indicates that further investigations are warranted to determine the relationship between viruses and skin deformities in stored apples.

Open Access