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  • Author or Editor: Cecilia do Nascimento Nunes x
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Strawberries are one of the most important food crops grown in Florida, with a harvested area of ≈10,000 acres. The University of Florida strawberry breeding program develops cultivars adapted to this region and its particular weather conditions, with a major aim of increasing overall quality. The objective of this study was to compare the fruit of advanced breeding selections to those of commercial cultivars, for compositional attributes. Seven different strawberry genotypes were compared at harvest and after 7 days at 4 °C across multiple harvest dates during two consecutive years. Compositional attributes were highly influenced by year, harvest date within a year, genotype, and storage. Overall, compared with other genotypes, selection FL 09-127 exhibited consistently higher soluble solids and total sugar (TS) contents at harvest and after cold storage. Higher ascorbic acid (AA) and phenolic contents at harvest were observed in selection FL 07-193. However, its anthocyanin content was among the lowest. In contrast, FL 10-47 exhibited relatively low AA content at harvest but consistently high total anthocyanins (TACs) and total phenolic (TP) contents after storage. Overall, results from this study provide valuable information to the breeding process by identifying new genotypes with improved compositional attributes combined with suitable quality characteristics after cold storage.

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‘Valencia’ orange trees from groves with 90% infection by Candidatus liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the presumed pathogen for citrus greening or huanglongbing (HLB) disease, were treated with insecticide (I), a nutritional spray (N), and insecticide plus nutritional spray (I + N). Controls (C) were not treated. Fruit were harvested in March to April, 2013, 2014, and 2015, juiced, and the juice was frozen for later chemical analyses. Titratable acidity (TA), soluble solids content (SSC), SSC/TA ratio, many volatiles, flavonoids, and limonoids showed differences because of season, whereas SSC, several volatiles (ethanol, cis-3 hexenol, α-terpinene, ethyl acetate, and acetone), flavonoids (narirutin, vicenin-2, diosmin, nobiletin, heptamethoxy flavone), and limonoids (nomilin and nomilinic acid glucoside) showed differences because of treatment. However, consistent patterns for chemical differences among seasons were not detected. TA tended to be higher in N and C the first two seasons and SSC/TA higher in I and I + N for all seasons (not significant for 2014). Bitter limonoids tended to be higher in I, N or I + N over the seasons. Principal Component Analysis showed that there was a good separation by season overall and for treatment in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, the insecticide treatments (either I or I + N) had the highest sugar and SSC/TA levels and lowest TA levels, although not always significant, as well as higher juice CLas cycle threshold (Ct) levels, indicating lower levels of the pathogen.

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A 3-year study was undertaken to establish the effect of field nutritional sprays, combined with insecticide treatments or not against Asian Citrus psyllid, on the fruit quality of ‘Valencia’ orange trees affected by the greening disease Huanglongbing (HLB). Four replicated plots were harvested, juiced, and pasteurized. Nine to twelve trained panelists evaluated the juice using seven flavor, five taste, four mouthfeel and three aftertaste descriptors. There was little difference between treatments in 2013; only orange peel flavor and bitterness were significantly lower for the insecticide treatment. In 2014, positive attributes, such as orange and fruity flavor, sweetness and mouthfeel body, were significantly higher in the insecticide treatment. Sourness was highest in untreated control, and there were no differences between treatments for bitterness. In 2015, negative attributes, such as grapefruit, orange peel and typical HLB flavor, sourness, bitterness, and astringency, were significantly higher in untreated control fruit, suggesting perhaps that the beneficial effect of nutritional and insecticide treatments was cumulative, only manifesting on the 3rd year of the study, and or because of the progression of the disease affecting untreated controls. Data are discussed in relation to juice chemical composition, including volatiles, sugars, acids, limonoids, and flavonoids, adding to the fundamental knowledge concerning chemical drivers of orange flavor.

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