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Gene E. Lester and Cindy B.S. Tong

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Ann Marie Connor, James J. Luby and Cindy B.S. Tong

Narrow-sense heritability and among-family and within-family variance components were estimated for antioxidant activity (AA), total phenolic content (TPH), and anthocyanin content (ACY) in blueberry (Vaccinium L. sp.) fruit. AA, TPH, and ACY were determined in the parents and in 10 offspring from each of 20 random crosses for each of 2 years at Becker, Minn. Offspring-midparent regression analysis provided combined-year heritability estimates of 0.43 ± 0.09 (P ≤ 0.0001) for AA, 0.46 ± 0.11 (P ≤ 0.0001) for TPH, and 0.56 ± 0.10 (P ≤ 0.0001) for ACY. Analyses of variance delineated variation among and within families for AA, TPH, and ACY (P ≤ 0.001). Year-to-year variation in the means for all offspring genotypes was not significant for AA or TPH, but there were changes in rank between years for families and for offspring within families for these traits. Year-to-year variation in the mean for all offspring genotypes was significant for ACY, but rank changes were observed only among offspring within families, not among families. In total, 18 of 200 offspring from 7 of the 20 crosses were transgressive segregants for AA, exceeding the higher parent of the cross by at least two sds. Estimates of variance components showed that variation among families accounted for 24% to 27% of total variance for the three traits. However, variation within families was greater than that among families, accounting for 38% to 56% of total variance for the three traits. These results suggest that increasing antioxidant activity in blueberry through breeding is feasible, and that the breeding strategies utilized should exploit the large within-family variation that exists.

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Ann Marie Connor, James J. Luby and Cindy B.S. Tong

Variation in antioxidant activity (AA), total phenolic content (TPH), and total anthocyanin content (ACY) was examined in 1998 and 1999 in fruit of 52 (49 blue-fruited and 3 pink-fruited) genotypes from a blueberry breeding population. The species ancestry included Vaccinium corymbosum L. (northern highbush blueberry), V. angustifolium Ait. (lowbush blueberry), V. constablaei Gray (mountain highbush blueberry), V. ashei Reade (rabbiteye blueberry), and V. myrtilloides Michx. (lowbush blueberry). Using a methyl linoleate oxidation assay (MeLO) on acidified methanolic extracts of the berries, a 5-fold variation was found in AA in 1998 and a 3-fold variation in 1999 among the blue-fruited genotypes. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) revealed variation among genotypes (P < 0.0001) in single and combined years, regardless of inclusion of pink-fruited selections and adjustment for berry size. While mean AA of all genotypes did not change between the 2 years, ranking of some genotypes for AA changed significantly between 1998 and 1999. Of the 10 genotypes that demonstrated the highest AA in 1998, four were among the 10 genotypes that demonstrated highest AA in 1999. Similarly, of the 15 genotypes with the highest AA, 10 were the same both years. As with AA, mean TPH of all genotypes did not change between years and ANOVA demonstrated genotypic variation regardless of adjustment for berry size/weight or exclusion of pink-fruited selections. Changes in genotype rank occurred between years. The difference in TPH between lowest- and highest-ranking blue-fruited genotypes was ≈2.6-fold in both 1998 and 1999. Seven of the 10 highest-ranking genotypes were the same both years and TPH correlated with AA (r = 0.92, P < 0.01) on a genotype mean basis for combined years. ACY correlated less well with AA (r = 0.73, P < 0.01 for combined years). When genotypes were categorized into six groups according to species ancestry, V. myrtilloides and V. constablaei × V. ashei crosses ranked highest and second highest, respectively, for AA in both years. The groups comprised of V. corymbosum genotypes, V. angustifolium genotypes, and those with both V. corymbosum and V. angustifolium in their lineage were indistinguishable from each other. Samples from some of the genotypes were analyzed for oxygen radical absorbance capacity and ferric-reducing antioxidant power, and these aqueous-based antioxidant assays correlated well with the lipid emulsion-based MeLO (all r ≥ 0.90, P < 0.01). The three antioxidant assays may be equally useful for screening in a blueberry breeding program and the choice of assay may depend on the goal of the program and the resources available.

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Chen-Yi Hung, Cindy B.S. Tong and John R. Murray

The color of red potatoes is due to an accumulation of anthocyanins in periderm tissues. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of several factors on tuber redness. Using the red tuber-producing S. tuberosum ssp. tuberosum cultivar Norland, we observed that chroma (intensity of redness) and anthocyanin content of greenhouse-grown tubers decreased as tuber weight increased. There was a slight or no increase in hue (tint). We used HPLC to determine that pelargonidin and peonidin are the major anthocyanidins (aglycones of anthocyanins) in tuber periderm. The ratio of pelargonidin to peonidin increased as tuber weight increased up to 25 g fresh weight. The decrease in chroma was not due to an increase in cell sap pH; we observed a decrease in cellular pH as tuber weight increased. Controlled-atmosphere storage had no effect on tuber chroma or anthocyanin content compared to air storage. Methyl jasmonate, sucrose, or light treatment did not increase anthocyanin accumulation. Tubers exposed to light had less anthocyanin than those kept in the dark. We are examining the developmental expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes, as well as the effect of maize transcription factors on anthocyanin synthesis, in tuber periderm.

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Harpartap S. Mann, Jennifer J. Alton, SooHee Kim and Cindy B.S. Tong

During postharvest storage, apple [Malus pumila P. Mill.] fruit softens and its texture changes noticeably, with adverse effects on fruit quality. These changes are a result of degradation of the cell wall and middle lamella. Enzymes that cause changes in the cell walls have been characterized, but temporal distribution of their activities and their molecular regulation during storage is not well understood. ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit does not soften significantly during storage in contrast to fruit from ‘Macoun’, which softens significantly during storage. Contrasting phenotypes of ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘Macoun’ were analyzed for changes in transcript levels of four cell-wall–modifying genes in fresh and 3-month-stored fruit from both cultivars. A suppression-subtractive hybridization experiment identified 15 cDNAs differentially expressed in fresh or 3-month-stored ‘Macoun’ fruit. Transcript levels of these 15 cDNAs were further quantified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) in fresh and 3-month-stored fruit from both ‘Macoun’ and ‘Honeycrisp’. The combination of a late increase in MdEXPA2 and decreased levels of MdPG and MdAFase1 transcript levels in ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit during storage may lead to its nonsoftening phenotype. Three cDNAs, potentially important for postharvest changes in apple fruit were also identified based on their different expression patterns in fresh and 3-month-stored ‘Macoun’ and ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit.

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Ann Marie Connor, James J. Luby, Cindy B.S. Tong, Chad E. Finn and James F. Hancock

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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Chen-Yi Hung, John R. Murray, Sarah M. Ohmann and Cindy B.S. Tong

The color of red potato tubers is due to an accumulation of anthocyanins in periderm and peripheral cortex tissues. The objective of this study was to characterize changes in anthocyanin content and tuber surface color during tuber development. Using the red tuber-producing potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivar Norland, we observed that chroma (intensity of redness) and anthocyanin content per unit of surface area of greenhouse-grown tubers decreased as tuber weight increased. There was no increase in hue (tint) during the same developmental periods. Using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), we determined that pelargonidin and peonidin are the major anthocyanidins (aglycones of anthocyanins) in the tuber periderm. Northern blot analyses indicated that steady-state mRNA levels of dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR), an anthocyanin biosynthetic enzyme, continued throughout tuber development. These results suggest that anthocyanins are synthesized throughout tuber development, and that cell division and/or enlargement contribute to a decline in chroma and anthocyanin concentration.

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Ahmed F. El-Shiekh, Cindy B.S. Tong, James J. Luby and Emily E. Hoover

The relationships between cellular characteristics of cortical tissue and changes in texture during storage under controlled atmosphere (CA, 3% O2 + 3% CO2) or air at 0C were studied. The cultivars used were `Delicious', `Cortland', `Honeycrisp' and its parents, `Honeygold' and `Macoun'. The force needed to break a 7-mm cylinder of apple flesh (breaking force) was greatest for `Delicious' and `Honeycrisp'. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that tissues of firm-fleshed cultivars (`Honeycrisp' and `Delicious') fractured through cells, while that of soft-fleshed cultivars (`Cortland', `Honeygold', and `Macoun') fractured between cells. `Honeycrisp' had fewer cells/100 cm2 than the other cultivars. After 9 months of storage, breaking force, cell size, and K+/Ca2+ decreased, while cell number/100 cm2, Ca2+ content, and K+ content increased for all cultivars. Cell number/100 cm2 was significantly less and breaking force was significantly greater for tissue from CA than air-stored fruit.

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Cindy B.S. Tong, David S. Bedford, James J. Luby, Faye M. Propsom, Randolph M. Beaudry, James P. Mattheis, Christopher B. Watkins and Sarah A. Weis

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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Cindy B.S. Tong, Hsueh-Yuan Chang, Jennifer K. Boldt, Yizhou B. Ma, Jennifer R. DeEll, Renae E. Moran, Gaétan Bourgeois and Dominique Plouffe

Multiple types of flesh browning can occur as storage disorders in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruit. Predicting its occurrence is hindered by differing definitions of the types of browning, incomplete understanding of their etiologies, and difficulty in assessing harvest maturity of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit. In 2013, of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit grown, harvested over multiple weeks, and stored in Maine, Minnesota, Ontario, and Quebec, only the Quebec fruit developed diffuse flesh browning. A detailed comparison showed that the Quebec fruit differed in size, but not in other quality attributes, from fruit of the other locations. The Quebec fruit experienced lower temperatures during active fruit growth and were increasing in cell size up to harvest. Analyses of climate data from 2009 to 2015 indicated that accumulated growing degree-days (GDD) 50–60 day after full bloom (DAFB) could account for 31% of the variation in diffuse flesh browning, and seasonal GDD <500 are associated with a greater likelihood of injury. Fruit that exhibited diffuse flesh browning had higher magnesium and lower fructose levels than unaffected fruit. As these measurements were made after browning was assessed, the timing of the onset of these characteristics in relation to browning cannot be determined.