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Mitchell E. Armour, Margaret Worthington, John R. Clark, Renee T. Threlfall, and Luke Howard

Red drupelet reversion (RDR) is a postharvest disorder of blackberries (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) in which fully black drupelets revert to red after harvest. This disorder can negatively impact consumer perception of fresh-market blackberries. The cause of RDR is hypothesized to be related to intracellular damage sustained because of mechanical and environmental stress during and after harvest. Cultivars differ in susceptibility to this disorder; and cultural factors, including nitrogen rate, harvest and shipping practices, and climate during harvest, influence RDR severity. In this 2-year study, seven genotypes (cultivars and advanced selections) developed in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UA) blackberry breeding program, with a range of fruit textures, were evaluated to determine whether firmness was correlated with RDR. In addition, fruit was harvested at four different times (7:00 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 4:00 pm) to investigate whether harvest time influences RDR. All seven genotypes were harvested at the four times on two harvest dates per year and evaluated for RDR and firmness after 1 week of cold storage (5 °C). Fruit harvested early in the day had less RDR, with 7:00 am harvests having the least RDR in both years. Significant genotypic differences in RDR and fruit firmness were found in each year. Firmness was negatively correlated with RDR in 2018 and 2019. These results indicate that growers may be able to reduce the prevalence of RDR by choosing cultivars with firm fruit texture and harvesting early in the day.