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  • Author or Editor: Tomas Hasing x
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Wild Fragaria supercore accessions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Plant Germplasm System collection have been evaluated in temperate climates; however, there have been no characterizations of supercore accessions in non-temperate climates or in annualized production systems. Because Florida can serve as a model system for annualized winter and spring production worldwide, the objective of this study was to characterize an elite group of wild strawberry accessions under field and high tunnel production systems for mortality and the phenological responses of flowering and runner production. The wild accessions along with cultivars were planted in open-field and high tunnel production environments in a randomized complete block design within each environment with raised beds serving as blocks. Four replications of five-plant plots were planted in each of two environments in 2 separate years. With the exception of Darrow 72, F. chiloensis accessions did not perform well in the minimum-chill annualized winter production system. The accessions of this species generally did not flower and were prolific instead in runner production. The F. virginiana accessions performed better with F. virginiana subsps. grayana and virginiana accessions appearing more adapted for minimum-chill winter production because they flowered well and had few runners. We conclude that NC 96-48-1 (PI 612324), NC 95-21-1 (PI 612569), Darrow 72 (PI 236579), and RH 30 (PI 612499) would be attractive for inclusion in germplasm development in a minimal-chill, winter annual production system. In addition to producing many flowers and few runners, these accessions had low mortality.

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The University of Florida strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) breeding population has been continuously improved by recurrent selection since 1968. However, there is a lack of information on genetic parameters that may inform breeding decisions. Parameters were estimated in this population using 19 full-sib families from a 5 × 4 factorial mating design plus six additional biparental crosses and 14 control genotypes including some of the parents. During the 2010–11 season, clonal replicates of the seedling and parental genotypes were distributed within and among two field locations in west–central Florida. Twelve commercially important traits were measured including fruit chemical traits (soluble solids content and titratable acidity), other fruit and yield traits (early and total marketable yields, proportion of total cull fruit, proportion of misshapen fruit, proportion water-damaged fruit, and shape score), and vegetative traits (plant height and total runners). Heritabilities, genotype by environment interaction, and multiple correlations (phenotypic, genotypic, and genetic) were estimated using general mixed model analyses. Narrow-sense heritabilities varied from low to moderate (h 2 = 0.13 ± 0.07 to 0.32 ± 0.09) except for shape score (h 2 = 0.06 ± 0.04) and total average weight (h 2 = 0.52 ± 0.07). Broad-sense heritabilities were larger (H 2 = 0.18 ± 0.03 to 0.53 ± 0.04), and for more than half of the traits, over 50% of the total genetic variation was non-additive. Large genetic and genotypic correlations were found for some traits, most notably between soluble solids content and early marketable yield (–0.68 ± 0.22). Genetic gains for this pair of traits based on a Monte Carlo simulation illustrated the tradeoff between these two traits, showing that a 27% increase in early yield could be obtained through selection but at the expense of an 8% decrease in soluble solids. However, moderate gains can be made in both traits using the appropriate index coefficients.

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Previous studies have recognized considerable variation in the soluble solids content (SSC) of strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) during Florida’s fruiting season. Cultivars with stable fruit SSC over time would be valued in the commercial industry as a result of their more uniform quality. The within-season stability of 410 genotypes from the strawberry breeding program of the University of Florida was estimated using data from clonally replicated first-year seedlings and advanced selections evaluated at two locations over two consecutive seasons. Stability was measured using a linear regression approach. For each genotype, the SSC measured at different harvest dates was regressed on the mean SSC of an independent set of genotypes at each harvest date. Genotypes with steep slopes are sensitive to small environmental and physiological changes and are considered unstable compared with genotypes with slopes close to zero. Approximately 90% of individual genotype slopes were not different from the population slope value and were classified in the average stability group, whereas the remaining 10% were equally distributed between the unstable and stable groups. Although a preliminary genetic analysis indicated that SSC stability may have low narrow-sense heritability (h 2 = 0.06 ± 0.05), a group of genotypes exhibited stability across multiple environments. Soluble solids content stability and mean soluble solids were independent, and genotypes with both stable and high levels of SSC were observed.

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The University of Florida strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch. ex Rosier) breeding program has maintained a continuous breeding effort since 1968 to develop cultivars that are highly adapted to winter production in west-central Florida. To gain insight into breeding progress over time, two advanced selections (UF1 and UF2) and 10 released cultivars, from Florida Belle (1975) to Florida Radiance (2008), were compared for various fruit quality traits in a two-location field study during the 2009–2010 season. Fruit size varied dramatically from 30.8 g for ‘Elyana’ to 16.2 g for ‘Dover’ at Balm, FL, and from 28.3 g for UF2 to 16.6 g for ‘Dover’ at Dover, FL. A linear regression of fruit size on year of release revealed an average gain of 2.6 g per year since 1975 for the cultivars and selections tested (R 2 = 0.44). A similar analysis revealed a reduction over time in the proportion of cull fruit (R 2 = 0.30). Gains were apparent for the redness of the internal flesh, from a colorimeter a* value of 16.1 for ‘Florida Belle’ (1975) to 34.7 for ‘Carmine’ (2002) but were not sustained for later releases and selections. Although there were significant differences among genotypes for all chemical traits affecting flavor, there were no discernable patterns over time. There were wide month-to-month variations in individual sugars and organic acids, except for citric acid, which was stable across months and locations. The ratio of soluble solids content to titratable acidity ranged widely among genotypes, from a high of 15.7 for ‘Florida Belle’ in February at Dover, FL, to a low of 6.4 for ‘Winter Dawn’ in January at Balm, FL. The observed variability and trends in fruit quality traits will help guide future genetic studies and inform decisions about future breeding priorities and selection procedures.

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In west–central Florida, strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) are harvested from early December to late March. The peak harvest occurs at the end of the season and lasts ≈1 month, usually from late February to mid-March. As the peak harvest progresses and temperatures increase, fruit become smaller and the soluble solids content (SSC) of fruit declines. The main objective of this study was to determine whether the progression of peak harvest results in a decline in SSC independent of temperature. In 2007 and 2008, recently opened flowers were tagged in the field on the first week into the peak bloom (WPB) and for 3 additional weeks thereafter. Three days after tagging, plants were transplanted to one of two constant temperature environments (15 or 22 °C). At maturity, the weight, SSC, and fruit development period (FDP) of tagged fruit were recorded. Fruit SSC was lower at the higher temperature (5.2% at 22 °C versus 6.5% at 15 °C) in both years. In 2007, SSC was not correlated with WPB, and in 2008, SSC was positively correlated with WPB at constant temperatures. In addition, the coefficient of determination (r 2) for a regression of SSC on mean temperature over the period 8 days before harvest was 0.73 for fruit harvested from fields between 2003 and 2009. These results indicate that rising temperature is a major factor responsible for the late-season decline of SSC in strawberry fruit in a subtropical production system.

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Many breeders have turned to wild relatives in search of beneficial traits such as disease resistance. In strawberry, the wild octoploid species Fragaria virginiana and F. chiloensis are fully interfertile with the cultivated species, F. ×ananassa, and are therefore potential sources of resistance. Powdery mildew may increase in economic importance in Florida in the near future as a result of the use of high tunnels and rowcovers for freeze protection, which limit free water and provide a favorable environment for disease development. The objective of this study was to screen an elite group of wild strawberry accessions for resistance to powdery mildew under two production systems. In 2010–11 and 2012–13, wild accessions, commercial standard cultivars, and susceptible controls were planted in open-field and high tunnel environments at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, FL. Although there was a significant year × genotype effect, some taxa showed high levels of resistance that were consistent across years. There was a high correlation for ratings of powdery mildew between the high tunnel and the open field for all genotypes (r = 0.89, P < 0.001). This information may be useful for breeders, because sources of resistance to powdery mildew are available within the tested genotypes. However, some accessions are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, and this must be considered when using these genotypes in breeding programs.

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