significantly over the past few years in response to recent high blueberry demand and prices. Through 2005, the most common RAB cultivars grown in Louisiana and Mississippi were Climax, Premier, and Tifblue ( Marshall et al., 2006 ). ‘Tifblue’ has been
the spring has not been determined. The objectives of the present study were to: 1) describe the internal development of blueberry inflorescence buds; 2) compare the timing and node location of inflorescence bud initiation in two cultivars of SHB; and
The chemical composition of the lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton) cultivars Blomidon, Cumberland, and Fundy were examined at three stages of fruit maturity, before and after refrigerated storage, in a 2-year study. There were differences (P< 0.001) related to maturity and cultivar in berry fresh weight, percentage dry matter, fruit firmness, percentage soluble solids, titratable acidity, and the concentration of sugar, acids, and anthocyanins. Among the nine organic and phenolic acids measured, seven acids varied among the maturity groups and eight varied among the cultivars. Between the 2 years of study there was a 60% difference in total fruit acid content as well as in the relative amounts of each acid. The 2-year mean profile of lowbush blueberry acids was distinctly different from that recently reported for highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade). The level of certain acids as well as the concentration of anthocyanins increased during cold storage. Estimation of sugar concentration by percentage soluble solids overestimated sugar concentration by 3070. Acid measurement by titration underestimated acid content as measured by HPLC by 61%. Results of this study illustrate the variation in the chemical composition of lowbush blueberry fruit among cultivars, maturities, and seasons, and can be used to compare lowbush blueberries with other Vaccinium species.
The anthocyanin content of ripe berry samples of 11 cultivars of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosurn L.) varied over a 3-fold range. HPLC separation of individual anthocyanins in blueberry samples revealed 3 distinct anthocyanin patterns. Visible absorption spectra of aqueous berry extracts reflected differences in anthocyanin concentration and pH, the latter especially being evident with the more acidic berries of ‘Coville’ and ‘Elliott’. Tristimulus reflectance measurements made on whole berries correlated with visual assessment of waxy bloom but not with anthocyanin content, anthocyanin pattern, or juice pH. SEM examination revealed 2 different surface structures in samples exhibiting bloom. Tristimulus parameters for blueberry juice were dependent on anthocyanin concentration, pH, and the occurrence of browning, but not on the pattern of individual anthocyanins.
The effects of pollination treatments on fruit set and five berry characteristics [mass, diameter, number of apparently viable seeds (well-developed, plump with dark seed coat), total seed number (includes apparently viable and partially developed seeds), and harvest date] were examined on three highbush blueberry cultivars. Pollination treatments included unpollinated, open pollinated, emasculated, and three hand pollinations that used pollen from the same flower, from the same cultivar, or from a different cultivar. Berries matured earliest and were smallest with the most apparently viable seeds in `Northland', `Patriot' had the greatest fruit set and smallest seed number, and `Bluecrop' matured the latest. Fruit set was greater, berry size larger, seed number smaller, and maturation later in 1990 than 1991. For all three cultivars, berries were generally smallest, latest maturing, and had the fewest seeds when pollination was prevented and were largest with the most seeds and earliest maturing in open visitation. Emasculation resulted in berries similar to those from unpollinated flowers. For berry characteristics, cross-pollination was of benefit for `Patriot' and possibly `Northland' but not `Bluecrop'. Thus, commercial highbush blueberry planting designs must be based on the pollination requirements of the particular cultivar. `Northland' berries almost always had seeds, while `Patriot' showed high levels and `Bluecrop' low levels of parthenocarpy.
Flower bud injury was assessed in 18 cultivars of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) after two spring frosts. Bud position on shoots was significantly correlated (P < 0.05) with percent brown ovaries. Significant differences in proportion of brown ovaries were noted among cultivars, but most of the variation was associated with stage of bud development. The least-developed buds were the most hardy. Bloom date was significantly correlated with harvest date across cultivars, although ‘Spartan’ flowered much later than other early ripening cultivars.
Yield component analysis of 9 Vaccinium corymbosum L. blueberry cultivars indicated that yield was more strongly determined by canes per bush and berries per cane than by berry weight. High numbers of berries per cane were associated with low berry weights in all cultivars. Component interactions ranged from slightly additive in ‘Bluecrop’ and ‘Spartan’ to highly compensatory in ‘Rubel’ and ‘Berkeley’. The consideration of component interactions in cultivar trials may enhance the accuracy in identification of desirable genotypes.
Cultivars of the economically important rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) were differentiated at the DNA level using the technique of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA. Single decanucleotide primers of arbitrary sequence were used to amplify genomic DNA by the polymerase chain reaction. All cultivars tested exhibited a unique set of collective amplified fragments of distinct molecular weight. A blind fingerprinting experiment resulted in identification of unknown samples without ambiguity. We also clarified the genetic identity of two wild selections of rabbiteye blueberry, `Ethel' and `Satilla', which have been maintained as two different selections, hut are considered by some blueberry breeders to be of the same genetic constitution. The technique also verified the probable identity of two cultivars in a commercial blueberry field by comparing their amplified DNA patterns with those of standard cultivars. No variation was observed between the amplification profiles of `Brightwell' and its presumed sport. A cultivar key based on 11 markers amplified by four primers is presented.
Fruit set of rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade) can be pollen-limited under certain conditions. The objective of this study was to determine production, release, and viability of pollen, as well as pollen-ovule ratios in the rabbiteye blueberry cultivars Austin, Brightwell, Climax, and Tifblue. In vitro tetrad germination varied among genotypes, although, values were high (≥80%) in all cultivars. Pollen viability does not seem to contribute to reproductive failure in the cultivars studied. Total pollen production per flower averaged 8434 tetrads across all cultivars. On a per ovule basis, pollen production was very low relative to other xenogamous species. The low pollen-ovule ratio of rabbiteye blueberry (≈400) may be an indicator of the high efficiency of its pollen dispensing mechanism. Total pollen production varied among cultivars. Furthermore, a significant difference in pollen release was found between two cultivars with similar total pollen production per flower. The possible mechanism regulating pollen release in these cultivars is discussed.
Pollination of the half-high blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L./V. anugustifolium Ait.) cultivars St. Cloud, Northsky, Northcountry, and Northblue with self, outcross, and outcross/self pollen mixtures suggests that outcross fertilization maximizes percent fruit set, berry weight, seeds per berry, and seeds per pollination while minimizing days to harvest. Based on these results, mixed plantings of at least two blueberry cultivars are recommended for these cultivars. Fruit and seed set were negatively associated with increased percentages of self pollen in outcross/self pollen mixtures. These responses were linear for `Northblue' due to a tendency to parthenocarpy, and nonlinear for `St. Cloud', `Northsky', and `Northcountry', due to low fruit set following self-pollination. These data indicate that post-fertilization abortion affected seed formation, which was, in turn, correlated positively with fruit set.