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Daniel J. Bell, Lisa J. Rowland, James J. Polashock, and Frank A. Drummond

autotetraploid of V. boreale ( Camp, 1945 ) or an allotetraploid of V. boreale × V . pallidum or V. boreale × V. myrtilloides ( Vander Kloet, 1977 , 1978 ) but with tetrasomic inheritance ( Hokanson and Hancock, 1998 ). It is morphologically and

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W.A. Erb, A.D. Draper, G.J. Galletta, and H.J. Swartz

Data from a four-parent diallel, involving one highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) clone and three interspecific hybrids grown on mineral soil unamended with organic matter, were analyzed to determine combining ability effects for six traits: plant size, berry size, the number of days between flowering and fruiting (# DBF&F), the ratio of total fruit weight to canopy volume (TFW: CYV), days to fruit ripe, and yield. General combining ability effects were significant for all characters tested, except yield and berry size in 1984. Specific combining ability effects were significant for plant size in 1983, #DBF&F in 1984, TFW: CYV in 1984, and berry size in 1985. Vigorous and productive highbush cultivars can be developed for mineral soils by using the interspecific clones from this study and their selected recombinant to combine the genes for plant vigor with the high-quality fruit traits of highbush cultivars.

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W.A. Erb, A.D. Draper, and H.J. Swartz

Progenies and clones of interspecific hybrid blueberries were evaluated for annual fraction of canopy volume (FCYV) and for difference in fraction of canopy volume between control and stressed plants [FCYV(C) - FCYV(S)] in a moderate water-deficit environment. The FCYV(C) - FCYV(S) data were used to determine combining ability effects. In addition, physiological processes of attached leaves of the clones were monitored with a portable photosynthesis apparatus. Specific combining ability (SCA) effects were significant for FCYV(C) - FCYV(S). The clone with the lowest mean for FCYV(C) - FCYV(S) was US75, a hybrid of Vaccinium darrowi Camp × V. corymbosum L. Clone JU64 (V. myrsinites Lamark × V. angustifolium Aiton) also had a low FCYV(C) - FCYV(S) mean, and its two progenies (JU64 × JU11 and G362 × JU64) had low progeny means. Stomatal conductance was lowered when blueberries were exposed to atmospheric and/or soil moisture stress that resulted in lower transpiration and photosynthesis and increased or equal water-use efficiencies (WUE). Blueberry plants adjusted to moisture stress as the season progressed by lowering stomatal conductance and increasing WUE. In particular, stressed plants of US75 and JU64 had equal or higher WUE values than control plants. US226 was the most drought-susceptible clone in the study, and its stomata did not appear to be as responsive to moisture stress as the other clones. Breeding for higher WUE in a dry environment appears possible with the germplasm used in this study.

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S.P. Vander Kloet and J. Pither

Periodic prescribed burns of lowbush blueberry barrens promote high yield, aid in weed control, and reduce fungal and insect damage. Whether such prescribed fires should be set in the autumn or the spring has been a matter of some dispute. Previous research on Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton suggested some advantages to autumnal burning, but few data have been collected on V. myrtilloides Michaux. To evaluate whether time of burning affected plant qualities most favorable for mechanical harvesting, such as stem length and lateral branching, a series of experiments was conducted on V. myrtilloides. Differences in stem length, numbers of lateral branches, and buds per stem were nonsignificant among plants burned in fall vs. those burned in spring. In three of four experiments, however, fall burns resulted in the growth of fewer lateral branches. Furthermore, among the four experiments, growth responses were more uniform following fall than following spring burns. We therefore suggest that, where possible, fall burns should be prescribed for blueberry plants that will be mechanically harvested.

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M.K. Ehlenfeldt and A.W. Stretch

Resistance to blighting by Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi (Reade) Honey was evaluated under greenhouse conditions in multiple populations of the diploid species Vaccinium boreale Hall & Aalders, V. corymbosum L., V. darrowi Camp, V. elliottii Chapm., V. myrtilloides Michx., V. myrtillus L., V. pallidum Ait., and V. tenellum Ait., as well as in accessions of the polyploid species 4x V. hirsutum Buckley and 6x V. corymbosum f. amoenum Aiton. Significant species differences were found in mean blighting levels averaged over 2 years, with values ranging from 3.5% for V. boreale to 49.2% for 2x V. corymbosum, compared with 27.5% for the resistant 4x V. corymbosum check, `Bluejay', and 64.3% for the susceptible 4x V. corymbosum check, `Blueray'. Wild Vaccinium species may serve as new sources of resistance to blighting, if resistance can be transferred easily and horticultural type recovered.

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K.A. Sanford, P.D. Lidster, K.B. McRae, E.D. Jackson, R.A. Lawrence, R. Stark, and R.K. Prange

Postharvest response of wild lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait. and V. myrtilloides Michx.) to mechanical damage and storage temperature was studied during 2 years. Fruit weight loss and the incidence of shriveled or split berries were major components that contributed to the loss of marketable yield resulting from mechanical damage and storage temperature. Decay of berries resulted in only 1% to 2% of the total marketable fruit loss. In general, the major quality attributes (firmness, microbial growth, hue, bloom, split, and unblemished berries) deteriorated with increasing damage levels and increasing storage temperature without significant interaction. Temperature had consistent effects in both years on moisture content, soluble solids concentration, titratable acids, weight loss, shriveled and decayed berries, Hunter L values, and anthocyanin leakage, while damage level had inconsistent or no significant effect.

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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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W.A. Erb, A.D. Draper, and H.J. Swartz

Interspecific blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) progenies were examined to determine combining abilities and genetic variability for seedling root system size and shoot vigor and to establish whether a large root system is correlated with good growth when plants are grown on a mineral soil and exposed to a moderate soil water deficit. General combining ability (GCA) variance components for root system size and shoot vigor and specific combining ability variance components for shoot vigor were significant. US226, a tetraploid hybrid of V. myrtilloides Michaux × V. atrococcum Heller, had the highest GCA effect for root system size and the lowest GCA effect for shoot vigor. US75 (V. darrowi Camp × V. corymbosum L.) had the highest GCA effect for shoot vigor and was second in GCA effect for root system size. Comparison of the crosses containing G111 (V. corymbosum) with those containing G362 (V. corymbosum) indicates that selecting for the best V. corymbosum clone to start a breeding program seems as important as selecting the mineral soil-adapted parent. Root system ratings were highly correlated with total dry weight of field-grown plants (r = 0.89). The method used in this study to evaluate seedlings for root system size and shoot vigor could be used to eliminate the less vigorous plants from a population before field planting and to evaluate mineral soil adaptability.

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Julie Bussières, Stéphanie Boudreau, Guillaume Clément–Mathieu, Blanche Dansereau, and Line Rochefort

aspects of flower biology of lowbush blueberry ( Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) and vetlvet-leaf blueberry ( V. myrtilloides Michx.); cultural management of lowbush blueberry and cranberry ( Oxycoccus palustris Pers.) on exhausted milled peat areas

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Dongliang Qiu, Xiangying Wei, Shufang Fan, Dawei Jian, and Jianjun Chen

; Debnath, 2007 ). Among them, V. angustifolium , V. corymbosum , and V. myrtilloides are tetraploid with the chromosome number of 2 n = 4 x = 48, whereas V. virgatum is hexaploid with 2 n = 6 x = 72 ( Brevis et al., 2008 ). The highbush