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Pathway Analysis to Determine Factors Contributing to Overall Quality Scores in Four Berry Crops

Cockerton, Helen, Blanco Unzueta, Maddi, Johnson, Abigail W., Vadillo Dieguez, Andrea, Fernández Fernández, Felicidad
Journal of Horticultural Research 2020 v.28 no.2 pp. 35-42
blackberries, blueberries, breeding, crops, cultivars, environment, fruit quality, fruits, genetic factors, genetic improvement, horticulture, raspberries, research, strawberries, sweetness, winter
Fruit quality attributes are influenced by environmental, agronomic and genetic factors; both cultivars and growing conditions can vary substantially between UK production and imported fruit. This study aimed to record and dissect the most relevant fruit quality traits for berries imported into the UK in the winter months. Blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry fruit were imported from 11 countries into a Kent-based packhouse (UK) or purchased from major retailers between December 2018 and March 2019. Multiple fruit quality components were assessed for relative contribution towards a high “overall assessment” fruit quality score. It was found that strawberry and blackberry overall scores were affected by sweetness perception, whereas blueberry and raspberry organoleptics are more complex, with overall scores influenced by flavor perception. Multiple raspberry and strawberry fruit quality traits were found to be associated with genotypic differences, indicating a promising potential for genetic improvement through breeding. By contrast, the study findings suggest that there is less potential for genetic improvement in blueberry, and that the environment may have a large effect on blueberry fruit quality traits.