Assessing Harvest and Postharvest Fruit Quality in Blueberry
Title: Assessing Harvest and Postharvest Fruit Quality in Blueberry
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Simone Castellarin and Dr. Anub Singh
Duration: April 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022
In blueberry, fruit quality is considered a central trait since it drives consumer appreciation and repeat purchasing and provides opportunities for packers/marketers to command premium price points. Blueberry shelf life varies among varieties, and postharvest storage conditions and duration in transit to domestic and overseas markets affects the quality and the shelf-life of each variety differently. Identifying high-quality varieties that better tolerate postharvest storage and have an increased shelf-life is a priority for blueberry producers. This can be achieved in two ways, by developing and selecting new varieties (via breeding, see Berry Germplasm Evaluation for the Fraser Valley, Berry Cultivar Development for the Fraser Valley, Canadian Berry Trial Network) or by developing new post-harvest storage techniques that can maintain/increase blueberry quality and shelf life.
This project aims to tackle these research priorities by:
- Developing methodologies to assess fruit quality in blueberry using state-of-the-art analytical platforms;
- Using these analytical platforms to assess the quality of commercial cultivars and compare them with new selections in the BC Berry Breeding Program; and
- Developing new technologies to improve the blueberry postharvest quality and safety.
Developing superior blueberry cultivars and optimizing postharvest techniques that improve blueberry quality are key goals of the industry. This project aims to develop techniques for measuring major quality factors in blueberry and to apply these techniques in breeding and postharvest research. This will facilitate selection of new cultivars and development of new techniques for improving fruit quality.
This project aims to assess fruit quality at harvest and during postharvest in new blueberry selections as well as in commercial cultivars grown in BC. Protocols will be developed for screening berry quality in dozens of cultivars and breeding selections, allowing prediction of their market suitability for local and overseas markets.
Postharvest shelf life is key to determining product marketability. This project also aims to assess how postharvest conditions and packaging affect quality parameters such as texture and sugar, acid, anthocyanin, and volatile levels. The effect of pulsed light and ultraviolet (UV) treatment as well as environmental storage/packaging conditions on product quality and shelf-life will be determined. Packaging parameters, such as packaging material and environmental conditions, will be optimized.
Title: Evaluation of Spray-Induced Gene Silencing