2008 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop improved cultivars and enhanced germplasm of strawberry, blueberry, and black raspberry that possess desirable horticultural traits, including broad environmental adaptation, disease resistance, longer fruiting season, high yield, and excellent fruit and plant quality characteristics.
Develop methodologies to more effectively and precisely identify and select disease-resistant small-fruit genotypes.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Small fruit germplasm from established cultivar materials to wild types will be evaluated using both classical and molecular techniques. Scientists will develop improved disease screening methods, identify and evaluate disease resistant germplasm, and develop improved methods of incorporating the resistance into superior germplasm. Genetic aspects of both pathogen and host variation will be studied. Concurrent with selection for disease resistance, breeding will emphasize selection for other factors necessary to the development of successful cultivars, with particular emphasis on fruit quality and phytonutrients, environmental adaptation, and adaptation to mechanization. Vaccinium (blueberry and cranberry) breeding and disease work will be carried out at Chatsworth, New Jersey, and Fragaria (strawberry) and Rubus (blackberry and raspberry equals brambles) work will be carried out at Beltsville, Maryland.
Parthenocarpy in rabbiteye (V. ashei) blueberry. Rabbiteye blueberry cultivars were brought into the greenhouse in early spring and allowed to flower. Flowering interval, fruit set, fruit size, and ripening dates are being tabulated. Field produced fruit is also being collected to evaluate correlations between greenhouse and field fruit development. This research should allow a better understanding of the cross-pollination needs among rabbiteye blueberry cultivars, and may lead to the development of more self-fruitful cultivars. This research is under National Program 301, Component 3, Problem statement 3C.